Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


Educational leadership programs have not often focused on leader self-efficacy (LSE) as a program outcome although self-efficacy has been considered a key component for successful leaders. Principals prepared through a doctoral degree were found to be more effective leaders than those without a doctoral degree and may be more skilled to build high-quality teacher teams resulting in higher academic student gains. The connection between participating in a doctoral program and building LSE was not understood. The purpose of this basic design qualitative study was to understand graduates’ perceptions of how their participation in their education doctoral program developed their LSE as a current school leader and gather suggestions they had for how doctoral programs could develop LSE in school leaders. Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy and Paglis and Green’s three-dimensional construct for LSE served as the conceptual framework. A purposeful sample of 10 doctoral graduates from programs in a western state and who served as school leaders in K-12 schools, volunteered and participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using open coding, leading to the emergent themes of relationships, relevancy, reflection, and responsibility as important to the development of LSE. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by providing insights for faculty and programs into how LSE can be developed through the curriculum in a doctoral program and, thus, enable effective leaders to positively influence teacher efficacy and improve student academic outcomes.