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The Thomas A. Mulkeen Dissertation Award

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.

2020 Recipients of the Thomas Mulkeen Award for the Doctoral Dissertation that Best Exemplifies Practice-Centered Inquiry 

Cheryl Mobley Gonzalez

Dr. Cheryl Mobley Gonzalez

Dr. Cheryl Mobley Gonzalez is chief diversity officer at Hillsborough Community College, member of the editorial board of INSIGHT Into Diversity, and former chair of the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development. With the guidance of advisor Dr. Anne Swanson and committee members Drs. Paul Parkison, Amanda Pascale, Janice Seabrooks-Blackmore, and Fred Seamon, her dissertation, Making Meaning of Supplier Diversity in Florida’s Public Universities: A Narrative Inquiry of Educational Connoisseurship and Criticism, examined the first program for supplier diversity (inclusion of diverse vendors in procurement and contracting) in Florida’s state university system (SUS). Results suggest that leaders’ abilities to facilitate change through education and outreach were key to successful implementation. Further, findings included improved diversity metrics, and economic well-being and quality of life in the community. The study delineates what university leaders can learn from exemplary supplier diversity programs.  Dr. Mobley Gonzalez plans to continue her research and consult. 


Megan McMillan

Dr. Megan McMillan

Dr. Megan McMillan is an exceptional student education professional development specialist with Duval County Public Schools and a facilitator with the Florida Inclusion Network. Professionally, she specializes in building the capacity of teachers and leaders to include students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Dr. McMillan’s research focuses on improving academic achievement outcomes for students with disabilities in the general education classroom, inclusive education, including students with significant disabilities, and inclusive school leadership. Dr. McMillan’s dissertation, entitled Leadership for Effective Inclusive Schools: How Principals Make the Difference, discovered that principals who lead schools that are both effective and inclusive acquired, developed, and demonstrated an inclusive consciousness that guided their leadership through developing their own personal definition of inclusion, exhibiting a disposition supportive of inclusion, and engaging in effective and inclusive leadership behaviors. Plans for future research include further investigation into effective inclusive leadership practice and developing inclusive consciousness. 

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


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