Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Bonni Gourneau


Within the past decade, the North Dakota legislature and state government officials have taken steps to ensure equity in education between urban and rural schools, addressing funding issues and the implementation of regional education associations. This research investigated those efforts by examining professional development as one indicator of equity. This research focused on three research questions: 1. What are the teachers' perceptions of professional development in urban schools in North Dakota? 2. What are the teachers' perceptions of professional development in rural schools in North Dakota? 3. What issues of equity exist as they relate to professional development in urban and rural schools? Using a phenomenological research design, four secondary urban teachers and four secondary rural teachers were interviewed. The faculty members of both the urban and the rural schools participated in a Likert-style survey. The qualitative and the quantitative data together indicated that little difference existed between the perceptions of the urban teachers and the perceptions of the rural teachers as they pertain to professional development in their schools. Using a t-test for independent samples, no statistically significant differences existed between the responses of the urban teachers and the responses of the rural teachers regarding their perceptions of the provided professional development. Recommendations for school administrators and teachers are included, as well as discussion of the Experiential Learning theoretical framework.