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Undergraduate Leadership Studies Curriculum and K-12 School Leader Development

Fri, October 25, 10:15 to 11:30, Shaw Centre, Meeting Room 212

Session Submission Type: Panel Discussion

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Short Description

This panel discussion will examine how a school of leadership curriculum from a small liberal arts university can be a model for how to create a graduate level school leadership degree that meets the demands of savvy adult learners and also produces successful candidates that are ethical and transformative K-12 school leaders.

Detailed Abstract

Ten years-ago a graduate degree in K-12 school of leadership was developed by utilizing the transformational and ethical leadership curriculum taught to undergraduates in a prominent school of leadership studies from a liberal arts university. Like the undergraduate degree, an ethical focus was woven through all the courses and internship experiences for the adult learners in the graduate degree. That focus on an ethical and transformative curriculum and on the study of leadership in general has proven very successful in producing K-12 school leaders who pass the school leader licensure examination, gain employment and are very successful in their positions. In addition, the curriculum and practices in the graduate degree develop an ethical perspective in these adult learners that is necessary for the next generation of K-12 educational leaders. K-12 schools are experiencing complex problems, including student achievement and accountability stressors due to high-stakes tests, increasing identification of special education and learning disabilities, rapid income and racial demographic changes, and the rise of English Language Learners due to immigration. To address these complex issues, K-12 schools need ethical leaders who are grounded in the theory of leadership studies, but also have strong field experiences in an ethical and transformative framework.

The panel discussion will feature the dean of the undergraduate school of leadership studies, the founder of the graduate degree who has a joint appointment in the graduate degree program and in the undergraduate school, the current chair of the graduate degree, a superintendent from a local school district that teaches in the degree, and a recent graduate who is in position of K-12 school leadership. As a result of the need to be approved by a state department of education and meet the requirements of a national accreditation agency, university and college K-12 educational leadership programs have a tendency to focus on the limiting standards of effectiveness and transactional values. These pressures from state and national accreditation agencies are changing the field and costing graduate programs in K-12 school leadership the opportunity to focus on ethical or transformative variables. The panel will discuss how K-12 school leadership studies steeped in the liberal arts can be good models for graduate degrees that are tasked with developing and certifying school leaders. In addition, the panel will discuss how colleges and universities with undergraduate leadership studies programs should engage with practitioners in local K-12 school systems to develop the next generation of school leadership.

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