Educational Leadership (5051) Certificate

A page within Professional Studies in Education

Cohort Start Date - Fall 2020!
Online Program


The 28-credit Educational Leadership Certificate is for teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers at the master’s level. The MSED Educational Leadership Emphasis is a licensure only program for the Principal (5051) license. Educators interested in expanding their leadership capacity for roles such as grade level coordinator, department chair, curriculum coach, or teacher specialist, and are not interested in a formal administrative position, would benefit from the program also. The Principalship licensure only program consists of nine courses based on the Wisconsin Administrative Standards.

Update: The 2020 Fall for Education Conference has been cancelled.
The Fall for Education Conference is the first full weekend in November annually.  The conference is part of learning outcomes for each IPSE program including Educational Leadership, Director of Instruction, MSED Learning Communities, and Reading.  A Special Course Fee of $60.00 is incorporated into fall tuition for the conference to help compensate for meals and breaks. Attendance at the conference is a program requirement.

Non-Wisconsin Teaching Licensure/Certification
UW-La Crosse programs offering a licensure or certification in Wisconsin will need to be reviewed by the State Board of Education of any other state in which the student plans on teaching.  The individual state education boards determine what courses transfer in to meet license or certification requirements of each state.

Director of Instruction Add-On Program
Visit Director of Instruction Add-On for more information on how to add this two course program.  

Program Curriculum

Sequence of Courses 

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5
EDU 765

EDU 766

EDU 767

EDU 768

EDU 769

EDU 770

EDU 771

EDU 772

EDU 773

EDU 782

Educational Leadership (Principalship) Certificate Curriculum: 

Course Course Name Credits
EDU 765 Introduction to Educational Leadership 3 Credits
EDU 766 Principalship 3 Credits
EDU 767 Data-based Decision Making for Instruction 3 Credits
EDU 768 Supervision and Instruction 3 Credits
EDU 769 Leadership and Cultural Competence 3 Credits
EDU 770 School Law 3 Credits
EDU 771 School Finance & Resource Allocation 3 Credits
EDU 772 Inclusive Pedagogical Practices I 2 Credits
EDU 773 Practicum in the Principalship & Seminar 4 Credits
EDU 782 Inclusive Pedagogical Practices II 1 Credit
TOTAL   28 Credits


EDU 765 Introduction to Educational Leadership
In this course learners will explore the concept of educational leadership.  More specifically, what is the role of the principal in ensuring they lead a school whereas all of their students can achieve the highest levels of academic success? What is the role of principal in creating and building a school community focused on continual reflection and improvement?  With that, we will explore educational leadership via a cognitive approach grounded in the following three elements:

  1. Socio-cognitive leadership – A shared cognitive approach to decision making present in schools that have successfully closed achievement gaps.
  2. The Dimensions of Leadership for Learning – Where school principals focus their time and attention as a catalyst for student improvement.
  3. Levers of Change – The individual, organizational, and community levers that master principals use to further the Dimensions of Leadership for Learning (Kelly & Shaw, 2009).

In addition to a focus on socio-cognitive leadership, learners will consider the balance between the symbolic and technical sides of educational leadership.  Finally, the concept of educational leadership will be grounded in conversations related to the importance of principal professional development to include the importance of personal development and personal satisfaction. 

EDU 766 Principalship
The task of a principal in the PK-12th grade environment is both demanding and complex.  It requires that the leader be skilled in personnel administration, staff development, evaluation, instructional leadership, and the reflective process along with a myriad of additional skills needed to successfully navigate the experiences of being a building principal.  This course focuses on the six standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC Standards) using the reflective process as provided by Thomas Sergiovanni.

EDU 767 Data-based Decision Making for Instruction
This course explores the use of data as a tool to enhance decision-making processes for continuous school improvement by providing a framework for improving teaching and learning.  Upon completion of the course, learners will be able to analyze, report, communicate, and use multiple measures of data for continuous school improvement.  This course emphasizes how data can guide leaders through curriculum alignment, supervision of instruction, and professional development.  Through assignments and activities learners will put theory into practice.

EDU 768 Supervision and Instruction
This course is intended to examine the foundations of a teacher supervision and evaluation structure which includes emphasis on classroom supervision, adult learning theory, coaching, administration which promotes professional growth, standards for effective teacher evaluation and performance-based methods for teacher growth /school improvement that are closely associated with student learning outcomes.  The emphasis of this course will highlight the professionalism of teaching by examining how teachers may actively contribute to determining the emphasis of their professional / outcomes while emphasizing student scholarship as their core mission.

