WILLIAM C. FRICK, PH.D., is the Rainbolt Family Endowed Presidential Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. He is the founding director of the Center for Leadership Ethics and Change, an affiliate body of the international Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education (CSLEE) of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of School Leadership and the IAFOR Journal of Education and is currently the editor of Values and Ethics in Educational Administration. Dr. Frick has approximately 14 years of experience as a practitioner in the public schools including building and district-level administration. He is a former 2016-17 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Republic of Georgia. A doctoral graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, his research interests include the philosophy of administrative leadership, school system reform within urban municipality revitalization efforts, and broader cultural studies exploring the intersection of identity formation and schooling. He has served in multiple officer and representative roles for national professional associations such as AERA, UCEA, and CSLEE. Currently, he is a board member of the Santa Fe South Charter School System, Inc. and Odyssey Leadership Academy. He has published numerous scholarly articles and authored or co-edited three books, including the monograph, The viability of a professional ethic for education: Perspectives from the field (Saarbrucken, 2008), and the recently published co-edited volume, Developing ethical principles for school leadership (Routledge, 2018).
What motivated you to pursue a scholarly career?
Before I pursued a scholarly career, I was a public school teacher, counselor, principal and director of curriculum and instruction. I enjoyed these various positions and roles over the course of 14 years. I was motivated to become an academic and pursue a scholarly career after experiencing what it was like to learn and study at the Ph.D. level. I was supported and encouraged by excellent professors, so I made the switch from the practitioner world after being socialized to what academic work entails and how to go about building a body of scholarship over time. My scholarly career has been very rewarding and continues to provide many opportunities to learn, especially from students and colleagues.
What are some of your current research interests and/or projects?
My current research interests include the philosophy of administrative leadership, ethics in educational administration, and leadership values and valuation. I recently completed an edited book with co-authors that addresses the professional preparation standards for school leadership focused on ethics and professional norms.
Why do you think the SVPL initiative is important, and how does it connect with your own research?
The Self, Virtue & Public Life initiative is important because of its focus on the interconnectedness of personhood, one’s character and how dispositions supporting civic competence form the basis of essential public life. Schooling plays a critical role in the formation of civic virtue, both as a normative space for learning about how to engage with one another, but also as a means to directly support the thinking, learned attitudes, and formed habits of democratic citizenship. This a fundamental value for leadership in schooling in support of the goals of social life.