Scholarship of Educational Leadership (SoEL) in Diverse University Contexts: Theory-Practice Implications
The higher education literature makes useful distinctions for practice-based educational inquiry with particular purposes for academics at various institutional levels (e.g., scholarly approaches to teaching and learning, scholarship of teaching and learning, scholarship of educational leadership). In terms of strategic institutional impact, the scholarship of educational leadership (SoEL) serves academic leaders (e.g., Program Directors, Associate Deans, Curriculum and Pedagogical Leaders, Teaching Award Winners, Tenured faculty members/Professors of Teaching, Senior Administrators and P&T Committee Personnel) with particular institutional/College/Faculty-specific roles and responsibilities for quality enhancement of high engagement, internationally-responsive and technology-enabled undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
SoEL emphasizes engagement with relevant scholarly literature and ethical issues to inform quality enhancement of context-specific educational leadership, curricula and pedagogical practices; fostering networked improvement communities that are grounded in practice-based inquiry; epistemological debates and their implications for research design, methodologies and methods to enhance evidence-based higher education practices; and dissemination of research-informed institution/program-level educational innovations. Thus, “educational leadership” takes the form of scholarship for academic leaders in diverse university contexts through engagement in strategic and systematic rigorous inquiry; fostering networked improvement communities; symbolic and cultural changes to the normative context that governs academic work; and dissemination of theory and practice in peer reviewed fora.
Diverse perspectives of SoEL are shaped by particular cultural (i.e., global, regional), institutional (i.e., university-specific), disciplinary (i.e., signature practices), epistemological (i.e., how we know what we know), methodological (i.e., alignment of inquiry and situational factors), and ethical (i.e., confidentiality and anonymity) considerations. Further, knowledge construction is viewed as ontologically complex and draws upon diverse and contextually-bound (international, regional and institutional) higher education literature and frameworks.
In order to address these scholarly and professional issues, as well as the strategic educational needs and circumstances of diverse institutions, The International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership: UBC Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education prepares academic leaders to develop expertise in scholarly approaches to, and the scholarship of educational leadership (SoEL) practices within and across diverse disciplinary settings. Indeed, it is the scale and combination of high levels of multidisciplinary collaboration, engaged communities of practice, creativity, professionalism, and sustained impact and program-level scholarship over an 20-year period that is a hallmark of the success of this program.
Key Program Outcomes and Benefits: Institutions and Academic Leaders
- Leadership training for the implementation of effective and efficient, strategically-aligned, research-informed, and evidence-based curricula and pedagogical practices in order to enhance high engagement student learning experiences and university status in regional, national or international rankings
- Capacity building for SoEL expertise in the context of institutional/Faculty-specific programming priorities. For example:
- Educational leadership innovations/best practice grounded in the scholarly literature and disciplinary community contexts
- Attention to research design, conceptual frameworks and methodological rigour for the development, implementation and systematic evaluation of educational innovation(s)
- Dissemination of scholarship on higher education practices, in peer review contexts
- Supervision (via SoEL graduation e-Portfolios) by international experts from UBC with a significant track-record pertaining to institutional leadership and higher education scholarship
- Access to UBC library and comprehensive SoEL journal articles within program data-base
- Opportunity to discuss institutional innovation and challenges for implementing effective and efficient, strategically-aligned, research-informed, evidence-based curricula and pedagogical practices
- UBC Certification for International SoEL Program graduates international.educ.ubc.ca/SoEL
Furthermore, the following institutional needs are served by academic leaders graduating from The International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership: UBC Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education:
- Undergraduate and/or graduate students. Through their studies and practice, academic leaders learn ways of mobilizing key stakeholders and communities of practice (administrators, faculty members, experts in the field, alumni, students) in order to develop, implement and evaluate educational programs which empower students to develop greater capabilities and competencies for their academic, personal, civic and professional lives (eg. critical thinking, communication, ethics, problem solving and teamwork skills).
- Faculties, School and Departmental Units face increasing challenges for quality and responsive undergraduate and graduate-level programming, which in turn, requires academic leaders to be knowledgeable and skilled in the complexities of curriculum and pedagogical design. By supporting academic leaders, the learning experiences within the Certificate Program not only address these issues but also prepare program graduates to provide leadership in broader issues of educational reform, curriculum and pedagogical practices.
- The University itself stands to greatly benefit from the academic leader graduates of this Certificate program as a direct strategy to address the teaching and learning goals outlined in its Academic Plan. Furthermore, graduates help to ensure that the university becomes better known as an institution that values, promotes and disseminates scholarship of teaching, learning and curriculum excellence. These benefits will soon become known and appreciated by the University’s undergraduates and potential graduate student population, by the broader community (including World, National and/or Regional university rankings) where graduates live and work, and by leading faculty at institutions from around the world who may be attracted to the institution.