The Field Experience (FX) component has been and continues to be a highlight of UTC’s School Leadership programs. A minimum of 450 hours is required for all PL students. Exactly 200 hours are required for M.Ed.-TL students. These hours are integrated throughout the program and although expected to be substantive in nature, it is also expected that students are able to continue their full time employment. The hours begin to accumulate in the first semester, and continue throughout the program.
As indicated in the syllabus for each core course, the successful completion of a minimum of 20-30 hours of field experience is required in each of the core courses. All PL students are expected to complete the additional 250 hours as part of the “Practicum” course (EDAS 5820).
For PL students, the program completion sequence document articulates the candidate development continuum; candidates begin with an expectation of observing 30%, participating 40%, and leading 40% and finish with an expectation of observing 10%, participating 20% and leading 70%. The overall program ratio is 18% observation, 32% participation, and 50% leadership of field experiences. The course sequence and associated required field experience are designed so that the candidate engages in more substantive field experiences as they progress through the curriculum.
A Field Experience Menu is available to students in UTC’s PL programs. It is not expected that students complete all suggested activities in the menu. It is required, however, that students complete activities as follows:
- A substantive number of hours must be completed in each standard
- Students must progress from the role of an observer to that of a participant to that of a leader as they advance through the program. The recommended balance is articulated in the previous paragraph.
- All PL students must complete a ‘practicum project’ as part of the total number of hours. It is expected that the project will take a minimum of 50 hours and the student will fill the role of leader for that project. See following section.
The FX activities for PL students are presented and documented in EDAS 5820 (Practicum) in an electronic portfolio.
The principal and/or AP of the school in which the protégé teaches will be asked to serve as a liaison and coach throughout the program. In addition, a core of program mentors will be recruited to work with groups of protégés. Mentor evaluations are required twice a year.
Program mentor/protégé meetings will be set up on a regular (twice/semester) basis. Attendance is required for students. Meetings will be focused on topics of interest and needs as identified by the liaisons, the candidates, the IHE and the LEA. Discussions will take place with multiple mentors, thus allowing the concept of ‘mentor groups’ to emerge, as well as facilitating the use of mentor specific expertise.