Doctoral learner earns Outstanding Dissertation Award
By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau
Dr. Chris Anderson considers his Grand Canyon University doctoral dissertation a prized accomplishment, a culmination of years of academic research and writing on the link between emotional intelligence and schools.
The International Association for Invitational Education (IAIE) agrees. It recently granted Anderson the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award for Invitational Education.
The coveted award will be presented at the IAIE World Conference on Nov. 2-5 in Lexington, Ky. IAIE is an international nonprofit group of educators and allied professionals dedicated to the development of positive school, work and home environments.
Anderson, who also studied at Boston and Harvard universities before enrolling in GCU’s doctoral program in 2011, completed his award-winning dissertation, “A Correlational Study Examining Demonstrated Emotional Intelligence and Perceptions of School Climate,” in February.
An assistant special education professor at Southwestern Minnesota State University, Anderson focused his GCU research on the connection between emotional intelligence of school leaders and a school climate intentionally based on trust, respect, optimism and care.
His research shows the importance of emotional intelligence in school leadership and those who follow the leaders.
“If a troubled school is looking for a leader, it’s more important that the person have a high emotional intelligence than GPA,” said Anderson, a former special education teacher who earned his undergraduate degree from The City University of New York.
According to Dr. Michael Berger, dean of the College of Doctoral Studies, Anderson’s award is well deserved.
“The College of Doctoral Studies is extremely proud to have Dr. Anderson as an alumni,” he said. “Both this award and his recent hiring as a full-time faculty member at Southwestern Minnesota demonstrate that others in academe are seeing him in what we saw: that he is an up-and-coming academic with a great career in higher education before him.”
Anderson credits the guidance and support of Dr. June Maul, who recently retired as a GCU doctoral chair, for the success of his dissertation research.
“She was great,” he said.
So was the online curriculum at GCU, he said. He’s using it as model while developing an online program at Southwestern Minnesota.
Anderson also plans to expand the research he began with his dissertation.
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or [email protected].