Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1997


Leadership and learning are human activities occurring within an interpersonal, social context. This study was concerned with rendering the lived experiences of leaders and learners as intelligible, allowing for understanding of factors affecting knowledge construction and learning in higher education settings. The individual, personal experiences of teachers and learners were explored in order to identify factors that can be influenced by teacher leadership. Phenomenology was the philosophical and methodological structure of this study. Fifty-two nursing students enrolled in a senior level course at a regional state university participated in the study, as well as the two course co-teachers. All participants engaged in a narratologic journaling process that reflected their personal experiences with learning. Journals were kept for a 12 week-period, and narrative data reflecting individual learners and leaders' personal engagement with learning were collected at six discrete intervals during the study. The textual data were systematically analyzed, consistent with qualitative research processes, using constant comparative methods, and assisted by QSR NUD.IST computer software. Sixteen major themes and 36 sub-themes representing meaningful expressions of the lived lives of participants were identified. The lived lives of participants are about power, tension, mistakes, expectations, and most significantly about caring. Examination of the interrelationship of themes led to identification of factors impacting leadership and learning within the study classroom. Three interrelationship theme clusters were found and represent the study's major findings. The interrelationship clusters are reported as three conceptual models reflecting what it is to be a learner or leader in the classroom of study. These models are (a) the positive power of leadership, (b) tension and learning, and (c) leadership for learning, and lead to identification of pedagogy seen as positively impacting knowledge construction in a higher education classroom setting.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted