UCEA Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation

UCEA Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program (EELPP) Award

The 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 the UCEA Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation Program (EELP) Award. 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 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 UCEA Convention, on the UCEA website, and through a case-study publication. Award-winning programs/faculty are likely to be tapped by UCEA at various junctures to serve as models and illustrations for other preparation programs or faculty teams engaged in ongoing program improvement.

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, more recent empirical and scholarly literature on effective and exemplary leadership preparation provides additional insights about important dimensions of these criteria that 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

The deadline for Letters of Intent is May 1, 2024. To submit an LOI click below.


The deadline to submit nomination materials is August 1, 2024.

  • Step One
    Read through the award criteria and instructions. View the EELP Award Rubric.
  • 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. Use the UCEA Institutional and Program Quality Criteria to identify potential sources of evidence to self- evaluate the extent to which your program meets the 2020 EELP Award Rubric criteria.
  • Step Four
    Fill out a EELP Cover Sheet
  • Step Five
    Prepare Parts I–V of the Award Application as described at the above URL.
  • Step Six
    Prepare 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 2 above.

Part I : Program Description

The program description should draw upon the UCEA Institutional and Program Criteria and more recent literature on effective/exemplary leadership preparation and align with the EELP Award Rubric. It should be no more than 25 pages. We strongly encourage you to use subheadings for a discussion of each award criterion. 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. Please provide a brief written description of how and by whom syllabi are created (generally) and this assortment of syllabi specifically.

Part III : Field Work

Please provide a 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/supervision),

(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) program participant program quality feedback (e.g. individual course evaluations by year for multiple years, focus group/interview/survey results regarding the quality of courses/clinical experience);

(b) first-attempt passage rates on state leadership licensure exams;

(c) job placement statistics for program graduates following preparation by role and timeline to role;

(d) key findings from follow-up studies of program graduates (e.g., focus groups, interviews, surveys);

(e) analysis of a variety of data sources about the leadership practices (quality of practices) of program graduates who are leaders (e.g., INSPIRE practice, INSPIRE 360, aggregate principal evaluation ratings by principal supervisors);

(f) analysis of a variety of data sources about organizational, instructional and/or student learning outcomes of schools led by program graduates (e.g. CALL, Five Essentials); and

(g) a summary of accreditation evaluations and reviews. Please be sure to share information about the timeframe of these data (when were they were collected) and discuss in detail how these data are used by the program.

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. Please specify in detail this person’s actual contributions to the program during each of the last 2 years.

Please note: We encourage all programs to carefully craft Parts I, III, and IV of your Award Application for the purpose of this award submission. If your program pulls existing documents/text not expressly written for this application, it is likely that the strengths of your program will not be effectively made visible to award review readers.



No award was given.


University of North Carolina at Greensboro


No award was given.


University of Washington – Danforth Educational Leadership Program


No award was given.


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