This 12-credit course (offered in the fall and spring ) is cross-listed with the Law School, and and is comprised of three components:
(i) A comprehensive seminar in the design, governance, regulation, democratic accountability, and systematic transformation of PK-12 school systems and allied public- and social-sector organizations.
(ii) Skills training in a range of twenty-first century problem-solving competencies, including working in diverse teams to address multi-dimensional problems; design and systems thinking; collaborative inquiry; quantitative and qualitative analysis and measurement; organizational macro- and micro-design; project and product management; client-centered and policy-focused information gathering; and the presentation of professional advice to government and social-sector clients.
(iii) A high-priority, professionally-guided research or consulting project on which an interdisciplinary team of graduate students provides research, design, strategic planning, and/or implementation support on matters that combine management, policy, governance, legal, regulatory, and/or technological issues crucial to the mission of the client organization—typically, a state department of education, school district, charter school organization, school-support or advocacy group, philanthropy, or other nonprofit serving children.
The seminar and skills components of the program are front-loaded in the semester to prepare students and give them, their teams, and Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) team leaders ample time to conduct client-focused project work, including by interfacing with clients throughout the U.S. and Brazil. Team assignments are based on student preferences and skills as well as client needs. CPRL covers expenses when projects involve site visits and travel.
The course is taught by an accomplished team of professionals, including Columbia Law Professor and former senior official at the New York City Department of Education Jim Liebman, CPRL’s Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Chu, CPRL’s Deputy Director of Quality & Improvement Dr. Kimberly Austin, and a series of guest speakers. Research and consulting projects are guided by a team of experienced directors employed full-time by CPRL who bring extensive experience in PK-12 education, law, management consulting, and other professional endeavors. These managers assure that the project work is both challenging and achievable by the student teams, and they provide students with intensive team and one-on-one feedback and personalized professional development and mentorship.
CPRL applicants are asked to submit a resume, transcript, and written responses to two application prompts via CPRL’s online application located on CPRL’s website.
A limited number of scholarships are available for exceptional students to apply to their semester’s tuition in return for a legally enforceable commitment to work full time for three of their first five years after graduation in a public or nonprofit job supporting the PK-12 public education sector. Students may apply for up to $20,000 in CPRL Scholar Award funding in exchange for this commitment in any country, or they may apply for up to $30,000 in scholarship from the Lemann Foundation in exchange for this commitment in Brazil. Both awards are distributed based on need and merit. As awards of last resort, they take into consideration any other educational aid that students have been (or will be) awarded. Applicants who would like to be considered for either of these CPRL Scholar Awards should submit the short optional tuition award application also found on CPRL's website.
After initial review of application materials, CPRL will interview applicants by invitation only. Students will be notified of admissions decisions in accordance with their own school’s registration deadline. If you have any questions about the course or would like to be connected to current students or alumni, please send your request to [email protected].