Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

ELPA - Our mission is to create knowledge while preparing leaders to critically shape and transform educational issues, policies, and practices.

Consider ELPA if you:

  • Want to improve your organizational leadership skills and knowledge in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary settings
  • Are interested in principal or superintendent certification
  • Want to work in student affairs or higher education administration
  • Want to become a scholar or researcher in an academic setting
  • Desire to shape policy through legislative or research activity

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
202 Hill Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
phone: 573-882-8221
fax: 573-884-5714

Professor J. Hart**, S. Graham**
Associate Professor  B. Curs**, S. Diem**, L. Dorner**, T. Douglas**, C. Harper Morris**, P. Mendoza** 
Assistant Professor  E. Crawford-Rossi**, A. Dache-Gerbino**, M. Dorime-Williams*, S. W. Lee*, J. Sebastian**, M. Williams*
Associate Teaching Professor G. Malfatti
Assistant Teaching Professor C. Belcher*, J. Fellabaum-Toston*, B. Whitaker*
Distinguished Adjunct Professor T. Whitaker*
Adjunct Professor   M. Alden*, D. Barksdale*M. Beglau*, L. Blockus*, D. Burns-Wallace*, P. Corum*, C. Cozette*, M. Doss*, M. Ehlert*, M. Eimers*, K. Schmidtke Felts*, K. Fishman-Weaver*, S. Goldammer*, T. Hausman*, K. Hoffman*, A. Hull*, M. Laffey*, T. Lorenz*, T. Majerus*, V. Mitchell*, K. Morris*, E. Neville*, L. Nieuwenhuizen*, L. Page*, T. Page*, S. Preis*, K, Presko*, K. Quinn*, D. Russell*, E. Schumacher*, C. Scroggs*, B. Solomon*, B. Tankersley-Bankhead*, L. Wilcox*, J. Hermsen Wood*, D. Wren*, J. Zeilenga*
Professor Emeritus R. Andrews*, I. Cockriel*, J. Donaldson**, J. Valentine**
Associate Professor Emerita K. Cockrell*, P. Placier*, J. Simmons*
Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus D. Cockrell*


While MU does not offer undergraduate degrees specifically in educational leadership and policy analysis, the University does offer baccalaureate opportunities in a number of related areas, both within the College of Education, and in the other Schools and Colleges that make up the University. The catalog provides a complete list of these degree options.

202 Hill Hall
573-884-5714 (fax)

Director of Graduate Studies: Sarah Diem

About ELPA's Graduate Programs

The graduate programs in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis are designed to meet the specific educational needs of the student in a particular area of emphasis. Graduates find employment in a wide range of settings including colleges and universities, public schools, policy agencies, professional associations, government and business and industry.

The PhD Program in ELPA requires a minimum of 60 hours beyond the master’s degree. The goal of the PhD program is the preparation of professional researchers and scholars who have high levels of competence in conducting research that adds to the knowledge base.

The program also has a goal of meeting the student’s individual career goals and interests through the development of an appropriate plan of study. Each emphasis area has slightly different requirements and areas of focus; however, all 3 emphasis areas require a department-wide core; emphasis area coursework; electives; a research core; and the completion of a minimum of 6 hours for the dissertation.

The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program in Educational Leadership is a cohort program designed for practicing educational leaders to enhance their knowledge and competencies so they provide optimal leadership in organizations that educate a wide range of learners from youth to adult. The program’s curriculum is designed to prepare leaders who are inquiring, reflective practitioners who are competent in defining and solving complex problems in education.

The Educational Specialist (EdSp) Program is designed to enhance the knowledge and competencies of K-12 educational administrators and to lead to advanced principal certification and/or superintendent certification. The program has a thematic, integrated, problem-based curriculum intended to prepare school and district leaders who are inquiring, reflective practitioners. The curriculum is aligned with state standards for certification.

The department’s Master’s Programs are intended to provide initial preparation for leaders in a variety of educational contexts, including higher education and PK-12 schools. Programs vary according to emphasis area and are designed to meet student’s individual career goals and interests — e.g., student affairs administration, initial principal certification and higher education administration.

