IU establishes new MBA for Educators program with support from Woodrow Wilson Foundation

  • June 23, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Working closely with the Indiana University School of Education, the IU Kelley School of Business is developing an MBA degree for educational leaders, with funding from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

IU is one of only five universities in the nation that have been invited to be part of the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership program, and its Kelley School is the first top-ranked business school to be involved.

Like the other institutions, IU will design an MBA degree that provides aspiring education leaders with a rigorous business-based academic program, a yearlong clinical experience and three years of mentoring by a School of Education faculty member.

“We’re very proud and excited to be part of the Woodrow Wilson MBA program,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of IU’s Kelley School of Business and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.

“We have been working with the IU School of Education the last couple of years with our Effective Leaders Academy, which is based on the philosophy of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation that business training can enhance the preparation of today’s educators,” Kesner added. “This is a wonderful next step in sharing transferrable business strategies and working to improve education for Indiana’s future leaders.”

The first cohort of students will begin classes next summer. Through the Woodrow Wilson Foundation grant, 15 fellows from school systems across Indiana will receive 100 percent tuition reimbursement.

The Kelley School MBA for Educators will be delivered by full-time faculty, over an 18-month period, through classes offered at IU Bloomington during the summer and online at other times. It will meet licensing requirements required by the state of Indiana.

“For our children to succeed, they need excellent teachers in their classrooms,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "And for those teachers to succeed, they need exemplary educators leading their schools and districts. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is honored to have IU as part of its MBA Fellowship network. Joining the other institutions, IU and Kelley will help set a new standard for principal and superintendent education across the nation.”

The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship program seeks to prepare education leaders to drive innovation; expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices; raise student performance to international standards; and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time. The intensive, highly selective program blends an education-based business curriculum with clinical experience in schools, corporations and nonprofits and gives fellows exposure to innovative schools.

John Wisneski, a Kelley School management faculty member and an alumnus of the IU School of Education, will direct the Kelley School MBA for Educators. Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, an associate professor in the School of Education, will serve as its associate director.

Faculty in the IU School of Education will deliver about a fifth of the 48-credit-hour program, which differs in approach from the education leadership degrees it offers. The new Kelley School MBA for Educators complements those programs.

“This is an additional opportunity for aspiring leaders in school systems to get the training they need to be successful,” Wisneski said. “Based on everyone’s life experiences, people have different skill gaps as they prepare to become leaders in school systems. For those who feel they lack skills in managing others or leading large-scale improvement initiatives, this should be the perfect opportunity.”

The overall goal of the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership is to increase the quality and relevance of principal and superintendent education. The new degree program will prepare educators to lead organizational change and have a material impact on the outcomes of school systems.

The MBA program’s capstone course will feature a special action project for the educators' school systems, with guidance from their IU School of Education mentor. This will bring benefits to schoolchildren and their families across Indiana.

Other Indiana schools involved in the Woodrow Wilson Foundation program are the University of Indianapolis and Indiana State University. The foundation also offers its Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

This year’s expansion of the program to include IU and Indiana State is due in part to a $14.48 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Kelley is building on previous successes in creating customized offerings for Fortune 500 firms such as General Electric, General Motors and Cummins Engine Co., as well as physicians enrolled in its Business of Medicine MBA Program and members of the NFL Players Association in other specialized MBA programs.

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Idalene Kesner

Idalene Kesner

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Arthur Levine

Arthur Levine

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