Education student wins prestigious award for outstanding doctoral dissertation

Thomas Nobili

A University of Bridgeport (UB) Educational Leadership doctoral student, Thomas Nobili, has won third place at the American Education Research Association (AERA) Mixed Methods SIG Awards for his outstanding dissertation titled, “The Role of Proactive Behaviors in Organizational Socialization of K-12 Principals: A Sequential Mixed Methods Design.” Nobili received this prestigious award at the AERA annual meeting held on April 5-9 in Toronto, Canada.

Nobili spoke of his experience attending the conference in Toronto saying, "it was exciting to meet the other award winners and hear about their work. Also, I had an opportunity to meet some of the top researchers in the mixed methods field at the awards ceremony." Nobili was "shocked as well as very excited and grateful" upon hearing that he had received third place at the conference.

Nobili was encouraged to attend the conference by the chair of the Educational Leadership Department, Thomas Christ. Dr. Christ stated, "Dr. Nobili's dissertation is ground breaking in that the sequential mixed methods research confirmed that a four-theory framework accurately represents how effective K-12 principals perceive and make sense of organizational socialization."

"Dr. Nobili’s study demonstrates extraordinary strength in theory, methods (qualitative and quantitative data collection, and analysis techniques), and practical usefulness." - Dr. Thomas Christ, Chair of the Educational Leadership Department

Nobili wrote his dissertation on the role that principals play in facilitating their own organizational socialization. Research methods included data collected from two quantitative questionnaires, which were sent to a national sample of approximately 60,000 administrators. The surveys were designed to elicit the information seeking behaviors of K-12 principals, as well as, how they perceived the information they obtained to enhance their overall knowledge base.

The 2nd phase of the study used interview data, which provided insight into the other proactive behaviors principals utilized as well as how they made sense of their individual socialization experiences.

When asked about his future plans, Nobili stated that they "include continuing my career in school leadership as I would eventually like to become a superintendent. I also look forward to having the opportunity to teach some courses in the educational leadership doctoral program at UB this fall."