Theses Doctoral

Exploring Educational Leaders' Perceptions of Leadership Preparation Programs: an Adult Development Perspective

Ortuzar, Maximiliano

Empirical evidence suggests that educational leaders play a critical role in students’ learning. Therefore, attracting, retaining, and developing educational leaders have become paramount for educational systems worldwide. Hence, substantial resources and efforts have been invested in creating Leadership Preparation Programs. Research suggests that Leadership Preparation Programs that have proven to be successful share a set of common features and teaching approaches. However, there is limited empirical evidence of how these features and teaching approaches are implemented and how impactful they are. This qualitative multi-case study was designed to explore how participants perceived these commonly accepted programs' features and teaching approaches as supportive, while others perceived them as an obstacle to their learning.

More than 400 educational leaders who graduated from one of four renowned Chilean Leadership Preparation Programs between 2016 and 2018 were invited to participate in this study. The first 20 respondent who met the selection criteria were selected to participate in this study. The primary sources of data were in-depth interviews, demographic inventory, and document review.

One of the key findings of this study is that all participants believe that Leadership Preparation Programs should be situated to practice (teaching theories that are linked to practice, offering internships, and being efficient in the use of time management while teaching), have a practice orientation, provide feedback, and use a student-centered teaching approach. Another relevant finding is that while some aspects of situated to practice, feedback, practice orientation, and student-centered teaching approaches were experienced as supportive for participants, other aspects of these same elements were perceived as an obstacle or a challenge to their learning. The reasons for experiencing similar elements as supportive and challenging varied among participants with different developmental tendencies.

The overarching recommendation from this study is that Leadership Preparation Programs would benefit from considering students' developmental levels when adapting the design and implementation of program features and teaching approaches to meet students’ learning needs more effectively.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Volpe, Marie
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 15, 2023