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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Objective: This study investigated the practices and impact of interdisciplinary faculty at a flagship university in the American Southwest who were engaged in the process of redesigning curriculum in order to center candidates on what they need to know and do as culturally competent school leaders.

Method: Participants were 31 interdisciplinary faculty involved in preparing candidates for leadership in early childhood and elementary and secondary education, in diverse contexts including high need and Native American-serving schools. The qualitative study utilized document analysis of faculty’s multi-year work in developing the capacity of candidates to increase opportunities for historically marginalized students. An external evaluation was conducted with focus groups of faculty and graduate students along with a follow-up discourse analysis of student reflective journals.

Results: The redesign process involved several phases culminating in recommendations and next steps for preparing candidates to redress inequitable conditions and create a more hopeful future for America’s diverse students.

Conclusions: Developing the capacity of culturally competent leaders requires a fundamental change in the way institutions prepare candidates for equity and social justice work. Further research is needed to demonstrate that recommended activities and interventions will improve the cultural competence of educational leaders and make opportunity equity a reality for all children.

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