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How Tulane Prepares Equity-Focused Education Leaders with the Master of Education Degree

April 15, 2024

Equity in classrooms and education systems is critical to providing students the best chance to succeed, directly correlating to their subsequent quality of life. Equitable education can produce additional benefits, including better health and social-emotional development for students and stronger social cohesion in communities. 

Educators and policymakers increasingly recognize the importance of promoting equity in the classroom; many are taking steps to achieve this critical objective. According to a 2022 EdWeek Research Center survey, almost 80 percent of respondents said their district or school had made progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals over the previous two years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education recently updated its Equity Action Plan to intensify efforts in college access and affordability, access to resources, technical education, and mental health resources. 

Current and aspiring educators and education leaders can upskill to actively promote educational equity by investing in an equity-focused master’s degree program. Tulane University is committed to inclusivity, collaboration, and leading for a better tomorrow. Its online Master of Education (MEd) program mirrors this commitment, offering a specialization in equity-centered education leadership. This article explains how the online MEd program at Tulane prepares students to promote educational equity in their future careers. 

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Understanding Equity-Focused Education Leadership 

Equity in the classroom means ensuring every student has the support they need to succeed. This differs from equality, which focuses on giving all students access to the same resources. Equity requires understanding the unique challenges and barriers individual students (or populations of students) face and providing additional support to help them overcome those obstacles. 

School and industry leaders play a critical role in promoting equitable education. A 2021 Wallace Foundation study identifies several key behaviors associated with equity-oriented school leaders: 

  • They consider how their instructional-focused interactions with teachers affect equity in the broader school community.
  • They build a school climate where diversity is valued and welcomed. 
  • They build opportunities for collaboration among teachers, families, and the community to meet students’ needs. 

Students and communities benefit considerably when education leaders successfully create equitable learning environments. A recent Student Experience Project (SEP) report affirmed that equitable content, methodologies, and policies positively affect student experience, leading to improved academic outcomes and engagement. Academic success — college completion, for instance — may close societal equity gaps, as college graduates can land higher-paying jobs that improve their individual and family prosperity.

Equity-focused education programs, like the online MEd program at Tulane, can help future leaders gain the perspectives and skills to create more equitable classrooms, school systems, and educational policies. 

The Inclusive Design of Tulane’s Online Master of Education

Tulane recognizes the need for equity-centered education leaders. It designed the online MEd program to develop leaders who: 

  • Understand and have the capacity to advocate for ethical decisions and cultivate and enact professional norms.
  • Develop and maintain a supportive, equitable, culturally responsive, and inclusive school culture.
  • Build a school’s professional capacity, engage staff in developing a collaborative professional culture, and improve staff supervision, evaluation, support, and professional learning systems.

Read on to learn how the program cultivates these key competencies. 

Courses Taught in Context

The online MEd program at Tulane aligns with National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards. The program’s curriculum is designed to equip students with critical assessment skills to create ethical, equitable, and high-quality teaching and learning environments where all learners can reach their highest potential. 

The program’s core courses focus on equity, diversity, and social justice taught through the lens of equity in the context of the American education system. Coursework also examines foundational mindsets, classroom management, instructional strategies, and student motivation with a focus on culturally relevant practices. Furthermore, the program introduces students to different research paradigms, including the research basis for equity-focused instruction. 

Along with the core courses, students can pursue a chosen specialization area. The online MEd program offers four specializations — Equity-Centered Education Leadership, Learning Experience Design, Teaching English Learners, and Special Education — each aiming to develop education leaders who can help learners reach their full potential. For example, students specializing in learning design examine  trends and issues in learning experience design to create more equitable outcomes. Meanwhile, students specializing in teaching English learners explore how to foster inclusivity in multicultural classrooms. 

Students specializing in Equity-Centered Education Leadership delve into topics related to equitable education promotion in various public and private settings. Courses in this specialization include Reimagining and Leading Equitable Education Systems for the Future, Managing Effective Equity-centered Educational Organizations, Engaging Family and Community Stakeholders, and Driving Change and Transformation for Impact. 

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Online MEd students at Tulane participate in a site-based immersion project in the form of fieldwork, internships, or simulations. This project involves students applying core equity and inclusive principles by testing concepts, strategies, and approaches in real-world contexts. 

Meet the Faculty Practitioners Behind the Online MEd Design

The online MEd program at Tulane was designed by active teachers, mentors, academic directors, and community leaders committed to creating a more equitable education system and supporting communities. Students can interact with program faculty during live online lectures and virtual office hours. 

The Tulane online MEd faculty who inspire and inform the program’s commitment to community-focused principles include:

  • Dr Hazel Woods: Dr. Woods has extensive knowledge of culture, community, and collaboration, developed through 23 years of work in various educational settings with young children, adult learners, and college students. Woods’ experiences with non-profits, K-12 systems, and universities provide a broad, inclusive perspective on teaching and learning.
  • Dr. Trung Nguyen: Dr. Nguyen works with future and current teachers to identify and disrupt inequitable educational policies and practices to ensure every student has access to high-quality education. Nguyen also serves on the Executive Committee for the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (LA-NAME), which seeks to cultivate an awareness of diversity, equity, and social justice within our educational systems and communities.
  • Dr. Amanda Kruger Hill: Dr. Hill earned coaching certifications from Tulane Leadership Institute and the National Equity Project, and has mentored aspiring leaders through various leadership programs. Hill served on task forces with the Department of Education and volunteered on several boards, received a public commendation for Outstanding Community Impact as well as a Tulane Research, Scholarship, and Artistic Achievement Award, and was selected as one of Gambit’s 40 under 40 and Tulane Women’s Association’s Woman of the Year.
  • Dr Eunice Ofori: Dr. Ofori has a strong background in instructional design, teaching, training, and mentoring in higher education, K-12, and various industry settings. Ofori’s goal is to provide all scholars equal access to education regardless of their learning environment.

Make an Impact in Your Community with a Masters Degree in Education

The importance of equity-focused education leadership cannot be overstated. Giving all learners a fair opportunity to succeed is vital to improving personal and community prosperity in the future. The online MEd program at Tulane seeks to produce graduates who will usher positive change within America’s dynamic educational landscape.

Through core and specialized coursework focused on equity-centered education, experiential learning experiences, and interaction with passionate faculty leadership, Tulane online MEd prepares students to promote inclusivity and equity in their communities. The program’s online format provides students with a flexible learning format and a degree grounded in New Orleans’ cultural pillars of diversity, ingenuity, and joy. New Orleans has a history of educational reform efforts, and Tulane students can build on the city’s strengths and learn from its challenges. 

Start your application today or schedule a call with an enrollment advisor to learn more about the online Master of Education program at Tulane University, its intent, and its expected outcomes.

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