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College of Education and Human Services

The Thomas A. Mulkeen Dissertation Award

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Thomas A. Mulkeen was a professor at Fordham University who was hired as a consultant and shared his expertise with faculty at UNF as they designed and developed the EdD doctoral program in Educational Leadership. Tom was a leader within the Danforth Foundation initiative that sought to redesign and improve graduate programs in Educational Leadership. It was Tom who encouraged the doctoral program to focus the dissertation on practice-centered inquiry. Unfortunately, Tom passed away around the time that the UNF EdD program graduated the first students in 1994. In honor of his work, the EdD program faculty established this award in his honor. This award is given to the dissertation that best exemplifies practice-centered inquiry. 


The College of Education and Human Services, Department of Leadership, School Counseling, and Sport Leadership will celebrate its Educational Leadership doctorate recipients with an annual presentation of the prestigious Thomas Mulkeen Award, tentatively scheduled to take place during the COEHS Convocation. The Award is given to the graduate whose doctoral dissertation best exemplifies practice-centered inquiry. An ad-hoc group of the doctoral teaching faculty will evaluate the submitted dissertations based on the following criteria:

  1. Conceptually clear and important problem or hypotheses;
  2. Comprehensive review of applicable literature;
  3. Utilization of appropriate and methodologically sound approach; 
  4. Cogent analysis of data;
  5. Clear discussion of the importance and relevance of the study; 
  6. Scholarly writing style and appropriate documentation (citations and references in APA style);
  7. Potential of the inquiry to influence education practice.

Information about the next nomination window is shared here when it is available.

2021 Recipients of the Thomas Mulkeen Award for the Doctoral Dissertation that Best Exemplifies Practice-Centered Inquiry 

Dr. Lee Louy head shot

Dr. Lee Anderson Louy

Dr. Louy serves as the Director of Philanthropic Services for North Florida Land Trust. Prior, she worked at the University of North Florida in various fundraising positions. She worked closely with academic deans to identify areas for external support, develop strategies to attract support, and secure financial funding. With the guidance of her advisor, Dr. David Hoppey, along with committee members, Drs. Chally, Skrla, and Yendol-Hoppey, Dr. Louy’s research focused on understanding the academic deans’ role in fundraising from the perspective of the deans and gathering insights on how to better prepare academic deans for fundraising. Dr. Louy’s dissertation, The Role Academic Deans Play in Public Higher Education Fundraising, found that although academic deans generally do not receive professional fundraising training, they are expected to fundraise on day one of their deanships. Further, academic deans are the best to build and guide donor relationships by being visionary leaders who practice patience and active listening.

Dr. Anderson Louy Profile

Dr. Jennifer Perkins head shot

Dr. Jennifer Perkins

Dr. Jennifer Perkins is a scholar-practitioner with 20 years of experience across the K-16 spectrum, serving first as a K-12 teacher and then as a higher education administrator before her current role as research assistant at the University of North Florida. In Dr. Perkins’ dissertation, College Choice and College Match Among High-Achieving Pell-Eligible Students: An Instrumental Case Study Exploring Social Actor Influence, participants self-identified the influencers of their college choice decision process. While parents were the most influential group, teachers were a close second due to their frequent interactions with students and advice about what college was like. Financial counseling from non-family college graduates appeared most connected to intentional changes of college selectivity level, though that influence occurred in multiple directions. The study’s findings suggest new ways to think about college financing, changes in teacher and counselor preparation programs and new directions in college choice and college undermatch research.

Dr. Perkins Profile

Past Recipients of the Thomas Mulkeen Award for the Doctoral Dissertation that Best Exemplifies Practice-Centered Inquiry


Cheryl Mobley Gonzalez

Chair: Dr. Anne Swanson

Making Meaning of Supplier Diversity in Florida's Public Universities: A Narrative Inquiry of Educational Connoisseurship and Criticism

Megan McMillan 

Chair: Dr. David Hoppey

Leading Effective Inclusive Schools: How Principals Make the Difference


Kristen Duffney

Chair: Dr. Daniel Dinsmore, Ph. D

Effects of Online ABA Training on Stress Levels of Parents with a Child with Autism

Raine Osborne Jr. 

