About Us

Message from the Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies, or ELSIT. We are the newest department in the Graduate College of Education, yet we exist to address some of the oldest, most complex, and persistent challenges in education and society—power, inequality, leadership, technology, and learning.

ELSIT is a complex and highly interdisciplinary department with an array of exciting programs, faculty, and students, ranging from challenging graduate programs to community outreach programs for underserved populations that bring in high school students and community members for their first undergraduate experience.

We sincerely invite you to join us. You will find a vibrant, stimulating community of intellectual inquiry and meaningful praxis focusing on issues of equity and social justice in education.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you are ready for a thoughtful educational challenge. Our priority is your success.

Cordially and with respect,

Deborah Curtis

Values and Mission

The Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies (ELSIT) is a unique multidisciplinary unit that is composed of five M.A. degree programs (Adult Education, Educational Administration, Equity and Social Justice Education, Instructional Technologies, Special Interest in Education, and Instructional Technologies), one credential program (Educational Administration), and one high school outreach program (Step to College). The department also serves undergraduate programs with General Education (GE) requirement courses in math, technology, and education.

Our fundamental belief is that all humans are valued and appreciated for their individuality. Accordingly, we offer learning opportunities that seek to enable all to reach their full potential. At the core of what we do is an ethic of care. This ethic infuses all of our work to build a community of learners, educators, and leaders, and to create equitable learning spaces, curricula, pedagogies, technologies, and scholarship.

ELSIT's programs seamlessly weave research and practice together so that students experience inclusive and applied learning that integrates equity and social justice with social, cultural, political, spiritual, economic, and environmental issues. This praxis imbues our teaching, learning, research, lifelong learning, scholarship, and technologies with equity and social justice to establish a foundation of knowledge grounded in democratic values.

In ELSIT we engage our students in meaningful dialogue that promotes introspection and critical reflection. We acknowledge that students and faculty bring with them lived experiences that inform all of our teaching and learning. Knowledge in our programs is thus not owned by any single entity, but is a collective construction of all.

ELSIT prepares professionals to critically examine inequities and work to challenge and eradicate them. Our students become teachers, administrators, facilitators, curriculum developers, trainers, advocates, activists, and ultimately, change agents. We are a part of the many communities that surround us. We thus work to build meaningful relationships sustained by program values so that our students become invested future leaders and active community members.


ELSIT (Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies) was formally established as a new department in the Graduate College of Education in Fall, 2012. The department was formed out of two pre-existing departments: DAIS (Department of Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies) and ITEC (Department of Instructional Technologies). After over a year of thoughtful collaborative planning and discussion, the faculties of DAIS and ITEC voted to join forces to create the new, dynamic, and proactive educational unit called ELSIT.

Both DAIS and ITEC have long histories of multiple decades in the Graduate College of Education. At the time of the founding of ELSIT, DAIS was already an interdisciplinary department, consisting of multiple programs dating back to the 1970s, and even earlier. ITEC was formed as a department in the early 1980s, and has long been on the cutting edge of technological and learning innovations in education.