8: Curry School of Graduate Education

General Information | Categories of Graduate Degree Status and Program/Degree Requirements
Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
Department of Human Services | Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy

Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy

The Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy offers programs in higher education, policy studies, school administration, school supervision, educational psychology, psychology and education of the gifted, educational research, educational evaluation, instructional technology, and social foundations of education. These degree programs seek to prepare professional educators who rank with the best in the nation.

The school administration, school supervision, policy studies and higher education programs are designed for students who are preparing themselves for leadership roles in the nation's schools, colleges, universities, and governmental or research agencies.

Another set of programs are grouped under the "foundations" rubric. Included here are programs in educational psychology, psychology and education of the gifted, educational research, educational evaluation, instructional technology and social foundations of education. These programs have a dual function: they prepare master's and doctoral candidates in their respective areas of specialization and they provide courses which serve to enrich the research competencies, technical skills and knowledge base of students in other programs within the Curry School.

Programs in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy lead to the Master of Education (M.Ed.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. The Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is also offered in selected programs.

These programs are designed for students interested in research and instruction relating to educational programs, organizations, and processes. The programs in the department emphasize academic and practical experience, with most students spending extensive time working on research and instructional projects in the field. Since the ratio of full-time graduate students to faculty in the department is about three to one, students have close contact with faculty and ready access to assistance and guidance. Each program has its own emphasis, but all share a common commitment to an analysis of educational theory and practice from a systematic, broad-based perspective.

Many opportunities are available for students to gain experience in a variety of research and instructional activities. Within the University, opportunities are available in the Bureau of Educational Research, the Center for the Study of Higher Education, the Summer Enrichment Program for Gifted Students, the Office of Medical Education, the Microcomputer and Media Center, and the Evaluation Research Center. Beyond the University, students work on a wide range of projects in school systems, business and industry, government agencies, and non-profit research and development organizations.

General Information   The Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy contains several centers and agencies that enhance career development opportunities for students. The Center for the Study of Higher Education sponsors conferences, seminars, short institutes, workshops, publications, and internships, in addition to program offerings for graduate students. The School Improvement Project provides direct consultative assistance to school districts implementing effective schooling strategies. The Virginia Educational Center for Policy Studies conducts policy studies for and provides assistance to agencies and policy makers concerned with education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation. Other departments and agencies can be found in the Facilities and Services portion of this chapter.

Administration and Supervision of NK-12 Schools   At the master's degree level, students may opt for programs leading to Virginia endorsement in school administration and/or supervision, or programs focusing on research in educational leadership and policy studies.

Those seeking full administrative endorsement are expected to complete an internship of a minimum of 90 school days (at least half-time) as well as course work in four areas: general leadership studies, communication skills, school management, and an area of specialization (for example, instructional leadership). If a student does not complete an internship of a minimum of 90 school days, he/she may receive the M.Ed. with partial endorsement and arrange to meet the internship requirement during the first year of employment as an administrator. Full Virginia endorsement can be obtained upon successful completion of an internship during the first year of employment. A seminar meeting on grounds also may be required to supplement the internship. Students seeking endorsement in supervision have no internship requirement but are expected to meet experiential needs through practica. The minimum number of credits for a master's degree leading to full administrative endorsement is 36 credits. Students not interested in earning endorsement must complete a minimum of 10 courses or 30 credits of graduate study. In addition to courses in administration and supervision, students are encouraged to select one or more courses from social foundations of education, psychological foundations of education, curriculum and instruction, and research.

Applicants for advanced graduate study (post-master's) in administration and supervision programs should complete two years of administrative and/or supervisory experience before the degree is awarded. Because many states require teaching experience as part of the endorsement requirement, the student is urged to check state requirements before seeking certification. Students with at least two years of teaching experience will be given strong preference over those without teaching experience for admission to the principal preparation and supervision programs.

