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M.S. in Educational Leadership Curriculum

The educational leadership programs are designed to provide high-quality and innovative standards-based educational experiences for future educational leaders.

The programs - designed around a weekend format - use an integrated approach by combining theory, authentic case studies, class discussions, candidates' experience, and field-based internships to address current and emerging issues impacting the quality of education in various school systems.

Each semester's studies, designed around a weekend format, constitute a module, and each module is comprised of two three-credit courses and one two-credit internship experience. Each three-credit course will meet on alternate weekends for a total of four weekend sessions. Candidates take two courses and an internship each semester including the summer session. Most candidates complete the program in 18 months.

The programs have four internships of two credits each that are taken concurrently with the courses offered each semester. Each internship requires a minimum of 160 hours per semester, plus one full week (40 hours) sometime during the program. The internships will total 680 clock hours. Internship assignments and times are arranged in collaboration with the candidate and the candidate's home school district or partnering district.

Program Modules

Both educational leadership programs have four interrelated modules comprised of three courses each, as described below.

Module I: Developing Effective Leadership

Strong and effective leadership has been shown to be a correlate to school success. This framework is designed to: provide candidates with an understanding of the major influences affecting American education and expose candidates to the research on motivational theory, leadership effectiveness, and best practices in school/district leadership that enhance learning for all students. The courses in Module I will employ lectures, discussions, assigned readings, case studies, and first-person accounts to provide students with a theoretical context and understanding of the various components of effective leadership.

Module II: Planning and Implementing School Improvement Strategies

This module is designed to increase candidates’ understanding of the various planning and implementation processes that promote and support school improvement. Specific emphasis will be placed on the study of various models and strategies that have been used to engage and guide the school community in the school improvement process. Candidates will examine case histories of high- and low-performing schools in diverse settings and develop school improvement plans that include the use of technology and information literacy for such schools. The courses offered in this module will focus on strategies that promote high-quality learning environments for all students, including the use of technology and information systems to enrich curriculum and instruction.

Module III: Effective Public Communication

The studies in this module will teach the candidate how to effectively engage the public in the school enterprise at all levels. The courses will focus on parent and community involvement, media relations, creating partnerships, and communicating results. The courses will also discuss strategies for communicating effectively with groups from diverse backgrounds. The goal is to make each candidate an effective communicator.

Module IV: Continuous School Improvement

This module is designed to provide candidates with the knowledge and skills required to apply a systems approach to continuous school improvement. The courses offered in this module will focus on systems that provide: frequent monitoring and assessment of student and staff performance; ongoing staff and student development; opportunities to express and include diverse perspectives, professional development initiatives, programs and practices to celebrate and reward success; and a framework for collaborative internal and external review of school programs, practices, and results. The courses also will include the examination and applications of model technology systems that collect, analyze, and use data to inform decision-making and improve results.

Capstone Project

The purpose of the capstone project is to provide candidates with an opportunity to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and values necessary to provide effective leadership in a variety of complex and diverse school settings. The project should reflect the standards in the candidate’s program of study and demonstrate that the candidate has a clear understanding of the School of Education's conceptual framework of social justice and the five interlocking tenets of diversity, compassion, knowledge, service, and achievement. Where possible, the candidate should demonstrate or provide evidence that he or she has acquired facility in the use of technology and information literacy to support instruction and learning.

The project requires candidates to complete a portfolio of their best work and make an oral presentation using various technologies on a topic that focuses on the state and national standards for effective school/district leadership.

A review panel comprised of the educational leadership faculty and successful practitioners will evaluate the capstone project. Course professors will provide written feedback to each candidate on his or her strengths and areas needing improvement. Successful completion of the project is a program requirement.