Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Trish Lichau, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jill Williams, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sue Zientara, Ph.D.


As the demands for success in 21st century have changed, the United States education system has begun to adjust its focus in preparing students for their futures. Character education programs were implemented to address the changing demands of the 21st century. Character education research reveals possession of traits such as persistence, grit, self-awareness, and self-control contribute to students’ future success. In accordance with the research on character education programs and success in the 21st century, the school district at the focus of this research implemented a set of dispositions. The disposition of academic commitment was chosen for its roots in persistence, grit, and resilience towards academic challenges. Recruiting six elementary school teachers as participants, this phenomenological research study aims to illuminate teachers’ views on and definitions of academic commitment, and determine how these views and definitions influenced teacher facilitation of this disposition. After interviewing the participants in a three-cycle process, the interview transcriptions are analyzed and coded, employing the qualitative data analyses of spiral-Colaizzi’s method and horizontalization, and the ATLAS.ti computer software for qualitative data analysis. The analyzed interviews illuminate the understanding that academic commitment is defined by one’s grit and perseverance towards academic challenges with an optimistic attitude. When it comes to facilitating academic commitment, the participants believe in establishing a goal-setting process in their classrooms while being role models of academic commitment. This research emphasizes the importance of teachers as role models when it comes to facilitating academic commitment in students.

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