Educational Leadership: A Master of Arts in Education Program Offered by an American University in Uganda

By Sandbrink, Carol | Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Educational Leadership: A Master of Arts in Education Program Offered by an American University in Uganda


Sandbrink, Carol, Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin


Introduction

Programs in educational leadership focus on offering a candidate the knowledge and skills that facilitate, promote, and develop the ability to provide successfully a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment within a school setting. For almost 6 years, a university in Ohio has offered an educational leadership master's program to African educators in Uganda. In 2007,1 was contemplating retirement from Walsh University when a campus visitor changed many things. This visitor was the former president of the university, who now was in Uganda, where he was establishing an institution of higher learning. He explained the great need for a program that prepared administrators to run schools in Uganda. The Ugandan President, the honorable General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, established compulsory education for Ugandan children in 1997 and, under his rule, "Uganda has made fantastic progress" (Briggs, 2010, p. 26). However, this progress caused a dilemma. As education expanded and the population matured, teachers were appointed to administer and lead schools without training. An educational leadership program would provide much needed information and experience to this emerging class of school leaders.

Offering a cross-borders higher-education program required much thought and consideration to ensure quality practices and to create a program that meets "human, social, economic, and cultural needs" (UNESCO, 2005) within Uganda, a country challenged by many obstacles. Consequently, interested parties explored possibilities and continued conversations. Ultimately, I wrote a program and presented it to the members of the Walsh University Division of Education for approval.

The first cadre of Master's of Arts in Education (MAED) students began their educational leadership program in September 2007, with 13 of this pioneer class graduating in October 2009. On December 13, 2007, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the United States approved the MAED program of Walsh University as one to be offered off-campus in Kisubi, Uganda, East Africa (HLC, 2008). A fall 2009 on-site HLC visitation confirmed this status. On June 29, 2009, the National Council for Higher Education, Uganda, accredited the MAED program at Kisubi Brothers University College (KBUC).

The Educational Leadership Program leads to a Master of Arts in Education and requires 21 semester hours in foundation courses and 18 semester hours of professional classes. The Ugandan students take these classes during either the holiday (January, May, August) or the weekend terms, with at least 3 classes offered within each term.

Twenty-one professors are responsible for teaching the coursework necessary for completion of the MAED Ugandan program. Ten of these professionals are PhDs, six are PhD candidates, and the others hold master's degrees. The MAED program instructors have degrees that have been conferred from all over the world-from Kenya, Italy, Uganda, the Netherlands, and the United States. Additionally, internal and external examiners work with the students during the course of each candidate's research and dissertation.

Internships

The importance and relevance of the internship have helped to establish the MAED program as a premier one in Uganda. The clinical internship may not be attempted until the student has achieved candidacy and successfully completed designated, requisite courses. The pioneer class completed the first internship during June and July 2008.

Graduate clinical experience in the MAED program is comprised of two semesters of internship under the supervision of designated individuals. In each term or semester of internship, the candidate is required to spend a minimum of 60 hours (6 weeks, 10 hours weekly) in the field. Over the past 6 years, several considerations have been imposed for selecting a suitable internship site. The students and their cooperating administrators look forward to having KBUC personnel (especially a mzungu: that's me, a different-looking person) actually travel to the school site and spend time. …

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