Curriculum - MA in Educational Studies - Educational Leadership and Policy

Core Sequence

Our aim is for you to understand the complex dynamics driving the current press to improve student achievement in order to prepare you to work collaboratively with others on this agenda from a variety of roles, both in schools and beyond. Accordingly, these courses aim to integrate theory and practice. Each course culminates in a performance assessment that involves activities that are reflective of the work of individuals involved in school improvement (e.g., analyzing school data to set improvement goals). Our five-course core sequence includes:

EDUC 649: Foundational Perspectives on Educational Reform
The purpose of this course is to develop students' capabilities to engage faculty, parents, and community interests in the work of systemic, school-wide improvement. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) historical perspective on the interactions among schools, community and other external constituents, and instructional practice, (b) historical perspective on the ways that interacting with professional, family, and community interests have influenced leadership practice, and( c) capabilities for engaging teachers, parents, and community members in school improvement in ways that build toward consensus and coherence (and that reduce turbulence and fragmentation).

EDUC 695: Research and Educational Practice
The purpose of this course is to develop students' capabilities to collaborate in a distributed leadership team to establish a shared vision and goals for instructional practice and outcomes. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) conceptual understandings of ambitious instructional practice and outcomes, (b) specific understandings of state standards for academic content, instructional practice, and student performance, (c) capabilities to use state assessments, school-based assessments, and other quantitative evidence to identify patterns of student performance, and (d) capabilities to use classroom observations and artifacts to posit conjectures about the relationship between instructional dynamics and student outcomes.

EDUC 551: School Organization and the Policy Environment
The purposes of this course are (1) to establish understandings of our "systems model" of school organization and (2) to develop students' capabilities to collaborate in a distributed leadership team to analyze the school's essential systems and their relationships to instructional practice and outcomes. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) conceptual understandings of schools' instructional programs, professional community, and environmental linkages, anchored in understandings of organizations as rational, natural, and open systems, (b) conceptual understandings of ways in which these systems undermine and/or support instructional practice, alone and in interaction, and (c) capabilities to use state frameworks and multiple sources of evidence to critically analyze a school's essential systems.

EDUC 552: Instructional Leadership in Schools
The purpose of this course is to develop students' capabilities to devise (and support the implementation of) systemic improvement plans that support visions and goals for instructional practice and outcomes. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) understandings and capabilities for "first order" instructional leadership, with the goal of developing, strengthening, and coordinating the essential systems and (b) understandings and capabilities for "second order" instructional leadership, with the goal of supporting teachers and students in leveraging essential systems to improve their day-to-day work in classrooms.

EDUC 638: Internship and Directed Field Experience 
The purpose of this course is to create opportunities for students
(1) to practice enacting leadership capabilities in an authentic organizational context and
(2) to develop leadership identities, dispositions, and values. 

Electives

Beyond this core, the elective options for non-certification and certification students diverge.

Certification Seeking Students

Students seeking Michigan building-level administrator certification take one elective course (see elective options section below) and two additional required courses specific to the responsibilities of the school principal. The two additional required courses are:

EDUC 553: Administrative Leadership in Schools
The purpose of this course is to develop students' knowledge and capabilities (1) to enact administrative responsibilities associated with the role of principal (with a primary focus on teacher evaluation and human resources) and (2) to cultivate the influence, relationships, and identity associated with enacting the role of building principal. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) broad-based understandings of (and capabilities to execute) the principal’s responsibilities in relation to legal mandates, contractual rules, and local, state, and federal educational policies relevant to administering and managing the school and (b) understandings and capabilities associated with staff supervision, evaluation, and professional development (including political, cultural, and social issues related to these responsibilities).

