Quality Leadership Matters Blog


Announcing: The UCEA Program Design Network

August 11th, 2016 by


Starting in the fall of 2016, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) will sponsor a Program Design Network (PDN) for UCEA member institutions interested in engaging in program design, redesign, or improvement efforts. This three-year initiative is structured to engage UCEA faculty within cross-institutional teams in one of five facilitated networked improvement communities (NICs) to support efforts to engage in program design, redesign or improvement.

Specifically, this initiative will involve engage faculty teams in a process of program self-evaluation, design and development through signature learning experiences, including:

  1. Program Design Networks

After completing a program self-evaluation, program faculty will identify an area for (re)design and be assigned to a PDN with others who have similar program goals. Faculty teams will participate in facilitated networked development community meetings designed to support participating programs’ chosen area of redesign (e.g., selection, partnerships, curriculum, the internship). The meetings will be held online through gotomeeting every 6 weeks. The improvement work will involve purposeful collaboration to understand the programs’ (a) organizational contexts, (b) theories of action, and (c) articulated steps to advance improvement efforts. Progress toward a program’s goal will be assessed formatively over the course of the project and summatively at the end of the three-year period.

  1. UCEA Study Visits

Faculty teams will also participate in one or more study visits to UCEA programs recognized through the EELP award for their high quality program features. Study visits are inquiry-based experiences, designed to create meaningful opportunities to explore key issues in leadership preparation design, delivery, and sustainability. The design and schedule of the study visits will be tailored to appropriately align with the focus of each of the PDNs. The first Study Visit will take place October 25-26 at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Participation in this project has multiple benefits including the opportunity to improve or redesign elements of your program in collaboration with your team and with the support of colleagues in your network. In addition, through active engagement, faculty partners will have the opportunity to partake in high quality professional learning experiences and expand professional networks. Further benefits may also include: increased visibility and influence in your state and external funding opportunities. For example, Texas Tech University, district partners, and the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching (NIET) were awarded a $7.1 million Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant for a competency-based training model for school principals. The development of this model, as well as a previous initiative to develop Texas Tech Principal Fellows Program, has been supported by an ongoing, collegial relationship, including site visits and consultations, with the University of Denver.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Facilitators: A facilitator is an individual from a UCEA institution who is not affiliated with any of the institutions in the PDN and serves as an external liaison between the PDN and UCEA. The facilitator is also an organizer of PDN meetings.  The role of the facilitator includes the following:
    • Each fall, they will work with UCEA headquarters and the facilitation team to map out a general plan for PDN meetings for the year
    • Facilitate PDN meetings every 6 weeks via gotomeeting
    • Meet with UCEA headquarters and the facilitation team every 6 weeks to discuss progress, problem solve, and share resources, tools and processes for effective facilitation and program improvement/design 
    • Individualize the focus of PDN meetings to fit the specific needs of the PDN
    • Work with PDN members and UCEA headquarters to organize and support study visits
    • Foster communication among PDN members
    • Move the design process forward as appropriate
    • Work with UCEA to develop a case study of the change process experienced by the programs involved in the UCEA PDN project
  2. Faculty Participants: The role of faculty participants is to lead their program in design, redesign, or improvement efforts. Participating programs identify at least two faculty members to engage in the PDN. The role of the participating faculty include:
    • Participate in a program self-evaluation
    • Identify an area for (re)design/improvement
    • Join a UCEA PDN
    • Lead (re)design and improvement efforts within their home institution.
    • Complete formative and summative assessments for the purposes of measuring progress toward the program’s (re)design focus. 


UCEA is supporting the infrastructure for this project (e.g., facilitators, web-based meeting platform) and is organizing the study visits in collaboration with the EELP award winning programs. Additionally, faculty participants can apply to UCEA for matching funds to support their travel for the study visits.  


In order to establish a system to help support the success of the PDN, a 3-year dedication to the program (re)design improvement effort and NIC engagement is critical for participation. A willingness to dedicate the necessary time and resources to this Project is also necessary.

Applying for this Opportunity:

Please complete the short intake form at the link below by Monday, September 12th to indicate your interest in participation.  Please note that indicating interest in the UCEA Program Design Network does not commit you specifically to attending the October 25-26 study visit at UTSA unless you choose to do so and the UTSA study visit focus aligns with your program design area.  It is a general expression of interest in the program.

UCEA PDN Intake Form

After receiving your expression of interest, UCEA will contact you regarding next steps and ask you to provide additional information about your program design interests.  As part of your commitment to the UCEA Program Improvement/Redesign Network, we ask you to designate a team of at least two faculty members who would be involved in the network.  Additionally, we ask your university to support faculty engagement, including the provision of travel support for up to two study visits over the 3-year period of the project.

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