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Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL)


The Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership is one of three departments within the College of Education. The Department is structured around three Divisions: Education Policy and Leadership (EPL); Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry (LLSI); and Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education (STME). Interrelated program areas currently include: Art Integration, Curriculum Theory and Development, Education Policy, Elementary Education, English Education, Literacy Education, Mathematics Education, Middle School Education, Urban Education, Organizational Leadership, Reading Education, Science Education, Second Language/TESOL, Social Studies Education, Professional Development/Teacher Education, and Sociocultural Foundations of Education.

Additional departmental programs encourage thoughtful and responsive explorations of education policies, practices and related social issues. Graduate students are prepared to create and critique alternative courses of action to enhance the quality of education for all persons and to redress the social conditions that restrict collective democratic aspirations.

Dr. Nihat Polat, UMD Department Chair of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership

Welcome to the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL). We are delighted that you’re interested in learning more about our department and the wealth of educational opportunities we offer to our students. As one of the three departments in the College of Education, TLPL is home to numerous top-notch academic programs and world-class faculty who are committed to offering rigorous and culturally responsive educational opportunities for all students. 

Education is power! As a first-generation college graduate, I personally relate to the transformative power of education, especially for underprivileged communities. Our department prepares critical and innovative educators and researchers who are responsive to the unique needs of the whole person. That means we deeply believe in the role we play to help dismantle social inequities and transform lives in order to build a more inclusive, just, and prosperous society for all. What can be more special and self-gratifying than that!  

Structured around three Divisions, we offer numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees in Educational Policy and Leadership (Division 1); Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry (Division 2); and Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education (Division 3). Within these divisions are six academic specializations: Education Policy and Leadership; Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry; Mathematics and Science Education; Urban Education; Teacher Education and Professional Development; Technology and Leadership. Further, the Department’s initial certification programs, in a multiplicity of pathways, prepare students for positions as education leaders and teachers in various content arenas and specializations, which includes the Master’s Certification Program (MCERT).

The Division structure is the intellectual center of the Department. The Science, Technology and Mathematics Education division focuses on knowledge foundations related to science, technology, and mathematics. The Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry division focuses on knowledge foundations related to language, literacy, culture, arts integration and society. The Education Policy and Leadership division focuses on knowledge foundations related to curriculum theory, education policy, leadership studies, sociocultural foundations, social studies education, teacher education/professional development, and urban education.

TLPL is also home to four centers: Center for Math Education, Multilingual Research Center, Center for Science and Technology in Education, and the Maryland Equity Project, which complement scholarly interests and expertise of our department faculty. We invite you to explore what our TLPL community has to offer as you visit our website.

We hope you learn about our outstanding faculty and staff, as well as the numerous innovative and rigorous educational opportunities and degree and certification options TLPL offers as you navigate through our website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you cannot find what you need on our website. I hope you consider joining this dynamic and awesome community of educators!

Nihat Polat, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor


Students walking

The Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership is committed to the creation of educational opportunities that enable all individuals to realize their full potential as citizens in a pluralistic society and an interdependent world. To advance that ideal, the department supports cutting-edge research and offers graduate and undergraduate programs that apply a range of theoretical orientations, discipline-based perspectives and research methodologies to the study of educational problems, policies, learning processes, and learning environments, especially those housed in schools and school districts. The department’s graduate programs prepare students to assume a variety of roles, including scholars, researchers, policy analysts, teacher educators, instructional specialists, curriculum developers, teachers, education leaders, and advocates. The department’s initial certification programs prepare students to assume positions as education leaders and teachers in various content areas and specializations. The department also offers education minors and general education courses for undergraduates who have an interest in educational issues but may not pursue a career in teaching.  

Through research, teaching, and service, the department seeks to create and sustain a diverse, deliberative and responsive academic community dedicated to informing education policy and practice at the local, state, national, and international levels. More specifically, the department’s goals are to:

  • Produce high-quality research, grounded in empirical, interpretive, and critical traditions of inquiry, and cultivate the scholarly habits that are essential to the formulation, design, implementation, and evaluation of effective education policies and practices;
  • Promote the systematic analysis of alternative ways to achieve equitable educational opportunities; foster fair, open, democratic decision-making processes; engender a deeper understanding and appreciation of diversity and create a more just and benevolent society;
  • Support initiatives that advance our knowledge of learning processes and environments, enhance our understanding of policy and leadership as a catalyst of organizational and social change, foster an understanding of the context in which education occurs and integrate theory, research and practice;
  • Cultivate collaborative relationships with school systems and other educational organizations and develop, in consultation with various constituency groups, strong partnerships and outreach projects;
  • Create exemplary teacher education, leadership preparation and professional development programs that promote innovative educational practices and culturally responsive pedagogy.

TLPL Department Office

Benjamin Building
  • 2311 Benjamin Building, University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1115
  • Telephone: (301) 405-3324
  • Fax: (301) 314-9055

TLPL Graduate Admissions Office

TLPL Undergraduate Office

College of Education Dean's Office