UMass Dartmouth moves to improve K-12 education by empowering school leaders and policy-makers

New graduate and doctoral education programs approved by the Board of Higher Education are designed to help schools and students succeed in a rapidly changing world

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on Tuesday approved UMass Dartmouth's plan to offer new Master's and Doctoral programs in education. The programs, which will be run out of the University's School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement (SEPPCE) are designed to transform schools and improve student learning across the demographic spectrum. 

The program is being launched as the region, state, and nation are dealing with widespread retirements of school superintendents, principals, and other key administrators, leaving the potential for a massive educational leadership void as schools seek to transform themselves so their students can succeed in a global society. Recent studies indicate that nearly half of Massachusetts principals are scheduled to retire in the next five years and that an average of 50 Massachusetts school superintendents leave their posts each year. 

"Business, academic, and civic leaders all agree that the future prosperity of the region and the Commonwealth will depend on our collective ability to educate our citizens," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said. "A new generation of leaders and innovators is needed, including both expert practitioners and professionals well-versed in how effective educational policy advances innovation. Graduates of these programs will support the development of solutions to issues such as the socio-economic achievement gaps; scarce funding; and the physical, social, and psychological challenges that students bring to the classroom every day. UMass Dartmouth, the only research university south of Boston, embraces our responsibility to lead this important mission. We welcome both school and higher education institution partnerships as we begin this new endeavor." 

The new degrees include the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and the PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The program was designed with input from practicing educational leaders and researchers. 

"The programs provide a variety of opportunities for individuals who have a passion for education, whether they want to focus on direct management of schools and systems, creating new policy, or conducting the critical research that will lead to more effective teaching," said  SEPPCE Dean Ismael Ramirez-Soto. 

The degree programs will bring together teaching and research faculty from the University's innovative Center of University and School Partnerships, Kaput Center for STEM Research and Innovation, Center for Civic Engagement, Urban Initiative and existing graduate-level education programs. 

For information about applying for one of the new programs, please call call 508-999-8604 or email 


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