Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program (EELP) Award


Quality leadership preparation is essential to quality leadership practice. Research reveals an important relationship between preparation and leaders’ career outcomes, practices, and school improvement efforts. Exemplary/effective university-based programs evidence a range of program features that collectively contribute to robust leadership preparation. To celebrate exemplary programs as well as to cultivate a group of exemplary programs that model and can help to catalyze and support ongoing program improvement in other universities, UCEA has established an Award for Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation. This award complements UCEA’s core mission to advance the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of all children and schools.

Leadership educators are invited to nominate their programs for recognition at the 2018 UCEA Convention. The program or programs (up to three) determined most worthy of recognition will receive a cash award, an engraved plaque, and recognition in multiple UCEA publications. In addition, the award winning program(s) will be recognized at a session during the 2018 UCEA Convention, on the UCEA website, and through a case-study publication.

This award will be made to programs within colleges, schools, and departments of education. For example, university-based programs preparing leaders to lead in elementary, middle, or high schools or programs focusing on the development of district-level leadership are eligible for recognition. More than one program within a department, school, or college of education may apply.

Award Criteria

Applications will be judged on the extent to which the programs are: a) aligned with research and scholarship about exemplary and effective leadership preparation, and b) have evidence of program effectiveness and impact. Although the 2012 research-based document titled UCEA Institutional and Program Quality Criteria provides an accounting of features, content, and experiences associated with effective leadership preparation—all of which are criteria for this award—more recent empirical and scholarly literature on effective and exemplary leadership preparation provides additional insights about important dimensions of these criteria and are considered as programs are reviewed for this award. The Handbook of Research on the Education of School Leaders (2nd ed., Young & Crow, 2016) is one such source of more recent information.


The Procedure

Applications must be submitted electronically, following the guidelines for both content information and file naming/formatting procedures. Please express your intent to apply as soon as possible. The deadline to submit EELP application materials: Monday, July 2, 2018
View the 2018 EELP Call for Nominations

Step One: Read through the award criteria and instructions.

Step Two – Submit a statement of intent to apply. Upon receipt of a program’s intent to submit an Award Application, the program contact will be invited to an Award Dropbox Folder where program application materials should be deposited.

Step Three – Review recent empirical and scholarly literature on exemplary/effective leadership preparation and review program information associated with prior EELP award winning programs. This information will help your program to deepen its understanding of exemplary/effective principal preparation and things to “look for” when completing a self-assessment of your program. Conduct a self-assessment of your program using the criteria identified in the  UCEA Institutional and Program Quality Criteria Rubric.

Step Four – Fill out a EELP Cover Sheet

Step Five – Prepare Parts I–V of the Award Application as described at the above URL.

  •  Part I: Program Description:  The program description should align to criteria identified in the UCEA Institution and Program Quality Criteria and more recent literature on effective/exemplary leadership preparation. It should be no more than 25 pages. We strongly encourage you to use subheadings for a discussion of each award criteria. We strongly encourage you to provide evidence (strategic use of key/high value evidence sources to be included either in an appendix or via hot links) to support claims made in this portion of your application submission.
  • Part II: Course Content: Please provide syllabi for core courses in the program.
  • Part III: Field Work: Please provide a field work guide or narrative that describes/elaborates the field work experience that students encounter. This should reveal: a) key clinical work tasks and/or requirements, b) all field-based developmental supports (e.g., mentoring/coaching), c) key tools/routines/documents that support and systematize the field experience, and d) any clinical assessments that students complete or that track student development over the course of the clinical experience. We discourage the submission of an assortment of existing documents without a narrative that explains/elaborates submitted artifacts.
  • Part IV: Program Effectiveness and Impact: Evidence of program effectiveness and impact can include such things as: a) a summary of accreditation evaluations and reviews, b) first attempt passage rates on state leadership licensure exams, c) job placement statistics for program graduates following preparation, d) key findings from follow-up studies of program graduates, e) analysis of a variety of data sources about the leadership practices (quality of practices) of program graduates who are leaders, and f) analysis of a variety of data sources about organizational, instructional and/or student learning outcomes of schools led by program graduates. Please do not exceed 10 pages of evidence.
  • Part V: Faculty Vitae: Please provide a curriculum vitae for each faculty member who participates in the delivery of the program.

Step Six – Upload Parts I-V of the application and save each part as a separate PDF file.  Be sure all file names correspond to the applicable part, for example: Part.I.ProgramDescription.pdf.  Submit the Cover Sheet and Parts I-V by depositing them in the Dropbox noted in the explanation for Step Two above.  


Program interested in applying for the EELP award should review the following webinar. Dr. Michelle Young, UCEA Executive Director, leads an interactive conversation with Dr. Shelby Cosner (2013 EELP award recipient) and Dr. Ann O’Doherty detailing the EELP award and application process from A to Z.
The discussion includes: 
  • Overview of the EELP application process
  • Insights from past reviewers
  • Discussion of what the application process and reviewer feedback offers programs
  • Opportunity for future applicants to have their questions answered


The application should have the support of the program head, department chair and dean as appropriate. If you have further questions about the application or review process, please contact us at mar5q@virginia.edu.

*Resources that review research on effective leadership preparation include:
Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., Meyerson, D., & Orr, M. T. (2007). Preparing school leaders for a changing world: Lessons from exemplary leadership development programs. Standford, CA: Standford University.
Murphy, J., & Vriesenga. M. (2004). Research on preparation programs in educational administration: An analysis. Columbia, MO: University Council for Educational Administration.
Young, M., Crow, G.M., Murphy, J., & Ogawa, R. (2009). Handbook of research on the education of school leaders. New York: Routledge.
Past Recipients
No award was given.
University of Washington – Leadership for Learning Program (L4L)
No award was given.
University of Denver Ritchie Program for School Leaders and Executive Leadership for Successful Schools
North Carolina State University Northeast Leadership Academy
University of Illinois –Chicago, Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership
University of Texas-San Antonio, Urban School Leaders Collaborative