Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Martin, Thomas

Second Advisor

Platz, Donald

Third Advisor

Augenstein, John


Throughout the years of my teaching and administrative experience, I have been interested in the area of trust. It has been my informal observation that when professional educators engage in the teaching process that much more can be accomplished with students when these professionals work in a climate of mutual trust. The trusting environment in schools allows teachers and administrators to free themselves of many unnecessary obstacles that deplete natural and potential human resource. Early in my formal doctoral studies at Marquette University, I began to focus my attention, reading and research on trust and school climate issues. I began to question the fact that there were schools where trust seemed to be present and schools where trust was absent. The schools that exhibited a high level of trust were schools that did not have many of the problems associated with schools where trust did not exist. Problems or obstacles to teaching and learning in a low trust environment included low morale, unmotivated staff, little organizational management, student discipline issues, union grievances, sparse parental involvement, and a general sense of a bunch of "unhappy campers". I committed to the study of trust in an attempt to analyze and define specific behaviors that lead to promoting a trusting environment in schools. During the early stages of my formal research I came across a significant study done by Kathryn Evans while she was a student at Florida State University. Her study on trust was done at the elementary school level and she recommend that a similar study be done at the middle school level. I contacted Dr. Evans and with her permission embarked upon the study of trust in middle schools contained in this dissertation. Throughout the length of this project I have not lost sight of the fact that trust is a significant bond that keeps relationships strong and committed to achieving the same goals. In schools that goal is to provide academic and social growth experiences for all students.



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