Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Adult Education

Committee Chair

Patricia H. Murrell

Committee Member

Barbara Mullins Nelson

Committee Member

Dixie R. Crase

Committee Member

Brenda L. Younger


The purpose of this study is to understand the role that participation in IFEJE played in the personal and professional development of six judges who participated in the Institute since 2001. Three perspectives of education, including the history of adult learning, continuing professional education, and judicial branch education are discussed. The theoretical perspectives that provide the foundation for IFEJE are reviewed in the literature discussion to support the need for the study.Case study as methodology was employed to understand participants’ experiences at IFEJE. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews served as the primary data source in this study. A protocol was developed to learn how IFEJE contributed to their professional development and/or their roles as a judges and growth as individuals, and how the program was different from other professional development programs they have attended. In addition to interviews, archival data including Institute evaluations compiled since 2002, the IFEJE Impact Evaluation (Younger, 2004), and emails that have been collected since 2004 were analyzed. Coding and categorizing the interview, evaluation, and email texts was the main analytic strategy used to develop themes from the data.Two themes emerged from the analysis process: 1) community and 2) self-efficacy. The sense of connections attributed to participant experiences at IFEJE assisted them in the development of a new community of friends and colleagues, in the realm of human experiences, and in their roles as judges and teachers. The categories brought forward in the analysis process indicated that each of the IFEJE study participants felt connection to: 1) themselves; 2) other participants and faculty; 3) the theoretical material; 4) their topics/projects; 5) IFEJE locations and experiential learning opportunities (ELOs); and 6) judging and the judicial system. Self-efficacy was the second major theme identified in this study. The following categories brought forward in the analysis process were generated from study participants’ reports of self-efficacy related to: 1) conducting self assessment; 2) importance of storytelling; 3) collegial support; 4) freedom; and 5) purposefulness discovered through the processes and projects completed at the Institute. In the process of establishing the two major themes from the data, participants described a unique culture at IFEJE. What was unusual about the culture was the requirement that all involved, including participants, faculty, and program staff, participate fully and share of themselves and that participants were held accountable for their learning by creating a project, and thus new knowledge.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.