Dr. Alonzo Flowers' profile photoWelcome to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS), part of the College of Education at the University of Texas at San Antonio. If you are interested in being an active agent of change in the field of education, ELPS is the right academic home for you. Nelson Mandela eloquently noted that, “Education is the most powerful weapon, you can use to change the world.”  As a change-oriented faculty leader, I have grown to understand precisely what this aforementioned statement means. Our educational system, like society as a whole, is experiencing a social justice awakening; A process in which minoritized populations are unwilling to be subjugated to notions of otherisms. With the continuing diversification of student populations at institutions of higher education, problems concerning educational access, attainment, and matriculation of minoritized populations have continued to challenge all stakeholders within our educational systems. As the department chair for ELPS, my goal is to support the development of our departmental culture centered on the university’s HSI designation, and to support high-impact research as an impetus for advocacy, social change, and community engagement. Thus, aligned with my goal is to help facilitate and support the development of educational leaders who not only seek to acquire knowledge but who transform their learning experiences into an advocacy vehicle for social change.

The ELPS program is home to several graduate-level programs focusing on the preparation of the P-20 educational leaders who are deeply committed to eliminating inequities and injustices against marginalized communities in education. The program offers master’s degrees in K-12 Educational Leadership and in Higher Education Administration. Our Ph.D. program has two emphases: K-12 Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration. The program also offers state certification for principals and superintendents along with a graduate certificate in higher education administration. All our programs are based on a cohort model that fosters collaboration and relationship-building among students. Many of our cohorts were established in partnership with local school districts and institutions of higher education. These partnerships include Edgewood ISD, Northeast ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, Southwest ISD, and the Alamo Colleges, to name a few. As a community-centered program, we are always open and welcome new opportunities to develop additional partnerships that seek to foster leadership development and advocacy-orientated social change. These partnerships reflect the commitment and dedication of our faculty members in delivering community-based and equity-focused learning opportunities.

Now more than ever, we need committed individuals who are passionate and will persevere and who employ an asset-based lens to solve our nation’s tribulations in the field of education. Given our departmental location in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the ELPS faculty has a clear focus on critical issues impacting urban and rural communities as many of our students have learned and/or taught in these spaces. For instance, our program’s Urban School Leader Collaborative (USLC) has been recognized as a highly exemplary educational leadership preparation program from the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA, 2013). Ultimately, the ELPS faculty are committed to excellence in teaching, research, and community service, as such they continue to publish their research in peer-reviewed educational journals, community-focused publications, and present at regional, national, and international conferences. Further, the ELPS faculty’s pedagogical approaches seek to draw connections between the historical, socio-political, and economic contexts that have shaped and continue to impact our education systems, research paradigms, theoretical frameworks, policies, and practices. The ELPS faculty also seeks to create classroom learning opportunities that promote critical reflection, discussion, and experiential learning opportunities. The ELPS faculty also works closely with students within our small classes to allow for one-on-one attention and mentoring.

The ELPS students are active participants in the learning process. They understand and critique existing structures of power and the social order and their respective role in those systems, as well as work to be social change agent within their respective community. The ELPS students complete our academic programs ready to confront a multitude of educational issues across the PK-20 educational continuum by utilizing critical approaches. ELPS students are trained to develop critical solutions and participatory approaches that undergird advocacy to cultivate equity, agency, and critical capacity building towards justice. As such, our master’s and doctoral alumni are positively impacting the communities in which they work in a variety of roles from school principals to district superintendents, higher education administration, and university faculty.

My vision for the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is to focus on equity-centered academic excellence through student-centered learning and the highest quality research and creative work in order to transform our educational communities. As department chair, I am committed to a democratic-facilitative leadership style and developing a sense of shared community. A key aspect in building a shared community is having strong relationships that are built on respect for others, honesty, integrity, dignity, and a common vision of championing issues of social injustice. I envision that all members of our departmental team and community partners working together as advocates to move this vision forward. Please remember that our office staff and work-study students are here to support you in all your endeavors. They have a wealth of knowledge and are true champions for the success of our department. We can only accomplish our vision for the Bold Beginnings at Roadrunner Nation if we collectively work together as one ELPS team.

Highest educational regards,

Dr. Alonzo M. Flowers' signature

Dr. Alonzo M. Flowers III
Department Chair and Associate Professor