Students in invitational schools in Hong Kong

Program Description

Invitational education® (IE®) posits that a positive learning environment can be created when those involved are intentionally inviting in their attitudes and actions (Purkey, Novak, & Schoenlein, 2016). The foundations of IE are rooted in the belief that a democratic environment makes people feel invited (Dewey, 1903), individuals act based on their perception of the environment (Combs, 1974), and how an individual perceives themselves within the environment is important (Patterson, 1961). In an IE school these principles are reflected in an inviting stance through the elements of intentionally, care, optimism, respect, and trust (Purkey et al., 2016). These elements need to be applied and experienced to each of the domains that make up every school – people, places, policies, programs and process within the school (Purkey & Stanley, 1991).

IE is a theory of practice designed to create a total school environment that intentionally summons people in schools to realize their relatively boundless potential (Purkey, 1991). Research has suggested IE® theory is a validated model to help students achieve academic and holistic success (Purkey & Novak, 2008). However, in order for that model to have a meaningful impact teachers need to have an understanding of the theory and be able to apply it to their own practice.

Both the Master’s of Education and the Graduate Certificate programs are online, primarily asynchronous program. From an IE perspective, the “purpose of online learning is to engage the learner in meaningful ways in order to achieve deep, authentic and applicable learning” (Northcote, 2008, p. 676). In order to engage students, course content is hosted in a learning management system to intentionally invite students into a positive, structured experience (Cain, Abell, & Cindric, 2016), with faculty interaction in the learning management system and utilizing social media tools to provide students interactive personal and social experiences (Di Petta, Novak, & Marini, 2002).

The Master’s of Education in Invitational Education® includes nine courses (30 units) and can be completed in two years.  The Graduate Certificate in Invitational Education® includes four courses (12 units) and can be completed in two or three semesters.


Cain, M. A., Abell, N. M., Cindric, J. F. Jr. (2016). Inviting online learning environments in higher education. In S. T. Gregory & J. Edwards (Eds.), Invitational education and practice in higher education: An international perspective (pp. 21-40). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Combs, A. W. (1974). Why the humanist movement needs a perceptual psychology. Journal of the Association for the Study of Perception, 9(2), 1-13.

Dewey, J. (1903). Democracy in education. The Elementary School Teacher, 4(4), 193-204.

Di Petta, T., Novak, J. M., & Marini, Z. (2002). Inviting online education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

Northcote, M. (2008). Sense of place in online learning environments. In R. Atkinson & C. McBeath (Eds.), Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology: Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008 (pp. 676-684). Tugun, Australia: ascilite. Retrieved from

Patterson, C. H. (1961). The self in recent Rogerian theory. Journal of Individual Psychology, 17(1), 5-11.

Purkey, W. W. (1991, February 22-24). What is invitational education and how does it work? A paper presented at the 9th Annual California State Conference on Self-Esteem, Santa Clara, CA.

Purkey, W. W., & Novak, J. M. (2008). Fundamentals of invitational education. Kennesaw, GA: International Alliance for Invitational Education.

Purkey, W. W., Novak, J. M., & Schoenlein, A. T. (2016). Fundamentals of invitational education (2nd ed.). Nicholasville KY: International Alliance for Invitational Education.

Purkey, W. W., & Stanley, P. H. (1991). Invitational teaching, learning, and living. Analysis and action series. West Haven, CT: National Education Association Professional Library.