Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Complexity Theory provides unique insights into the implementation and operations of a district literacy initiative. The successful and unsuccessful structures of the literacy initiative are examined through a complexity lens in order to gain insight into the relationships between elements of a complex system and its processes operating within a “top-down” educational directive and the resulting “bottom-up” resistance. This qualitative study uses a phenomenological approach to advance complex systems theory. This allows a multi-dimensional exploration of the fundamental attributes of the district initiative, its processes and the relationships within those processes. The literacy initiative in a large urban school district is considered from the experiences of members at every level of the system. Intricate interactions of the participants within the system are explored through the lens of complexity in order to gain an understanding for future implementation of literacy initiatives. For the purpose of the research, the district, the classroom, the faculty, the students, and their learning are considered by the study to be components of a complex adaptive system, as well as Complex Adaptive Systems in and of themselves. The study of the interconnectedness among these agents illuminates the activities and structures within the system design that facilitate or hinder meaningful change for the system.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Casbergue, Renee



Included in

Education Commons