Seeking Outside Dissertation Committee Member

My dissertation chair, Dr. Brian Husby, and I spent a considerable time yesterday talking about my committee. One thing became quite clear: given the context of my study, I needed to leverage social media and the concept of learning networks in adding a person to my committee from outside my university that is connected to me via my personal learning network.

It only makes perfect sense!

Thus, I am seeking a person to serve on my dissertation committee for a year long (tentative) study. The distribution of the proposal and defense is targeted for July with IRB approval in August. The study would be conducted throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

Brief Synopsis of Study

The social phenomenon of social media, digital networking, and emerging technologies is fundamentally shifting notions of communication, community, and the lived experience at astounding rates as it blurs digital and physical spaces. This phenomenon is creating experiences and opportunities where connecting, growing, learning, and teaching are amplified and possible across time, space, place, and size.

As social media continues to become part of daily lives, it is imperative that education explores this phenomenon to understand its influence on the profession and to identify themes critical to the complexity of 21st Century education system. Telling the story of my lived experience as an administrator immersed in social media and its shaping of my professional identity and mindsets provides education the opportunity to rethink the notions of adult learning, community, professional development, and leading, learning, and teaching.

The purpose of this Cyber AutoEthnography is to explore and analyze the virtual and physical cultures of my life to understand how these shape my identity, culture, and mindsets as a professional: leader, learner, and teacher.

This study is guided by fundamental questions aimed at understanding leadership in the 21st Century from the perspective of an administrator immersed in social media and the traditional culture of public, secondary education. Through the exploration of these divergent cultures, these questions aim to find the intersection between the virtual and physical as an administrator striving for 21st Century learning and teaching environment. To that end, the following questions frame this study:

  1. How has the blurring of virtual and physical cultures shaped my identity and my practices as a professional: leader, learner, and teacher?
  2. What are the cultural norms, habits, languages, and entry/exit points within these cultures and what barriers exist in attempting to cultivate a 21st Century learning environment in the school?
  3. How do I develop my professional knowledge and leadership skills through participation and content creation in digital spaces?
  4. How does digital participation and creation relate to current theories of adult learning and professional development?
  5. How do my participation patterns and creations with social media and digital spaces influence or enact organizational change on teaching, learning, and leading within schools?

Requirements for Involvement:

  1. Hold a PhD or EdD
  2. Serve either at the university level or in an administrative position in secondary education
  3. Interest and involvement in social media
  4. Interest (for or against) in autoethnography as a research methodology
  5. Commitment to engage and facilitate the development of a deeply complex and messy study that is relevant to leading, learning, and teaching.

I understand this is a big commitment and one that brings with it a considerable dedication of time on the part of the person that elects to serve on said team. I hope our work brings with it the reward of meaningful growth to each of us and more importantly, the field of education.

Please contact me directly or leave a comment here if you are interested in further discussing this exciting opportunity.

Ryan Bretag

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