My Favorite Class as an Ed.L.D. Student

On Wednesday, August 29th, I walked into the course preview for A608: Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning. The professor, Monica Higgins, opened up the course preview with a simple question, “What is entrepreneurial leadership?”. The question revealed its complexities as the conversation grew. Monica shared that through her course we would use case studies to explore this question and answer it though our final paper. As an educator, I am a sucker for strong instructional planning so I was so fulfilled by the backwards planning, essential question, and end of course assessment that were laid out in under thirty minutes. My first impression of A608 was a strong one and my excitement for the first day of class grew.

Author Erica Jordan-Thomas and Professor Monica Higgins

The course requires us to read a case to prepare for each class. I found it refreshing to learn through analyzing another leader’s experience. In A608 we have analyzed leadership moves in education and outside of education, and as a former principal I saw myself in many of the cases. Looking through the lens of other leaders helped me better articulate the transferable aspects of leadership, regardless of sector, and the unique approach to leadership required within education.

The deliberateness in the selection of cases we explore is evident. We dive into critical facets of leadership that aren’t talked about often but heavily influence the effectiveness of a leader. For example, we explored leadership in times of civil unrest through a case entitled “Lessons from Ferguson.” Through the case we explored the history of Ferguson, Missouri, the leadership of the three school districts neighboring Ferguson and how each school district responded after the shooting of Michael Brown. At the end of class, Dr. Joe Davis, current Superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant school district shared with us updates since the case was written and answered our questions. Hearing directly from leaders connected to the case is not a rare instance in Monica’s class. I consider this an incredible gift as a student as it adds immeasurable depth to our learning.

Monica’s approach to analyzing a case is a beautiful blend of the art and science of teaching that I yearn for in adult learning experiences. During class I oscillate between taking notes on the content and Monica’s pedagogy. Her strategic use of cold calling, building connections between in-the-moment responses and balancing case content with theoretical frameworks leaves me in awe. At the end of each class, I leave feeling enriched and thinking about how every student in our nation’s schools deserves to leave their classroom feeling the same way.

Blog written by Erica Jordan-Thomas. Photos provided by Erica Jordan-Thomas.

F20A3542 - Erica Jordan-Thomas
Erica Jordan-Thomas is a 1st year doctoral candidate in the EdLD program. Prior to her move to Cambridge, she was a middle school principal in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was raised in Columbus, Ohio and is a proud alumna of The Ohio State University…#GoBucks! She holds a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership through Relay Graduate School of Education. In her spare time she loves prioritizing self care through visits to the beach, massages, watching reality TV, and listening to Beyonce.