57 findings in general most of the six innovations we

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57 Findings In general, most of the six innovations we describe below can be classified within one or more of the broad categories of innovations found in the literature and discussed earlier in this article. However, specific aspects of each of the program components we report on are unique, and thus we judge all of the following to be authentic innovations. The University of Alabama: Course-Embedded Field Experiences The University of Alabama’s educational leadership program has made a commitment to integrate theory and practice through a three-phase field component. Phase one involves embedding field experiences in traditional coursework throughout the program, phase two consists of a two-semester internship, and phase three is a full-time residency of at least ten days. By tying coursework to field experiences, the faculty aims to make their curriculum more relevant. And integrating coursework with field experiences ensures ongoing input from the practitioners who are involved in the field experiences. Courses in the new curriculum at UA were co-designed by UA faculty and practitioners. The design teams decided that both coursework and field experiences would shift from an emphasis on management to instructional leadership, and that courses would be co-taught by professors and practicing administrators. Examples of embedded field experiences include the following: School/Family Partnership Plan and Sociological Inventory A Plan for an Effective Professional Learning Community Clinical Supervision Professional Development Activity Personal Code of Ethics Management of the Learning Organization School Cultural Analysis and Action Plan The two-semester internship builds on the earlier course-embedded field experiences, but allows for long-range, integrative field experiences. The internship experiences are more individualized than the course-embedded activities, and are based on an individualized needs assessment completed by the student as well as the needs of the school where the internship is taking place. The residency typically is 10 full days, with students who are teachers encouraged to complete their residency in a school other than the one in which they teach, allowing total immersion in leadership activities in a novel setting in which the resident is viewed and treated as a novice leader rather than a teacher. The course-embedded field experiences are preceded by learning activities designed to prepare the students for those experiences. For example, a faculty member discussed how students are prepared in class for leading a professional development activity in a school: The content taught in the class would include information on adult learning strategies, high-quality professional development, and strategies for tying professional development to student learning…. And then in their field experiences they each design a professional development experience for a school, based on a needs assessment.

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