MSU takes national spotlight in school leadership field

January 28, 2020

Michigan State University will help lead the nation’s efforts to improve school leadership by serving as headquarters for two major institutions: the national organization of researchers in the field and the top research journal.

The MSU College of Education was selected to host the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) for five years starting on July 1.

UCEA, which has been based at University of Virginia since 2011, represents scholars from over 100 member universities and significantly influences the work and training of K-12 educational administrators.

Educational Administration Quarterly (EAQ), the leading research journal in the field, will also be based at Michigan State. UCEA voted to move the publication, which it oversees, during its national convention in November 2019.

The decision to move the whole organization was announced in January 2020 following a national selection process.

“This new partnership indicates that Michigan State is a place well-positioned to help the field, nationally and internationally, to improve the preparation of principals, administrators and superintendents who are so important to the learning of students,” said Robert Floden, dean of the College of Education. “It will provide us with a platform to take our work on school leadership to the next level.”

Faculty members from the K-12 Educational Administration graduate programs at MSU have held leadership positions with the organization. Professor Terah Venzant Chambers ended her term as UCEA president, and Professor Gerardo R. López became president in November.

López also is the editor of EAQ. He joined the faculty at MSU this fall, coming from the University of Utah.

UCEA President Gerardo López and Past President Terah Venzant Chambers

“The exciting thing about working at Michigan State is you not only have an opportunity to impact current practices in the state, you have an opportunity to impact the world through your research,” said Lopez. “And that’s the reason why an organization like UCEA is looking toward us.”

Typically, the journal and organization are not located at the same place at once.

MSU was one of the founding members of UCEA in 1954, and will be the eighth university to host UCEA since its inception. Previous hosts include Teachers College of Columbia University, Ohio State University, Arizona State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Missouri, University of Texas and, most recently, Virginia.

Setting up headquarters

UCEA impacts the practice of more than 1,000 professors, and approximately 30,000 school leaders, by conducting inter-institutional research projects, articulating new directions for research and training, influencing policy, and developing innovative educational leadership programs. The organization also supports networks for new ideas through meetings, publications, program centers, awards and partnerships.

The UCEA offices of Executive Director Mónica Byrne-Jiménez and additional staff members will be set up in Erickson Hall starting this spring.

“MSU offers many strengths that will allow UCEA to continue its current trajectory while exploring new avenues for growth,” Byrne-Jiménez wrote in her announcement. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Department of Educational Administration to make the next five years productive and successful for all involved.”

By serving as the host institution, MSU faculty and graduate students will have a variety of new opportunities to collaborate with UCEA on research, policy and program initiatives that make an impact across the nation. Students will have access to additional assistantships, scholarly resources and a broad network of researchers. There are currently 107 member universities.

“They do a lot to support graduate students who want to become educational leadership faculty. The networking our students are going to have access to is incredible,” said Kristy Cooper Stein, associate professor and coordinator of the doctoral program in K-12 Educational Administration.

MSU also offers an educational doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership.

Graduate students have already been working with the editors of EAQ, which is expected to be hosted at MSU for two years.

Among other scholars joining the EAQ editorial team, Michigan State’s Chris Torres, assistant professor of K-12 educational administration, will became an associate editor.

“Publishing in EAQ is something people aspire to do,” said Chambers, also an associate editor. “Being selected to host the journal reflects the capacity that we have here, and the level of scholarship that we are producing. We really do have a responsibility to support the research process.”

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