The philosophy and vision behind the MPA Education Leadership Specialization are rooted in exemplary leadership pedagogy. In developing our specialization, we applied general foundational principles of public administration to public education, and strive to provide students with opportunities to engage in practical, real-life and project-based experiences that increase understanding about the unique dynamics of schools and education. Part of the learning process for students is achieved through the reframing of what they view as exemplary leadership.
Across the country, schools leaders are facing tremendous challenges. The role of the school leader is no longer to simply oversee the delivery of student instruction and serve as a building manager. Their role now relies on leading student learning, setting an all-embracing vision for their constituents, and effectively maneuvering through the complex process of aligning issues of compliance with standards for excellence.
The MPA Education Leadership Specialization is guided by three sets of standards:
- The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration standards
- The New Jersey Professional Standards for School Leaders
- The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation standards
The core courses ensure that every student masters the major skills required of all successful administrators in the public and non-profit sectors. These include knowledge of how law affects policy options, how organizational structures shape organizational behavior, basic theoretical perspective and analytical methods for policy analysis to determine what works and how, general research methods used in policy analysis and public management, plus specific skills in public budgeting and finance, information technology and public data bases.
The Education Leadership Specialization courses focus on executive leadership and communication, human resource management, supervision of instruction, as well as a summary capstone course on education policy and leadership. The specialized courses include seminars on continuous improvement, deep learning, and curriculum leadership skills. The emphasis on hands-on experience and project-based coursework facilitates exposure to real life issues and provides for a learning environment where aspiring principals can make the connections between school leadership and management, and student achievement.