All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Aaron Kuntz

Aaron Montoya

Andrew McKnight

William Boyd Rogan

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The purpose of this dissertation was to understand how middle school stakeholders viewed character education. Character education has been used to combat student disruptions. Young adolescents in the middle school setting present various challenges to school leaders, and this study sought to understand how the stakeholders in this setting viewed character education. A qualitative design with a case study methodology was used to conduct this study. An Institutional Review Board approval was secured prior to commencing the research. Purposeful sampling was used to select the 46 participants in this study, which included students, parents, a school janitor, teachers, a school nurse, school counselors, a police officer, assistant principals, and principals. Additional data were collected through observations and analysis of various artifacts related to character education. After the interviews were transcribed, they were coded for emergent themes on the stakeholder’s view of character education regarding its effectiveness and importance. Ten themes emerged from the data. These themes included (a) indefinite definitions, (b) unfamiliarity with terminology, (c) a sense of urgency, (d) rotten in the middle, (e) rotten at home, (f) Informal character education, (g) unsure of immediate impacts, (h) huge emphasis on academic progress, (i) lack of buy-in (j), and a disconnect in practices. iv The findings in this research indicated that middle school adult stakeholders believe in the effectiveness of character education. They agreed that their students’ lack of performance and moral compass call for lessons geared towards improving the total student. However, they also concurred that despite the concerns they have regarding students’ behavior, character education is not a priority at their schools studied. In most cases, the students could neither define nor identify what constitutes character education. The outcome of this dissertation is a Character Awareness Promotion (CAP) and the Character Readiness, Enhancement, and Development (CRED) models, coupled with other recommendations for middle school stakeholders in any urban school setting to utilize as research data to improve their character education initiatives and maximize more of the (innate) positive qualities of our young students. In so doing, they will ensure a safe school, increase performance abilities of their students, and create an ethical and performance learning community.

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