Education Specialist degree programs are designed to provide a post-master's degree level of preparation for school leadership. Emphasis in this program is placed on developing specialized skills and in-depth familiarity with a particular professional role in educational leadership. Generally, the pattern of course work for each student is planned to supplement and complement work already completed at the master's degree level. Internships and practica, depending upon the need of the individual student, may be included in the program. The Ed.S. is a planned 30 credit (minimum) post-masters program, 24 credits of which must be taken on-grounds, and 18 credits of which must be taken after admission to the program. The program can be completed in one year of full-time study. Virginia endorsement, either full or partial, in school administration and/or supervision may be earned as part of an education specialist program.

Programs leading to the degrees of Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy are designed to provide the highest level of preparation for professional and scholarly leadership. The typical Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs consist of a minimum 78 credits of course work, including work completed for the master's degree. A minimum residence period of one academic year in full-time study is recommended for the Ed.D. degree, and a minimum of two years of full-time study is expected for the Ph.D., although full-time enrollment until completion of all requirements is encouraged. An alternative residency requirement for the Ed.D. is the completion of 24 credits over 15 months excluding those for internship, practica, independent study, and dissertation.

Areas of Specialization in Administration and Supervision

Elementary Administration (School Principalship)
Middle School Administration (School Principalship)
Secondary Administration (School Principalship)
Central Office Administration and the Superintendency
Supervision (General, Elementary, and/or Secondary level)

In addition to these specializations, supporting areas in Education Finance and Educational Policy Studies are available for interested students.

Educational Evaluation   The purpose of the Educational Evaluation program in the Curry School of Education is to train students to (1) become practicing evaluators and (2) conduct research on the program evaluation process.

The program requirements consist of a block of courses in program evaluation which generally include from 24 to 30 credits of courses in the area of evaluation design, evaluation theory, instrument construction, program design, qualitative methods, and a number of seminars and practica. Course work in the Educational Evaluation program addresses such topics as models/approaches to educational evaluation, program analysis techniques, evaluation design, instrument design, qualitative approaches to evaluation, and the analysis and evaluation of teaching.

Because research tools and techniques, e.g., statistics and research design, are useful in the conduct of educational evaluation activities, Education Evaluation students will also typically take several courses in the Educational Research program area. The majority of students in program evaluation complete from 18 to 30 credits of research methodology.

The philosophy of the evaluation program emphasizes that students not only know about educational evaluation, but also that they are able to plan and implement evaluation studies. Thus, in addition to the program course requirements, each student is expected to work on evaluation projects while in the program. The evaluation projects are supervised by individual faculty members and typically provide students with financial assistance for their participation. Practicum experiences include those in the area of education, health, mental health and retardation, other human service agencies, and private business. The settings include local, state, and federal government, along with local colleges and universities.

Program graduates are employed in local school divisions, colleges/universities, state departments of education, health, mental health, rehabilitation, transportation and local social service agencies; at the federal level in a variety of agencies including OMB, agriculture, and education. In addition, graduates work for consulting firms or national professional organizations.

Educational Psychology (including Gifted Education)   The purpose of the Educational Psychology Program is to prepare students to apply the principles, empirical methods, and research findings of psychology to practical problems faced by educators, and to advance educational psychology as an area of inquiry. Students may choose to emphasize (a) the exploration and application of psychological principles generally, or (b) the application of such principles to the education of gifted children. Students who select the general emphasis will study human development, learning, and psychometric assessment as they relate to educational settings. Those who select the gifted emphasis will focus on the characteristics and needs of gifted children, teaching the gifted, the development and evaluation of gifted programs, and/or research conducted in gifted education.

Educational Psychology:   Graduates who specialize in psychology applied to education are employable as research, evaluation, development, or teaching specialists in universities, school systems, state departments of education, medical colleges, research organizations, federal agencies, and private corporations that deal with educational products or research. Their skills may be used to validate tests, investigate program effectiveness, assess the educational value of products, or conduct original research in Educational Psychology. Doctoral graduates typically assume leadership positions in school systems, state agencies, medical schools, or businesses where the application of psychological principles and empirical inquiry are needed; others teach in departments or colleges of education.

