Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Ann Rea Kopy
Doctor of Education
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: A Case Study of the Efficacy of a University Cohort Group in a Small Urban School District
Dr. Sue Poppink, Chair
Dr. James Muchmore
Dr. Ronald Crowell
Dr. Gary Marx
Date: Monday, August 7, 2006 10:00 p.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Suite 202, Room G - Lansing
Abstract: The purpose of this case study was to explore the processes followed in an educational partnership and to describe the changes in participants’ beliefs, practices, and sense of efficacy as a result of their participation. This case study described and analyzed the educational partnership between Western Michigan University, a large mid-western university, and the staff of the Oak Park School District, a small, urban school district located in southeast Michigan. The purpose of the partnership was to provide the participants the knowledge to enhance student achievement as well as develop educational leaders throughout the district. The participants consisted of teachers, counselors and administrators of the district that enrolled in the educational partnership that existed for four school years.
The design of this research project was a qualitative study in which the researcher was both a participant and an observer of the educational partnership studied. In this case study, the data was collected through interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires that were conducted at the conclusion of the educational partnership. The analysis of the participants’ responses to questions on a questionnaire, interviews, and focus group sessions provided valuable sources of information in identifying the themes and categories that emerged. Through the analysis, the areas of collaboration, knowledge and skills required, and leadership were revealed as the major themes that emerged from the data. The themes were presented within the categories in which change occurred, that is at individual, classroom, school, and district levels. It was realized that the changes that occurred collectively throughout the entire district had a greater impact than the combing of all the changes that occurred in the four categories. The responses of the participants indicated that in order to achieve the intended goals and outcomes of the partnership, professional growth and collaboration were necessary to nurture the changes in the leadership skills of the participants.
In summary, this study confirmed educational partnerships between universities and public school districts have the potential to assist educators in the process of increasing the levels of their students’ learning. It also confirmed that teachers’ beliefs, practices, and sense of efficacy can be influenced by participation in an educational partnership. The findings collected from this study added to the literature by providing a better understanding how participation in an educational partnership impacted its members from the participants’ description of the changes that occurred.
(Now payable by CC Online)