Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies

Jon Margerum-Leys

Jon Margerum-Leys is a tenured professor in the Teacher Education Department at Eastern Michigan University and has served as their associate dean for budget and operations for the College of Education. He earned his PhD in educational studies in 2001. In 2002, his dissertation was recognized as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Dissertation of the Year.

Prior to graduate studies at Michigan, Margerum-Leys was a middle school teacher in New Hampshire and a high school teacher in California. The University of Michigan School of Education’s tradition of excellence in educational research, its high profile in academe, and its commitment to financial and scholarly support of doctoral students were factors in his decision to come to Ann Arbor.

Are you interested in promoting change in K-12 education? Do you want to lead in K-12 schools or school systems? Do you want to work with individuals and organizations that influence education policies? If so, the Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation program could be ideal for you. Faculty and students in this program examine processes that occur at many levels of the education system—from the statehouse to the schoolhouse, and from Congress to the classroom—including examinations of the systems and structures of school finance, governance, organization, and management. Students will also study ways that the actions of school leaders and staff, and the politics and resources of national, regional, and local communities can be harnessed to promote better instruction in classrooms, higher student achievement, and social justice in schools.

If you choose the concentration in Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation, you can:

This program is housed within the Educational Studies program, which fosters links among students and faculty in a number of specializations sharing a commitment to the integration of theory and research on teaching, learning, and educational access in P-12 settings.

Students in this program become engaged in the study of instructional leadership, organization theory, administrative leadership, and the design and evaluation of educational policies at all levels of governance. Courses address issues of school effectiveness, organizational design and leadership, school governance, and educational policy-making, including issues of school finance. Students benefit from working with faculty who are actively engaged in funded research projects that focus on, for example, instructional improvement, national reading policy, and an understanding of how the social and psychological dimensions of schools influence educational practices and outcomes for students.

One of the hallmarks of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation at the University of Michigan is the programmatic flexibility offered to students. Students may take courses across the School of Education and at other units within the university to build a coherent and substantive program of study that meets their needs and interests. Students regularly benefit from the ability to take graduate courses from, for example, the Schools of Business, Law, Public Policy (Ford School), Social Work and the departments of history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Students also benefit from the presence of the world famous Institute for Social Research (ISR), which offers summer courses on survey research and statistics.

The Doctoral Program in Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation prepares individuals for careers as researchers, policy leaders, or university professors in the field of education. Graduates of the Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation program can be found at all levels of the public and private education sector. Current alumni/ae  are school principals and superintendents, university professors of educational administration, and researchers and policy analysts at educational research organizations, foundations, and government agencies.

As a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, you will take courses offered by leading scholars in a variety of fields of study both inside and outside the School of Education. This course work—which is tailored to student needs and interests—will provide you with a critical perspective on important educational issues, develop your understanding of how schools can be organized and managed, deepen your understanding of education policy and governance, and prepare you to engage in primary research on pressing problems of educational improvement.

The program is intensive and designed for resident students. Although there is a great deal of flexibility within the program, the core requirements include a small set of courses in Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation, a structured sequence of research courses required by the Educational Studies program, and a set of courses in a discipline or disciplines outside the School Education (typically in one of the social science departments or professional schools on campus).  In addition to completing course work, students work closely with program faculty on research projects or as teaching assistants.

Plan of Study

Students in all doctoral degree specializations within the Educational Studies program share as a cohort four core courses that provide a common foundation for more specialized study. A team of faculty and doctoral students developed the plan for this core curriculum under the auspices of the Carnegie Foundation Initiative on the Doctorate, a multi-university effort to reform doctoral education.

In addition to these four core courses, all doctoral students participate in a shared professional development proseminar during each of their first two years. The purpose of the first-year proseminar is to help new doctoral students settle into the "hidden curriculum" of a doctoral program, and to support the development of a disciplined perception of the practices of educational leadership and scholarship. Through conversations with visiting faculty, students have the opportunity to engage in the shared language and work of the community of educational leaders and researchers. The second-year proseminar continues this agenda, with specific time devoted to issues related to the various doctoral degree specializations.

Course planning sheets outline the School of Education course requirements.

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