Education Dissertations

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The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program at Southern New Hampshire University is designed for pre-K-12 leaders, higher education administrators, curriculum specialists and executive directors seeking to lead in a variety of system-level organizations such as school districts, state departments of education, policy organizations, nonprofits, foundations or institutions of higher education. All candidates will be prepared to shape education policy, build public-private partnerships and understand the steps necessary to lead 21st century schools, colleges, universities or community organizations. The program seeks to produce a new generation of transformational leaders, focused on student learning and able to engage with and lead others in large-scale systemic change. The dissertation will support this focus and contribute important research to the scholarship on organizational behavior, leadership and school reform.

To support candidates in their development as educational leaders, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program is built upon the national standards found in the Educational Leadership Policy Standards: Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards (ISLLC).

Experienced candidates from various fields in education are encouraged to apply. SNHU is committed to enrolling talented individuals who reflect the full spectrum of society, with respect to race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, political beliefs and other personal characteristics. Most importantly, all candidates must show evidence of having the moral, emotional and ethical dispositions necessary to become effective leaders.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 35
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    Young Adult’s Wildlife Preservation Behaviors After Taking High School Environmental Studies Courses
    (Southern New Hampshire University, 2022) Adair, Athena
    Humans worldwide are contributing to the vast environmental degradation taking place on this planet and experiencing the consequences (USGCRP, 2018). As people find themselves victims of unprecedented flooding, fires, and drought, this researcher wonders about those who walked the Earth before and beside humans. Non-human animals, henceforth known as animals, are also suffering those consequences. According to the World Wildlife Fund, climate change is impacting life forms from coral and insects to mighty moose and elephants. It is becoming more evident as resources and ecosystems begin dwindling, that humans will be in greater competition with their animal brethren. “From the shrinking habitat of the polar bear to increased water scarcity driving human-wildlife conflict, these changes will become more pronounced in years to come” (WWF, n.d).
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    Facing Attrition: The Lived Experiences of Emerging Adult Teachers in Public Education
    (Southern New Hampshire University, 2022) Dolan, Amanda; Ayers, Richard
    This multiple case study was conducted for the purpose of exploring the developmental readiness of emerging adult teachers in relation to teacher attrition. Introduction to the notion of development in relation to teacher readiness was explored specifically in response to the rate of attrition among emerging adult teachers and the overall decline in student achievement and the perpetuations of America’s achievement and opportunity gaps. Consideration of readiness in respect to cognitive and psychological development were explored using the tenets of Jeffrey Arnett’s theory of Emerging Adulthood with a total of six study participants. Specifically, this study examined the impact of life decisions in relation to identity formation occurring between the ages of 18 and 29. With emerging adults being precariously and metaphorically affixed in a position of having one foot in adulthood and the other in adolescence, this study sought to reveal relevant factors that attributed to both the professional and personal identity of emerging adult teachers who had left the teaching profession. With the focus of this study providing a perspective for attrition- from a developmental perspective, it is hoped that the knowledge gained from this study will add to the further research and dialogue on attrition, and lead to further studies in the future focusing specifically in the area of developmental psychology.
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    Gender Equity Prioritization by and Gender Attitudes of Professors in Teacher Preparation Programs
    (Southern New Hampshire University, 2019) Murchison, Amanda; Rogers, Audrey
    In response to the research findings that teacher gender biases negatively impact students, this quantitative research study gathered data on how professors in teacher preparation programs and professors in those programs in New England are prioritizing gender equity among other social justice issues, and what those professors’ gender attitudes are. One hundred eighty-one professors currently teaching in preparation programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont responded to the electronically distributed survey. The results from the surveyed participants indicate that institutional and personal priority of gender equity among other social justice issues is low. However, these surveyed participants had highly positive gender attitude scores. The lack of gender equity prioritization among other social justice issues by surveyed participants suggests that these positive gender attitude scores are not being passed on to teacher candidates, however more research is needed on this point. Though the results failed to meet required assumptions for statistical analyses, the data gathered in this nascent study provide a plethora of opportunities for future research. Keywords: Gender equity, gender attitudes, prioritization, social justice issues, professors, teacher preparation programs, heteronormativity
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    Women in the Superintendency in New Hampshire: A Grounded Theory Study of Resilience
    (Southern New Hampshire University, 2020) Leggett, Sydney
    Though women comprise the majority of the education workforce in the United States, relatively few serve in the role of school superintendent. This is problematic for two main reasons: first, whenever one gender is underrepresented in any field, there is an accompanying lack of voice and ideas; second, in a field that is reaching critical stages of leadership scarcity, the absence of women represents a loss of potential talent in the applicant pool. The purpose of this study is to focus on how women superintendents experience the process of building resilience as they attain and serve in the position of superintendent. This is accomplished by examining participantidentified obstacles, how they overcame those obstacles, and what drove them to continue doing so during their most difficult times. Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, 12 New Hampshire women superintendents were interviewed, using iterative coding throughout the analysis, and the resulting data analysis offers the emergence of a substantive and original theory and two models (the capacitance model and the capacitance model in context) to illustrate this phenomenon. By investigating the core of resilience, this study informs us about strategies and mindsets that potentially open the gates to other women considering this role, increasing gender equity in the superintendency and in the education professional overall.
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    A multiple case study of transformational leadership at struggling colleges
    (Southern New Hampshire University, 2019) Schifilliti, Roy; Ayers, Richard W.; Charron, Nancy; Chillo, Joseph L.
    This qualitative multiple case study sought to understand the common factors that colleges at risk of closure have to navigate to move from struggling, to surviving, and on to thriving. The primary question for this research involved the changes, and communication and governance strategies between the president, trustees, and faculty that affected positive change at small colleges and universities who successfully transformed their organizations. Data was collected through one-on-one interviews with presidents who led each institution through transformation. This study identified similarities and differences between the cases allowing for the examination of the phenomenon in depth, using evidence obtained from interviews with those involved (Yin, 2014). Risk of closure was defined as schools that had a simple liquidity ratio of under 5%, who then moved to a liquidity ratio of over 10%. Findings from this study identified six themes related to leading small at-risk colleges. These factors were common among the schools studied and are areas for consideration for schools that are working to move from struggling to thriving. These themes include; transforming the dynamic between the president and board of trustees; faculty role in organizational change; a strong leadership team as part of transformation; transparency in communication with stakeholders; impact and import of decisive and entrepreneurial leadership; and leadership background. (Author abstract)
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