A minimum of 33 credit hours is required for the M Ed or MA in Higher Education and a minimum of 30 hours is required for the M Ed in Educational Leadership.

Note: Per ELPA policy, students have 5 years to complete their MA or M Ed degree.

Graduate Certificates:

  • Education Policy
  • Higher and Continuing Education Administration

Satisfactory Rate of Progress

All ELPA students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward their degrees. Satisfactory progress of students will be determined through an annual review by the director of graduate studies, graduate students’ academic advisors and their committees. Judgments about satisfactory progress will include consideration of the following:

  • University-wide time limits for degree completion
  • GPA for departmental courses
  • Continuous enrollment and active engagement in course work or research (EdD and PhD)
  • Student performance in research credits
  • Timely resolution of incomplete grades

Financial Aid from the Program

Some programs require an extra form or statement from those who wish to be considered for internal assistantships, fellowships or other funding packages. Check the program website or ask the program contact for details.

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ED_LPA 3100: Foundations of Education

Focus on developing a theoretical and conceptual knowledge of leadership. In addition, skill building-exercises will take place through group case studies and role playing exercises allowing each student to identify and achieve methods for personal development.

Credit Hour: 1-3

ED_LPA 4060: Inquiring into Schools, Community and Society II

(same as ED_LPA 7060). Required 3 hour course for students pursuing teacher certification. Designed to transition students into the teaching internship through study of teacher roles, school organizations and cultures, and community contexts.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: LTC 2040

ED_LPA 7060: Inquiring into Schools, Community and Society II

(same as ED_LPA 4060). Required 3 hours course for students pursuing teacher certification. Designed to transition students into the teaching internship through study of teacher roles, school organizations and cultures, and community contexts. Prerequisites: LTC 2040 and LTC 7040

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 7458: Sociology of Education

(same as SOCIOL 7410; cross-leveled with SOCIOL 4410). Contexts, structures and processes of schooling; effects on class, race, ethnicity and gender; social change, educational policy, and organizational dynamics; higher education and the economy.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: SOCIOL 1000 or equivalent

ED_LPA 8409: Learning, Curriculum and Assessment for School Leaders

Addresses assessment, learning and curriculum and the integration of the instructional and assessment processes. Topics include authentic assessment, curriculum alignment, cognition and learning, instructional approaches, and application of student learning theory to the curriculum.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8410: Learning Cultures

Integrates the themes of building a common purpose to enhance school culture, empowering teachers and students, and diversity. Topics include importance of shared mission and vision, the use of group processes and collaboration, the intricacies of school culture, and ethical and moral leadership.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8411: Professional Development for Learning

Focuses on the professional development and reflection on practice. Topics include organizational actions and personal responsibility, life-long learning, and public education in a democratic society.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8412: School Improvement

This course addresses the topics of organizational management and personal inquiry. It covers issues such as organizational effectiveness, organizing for an effective school environment, legal and fiscal decision-making and responsibilities of school leaders, creating an environment where stakeholders acquire and utilized data to inform decisions and practice, and where action research methods are utilized to evaluate and inform practice.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8416: Foundations of School Leadership

School leader knowledge of student learning theory and related instructional practices is the focus of this course. The problem-based learning format will include topics on school culture, leadership communication, technology, and conflict resolution. Issues concerning professional relationships are also addressed.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8417: Site-Level Organization and Leadership

Student will study state and national regulations that affect Missouri school policies. The student will develop a database on various legal issues. A study of middle level education will conclude with on-site evaluation of a local middle school.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8418: Supervision for Learning Environments

Students are prepared to articulate, recognize, and support classroom practices that reflect the most current principles of learning. Effective instructional strategies that link this knowledge to practice will be entered into a computer database.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8419: Structures and Processes for Effective Schools

Emphasis is placed on the Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program and positive strategies for working with challenging students. A continuation of the study of state and national legal and policy issues will focus on special programs and services.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8423: Advanced Leadership for Learning Environments

Students will demonstrate their understanding of instructional improvement for all teachers and students by designing and defending a comprehensive strategy for instructional changes in a simulated school. The ongoing study of learning principles and effective instructional practices will be concluded.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8424: Education Politics and Policymaking

