Mastering the Skills of Leadership

    More stories from Laura Rojas


    Courtesy of Wiki Commons

    Teachers lead community children in a bonding game.

    A bridge between our communities and our education systems has always been sought for and now with Northeastern Illinois University’s new Masters of Arts in Community and Teacher Leaders program, the foundation is set.


    Dr. Brian D. Schultz, NEIU professor and chair of the education foundation program, secondary education program and the inner-cities education program, is one of nine professors who initiated the installment of the new Masters program.


    According to Schultz the MACTL program has two pathways. The first would be for current teachers who are seeking to add on an endorsement to their professional education licenses. To achieve this students would have to take only 15 credit hours.


    The MACTL program can help teachers achieve positions such as department chairs or being liaisons between administrators and educators.


    The second pathway would be to take the full 30 credit hours the program offers. This would be for teachers to build the necessary skills for community leadership that could branch outside from just leadership opportunities within the school.
    Other career avenues that become available with the second pathway are at places such as museums, planetariums or community centers for positions of unlicensed educators. Recipients can also coordinate educational activities in conjunction with teachers at schools within their communities


    This program can also, “Be helpful for those who are interested in fighting for issues related to education,” said Schultz.


    Schultz used high school as an example. Twelve people, including community activists, parents and a teacher, were recently on a hunger strike.


    Schultz said the MACTL program could better equip those who feel strongly about their communities, who want to be activists or leaders for change, with the necessary skills to be successful in doing so.


    NEIU is one of the few universities in the nation to offer the program with a more community-oriented approach. Most other universities and colleges simply offer it as a teacher leader program.


    “I’m super excited because I can go see half a dozen other programs in the city and nothing, none of them are thinking about it that way,” said Schultz. “It’s that in-partnership-with the community I think is really critical of how (NEIU) conceptualized this.”


    Professor Erica Meiners, women’s and gender studies, said that NEIU, through this new program, is trying to build on their existing assets such as the University’s, “Strong and ongoing relationships with communities and community based organizations across the city of Chicago.”


    The Masters program will be available for NEIU students in the fall of 2016. This program could open new doors not only for teachers seeking to build on their existing degrees but also for those interested in integrating themselves better in their communities as leaders.