Skip Navigation


Skip Side Navigation


The Leadership & Policy Center for Thriving Schools & Communities at the University of Oklahoma

    The Leadership and Policy Center for Thriving Schools and Communities (THRIVE) was established in 2021 on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. THRIVE is a resource for the State of Oklahoma and its education policymakers at the state, district, community, and school levels.  OU social scientists from both the Norman and Tulsa campuses, and from various disciplines, are tapped as needed to address research and evaluation needs as they are identified.  Some projects are identified by the central core scholars of THRIVE and published as policy white papers or scholarly publications.  Other research projects are contracted with civil and governmental agencies.  Some research projects may be ongoing partnerships with civic or educational entities for longitudinal research informing policy and practice.

    Leadership at all levels is central to the work of thriving schools and communities, yet traditional leadership models and frameworks are insufficient to guide leaders in generating structures and conditions in which human potential is energized.  New paradigms, frameworks, structures, and practices are needed to bring innovative responses to entrenched social and educational problems.  The Leadership and Policy Center for Thriving Schools and Communities does this.  It responds to the salient community needs through engaged scholarship that is situated in and carried out through research, teaching, and service.    

    The University of Oklahoma’s strategic plan establishes the bold purpose of – We Change Lives.  To change lives requires the thoughtful and strategic use of resources within and across degree programs, research, teaching, and service.  The Leadership and Policy Center for Thriving Schools and Communities bridges boundaries between research, policy, and practice and it establishes the infrastructure to deepen and extend our respective work in and with communities.  

  • Provide leadership programming for in-service leader professional growth in support of human thriving
  • Facilitate network improvement communities focused on organizing collaborative problem solving for school improvement
  • Provide and/or facilitate collaborative leadership academies with school districts and community partners to build capacity for human thriving 
  • Support and maintain current leadership programs enrollment.
  • With funding from OU-Tulsa and Norman, support the development and involvement of at least 2 affiliated EACS Ph.D. students in the work of the Center.
  • Engage in market/community research as to the current needs state and local agencies regarding new principal preparation.
  • Engage in community outreach and recruitment of prospective graduate students.
  • Provide all doctoral students with yearly academic performance/progress to degree evaluations.
  • Examine and improve EACS program curricula as needed to be responsive to the needs of EACS, OU, and/or the leadership community.
  • Generate capacity reports for leaders operating in or working with our contracted school districts and community partners
  • Engage in original, applied social science and/or policy research of consequence to local, state, national, or international interests
  • Support and maintain our existing interactive on-line platform for the use of capacity reports by contracted clients and partners
  • Maintain our annual targets for knowledge dissemination and scholarly production in the form of books, book chapters, policy reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, and conference and/or invited presentations.
  • Maintain existing contractual and/or extramural obligations and secure new contracts.

click here to download the Educational Leadership Graduates (2008-2022)

  • 32% are in leadership positions
  • 57% are in roles as K-12 educators
  • 8 faculty positions
  • 29 in other education positions
  • 84 teachers
  • 86 school leaders
  • 58 district leaders
  • 13 Assistnace Superintendents/Superintendents
  • 83 Assistant Principals/Principals
  • 68.5% Female
  • 31.5% Male
  • 300 Masters graduates
  • 51 Doctorate graduates
  • 10 Masters & Doctorate graduates
  • 1 in three graduates are people of color
  • 8 out of 10 graduates have stayed in Oklahoma
  • 135 Leaders and teachers serving in Title I districts in OK