Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jasmine R. Renner

Committee Members

James H. Lampley, Phillip E. Pfeiffer IV, Terrence A. Tollefson


A mixed-methods study, conducted in 2007-2008, designed to quantify and assess behaviors that either protect or expose data at academic institutions to information security attacks. This study focused on computing practices at two academic institutions: East Tennessee State University and Milligan College. Interviews with six information technology professionals and online surveys were used to assess faculty and staff members' awareness and practice of safe computing behaviors. The constant comparison method was used to analyze qualitative data. Descriptive statistics and univariate and multivariate analysis of variance techniques were used to analyze the quantitative data.

Overall, the analyses indicated that the faculty and staff members at these institutions were equally aware of information security issues and practices and tended to practice safe computing behaviors--though apparently at a level that was less than commensurate with their awareness of these behaviors. Raised awareness correlated with safe computing behaviors, as did computer usage: those who had used computers for more than 20 years appeared to be more aware of safe practice than those who had used computers for 20 years or less. Password management emerged as a major challenge for the participants. They were also concerned with phishing emails and they tended not to be aware of FERPA regulations.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.