Educational Studies (EDST) 646

Educational Administration, Policy, Leadership and Change (Revision 1)

EDST 646 Course Cover

Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Interdisciplinary Studies

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


EDST 646 Educational Administration, Policy, Leadership and Change is a critical inquiry into selected areas of administration, leadership and policy. Although this course is divided into several sub-sections all the sections are interrelated. The inquiry includes an analysis of beliefs about the purpose of schooling, teaching and learning, as conceptions of these ideas is paramount for effective leadership. An exploration of the school as a social system and the impact of organizational climate will be addressed through a study of culture, change, administrative roles, and authority. Leadership and decision making will be addressed through an inquiry into the nature of leadership theory. The inquiry will use traditional positivistic approaches, as well as constructivist, feminist, postmodernist, and post-structuralist paradigms.

Part I of EDST 646 begins with an exploration of the purpose of schooling and education. The discussion is based on the concept of an educated person and what is the role of the school in creating educated people. The examination of schooling is focused on paradigms that drive beliefs and hence actions. Within this context students will examine education in the terms power, pedagogy, and cultural relevancy in relation to the purpose and the aims of education.

Part II of EDST 646 examines teaching and learning in relation to the purpose of schooling. As this is the main focus of educational institutions, it is important that decisions are based on fundamental principles. As people become more aware of the paradigms that exist, and specifically the paradigms beliefs are based on, it creates greater awareness and hopefully leads to the emergence of more informed dialogue. The examination of teaching and learning will be guided by an inquiry into self-efficacy, technology, objectivism, constructivism, social interdependence, cognitive, behavioral and cooperative learning. Students will explore the concept of a “good school” and the role of learning and teaching in the creation of our paradigms.

Part III of EDST 646 begins with an exploration of leadership and its impact on teaching and learning. Leadership is often regarded as the single most important factor in the success or failure of schools. This section will examine models of leadership and leadership theory. Students will be challenged to apply the theory and concepts to real work situations. Numerous leadership paradigms in the literature are based on the premise that leaders have influence. This section will focus on issues related to power. These issues will be explored through the concepts of trust and efficacy within the framework of transformational leadership and distributed leadership.

Part IV examines the school as a social system. The focus will be on the relationship between the structure and the parts with special attention on its bureaucratic nature; building on leadership theory and looking at the context of shared decision making. This will include an exploration of the role of trust and professional learning.

Part V explores school effectiveness and improvement through the role of the principal and educational reform. The focus will be on analyzing the factors that influence effectiveness and create improvement. The role of professional development in the context of leadership and reform will be examined. The role of enabling structures in creating school effectiveness in relation to practice and research will be examined.

Part VI focuses on organizational theory, policy politics and change. Organizational theory relates to the culture of a system. It is the shared values, norms, assumptions and orientations that hold the unit together and give it a distinct identity. The politics of an organization impact its culture and the most powerful indicators of culture are revealed when a system is undergoing change. The focus is on understanding the role of policy and change factors in relation to organizational theory.

Course Objectives

EDST 646 provides students with the opportunity to:

  1. use current research to foster a better understanding of administration, policy, leadership and change within an educational setting.
  2. assess the conceptions of the purpose of schooling within the context of society and the school as a social system. This will include an analysis of the bureaucratic model, formal structures and professionalism.
  3. identify and understand underlying beliefs about teaching and learning. The specific focus will be on cognitive, behavioral, constructivist and cooperative learning approaches.
  4. understand how organizational climate is impacted by culture, change, authority, and administrative roles.
  5. analyze the factors that impact school effectiveness, accountability and improvement.
  6. recognize the role of leadership and decision making in relation to the historical nature of leadership theory and current theory in the areas of transformational leadership and distributed leadership.
  7. identify how the use of authority and influence impact shared decision making and the empowerment of colleagues.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Online Participation 20%
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for EDST 646 are composed of journal articles. There is no required textbook for this course, but students may want to refer to the following sources for a more in-depth understanding of the concepts. It is not necessary to purchase these materials.

Optional Textbooks

Gorton, R. & Alston, J. (2009). CSchool Leadership and Administration. New York: McGraw Hill.

Hoy, K. and Miskel, C. (2008). Educational Administration. New York: McGraw Hill.

Munro, J. (2008). Round Table Viewpoints: Educational Leadership. New York: McGraw Hill.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 1, 2012.