This course examines the politics and policymaking process of education in the United States, paying particular attention to the influence of various institutions and actors at local, state, and federal levels. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8428: Curriculum Leadership

A study of research, theory, and skills necessary for curriculum leadership in educational organizations. Course includes generic curriculum management processes, design trends, controversial issues multi-media, innovative instructional techniques, and program evaluation.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8430: School Law and Finance for Principal Leadership

Designed to engage learners in examination of the legal (judicial and legislative)system, school law, and finance policies that govern public schools and their fiscal resources in the United States and the State of Missouri. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8431: Leadership for Data-Driven Change

This course instructs school leaders on how to use data for school improvement. Students will: identify reliable sources of data; develop, implement, and monitor strategic School Improvement Plans using data; analyze data using technology; and describe evidence-based strategies that respond to data analysis. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8653: Education Toward Bi/Multilingualism: Theory, Policy, and Practice

(same as LTC 8653). Overview of the theory, policy, and practice of using at least two languages in education to develop children's bi/multilingualism. Key topics include: (1) models of bilingual/multilingual education; (2) policy and politics of language education in the U.S. and international contexts; (3) psycholinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on bi/multilingual language development, as related to schooling; and (4) evaluation and assessment issues in bi/multilingual education.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 8955: Discourse Analysis in Education

(same as LTC 8955). This course introduces the theories and methods of discourse analysis, including conversation, critical discourse, and multimodal. Students will analyze the role of context and ethics, as they transcribe and analyze discourse, especially from analytical settings. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: ESC_PS 8957 and ESC_PS 9620

ED_LPA 8957: Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I

(same as LTC 8957 and ESC_PS 8957). This course provides a practical introduction to qualitative research and its applications in education and social sciences. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9000: ELPA EdD Outgoing Visiting Student

This class is a placeholder for students in ther Statewide Cooperative EdD Program who take classes at their regional site during the fall and spring. There is 0 billing hours and it is not term finalized.

Credit Hours: 4

ED_LPA 9090: Research in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Graded on a S/U basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-99
Prerequisites: departmental consent

ED_LPA 9095: Problems in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Credit Hour: 1-99
Prerequisites: instructor's consent

ED_LPA 9400: Social Theory in Education

Students will examine the relationship of society and education through a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies. These theories deal with the relation of education to society as a whole, and the relation between education and the state. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9401: Educational Leadership

Critical examination of key leadership theories and their application to various educational contexts. Includes consideration of research methods and designs appropriate for the study of leadership and the spectrum of lenses through which educational leadership is studied.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9402: Educational Policy Analysis

Course centers on developing multiple understandings of the education policy making process. Theoretical constructs used to advance those understandings are eclectic in nature, drawing from the fields of political science, history, sociology and economics.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9403: Organizational Analysis

Analysis of organizational characteristics and principles in educational organizations. Topics include: Organizational theories and models, organizational culture, communication, innovation, planning, leadership, power and influence, and external environment influences.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9404: Inquiry into Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

A critical overview of theory development, research paradigms, and research ethics in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Required for all ELPA Ph.D. students.

Credit Hours: 3
Recommended: for students who have completed at least 2 semesters of coursework

ED_LPA 9405: Seminar in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Seminar in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Credit Hour: 1-99

ED_LPA 9406: Seminar in Educational Administration

Seminar in Educational Administration

Credit Hour: 1-99

ED_LPA 9407: Seminar in Educational Policy

Seminar in Educational Policy

Credit Hour: 1-99

ED_LPA 9408: Seminar in Higher Education

Seminar in Higher Education

Credit Hour: 1-99

ED_LPA 9409: Introduction to Research Design

This course provides an introduction to quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research, with an emphasis on the epistemological and ontological issues that inform our choice of research methods. This course is intended for first year doctoral students. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9424: Superintendent: Instructional Leadership

Effective superintendents understand educational core knowledge of curriculum, instructional and assessment. They establish an exception for the use of best instructional practices for all students among both the educational and public communities. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9429: Superintendent: Communication, Team Leadership

