Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer


This study explores nursing faculty's experiences with and perceptions of, their school of nursing's change to a learner-centered teaching philosophy. The primary research goals are to determine faculty perceptions of what learner-centered approaches they are utilizing in their classes, what change conditions they perceive as significant to the implementation process, and how they perceive the overall faculty progress and unity toward the goal of adopting a learner-centered teaching philosophy. Using the theoretical frameworks of Carl Rogers and Donald Ely, a case study approach is used to examine the faculties' use of five key concepts associated with the learner-centered philosophy, as well as the perceived importance of the eight conditions of change during the implementation phase of the change.

The participants included nine nursing faculty members from a mid-sized, midwestern public university. Interviews are conducted with each participant, and two narrative questionnaires are completed by participants over a period of three months. A review of university and department artifacts is also conducted. Thematic analysis is used to code and categorize the data.

Data analysis revealed five categories with a total of 20 themes. The five categories include: (a) understanding of the philosophy, (b) teaching approaches, (c) mixed responses from students, (d) factors affecting implementation, and (e) perceptions of the current state.

This study supports the extant literature in many respects. Certain conditions for change are found to be important to the implementation process. However, other conditions are not deemed significant by participants, such as university leadership support, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and participation in the decision to make the change. The learner-centered philosophy is broad and requires an understanding of how it can be utilized in a multitude of different venues and with a variety of student populations. This study suggests faculty have a continued need for faculty development allowing them to grow in their knowledge of the philosophy. In addition, faculty need time built into their schedules that will allow increased faculty interaction to share implementation approaches. This study adds to the available literature by providing an indepth understanding of how one nursing faculty group experienced the implementation phase of a change to a learner-centered philosophy.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access