Continuous Improvement Briefs

The Center publishes periodic continuous improvement briefs examining the policies and practices of the EdD Urban Education Leadership program.

Why Continuous Improvement Briefs? - March 2017

This document introduces the series of continuous improvement briefs, concise accounts of what the Center has learned in its first 14 years of trying to improve our effectiveness in preparing and developing principals who lead urban schools to significantly improved student learning outcomes.  As a result of our commitment to continuous improvement, virtually everything the Center does now to enact these program elements is different from what it did when the EdD Urban Education Leadership program began.

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Selection of School Leadership Candidates for UIC’s EdD Program in Urban Education Leadership - April 2017

As the field of school leader preparation undergoes changes toward intensive school-based training models, programs nationwide are beginning to develop selective admission practices. A number of universities such as the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and University of California at Berkeley, school districts including Gwinnett County in Georgia, and not-for-profit organizations such as New Leaders and New York City Leadership Academy have for over a decade been selective in admitting candidates to their principal preparation programs. A significant problem of practice in more selective admissions is assessing and measuring individual characteristics most likely to be associated with later school leader success, including achievement of strong student learning outcomes. This continuous improvement brief, part one of two, describes the progress UIC has made on designing and developing its selection processes to address this problem of practice.

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Selection of School Leadership Candidates for UIC’s EdD Program in Urban Education Leadership (Part II) - June 2018

This second selection brief describes how UIC built capacity for its theory of action for selection:  "If we know the qualities that we are looking for in candidates and we have a selection process that: (a) enables us to assess and measure evidence of these qualities and (b) we implement with fidelity, THEN we will make better choices about who is a promising candidate for our program. If our choices do not turn out well, we can revisit the selection process to see where we went wrong and how to improve."  We use concepts from improvement science (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015) to highlight lessons learned from our efforts to improve selection practices over a three-year period from 2014 to 2016. The brief illustrates that selection at UIC is a highly structured but flexible program practice supported by a set of tools and social processes that will continue to evolve with the UIC EdD program over time. The program’s long-standing commitment to equity and diversity has been a strong shaping force.

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