Effective superintendents negotiate political and cultural challenges to lead diverse, socially-just school systems. Reflective practices that enhance competence in public board member, and district personnel relationships are essential skills. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9430: Superintendent: Fiscal, Legal Leadership

Effective superintendents efficiently manage finances and ensure that rules, regulations, and policies adhere to statutory/case law. Fiscal and legal practices ensure equity of educational experiences for all students. Open to all graduate students. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9439: Applying Higher Education Research to Practice

This course introduces quantitative, qualitative, and mixed within a student affairs context. Students will become familiar with, and able to critique research. Course graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9440: Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Higher Education

(same as WGST 9440). Historical and current issues of race, gender, and ethnicity in colleges and universities in the U.S. Issues include: students, faculty, and staff experiences of diversity, access and equity, and salience of diversity in a higher education setting.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9442: Curriculum Philosophy and Development in Higher Education

A study of the philosophical foundations of postsecondary curricula, current trends and issues, and approaches to curriculum reforms and revisions.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9444: Program Planning in Higher Education

Analysis of program planning and evaluation in higher education. Topics include: conceptualizations of program planning, situational analysis, needs assessment, priority setting, marketing and promotion, and program evaluation.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9445: College Student Development

Emphasis on college student development theory and its application in student affairs work.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9446: Student Affairs Administration

History, philosophy, theory, and issues pertinent to student affairs work.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9447: College Student Culture and Environment

This course examines the characteristics and outcomes of American undergraduates, and the aspects of the college environment the differentially influence students. Topics include: theoretical models of students change, campus climate and cultures, learning communities, institutional differences, and conditions for success.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9448: College Teaching

Designed to introduce students to theories and practices central to teaching in a higher education setting. Teaching related to institutional contexts and disciplines will be considered. Teaching and learning theories will be introduced.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9449: History of Higher Education in the United States

A study of the transformation of the English college tradition to what higher education is currently in the United States. The emphasis is on how institutions of higher learning changed to meet the needs of the nation or failed to do so.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9450: Administration and Governance of Higher Education

Principles of administration, academic culture and environment, and structures of governance of higher education will be explored.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9451: Higher Education Finance

How students pay for college and how institutions finance their operations is explored through the lens of economics. Topics include: Theories of student access, tuition and financial aid policy, institutional costs and revenue patterns, and resource allocation models.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9452: Overview of Higher Education

This course provides an overview of American Higher education. Emphasis is placed on how these institutions currently operate and what issues dominate current discussions of academe.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9454: Introduction to Post-Secondary Law

Examination of the legal structure within which higher education operates. Includes consideration of legal analysis of case law, institutional responsibilities under the law, and analysis of legal issues within postsecondary education.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9455: The Community College

An overview of the community college. Topics include historical roots and development of the community college, organization and governance, finance, students, faculty, administrators, curriculum, social role, and recurring and emerging issues.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9456: The Professoriate

Overview of faculty roles and work in U.S. colleges and universities. Explores institutional and disciplinary differences and seeks to prepare future faculty for academic life.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9457: Higher Education Policy

An overview of current higher education policy issues facing governmental bodies and institutions. An emphasis is placed on investigating both the policy-making and policy-evaluation processes through multiple theoretical lenses. Specific topics explored include access, equity, and accountability within the higher education setting.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9459: Comparative and International Education

Theories, methods and issues in the field of comparative and international education. Topics cover PK-16 education and include globalization, centralization and decentralization, equity and equity, teaching and student learning, and social context of education.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9461: Ethics in Education

Explores the ethical dimensions of work within and related to educational settings focusing on dilemmas that occur in professional practice, theories that inform thinking about ethical issues, and frameworks that guide ethical decision making.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9462: History of U.S. Education Policy

Provides overview of major US education issues (primary K-12), explores analytic tools for studying history of education and introduces multiple ways of constructing the history of a particular movement reform or era in education.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9463: Politics of Education

Focuses on politics of education in the United States, attending to the influence of various institutions and actors at local, state, and federal levels. Students will examine current reforms in PK-12 education and their impact on the future of education.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9465: Policy Analysis Using Large Data Bases

