The Changing Landscape of Principal Preparation:
An Analysis of Statewide Longitudinal Program Component Survey Results

Jennifer Friend
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Robert Watson
Missouri State University

This article examines comparative survey results for 16 principal preparation programs located in the Midwestern state of Missouri across a four-year time period from 2008 to 2012. The authors are founding members of a statewide Higher Education Evaluation Committee (HEEC), which has been meeting on a monthly basis since 2005, comprised of faculty representatives from all school leadership preparatory programs and Missouri Department of Education leaders. The mission of the HEEC is to improve all preparatory programs in order to positively impact K-12 student performance through the development of highly effective school and district leaders. This unique collaborative improvement effort resulted in a statewide initiative to administer a comprehensive program component survey to collect data from the 2007-08 and 2011-12 academic years to examine changes in preparation programs. The article explores the development of the HEEC, describes the multi-year processes for administration of the surveys, and shares recommendations to improve preparatory programs for educational leaders based upon the survey results. The dramatically changing landscape of principal preparation is apparent in the major findings: (1) online course offerings doubled in four years, (2) adjunct faculty increased 260% while full-time faculty decreased by 27%, and (3) the number of required credit hours and time to degree completion decreased as competition for student enrollment increased across the state.

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