You are here: American University School of Education Education Policy & Leadership Education Policy and Leadership Program Distinguished Feature: Proseminar Course By Reuben Jacobson

Education Policy and Leadership Program Distinguished Feature: Proseminar Course

One of the distinguishing features of the Education Policy and Leadership program is the Proseminar course. Our extraordinary students utilize the skills and knowledge they have learned from their previous coursework – developing a research question, collecting and analyzing data and sources, critiquing and creating education policies, and pulling from real-world experiences – in order to make a meaningful contribution to an education organization seeking to create positive change for students.

Through this “capstone” course, all graduates develop the skill to provide effective leadership through collaboration, professionalism, management, and equitable practices.

AU is fortunate to work with incredible partners representing diverse perspectives.

TeachPlus, an organization that works with teacher leaders to develop and promote the policies teachers identify as most important, had students work with teams of teacher leaders in three states to create support for local policies around recruiting, supporting, and retaining teachers of color, clinical experiences for teacher training, and standards and qualifications of early childhood education teacher preparation programs.

A team working with the US Department of Education interviewed grantees about their two-generation approaches. Students used their research skills to analyze the interview data that will be used in a future federal report.

The Opportunity Institute, an equity-focused organization created out of President Obama’s National Commission on Education Equity and Excellence, asked students to review school discipline disparities, practices, and policies, and make policy recommendations in three states.

Students working with America’s Promise, first led by Gen. Colin L. Powell and then his wife, Alma, developed a strategy for the launch of a governor’s council where these policymakers would be asked to demonstrate their commitment to youth.

Students working with AASA, the Superintendents Association, developed a literature review on the mental health of students in grades 7 – 12.

Proseminar projects lead to real educational change and help EPL students gain real world experiences they can use throughout their careers.

According to Kayla Jackson, a Project Director at AASA,

The work that was done by the AU students has been foundational to AASA as we look towards expanding our mental health portfolio in the coming year. The literature review provides the kind of information that we need, but don’t have the time or bandwidth to research as we work on multiple initiatives. It was a joy to work with the AU students. They were always professional, always engaged and engaging. They shared how the research was informing their current practice in school and understood the importance of further work on mental health and school-aged students.

AU adds new partners each semester, as more well-prepared and capable students work to create real change, and fulfil our mission to create knowledge and prepare students to transform societies through education.