Campus: Sonoma State University -- December 3, 2004

Doctoral Program To Address Need For Education Leaders In Northern California

Three Northern California universities are launching a new doctoral program to help meet the need for leadership in California's schools and community colleges -- especially those in the state's northern region.

The program in educational leadership, geared to working professionals, is offered by Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park; California State University, Sacramento; and the University of California, Davis. It will lead to a Doctor of Education, or Ed.D., degree awarded jointly by the UC and CSU systems.

Information sessions will be held at Sonoma State Monday, Dec. 13, at Sacramento State Tuesday, Dec. 7; and at UC Davis in January.

Need Critical in Northern California

The initiative comes as the state's growing educational system is demanding more leaders and as fewer administrators have the advanced training to support them in addressing the complexities of today's educational environment.

"Managing and leading schools or community colleges in California is an increasingly more complex and challenging task," says Harold Levine, dean of the UC Davis School of Education.

He and other program organizers cite the movement for greater accountability in student achievement and fiscal responsibility and the growing diversity of California's students. Community colleges face a decrease in executive officers' average tenure and a shrinking pool of well-qualified candidates for key positions, they say.

"This partnership is a direct result of the demand for a program in this region that marries theory and practice in educational policy and leadership," says Michael Lewis, dean of the College of Education at Sacramento State.

In 2001, the state's two university systems called on their campuses to expand joint doctoral programs in education to meet the state's need.

According to the California Department of Education, about 26,400 school administrators were needed to manage 8,900 schools statewide in 2002, an increase of almost 16 percent since 1997. But those administrators with a doctorate had declined to 8 percent in 2002. Program administrators say the need for the advanced education is especially critical in the northern region of the state.

Program Outline

The new doctoral program will serve educators from the Oregon border to the San Joaquin Valley and from the San Francisco Bay Area to Nevada.

The program is accepting applications through Feb. 1. Once the Western Association of Schools and Colleges grants full approval, students will be admitted for classes beginning in August. Plans call for an initial class of 20 students with 24 new students enrolling each subsequent year.

Students will be expected to complete their courses and dissertation in three years. After completing core courses, they will follow a public school or community college track. The curriculum will focus on four themes: providing strategic leadership, bridging policy and practice, building community in an increasingly diverse society, and using data for more effective decision-making.

The program encourages applications from full-time professionals seeking leadership positions in school or community college settings.

"We hope to attract individuals eager to confront the challenges facing education," says Sharon Dugdale, program chair and associate dean in the School of Education at UC Davis. "We expect to prepare a diverse group of education professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to effect positive change in their schools and communities," she adds.

"With its proximity to the state's capital, this program provides an opportunity to further develop dynamic leaders who will positively influence educational policy throughout the state," says Martha Ruddell, dean of Sonoma State's School of Education.

Guest Lectures and Case Studies

In addition to drawing on faculty from all three universities, the program will invite outstanding professionals from the field of education to guest lecture and teach courses in partnership with regular faculty members.

Through the use of case studies, students will apply theoretical training to educational issues, and they'll be encouraged to use their job-related problems as topics for research assignments.

Courses will be offered through Friday and Saturday classes, weeklong seminar classes in the summer and distance learning to accommodate working professionals.

The program will involve the schools of education at UC Davis and Sonoma State and the College of Education at Sacramento State. And it will be integrated with the work of the Institute for Education Policy, Law and Government at UC Davis and the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Sacramento State.

Since 1991, UC Davis and California State University, Fresno, have jointly offered a doctoral program in educational leadership to serve residents of the central San Joaquin Valley. Since 1998, UC Davis and Sacramento State have been partners in an elementary credential program.

For More Information

Program information is available online at http://education.ucdavis.edu/academic/edd/delcra.html. Or call UC Davis at (530) 752-0757, Sonoma State at (707) 664-3115, or Sacramento State at (916) 278-4172.

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