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William G. Cunningham, professor of educational leadership and counseling, is, he admits, in a bit of a rut, having taught the same introductory-level course for the past 25 years. But it's where he wants to be.

In fact, he enjoys introductory-level teaching so much that he co-authored "Educational Administration: A Problem-Based Approach" with Paula A. Cordeiro, dean at the University of San Diego.

Published in November by Allyn & Bacon, the work is a comprehensive textbook for introductory-level courses in educational administration. It shares the latest thinking in the field and relates it to significant real-life problems of practice.

"Most professors would prefer to avoid teaching an introductory class for a more advanced class," Cunningham said. But he has yet to tire of teaching the introductory-level course for the master's program in educational administration.

Although Cunningham's research and publications are focused on more advanced administrative topics, seeing firsthand the enthusiasm of the students who are new to the field has been an incentive for him to continue teaching at that level, he said.

Cunningham explains in the foreword of the book, "Nowhere is the transformation that occurs through education more clear than when a student stands on the threshold of a new subject and first begins to understand its power. That is the wonderful experience that so often occurs in this introductory-level class."

The book includes original expert reflections, vignettes, problems, diagnostic inventories and the latest research and practice.

"It is a true-to-theory practice treatise on effective leadership," Cunningham said, adding, "The book contains the essential information needed to be an effective educational leader, presented in a way that constantly challenges students to be reflective and to test themselves and their ability to apply their new-found knowledge."

Cunningham is the author of several books and many articles. His most recent co-written books are "The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure" (1997) and "Cultural Leadership: The Culture of Excellence in Education" (1993). He has taught at Old Dominion University since 1974.

This article was posted on: December 20, 1999

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