The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of inner work on four cohorts of educational leadership doctoral students. Specifically, it used a qualitative, phenomenological methodology to interview 22 current and former educational leadership doctoral students who had attended retreats based on the Courage to Lead principles and practices. It sought to discover how these retreats impacted the personal, professional, and academic lives of those students from their perspective.
The data indicated that reflection, relationship-building, and the activities of Clearness Committees, poetry, artwork and socializing emerged as prevalent themes. The data also indicated that the fact that the retreats were perceived to be required was not seen to be a negative aspect of the experience from the perspective of the vast majority of the participants. Members of all four cohorts described ways in which the retreats had positively impacted their personal and professional relationships. They felt a great deal closer to their academic cohort, and many reported having generalized some of the reflective skills they learned at the retreats to other aspects of their lives.
The prevalence of the themes of cohort/relationship-building and social activities required a reframing of this study. A Gestalt notion of Contact better explained the results of the data than just inner work alone. Both concepts are defined and described in this study. Additionally, given the required reframing of the results, fidelity to Courage to Lead principles and practices was also assessed.
Implications of this study extended to directors of educational leadership programs, the Courage and Renewal Community, and educational leadership researchers. Educational leadership programs that value cohort-building, reflection, and other aspects of inner work may benefit from retreats such as those described in this study. The concepts of required participation and team building within the Courage and Renewal framework are implications that will require additional study.
Overall, the participants reported that they valued the retreats and felt they added an important component to their educational leadership doctoral experience.
|Commitee:||Mortola, Peter, Ruhl, Thomas|
|School:||Lewis and Clark College|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Courage to Lead, Educational leaders, Inner work, Palmer, Parker|
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