EDU 769 Leadership and Cultural Competence
This foundation course in leadership and cultural competence enhances the learner’s abilities to comprehend, evaluate, and offer culturally sensitive and competent educational opportunity to diverse school populations.  This course gives students the opportunity to reflect upon their own cultural development and to be more responsive to the needs of all students.

EDU 770 School Law
This course examines the federal and state school law for educational leaders addressing legal issues impacting the operation of public schools.  The topics that will be studied include organizational structures of school, federal, and state systems, church-state related issues, teacher’s rights, rights of students with disabilities, instructional issues, tort liability, and equal opportunities in education.

EDU 771 School Finance & Resource Allocation
This course examines the financial contexts and legal requirements of educational budgeting.  The roles of federal and state laws, regulations, and tax policies are considered, as are local conditions and concerns, in raising and distributing revenue.  The processes of budgetary planning, preparation, management, and control are carefully evaluated. 

EDU 772/782 Inclusive Pedagogical Practices
In this course learners will explore how to create and sustain schools that are successful for each of their PreK-12 students.  Focus will be placed on shifting school structures from programmatic thinking to a model of service delivery.  In addition, discussion will focus on using standards as a catalyst for creative uses of responsive curriculum, innovative teaching strategies, and ongoing assessment.  Consideration will be placed on how funding and various laws can be leveraged to support the achievement of all students.  Throughout this course learners will examine (1) preventive strategies for fostering student success versus adopting a ‘wait until they fail’ approach, (2) instructional strategies that engage a wide-range of students, (3) how principals can ensure the success of their students, (4) how principals can support their teachers and staff to ensure student success, and (5) standards-based teaching grounded in the needs of a diverse student population.  Finally, inclusive educational pedagogies form the spine of this course.

EDU 773 Practicum in the Principalship & Seminar
The purpose of this course is to provide you with practical experience in the school principalship.  This practicum is developmental and provides opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the WI Content Guidelines for Principal (5051) Licensure Programs.  Performance will be measured via two observations by a school-based supervisor and two by the UWL supervisor.  In addition to observations, learners are required to engage in online discussions anchored to the practicum seminar.  These discussions are grounded in the day-to-day lives of principals and will support learners in gaining a deeper, authentic understanding of the principalship.  Learners will also engage in professional discussions with an experienced administrator/cooperating principal and their practicum supervisor.  The practicum also affords learners experience engaging in authentic activities including the opportunity to take risks under the guidance of a cooperating principal and university supervisor.  Finally, practicums lead to numerous networking opportunities that can translate into informal support systems post practicum.

EDU 716 Effective Communication through Language (MN Learners)  
In this course, students will examine the research and best practices to support the Speaking and Listening Strand of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Students will define what makes up a classroom community, why it is important to build a classroom community, and how to begin the construction process.  Students will be working with diverse groups of people to enhance their listening and speaking skills.  In addition, students will use their grade level standards to craft a presentation to a group of peers.  Students will then examine strategies to help elementary students interact appropriately with adults and peers and how their own students can be doing grade level appropriate presentations.  Students in this class will be working on developing lessons and strategies that will help their own students comprehend and interact with the spoken word.

EDU 720 Digital Literacy and the Common Core (MN Learner)
In this course, students will examine the research and best practices to support all of the strands of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the area of digital literacy. Students will learn how to search efficiently and evaluate websites for validity.  Students will collaborate using a variety of online tools including wiki's, blogs, and other social media.  Lastly, students will implement lessons and strategies in their professional practice to help achieve career and college readiness skills for their students.

EDU 735 Foundations of Professional Learning Communities       
In this course, students will gain knowledge of the essential components of a Professional Learning Community (PLC).  Using acquired knowledge, students will analyze the progress of their school or district on the PLC continuum. Students will investigate ways to build a culture of collaboration that improves student learning and will be expected to continuously apply PLC tenets to their practice.

Program Completion:

Eligibility for Educational Leadership (5051) certification is contingent upon:

  • Cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0
  • Satisfactory completion of Educational Leadership Program coursework, associated experiences, and artifacts (including an administrative portfolio) 
  • Successful completion of at least three years of teaching at the PK-12 level.

The Minnesota Board of School Administrators requires 30 credits beyond the master's degree for principal licensure; therefore, those seeking Minnesota licensure must take a minimum of two additional elective credits. Learners may choose between EDU 716 Effective Communication Through Language (2 cr.), EDU 720 Digital Literacy and the Common Core (2 cr.), or EDU 735 Foundations of Professional Learning Communities (3 cr.).