Page 52

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 In the traditional delivery of graduate programs, universities often offer 12 distinct courses that typically include both an introductory and capstone course. Research courses are basically an introduction to research and statistics with no actual research being conducted. In many graduate programs, students can begin their programs in August, January, or June and there is no set time (beginning, middle, or end) when the research course is taken. Student course evaluations and interviews informed the authors that although the traditional research course was demanding, students saw no practical use for the information and skills in relation to their professional pursuits, nor did they identify usefulness of the course after graduation. In addition, many of the students commented that they had already forgotten most of what was learned – or memorized – for the weekly quizzes and final exam in the research course. The authors wanted to develop an action research course that would increase knowledge and skills and provide ample opportunities to apply what is being learned in the action research course. What better example of combining theory and practice to ensure that graduate students utilize the knowledge and skills acquired in the 24/7 classroom to experiment with practical applications in making their campus cultures into laboratories of learning and leadership. Additional Internship and Action Research Seminar A midway internship/action research class is designed to reinforce the leadership knowledge and skills being developed in the students’ internships and action research projects. Students write draft action research reports, review and analyze reports from others, and reflect on the entire experience. In this model, students not only possess the needed knowledge and experience for a seminar but also become experts on their own intern learning and research findings. By designing a midway internship/action research course, professors can raise the expectations of the overall internship. A Next Step The authors have helped supervise several hundred students interning and conducting action research in hundreds of districts and schools across Texas and more than 20 other states. This has provided an opportunity to collect a substantial amount of data on the internship, research in leadership, and school improvement. The storage, analysis, and dissemination of the collected data will be the responsibility of faculty and staff in the College of Education, and the university has recently entered into a partnership with another Learning Management System, TK 20, and hired additional staff to support the collection and analysis of the research data. The Educational Leadership Department has established a Clearinghouse for Action Research and School Improvement (CARSI) as a repository for the Action Research Projects. The Clearinghouse is designed to fulfill various outreach, or learning laboratory experiences: facilitate faculty and student publications, dissemination of the action research and school improvement results to practicing school administrators, support for students during their internships and research projects, serve as a vast and varied source of data for doctoral 39

Profile for Texas Association of School Administrators

JTWSE—Volume 3  

JTWSE—Volume 3  

Profile for tasanet