In the fall of 2017, the Department of Educational Leadership (EDL) strode forward with its new title, seeking to fully capture the essence and mission of its five distinct academic programs: the PhD in Higher Education Studies and Leadership (HESL), the EdD in K-12 Educational Leadership, the MSEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA), the MSEd in Sport Management (SPM) and the undergraduate minor in Leadership Studies (LDS). While each of these programs contributes to the core departmental mission of preparing graduates for exemplary leadership of public and private institutions and for educational research, they also nestle within the overarching mission of the School of Education in preparing leaders, impacting the world, and shaping the future.
The trails blazed in the past provide direction for the department’s shared future. While coursework and programs in school administration date back to the founding of the School of Education in 1919, the formation of specific departments did not occur until 1962 with the establishment of the Department of School Administration and Supervision along with three other departments within the SOE. From these first steps, multiple degree programs have developed along with several iterations of our official department title including: Department of Foundations, Administration and Special Areas (1972-81); Department of Foundations, Administration and Supervision (1982-87); and Department of Educational Administration (1988-2017).
Introduction of new Programs
More recently, numerous programs have been successfully formed or reformed. The HESL PhD program, established in 2014, is operating at full capacity with 12-15 doctoral students engaged in a residential program that includes practitioner-based placements and research. The K-12 Educational Leadership EdD program, relaunched in 2017, reached functional capacity in 2019 with three cohorts moving through this executive formatted curriculum that certifies superintendents and combines mentored experiences with a dissertation of practice. The HESA program provides a residential master’s program for about 30 students that combines a two-year fieldwork placement along with coursework to train practitioners for work in higher education settings. The Sport Management master’s degree program continues to serve approximately 38 students within a residential program that also utilizes two-year field placements within Baylor Athletics and numerous external sport organizations. At the undergraduate level, the Leadership minor continues to provide an interdisciplinary 18 credit-hour minor that hones leadership skills across all vocations for upward of 150 students.
Center for Christian Education
In addition, the Center for Christian Education began a restructuring in 2018 with a focus on K-12 Christian School Leadership. The establishment of the Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership brought a new scholar to the department in 2019. The addition lends direction to the development of new curricular programs. In the near future, new coursework will develop knowledge and skills that can lead to certificates, master’s and even doctoral degrees for Christian school leaders with possibilities for online or hybrid curricula. The reestablishment of an MSEd with principal certification is another pathway of department expansion. The temporary shuttering of this master’s program due to faculty retirements should allow for the redevelopment of a market-sensitive program to train exemplary leaders through an innovative curriculum that may expand into online or hybrid delivery.
The University-wide efforts to achieve R1 Carnegie Classification could lead to an expansion of doctoral programs, and an increasing focus on research would likely influence faculty selection as our department continues to grow and impact the overall goals of the University. The Department of Educational Leadership remains committed to its historical roots in the preparation of future leaders as we seek to expand our impact ranging from the local to the global level.