Voices Project

UCEA Voices from the Field

The UCEA Voices from the Field longitudinal research project comprises four successive studies beginning in 1996. The beliefs that motivated Kochan and her colleagues to tap into the academic knowledge of UCEA members and the practical knowledge of practitioners to collect, consider, and synthesize data to improve and expand the knowledge base about how to lead educational efforts for the betterment of programs and students of educational leadership (Acker-Hocevar et al., 2009, pp. 8-9). 

Voices I (1996) titled A thousand voices from the firing line: A study of educational leaders, their jobs, their preparation, and the problems they face was led by Frances K, Kochan, Barbara L. Jackson and Daniel, L. Duke, and had a group of 12 scholars who collaborated on the research project. The study included both principals and superintendents from across the country. The study found that both educational leaders struggled with problems and situations that were out of their control. Superintendents had difficulty identifying problems that were within their control, whereas principals articulated situations they could influence (i.e. teaching and learning).

Voices II (1999) continued the study of school and district leadership but shifted methodologically from one-on-one interviews to focus groups.

Voices III (2003), Snapshots of School Leadership in the 21at Century, chronicled the impact of accountability demands on principals and superintendents. Findings included the increased stress of balancing externally imposed mandates and input with what leaders believed to be in the best interest of children and schools. Increased demands for efficiency were often in conflict with the "heart" of leadership. This was true whether at the school or district level.

Voices IV (2018), Seeing Through the Noise: Insights on Opportunities and Challenges in Leadership Preparation, focused on three interrelated concepts in leadership preparation: social justice, relationship of theory and practice, and mentoring. Findings included the absence of social justice in preparation, the continued tension between knowing and doing, and the broad range of mentors and mentoring experiences. Participants came from rural, suburban, and urban settings. The study was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voices V (ongoing), explores how leadership preparation programs address issues of racial justice, racism, and equity. The project is still seeking researchers interested in collaborating on the development and implementation of the study. Please see the flier below for more information.

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