Click here for Site Map
Jump to Main Content

K-12 Dissertation Abstracts

The Educational Administration Department is pleased to present a compilation of Dissertation Abstracts from the HALE Ph.D. and K-12 Educational Administration Ph.D. programs.  These abstracts represent the rich and dynamic community of scholars in EAD.  The research presented reflects the wide range topics that emerge from a local as well as global perspective on postsecondary education and educational leadership.  In reviewing these abstracts we hope you will learn about the interesting research that goes on in the EAD doctoral programs.

K-12 Educational Administration

2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Carol R. Baker (2010)
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Dunbar

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka initiated educational reform through school racial desegregation. However, current social trends demonstrate that public education has reverted to a resegregated status. Demographic information indicates that urban schools are primarily attended by students of color and that nationally approximately 85% of all elementary and secondary teachers are white. Simultaneously, a racial academic achievement gap, as indicated partially by standardized test scores, reading and math scores, graduation rates and drop‐out rates, has been widely documented. This achievement gap indicates that whites and some Asians are prominent in the higher achievement arenas, whereas Blacks, Hispanics and Native American students are prominent in the lower achievement arenas.

Several areas have been identified that contribute to this racial academic achievement gap, including: low public school financial support in urban areas, low social economic status of students and their families, low parental involvement and lack of pre‐school opportunities. Additionally, racially based dissonance between white teachers and students of color has been cited as a contributing factor in the racial academic achievement gap.

This study looked at the impact of white privilege (whiteness), on white teachers teaching capacity including relationships with students and parents of color, behavior management and classroom practices. The study participants were practicing white teachers in an urban setting. They were simultaneously involved in a broader research initiative looking at aspects of academic achievement of boys of color, and served as presenters and facilitators with colleagues in this capacity.

The five study participants were interviewed individually and in a group setting. A cross case thematic analysis process was utilized to identify common themes highlighting how the white teachers understood their whiteness and its impact on their teaching capacity.

A primary theme that emerged from this data collection and analysis was that the white teachers, although involved in multicultural training for over two years, continued to struggle with identifying themselves as white and maintained a non‐raced self‐perception. When confronted by race, they often felt shocked and defensive. The study participants typically did not see themselves as racially privileged and reflected beliefs in color‐blindness, individualism and meritocracy. They often did not acknowledge societal white privilege or a belief that they had benefited from it. While they maintained an overt antiracist ideology, they often demonstrated racially privileged positioning within areas of their teaching practice.

This study underscores the impact that whiteness has on teaching capacity of white teachers. This study indicates that multicultural training must be extended over time and include a primary focus on whites understanding white societal positioning and acknowledging societal and individual white privilege.

John A. Oliver (2010)
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Dunbar

The primary objective of this qualitative study was to understand and describe the skills and capacities used by the leadership teams of three community‐based organizations (CBO) to develop youth adult partnerships that focused on community change issues. Three (CBO) engaged in youth adult partnerships served as the unit of analysis. The leadership teams of each (CBO) played intricate roles in executing the mission and vision of each organization. Therefore, the leadership teams were also closely linked to the organizations ability to develop the skills and capacities to generate youth adult partnerships for community change. To explicate the relationship between the organization and the leadership team I describe the organizational context, the leadership team context, and the leadership team context within the structure of the organization. I used focus group, one‐on‐one structured interviews, document analysis, and cross case study analysis to understand the research question. The implications of this study are based on five findings that emerged during this research: (a) context and place matter, (b) building mutual trust is paramount, (c) co‐constructing purpose is important to move the work forward, (d) acting and working together move the work forward, and (e) sustainability is linked to making the work a way of life. Although generating youth adult partnerships were often a complex process that was also time consuming, it has specific utility for: (a) educators, (b) educational leadership administrators and faculty, (c) community based organizations, and (d) current and perspective youth development professionals and volunteers.