Trend worth watching: New degree programs emerging at several ed schools.
Harvard Graduate School of Education or HGSE in the parlance just announced the second cohort of students in its new leadership degree program. The program works with the Kennedy School and the Business School to create a practice-based doctoral program for education leaders. It’s highly competitive – but cost-free for students. The first cohort is a remarkable bunch, so much so that it may have led some to believe that it was a one-off vanity program. It’s not, it’s a sustained effort to help address the leadership challenge in education today. The second cohort is just as strong and diverse educationally with talented educational leaders like Morgan Camu, Christine DeLeon, Andrew Fishman, Paola Peacock Friedrich, Justin May, and Sarah Johnson. When you’re mixing alums from The Big Picture Company, TFA, and overseas education work you’re onto something powerful. I’m on the visiting committee – basically a board – for HGSE and helped with the program’s development and have subsequently been able to spend time with the students and it’s the kind of thing that makes you optimistic about the energy and capacity for change in this sector.
At UVA, meanwhile, they just announced a new M.B.A./M.Ed. degree program. I’m on the board of the ed school there as well. These programs have been in and out of fashion and are of mixed quality but the new generation seems to be more serious about actually building the capacity of future education leaders to drive change. And at UVA there are some genuine collaborations already underway between the university’s b-school and the ed school, most notably the school turnaround initiative. Given the sorry state of education reform in Virginia the outstanding question there, however, is whether the new UVA program will be fueling efforts within the commonwealth or exporting talent elsewhere.