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Perspectives on Structured Professional Content Cadres: A Study of Rural Nebraska Collaboration

Julie Downing, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Using a mixed methods study, I explored the perspectives of regional educators collaborating in professional content cadres. I focused on the perceptions of impact regarding structured collaboration, which was evaluated for its impact on professional development, changes in instructional practices, and student achievement. The study took place in a rural region and yielded additional findings about rural issues. I collected and analyzed data from a mixed methods survey of participants, and followed up this survey with interviews of 15 cadre members to deepen my understanding. Data from the survey revealed three major themes; impact of collaboration structures, impact to instructional practice and rural issues. These are discussed in depth with relevant sub themes. The findings of this study demonstrated that educators valued the professional relationships and networks developed at cadre. Educators who attended the professional content cadres perceived themselves to have confidence and resources as a result of the networks and collaboration. ESU 13 educators perceived their cadre attendance to have a positive impact on them as a professional, on their work with colleagues, on their strategy implementation, and on their students achievement. Collaboration in sparse rural areas must be driven by a clear structure, informed by participants, and useful. Educator relationships mitigated the isolation and aloneness of rural settings. Access to professional development that is ongoing in rural areas required innovation and blending of technology and delivery models to provide equitable access.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Downing, Julie, "Perspectives on Structured Professional Content Cadres: A Study of Rural Nebraska Collaboration" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10607003.