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UCEA Award for
Exemplary University-Based Educational Leadership Preparation


Purpose of the Recognition Program

Quality leadership preparation is essential to quality leadership practice. A growing body of research connects how candidates are prepared to career outcomes, leadership practices and school improvement efforts. Further research shows that exemplary programs have outstanding, relevant content, learning experiences and field experiences. To celebrate exemplary programs and encourage their development, UCEA has established an Award for Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation. This award complements UCEA’s core mission to advance the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of all children and schools.

Leadership educators are invited to nominate their programs for recognition at the 2014 UCEA Conference. The program or programs (up to three) judged as most worthy of recognition will receive a significant cash award. In addition, the award winning program(s) will be recognized at a session during the 2014 UCEA Convention, on the UCEA website, and through a case-study publication, Exemplary Programs in Educational Leadership.

This award will be made to programs within colleges and departments of education. For example, university-based programs preparing leaders to lead in elementary, middle or high schools, or programs focusing on the development of district level leadership are eligible for recognition. More than one program within a department, school or college of education may apply.

Award Criteria

Contributions will be judged on the extent to which the program: 1) reflects current research on the features, content, and experiences associated with effective leadership preparation,* and 2) has demonstrated evidence of program effectiveness.  A UCEA Selection Committee made up of individuals with strong expertise in educational leadership preparation will review and evaluate the nominees.

The Application

Applications are welcome from university-based educational leadership programs that prepare K-12 leaders for practice in elementary, middle or high schools, or programs focusing on the development of district level leadership. More than one program within a department, school or college of education may apply.  Applications must be submitted electronically, following the guidelines for both content information and file naming/formatting procedures.

Step One – Use the form in the following link to send a statement of intent to apply. Click here to submit a statement of intent to apply. This step will notify UCEA about your intention to submit an applicaiton and will trigger the development of a dropbox invitation.  All award application materials developed during step two will be deposited here. Deadline to submit a letter of intent:  May 23, 2014

Step Two – Prepare the following parts I-V of the application and save each part as a PDF file with the filename corresponding to the part, for example, part.I.PDF.  Submit these parts by depositing them in the dropbox noted in the explanation for Step One above.  Deadline to submit application materials:  June 27, 2014

Part I

A.  School, College or Department of Education of which the Program is a Part

B.  Program Name and Mission

C.  Program Description

The program description should be no more than 25 pages, and must include information addressing the following key program issues and questions:

1) Program Focus: What kind of leader does the program claim to prepare and how is that type of leadership reflected in the various dimensions of the program (e.g., recruitment, curriculum, practical experiences, and assessment)?

 2) Recruitment: What strategies are used to recruit candidates? What perspectives, priorities and data inform the development of recruitment materials? Who participates in the recruitment process and why?

 3) Selection:  What strategies, information and criteria are used to select candidates for participation in the preparation program? How is the selection criteria and process integral to the program’s goals and approach?  Who participants in candidate selection and how? Does the student body reflect the diversity of the area served by the program?

 4) Learning Experiences: What is the point of view about learning in the program?  How does teaching reflect this perspective? What kinds of learning experiences are integrated into the program?

 5) Knowledge and Skills: Is the program anchored to a set of nationally recognized leadership standards? How does the program integrate research and professional knowledge with leadership practice? In what ways are issues related to leading diverse and/or low-income student populations dealt with?

6) Internship: How does the internship support leadership development? How is it supervised and by whom? What does it involve and how is it funded?

7) Supportive Structures: What program structures (e.g., cohorts, mentoring, coaching) are provided to support communities of practice?

8) Partnerships: What kinds of partnerships inform the program? How have district personnel influenced and/or informed the program?

9) Candidate Assessment: How do you know that candidates’ are gaining the intended knowledge, skills and dispositions? How are candidate assessments used by to support candidate growth?

10) Program Improvement: How are candidate and program assessments used to promote program improvement?

11) Faculty: How many faculty teach in this program?  Do program faculty represent expertise from the research and practice communities? How does the program ensure that its faculty have the capabilities to prepare effective educational leaders? How do faculty members work together to design, improve and deliver the program? 

Part II:

Course Content:  Please provide syllabi for core courses in the program.

Part III:

Field WorkPlease provide a field work guide describing field work requirements, documentation and assessments.

Part IV

Program Effectiveness:  Evidence of program effectiveness can include one or more of the following sources of information; however, please do not exceed 10 pages of evidence:

  • -Key findings from follow-up studies of graduates
  • -Summary of NCATE/TEAC evaluations/reviews
  • -Other evidence

    Part V

    Faculty Vitae:  Please provide a curriculum vitae for each faculty member who participates in the delivery of the program.


    The application should have the support of the program head, department chair and dean as appropriate.  The cash awards will go to support the programs being recognized.

    If you have further questions about the application or review process, please contact UCEA Headquarters at 434.243.1041 or

    *Resources that review research on effective leadership preparation include:

    Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., Meyerson, D., & Orr, M. T. (2007). Preparing school leaders for a changing world: Lessons from exemplary leadership development programs. Standford, CA: Standford University.

    Murphy, J., & Vriesenga. M. (2004). Research on preparation programs in educational administration: An analysis. Columbia, MO: University Council for Educational Administration.

    Young, M., Crow, G.M., Murphy, J., & Ogawa, R. (2009). Handbook of research on the education of school leaders.  New York:  Routledge.

    Past Recipients


    University of Illinois –Chicago, Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership

    University of Texas-San Antonio, Urban School Leaders Collaborative