Leadership in Teaching: Culturally Proficient Leadership


The Master of Arts in Leadership in Teaching: Culturally Proficient Leadership program and MHEC-approved certificate analyzes issues and trends promoting equity and excellence for all students in America’s schools. Candidates critically examine 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 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 language and linguistic acquisition theories provide the frameworks for analysis and application of effective pedagogical strategies.

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Program Locations

Pursue a Ph.D.

Upon completion of the program, several earned credits may be transferred to the Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations program.

Additional Study Options

Student Outcomes

As a student in this program, you 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.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of the program, you will be able to:

  1. Pass all national testing requirements, as applicable, achieving a 100% pass rate for NDMU.
  2. Enhance career and professional development opportunities for employment pathways in the profession, e.g., Equity facilitator, specialist, coordinator, or director.
  3. Facilitate open dialogue about equity and excellence in schools and school systems as an equity leader.
  4. Design and evaluate curriculum and instruction to support the diverse learning needs of all students. 



  • Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Educational Research: EDU-543 (3 credits)

    Provides an interactive learning environment that will enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities required for the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of educational research. In addition, the course will enable students to cultivate the skills necessary for engaging in their own creative and meaningful research. [ 3 credits ]
  • Leadership Seminar I: EDU-557 (3 credits)

    Analyzes various models of leadership and explores societal and personal assumptions about leadership. Students investigate key elements of effective leadership and raise questions from several cultural viewpoints. Participants will be encouraged to integrate and apply diverse leadership perspectives in order to enhance their leadership abilities and strengthen their capacity to lead as educational professionals. [ 3 credits ]
  • Curriculum Development: EDU-563 (3 credits)

    Considers the forces driving quality curriculum development. This course examines how different groups, issues, ideologies and research have influenced what and how children have been taught historically. Attention will be focused on recent reform literature directed at schools and its likely impact on curriculum. Current political, economic, demographic and academic trends will be studied. The process for curriculum design will be examined and applied as students develop a sample guide using the class as a workshop group. The course concludes with an analysis of future curriculum needs and the role of educators in bringing about needed changes. [ 3 credits ]
  • Learning Theory and Practice: EDU-567 (3 credits)

    Evaluates theories of learning from cognitive, physiological and affective perspectives as a basis for effective instructional practice. Research into the theoretical basis for learning and higher level thinking skills is applied to educational planning, implementation, and evaluation. [ 3 credits ]
  • Dialects in American Schools: EDU-624 (3 credits)

    This advanced course examines the effects of linguistic variation in K-12 classrooms. Various factors will be analyzed that can result in linguistic variation, such as social class and ethnicity. Students examine nonstandard language varieties of English, including African American Vernacular English, and World English varieties. An important focus of the course will be effect of nonstandard English on the development of literacy skills. The course will also address unique pedagogical strategies for teaching speakers of nonstandard varieties of English. Students will complete individual research projects, in which they analyze the language development of K-12 students. [3 credits ]
  • Digital Game-Based Learning and Design: EDU-665 (3 credits)

    This course provides an overview of the learning theories, best practices, and classroom application models involved with incorporating educational games and simulations into learning environments. The use of current and emerging technologies found in the gaming arena will be explored and documented for classroom application. This course brings together cultural, business, government and technical perspectives on developing and integrating electronic gaming techniques and technologies to enhance and enrich learning. Course participants will develop an understanding of the current trends (technical and sociological) in computer and console gaming, and what can be learned and applied from the world of gaming to positively affect teaching and learning. They will also experience an authentic creative process when they explore the game design process. [ 3 credits ]
  • Global and International Perspectives in Education: EDU-674 (3 credits)

    Prepares students for learning and teaching for the 21st century with new methodologies, new skills and new approaches in an increasingly interdependent world. These interdependencies include: international communications systems providing worldwide access to information, global economic situations that impact career and work, ideological contests that are global in nature and significance, and the challenge of global disparity in standards of living and access to resources. Inquiry into the nature of these interdependencies enables educators to make decisions impacting curriculum and instructional methodology appropriate for preparing all students for intelligent participation in the contemporary world. [ 3 credits ]
  • Linguistic and Cultural Diversity: EDU-698 (3 credits)

    Assists educators in better understanding the nature of language and language acquisition in the context of their relevance for education. First and second language acquisition will be studied in detail, primarily from a cognitive perspective with emphasis on the analysis of the diverse variables that play a role in language acquisition and how these affect literacy development. The focus of this course will be on the study of language development of K-12 students who are linguistic minority students, including those for whom Standard English is a second dialect and those for whom it is a second language. [ 3 credits ]
  • Introduction to Cultural Competency and Educational Equity: EDUC-510 (3 credits)

    Candidates will acquire an understanding of the historical framework undergirding access to educational equity in American schools.  Candidates will examine a myriad of qualitative and quantitative data points that challenge current belief systems about public schools.  In addition, the course will examine the impact of the present public schooling structure (that is, Gifted and Talented Education, Special Education programs for ELLs, etc.) as it interfaces with Educational equity. [ 3 credits ]

  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: EDUC-511 (3 credits)

    This course focuses on the direct application of culturally responsive practices in and outside the classroom.  Students will examine environmental factors, pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment practices to determine how each can provide opportunities for students growth and achievement in their classrooms and their communities. [ 3 credits ]


Required Courses

EDUC 510 - Introduction to Cultural Proficiency and Educational Equity
EDUC 511 - Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
EDUC 514 - Critical Race Theory in Education
EDU 543 - Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Educational Research
EDU 557 - Leadership Seminar I
EDU 563 - Curriculum Development
EDU 567 - Learning Theory and Practice
EDU 569 - Supervision: Empowering Teachers
EDU 624 - Dialects in American Schools
EDU 665 - Digital Game-Based Learning and Design
EDU 674 - Global and International Perspectives in Education
EDU 698 - Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

Total Credits: 36

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.

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.

Flexible Class Schedules

Work with an advisor to develop a personalized program plan: 

  • Courses offered in the evenings at times convenient for working adults.
  • Occasional courses available on Saturdays or online.

Education Careers

Graduates of NDMU are highly recruited for employment. Equity-focused graduates of our program attain positions of leadership in administration, curriculum development, instruction, and/or assessment. 

See Our Award-Winning Teachers