Psychology and Education of the Gifted:   Graduates who specialize in the Education of the Gifted are employable as gifted education specialists in public or private schools, private foundations, state or federal agencies, and colleges or universities. Degrees in Educational Psychology with a speciality in education of the gifted are offered at both the master's and doctoral levels. The master's degree (M.Ed.) provides a core of courses which gives students general competence in the areas of assessment, development, and learning, and special expertise in development of curriculum and instructional strategies for working with gifted students. The Ph.D. and Ed.D. are designed to provide in-depth study of gifted children and programs for gifted children. The doctoral degrees prepare graduates for positions in universities or public education.

Educational Research   The purpose of the program in educational research is to prepare students to apply the quantitative rational approach in seeking solutions to educational problems by equipping them (a) to state important educational questions in terms of testable hypotheses; (b) to bring existing knowledge to bear on such questions; (c) to create efficient designs for collecting data that are relevant to such questions; (d) to use appropriate analytical procedures for extracting relevant information from the data; and (e) to communicate the findings effectively.

The Educational Research program consists of a sequence of courses in quantitative methods ranging from elementary statistical concepts to advanced multivariate techniques. In addition advanced seminars allow intense exploration of other topics. Students are also involved in ongoing research projects directed by program faculty. Graduates at the master's level are employed by school systems, state education departments, schools of education, nursing, medicine, etc., and other organizations, public and private, engaged in educational research or evaluation. Doctoral level graduates are qualified for a wide variety of positions of leadership. Graduates have become professors in schools; others have found positions of leadership in state or national educational agencies and organizations or in profit and non-profit private educational firms, or in industry.

Higher Education   The Center for the Study of Higher Education is an instructional, research, and service unit within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The instructional program provides college, university, and adult educational leaders opportunities to explore established and emerging practices in postsecondary education, to analyze current issues and problems, and to think in a critical fashion about institutional priorities and commitments.

Instructional programs offered by the Center lead to the degrees of Educational Specialist, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy. Postdoctoral study and research opportunities are provided through the Center's professional development program. Students seeking a graduate degree in Higher Education must hold a master's degree in a related field.

The Education Specialist degree program provides a post-master's level of preparation for higher education administrators. The Ed.S. program involves 30 credits of course work which can be completed in either one year of full-time study, or part-time with a minimum of one semester or two summer sessions devoted to residence study. Emphasis in the program is placed on developing specialized skills and understandings with a particular role in higher education administration and management.

Candidates for the Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees are encouraged to complete all of their doctoral study in full-time residence. The minimum residency requirement for the Ed.D. is 24 credits in 15 months, excluding credits for practica, internship, independent study, and dissertation. Minimum residency for the Ph.D. is two academic years of full-time study. Doctoral programs in higher education normally consist of a minimum of at least 78 credits, including work completed for the master's degree.

Internships, as part of the doctoral programs, provide the prospective faculty member, administrator, or agency staff member with the opportunity to experience theory in practice in the actual institutional context.

Areas of Specialization in Higher Education

Adult Education,
Community College Instruction; and/or Administration
Higher Education
General Administration, Policy Studies and Student Affairs Administration

Policy Studies   An interdisciplinary program designed to provide graduate students with the opportunity to develop (a) basic understandings of educational policy and policy making with particular emphasis on historical, philosophical, ethical, economic, financial, social, and educational contexts; (b) skills in policy research; and (c) the ability to use multiple perspectives in the critical examination of policy issues that affect education.

Programs with a minor in policy studies are individualized and developed in conjunction with graduate degree programs associated with other departments of the Curry School. Advanced graduate students interested in policy studies should contact the Chair, Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy.

Offices of several state, regional, and national organizations are located in the department, including the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Also noted for its leadership in the state and region through its staff development activities and consulting services, the department maintains close ties with state educational leaders through sponsorship of superintendent's study groups throughout the Commonwealth and liaison with the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Community College System, and the Virginia Council for Higher Education.

