Florida Atlantic University

The IDEAL Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership for School Leaders

2021 Best Online Programs - Grad Education - Administration and Supervision
2021 Best Online Programs - Grad Education

A Synchronous Distributed eLearning Program



The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Education’s (COE) Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology (ELRM) has as its mission to contribute to the personal and professional growth of current and potential leaders who serve educational agencies or individuals in a variety of settings. The Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, which we have called IDEAL (for Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leaders) has been designed to provide aspiring school leaders with the rigorous, research-based, and job-embedded preparation required of equity-driven, instructional and transformative leaders of public, charter, private, religious, and international schools. The IDEAL Program seeks also to develop and sustain a commitment to positive social change; excellence in both understanding the need for, and implementing, the expert decision making and people skills associated with leadership in education; a belief in the power of lifelong learning, inclusion and human dignity; and exemplary standards of ethical and professional behavior.

Completion of this degree, and passing the Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE), leads to Florida Educational Leadership Certification (Level I), which qualifies an individual to serve as a public school assistant principal, intern assistant principal, intern principal, or interim principal.

In addition to the leadership domains of knowledge and experiential learning considered as world class by the profession, the IDEAL Program includes learning the Florida Principal Leadership Standards which are measured through the FELE, and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). It also complies with the program reaccreditation requirements specified by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The IDEAL Program Educational Philosophy and Practice

In keeping with the transformative principles of adult learning (Knowles, Holton III, & Swanson, 2015) 1 , the IDEAL Program has been designed to meet the needs and aspirations of emerging school leaders who work full-time while they manage multiple personal commitments. In addition, the curriculum’s delivery model is designed for both local and distant learners and is therefore offered in a synchronous distributed eLearning format. This means that, while all classes require real-time attendance with their instructor (on Saturday mornings and week-day evenings), students can opt either to attend on-site classes with their instructor at the FAU Campus in Southeast Florida, and/or join remotely via the University video-conferencing platform. All classes, including the three-semester internship, are conducted using this delivery model. This is designed to provide opportunities for students to experience scenario-based learning through collaboration, in-depth discussion, and real-world application, and to share their professional experiences and build long-lasting networks. Finally, given our belief in the value of job-embedded, experiential learning, which is especially important in the preparation of effective educational leaders who can ‘hit the ground running’, students apply what they learn by conducting the majority of their assignments and competency assessments in their schools. The program is delivered using the Canvas Learning Management System, supported by the LiveText (Watermark) Data Management System. This is where students access readings and other resources, participate in discussion board activities, collaborative team projects and small group breakout sessions, and upload assignments and major assessments.

1 Knowles, M., Holton III, E., & Swanson, R. (2015). The Adult Learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. New York: Routledge.

Our faculty are dedicated to the success of each and every student by building strong relationships through personalized advising, coaching, and mentoring. They comprise full-time, qualified, experienced higher education professors, researchers, and top school administrators with a background in public and private education. We also require that each student be supported and mentored by a school administrator at their school for the duration of the program.

For more information on the program and applications process, please contact Dr. John Hardman, IDEAL Program Coordinator, at whardma1@fau.edu. or fill out our contact form at the top of the page.