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EAD 800
ORGANIZATION THEORY IN EDUCATION
FALL

Christopher Dunbar
407 Erickson Hall
Office:353-9017

Email: dunbarc@msu.edu

Mon 4:10-7:30
106 Holden Hall
Office Hours: M, W-2-3:45
Or by appointment

Course Description

This course is intended for prospective and practicing school leaders, and members of school communities The focus of this course is to garner a systematic understanding of the behavior of adults at work in the school. We will examine the organizational context in which people work. We will explore how school leaders interact with people in their organizations seeking to understand ways that cause them to be understood and accepted as leaders. We will learn how this differs from command.

We will discuss theory of practice as it applies to leadership in school that is, "real life" situations. We will discuss organizational behavior, organizational theory, school reform, turmoil in school, organizational culture and climate, organizational change, leadership as a relationship with followers, motivation and decision-making.

The first set of issues will focus on theory of practice, mainstreams of organizational thought and organizational theory in modern period. The second set of issues will consider the human dimension of organization, organizational culture and climate, and organizational change. The third set of readings will focus on leadership, decision-making and conflict in organizations.

Sets of school-based issues will be probed utilizing a problem-based framing approach in an effort to expose prospective school leaders to sets of problems that will enhance their decision-making abilities. Our use of problem based learning places students in the role of the school administrator through the use of contexualized problem scenarios, where they must work with others to understand and solve problems associated with school leadership. Successful principals must be skilled in the ability to understand formulate, and solve problems. Discovery of the problem is one of the critical pieces to understand in the development of successful leadership.

Course Requirements and Grading

Class participation:

The success of this class depends heavily on students to complete all reading assignments in a thorough, thoughtful and critical manner. This will require you to take notes while reading assignments, write questions, and points of contention in your preparation to be an active participant in class discussions. There will be little lecturing in the traditional sense as the course is intended to operate more like a seminar. Therefore it is vital that students prepare for class by reading the assignments. Each student is expected to co-lead one class reading. This co-leadership will consist of the following: introducing the key topics and issues to the class, leading the discussion centered on questions intended to highlight themes from the reading. Other classroom activities may be used to highlight themes and ideas of the readings. I encourage you to think creatively about how to carry out these activities. This will constitute 25% of the grade for the course.

Written assignments:

Students are expected to prepare two written assignments for the course in addition to a written response to a set of questions covering course material as a culminating assignment. The first assignment will ask you to research a scholarly journal to find an article that discusses a current issue in organizational theory. You will critique an article providing an analysis of the authors perspective. This assignment should be 2-3 pages in length. The second assignment will have you analyze a case study drawing on the information from your text. The case will be given to you and should be returned the next day. The third assignment will be a take-home exam (handed out in class). You will have two days to complete and return to me. The questions will draw from our readings, discussions, and case studies from our class experiences. You will be asked to respond both analytically and critically indicating your understanding of the material presented in class. This assignment will be 10-12 pages in length. In addition, there will be in class and take home case studies that you will read, analyze, and present summaries to the class.

All assignments will be typed, double-spaced, size 12 font with 1-inch margins all around.

Reading Assignments

The following books has been ordered and are/should be available at the MSU bookstore: Organizational Behavior in Education: Instructional Leadership and School Reform. Author, Robert G. Owens (7th edition).

"I Won't Learn From You" Author Herbert Kohl

Evaluation

Written assignments will be assessed on the basis of their consistency with the assignment; development and organization of the argument; clarity of written expression; use of sources/resources.
Class participation will be evaluated on the following criteria: demonstrated mastery of the readings, contribution to other students' understanding and clarity and originality of thought.

Grades will based on the following:

20% Participation, including co-leading one session and case study assignments.
20% First paper Critique of Scholarly journal article.
20% Second paper Case study analysis
40% Final paper.

Course Outline

8/27 Course overview and introduction

9/3 Labor Day-no class; Reading Assignment: I Won't Learn From You. P1-88

9/10 "I Won't Learn from You" p. 89-153

Organizational Behavior in Education

9/17 Chapter 1: Toward a Theory of Practice

9/24 Chapter 2: Mainstreams of Organizational Thought

9/31 Chapter 3: Organizational Theory In the Modern Period

10/1 Chapter 4: The Human Dimension of Organization

10/8 Chapter 5: Organizational Culture and Climate (First assignment due)

10/15 Chapter 6: Organizational Change

10/22 Chapter 7: Leadership

10/29 Chapter 8: Decision Making

11/5 Chapter 9: Conflict in Organization (Second assignment due)

11/12 Chapter 10: Motivation

11/19 Chapter 11: School Reform

11/26 Review (Take home Exam)

12/3 Final Exam due in class 4:10
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