Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Donald Good

Committee Members

Hal Knight, James Lampley, Stacy Onks


The Confucius Institute has recently become more prevalent in political discussions and news headlines. Questions regarding its operations, influence from the Chinese government, and programing are common topics in news reports about the institution. The rise of China in the global economy has caused demand for language and culture education and the Confucius Institute has attempted to fill this demand.

The purpose of this nonexperimental quantitative study was to investigate the perceptions of K-12 school and higher education employees that work closely with a Confucius Institute program in the state of Tennessee by exploring issues that have been presented in current research and reports, and to identify alignment and misalignment of these perceptions between higher education and K-12 settings in Tennessee.

The study surveyed 42 higher education personnel and 58 K-12 personnel from Tennessee educational institutions that work with Confucius Institute programing. The survey consisted of 18 items that centered around 10 research questions. Quantitative data for six of the research questions were analyzed using a one sample t-test. A 5 point Likert-type scale was used to measure responses with a 3 point neutrality rating. Two research questions data were analyzed utilizing an independent samples t-test and two research questions were ranking questions that were coded in a point system to understand current perceptions.

The results indicated that personnel interacting with Confucius Institute programing in the state of Tennessee generally found it to be positive regarding adhering to academic freedom principles, local control principles, media perception, and meeting the needs of the local institution or school. Higher education personnel listed political environment, alignment with institutional or school needs, educational benefit to students, and national media coverage as challenges facing the Confucius Institute. K-12 participants listed Chinese teacher turnover, Chinese teacher training, and alignment with institutional or school needs as challenges. Higher education personnel listed educational benefit to students, programing quality, Chinese teacher training, and resources as benefits connected to Confucius Institute programing. K-12 participants listed educational benefit to students, alignment with institutional or school needs, curriculum, and programing quality as benefits.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.