Education is changing in the United States, and now Michigan State University
is offering a chance for future administrators to change for the better as well. A new MSU educational doctorate program, called the Doctor of Educational Leadership, will prepare future superintendents and other top education leaders to work with policymakers, parents and other groups to affect change in their schools and communities.
“A lot of people will come [to the program] from various policy organizations and practice organizations and this will be very exciting for them,” says Professor Susan Printy, who coordinates the K-12 Educational Administration programs at MSU. “We had a need to create something that would meet state requirements, but we didn’t want to have a program that only met those standards.”
The Ed.D. program differs from a traditional Ph.D. program, in that instead of focusing on research, participants will engage in a group Capstone project that will directly impact communities.
“Most programs ask students to write a dissertation,” says Printy. “Most dissertations sit on a shelf in a library. Why not take that energy, the smartness that people invest in that work and put it instead into making a difference for kids and communities in schools?”
According to Printy, MSU staff has been working for two years to develop the program, which will begin this fall. Twelve to 15 students are expected the first year, and 20 in following years.
“One of the biggest challenges schools have is being connected to their communities,” says Pirnty. “We want them to feel that responsibility to the community.”