Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hamil, Burnette

Committee Member

Hare, Dwight

Committee Member

Verhoek-Miller, Nancy

Committee Member

Messer, Peter

Committee Member

Minchew, Sue

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Secondary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


The importance of effective and content specific professional development, particularly civic education, is well established in the literature. This study sought to determine if the Mississippi We The People Summer Institute (MSWTPSI) had an impact upon content knowledge, teaching strategies, and dispositions of social studies teachers. The MSWTPSI professional development model is consistent with civic education scholars? and education researchers? recommendations for effective professional development. This study employed a mixed methodology to address three research questions. Data originated from pre- and post-tests and surveys of 27 MSWTPSI participants. Additionally, from a volunteer pool of 15, six teachers participated in interviews, observations, and lesson plan reviews. Regarding the impact of the MSWTPSI upon participants? content knowledge, from the qualitative analysis, findings indicated that participants were impacted (i.e., increased knowledge, rekindled interest in the Constitution), while findings from the quantitative analysis showed no statistically significant difference. From the quantitative analysis, findings regarding the MSWTPSI?s impact upon participants? teaching strategies indicated a statistically significant difference (p < .02). Concurrently, findings from the qualitative analysis indicated the MSWTPSI did impact participants? teaching strategies. Findings from the quantitative analysis regarding the Institute?s impact on participants? dispositions indicated a statistically significant difference (p < .04) likewise; qualitative findings indicated an impact upon participant dispositions (i.e., more confidence, more enthusiasm). Results suggested that participation in the MSWTPSI did impact participants? content knowledge, teaching strategies, and dispositions. Conclusions drawn from the results indicated that the MSWTPSI was effective. Results also support the recommendation of researching more state institutes. Additionally, it is recommended that a longitudinal study examining participants? content knowledge, teaching strategies, and dispositions be conducted through principal evaluations to disclose MSWTPSI effects. Overall, participants? comments concerning the MSWTPSI were positive.