The overarching desired outcome of the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership is to produce talented and confident contemporary school leaders, well-grounded in administrative practices, and equipped with the dispositions, characteristics and skills essential for success, including, but not limited to: interpersonal, visionary, problem solving, technical, collaborative, and organizational. The program is specifically designed to equip the prospective school principal and supervisor with the content knowledge and process skills that are essential for the contemporary educational leader. In alignment to both state (NJDOE, 2005) and national (ISLLC, 2008) standards, the program will produce competent leaders who, at minimum, demonstrate:
- an understanding of contemporary instructional leadership and the essential characteristics of, and the ability to lead school communities in a complex, transformational age;
- unique interpersonal and communication skills that will foster positive relationships across the educational community, including professional colleagues, students, parents, policy makers and members of the business community;
- an understanding of educational best practices, and the ability to lead, support, and promote exemplary teaching and learning for a diverse student population, enabling all students to achieve to their full potential;
- the ability to facilitate the formulation of a shared vision for an educational community that will effectively serve the 21st century student, and meet the new demands for high quality education;
- an understanding of the nature of political systems, policy, and school law, and the role of the contemporary instructional leader in promoting systemic growth in an environment of complex change;
- an understanding of educational research methodologies, and the ability to apply these skills in making inquiry-based, informed decisions;
- the ability to effectively utilize technology in leadership practice; and
- the ability to access, collect, organize, analyze, and manage data.
In order to effectively achieve these learning goals, the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program provides prospective school administrators extensive opportunities to study under exemplary school leaders, those individuals who specifically demonstrate the essential behaviors, beliefs, characteristics and research-based best practices. Opportunities that will serve to be unique to the program include:
- Extensive field-based experiences with exemplary educational leaders who have consistently implemented research-based best practices with success.
- Individual and/or collaborative action research in an authentic context.
- Differentiated learning driven by the development and implementation of an individual Professional Growth Plan (PGP), consistent with the NJDOE-required model.
- Collegial discourse with fellow educators, outstanding educational leaders and researchers, and representatives of prominent educational organizations.
- The option for authentic international study and collaboration.
- The integration of technology to allow for enhanced learning and performance.
Furthermore, course objectives and desired outcomes are achieved through learning experiences that promote collegial discourse, collaborative problem solving, reflective practice, and performance-based applications that require participants to apply specific content and competencies in their professional practice.