A Few Steps Forward in the Process of Looking Back: Setting Parameters for a Self-study of Administrative and Program Development Work over 18 Years

Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, November 2010 , pages 269 – 279.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Many self-studies focus on an individual or several teacher educators. Although there have been self-studies undertaken by teacher education administrators, there is relatively little research that focuses specifically on an administrator's program development work in teacher education.

The current self-study examines one teacher education administrator's program development work over a period of 18 years and in two institutions in the USA.

The Role of Teacher Education Administrators

The author examined her role as administrator in two institutions: Southeast College and Midwest College. The author describes the role of the department administrator (chairperson) within these institutions. The author argues that the administrator was the department chairperson who hired and supervised faculty and staff, represented the department within the college, managed the budget included being the leader of the development of a new teacher education program, ect. In addition, , department chairpersons in small colleges are also full faculty members and so the college expectations of committee work, scholarship, and teaching were present.

Data Sources and Design of the Study
Data come from the author's professional journals about the development of the education studies program at Southeast College (1989-1999) and the new teacher education program at Midwest College (2000-2006). The author developed a framework for the analysis consisting of five categories and 31 sub-categories. The categories of Outside Forces, Institution, Department, Program, and Me captured the types and range of demands, illuminating the constant pressures from groups outside and within the institution during the development process.

Discussion of Findings
The findings suggest that there are both a complexity of roles and multiple roles that are influenced by outside forces. This study helps the author to understand and describe many different components that constitute the practice of a teacher education administrator.
The scale and complexity of undertaking a long-term self-study surfaced in understanding the scope of the work, deciding on a framework for data analysis, allowing time and place for making personal connections and meaning, and sharing the work with others.

Significance and Next Steps

Findings from this study influence the author's daily work as an administrator and researcher and may add to others' understanding of the complexities of the roles of the teacher education administrator.

First, this self-study centers on analysis of a reflective journal.
Second, the study also contributes to research about the role of administrators in teacher education.
Furthermore, the work of critical friends helped the author move any analysis from the particulars of her situation toward frameworks of analysis and conclusions that might reflect more administrators' experiences.

Another possible next step in this study is to examine individual sub-categories to learn how the author's thoughts and actions in those areas stayed the same or changed over time and between institutions and how her growth as an administrator affected the emphases of demands.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2011