Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC)

  • an aerial view of the school of education building atrium

The Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) is concerned with issues of educational theory and philosophy, sociocultural analysis, educational leadership and school organization, educational policy, and critical pedagogy. The faculty members share a sociopolitical perspective that undergirds our scholarship, teaching, and service. We are committed to the development of a just and caring democratic society in which schools serve as centers of inquiry and forces for social transformation that foster social, economic, and educational equity by honoring differences in race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexual preference. The ELC faculty seek to prepare thoughtful and effective leaders in education through programs of study that are interdisciplinary in focus and that emphasize questions of moral concern, the cultural context of education, and a reconstructive vision for excellent and equitable schooling. Our purpose is to create change agents who work with parents, staff, students, and communities to develop critical understandings of the assumptions, beliefs, and regularities that support schooling and who identify and create practices that allow schools to function more fully as democracies while preparing students for democracy.

The department offers four graduate programs and two certificate programs: Master of School Administration, Specialist in Education in Educational Leadership, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, and Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies with a concentration in Cultural Studies and Post Masters in School Administration and Post Masters in Cultural Foundations and Social Justice Education.. As a valued member of our academic community, you will have the advantage of a supportive environment in which you are known, cared for, challenged and invested in. Faculty members take your preparation and your success very seriously. For that same reason, we equip you with more than knowledge; we give you the tools and experience to understand what your future decisions in the field will mean to learners and how you can use your position to bring about positive change for education. ELC is committed to embodying our shared commitments in all of our actions, with social justice and equity as the expressed centerpiece of who we are.

ELC Statement of Commitments

The Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) is committed to the development of a just and caring democratic society in which schools serve as centers of inquiry and forces for social transformation.

We believe that:

  • education is an ongoing process of knowledge creation and acquisition, lived experience, interaction with others, and conscious reflection;
  • good schooling and a good society create occasions for people to build human, intellectual, and spiritual connections;
  • schools must foster social, economic, and educational equity;
  • honoring differences in race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability are critical to human understanding;
  • every human being is worthy of respect and deserving of dignity.

Our purpose is to create educational leaders who work with parents, staff, students, and communities to develop critical understandings of the assumptions, beliefs, and regularities that support schooling and who identify and create practices that allow schools to function more fully as democracies while preparing students for democracy.

We believe educational leaders should:

  • advocate for teaching and learning by articulating and working to achieve a school-community’s shared educational commitments;
  • facilitate processes that engage self and others in critiquing the way things are, exploring the way life should be in moral and just communities, and stimulating action directed toward achieving the latter;
  • mobilize economic, political, social, and personal resources to articulate and achieve a school-community’s shared educational commitments;
  • appreciate the joy of learning, delight in the growth of self and others, promote the love of learning, and create practices in schools that provide an outstanding education for all students.