Faculty & Research

Recent Publications - Books

Restoring human agency to educational administration: Status and strategies

Graphic of book cover

English, F. & Papa, R.
Lancaster, PA: Pro>Active Publications (2010)
17-ISBN: 1-885432-50-X

Find on Pro>Active Publications

Fenwick English recently co-wrote a book titled Restoring human agency to educational administration: Status and strategies, published by Pro>Active Publications. The book explores ideas for expanding and improving educational leadership training and research and can be used as a text for methods courses in doctoral research.

Fenwick English is the R. Wendell Eaves Sr. Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at the School of Education and a distinguished professor in the Educational Leadership Program. In 2009, he was elected to the Executive Board of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration.

English, along with co-author Rosemary Papa, addresses the book to those accountable for setting the agenda of study in the field of educational administration and leadership. Papa holds the Del and Jewell Lewis Endowed Chair for Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz.

The volume explores important issues such as guidelines for improving leadership and administrator programs, and presents new ideas for selecting and vetting dissertation theories and topics. The authors draw upon history and an analysis of current stakeholders to develop ideas on how to work in educational leadership. They suggest that improved and different research can help develop school leadership by connecting theory and practice in new ways.

The book also focuses on bringing humanities and knowledge of the human back into teaching and learning. It builds on the belief that the ways educators are trained to think have a profound effect on the fullness and intelligence of their actions as leaders. Suggestions are offered regarding how educational administrators and leaders can embrace a wider range of philosophical, historical and artistic theories.

The book is divided into two parts. Part I presents the 2009 Walter Cocking Invitational Lecture that was delivered by Fenwick English at the annual conference of the National Council of Professors and Educational Administration in San Antonio, Texas, August 2009. It examines the current state of the field of educational administration, and urges the re-emergence of the arts and humanities in preparing school leaders.

Part II is titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Critical Review of Trends in Dissertation Research in Educational Leadership, 2006-08.” This section examines the thinking in the field of education administration as it is summarized in doctoral dissertations from 2006-08. The research done during this time period has revealed that many steps need to be taken to improve the quality of thinking in the preparation of educational administrators. Charts, graphs and statistics supplement the text.

The goal of the book is to expand the lens of the field of educational leadership, which the authors believe has grown too insular and narrow as it has become increasingly focused on the social sciences. They argue that leadership is based on both the exterior and the interior of a person, and that a better understanding of the interior ─”the subjective” ─ is needed in order to prepare a leader as a complete person. “That is what we mean,” write the authors, “by restoring human agency.”