Join Us in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement

Donald Peurach, Associate Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation in the School of Education

The University of Michigan School of Education invites you to join us in an experiment aimed at catalyzing a world-wide community of professionals committed to engaging educational innovation and improvement as a field of study and a domain of practice.

This initiative celebrates the launch of our Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program,  a series of five massive open online courses on the edX platform that introduce the theory and practice of large-scale, network-based continuous educational improvement. The program was designed in collaboration with the Ross School of Business and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, with contributions from over 40 leading educational professionals, researchers, and reformers across the US. I had the honor of serving as the lead designer of the program.

We are launching Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement at a fascinating moment in the history of US public education. Over the past five years, a new educational reform movement has taken shape, one that has practicing educators, researchers, and reformers collaborating in novel “school improvement networks” to address educational problems, needs, and opportunities using formal methods of continuous improvement. In Fall 2017, school improvement networks became the centerpiece of a $1 billion grant program announced by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to improve academic success, high school graduation, and college placement among black, Hispanic, and poor students in the nation’s most challenged schools.

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement locates learners at the center of this rapidly evolving “improvement movement”, and supports them in developing the foundational knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions needed to become active members.

Toward that end, we designed Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement not only as a series of massive open online courses. We designed the program as a platform for building a new type of trans-institutional, trans-national educational reform community. All core courses use an instructional approach called “Self-Directed/Community Supported Learning” that combines presentations, enrichment activities, scenario-based team practice exercises, and community-wide discussion, with the aim of drawing diverse learners in the US and around the world into a community of discourse and practice.

From January — April 2018, I will guide a cohort of learners in completing curated versions of the two courses that comprise the core of Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement:

I will be complementing the existing online resources with supplemental instructional guidance, online office hours, guest webinars, and blogging opportunities, all aimed at enriching learners’ experiences and supporting their success.

These special, curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x courses are open to practicing educators, graduate students, faculty members, and reformers across the US and around the world. They are also being offered as part of a 3-credit seminar in the School of Education open to all graduate students and upper division undergraduate students:  EDUC 639 — Engaging Educational Innovation and Improvement.

Together, we will use these curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x as a laboratory in which to explore new approaches to developing foundational understandings of cutting-edge educational theory and practice, new ways of using open-access instructional resources to support place-based professional development, and new ways of collaborating to accelerate the redesign of graduate programs in response to dynamic policy environments.

Indeed, our aim is to collaborate in a grand experiment using a new, online learning platform to do what world-class public research universities do best:

  • Convene diverse groups of stakeholders around pressing issues of social importance, and rally their passions and wisdom.
  • Inform conversations among them with new insights about theory and practice.
  • Empower them to move forward, together, in making a big difference for many people, especially those who are too often disempowered and disenfranchised.

Stay tuned! We will be using this blog to report on our progress over the winter semester.

If you would like more information about participating in this initiative, please click here for an FAQ about the MicroMasters program that also provides more details about the special, curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x.

If you would like to join us for this initiative, please click here to complete a general information form by December 15, 2017. We are using this form to build an email list of potential participants. On 12/16/2017, we will be mailing specific guidance for registering for these courses on the edX platform.

As always, please feel free to email me ( for additional information.

We hope you are able to join us in celebrating Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement!

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