Hamline News

New Educational Specialist Degree Blends Coursework and Research

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Change in the classroom doesn’t happen without the research to back it up.

With the Hamline University School of Education’s new Educational Specialist (EdS) degree, educators can gain the expertise and research experience to make positive change a reality.

The degree, which launches fall 2020, is designed for educators and administrators who want to expand their ability to lead their schools and districts without committing to a doctorate. The Educational Specialist degree gives educators the credentials that demonstrate an ability to lead equity-focused school transformation, an advantage in today’s competitive job market.

The EdS program is open to educators who do not yet have an administrative license and have at least three years of teaching experience. Alternatively, those who already have an administrative license can apply to 6 credits needed to complete the Educational Specialist degree. Coursework is primarily online, with some in-person classes that occasionally meet on evenings and weekends.

Innovation through research

In addition to the 26-credit Minnesota Administrative Licensure, the program consists of an additional 4-credit course and 2-credit action research project. The course introduces students to the practical steps of guiding innovation in K-12 schools, with discussion of providing equitable services to all students.

For the research project, program participants identify a problem of practice within their school or district and investigate causes and solutions, along with the financial and political ramifications. By the end of the program, they’ll be prepared to implement an action plan within their school. Participants might research the underrepresentation of students of color in advanced placement courses in high schools, for example, or the inequities of a sudden transition to remote learning.

“Students will come out of it with not only an enhanced skill set of how to engage in the work of actively finding ways to innovate and disrupt systems, to improve the opportunities and performance for kids...they would gain a motivation, an interest to go out and do it,” said Dan Hoverman, an adjunct faculty member and one of the program’s co-instructors.

“The Educational Specialist is more of a practitioner’s degree,” said Kimberly Hartung, associate professor and the program’s other co-instructor. “It shows a school district that there was research and learning beyond the master’s degree.”

Applications are now open for the Educational Specialist degree.