Western Carolina University – Educational Leadership Program Wins 2021 National Program of the Year Award

By Marlon W. Morgan

Back row (left to right): Kofi Lomotey, Robert Crow, Heidi Von Dohlen. Front row (left to right): Jess Weiler, Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, Emily Virtue, Cathy Andrews, Darrius Stanley.

In 2011, Western Carolina University suspended admission to its Educational Leadership Program in order to revamp its curriculum.

A little over 10 years later, the program is racking up the rewards. This week, the Educational Leadership Program will be honored during the Carnegie Project’s Virtual Call on Doctor of Education as the recipient of the Program of the Year 2021 award. This follows the program’s claim for the award. WCU Excellence for University Programs in April.

edd weiler

Jess weiler

“This award is the result of over 10 years of continuous and collaborative improvement efforts by the Faculty of Educational Leadership, including myself, Kofi Lomotey, Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, Robert Crow, Emily Virtue, Darrius Stanley, Heidi Von Dohlen and Cathy Andrews, ”said Jess Weiler, Assistant Professor and Director of the Educational Leadership Program.

“Specifically, we sought curriculum improvements that prepare education leaders to adopt system-wide, research-supported, equitable and socially just practices that ensure an equitable distribution of access and benefits. opportunities for all students. Each year, we collaboratively critique our program and make changes to ensure this outcome. ”

Starting in 2013, a new, more diverse faculty challenged colleagues to determine whether the program’s stated commitment to equity and social justice was genuine, given the scarcity of the program and the pedagogy around it. critical theory and critical practice.

They reconsidered student learning outcomes, while creating and adding courses related to leadership for equity and justice. One last thing was to be clear about what they wanted the students to know and be able to do at the end of the program. This is now described in the WCU Ed.D Student Manual, which reads:

Upon completion of the program, scholar-practitioners will continuously cultivate their critical understanding of social construction and power relations perpetuating the unfair distribution of access and opportunities by educational organizations and will demonstrate the scholarly adoption of practices at school. system-wide, research-backed, equitable and socially just that ensure the equitable distribution of access and opportunities for all students, starting with a dismantling of oppressive structures and practices.

edd brandi

Brandi hinnant crawford

“The program has always demonstrated quality and continuous improvement,” said Kim Winter, Dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions. “Candidates engage in a practice problem with the goal of making a change and assessing whether the change is an improvement.”

The program is a hybrid cohort model (both face-to-face and online), designed over three years (including summers) for practicing instructional leaders in elementary schools, community colleges and colleges / four-year universities.

“As the program director, I can say with force that this is truly a dream team,” said Weiler. “All Ed.D teachers collaborate on all aspects of the program. We meet monthly for faculty meetings, at least once a year for program improvement retreats, and we seek to participate fully in faculty meetings at CPED meetings to collectively learn about them. innovative approaches to leadership preparation. Through our teaching, services and scholarships, our faculty demonstrate a shared and tireless commitment to justice in education. It is this shared commitment that has made the success of our program, our students and our educational communities.

The Educational Leadership Program has been a member of the Carnegie Doctor of Education Project since 2014. The CPED includes more than 100 colleges and schools of education that have committed resources to work together to undertake a critical review of the Doctorate in Education by the dialogue, experimentation, critical feedback and evaluation.

The Program of the Year award is presented annually to an institution whose CPED-influenced program is distinctive, innovative and useful to other CPED members.

“With an increasingly diverse, knowledgeable and informed faculty, we are creating a curriculum in which our graduates are committed to disrupting inequitable, unethical and socially unjust educational programs – from kindergarten to vocational school. – with the goal of embodying fairness, ethics and society justice, in North Carolina and beyond, ”said Lomotey, Bardo Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at WCU.

“Receiving the title of Program of the Year from CPED is truly an honor for our faculty, students, graduates and community partners. This distinction suggests that our EdD program is moving in a positive direction.

CPED 2021 POY Video from CPED Initiative on Vimeo.

Learn more about Ed.D. Degree

Program overview

Location: Hybrid – Biltmore Park

Prerequisites: Master Deg. GRE not required

Registration: part-time

App. Deadline: February 1

Focus: PK-12, Comm. College, University

Personalized attention focused on leadership

Janice G. Ball