Educators looking to enhance their leadership skills and deepen their impact within preK-12 contexts can now earn graduate credit as they complete modules from the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership (CAEL), one of Professional Education’s flagship programs.
Led by faculty from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), CAEL is designed for current and aspiring system-level leaders and modeled after HGSE’s groundbreaking Doctor of Education Leadership Program (Ed.L.D.). The certificate program is fully online and features five modules that focus on critical competencies needed to create transformational change. While academically rigorous, CAEL also offers participants built-in flexibility and significant job-embedded learning.
In the four years since the program launched, CAEL’s reach and impact have been considerable. Educators in 42 states and 55 countries have participated in CAEL, with 750 educators completing at least one module and more than 250 finishing the full certificate.
“This coursework proved transformative to my work as an educational leader,” said one participant. “Upon completion, I have a set of skills that are relevant to my daily work as a superintendent. My experiences in CAEL resulted in my own substantial growth as a leader; I think more deeply about the problems facing my system, and I have the patience and stamina to face them head on with purposeful solutions oriented in equity.”
Beginning in 2021 term, participants can now earn two graduate credits from each of the following CAEL modules if they choose to apply to the for-credit option:
- Developing Myself: Self-development and personal transformation play a key role in a leader’s ability to create organizational change. In this module, educators will learn strategies that can make an actionable impact on their learning environments.
- Driving Change: Whether leaders want to enhance student outcomes or shift to a culture of improvement, this module will help foster strong change management skills and a better understanding of the challenges involved in organizational change.
- Leading for Excellence and Equity: This module demonstrates how a deeper understanding of equity and excellence can help leaders transform their school systems into environments where high-level learning takes place for all students.
- Leading Learning: Educators and administrators enrolled in this module will concentrate on the business of learning — from strategies to improve student learning to methods to maximize learning by faculty and staff members.
- Managing Evidence: Educators will learn the importance of making decisions based on the right kind of data and how districts can put practices in place that not only generate quality research findings, but also help them become an evidence-based system.
“CAEL participants have the opportunity to make changes to their own practice, reflect on their experience with a professional learning community, receive feedback from an experienced facilitator, and further refine their practice,” said Elizabeth City, Faculty Chair for CAEL. “This kind of immediate application and impact is powerful.”
Each module runs for 12 weeks and requires approximately five to seven hours of work per week. Incorporating a combined asynchronous/synchronous approach, the online modules feature live faculty-led webinars, and most offer live office hours with Online Learning Facilitators. Educators have the option of taking the modules separately -- receiving 60 clock hours upon completion for each one -- or completing four of the five modules to earn a full certificate.
Graduate credits from CAEL modules can be applied toward an advanced degree or help educators obtain Professional Development Points (PDPs) or Continuing Education Units. In Massachusetts, for example, teachers are required to earn 150 PDPs every five years, and — with one graduate credit equivalent to 22.5 PDPs — one CAEL module can earn an educator 45 PDPs; a certificate can account for 180 PDPs.
“As aspiring educational leaders, it's difficult to sift through our deluge of duties and carve out time to properly reflect and grow,” said another participant. “The CAEL modules functioned as the most productive and enlightening form of self-care I've yet encountered; specifically, I now have an exponentially improved understanding of my systematic problems of practice, how to solve them, and how to manage my personal goals, expectations, and even feelings. CAEL combines sociology, psychology, and boots-on-the-ground tactics to create better leaders.”
Participants can opt to take individual CAEL modules, or the whole certificate, for graduate or non-graduate credit. Application and acceptance specifications differ depending on which track is pursued.
Interested in learning more? Learn about upcoming modules at gse.harvard.edu/ppe/CAEL. CAEL terms begin in February, May, and September. Educators can also request more information here, or contact Professional Education with additional questions.