Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ronald A. Lindahl

Committee Members

Russell O. Mays, Louise L. MacKay, Harold Whitmore


The literature contains repeated claims that most aspiring principals have limited academic knowledge and exposure to special education related issues. However in this same literature there is substantial discussion that, for prospective administrators to be prepared to deal with the ever-increasing demands of special education, principal preparation programs need to increase the amount of instructional time and structured experiences related to special education issues.

This qualitative study gives voice to faculty directly involved in the preservice training of principals in this ongoing call to reform principal preparation programs and increase the attention paid to issues concerning special education. In addition, this study offers insight into the nature of the supports and barriers that influence faculty in their decisions to include or exclude special education issues in course curricula and among departmental requirements for students in principal preparation programs.

The results indicated that faculty often are untrained, inexperienced, or disinterested in special education and, because of academic freedom, may freely exclude special education topics from the courses they teach. Faculty often inadvertently assume that special education is a topic that can be delegated to another department member who is more knowledgeable, better trained, or has a passion for addressing special education issues. Findings also indicated that faculty members often perceived a belief among their colleagues that special education-related topics can be delegated to others. In addition, students enrolled in principal preparation programs were noted to often be as untrained, inexperienced, or disinterested in special education issues as the faculty who prepare them.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.