The Educational Administration – Special Education Director Graduate Certificate program is designed for students who already have earned a master’s degree to develop school administrative leadership and management skills. Minnesota State requirements for special education directors are embedded in the courses. The curriculum is practitioner-focused with an emphasis on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations.
The following outcomes are state-identified competencies for educational administration in special education director preparation.
Core Program Outcomes
- Leadership: Lead educational institutions and departments through collaborative, visionary planning, and decision making.
- Organizational Management: Manage and evaluate organizational operations, including human, monetary, and physical resources for institutional improvement.
- Diversity Leadership: Promote, create, and monitor appreciation and cultivation of diversity.
- Policy and Law: Interpret, develop, and implement local, state, and federal policy and law.
- Political Influence and Governance: Nurture a cooperative alliance of key stakeholders to influence the politics and governance of educational institutions.
- Communication: Utilize communication skills essential to inform and facilitate effective organizational communication.
- Community Relations: Establish and maintain positive and effective community relations relative to educational institutions.
- Curriculum Planning and Development for the Success of All Learners: Facilitate the planning and development of curriculum, assessment, and instruction.
- Instructional Management for the Success of All Learners: Design, implement, and support instruction and assessment strategies and behavior management
- Integrating current research appropriate for all learners.
- Human Resource Management: Interpret, apply, and manage policies and procedures which foster positive and productive performance from faculty and staff.
- Values and Ethics of Leadership: Practice ethical leadership, ensuring the best interest of all learners.
- Judgment and Problem Analysis: Implement and facilitate problem-solving strategies integrating critical thinking, creativity, logic, and collaboration.
- Safety and Security: Create safety and security plans to sustain an emotionally and physically safe educational environment for all.
Special Education Director Specific Outcomes
SED1. Policy and Law: Interpret and apply laws and policies regulating special education programs.
SED2. Organizational Management: Identify and explain policies and procedures regulating districts, boards, and special education.
SED3. Resource Allocation: Identify and explain programs, resources, and agencies related to special education.
Program Structure and Delivery
Students may transfer a maximum of six graduate semester credits from a regionally accredited institution if those credits were earned during the five years prior to admission, are administrative in nature, have been approved by the program director and the dean, and have not been used as a part of another degree program. After acceptance into the program, all courses must be earned at Saint Mary’s University.
At the end of their certificate coursework and in consultation with an adviser, students host an exit assessment wherein they present their evidence of achieving each of the outcomes using their portfolio. The portfolio addresses each of the 13 core program outcomes and the special education director outcomes required by the State of Minnesota for licensure. All students must successfully demonstrate quality performance in the competencies in order to receive endorsement from Saint Mary’s University for their Minnesota School Administrative license.
The program is offered in a flexible format to meet the needs of working adults. Classes are scheduled primarily in the evening and on the weekends during the school year, and at various times in the summer. Students are requested to remain with their cohort for the duration of the program. Instruction focuses on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations. Courses in the program are delivered in blended format, integrating face-to-face classroom meetings and online activities or interactions in a planned, instructively valuable manner.
Applicants who do not have the required three years of successful classroom teaching experience and/or classroom teaching licensure may be considered for provisional admission into the graduate certificate program in Educational Administration through an alternate pathway option. Upon successful completion of the alternate pathway course students will be considered for regular admission.
There are three major components of the pathway contained within four 1-credit graduate level courses including 1050 hours of school classroom experience, a required guided teaching experience of 8 weeks (240 hours), and an electronic portfolio documenting completion of the pathway requirements.
Component 1: 1050 hours
Candidates are required to log time served studying and learning about pre-kindergarten, elementary, junior high/middle school, and high school levels, gaining knowledge and skills in 12 areas described in the student learning objectives.
Component 2: Guided Teaching Component
Candidates will log a minimum of 8 weeks (240 hours) of guided teaching. This is expected to be a graduated direct teaching experience under a mentoring administrator, but may not be limited to a single course, class, subject, or group.
Component 3: Electronic Portfolio
In order to demonstrate basic knowledge and skills as required by the Minnesota Rule (MR) 3512.0700, the culmination of the pathway is the presentation of an electronic portfolio. The portfolio should demonstrate the appropriate teaching knowledge, skills, and experiences of the 12 student learning objectives and will be presented to a panel consisting of university and K-12 school advisors and staff.
EDS691 , EDS692 , EDS693 , EDS694 Alternate Pathway Prerequisite courses (1 cr. per course, four credits in total)
Faculty members for the Educational Administration Certificate have earned doctorates, education specialist, or master’s degrees. Faculty members are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.
Applicants must possess a master’s degree in an education-related field, including at least 21 credits from among any of the following: teaching techniques, curriculum design, communication skills, education research/assessment, education leadership or administration. If additional credits are required to meet the entrance requirement, those credits must be earned before starting the Educational Administration – Special Education Director program coursework. According to the Board of School Administrators for the State of Minnesota, an applicant for licensure as a special education director shall have three years of successful classroom teaching experience while holding a classroom teaching license valid for the position or positions in which the experience was gained.
Applicants may apply for admission at any time during the year. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. All applicants must complete an interview with the program administrators.
Applicants must submit the following:
- Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
- An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
- A reflective essay which includes the following:
- brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
- statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
- description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
- personal information the applicant wishes to share.
- Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
- A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
- Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)
Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404