EDUC 555: Financial and Legal Policies in Schools
The purpose of this course is to develop students' capabilities to manage (a) school finance policies and (b) legal policies related to student rights. Specific learning objectives include development of: (a) understandings and capabilities to allocate educational resources and administer programs and support services for students in compliance with state and federal school finance policies and in line with school improvement and student learning aims and (b) understanding and capabilities to manage teachers, students, and other school staff in ways that are responsive to school law related to student rights, special education, and current legal issues facing schools.

Non-Certification Seeking Students

Non-certification students, in consultation with their advisors, select three elective courses from the School of Education’s offerings that focus on their specific professional interests.  

We invite you to review this list of MA-Level Course Descriptions to become familiar with the types of courses offered. It is important to note that course availability varies from year to year. This list is intended as a starting point for working with your faculty advisor to develop your program. Some examples include:

EDUC 490: Critical Social Theory into Praxis
EDUC 601 (SI 549): Transformative Learning and Teaching with Technology
EDUC 603: Design-Based Research for Assessing Learning Environments
EDUC 604: Curriculum Development and Evaluation
EDUC 606: Developmental and Psychological Perspectives on Education
EDUC 644: Comparative and International Education
EDUC 645: Education and Cultural Studies
EDUC 647: History of Mexican American Education 

With advisor approval and instructor permission, ELP students may also enroll in PhD-level courses in Educational Studies, Higher Education or the Combined Program in Education and Psychology

Cognates

Rounding out both program options will be two cognate courses which you select from among the university’s plethora of schools, programs, and course offerings. Leadership & Policy students frequently take courses through the Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Social Work, and the Business School.

Courses outside the School of Education that ELP students have chosen in the past have included:

PUBPOL 626: History and Future of Detroit
PUBPOL 639: Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation
PUBPOL 717: Social Activism, Democracy, and Globalization from the Perspective of the Global South
PUBPOL 756: Local Government, Opportunity for Activism
SW 502: Organizational, Community and Societal Structures and Processes
SW 530: Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services
SW 601: Adolescent Development and Behavior
SW 605: Infant and Child Development and Behavior
SW 611: Social Change Theories
SW 650: Community Development
SW 663: Grantgetting, Contracting and Fund Raising
SW 799: Advanced Topics in Macro Social Work - Social Entrepreneurship
SW 799: Advanced Topics in Macro Social Work - Understanding Diversity and Social Justice through Dialogue
SW 799: Advanced Topics in Macro Social Work - Youth Empowerment
MO 512: Bargaining and Influence Skills
MO 555: Foundations in Positive Organizational Scholarship
MO 561: Interpersonal Dynamics in Management
MO 623: Becoming a Transformational Leader
MO 628: Generative Coaching
STRATEGY 624: Co-Creation of Value
ES 515: Introduction to Entrepreneurship
ELI 522: Research Paper Writing
LAW 475: Legal Representation of Children
MUSED 502: History and Philosophy of Music Education
POLISCI 736: Poverty and Inequality
PSYCH 418: Pscyhological and Spiritual Development
RACKHAM 580: Disability Studies
SOC 634: The Urban Ethnographic Tradition: Theory, Method, Standpoint

Internships and Experiential Learning

An individually-tailored professional internship is a major component of our program, allowing you to apply knowledge and skills acquired in your coursework to the problems and challenges of leadership in “real” settings that relate to your professional interests. Please see the Internships page for more detail on internships and other experiential learning opportunities.

Non-Candidate for Degree Certification Option

There are two ways to gain Michigan certification as a building-level administrator through our program. First, you may complete the master’s degree in Leadership and Policy program as described above. However, if you already possess a master’s degree and two years of education-related experience, you may choose to take the five-course core sequence and the two additional courses required for certification only via our Non-Candidate for Degree option. 

Program Structure

The MA program is structured so that a student beginning studies in September may complete the 30-credit master’s degree in three consecutive terms (i.e. fall, winter, and spring) as a full-time student.  Students pursuing the program on a part-time basis typically complete the requirements over the course of two academic years.  Please see the Course Planning Sheet for more details about options for your course of study.  

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