October 16, 2014, Cairo – In response to the increasing demand for educational leaders who can serve as pioneers of change across Egypt and the region, The Graduate School of Education at the American University in Cairo (AUC) has introduced the new Master of Arts in educational leadership for the Fall 2014 semester. Educational leadership had previously been a concentration within the MA in international and comparative education. “There is a specific set of knowledge and skills that are necessary for the leaders of any institution, from higher education to nursery school, to function,” explained Russanne Hozayin, professor of practice and chair of the Department of Comparative and International Education in the Graduate School of Education. “This includes administrative, financial and instructional functions, supervising students and teachers, and assessment of the school, which means evaluating whether it is doing its job in terms of student learning in the macro sense, as well as for each student at the individual level.”
This MA program is intended to promote strong educational practices by equipping leaders with skills, knowledge and dispositions held by the most transformational educational leaders across the globe. “Educational leadership is a huge focus internationally,” Hozayin noted. “In Egypt, until very recently and in actual fact, until we started our diploma in educational leadership in 2007 as a kind of prototype, there was no educational leadership offered as a graduate degree in Egypt except those that were business-oriented. So the first designs were from business schools with a focus on education, but we now know that educational leadership is a field in its own right.”
Graduates of the MA in educational leadership will understand and be able to apply principles of instructional leadership, school or university governance, general leadership skills, organizational theory, program evaluation and more. “This program is suitable for current or aspiring principals and administrators in schools or universities, as well as for people who plan to pursue PhDs and become professors,” Hozayin remarked. “Professors need to know about how to teach and understand how people learn. University professors are professional educators, so they have to know learning theory. Psychologists and others have made amazing discoveries over the last 40 or 50 years about how people learn and how the brain works, and professors need to know these things. They also need to be aware of new pedagogies and the influences of technology on educational theory and practice.”
The program will provide theory, evidence and practical applications in the work of educational leaders at all levels and all types of educational institutions. Its concentrations provide specific applications for K-12 school leadership and for higher education, as well as courses teaching professional skills that may be used in any work setting.
“The MA in educational leadership is practical and skills-based, but with a very solid foundation in research,” Hozayin affirmed. “Participants in the educational leadership program will still have a background in international and comparative education, which is one of the most important focuses in modern education. Everyone who is an educator, whether they are teaching kindergarten or postgraduate or even running a university, has to keep looking ahead because now what we call ‘education’ is undergoing great changes. We can’t think that what we did in the past is going to work now and especially not in the future, but we can’t throw away the past, either, so it is a really challenging time for educators.”
Since 2010, the Graduate School of Education has offered a Master of Arts in international and comparative education, which seeks to develop in students the analytical skills for understanding how education impacts society and how society impacts education, as well as the social, political and economic elements of education.