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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


David E. Phillips (2011)
Advisor: Dr. Phillip Cusick

Every administrative action a principal will take is reduced to a decision. These decisions are made in an arena of overlapping moralities stemming from the organizational morality in concert with his/her personal morality. As Barnard stated, it is impossible to divorce one from the other. The purpose of this study was to attempt to describe and explain the personal and professional moral codes considered by a set of school administrators as they make decisions. This descriptive study examines the contributing experiences of 25 principals' backgrounds influencing the development and establishment of their personal moral code. The study also considers the role professional codes contribute to principal decisions. To establish a theoretical foundation for the project, the study explores the views of Hebert Simon, Immanuel Kant and Henri Bergson. The three views describe morality from differing perspectives: Simon from an organization view, Kant's perspective duty‐based morality, and Bergson's description of Open and Closed morality. Correlations are drawn from scenarios shared by principals as to which theory decisions represented. The majority of the principals in this study came from hard working, modest backgrounds, where upward mobility and a ferocious belief in the power of education are common themes in their upbringing. Principals consider themselves an important piece of the school organization. In reality, they are a good "fit" for leading the institution of schooling. The study concludes that in most circumstances, principals' personal morality and organizational morality mesh to support safety, learning and efficiency in managing schools.

Nancy Lubeski (2011)
Advisor: Dr. Susan Printy

This doctoral research work explores the quality of educational experiences and access to opportunities for girls with disabilities in selected rural primary schools in Malawi. The context for this study lies within four of the six goals contained within the World Declaration on Education for All doctrine, a document which lays out a framework for achieving more equality in education for girls and other disadvantaged children.

This study employs a qualitative approach to investigate the perceptions of teachers, parents and community members from six rural primary schools and their communities. Data was collected at each site through personal interviews, school visitations, observations and other artifacts. Special education teachers from neighboring Malawian primary schools assisted the researcher in collecting and interpreting data at each site. Traditionally marginalized groups, including parents or caregivers and teachers of students with disabilities, are given power and voice.


Narrative inquiry and portraiture were utilized to explore what types of teaching and learning activities girls with disabilities experience when they attend primary schools in Malawi. The analysis provides a snapshot of the conditions that existed for primary school girls with disabilities during the year 2005 in six primary schools, and the communities adjacent to these schools. Issues of gender equity and opportunities to learn were carefully examined.

The concluding chapter discusses emerging issues involving girls with disabilities in school learning communities including expectations, perceptions and gender equality and safety. Varying perspectives on the development of educational systems in Malawi are also shared. Although expectations for the education of girls with disabilities appear to be high, primary schools in Malawi seem to be at the beginning stages of implementing educational policy and practice within classrooms. Developing leadership capacity, social capital and other available resources to better educate all students remains a great challenge.