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February 20, 2014 — Leaders in all levels of education from kindergarten through college (K-16) now have greater access to distance-delivered programs that prepare them for a broad range of administrative careers after a recent restructuring of popular graduate programs offered by the University of Wyoming College of Education.
The college recently revised and integrated its existing master's and doctoral programs in adult and postsecondary education, and educational leadership. The outcome was an updated slate of new "educational administration" graduate degrees. This change recognizes the evolving needs of K-12 and higher education institutions, and American communities as a whole, according to Cliff Harbour, associate professor of educational administration.
“We have a core responsibility to help the state’s citizens succeed in transitioning from one part of their education to the next,” Harbour says. “College completion is a top priority for all of us, and these new educational administration graduate programs will help ensure that educational leaders across the spectrum are better prepared to lead their organizations in this work.”
The newly configured educational administration degree programs are designed to provide graduates with a better understanding of what students are doing -- both before and then after -- they leave specific schools and colleges.
“We know we need to be more effective in training leaders in K-12 schools and community colleges, and we now have a larger group of faculty and professional staff working together and committed to accomplishing this objective,” Harbour says.
The new educational administration programs offer students a broader understanding of the challenges that face educational leaders, many of which cut across organizations. Students enrolled in program classes are coming from K-12 schools, community colleges, higher education and other settings, a cross section that provides greater exposure to a wider range of perspectives and needs.
“We now have people, developing careers as principals, who will know more about higher education than their predecessors did in the past,” Harbour says. “We are preparing community college leaders who will know more about our schools than they have in the past.”
This will better prepare educational leaders graduating from UW’s programs for the complex challenges facing K-16 education.
UW's new educational administration programs coincide with recent revisions to the College of Education’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). The new Ed.D. requirements will offer doctoral students new opportunities to address real, practical problems in education.
“Our Ed.D. students now will be able to identify, address and work toward solving real problems when schools and institutions invite this kind of collaboration,” Harbour says. “We encourage our students to develop close relationships with K-12 leaders, with community college leaders -- to take the initiative and to find out how we can help them.
“The alignment of resources and needs, and the development of capacity will not happen overnight. And, of course, the purpose of these programs is educational, to prepare leaders. But we can play a more active role in partnering with schools and higher education institutions.”
A critical component to meeting the evolving needs of site-bound, mid-career educational leaders is expanding access to program courses. Many of the courses in the educational administration programs already are available through the UW Outreach School, with plans to offer the complete programs via distance technology in the near future.
That technology support plays a critical role in fulfilling the education administration programs’ full potential.
“We can now link up K-12 leaders in a community in one part of the state, with community college leaders in another part of the state,” Harbour says of the expanding distance-delivery of programs. “Our classroom serves not just as a setting to do academic work. The classroom, through distance delivery, becomes a site where they can work together on practical problems.”
For more information on educational administration degree programs, visit the Professional Studies Department website: www.uwyo.edu/profstudies/about.html.