School Leaders Program

Specialist Degree: School Leaders Program - Program Information

Overview

The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Education’s (COE) Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR) has as its mission to contribute to the personal and professional growth of current and potential leaders who serve educational agencies or individuals in a variety of settings. It seeks to develop and sustain a commitment to positive social change; excellence in both understanding the need for, and implementing, the highly developed decision making and people skills associated with leadership in education; a belief in the power of lifelong learning, inclusion and human dignity; and exemplary standards of ethical and professional behavior.

The purpose of the School Leaders Program is to prepare and support school leaders in public and private educational institutions. The Specialist of Education program prepares school leaders to meet the challenges of today’s schools. The program of study includes leadership theory, research, professional knowledge, and clinical experiences. The Specialist Degree is a terminal academic degree designed for individuals who wish to develop additional skills or increase their knowledge beyond the master's degree level, but do not wish to pursue a doctorate. The course of study is designed to give the student an advanced set of coursework centered on school leadership, but also allow the student the freedom to pick coursework that will meet a desired concentration in school leadership-related topics. The program is student-centered, allowing the graduate learner to fulfill his or her desire for developing specialized knowledge, skills, and experience.

In addition to the leadership domains of knowledge and learning considered as world class by the profession, the Specialist Program complies with knowledge requirements specified by NCATE and ISLCC Standards.

Admissions

Applicants must hold a Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a master’s program and complete the GRE (no minimum sub-score requirement). Additional program requirements can be found at this Graduate College site page.

As a part of the admissions process, prospective students must apply on-line to FAU through the Graduate Admissions Office and follow the admissions process described on the Graduate College website. Additionally, candidates for admissions must submit to the EDLR an essay that identifies the candidate’s career goals and how the Specialist program will enable them to meet these goals, a professional resume, and two letters of reference. For specific EDLR forms, please access them on the EDLR website.

Specialist Program Description

The School Leaders Specialist Program is built on the COE's Conceptual Framework and the four major domains that the EDL requires for leadership learning; Leadership Foundations, Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning. It is centered on providing effective leadership in areas of research, service and teaching at the local, state, national and international levels. In agreement with the framework, EDL believes that learning in the four domains of Leadership Foundations, Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning will develop informed, capable, ethical and reflective decision making professionals. Students successfully completing the Specialist Degree will have mastered the subject matter needed for the profession and understand the need to engage in lifelong learning to maintain effectiveness in a changing environment.

The first domain, Leadership Foundations, provides the student with learning specifically about leadership. Leadership is a relationship between leaders and followers who work together toward common goals to effect change in an ethical way. Leaders continually organize to ensure that goals are accomplished. They (a) set and seek to achieve goals, (b) find resources, (c) adapt to their environment, (d) maintain cohesiveness within the system, and (e) preserve a unique system of values and work flow. Leaders must develop their own minds in systems terms and see their organizations holistically, so they may transfer knowledge from one setting to another. They must develop skills and a capacity to envision the future and be able to find opportunities within and without their organizations. Informed reflective decision-makers need leadership foundational knowledge. The theory, learning, and application of leadership are provided through the three core courses that are required for all EDLR programs.

The remaining three domains are Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning. These domains have a core group of courses that provide the student with the opportunity to learn the most important elements contained within each.

Research Foundations. School leaders today must be adept at using current research methods and tools, as well as be able to interpret findings and analyze data thereby revealing answers to questions and problems encountered in practice. In the era of accountability, data-based decision making, and scientifically-based educational programs and practices, school leaders’ learning and knowledge in this area is critical to professional success.

Professional Knowledge. Ethical reflective decision-makers understand why they are given discretion in their roles and use that ability only for the student’s or client’s benefit. Students learn about specialized fields of school leadership, and through the elective components of this domain can choose to concentrate in an area where they wish to attain a certain level of expertise.

Experiential Learning. This domain implies the concept that elements of a professional’s education will be gained from a practical approach in a real-world situation. It is based on the belief that insights gained through a job, internship, volunteer work, or course field work will enhance academic studies and the professional’s critical reflection skills in thinking and acting upon his/her talents, aspirations, and the needs of the work setting. This domain also helps the professional in setting academic, career and personal goals. In Experiential Learning, students can engage in applied research through courses like the Field Project, and Directed Independent Study: Organized Travel & Study, Executive Colloquia. All Specialist students are required to complete, as a culminating experiential project the capstone course Field Project 2.

Instructions for using the schedule

  1. Go to www.fau.edu. Under "CURRENT STUDENTS" click on "Course Schedule".
  2. On the "Current and Historical Schedules" page (which opens in a new window), click on "Departmental Schedule."
  3. On the "Departmental Course Schedule" page which now opens in a new window, select the term, Campus (you can select "All" if you want to see everything including on-line courses), "College" (select "Col of Education") and the Department you want to view (Educational Leadership and Research Methodology). You are now taken to the "Departmental Course Schedule" page. Scroll down to see the course offerings listed in alpha-numeric order. You will find all of the courses offered by ELRM during the semester. Notice the column headings at the top of the page, as once you scroll down you won’t see them. From this schedule you will find the courses you are interested in taking.
  4. Important: specific information about the course, including the professor’s email and the dates that the course will meet, are found by clicking on the CRN number. Take note of the CRN number – you will use this for on-line registration.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS SPECIALIST DEGREE

The following lists the coursework that you must take in order to meet the requirements for the School Leaders Specialist Degree.

LEADERSHIP FOUNDATIONS - 12 credits
NOTE: ADE 6381 - Leadership 1: Adult Learning and Assessment; EDS 6100 - Leadership 2: Theory and Assessment; EDA 6103 - Leadership 3: Administrative Processes are pre-requisite courses for this program
Prefix No Title Credits
EDA 7930 Seminar in Administration 3
EDA 7235 Seminar in Law 3
ADE 6265 Organization & Administration of Adult/Community Education 3
EEX 6515 Special Education Policy and Leadership Issues 3
RESEARCH FOUNDATIONS – 9 to 12 credits
NOTE: STA 6113 – Educational Statistics; EDF 6481- Educational Research (pre- or co-requisite: Stat. Methods) are pre-requisite courses for this program.
Prefix No Title Credits
EDA 6415 Introduction to Qualitative Inquiry Student picks three of these 9
STA 7114 Advanced Statistics
EDF 6918 Action Research in Schools and Communities
EDF 6432 Measurement
EDF 6481 Educational Research
PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE ELECTIVES – chosen with advisor’s approval – 18 credits
Note: A minimum of 12 graduate credits in this category are to be taken outside of the Department of Educational Leadership and Research (EDLR). Doctoral students seeking a Specialist Degree may transfer six (6) credits from their program to this category.
Prefix No Title Credits
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING – 12 credits
Prefix No Title Credits
EDA 7943 Field Project 1 3
EDA 7905 Directed Independent Study: Organized Travel & Study 3
EDA 6925 Executive Colloquia 3
EDA 7944 Field Project 2 (Capstone Specialist Experiential Course) 3

Total Credit Hours: 51 to 54 hours*