The MPA Educational Policy and Leadership Specialization offers a diverse selection of graduate courses designed to give our students a broad understanding of management and communication, while maintaining a focus on instruction, curriculum, and policymaking in schools. 

The following is the current course catalog offered by the EPLC:

Core of Common Knowledge (21 credits)

56:834:501 Foundations of Policy Analysis (3)
The logic of action, decision making, and belief; epistemological issues underlying scientific and policy research; causality, probability, statistics, and public policy; the role of problem definition, description, theory, model building, explanation, and prediction in policy research and decision making.  Reviews major substantive theories of public choice and public policymaking and critically examines them from a logical and theoretical perspective.

56:834:503 Law and Public Policy (3)
The place of law in the formulation, articulation, and enforcement of public policy; legal sources, such as constitutions, statutes, cases, administrative rulings, and agency practices; federal, state, and local sources and materials examined for policy inconsistencies, contradictions, and overlap; the effectiveness of fees, taxes, licenses, labeling, injunctions, and other legal sanctions.

56:834:515 Introduction of Public Budgeting and Finance (3)
Combines readings with the development of a budget for a hypothetical city to demonstrate budget formats, the politics of budgeting, and methods of projecting expenditures and revenues.  Administration and criteria for selecting taxes.

56:834:525 Public Management (3)
Contemporary management approaches, techniques, and skills for managing various kinds of public organizations. Decision making, administrative leadership, planning, implementation, evaluation, ethics, and budgeting are key topics. 

56:834:535 Research Methods (3)
Research as a practical skill for public administrators. Topics include research design, descriptive and differential statistics, multiple regression, and qualitative research. Use of a computer statistical package. Pre- or Co-requisite: Introductory statistics course.

56:834:536 Public Information Systems (3)
Management-oriented computer methods including personal productivity systems and office automation; database management; and the analysis, supervision, and coordination of the management information systems department within the larger organizational culture.

Educational Policy and Leadership Courses (12 credits)

56:834:522 Education Supervision of Instruction (3)

56:834:557 Human Resources Management (3)
The relationship between employers, employees, and their labor relations organizations in government, health and human services, the nonprofit sector; leadership and direction of employees; impact of collective negotiations on critical issues of public policy; civil service organizations.

56:834:558 Executive Leadership and Communication (3)
This course covers the following: the strengths and limitations of various leadership theories; awareness of personal learning, leadership, influence, and communication styles; development of leadership skills through interpersonal exercises and course projects involving current managerial and political issues; and communication skills involving writing, speaking, meetings, media relations, and strategic planning.

56:834:606 Education Law and Finance (3)
This course continues concepts begun in Law and Public Policy and Budgeting and Finance (834:515) by developing a deeper understanding of law and finance issues at the school and district levels.  During the first half of the course, students will study school finance issues and be expected to complete a school-based budget simulation. For the remainder of the course, students will study the legal principles that most frequently affect the operation, organization, and administration of schools and be expected to do extensive case study work and to apply relevant case knowledge to hypothetical cases presented.

Specialized Elective Courses (nine credits)

56:834:543 Educational Policy and Leadership Internship (3) 150 hours

56:834:544  Educational Policy and Leadership Internship (6) 300 hours
For students in the educational policy and leadership specialization and required for principal certification. The following will be covered: curriculum leadership, supervision of instruction, pupil personnel service, personnel management, community relations, technical administrative skills, and student services. Interns work in schools in direct coordination with school principals in all phases of the internship.

56:834:545 Models for Planning and Policy in Education (3)
This course addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of policy embedded in school reform.  Students will be exposed to the significant issues of policy, practice, and implementation, including the improvement of teaching and learning; teacher training; leadership, finance, equity, and excellence; community engagement; partnerships; parental involvement; and restructuring schools and school time.  Through discussions and group projects, students will review and discuss the implications of current federal, state, and local policies relevant to a number of aspects of education, including early care and education, school performance and standards-based accountability, school choice, and school finance.

56:834:546 Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Education (3)
Given the many changes in the educational landscape and the choice movement in public education, this course provides students with an overview of the different opportunities for new ventures in public education.  Students will explore ideas for innovation in education and learn new competencies in critical areas such as fundraising, development, leadership, and best practices in education.  Students will be exposed to important business practices, such as writing a business plan, structuring a capital development plan, and engaging in creative financing for large-scale projects.  The course features guest speakers who have been successful in launching entrepreneurial ventures–in and out of schools.  Emphasis will be placed on areas of supervision of teachers and innovation in instructional practice.

56:834:547 Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement (3)
This course highlights the key elements that have proven successful in the delivery of high-quality teaching and learning.  Students will be able to explore and discuss a variety of strategies for initiating and sustaining improvements in teaching and learning—including content-focused professional development, content and performance standards, market models, strategic planning, parental engagement, and accountability systems.  The course will expose students to current research and practice related to school improvement and organizational culture building, as well as to the key competencies that are necessary to sustain improvement in schools and school systems.  Special focus will be placed on the areas of curriculum and instruction, specifically as it relates to curriculum development.  Course requirements include observation and analysis of classroom practice, development of case studies based on actual practice, and a final project addressing school-wide improvement.

56:834:548 Developing Curriculum for Deep Learning (3)
In this course students analyze and apply principles for designing curricula that focus on developing deep, flexible, and creative understanding.  This course aims to construct a useful bridge between theory and practice.  Participants in the course apply their emerging understanding to a project that applies course learning.

56:834:549 Curriculum Leadership (3)
This course focuses on a historical overview of the major curriculum approaches, introduces students to key theories about leadership of organizational change as theory applies to schools, and introduces students to key principles in standards-driven reform.

Capstone Course (three credits)

56:834:621 Educational Policy and Leadership (3)
The EPLC Capstone course serves as a self-directed opportunity to apply skills and content learned throughout the program. The course addresses the following areas: Professional knowledge and identity; Critical thinking and strategic planning; Communication and Contextual competence; Professional ethics, Leadership capacity; Multicultural competence; Scholarly growth and commitment; and Self-growth and lifelong learning. Case studies, simulations, team projects, and development of an original School Improvement Plan require students to integrate the entirety of learned knowledge and skills from their MPA program courses into the course.