All programs within the department are designed to meet the professional needs and goals of individual students and ensure competence in specific studies deemed essential by the program faculty. In consultation with their advisors, students develop their major concentrations by selecting from the courses listed below. In addition, numerous "supporting areas" of study are available in other departments of the Curry School of Education and throughout the University. The listed courses define the basic foundation, not the entire structure, of degree programs and do not include listings for independent study courses and topical seminars.

Instructional Technology   The graduate program in Instructional Technology (IT) directly addresses the rapidly accelerating changes in the field by providing exposure to a wide range of emerging technologies, while ensuring the basic competencies required of all practitioners. Core course requirements for graduate students in IT provide a broad but firm background in the areas of Instructional Design, Computer-Based Learning, Media Production, Learning Theory, Educational Evaluation, and Tests and Measurement. Preparation is offered in the Master's (M.Ed.), Educational Specialist (Ed.S.), and Doctoral (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) levels. All applications are due by March 1.

Depending on their career goals, students may elect to specialize in either Instructional Media Production or Interactive Technologies, and may participate in an internship in Instructional Technology. The specialization in Instructional Media Production offers professional preparation for directing instructional resource center operations, designing and producing instructional media (such as graphic arts, photography and video), and for being faculty members in higher education in these specializations.

The specialization in Interactive Technologies offers experience in the design and production of interactive instructional materials; instructional components are selected from the videodisc, CD-ROM, synthesized speech/sound and computer graphics/animation technologies. Advanced coursework offers the opportunity for development of interactive products of increasing complexity, including the option for production of original videodisc materials. Doctoral students in this area pursue research projects involving the effective use of interactive media.

Internship opportunities in schools, corporations and government agencies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region give the IT student valuable skills and experience in a variety of work settings. Graduates of the IT program go on to pursue careers as instructional technologists in education, business and industry, the government, and non-profit organizations.

Individuals desiring entry into the Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs in Instructional Technology must submit a scholarly writing sample, at least 12 pages long and no more than 20 pages. Contact the program for details: Chair of Admissions, Instructional Technology Program, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2945.

Computers in Education   In the Curry School, computer applications to instructional, clinical, and management problems are considered an important part of many programs. Therefore, a wide variety of courses and facilities is available to students interested in this area.

Although the Curry School offers no major in computer applications, special course sequences designed to meet individual needs have been provided to students in virtually all of the major areas that the School does offer. Courses in the area of computer applications are offered under the leadership of the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy or under various departmental titles when the content is specific to a professional discipline.

Social Foundations   The program in Social Foundations of Education employs a broad range of academic disciplines to understand educational realities. Its multi-disciplinary approach affords insight into questions regarding the aims, functions, and consequences of educational activities and of education as a whole. In this context, schools are viewed as social organizations whose policies interact with American and international economic, political and intellectual currents. Education, in turn, is conceived as including both school and non-school learning enterprises. Advanced study in Social Foundations involves four related areas:

Historical Foundations, providing awareness of the historical sources of the choices that we have made that affect the present state of education in the United States and other Western Societies.

Philosophical Foundations, placing current educational theories and practices in a broader context of ideas and critically reflecting upon them using philosophical techniques and considerations.

Sociological Foundations, a systematic consideration of contemporary education in terms of its broader social meaning and social effects, drawing upon relevant sociological theory and research.

Comparative and International Foundations, analyzing the relationship between education and society through contrastive study of the cultural, social, and political influences on education in selected foreign countries and the United States.

An analytic approach equips graduates in Social Foundations to perform valuable services in education and government. Graduates hold positions in universities and colleges, in policy-related functions in school systems, with educational research agencies, and in other areas of professional education. Others work in various governmental agencies, domestic and international. An interdisciplinary area of emphasis is offered at the doctoral level in Educational Policy Studies.

The nature of the pattern of course work, the structure of exams and requirements along with types of research that our students pursue are delineated within the EDLF student handbook.

Additional information about programs in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy or courses in EDLF may be obtained by contacting the Department Chair, 179 Ruffner Hall, 405 Emmet Street, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495, telephone (804) 924-3880, or e-mail curry@virginia.edu.

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