The Master’s degree program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours allocated across specific areas of concentration:
Curriculum and Supervision
Addressing the Needs of Diverse Learners
A Smarter Way to Work
Inside the cool, cavernous interior of Bay 2 on Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus, six students studied flowcharts and scrawled notes on whiteboards. Outside their roomy, makeshift cubicle, a fluorescent sign proclaiming their mission—Smart Schools—stood like a sentry amidst a sea of similar cubicles and similar markers.
The students set out to determine if wearable technology could help in evaluating how school principals, teachers and others spend their time and how they interact with their school environments. Their work in summer 2016 was part of Lehigh's Mountaintop program, which gives teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines the freedom to pursue answers to open-ended questions. "I was really impressed with how this group grew," said Abby Mahone, a graduate student in Educational Leadership who worked with the team. "The students had to teach themselves new skills to accomplish tasks they had never done before."
The team was adapting existing smart-wearable technology and creating mobile and desktop apps that could potentially be used to study school administrators' daily activities and behaviors. Each student brought different talents to the table—coding, cognitive science, design, business skills. Mahone and her adviser, Craig Hochbein, assistant professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education, mentored the students and allowed them to formulate their own ideas.
The project extended Hochbein's earlier work in tracking how principals use their time—and how that might correlate with student behavior/emotional risk. The students saw the recent explosion of biometric data-gathering devices as a golden opportunity to learn how the devices can improve the study and management of time use. "After reviewing over 100 years of principals' time use research, we discovered that the daily activities of principals have been studied in only four ways—one-time surveys, observations, daily logs or event-sampling methodology," Mahone said. "We saw a huge opportunity to use data-collection technologies to improve the study of principals and created the team to explore it as a possibility. The hope is to have created a kit that principals or teachers can wear all year." The team hoped the project would provide new insights into the challenges of administrators' jobs.
"We know very little about how they react to their environment right now," said Hochbein. "For example, which classrooms and spaces are principals visiting, and how are they reacting to those settings? Is the behavior of the principal influencing the school setting? Context matters, but it's very difficult to quantify how much it matters." The students took advantage of available smart-wearable technology that already accesses daily activities, to be able to examine heart rate and steps and floors climbed, and they conceived and built an app to track locations.
Implications for research
The students wanted to outfit administrators with devices that would provide biometric data, including time spent walking, standing and sitting. The challenge was to be able to integrate data from multiple sources to paint a detailed, objective picture of how individuals respond physically and mentally, minute by minute, to their surroundings. The students also developed the mobile and desktop applications that would allow principals to be contacted at random intervals with set questions to determine what they were doing and at "critical points," such as when the technology indicated heart rates were up. More research is needed to determine "critical points," Mahone said.
To find a technology that would yield data without being obtrusive to users, the students tried out a variety of wearable devices on themselves, other Mountaintop students and faculty. They narrowed their choices to three. "One surprising thing we found was that not all the devices do what they say they will," said bioengineering major Dasom Ko '17. The students learned to be critical of technology while using it for a specific purpose. "Our kit of sensors had to make sense of what we needed to learn from educators," said Karen Huang '17, a cognitive science and design major. The group also worked on software that integrates data from wearable devices with principals' answers to questions that are pinged to them. Common methods of data collection have used logs or beepers to record how people spend their time, but smart-wearable technology eliminates observer bias to yield more comprehensive data, Hochbein said. Jordan Alam '19, a computer science and business major, created the mobile app that sends the queries to participants and allows them to input their answers. "We want to know what the principal was doing [at a particular moment]," he said. Data return is more robust when an event-sampling methodology is used. Multiple forms of data come in at regular intervals—location, heart rate, position (such as standing or sitting). Adding data, such as when the program pings a principal for more information, provides a richer source of information, said Mahone.
