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SSHS: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MAEL)

Website: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Program Director:

Current as of June 2023


About the Program

Current research overwhelmingly supports the claim that educational leadership is an essential ingredient in any school reform effort, as well as improving student achievement. In fact, education research shows that most school variables, considered separately, have at most small effects on learning. The real payoff comes when individual variables combine to reach critical mass. Creating the conditions under which that can occur is the job of the principal. (Wallace Foundation, 2011, p. 2). Therefore, schools, specifically those that are deemed underperforming, are very unlikely to improve without talented leadership.

Furthermore, the skills that our students will need to thrive in our 21st century global economy are vastly different than skills of the Industrial Age – an age for which our schools were built. While the research certainly justifies the need for high quality educational leadership, it comes at a time when the school principal has increasingly become one of the more challenging and stressful leadership positions in contemporary society. The challenges confronting the educational leader are most daunting.

To this end, it is the mission of the Ramapo College Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program to provide prospective educational leaders the opportunity for professional growth and development that is effectively balanced in both theory and practice, allowing for experiential learning in authentic contexts that reflect the changing social, economic and political climate that currently shape our contemporary educational communities. The program curriculum and course offerings are uniquely designed to realize this mission. The 36-credit MAEL program is comprised of:

  • eight (8) 4-credit courses, each organized around required experiential learning opportunities and related authentic performance tasks; and
  • two (2) 2-credit field-based internships, each requiring 150 hours of practical experience.

The program is designed in a manner that is practical, flexible and accommodating to the unique needs of the practicing educational professional. Harnessing the power of modern communication and distance learning technologies, students can effectively and comfortably complete all program requirements within the Accelerated one-year or Traditional two-year program. Students who successfully complete all MAEL program requirements, have practiced successfully for five (5) years as a NJ teacher, and pass the School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA) PRAXIS are eligible for the Standard NJ Supervisor Certificate, as well as NJ Certificate of Eligibility as Principal (including Assistant Principal and Curriculum/Program Director).

Off Campus Cohorts: Ramapo College partners with districts across the state to conveniently deliver this program onsite at the local school district.

Requirements for admission appear on the MAEL Website:

The director of the program is Dr. Brian P. Chinni, Assistant Dean of Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Educational Leadership.

Program of Study: MAEL Course Requirements:

The MAEL program of study is comprised of a cohesive framework of courses that are well-grounded in important theoretical studies; a progressive sequence of field-based opportunities to allow for the application of such theoretical models in the school environment; and an integrated applied research requirement that serves as one of the program’s Capstone experiences.  Students will gain or further their technical skills through web-enhanced and/or distance learning experiences that harness the power of modern information and communication technologies, thus enabling each to regularly participate in practical, meaningful, and relevant professional development.

Outcomes for the MAEL Program

Goal 1 – Effective Educational Leadership and School Management.  MAEL graduate students will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the theories, principles, and concepts of educational leadership and school management and be able to discern between these two domains.

Outcome 1: Explain specific ways in which leadership fosters the organizational climate, culture and overall beliefs, dispositions and practice of its members.

Outcome 2: Articulate understanding of educational leadership and management theories, principles and concepts.

Goal 2 – Curriculum Planning, Design, and Development.  MAEL graduate students will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the theories, principles, and best practices in curriculum planning, design, and development and the ability to lead the learning community towards attainment of its shared educational vision.

Outcome 1: Apply understanding of the relationship across curriculum, assessment and instructional delivery and their collective role in leading educational change and school reform in diverse learning communities.

Outcome 2: Demonstrate understanding of models, theories and principles of curriculum, specifically that which promotes inclusive, caring, and equitable practices in the context of contemporary education.

Goal 3 – Using Data for Curriculum-based Decision Making, Planning and Renewal.  MAEL graduate students will demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in effective school-based research methods and related strategies, specifically to foster school improvement.

Outcome 1: Develop an action research proposal to promote school improvement that reflects the ability to: compose a problem statement; formulate specific questions for investigation; conduct and report on a review of the related literature; and develop an informed, well-aligned methodology and data collection system.

Outcomes for the Higher Education Leadership Concentration
  • Outcome 1: Demonstrate understanding of higher education leadership and the essential characteristics thereof and how to lead institutional communities in a complex, complicated and changing landscape.
  • Outcome 2: Demonstrate the ability to facilitate the formulation of (and/or advance) a shared institutional vision that will optimally serve the unique academic, social and emotional needs of the contemporary post-secondary student. 
  • Outcome 3: Acquire the skills necessary to navigate organizational and operational structures, cultures and climates.
  • Outcome 4: Demonstrate understanding of the nature of political systems, policy, and law. 
  • Outcome 5: Enhance interpersonal, communication and dispositional competencies that will foster positive relationships across the institutional community, including the governing board, faculty, administration, staff, students, parents, policy makers, and members of the business community. 

Teaching and Learning: 

  • Outcome 6: Demonstrate understanding of pedagogical best practices and ability to lead, support, and promote exemplary curricula, teaching and learning for a diverse student population, enabling all students to achieve to their full potential. 

Research and Institutional Effectiveness: 

  • Outcome 7: Apply educational research methodologies in authentic contexts. 
  • Outcome 8: Utilize internal and external data sources to assess, evaluate and determine strategic actions to enhance institutional effectiveness. 
  • Outcome 9: Utilize internal and external data sources to inform policy-making and practices. 

Financial Management and Institutional Advancement: 

  • Outcome 10: Apply financial strategies to effectively manage institutional resources. 
  • Outcome 11: Promote collaborative problem-solving and decision-making to ensure budgetary planning that is consistent with institutional vision, mission, goals and outcomes. 
  • Outcome 12: Manage information resources to ensure the integrity and integration of reporting systems and databases. 
  • Outcome 13: Promote a human resources system to recruit, hire, support, develop, and retain effective and caring faculty, administration and staff.
  • Outcome 14: Facilitate change associated with resource allocation and institutional priorities, which contribute to the long-term viability of the organization.
Post Master’s Supervisor Certification Program

The Ramapo College of New Jersey Post Master’s Supervisor Certification program satisfies the NJ Department of Education academic requirements for the NJ Supervisor Certificate (Standard).  Applicants for must have already obtained a Master’s Degree to be eligible for this Post-Master’s Supervisor Certification program.