Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


This qualitative research project is the study of a group of University of North Dakota (UND) faculty who developed and are teaching an innovative interdepartmental, transdisciplinary, pre-service early intervention course and the students who have taken the course. The purpose of this research was to study the perceptions of the faculty and students regarding their experiences with the course. The study was designed to answer the following research questions: 1) What are the dynamics within the faculty collaboration that have led to the success and longevity of this course, and 2) How did this happen and why has it lasted? The answers to these questions became the focus of the final data analysis.

The data collection took place over a six year period. The data collected were from multiple sources and included student and faculty interviews, student journals, course evaluations, faculty meeting notes and summaries, faculty written communications, and the researcher’s personal notes and reflections. Themes, based on the faculty interviews, were developed through a process of coding and categorizing the data. The interview transcriptions were coded with frequently occurring key concepts. The codes and supporting data were grouped and collapsed into the categories. The categories were then used to develop the two themes that emerged from the analysis of the data. The themes are also supported by the other data that were collected.

Two themes emerged from the data analysis: Positive aspects/outcomes appear to supercede the negative influences/barriers. The relational dynamics between the faculty have had a positive influence on the development of the course. The themes and supporting data led the researcher to form the following conclusions: 1) The opportunity to be creative, the positive outcomes, open communication, and sense of fulfillment, all factors that help overcome the negatives/barriers, are what help keep the commitment strong. 2) The faculty all have a strong commitment, a passion for, the course model and content. 3) The faculty have become a support system for each other both professionally and personally.