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Educational Contexts and Leadership (2017 focus is Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education)

Students in the Educational Contexts and Leadership specialization pursue courses within and between two strands. Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education (ELE) and Urban Leadership (URB). Both of these strands offer a unique opportunity for school and other educational organization leaders in both public and private educational environments. Students who focus on ELE will develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions to lead efforts to build new venture opportunities in varied educational organizations. Through multidisciplinary lenses, educational leaders will promote innovation in the paradigms, strategies, values, and culture in school systems, social entrpreneurial ventures, and education companies.

Students who focus on URB will develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand urban educational contexts. Cities are usually characterized by diverse populations with rich communities made up of many different races, classes, languages, and nationalities, and this dynamism is a chief strength of urban areas. However, urban schools typically serve populations characterized by high concentrations of poverty and therefore, face difficult choices about how to allocate scarce resources. The Urban Leadership strand prepares educational leaders to work in urban environments through a focus on topics such as building a strength-based understanding of the complexities of urban communities; engagining the latest research on urban educational programs; developing strategies for program improvement; and building partnerships with families, communities and other organizations.

While students may take courses across the strands with the Educational Contexts and Leadership specialization, cohorts may be admitted with a specific focus and be required to take a minimum number of courses within the appropriate strand with adviser approval. Each of the courses offers an opportunity to explore leadership theoretical frameworks, identify a Problem of Practice, and create a plan of action, through analysis and synthesis of presentations, readings, and discussion of the current state of multiple educational environments and the visions and challenges for the future.

NOTE: The focus for the 2017 cohort is Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education.

 Course listings:

855.643 Turnaround Leadership in Schools and Educational Organizations
This course will provide participants with a deep knowledge of the educational challenges school and other educational organization leaders face in turnaround situations as well as what is known about effective instructional, human capital, and change management strategies for turning organizations around. It will combine research from multiple fields with practice examples drawn from existing turnaround schools and organizations. The focus will be on what is needed to design an organization such as a high poverty school for success through effectively implementing high leverage change strategies including distributed leadership, recruitment, training, and evaluation; using data to guide and monitor interventions; and effectively integrating external partners to address critical capacity needs. Attention will also be paid to utilizing these turnaround strategies in educational organizations broadly, depending on the student’s Problem of Practice. This course will offer insights and opportunities to further explore the literature to support proposed solutions and/or interventions to ameliorate the identified Problem of Practice.
855.642 Talent Management & Organizational Finance for Entrepreneurial Leaders
This course promotes knowledge and application of best practices in the development of primary organizational resources – its talent and financial resources. Students will engage in 1) discovering best practices in the educational and/or organizational theoretical literature; 2) exploring talent management and development (TM) concepts, applications, and solutions through analysis of current case studies from the organizational and educational environments; and 3) actively learning to apply current TM theories, principles, and practices to the student’s organization by appropriately applying these perspectives as they relate to the student’s Problem of Practice. Students will also learn to identify and manage financial resources including grants, philanthropy, and program and product revenues. Students will identify the strategic challenges within talent and financial management and the application of appropriate, yet innovative, solutions to these challenges. Students will provide evidence of a deep and comprehensive understanding of how organizations could better invest in a particular aspect of talent and financial management to achieve greater educational and organizational outcomes related to their Problem of Practice and the leadership required to initiate such an effort.
855.641 Strategic Systems Change and Action Planning
Education leaders, public and private, need to understand the structures for managing the school and/or organizational environment. These structures include organizational visioning and action planning, budgeting and finance, and the leadership skills that incorporate instructional design, curriculum integration with standards, and logistics of technology implementation, professional development, and evaluation. This course is designed to introduce knowledge management concepts into an organizational or educational context and to provide an in-depth focus on data-driven decision making in organizational and educational institutions. Participants will develop an understanding of how to create and support change through a systems approach. Students will apply these novel concepts and perspectives to continued construction of the literature review to inform their Problem of Practice.
855.640 Building Strategic School, Educational Organization, and Community Partnerships
This course provides opportunities for students to engage in reflective practice as an educational or organizational leader, while building organizational and community partnerships to leverage multiple resources for addressing a specific organizational systems issue. Students are expected to 1) become familiar with pertinent theoretical literature; 2) understand the internal and external organizational environment and the pressures of those institutional relationships; 3) understand the roles and responsibilities of creating and sustaining dynamic partnerships, including acting as an informal project manager and community advisor; and 4) anticipate the challenges of navigating through politics, policy, fundraising, marketing, social networking, and possible media involvement. This course will include creating multiple strategies for communicating with internal and external stakeholders as appropriate to disseminate findings related to their Applied Dissertation topic.
855.771 Approaches to Urban Education
Approaches to Urban Education introduces students to urban studies, including an examination of the nature of cities in the 21st century and theoretical approaches to understanding urban life. Students explore both the diversity that characterizes many cities and the concentrated poverty and segregation along racial and ethnic lines that are found in many urban school districts. The course examines the question of how urban education is both similar to and different from education in other geographical contexts.
855.772 Individuals in Urban Contexts
Individuals in Urban Contexts examines urban residents, with a specific focus on those populations most likely to attend public schools. Students also explore their own position relative to these populations. The course begins with a look at the expression of diversity in urban public school systems, especially around characteristics such as race, class, culture and linguistic status. Students undertake an ethnographically-informed study of the populations with which their Problem of Practice is most concerned, focused on an assets-based understanding of their context. Finally, the course helps students to examine and reflect upon their own position with respect to the identity of these populations and the categories examined in the first part of the course.
855.773 Organizations and Institutions
Organizations and Institutions takes as its object of study the school, the school system, and those governmental and non-governmental organizations most central to the educational process. How are schools and school systems best organized, and what has recent research shown about how to reorganize them to improve outcomes for urban students? What other social institutions play an important role in determining outcomes for these students? This course helps students to make sense of and to improve the organizational context impacting urban students.
855.774 Partnerships and Community Organizing
Partnerships and Community Organizing begins from the premise that schools alone are not going to solve the educational crises facing urban students, whether at the K12 level or settings such as community colleges. Building from the Organizations and Institutions course, this course examines how best to build partnerships with families, communities and other institutions to improve outcomes for urban students. What partnership models have demonstrated success in the past? What strategies have demonstrated success in involving students’ families? This course examines partnerships at the level of the school and the school district.

855.XXX Entrepreneurship in Education (ELE) (under development)

855.XXX History of Higher Education (under development)

855.XXX Social Contexts and Problems of Education (under development)


Contact Us

Faculty Contact
Dr. Stephen Pape 

Academic Program Coordinator
Cathy Cao

Christine King

“I like the interdisciplinary nature of the EdD program. As someone who has worked with high-risk youth, children are having more socioemotional issues at an earlier age. I’m attempting to draw parallels between health and education to demonstrate there is a need in schools to educate the whole child.”

Christine King
EdD, Doctoral Student