Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs

Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs

Universities, school districts, and other stakeholders were able to forge robust partnerships that led to a vision for better university principal training and concrete planning to implement it, a report commissioned from the RAND Corporation by Wallace Foundation finds. The report, Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs: Partners Collaborate for Change (116 pages, PDF), evaluated the first year of the foundation's University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), a four-year, $48.5 million effort launched in 2016 that supports seven universities, their district and state partners, and various mentor programs to redesign the universities' principal preparation programs according to evidence-based principles and practices, and found that partnerships forged under the partnership used the first year to develop a vision for the program and redesign process, including standards development, program assessment, and logic model development. The report also found that university-based leads and actively engaged partners drove the initiative in the first year; that the initiative prompted partner states and districts to consider issues and/or undertake activities they may not have otherwise; and that UPPI leadership teams developed strategies to mitigate the most pressing challenges, including staff turnover and capacity limitations. Lessons learned in year one included the importance of being intentional in selecting partners, the need to develop strong relationships early on to encourage commitment and progress, and acknowledging that it takes time and patience to achieve change.