Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James A. Ryland

Committee Member

Denise Anderson

Committee Member

Fred W. Garnon

Committee Member


Committee Member

Patricia Sanker

Committee Member

Thomas Austin


Educational Facilities Planning, Facilities Planning, School Construction, School Design, Systems Model


Utilizing a primarily experiential literature base, a thematic analysis of text and a synthesis of literature from education, educational administration, architecture, and organizational sociology, a systems model of public educational facilities planning was developed. The model represents a theoretical construct from which design professionals and educators can better organize, understand, analyze, communicate, and research complex cause-effect relationships that occur when educational facilities are designed and constructed. The Systems Model for Planning of Educational Facilities attempts to: (1) identify and describe complicated social, cultural, political, and economic mechanisms at work when public schools are designed and constructed in a pluralistic democratic society, (2) make understandable the relationships between those mechanisms and educational facility planning, and (3) formalize causal inferences between social, cultural, political, and economic mechanisms, educational facility planning, and educational facilities. The goal of this study was to determine the validity of the Systems Model for Planning of Educational Facilities. In order to accomplish determine the validity of the Systems Model for Planning of Educational Facilities a sequential transformative research design, grounded in the pragmatic tradition, was employed. A sequential transformative research design capitalizes on concurrent quantitative and qualitative data collection as a means to offset the weakness inherent within one methodology with the strengths of the other methodology. The research design maximized leverage over the complexity of the systems model and provided the greatest opportunity to make generalizations to other contexts and settings. In order to examine the cohesiveness and validity of the Systems Model for Educational Facilities Planning the research design necessitated a three-tiered approach. The first tier utilized aggregated and disaggregated data from a quantitative survey of 501 educators employed at fifteen middle schools constructed between 1990 and 2002 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The second tier of the study utilized data from a comparative case study of four purposefully selected middle schools. The four schools, each significantly different from the other fourteen in the sample, were selected from the fifteen schools surveyed during the first tier of the study. The third tier of the study utilized the quantitative and qualitative data from the first two tiers in order to cross-validate the findings of the other. Quantitatively across the aggregated and disaggregated data, qualitatively across a comparative case analysis, and further supported by a cross-validation of the data from both methodologies, the Systems Models for Educational Facilities Planning was found to be cohesive and valid.