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University Council for Educational Administration - Program, Organizational Structure, History and Development

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The University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) is a consortium of sixty-seven universities that offer doctoral programs in educational administration. UCEA's mission is to advance the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of all children and schools. UCEA fulfills this purpose collaboratively by (1) promoting, sponsoring, and disseminating research on the essential problems of practice; (2) improving the preparation and professional development of school leaders and professors; and (3) influencing policy and practice through establishing and fostering collaborative networks.

UCEA encourages membership among universities willing and able to commit time and resources to research, development, and dissemination activities toward the ends of improving preparatory programs and solving substantial problems in educational administration. All professors at member universities involved in the preparation program are eligible to participate in and contribute to UCEA activities. Approximately 1,000 professors in the sixty-seven member institutions are involved in various aspect of the UCEA program.

Program

UCEA sponsors and conducts activities through interuniversity cooperation designed to advance and disseminate research on the essential problems of practice, to improve the preparation and professional development of school leaders and professors, and to influence policy and practice. Research is fostered through task forces, program centers, and national conferences. The UCEA headquarters has facilitated large-scale research projects, involving faculty from a number of member institutions, as well as smaller research projects involving a few faculty. Research is also facilitated by UCEA program centers.

UCEA program centers conduct their research and development work in target areas of contemporary importance and interest. The UCEA program centers focus on the study of (1) academic leadership, (2) educational finance, (3) field practices in special education administration, (4) leadership and ethics in educational administration, (5) leadership in urban schools, (6) school site leadership, (7) the superintendency, and (8) patterns of professional preparation in administration. Whenever possible, center directors involve faculty from multiple universities, as well as practicing school administrators and state education agency leaders, in their work.

Dissemination of research findings and knowledge developed through UCEA collaborative efforts is accomplished through workshops, UCEA conventions, UCEA center conferences, publications, and the UCEA website. The UCEA annual convention is designed to share current research and program innovations, to stimulate discussion and debate on reform issues, and to advance an agenda of research on the essential problems of practice. The convention also provides opportunities for graduate-student research mentoring and career development.

UCEA task forces provide opportunities for professors interested in particular issues to explore them cooperatively. Such issues have included program content and pedagogy, internships, university—school district links, social justice, program evaluation and improvement, international issues, professional development, and the recruitment and retention of students and faculty from underrepresented groups in educational administration.

New instructional materials developed by professors, teams of professors, and UCEA are disseminated by UCEA to both member and nonmember universities. The most elaborate of these materials is the Information Environment for Educational Leadership Preparation (IESLP), an Internet-based, datarich, problem-based learning environment. Other instructional materials available through the UCEA include case studies, texts, and simulations. UCEA also sponsors an online peer-reviewed Journal of Cases in Educational Administration.

Three other periodicals are sponsored by UCEA. The organization's newsletter, the UCEA Review, published three times per year, contains essays, debates, occasional papers, and news on UCEA activities and programs, member institutions, and state and national policy developments. The Educational Administration Quarterly provides a forum for scholars to share cutting-edge research and theory. Finally, the Educational Administration Abstracts reviews the content of more than 100 journals to select articles relevant to educational administration scholars and practitioners.

The collaborative networks UCEA has developed through its member institutions, program centers, and other educational organizations enable UCEA to influence educational administration at a national level. UCEA is a founding member of the National Policy Board of Educational Administration; has established two national commissions (the National Commission for Excellence in Educational Administration, 1987, and the National Commission for the Advancement of Educational Leadership, 2001); and works closely with organizations such as the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA), the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

Organizational Structure

A nine-member executive committee formulates UCEA policies. Executive committee members are elected by UCEA plenary session representatives. The UCEA Plenum, which is composed of one representative from each of the member institutions, also establishes goals and priorities, reviews and approves policies, and examines and approves the budget. Representatives to the plenary session serve as official liaison among the universities, the board, and the UCEA executive director. The executive director implements the policies of the executive committee, develops initiatives and programs to achieve organizational goals, coordinates activities, and disseminates information resulting from research and developmental projects.

Financial support for the UCEA comes from the annual fees paid by member universities and from contributions made by its host institution and individual universities, foundations, and governmental agencies for specific programs and projects.

History and Development

UCEA was established in 1956 through the support of the AASA, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Cooperative Program in Educational Administration. The central office for UCEA was located at Teachers College, Columbia University, until 1959, with faculty devoting part of their time to developing the council, its membership, its goals, and its bylaws. Since 1959 the central office of the UCEA has been hosted by member universities, including the Ohio State University, Arizona State University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Missouri.

INTERNET RESOURCE

UNIVERSITY COUNCIL FOR EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION. 2002. <www.ucea.org>.

MICHELLE D. YOUNG

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