Following the Illinois General Assembly’s update of the Illinois School Code standards for new school superintendents, the NIU Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations accordingly redesigned its programs.
That work has resulted in untangling the Ed.S. – an educational specialist degree that leads to the superintendent endorsement – and the Ed.D., a non-licensure degree.
During this process, the degree was redesigned and renamed as the Ed.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies, a name that underscores the dual strands available in educational leadership or policy studies.
“We felt it good to change the name to be more reflective of the content and the expertise of the faculty who will now teach in the program,” said Carolyn Pluim (Vander Schee), chair of the department. “Faculty in the Educational Foundations and Policy Studies program will now be more involved in teaching and mentoring students, a change which will only augment the diversity of learning experiences available to students.”
Students pursuing only the superintendent endorsement complete the 30-hour Ed.S. and can then finish with both a degree and endorsement. Students who wish to continue on to complete the doctorate can apply to the new Ed.D. program with the 30 earned credits from NIU’s Ed.S. program rolled into the Ed.D. program upon acceptance.
Meanwhile, new prospective students can apply for the stand-alone Ed.D. and, if they desire, focus on educational policy rather than school leadership. This provides prospective students a path to an Ed.D. without first needing to obtain a superintendent endorsement and Ed.S.
“Altering the focus to offer a strong policy dimension is consistent with contemporary learning needs of school leaders and administrators,” Pluim said. “Our program is committed to offering students a broad-based education beyond logistics into thinking creatively and critically about leadership in our current policy environment.”
Faculty involved in the revisions – Benjamin Creed, Christine Kiracofe, Dan Oest, Pluim, Patrick Roberts, Amy Stich, Kelly Summers and Teresa Wasonga – expect that their work will positively impact school districts and their students.
“Our new program is premised on the belief that purposeful change in education policy and practice is accomplished through meaningful engagement that is transformational in nature; promotes equity; and improves policy and practice on a local, state, national or international level,” said Roberts, an associate professor of Foundations and Educational Policy Studies.
“With this in mind,” he added, “we designed the program as a way to develop action-oriented scholarly practitioners who blend practical wisdom and professional skills with research and theory to impact problems of practice in formal and non-formal educational settings.”
Additional benefits of a separate Ed.S. and Ed.D. include:
- focusing the Ed.S. on providing the necessary training, information, resources and experiences needed for students to successfully fulfill the role of superintendent.
- focusing the Ed.D. on providing the necessary training, information, resources and experiences needed to be a scholarly practitioner through the newly developed core classes offered to all Ed.D. students.
- program evaluation, reporting and accreditation. The separation makes it easier to identify students who are pursuing only the superintendent’s endorsement, data required by the State of Illinois.
For more information, contact LEPF Graduate Program Advisor David Snow at (815) 753-1465 or email@example.com.