Chair: Dr. Daniel Dinsmore, Ph. D  

Education for Engagement: The Influence of Physcal Therapist Education on Lifelong Learning and Professional Engagement


Sarah Friswold-Atwood

Chair: Dr. Daniel Dinsmore, Ph. D

Living-Learning Communities Effect on Students’ Self-Efficacy of their Successful Social and Academic Transition to College

Anthony Mortimer

Co-Chairs: Dr. Carolyn Ali-Khan, Ph. D. and Dr. Daniel Dinsmore, Ph. D

Priorities for School Safety: The Alignment between Federal and State School Safety Legislation and Safety Needs as Perceived by Education Stakeholders in Florida Private Schools for Exceptional Students


Travis Henderson

Chair: Anne K. Swanson, Ph. D

Professional Conversations within Self-Contained Classrooms: The Shared Perspectives of Teachers, Paraprofessionals, and Administrators


Shawn Brayton

Chair: Elinor A. Scheirer, Ph.D.

Participant Perceptions of Knowledge Sharing in a Higher Education Community of Practice


Mai Keisling

Chair: Christopher Janson, Ph. D.

Community Leaders' Perceptions of Their Leadership Behaviors and Practices Used to Influence K-12 Public Education: A Q Methodology Study


Tavy Wells

Chair: Larry G. Daniel, Ph. D.

Predictive Utility and Achievement Outcomes of Two Simultaneous District-Developed Interim Assessment Programs


William Ganza

Chair: Katherine Kasten Ph.D.

The Impact of Online Professional Development on Online Teaching in Higher Education

Jevetta Stanford

Chair: Katherine Kasten Ph.D.

Ecological Influences on Weight Status in Urban African-American Adolescent Females: A Structural Equation Analysis


Janie Smalley

Chair: Katherine Kasten, Ph.D.

Leadership Characteristics and Practices of Selected High-Performing Nonprofit Organizations in Northeast Florida


Jeane Richards

Chair: Larry G. Daniel, Ph.D.     

Teaching for Cultural Competence: Preferred Strategies of Baccalaureate Nursing Faculty


Robert Todd Parrish

Chair: Katherine Kasten, Ph.D.

The Teach for Florida Project: A Case Study of Alternative Route Certification Policy


Angela Garcia Falconetti

Chair: Joyce T. Jones, Ph.D.

Articulation, Academic Progress, and Graduation: A Comparison of Community College Transfer and Native Students in Selected Florida Universities

James Young

Chair: Cheryl Fountain, Ph.D.

Assessing the Impact of Family Coaching on Parental Attitudes and Behaviors


Gigi M. David

Chair, Katherine M. Kasten, Ph.D.

Assessing the Impact of a Visual Arts Family-Focused Pre-Kindergarten Intervention


Cynthia S. Jacobs

Chair -- Katherine M. Kasten, Ph.D.

Accreditation in TeacherEducation: An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits Associated with NCATE PeerReview


LaDonna K. Morris

Chair – Larry G. Daniel, Ph.D.

Perceptions of a Chilly Climate: Differences in Traditional and Non-traditional Majors for Women



Claribel Torres-Lugo

Co-Chairs: Warren A. Hodge, Ph.D. and Larry G. Daniel, Ph.D.

Principal’s Assessment of Florida’s Accountability Model: A Descriptive Overview of School Factors Associated with High-Stakes Accountability


John A Frank

Chair: Charles M. Galloway, Ed.D.

Transformational Leadership and Moral Discourse in the Workplace and Civil Society


Joel Whitt Beam

Chair: Thomas S. Serwatka, Ph.D.

Preferred Leadership of NCAA Division I and II Intercollegiate Student-Athletes


Margo L. Martin

Chair: Thomas S. Serwatka, Ph.D.

The Connection Among Computer-Mediated Communication, Course Completion Rate, and Achievement in Relation to Distance Education and the English Composition Student


Kathryn M. Krudwig

Chair: Robert J. Drummond, Ed.D.

Learner Centeredness as a Predictor of Teachers' Role Stress and Career Commitment


Judith B. Poppell

Chair: Katherine M. Kasten, Ph.D.

The Effect of School Desegregation on an Historically Black High School 


Madelaine M. Cosgrove

Chair: Katherine M. Kasten, Ph.D.

The Impact of Professional Development School Activities on Classroom Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy and Classroom Practice


Linda Rhea Hunter

Chair: Robert J. Drummond, Ed.D.

Use of the Nurse Entrance Test and Other Factors as Predictors of Academic Success of Nursing Students


Jeanne E. Borstein

Chair: Elinor A. Scheirer, Ph.D.

The Effects of Cooperative Learning on the Attitudes and Achievement of Academically Talented Secondary Students


Paige V. French

Co-chairs: Charles M. Galloway, Ed.D., Katherine M. Kasten, Ph.D.

The Roles of School and Advisory Councils in School Improvement:  A Case Study in Policy Interpretation