Educational leadership program implements curriculum changes

July 27, 2022

SPCS Academic Update

Beginning with the fall 2022 semester, the number of required semester hours to earn the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) has been reduced from 37 to 31 semester hours, which will save M.Ed. students more than $4,000 on the cost of their master’s degree. The change comes in response to the shifting needs of schools, pandemic-related instructional challenges, and challenges faced by educators across Virginia.

“We based our curriculum changes on feedback from regional division leaders regarding current school and division leadership needs, including our program alumni in leadership roles,” explained Dr. Kate Cassada, assistant program chair for ELPS.

The new curriculum represents an increased focus on human resource management and fiscal leadership as well as change through an equity lens, which partners well with strategic improvement and communication.

“We know these are critical items in a successful school leader’s ‘tool box,’” added Dr. Dana Jackson, director of clinical practice for the ELPS program.

These updates are also reflected in the curriculum for the graduate certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, a program option available to those who have already earned a master's degree.

In addition to saving new M.Ed. students thousands of dollars in tuition, the reduced required number of hours allows students to finish their master’s degrees faster. Most M.Ed. students will be able to finish the the revamped master”s degree in as few as five semesters or about 18 months.

More than 275 students have graduated from the educational leadership program since it began at University of Richmond 12 years ago. Program alumni are in school leadership roles across the region, state and country, and employers regularly give our alumni high marks on preparedness and leadership skills.

“Employers often share that ELPS graduates are prepared to immediately contribute to the goals of the organization,” noted Cassada. “Additionally, they tell us the focus on leadership throughout the curriculum shows in our graduates.”

The educational leadership program, its curriculum and field experiences, employ a cross-divisional training model that gives students access to the best and brightest ideas, faculty and peer educators from across the region. Furthermore, students have opportunities to grow and develop their professional networks through high visibility and engagement with division and state-level leaders who serve as faculty, guest speakers and mentors.

The M.Ed. and post-master’s graduate certificate programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies enroll new students each fall, spring and summer semesters. Applications are now open for spring 2023, summer 2023 and fall 2023.