Intends to develop students' capacity to process national level large databases and to conduct policy-related research.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: an understanding of inferential statistics and experience with SPSS and SAS program

ED_LPA 9467: International Higher Education

The purpose of this class is to learn the major trends and issues facing postsecondary education around the world and critically engage in comparative analysis with emphasis on lessons for the U.S. higher education system. In particular, this course will cover global trends around governance, accountability, funding, and internationalization. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3

ED_LPA 9469: Education Leadership Inquiry IV

Developing and writing research proposals and conducting pilot studies. Knowledge and skills in writing the research report and sharing research with others.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: ED_LPA 9471, ED_LPA 9472 and ED_LPA 9473. Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9470: Organizational Analysis for Educational Leadership

Schools of organizational theory, six frames to analyze organizations and their underlying concepts, organizational change and leadership for change, and rationale for reframing organizations.

Credit Hours: 4
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9471: Educational Leadership Inquiry I

Introductory seminar on evaluating research using, APA Publication guidelines, writing scholarly publications, and using computer technology for literature searches.

Credit Hours: 2
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9472: Educational Leadership Inquiry II

MU Graduate School policies related to doctoral research, use of multiple search sources, human subjects review process, and research ethics.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9473: Educational Leadership Inquiry III

Knowledge and skills in applying planning procedures for development and implementation of future dissertation research.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9474: Professional Seminar I

Focuses on diversity and ethics in educational leadership and educational organizations. Students learn about professional development, professional practice, and professional service. May be repeated for credit.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9475: Professional Seminar II

Problem-based learning via the Internet to make decisions involving professional practice and problem solving. The UCEA Internet program, Information Environment for School Leader Preparation, is used. May be repeated for credit.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9476: Leadership Theory and Practice

An advanced study of leadership theories, concepts, and inquiry as applied to educational organizations. Explores power and authority in organizations, leader effectiveness, and organizational reform.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9477: Leadership Theory and Practice Application

Focuses on building understanding of the conduct of leadership in organizations through application and extension of leadership theories in practice.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9478: Policy Analysis for Educational Leadership

Analysis and investigation of educational policy utilizing various knowledge bases; organizational politics and culture's impact on policy processes; interpretation and application of policy-making activities.

Credit Hours: 4
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Ed. Leadership

ED_LPA 9479: Content and Context of Learning

Students develop the knowledge and skills for examining designing, and implementing organizational, classroom, and training conditions that support quality learning experiences for learners.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9480: Team Building and Group Dynamics

Stages of group development, team building and maintenance, team/group structures, team performance, problem-based learning as team process, and empowerment through development of self-managed teams.

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Open only to students in Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9481: Internship in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Some sections may be graded on A-F or S/U basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-99
Prerequisites: departmental consent

ED_LPA 9482: Quantitative Tools for Applied Research in Educational Leadership

General introduction to quantitative methods of data analysis. Develop concepts of measurement, design, and analysis. The focus is on data driven decision marking and using various quantitative methods to investigate problems of educational leadership practice. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Only students in the Statewide Cooperative Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership can enroll

ED_LPA 9483: Qualitative Tools for Applied Research in Eductional Leadership

Students will learn about a number of qualitative research designs that leaders can use to critically examine research questions in their practice. They will also learn to analyze educational issues and execute processes to effectively explore those issues. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Restricted to students in the Statewide Cooperative Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership

ED_LPA 9484: Program Evaluation and Planning for Educational Leaders

Participants develop thorough knowledge of theoretical underpinnings of selected approaches to program planning and evaluation and their necessary integration. Affords participants the opportunity to plan, conduct and deliver the results of a program evaluation to actual client. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Only students in the Statewide Cooperative Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership can enroll

ED_LPA 9620: Qualitative Methods in Educational Research II

(same as ESC_PS 9620 and LTC 9620). This course constructs a conceptual and methodological bridge between the understandings of qualitative research developed in Qualitative Methods I and more advanced study of theories, designs, and methods. The focus is on theory, approaches to data analysis, and interpretation. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: ESC_PS 8957