Starting in July, the Graduate School of Education (GSE) will launch three new programs, including a Ph.D. program in Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research (CLAIR), an Accelerated Master’s Program in Educational Leadership (A.M.P.E.L.), and an advanced certificate program in School District Leadership (SDL).
“Each of them serves a different purpose, but each of them is a response to the changes that are going on in K-12 education,” said James J. Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of GSE.

CLAIR, a vanguard interdisciplinary research doctorate, is a three-year program designed to involve students in cutting-edge research as they pursue one of four specialization areas. These areas—contemporary literacy, learning sciences, special education, and language, culture, and equity—are specifically designed for learning and schooling in the 21st century.

In addition to taking courses within their areas of specialization, students will take two courses outside of their specialization.

“A lot of times [in academia], we don’t learn to talk each other’s language,” said Karen Brobst, Ph.D., assistant professor of school psychology and coordinator of the CLAIR program. “The idea here is to create scholars who have an area of specialty, but also can work together in teams, which we think is an important piece… to building better schools,”

Students will also enroll in three one-credit modules offering condensed lessons on a variety of topics relevant to 21st century education—for example, classroom technology. The modules, Brobst said, allow the program to adapt with the changing discipline.

Graduates of the CLAIR program will be qualified to assume a variety of roles, including instructional leaders, teacher educators, program evaluators, and educational researchers, among others.

GSE has also unveiled two new programs targeted at school leaders. A.M.P.E.L., an accelerated master’s program condenses the existing two-year program in school administration and supervision into a one-year program.

“In this economy, there are a lot of people who are really interested in getting their master’s degree, but they don’t feel they can spend two years,” said John Lee, Ed.D., vice chair of GSE’s division of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy (ELAP). “This [program]is for highly motivated individuals, people who are willing to make that commitment for a year, but who may not be able to make a two-year commitment.”

The program, which is open to anyone in New York City and the tri-state area, involves a unique schedule that kicks off with two weeks of daily summer classes in July. Students will then begin an internship in the fall, and continue taking classes Friday evenings and Saturdays.

By May, candidates will have completed the program, and be eligible to take the New York State School Building Leader Certification Examination.

“We’re looking for ways to meet the very real needs of students,” Lee said. “People have busy lives and limited resources, so this is a way that we can help them.”

The SDL advanced certificate program comes in response to a change in the New York State Department of Education’s certification exams. Before, graduates who passed the exam were certified for both school building and school district leadership levels. Now, the state has created two separate exams.

In response, the 15-credit SDL program prepares students for this exam, which certifies leaders on the district level, for example, as superintendents.

Dean Hennessy said that, in September, the Department of Education would be opening 100 new schools.

“One hundred new schools require 100 new principals and assistant principals,” he said. “I’m hoping [our new programs]will be the pipeline programs that will staff the openings that are coming up.”


Joanna Klimaski Mercuri is a staff writer in the News & Media Relations Bureau. She can be reached at (212) 636-7175 or [email protected]