Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Tony Goss, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Michael A. Thomas, Ph.D.


liberal arts, self-efficacy, self-confidence, interpersonal communication skills, leadership


This descriptive case study seeks to determine how public high school students perceive the value of participating in liberal arts activities and how they believe these activities influence their academic success and future choices after their high school graduation. Participants were selected from students who participated in both a liberal arts and leadership activity at the research site during the 2018 spring semester. The eight selected participants were asked to complete an initial interview and a member checking interview. The researcher also observed each participant’s leadership activities twice. Themes emerging from the collected data included participant’s access to leadership development opportunities, enhanced self-confidence, increased self-efficacy, and improved interpersonal communication skills. The results of this qualitative research will add to the academic literature concerning the benefits of liberal arts participation. The implications of this research suggest that high schools need to include a variety of liberal arts programs in their curriculum and that liberal arts teachers can use the results of academic research to serve as stronger advocates for the inclusion of liberal arts programs in their schools. Based on the results of this study, this researcher recommends more collaboration among liberal arts programs, as well as more collaboration with leadership organizations at the research site. This researcher also recommends increasing the volume of qualitative methods used in this study to demonstrate the benefits of liberal arts participation, conducting similar studies to this one, and the adding more studies focused on how liberal arts classes and activities affect high school age students.

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