With support from Lumina Foundation for Education, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) used its cross-boundary leadership program, the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFPTM), as a learning laboratory to answer the question, "How do we get the leaders we need in education?"
Through a multi-part study that included a literature review, a survey of alumni and focus group discussions, case studies of EPFP State sites, and lessons culled from EPFP's leadership development program peers, IEL learned that the short, unvarnished answer is, "We get the leaders we need by developing them."
The study confirmed that EPFP benefits individuals, their employing (sponsoring) organizations, and states by:
- increasing Fellows' knowledge base and refining their leadership skills;
- strengthening Fellows' ties both within and outside the EPFP group;
- creating an enduring impact on Fellow's work efficacy and careers by developing their human capital and creating social capital;
- enhancing employees' ability to make research-based contributions to policy and practice;
- expanding the use of professional networks for gaining access to people and resources previously unknown or unavailable to an organization;
- developing over time a larger, savvier systemic leadership capacity in a state.
As one alumnus explained, "[EPFP] helped me understand my leadership style and improve areas of weakness. As a young professional, that training was very important to me and is something that I use every day. I use the information I learned as I manage staff and work with boards and committees."