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HGSE Announces Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership

By Jill Anderson on December 17, 2015 9:33 AM
The professional education program, based on the groundbreaking Doctor of Education Leadership Program, will provide education leaders with the skills and approaches to improve their own leadership and to help make their vision a reality.

Dean James Ryan announced today a new online certificate program, Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership (CAEL), launching in February 2016. CAEL will provide current and aspiring system-level leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve their own leadership and effect meaningful systemic improvement.

“If we want to provide every child with a high-quality education, we have to ensure that there is effective leadership at every level — the classroom, the school, and systems as a whole,” Ryan said. “The online Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership will enable us to bring to scale the kind of rich and rigorous leadership development we currently provide on campus.”

CAEL, which is based on the groundbreaking Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) Program, provides education leaders with the skills and approaches to improve their own leadership and to help make their vision a reality. The certificate program brings together education professionals from around the world to create a dynamic community of practice. Leveraging the resources of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the collective wisdom and expertise of program colleagues, participants will develop strategies for system-level change that can be implemented both immediately and over the long term.

“In my experience, system-level leaders have few sustained, challenging professional learning opportunities available to them, particularly ones that are connected to their own practice. And yet, we expect system-level leaders to do complex, ambiguous tasks in politically-complicated environments towards the essential goal of helping all children learn. To do their work well, leaders need to be learners, too,” said Lecturer Elizabeth City, director of the Ed.L.D. Program and chair of CAEL.Basically, system-level leaders are tasked with supporting others’ learning, but usually don’t have much time or support to do the kind of learning they need to do in order to perform well.”

Participants must complete four of the five 12-week modules led by an HGSE faculty member to earn a certificate of competencies. The four modules selected must be completed within 24 months of beginning the certificate program. The modules are:

Each module is designed to be flexible and rigorous, through online activities, exercises, reading, assessments, small-group virtual discussions, professional exercises, and final projects.

We expect that their work environments will inform and be informed by their CAEL learning,” City said. “We’ll have a collaborative learning community supported by online learning facilitators, and there will be ample opportunities for practice, feedback, reflection, and documentation of learning in an e-portfolio.”

The certificate is part of a $5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation awarded last year that allotted for the development of online content for system-level leaders.

“With support from the Walton Family Foundation, the CAEL will help us reach even more educators in charge of districts, charter management organizations, state departments of education, and other systems — leaders who will, in turn, have a tangible impact on the lives of literally millions of learners,” Ryan said.

For more information, visit