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Grant Expansion Establishes ODU's Darden College as Hub For Information Sharing About Educational Leadership Programs

Two researchers in Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to further enhance their groundbreaking school leadership education program on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The $146,000 grant, which is in addition to a $655,969 grant received last fall from the DOE, could help position ODU as a hub in sharing resources and lessons learned from university educational leadership program studies across the United States.

In ODU's study - designed by Karen Crum, with assistance from Steve Myran, both assistant professors of educational leadership - two groups of educators identified as potential leaders in the Northampton County Public Schools will receive an accelerated master of education degree by taking distance education courses taught by ODU faculty members.

In turn, the educators will assume leadership roles in the remote, rural school division that has traditionally had a difficult time recruiting and keeping staff who are qualified for education leadership positions.

Crum said the educator leaders in the first group, who will receive their master's degrees next year, are already demonstrating measurable progress.

"We have seen a variety of changes," Crum said. "On a personal level, they're gaining confidence in their ability to be leaders. They're finding their voices, and becoming stronger advocates for best practices in education.

"In addition, their expertise is already being recognized with additional responsibilities given to them by school administrators."

The new grant from the DOE will allow ODU to take a leadership role in information sharing for the 29 education leadership studies that were funded at colleges and universities across the country in the last round of DOE grants.

The grant also will provide for the creation of an electronic workspace, which will facilitate interaction between the various education colleges studying the education leadership field.

"This is a very big deal for ODU," Crum said. "We're out at the forefront of this nationally recognized program through the Department of Education. ODU is spearheading the sharing of information that will occur."

Through electronic meetings, the researchers at various universities can share what they've learned about educational leadership programs through their studies. Crum said it's not a stretch to envision joint research projects being formed when researchers in different parts of the country learn that similar work is being done in other areas.

The grant runs for four years.

This article was posted on: October 20, 2009

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