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Athabasca University


MDDE 631: Inclusive Leadership and Practice in Education

Delivery mode: Grouped study using Moodle

Credits: 3 - Core course

Prerequisites: MDDE 601, MDDE 602 for MEd program students only

Instructor: Susan Bainbridge



Student populations today are more diverse than ever before. Ensuring that each student is meaningfully included and successful is a challenge for teachers, instructors, administrators, and others involved in the educational process. Differences in ability levels, ethnicity, cultural background, and gender identity, among other factors, can provide learning environments with a rich kaleidoscope of features.  With inclusive leadership and practice, student diversity can add value to the learning environment, providing opportunities for meaningful learning, personal growth, and community building. 

MDDE631: Inclusive Leadership and Practice in Education addresses the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to deal successfully with student diversity. Theories and research from sociology, inclusive education, and inclusive leadership will be addressed, as well as relevant legislation and policies. Personal attitudes, values, and beliefs pertaining to particular differences will be explored. Through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities, participants in the course will investigate how learning environments can be made more student-centered and inclusive. Participants will address current challenges they face in a collaborative manner designed to create an ongoing community of practice.  

Course Goals

After completing this course students will be able to:

  1. Analyse and critique the basic theories supporting the development of inclusive practices.
  2. Appraise the inclusive practices and values of learning environments.
  3. Design effective strategies for the application of inclusive practice in the classroom and educational workplace.
  4. Apply the principles and strategies of inclusiveness in their teaching practice.
  5. Advocate for the application of inclusive practices in the educational environment.

Course Outline

The course is divided into three units:
Unit 1: Inclusiveness Theory
Unit 2: Leadership Theory
Unit 3: Design and Application.

Course Materials

Textbook: Ryan, J. (2006). Inclusive Leadership (Vol. 2). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Blount, J. M. (2013). Educational leadership through equity, diversity, and social justice and educational leadership for the privilege imperative. In L. C. Tillman & J. J. Scheurich, Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity (pp. 7-21). New York, NY: Routledge.

Calabrese, R., Hester, M., Friesen, S., & Burkhalter, K. (2010). Using appreciative inquiry to create a sustainable rural school district and community. International Journal of Educational Management, 24(3), 250-265.

Capper, C. A., & Green, T. L. (2013). Organizational theories and the development of leadership capacity for integrated, socially just schools. In L. C. Tillman & J. J. Scheurich,  Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity (pp. 62-81). New York, NY: Routledge.

Coleman, M. (2012). Leadership and diversity. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 40(5), 592-609.

Doveston, M., & Keenaghan, M. (2006). Growing talent for inclusion: Using an appreciative inquiry approach into investigating classroom dynamics. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 6(3), 153-165.

Furman, G. (2012). Social justice leadership as praxis developing capacities through preparation programs. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48(2), 191-229.

Hesbol, K. A. (2013). Preparing leaders to reculture schools as inclusive communities of practice. In L. C. Tillman & J. J. Scheurich,  Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity (pp. 603-624). New York, NY: Routledge.

Jones, P., Forlim, C., & Gillies, A. (2013). The contribution of facilitated leadership to systems development for greater inclusive practices.  International Journal of Whole Schooling, 9(1), 60-74.

McGhie-Richmond, D., Irvine, A., Loreman, T., & Lupart, J. (2013). Teacher perspectives on inclusive education in rural Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l'éducation, 36(1), 195-239.

Moreno, J. A. C., Jaén, M. D. M., Navío, E. P., & Moreno, J. R. (2015). Inclusive education in schools in rural areas. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 4(2), 107-114.

Mullick, J., Deppeler, J., & Sharma, U. (2012). Inclusive education reform in primary schools of Bangladesh: Leadership challenges and possible strategies to address the challenges. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 8(1), 1-20.

Ryan, J. (2006). Inclusive leadership and social justice for schools. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 5(1), 3-17.

Specht, J., McGhie-Richmond, D., Loreman, T., Mirenda, P., Bennett, S., Gallagher, T., & Cloutier, S. (2015). Teaching in inclusive classrooms: Efficacy and beliefs of Canadian preservice teachers. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(10), 1-15.  

Waters, L., & White, M. (2015). Case study of a school wellbeing initiative: Using appreciative inquiry to support positive change. International Journal of Wellbeing, 5(1), 19-32.

Student Assessment

Your grade will be based on three assignments and your participation in the course.

Assignment 1: Students will perform a critical review of two major theories – one pertaining to inclusiveness and one pertaining to leadership.


Assignment 2: Students will describe, critically analyse and moderate a discussion about an educational setting in which a lack of inclusiveness is a concern.


Assignment 3: Students will provide a report, evidence of and reflection on how they have or plan to apply and support the expansion of inclusiveness practices in their classroom  / workplace.


Course participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums and web conferences.





Get Started Early

Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited access to the course. On the Official Start Date of the course, instructors will be available and the discussion forums will become active.



Last updated by MM December 15, 2016

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