Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Terence W. Cavanaugh

Third Advisor

Dr. F. Dan Richard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


This study explored the impact a professional development program (Online Professor Certificate Program, OPCP) had on teaching online in higher education— specifically, the impact on faculty members’ teaching presence. The conceptual and theoretical model utilized the community of inquiry framework and both critical theory and transformational learning theory. This case study used data from various sources, including questionnaires, content analysis, and interviews. The overall results indicate that the OPCP had some impact on teaching presence, but not as much as anticipated. The study found that faculty who completed the OPCP were more engaged in their online classes than those who had not participated in the OPCP, as measured by the number of discussion posts. No statistically significant difference in teaching presence was found between participants’ retrospective pre- and post-OPCP responses. Participants mentioned mentoring and andragogy as the two most important parts of the OPCP. Educational leaders have an economic interest in this issue, as online enrollments increased significantly over the past decade, and the trend will likely continue. These increased online enrollments have impacted online teaching, creating a growing need for high-quality online teaching. Faculty need professional development programs to help them become more effective online teachers. The professional development programs need to be evaluated for effectiveness beyond the satisfaction level, with a focus on program outcomes.