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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Location: McKee 418

Telephone: 970.351.2861

Faculty: Cliff Brookhart, Ed.D.; Thomas J. Gavin, Ph.D.; Michael J. Gimmestad, Ph.D.; Ed Ginty, Ed.D.; Richard A. King, Ph.D.; Linda R. Vogel, Ph.D.; Kathryn S. Whitaker, Ph.D.

The mission of the program is to develop educators who have the vision and the ability to lead educational organizations by providing needed services to learners in educational settings, creating effective learning environments, effecting policies that govern educational organizations, and modeling continuous learning with and for the citizens of the community. To achieve this mission, ELPS faculty incorporate innovative teaching practices; engage in inquiry about leaders and leadership; and demonstrate leadership at the local, regional, national and international levels.

The underlying philosophy of the ELPS program is that educational leaders possess knowledge of self, others, organizations, learning and society necessary to perform creatively and effectively in diverse environments. They engage people in identifying and working toward the accomplishment of a shared vision for the organization. Leaders incorporate the ideas, values and experiences reflective of a pluralistic society and promote continual learning.

The ELPS programs are exemplified by the following beliefs:

The ELPS programs and the scholarship of its faculty and students emphasize:

Administrators' Licensure (Non-Degree)

An application packet available through the program Office (McKee 418) describes materials for admission review by the faculty: current resume, goals statement, and Professional Assessment Forms. Admission decisions are made throughout the year.

For licensure requirements, see:

Administrators' Licensure: District Level Leadership (Non-Degree)

Principals' Licensure (Non-Degree)

Students may work concurrently on the principal's license and a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) or an Educational Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership. To obtain a professional license, students must have a master's degree, complete a principal license program, and satisfactorily pass the PLACE exam. Students must also complete an induction program. Students desiring a principal's license must submit an application to the Graduate School. In addition, an application packet, available through the program office (McKee 418), describes materials for admission review by the faculty: current resume, goals statement, and Professional Assessment Forms. Admission decisions are made throughout the year.

For licensure requirements, see:

Principals' Licensure (Non-Degree)

Educational Leadership M.A.

The Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership provides opportunities for candidates to acquire knowledge about leadership in P-12, community college, higher education, or other educational settings. The program provides opportunities for students to develop in-depth understanding about leadership roles and responsibilities, working with external environments, professional development, organizational behavior, and contemporary educational issues.

An application packet, available through the program office (McKee 418), describes materials for admission review by the faculty: current resume, goals statement, and Professional Assessment Forms. Admission decisions are made throughout the year.

One set of materials may be submitted for review for admission to the M.A. and either the Colorado Principal or Administrator Licensure program. This intent should be clearly described in the statement of goals and noted on the application form.

The master's degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study, of which 12 hours are core learning experiences. Depending on career goals, students may choose from four concentration areas in the master's program: P-12 education, higher education and student affairs leadership, adult and continuing education, or an individualized program. Students may obtain the master's degree while also working concurrently on a principal or administrator license.

For degree and program requirements, see:

Educational Leadership M.A.

Educational Leadership Ed.S.

An application packet, available through the program office (McKee 418), describes materials for admission review by the faculty: current resume, goals statement, and Professional Assessment Forms.

One set of materials may be submitted for review for admission to the Ed.S. and either the Colorado Principal or Administrator Licensure program; this intent should be clearly described in the student's statement of goals and noted on the application form. Admission decisions are made throughout the year.

For degree and program requirements, see:

Educational Leadership Ed.S.

Educational Leadership Ed.D.

The University of Northern Colorado has a long history of preparing individuals to assume leadership roles in education. Over the years, superintendents, principals, deans, program directors, professors, presidents and other persons in leadership positions in Colorado and across the nation have received academic degrees from the University. The current focus of the Ed.D. is preparing P-12 leaders for public and private schools and other educational organizations.

The purpose of the Ed.D. program is to engage educators in P-12 and other education-related settings in the advanced study of educational leadership so they can critique and improve their own practice. The program focuses on problems of practice - studying practice, engaging in constructive critique of practice, and improving one's practice. Coursework in the program is designed to be highly relevant to the participants' jobs and careers.

Features that make this program attractive to current and aspiring educational leaders:

Admission. An application packet, available through the program office (McKee 418), describes materials required for admissions by the Educational Leadership Program: a resume, a written statement of goals, an essay on a current problem of practice, and Professional Assessment Forms. Applicants complete an interview with the Educational Leadership program faculty.

For students who live out-of-state, the interview may be conducted by a conference call. Although admissions decisions are made throughout the year, students who complete the application process by February 15, including the interview, are given priority screening for Fall admissions of that year and have increased opportunities for financial assistance. The application process, including interview, is typically completed by May 1.

The doctoral program expands upon the foundation gained in study for the master's, specialist, and/or licensure programs. It provides opportunities for candidates to develop breadth in understanding leadership, policy, and research methodologies, and also depth in one or more areas of specialization. The focus of this program is the refinement of students' understandings of leadership and policy development and analysis, ultimately culminating in the dissertation. The dissertation is meant to address a problem of practice in educational leadership.

Entering doctoral students who already possess a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership or a related field complete a minimum of 64 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree. Students with an Educational Specialist's degree enroll in a minimum of 42 semester hours beyond the specialist's degree. These semester hour requirements are minimum expectations for students' performance. Credit requirements are a function of the types of learning experiences needed by students to achieve their goals.

Residency. Students may complete the UNC residency requirement without leaving their employment.

Program of Study. The nature of doctoral studies implies a blend of required learning experiences and individualized program development to reflect the personal, professional, and academic goals of each student. Each doctoral student admitted to the program works with an advisor and a program planning committee to develop a plan of study.

For degree and program requirements, see:

Educational Leadership Ed.D.


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