Kathryn Desrochers (BSc/BEd’13, MEd’21) never dreamt her thesis would be selected by the Canadian Association for the Study of Educational Administration for the Margaret Haughey Award for best master’s thesis of 2020.  “It was an honour just for my supervisors to think my thesis was worthy of being considered,” she says. She credits Drs. Pamela Adams and Carmen Mombourquette, her supervisors in the MEd (Educational Leadership) program at the University of Lethbridge, for their guidance and support. “My thesis wouldn’t be what it was if not for them,” she says.

Kathryn’s ability is truly remarkable,” says Dr. Carmen Mombourquette. “She is a great beginning researcher.”

Desrochers’ thesis examines the ways leadership behaviours impact teacher efficacy. “From a study in 2013, 40% of teachers in Alberta leave the profession within the first five years,” she says. “How do we get them to stay? How do we get them to feel valued? One of the biggest variables impacting this is leadership.”

Desrochers invited teachers to rate their efficacy using a scale she developed based on existing literature and Alberta’s Teaching Quality Standard. She then interviewed those who self-reported as highly efficacious to determine the role current and past leadership played in their feelings. “Teachers had the highest feelings of efficaciousness when they felt protected and part of a team,” she says. Other findings revealed that teachers value leaders who are relationship-centred, collaborative, instructional, communicate effectively and cultivate trust. The desire for positive reinforcement from leaders was one of the strongest, most consistent results. “Whether they’d been teaching for two years or thirty, teachers wanted to feel their work was seen and valued,” she says.

Desrochers is now working with Adams and Mombourquette to co-author a number of journal articles based on her research. “Kathryn has a beautifully inquisitive spirit,” says Adams. “On more than one occasion her wonderings caused me to think more deeply and differently about my own understandings. I look forward to her continued growth.”

Link to thesis:
Rural Teachers’ Perceptions of Leadership Practices Influencing Efficacy here
A Generative Approach to Leadership for All Educators
Book by Drs. Pam Adams, Carmen Mombourquette, and David Townsend: Leadership in Education: The Power of Generative Dialogue

Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan    Photo courtesy: Kathryn Desrochers


Related story links to Faculty of Education Graduate Studies and Research:
Alumni Research: Martin Parent (MEd '20) Video Podcasting to the Teacher World
The Creativity of Curriculum and 36 Years with the Faculty of Education: Dr. Richard Butt
MEd Student Research: Our Future Really Needs Us To Be Critical Thinkers
Mental Health Care: Pivoting for the Pandemic
A Generative Approach to Leadership for All Educators
Bridging Neuroscience and Education: Riley Kostek (BSc’09/BEd’11)
Teaching and Assessing for Life Beyond the Classroom: Dr. David Slomp
Five questions with Shining Graduate Rita Lal (BSc/BEd '01, MEd '20)
Teaching Multiple Literacies in Canadian Classrooms: Sarah Gagnon (BSc/BEd’11, MEd candidate)
Wellness is About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)


For more information please contact:

Darcy Tamayose
Communications Officer
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
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