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About ELPS

Our Vision and Mission

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies seeks to excel in preparing effective leaders for PreK–12 schools and colleges; researchers and policy scholars involved in state, regional, and national study of major policy issues related to schools and colleges; educational leaders for active participation in policy dialogue affecting the purpose and performance of schools and colleges; and faculty  to serve in schools and colleges. The graduate programs of the department are designed to enrich knowledge, skills, and values requisite to effective leadership and to effective teaching and research in educational settings.

The department views leaders as stewards and servants of organizations, designers of the social and cultural climate in which they work, teachers who facilitate and encourage human growth and development, change agents who continually examine the purpose and performance of their organizations, and conceptual provocateurs who challenge ideas and assumptions on which policy and practice are built.

Our Values

The effectiveness of leaders at any level and in any setting rests on competence and conscience. Technical knowledge and skill are placed in action at the service of core values, which are premier design instruments for organizational cultures and climates. Honoring these core values promotes leadership effectiveness. Neglecting these values takes clients and organizations in harm’s way and diminishes the promise and performance of those who give voice and meaning to educational organizations. The values upon which all programs are built and which guide the teaching and learning in the department include:

Civility—Affirming the power of human dignity and diversity

CandorRespecting the power of public forum and the role of dissent and debate

Courage—Acting on conviction and linking belief to action

Responsibility—Accepting care for one’s actions and decisions

Compassion—Caring for person and principle and hold high expectations

CommunityRespecting diversity while developing and agenda of common caring

PersistenceAccenting long range goals and staying the course in face of hardship

ServicePlacing the welfare and promise of others before self

ExcellenceCalling individuals and organizations to high standards of performance

JusticeEnsuring equity in opportunity and recognition


Welcome to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. We are proud of our more than 60-year history of preparing educational administrators, policy scholars, and faculty. We offer a graduate program in Educational Administration (PreK–12), including a principal licensing certificate, MS, EdS, and PhD programs.  We also offer graduate programs in higher education administration, an MS degree in college student personnel, and a PhD in higher education administration.

On this website, you’ll be able to learn more about all of our programs and centers—the Center for Educational Leadership and the College Access and Persistence Services (CAPS) Outreach Center—and find the name and contact information for the coordinators of these various programs.

Norma T. Mertz, EdD
Department Head

ELPS Departmental Bylaws

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.