National university council recognizes UTSA school leaders group with inaugural award

storefronts

From left are Encarnacion Garza (coordinator of USLC) and Cynthia Garcia (USLC graduate, cohort 5)

Share this Story

(Nov. 14, 2013) -- The UTSA Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Urban School Leaders Collaborative (USLC) was selected by the University Council for Educational Administration to receive its inaugural Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program Award. UTSA was identified as one of two academic institutions that received the inaugural award.

The UTSA outreach program prepares educators to become transformational leaders committed to social justice advocacy who can work effectively in diverse, ambiguous and challenging contexts.

The USLC is a partnership between UTSA and the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). The leadership program prepares educators to practice in schools where the student population is predominantly Latino. The program's curriculum engages leaders in continuous self-inquiry and self-discovery. Assignments include reflection, where leaders delve into their own lived experiences; a community project that contains a micro-ethnography and a video documentary; and an autoethnography, in which leaders recall their lives and their educational journeys.

Associate Professor Encarnacion Garza is the coordinator of the USLC program.

"The Urban School Leaders Collaborative incorporates equity, excellence, social justice, democracy, risk-taking and responsiveness to community needs," said Garza. "Such strong commitment is essential in the development of collaborative and responsive relationships with area schools and communities."

"SAISD is proud to partner with the UTSA Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in what has proven to be a unique and exemplary model for preparing the next generation of school leaders," said Toni Thompson, SAISD associate superintendent for human resources. "The Urban School Leaders Collaborative maintains a sharp focus on the necessary qualities and skills needed by future campus leaders to ensure equitable educational opportunities are provided for our most treasured resources -- our students."

The UCEA is a consortium of higher education institutions committed to advancing the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of schools and children. Its inaugural Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program Award was established to celebrate exemplary programs and encourage their development.

The UCEA Executive Committee and UCEA Consortium considered factors such as high functioning and actively engaged district partnerships; rigorous recruitment and selection; strong coherence among program mission and other components of program design; effective support structures; faculty capacity; authentic and intense immersion in field operations; and strong outcome evidence of program effectiveness.

Garza, Betty Merchant (dean of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development) and Bruce Barnett (ELPS professor and chair) traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., on Nov. 7 to receive the award at the annual UCEA awards luncheon. They also received a cash prize of $7,000 for the ULSC.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

To learn more about the Urban School Leaders Collaborative, contact UTSA Professor Encarnacion Garza at 210-458-5421.