• Capacities facilitating school change involving project-based learning at the middle school level

      Browder, Lee Shane
      With schools continuing to fall short of No Child Left Behind standards and with future challenges just around the corner, educators must identify and make positive changes in schools. Researchers must work to recognize and exhibit how student achievement is fostered and inform educators of options on how to move in a positive direction according to research. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple-site case study was to examine what capacity-building factors were in middle schools identified as successfully implementing project-based learning. This study focused on the capacities that are consistently implemented leading to successful school change with the Schools to Watch®. The Schools to Watch® sample of three schools was purposefully selected with respect to this designation itself, as membership in that group served as a quality-assurance mechanism that participating schools strove to be high-performing, challenging to all students, infused with rigorous curriculum, imbued with rich instruction, and staffed with teachers who were trained at the highest levels with outstanding supports. These schools had completed rigorous training and development to achieve the status of being a School to Watch® member for the 2012-2013 school year. The sample schools had all addressed the issues of change as they implemented project-based learning during the past few years, since this is a focus of the Schools to Watch® program. The enrollments of these schools ranged from 255 to 915 and included Grades 5 through 8. This study focused on the capacity-building initiatives that occur within the building as a component when implementing school change. In doing so, it strived to answer the question, “What components of capacity building are essential when implementing selected school change?” Sub-questions included the following: 1.What capacities are needed to implement project-based learning at the middle school level? 2.What leadership characteristics are valuable to building capacities in implementing project-based learning at the middle school level? 3.What are the keys to sustaining successful change after implementation of project-based learning at the middle school level? This study focused on the use of interviews, observations, and document analysis to examine school capacity at the middle school level. This process created consistent results that indicated that these schools consistently focused on the personal sphere through a “we-centeredness,” through an interpersonal sphere with respect to coaching, and through the organizational sphere with respect to data, which worked together in the context of high-level school functioning.In the three conclusions, the focus was on creating better relationships that could enhance and expand upon a we-centered approach, using talent scouting and teambuilding to further the notion of leader-as-coach in school operation, and reconceptualizing the structures and operations of schools to maximize the opportunity to use data to increase the professional capacities within a school.

      Moore, Jill M. (Indiana State University, 2014-12)
      The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop an understanding of factors that nursing education executives in higher education believe are essential to influencing and implementing sound policy decisions. This study sought to answer the following: (a) what characteristics and skills do nurse administrators in higher education believe are essential to positively influencing the policy-making process, and (b) what organizational features do these nurse executives believe impede or facilitate their ability to influence policy processes? This study utilized an exploratory qualitative design representing a collective case study. The sample selection was purposive and included in-depth interviews with nurse educators who had at least two years’ experience as nursing education executives. Themes emerging from the narrative data were that a collaboration leadership style, effective communication, and political awareness were considered essential skills for successfully navigating the policy process. The theme of complexity created by institutions and stakeholders involved in policy was observed. Implications of the study included (a) the complexity of higher education institutions regarding the need to interface with multiple internal and external stakeholders acts as a barrier to policy process, (b) lack of formal preparation to manage policy can be a barrier for nurse leaders who typically lack such preparation, and (c) collaboration is at the center of how these nurse leaders drive and implement policy in their educational institutions. Recommendations made for future research include, (a) complexity and nursing education, (b) preparation of nurse education for policy-making, and (c) understanding policy experiences of a more diverse group of nurse educators.

      Stephens, Michael (Indiana State University, 2014-09)
      The role of the principal has never been as multi-faceted or as scrutinized as it is in today’s schools. Principals are looked to for leadership and guidance in the processes, communications, relationships, instructions, and curriculum of today’s schools. Marzano (2013) listed 21 responsibilities of the principal of today. Principals of today wear many hats and are looked to have knowledge and skills beyond the scope of leaders in many other professions. The purpose of the quantitative study was to examine the perceptions of the teachers in Indiana high schools pertaining to their principal’s level of effectiveness as measured by the Audit of Principal Effectiveness. The results of this study can be beneficial to principals of all schools. Regardless of the grade assigned to the school, the study suggests the value of building relationships with administrative colleagues, the interaction with students, and the setting of high professional goals for all involved.

      Monroe, Carey (Cunningham Memorial Library, Terre Haute, Indiana State University., 2017-12)
      This was a phenomenological study of the lived experiences of women who serve as college presidents. Three women, who serve as current college presidents, participated in this study. The first was a president at a two-year community college in the upper Midwest for twelve years and served as president in another Midwestern community college for nine years prior. The second woman was a first-time president who had served for three years at a Catholic four-year college established to provide nurses for a health system. The third was a first-time president who served at a Research I institution in the upper Midwest and had been president for 13 years. Semi-structured, 90-minute interviews, observations, and curriculum vitae were used in the data collection process to represent how a woman constructs meaning for her position as president. Themes that emerged from this data analysis may be used to inform women who are potential candidates for presidential positions or women who aspire to become presidents. The information may also be used to provide context into the lived experiences of women who serve as college presidents for hiring committee members, campus constituents, and stakeholders. Women who have recently accepted their first presidential position may find this information helpful while they seek to create a leadership style for themselves and develop relationships with faculty, staff, and students. Moreover, women who possess a tendency to be leaders in their departments but may have never considered applying for promotion or considered a higher-ranking position may be informed and empowered to do so. The stories of these women presidents provide context for women becoming successful leaders in the academy.
    • Use of Social Media as a School Principal

      McCutcheon, Neal
      The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the use of social media among principals in the state of Indiana. Data from the national 2009 report, A Survey of K-12 Educators on Social Networking and other Content Sharing Tools, were used to compare national results and data collected from Indiana. A survey was also created to analyze the use of social media among principals in the state of Indiana. The survey collected data from principals, indicating age, gender, locality, educational experience, social media use, and social media preferences. Lastly, the data were used to determine if there is a comparison between the state of Indiana results and the 2009 national results. The survey provided data to determine if social media use has increased since the 2009 national report. The research design involved a population of 1,931 Indiana school principals. Use of social media as a school principal was collected in a 16-item survey. Statistical analysis of the data included descriptive analysis for selected items, means, and standard deviations. A one-way ANOVA was used to test all 12 null hypotheses. Significance was identified at the .05 level. In all, 356 Indiana school principals responded to the survey instrument. As a result of the analysis, there were no significant differences among gender, experience, age, enrollment, and locality when using social media for school communication. There was a significant difference in school categories when social media was used for communication. High schools responded in favor over elementary and middle school principals when using social media for school communication. There was a significant difference in women versus men when social media are used for professional development.Women responded in favor over the men for social media use as professional development. There were no significant differences in experience, age, enrollment, school category, or locality when using social media for professional development.