Western Kentucky University's Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research prepares aspiring leaders for high-impact careers in K12, higher education, and other organizational settings.
Dr. Archer earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research Methodology from Louisiana State University in 2017, where he was recognized as Educational Researcher of the Year. He is a former mathematics teacher and school technology coordinator, having served at Media Technology and Social Research Academy, a Washington. D. C. charter school, and at Haverford School, an all-boys college preparatory academy in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Archer’s research interests focus on mathematics education. He is skilled in both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
“I am not only thankful for the opportunity to join the department but also for the privilege of joining the WKU family,” Dr. Archer said. “I look forward to building strong working relationships within the EALR department that has a faculty with a dynamic and diverse research agenda.”
Two EALR professors and a WKU doctoral student were recently recognized in the 2018 Emerald Literati Awards. The awards, now in their 25th year, celebrate outstanding scholarship appearing in research journals issued by Emerald Publishing.
Earlier collaborations on leadership coaching for school principals featuring EALR and other College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences contributors appeared in Qualitative Research in Education in 2014 and are based on a framework Dr. Houchens first laid out in the Journal of Thought in 2009.
Congratulations to Drs. Houchens and Stewart and to doctoral candidate Sara Jennings!
EALR faculty members presented their work at several research and professional conferences, including the following:
Dr. Janet Hurt presented at the Oxford (United Kingdom) Educational Research Symposium on work conducted in collaboration with Dr. Stacy Leggett and Dr. Marguerita DeSander, “How principals use the evaluation system to improve the instructional capacity of teachers and an examination of the factors that influence the evaluation.”
Dr. Tom Stewart presented a paper at the International Thomas Merton Society annual meeting at St. Bonaventure University (NY), “Compassionate leadership: Models of mercy in Merton and O’Conner.”
Dr. Kimberlee Everson presented two papers at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in San Antonio, TX. These included “Validity issues in assessing disposition: The confirmatory factor analysis of a teacher disposition form,” research conducted with WKU EdD alumna Dr. Chunling Niu (now with the University of Kentucky) and Dr. Cassie Zippay and Dr. Sylvia Dietrich (WKU); and “Value-added modeling alternatives that reflect classroom composition,” research conducted with Dr. Erika Feinaur (Brigham Young University).
EALR faculty also celebrated several publications in books and peer-reviewed research journals, including the following:
Dr. Kristin Wilson, in collaboration with WKU EdD alumnus Dr. Wouter Van Alebeek (director of WKU’s English as a Second Language International program), published a book chapter in the forth-coming International Handbook of Comparative Studies in Community Colleges and Global Counterparts, “An analysis of social media narratives in South Africa’s #FeesMustFall movement.”
Dr. Wilson also collaborated with several international colleagues on the book chapter, “Sustainability of higher education credit systems and transfer structures: Experiences from South Africa, the United States, and Australia” in Sustainable Transformation and Higher Education.
In addition to the list above, EALR faculty celebrated other publications, invited presentations, and creative activities and look forward to another productive year in 2017-2018.
EALR Department Chair Dr. Marguerita DeSander co-presented with a colleague from George Washington University on their preliminary work on teaching effectiveness and leadership development in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Gary Houchens and Dr. Steve Miller shared their research on developing a new teacher perception survey called the School Improvement Scholastic Review (SISR). Dr. Everson and WKU EdD program director Dr. Tony Norman are also participating in this research.
Dr. Houchens moderated a panel discussion featuring superintendents and other district leaders from GRREC/OVEC Race to the Top district grant schools that have made strides with personalized learning.
Dr. Tom Stewart and Dr. Houchens presented their research on using executive coaching to help school principals develop as instructional leaders.
Dr. Stacy Leggett presented her research on North Carolina’s teacher evaluation system.
WKU doctoral student Josh Howard shared research on personalized learning self-evaluations and site visits conducted as a part of the Race to the Top grant. His collaborators included doctoral students Komako Suzuki and Trudy-Ann Crossbourne and was supervised by Dr. Norman and former EALR professor Dr. Jie Zhang.
Dr. Houchens presented additional results from Race to the Top schools’ personalized learning self-assessment on behalf of Dr. Norman and the Rock Solid Race to the Top evaluation team.
Dr. DeSander and Dr. Janet Hurt shared research on how principals and teachers co-construct theories of practice.
On behalf of doctoral student Trudy-Ann Crossbourne, Dr. Houchens shared additional research on how schools in the Race to Top grant developed their personalized learning plans.
Dr. Stewart co-presented with EALR aspiring principal student Linda Caudle and her principal Vicki Gough from the Ballard County Schools, sharing their work on professional learning communities.
Additionally, several WKU doctoral students delivered poster presentations, including the following:
EALR alumna and EdD student Savannah Denning shared her proposed dissertation research, a case study of leadership in one of Kentucky’s Districts of Innovation.
Robert King presented his proposed dissertation research on behavior modification programs for at-risk students.
Candida Murphy presented her proposed program evaluation dissertation assessing implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports on her school.
Christy Spurlock and Jia Pei shared their research on doctoral student persistence at WKU.
Derick Strode presented his dissertation research on study abroad at WKU’s Gatton Academy. Derick received the CREATE Emerging Researcher Award for his presentation.
Next year’s CREATE Conference will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia where EALR professors and students expect to again share their on-going research interests and accomplishments.
Dr. Kristin Wilson, associate professor in WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in South Africa during the next three years. Dr. Wilson uses qualitative methods to study post-secondary education. Through her Fulbright she will explore college persistence patterns among South African students, primarily at the University of Limpopo.
