Hayes, Sonya Diana (2016-05). UCEA Professors' Perceptions of Principal Preparation Program Challenges in Developing Candidates for the Instructional Leadership Role. Doctoral Dissertation.
Current demands on campus principals require them to be instructional leaders who understand the complex nature of teaching and learning and communicate clear expectations for the academic success of all students. The school principal is a critical influence in a student's success, and as a critical influence, university principal preparation programs must insure that principal candidates are well prepared for the instructional leadership role. The traditional university principal preparation program is the primary system for grooming aspiring principals to be leaders of teaching and learning; however, the research on how preparation programs specifically prepare candidates for instructional leadership is limited. Although there have been numerous studies conducted on the overall quality of principal preparation programs, the majority of these studies are descriptive studies or case studies about exemplary programs, or they are quantitative studies that yield statistical data on the current challenges of principal preparation programs. There are very few qualitative studies where researchers provide the perspective of the university faculty in a broader context on why the challenges in principal preparation programs exist or how they should be addressed. Through this phenomenological study, I provide valuable insight into the experience of university principal preparation faculty and their perception on the challenges in preparing principals for the role of instructional leader. Furthermore, the present study contributes to the knowledge base about how these professors' define instructional leadership, how they design curriculum and develop coursework to prepare future principals to be instructional leaders, and what changes they feel need to be made in principal preparation programs to better prepare campus leaders for instructional leadership. The respondents in my study cited several challenges for preparing aspiring principals for the role of instructional leader. These challenges included online learning, time, mind-sets, pedagogical knowledge, and the professor's knowledge/experience. The professors also suggested making changes in curricular content and programming to meet these challenges.