About the Program

Program Features

Transformational leaders build school capacity that produces dramatic improvements in student learning in the schools and systems they serve. UIC’s Urban Education Leadership program is designed for current teachers, school and system leaders who are committed to becoming such leaders.

What Makes Us Unique

  • Candidate selectivity.  Each candidate accepted into the UIC program has undergone a rigorous application and selection process to ensure instructional expertise, a record of success in taking leadership roles, and an abiding commitment to leading the improvement of schools.
  • A full-year internship under the guidance of a mentor principal. Candidates gain hands-on experience with core principal competencies taught through coursework and coaching. The year also gives UIC time to observe and assess candidates on the job.
  • Three years of on-the-job coaching. All of our coaches are former principals who have successfully executed transformation of urban schools. These individuals observe our candidates during their internship and formative years as a school or district leader.  Coaches provide immediate feedback on performance and ongoing guidance to accelerate learning and leadership development.
  • Focused, in-depth coursework with immediate application. Traditional principal preparation is often little more than a survey of the professional literature with individual courses taught in isolation from one another. Our courses, by contrast, build on each other, are focused specifically on the work of transforming high-need schools and reflect ongoing collaboration among academic and clinical faculty.

Program Structure

  • A nationally recognized, ongoing partnership with the Chicago Public Schools that collects data for continuous program improvement as a shared responsibility between the partners
  • Coursework before, during and after residency that incorporates local, state, and national and local principal professional standards
  • Qualification for the state P-12 Principal Endorsement after a full-year supervised residency in schools
  • Supervision of pre-service residency by a mentor principal and a UIC coach with a proven record of improving student learning in urban schools
  • Supervision of post-residency leadership work for at least two years
  • Additional coursework leading to an Ed.D. degree with a data-based capstone thesis that focuses on strategies for improving schools
  • Additional coursework option leading to superintendent’s endorsement
  • Outcome metrics that guide continuous program improvement by documenting UIC principals’ impact on schools using advanced measures of student performance