During the Summer of 2015, Dr. Wilson participated in the Sophia Zuheir Endowed International Fellowship program, which sponsored a group of WKU faculty members to visit South Africa over a three-week period. She made contacts with various universities there and leveraged the experience into a successful Fulbright application.
Traditionally Fulbright fellowships are for a six-month stay in a host country, but Dr. Wilson received one of the first “flexible” Fulbrights, which will allow her to visit for two months each year over a three year period. The extended engagement will allow her to follow students she is studying over the majority of their university experience.
Dr. Everson joined a select group of other WKU faculty for a visit of almost three weeks to numerous locations throughout South Korea. The purpose of the trip was to engage in cultural learning and sharing, but also to make contacts with academic, business, and government leaders for future collaboration. “The experience in South Korea gave me confidence in my ability to international research in the future,” she said.
ZSEIFS participants like Dr. Everson will help facilitate numerous campus events during IYO South Korea to promote cultural exchange and engagement of entire WKU community in learning about South Korea, including a film festival, workshops, and numerous presentations and seminars.
Dr. Zhang has accepted a position at the University of Houston in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She said the move was motivated by better job opportunities for her entire family.
“It has been a truly blessed experience working with the most supportive and caring leaders, most collaborative and respectful colleagues, the most thoughtful and motivated EdD students over the past six years,” she said. “It is my first and best academic job as I have grown from PhD to professor at WKU. As I move forward in my career at the University of Houston, I will sorely miss my wonderful colleagues and students at WKU. Very excitingly, EALR is thriving and making strides toward a brighter future. I wish EALR, CEBS, and WKU all my best.”
Dr. Zhang joined the WKU faculty in 2010. She taught research methods classes in WKU’s Doctorate of Educational Leadership program. She was author and collaborator on numerous grants, including serving on the external evaluation team for the $42 million federal Race to the Top grant administered by the Green River Regional and Ohio Valley Educational Cooperatives. She was the recipient of a 2013 National Academy of Education’s Spencer Fellowship and received the 2016 CEBS Faculty Excellence Award for Research.
Dr. Zhang touched many lives in her tenure at WKU and EALR wishes her and her family much happiness and great blessings in Houston!
Students in WKU’s Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD) program have been showcasing their research this semester, and in April visiting scholar Nuray Kisa, a doctoral student from Turkey, will present on the results of her dissertation study.
These monthly events feature brief presentations from doctoral students describing their completed research, or projects that are currently in progress, and give an opportunity for faculty and other students to discuss. Hosted by the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, in collaboration with the EdD program, the brown bags are facilitated and organized by EALR assistant professor Dr. Jie Zhang and take place in Gary Ransdell Hall 3073. A light lunch is provided to attendees.
In February, Trudy Crossbourne shared research she has conducted under the supervision of Dr. Kimberlee Everson exploring the reasons why African American families choose homeschooling. Trudy shared the challenges of conducting research on homeschoolers and the limitations in current literature, plus pointed toward opportunities for future study in this area.
In March, Louis Zabaneh provided background on the educational landscape in his home country of Belize, especially teacher training. He discussed a Sustainable Development Human Capabilities model, based in part on the work of Indiana economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, that he plans to use in carrying out his dissertation research. Louis is working closely with EALR associate professor Dr. Tom Stewart to facilitate a potential partnership between WKU and the University of Belize to support teacher training in that country.
This semester EALR is hosting a visiting scholar from Ankara, Turkey. Nuray Kisa is a doctoral student at Hacettepe University in educational sciences, visiting WKU under the sponsorship of EALR associate professor Dr. Gary Houchens. Nuray has been conducting survey research exploring the perceptions of Turkish school principals, university professors, and district-level education officials on the gap between theory and practice in educational research. She will share results of her study at the April 5 brown bag.
Finally, Dr. Zhang and doctoral students will present May 3 on the topic of conducting program evaluations. To attend the April 5 brown bag with Nuray or the May 3 session with Dr. Zhang, please RSVP to EALR Office Associate Missy Pardue at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org. All brown bag lunches are at noon in GRH Room 3073.
Dr. Janet Hurt is a veteran Kentucky educator who has served as an EALR adjunct instructor in the past. Over her career as a school leader Dr. Hurt has served as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and associate superintendent in two districts as well as the director of the GRREC/OVEC Race to the Top grant. She regularly provides consulting services to schools and districts. Dr. Hurt will teach in the principal preparation program and also courses for other certifications including supervisor of instruction and director of pupil personnel. She is currently spearheading a revision and update to the department’s superintendent program. Dr. Hurt earned a Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Louisville and conducts qualitative research on a variety of educational topics.
“I am honored to be joining the Educational, Administration, Leadership and Research department at WKU as an associate professor,” Dr. Hurt said. “It is an outstanding department with top-notch faculty, administrators and staff who consistently model excellence. I am delighted to be part of a group of professionals who work hard every day to provide an exceptional education for aspiring school and district leaders.”
Dr. Stacy Leggett joins the EALR team from her most recent role as Director of Secondary and Career-Technical Education for the Martin County school district in North Carolina. Dr. Leggett is a 2015 graduate from The George Washington University with an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She was the recipient of the Achilles-Harper-Swenson Emerging Research Award at the 2013 CREATE Conference. She taught high school math and social studies for 13 years before becoming a school and then district level administrator. She practices quantitative research methods and is interested in principal and teacher evaluation. Stacy will primarily teach in EALR’s principal certification program.
“I am excited about the opportunity to join the WKU EALR faculty,” said Dr. Leggett. “I hope that the experiences I bring will help me contribute to this great team and ultimately make a positive impact on leading, teaching, and learning in Kentucky.”