Computer engineering student Sudipta Chowdhury '17 wrote the code for software to integrate multiple types of data into a single cohesive format. "We collected all the raw data in a database and had to make sure it could work with different devices so we could analyze it later," he said. Dan Kramer '16, a computer science student, looked to take advantage of a school's WiFi network to figure out a principal's location at any given time. By grabbing the IDs of WiFi access points, he said, "we can see how much time they spend in a certain room or place." Mahone said the project has "huge implications for education research."
Story by Manasee Wagh
Arts Education in Public Schools: Perspectives
Joseph J. Roy, Superintendent of Schools, Bethlehem Area School District
When school success is measured by standardized test scores and inequitable state funding leaves poor districts desperate for dollars, arts education is often a victim of the budget ax. While few dispute the positive effects of arts education—from creative thinking to problem solving to greater empathy for others to improved school climate—legislative mandates and financial shortcomings reveal a lack of true commitment to arts education at the state policy level. On the other hand, the Bethlehem Area School District's commitment to educating the whole child values arts education as much as those academic disciplines subject to state standardized testing. The district's "Roadmap to Educational Excellence," based on the International Center for Leadership in Education's four learning criteria (core learning, stretch learning, student engagement and personal skill development), provides the rationale for protecting arts education even in difficult budget times.
While our district made painful budget cuts several years ago, losing key student supports around tutoring and extended school day remediation, we continued to protect and support arts education as a key part of a child's education. In fact, for many students coming from impoverished backgrounds, the arts provide creative opportunities that engage the students in school, helping them to find greater success in core academic subjects. In the end, misplaced state accountability measures, inequitable state funding and unfunded state mandates often leave arts education on the outside looking in. Policy choices rather than money are the real cause of the loss of arts education in many schools.
Jon Drescher, Professor of Practice, Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders Director, Urban Principals Academy @ Lehigh (U*PAL)
Marcel Proust said, "Only through art can we get outside of ourselves and know another's view of the universe." Maxine Greene has written, "I want to urge you to go back in your own life narratives and try to recover those moments when imagination, released through certain encounters with the arts, opened worlds for you, disclosed new vistas, helped you look at things as if they could be otherwise.
Elliot Eisner compiled a list of 10 Lessons the Arts Teach:
- The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
- The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution.
- The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
- The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
- The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.
- The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
- The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
- The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
- The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source.
- The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults think is important.
I would argue that these same lessons have equally powerful messages for adults as well. So, with just the three examples above, which are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of the arts, why are the arts either minimized or the first to go when there are fiscal issues in play in so many of our nation's schools? Aren't the best schools you've ever visited places that seem to come alive when the adults and children have an opportunity to teach with and express themselves through the arts?
J. Andrew Cassano, Administrative Director, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University
Cuts to the arts in education are nothing new but they are always a mistake, affecting generations of students. The rising interest in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines is built to provide global businesses and economies with students trained for promising careers waiting after graduation. But increasingly, major think tanks and foundations are coming out with more proof that eliminating the arts from well-rounded education greatly reduces the chance of preparing our young people for careers in any field, to communicate as global citizens, and to ask questions of why they are doing what they're practicing. Even proponents of STEM argue that the arts, in some degree, are necessary in approaches to creativity and failure, expression and communication, as well as applied design. But beyond practical application, the arts are one of the single highest success stories in engaging youth in poverty and inspiring them to be successful, stay in school and graduate. The arts and humanities have always been hard to codify through testing as subjects. However, what is increasingly well documented is that schools that have more access to the arts have higher graduation rates. The options for schools to provide access to the arts for students have also grown in recent decades, as arts organizations across the country have increased their efforts to provide programs to schools in an effort to fill the void.
By: Mary Ellen Alu
Application Requirements & Deadlines
- Completed online application
- $65 Application Fee
- GPA Minimum: 3.0 undergraduate
- Official transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Acknowledgement of College of Education Policy on Clearances
- Personal statement
- May 8 for summer semester start
- August 1 for fall semester start
- December 1 for spring semester start