A national profile of programs to prepare school administrators

Taylor-Keyser, Jacquelyn, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Astuto, Terry, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Beegle, Charles W., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Burbach, Harold, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Clark, Dave, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, James P., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Pre-service preparation programs for school administrators have proliferated during the last thirty years, but their quality has deteriorated. The important task of preparing school administrators has become an embarrassing array of shortcomings and weaknesses which make the field more recognizable by weaknesses than by strengths. Ultimately, it undermines America's best efforts to transform its educational system into an effective operation to prepare its citizenry for the twenty-first century.

Efforts at reform and transformation in the field of educational administration are underway, yet little is actually known about the contextual characteristics of current pre-service preparation programs. Adequate data have been unavailable to formulate specific recommendations to determine the extent of the crisis.

A clear description of the current state in the field of educational administrator preparation is needed· in order to address program improvement needs with specificity. The purpose of this study was to map the context of the pre-service preparation of educational administrators.

Mapping the contextual features of preparation programs for educational administrators requires information about the three building blocks of pre-service preparation for school administrators: people, programs, and assessment. These categories were used in this study to target the search for evidence of the characteristics of preparation programs in educational administration.

An analysis of secondary sources was conducted (e.g., NCATE. Thirty-fourth Annual List 1987-88; NASDTEC Manual on Certification and Preparation of Educational Personnel in the United States; and Peterson's/Graduate Programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences 1988). Data from several sources were compiled and summarized into comprehensible tables.

The findings of this study indicate that nationally 484 institutions offer pre-service programs for educational administrators. A typical program is described including information about unit designations, e.g., departmental/program status; special enrollment accommodations, e.g., part-time, evening, week-end course accommodations; degrees offered; and assessment, e.g., accreditation/program approval. A profile of the faculty and students is reported including full-time/part-time status, gender, race, and ethnicity.

The current context of the field of educational administrator preparation that emerged from this study supports the need for reform. A call for action and specific recommendations are targeted to individuals who are in positions to do something about the current state of the field.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
School management and organization
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