Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Third Advisor

Eugene Brewer

Abstract

Purpose of Study. The purpose of the study was to investigate the school boards of non-boarding secondary schools in the Southern Union regarding their governance training programs, the perceptions of the board members regarding their qualifications, and the assessments of the school boards for their effectiveness.

Methodology. This study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect data. Five board members and school officials were interviewed. Quantitative data were collected by a questionnaire developed by the researcher. The questionnaires were completed by 109 board members. The population consisted of all willing board members present at a scheduled board meeting. Participants were permitted to refrain from answering questions with which they felt uncomfortable. The participants responded to 11 objective questions regarding board activities and 13 subjective statements in which they selected responses from strongly agree to strongly disagree. A number of hypotheses were developed regarding the relationship between school board practices and the board members’ perceptions. These hypotheses were tested using chi-square and compared with the qualitative data.

Results. Qualitative and quantitative findings revealed that there is no systematic governance training in the Southern Union even though two conferences within the union have had periodic training seminars for board members. These two conferences used the school board manual as the basis for their training. Even though the majority of school board members did not receive governance training, they perceived themselves as qualified for school board membership. They discussed some ideal qualifications for board members such as having an interest in the overall school program and having professional skills needed by the school. They also stated that they understood their roles and responsibilities and were able to make good decisions regardless of governance training. School board members revealed that there was no systematic assessment of board members' effectiveness in the Southern Union.

Conclusions. Governance training is not perceived as a high priority among board members. School board assessment is not considered essential for the effectiveness of school boards in the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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