All criteria are considered when reviewing the candidates for admission to the Master of Education degree program. However, no one criterion will be the sole reason for lack of admission to the program. Criteria include the following:
- GRE scores at the 25th percentile or higher for both verbal and quantitative sections (candidates for the certificate program who already possess a master's degree in a related field from an accredited institution are exempt from the GRE requirement). Undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or higher.
- Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university.
- Professional resume.
- Hold or have held a valid teaching license or provide documentation of professional employment in the field.
- A two- to three-page written statement (double spaced) describing the applicant's professional background, the educational issues the applicant would like to address in the master's program and the applicant's long-term professional goals.
- Three years of full-time teaching (or equivalent) experience in a school setting.
- Recommendations from school personnel (administrative and instructional) familiar with the candidate's teaching performance and leadership potential.
- Faculty interview session results (to assess conceptual and oral performance).
- Writing samples provided by the candidate in response to questions administered by program faculty (to assess organizational and writing performance).
Candidates may be required to complete several other tasks and activities which are designed to assess leadership ability and other skills and competencies as a part of the admissions, retention and program completion processes.
The master's degree and certificate programs in educational leadership are designed for practicing school personnel who aspire to be educational leaders.
Program Mission and Outcomes
The master's degree in education with a concentration in educational leadership is designed to prepare candidates to assume leadership positions in both schools and district offices. The organizing theme for the program is the school/district administrator's central role as the interpreter, facilitator and initiator of educational change leading to effective schools for all children. The program focuses upon the principal within the context of the school community of students, parents, teachers, support staff and administration, and the district supervisor within the community of schools. It recognizes the constant state of mutual influence, which exists among schools and the organizations and culture of broader society.
The educational leader must understand and interpret changes within this context that affect the mission and operation of schools. For example, as an interpreter of change, the administrator must be able to discern the meaning of modifications in financial support, school law, governmental policy and educational research, and communicate these changes to the staff and community. In the role of facilitator, the administrator must be able to effectively implement programs mandated by the school board, as well as nurture and support positive changes suggested by students, staff or parents. Finally, as the initiator of change, the administrator must provide leadership for the process of continuous school improvement.
The program is accredited by NCATE and the Commonwealth of Virginia and is national recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Consortium (ELCC).
Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by:
- developing, articulating, implementing, stewarding and promoting community involvement in a vision of learning for a school and school district (ELCC 1.1-1.5)
- communicating effectively orally and in writing (1.2)
- promoting a positive school culture (2.1-2.4)
- providing an effective instructional program based upon best practices (2.2-3)
- designing comprehensive professional growth plans (2.4)
- managing the organization and its operations and resources to promote a safe, efficient and effective learning environment (3.1-3.3)
- using the available technologies for providing and managing instruction and resources (2.2, 3.1-3.3)
- collaborating with families and other community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources (4.1-4.3)
- acting with integrity, fairly, and in an ethical manner (5.1-5.3)
- understanding, responding to and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal and cultural context (6.1-6.3)
Candidates should have substantial, sustained, standards-based internship experiences in real settings, which are planned and guided cooperatively by the institution and the school district (7.1-7.6).
All candidates must pass a comprehensive examination and submit a portfolio before completing the concentration. The comprehensive examination is designed to assess attainment of the desired instructional outcomes of the concentration. Some offerings require prerequisites for enrollment. These requirements enable a systematic and developmental approach to preparing school administrators. The concentration is fully aligned with the standards mandated by the Virginia Department of Education.
The program includes 36-39 graduate credit hours and is divided into three interlocking components: professional core courses, a set of key leadership courses, and a practicum or internship experience.