Maureen V. Spelman


Higher education has a long history of preparing leaders, but in this unique paradigm of the 21st century it has become critically apparent that leaders, particularly in education, need to be prepared to lead in a way that is virtuous and oriented toward a global common good. Traditionally educational leadership programs in the U.S. have focused on the competencies needed to lead effectively in complex and challenging environments. But if these programs are to produce leaders who are not only competent managers, but also wise thinkers and ethical leaders, then institutions of higher education need to have an equal emphasis on developing the character of the future leaders who will guide schools in this increasingly global context. Character education at this level needs to be intentional, planned, conscious, and reflective. This case study shares the journey that one institution of higher education has undertaken to infuse a tapestry of character-based education throughout the graduate educational leadership curriculum. The redesign process shared may be helpful for other institutions looking to embed character and virtue education into leadership preparation programs.

Full Text

Fostering Virtue Formation in Aspiring School Leaders: One Institution’s Journey


virtue formation, character-based education, educational leadership, ethical dilemmas

About the Author

Maureen V. Spelman currently serves as a visiting professor in the North Central College educational leadership program, as well as the coordinator for character initiatives related to the Kern Family Foundation Grant. She has held P-12 professional roles ranging from that of an elementary and junior high school teacher to department chair and principal. In the 20+ years Dr. Spelman has been in higher education she has taught in a variety of education undergraduate and graduate programs and held roles ranging from adjunct instructor to full professor. In addition, she has co-authored numerous grants to support professional development and coaching programs for educators and school leaders in the Chicago metropolitan area. Her vision is to build the capacity of school leadership candidates so that they can go forward and bring Cultures of Character practices into the heart of their school communities.

ISSN: 2151-2515
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