BRIDGING THE GAP: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF UNIVERSITY LIAISONS IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SCHOOLS
Madden, Mary Margaret
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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: BRIDGING THE GAP: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF UNIVERSITY LIAISONS IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SCHOOLS Mary Margaret Madden, Doctor of Philosophy, 2005 Dissertation Directed by: Professor Francine Hultgren Department of Education Policy and Leadership In this hermeneutic phenomenological study, I explore the lived experience of six university faculty who serve as liaisons and coordinators in Professional Development Schools (PDSs) and bridge the gap between P-12 schools and universities. My question for this investigation asks, "What is the lived experience of university faculty in Professional Development Schools?" The themes arising from their lived experiences are opened through the lifeworld dimensions of lived body, time, space and relation. Throughout this study, I have used the metaphors of bridge and building to understand the liaisons' experiences, as well as other metaphors brought forward by my conversants. These metaphors led to my understanding that the experience of a liaison is grounded in movement, that they become bridges as they engage in the process of building them. I examine the manner in which they were called to this work, and the importance of building relationships in order to sustain them. Through the building process, the liaisons are building identities as liaisons, as well as experiencing changes in their personal lives. I identify exuberance (Jamison, 2004) and sacrifice as essential elements of the liaisons' work. Reflecting on these themes has made me more aware of what the liaisons are required to do, the combination of relationship and administration, and I suggest ways in which schools and universities can re-design perceptions and structures to provide support for the liaisons as they do their work.