Culturally Proficient Leadership (Certificate)


This MHEC-approved certificate is designed to analyze issues and trends promoting equity and excellence for all students in America’s schools. Candidates will critically examine their personal, social belief systems related to education, and learn to facilitate open dialogue about equity and excellence in their schools and school systems as equity leaders. Courses will focus on theoretical frameworks that address meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Culturally relevant pedagogy, critical race theory, intersectionality theory, and various learning theories will provide the frameworks for the analysis and application of effective pedagogical strategies.

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Program Locations

Additional Study Options

Student Outcomes

All students will be able to:

  1. Analyze major trends and issues related to equity and excellence in America’s schools.
  2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the historical framework undergirding access to educational equity in American schools.
  3. Evaluate the intersectionality of contemporary critical theories that contribute to addressing the academic, social, and emotional needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.
  4. Establish environmental factors, pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment practices to determine how each can reproduce inequalities or promote success for all students and their communities.
  5. Develop culturally responsive teaching and leadership practices to ensure access and opportunity for all students.

Certificate Outcomes

All participants will be able to:

  1. Enhance career and professional development opportunities for employment pathways in the profession, e.g., Equity facilitator, specialist, coordinator, or director.
  2. Facilitate open dialogue about equity and excellence in schools and school systems as an equity leader.
  3. Design and evaluate curriculum and instruction to support the diverse learning needs of all students.



Required Courses

EDUC 510 - Introduction to Cultural Proficiency and Educational Equity
EDUC 511 - Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
EDUC 514 - Critical Race Theory in Education
EDU 567 - Learning Theory and Practice

Total Credits: 12

What to Expect Studying at Notre Dame of Maryland University

With award-winning teacher certification programs nationally recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, you can expect to benefit from small class sizes, expert faculty, and practical field experiences.

Courses are conveniently offered during the evening hours. Class size consists of 12-21 students per course. A co-teaching model is utilized for several of the courses. Program assignments will allow candidates to participate in a variety of self-reflective activities; conduct research on an intersectionality topic of interest; develop their personal visions as equity leaders; and evaluate curriculum, instruction, and assessment using an equity lens.

Bryan Burns
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Changing Perspective and Purpose

Alum, NDMU Class of 2018 Leadership in Teaching: Culturally Proficient Leadership, Culturally Proficient Leadership (Certificate)

The Cultural Proficiency Leadership Endorsement Program at NDMU is one of the few educational programs throughout years of professional development that actually transformed the way I look at education, especially as it relates to my role as an educator. We formed a partnership in this program; we developed an energy of mutual understanding where we could individually reflect, yet collectively challenge and grow in our personal and professional lives as it relates to our impact on the diverse identities of our students and our society. The coursework allowed me to transcend beyond the writing on the wall in order to question the institutionalized structures that mask reality and limit the success of our students in public school education. This program will change much more than your perspective, it will change your purpose.

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This Post-Master's Certificate opportunity is appropriate for equity-focused educators who are interested in positions of leadership in administration, curriculum development, instruction, and/or assessment.

Research Opportunities

Upon completion of the certificate, candidates may choose to transfer credits earned into the Cultural Proficiency Master’s Program, or the School of Education's Ph.D. program: Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations. The opportunity to develop a dissertation topic with an equity focus is encouraged for Ph.D. candidates.