Our mission statement 'Growing leadership expertise that serves students' captures the fact that we are student–centred. The criterion we use to judge the effectiveness of school leadership and leadership development is its impact on the well-being, engagement and participation of students. This is often very hard to judge, as leaders make a difference to students largely by creating the conditions through which teachers and communities can improve teaching and learning. Nevertheless, that is our touchstone.
The “growing leadership” phrase captures our role as a development centre and the reference to “expertise” makes explicit how our development work is grounded in the knowledge base that links school leadership to improved teaching and learning. The knowledge that informs our curriculum is based both on our own research and on that of others, which provides robust findings that are relevant to our mission.
The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership (UACEL) provides a range of services for educational leaders and organisations both in New Zealand and overseas. All our work is informed by rigorous educational leadership research, both our own and that of others. Our team comprises educational researchers, past principals and senior leaders from educational organisations who are committed to improving student outcomes through building school leadership expertise.
We run a variety of courses aimed at improving school leadership skills and capabilities. Our courses offer pragmatic learning experiences for leaders based on empirical research and on a broad theoretical knowledge base. They are delivered by a committed team of academics, researchers and practitioners with a wide experience in various leadership roles.
Our flagship courses are: Growing Great Leaders™ and Open-to-learning™ Leadership
Leadership Development Contracts
We deliver longer-term leadership development contracts for governments or umbrella organisations that seek support to improve the outcomes of groups of schools. During the period of 2002 to 2016, a significant contract we had delivered was the First-time Principals' Programme that provided professional development throughout New Zealand for principals new to the role.
We offer school improvement consultancies based on schools’ or districts’ specific needs and requirements. We work with school leadership teams to analyse the problems they are facing, to set clear and achievable goals for improvement, and to identify the steps required to make progress. This work involves one or two of our team working intensively with a school, community of schools or district leadership team.
International Seminars for Educationalists
Our annual international seminar is scheduled for April and is designed to cater for international and local delegates. Key elements of our Growing Great Leaders™ and Open-to-learning Leadership™ programmes will be combined with school visits to observe some of the educational theory in practice. The seminar will provide international and local educationalists with an opportunity to receive professional development in leadership capabilities, based on the most recent research, and to learn about leadership practices in New Zealand schools through direct experience in schools. We work with groups and/or individuals to establish the priorities for professional learning, locate schools that may offer insights or good practice in line with those priorities, and develop a programme that includes school visits combined with UACEL courses.