Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

The Florida State University Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is focused on educational improvement at all levels. The department offers educational programs on interdisciplinary perspectives that shape theory and inform practice at the local, state, national and global levels. Through collaboration, innovative approaches, and a commitment to partnerships, we engage in research that shapes both policy and practice. We prepare scholars and leaders committed to using critical inquiry and research evidence to create learning environments focused on excellence and social change. 


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Click here to learn more about our faculty.


Check out the videos below to learn more about our faculty research:

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

    What is a Land Acknowledgement?

    A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects the role of Indigenous peoples as traditional stewards of the land. Through our land acknowledgement, we honor the relationship between Indigenous peoples, their traditional territories, and our current residence on the land.


    Land Acknowledgement

    We, within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Florida State University, acknowledge that our university is located on the Indigenous lands of the Apalachee Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We highlight and pay respect to this history because we understand how the state of Florida and Florida State University came to be settled on these lands. We recognize this land as scarred with a painful past of enslavement, settler colonial violence, the desolation of culture, and the forced removal of Indigenous bodies. Despite this, we respect the cultural and ceremonial practices these Indigenous nations maintain in and around Tallahassee today. As educators, we honor the knowledge of these tribes and their people and acknowledge that Indigenous students, faculty, and administrators are vital to Florida State University. We embrace the decolonization of our educational system and commit to disrupting suppressive systems through the explorations of many truths and lived experiences and creating room for those who are often excluded by harmful colonial erasures in our practice and pedagogy.


    Coalition for Justice and Inclusion

    Our Coalition for Justice and Inclusion is made up of faculty, staff, and students committed to social justice and equity in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. By introducing new initiatives focused on inclusion and equity, and integrating this focus into already existing structures/policies/practices we approach equity and diversity as cross-cutting themes in departmental policy, curriculum, and practices. Our work centers on:

    1. Culture/Structure/Policy Shifts- Approaching diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of structural changes, we recognize the importance of student/faculty, student/staff, and student/student relationships; and develop spaces and processes to support faculty/student meaningful interactions.  
    2. Curricula/Pedagogical Shifts- Engaging in initiatives such as curriculum review (long-term) and developing clearer guidelines about advising expectations (short-term), we develop a curriculum inclusive of excluded voices and perspectives from domestic and international domains and recognize and address the invisibility of Indigenous identities on campus and in our curriculum.
    3. Interpersonal Relationships- Combining ongoing trainings by external experts and department level dialogue/communication we support collaboration and dialogue for meaningful faculty/student interactions to build community with the ability to engage with tensions and conflicts. 



    • “FSU’s Higher Education program has been very beneficial to my development as a future student affairs professional. The faculty in the program bring a vast amount of knowledge and theory to the classroom and challenge us to think critically as we apply that knowledge to the work that we do. Everything we learn in the classroom comes to life as I gain more experience in the profession.” - Daniel McBurney, M.S. ‘18

    • “The Higher Education Ph.D. program at Florida State University has stretched me intellectually and helped me discover my research focus. I’ve delved deeper into the extant literature of this field, critically examining the nexus between theory, policy, and practice. This process could not happen without dedicated faculty who are committed to developing future researchers.” - Dante L. Pelzer, Ph.D. ‘17