Graduate Student Wins Dissertation Competition



School of Education doctoral graduate David Robinson-Morris.

David Robinson-Morris, a doctoral graduate and research assistant in the School of Education, took first place in the 2016 American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) Dissertation Award competition.

Robinson-Morris received his PhD in Educational Leadership and Research with a dual concentration in Higher Education Administration and Curriculum Theory from Louisiana State University in December 2015. Currently, Dr. Robinson-Morris is completing an Education Specialist (EdS) Certificate in Education Leadership with a focus on applied research, measurement, and evaluation and serves as a post-doctoral graduate research assistant in the School of Education.      

“The faculty, staff, and students of the College of Human Science and Education are always engaged in a process of learning,” Robinson-Morris said. “This award is a testament to the depth of that engagement. It is a testament to brilliant teaching and a college culture that endeavors to embrace living the question.”

Robinson-Morris’ dissertation, "An Ontological (Re)Thinking: Ubuntu and Buddhism in Higher Education,” focuses on rethinking higher education and Western subjectivity through southern African (Ubuntu) and Eastern (Buddhism) philosophies. Specifically, he theorizes what education might become if first engaged as an endeavor of human becoming—as one of many means through which we can come to touch deeply our humanity and discover what it means to be a human being.

“I was elated to receive the news,” Robinson-Morris said. “This honor is one of many confirmations that the work is meaningful to others and a sign-post, given the current socio-political climate of higher education across the nation, that re-thinking  how and for what purpose we educate is very necessary in this time.”

This first-place dissertation honor is awarded to a graduate student producing an innovative, valuable dissertation that exhibits exemplary comprehension of the student’s field. The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education pursues the educational and professional needs of Blacks in higher education with a focus on leadership, access and vital issues impacting students, faculty, staff, and administrators both in the United States and internationally. Robinson-Morris will accept the award and present his research at the association’s annual conference in April.

His research has the potential to restructure the aims of higher education as not just a tool for economic upward mobility, but also for the development of an integrated philosophy of life and human relations. The policy and practice implications for such a recalibration would shift the current models in the fields of education and higher education administration. If implemented, Robinson-Morris said his policy and practice would reflect a strong emphasis on diversity, social and educative justice, and positive human relations.    

His dissertation highlights the Curriculum Theory Project and the Higher Education Administration programs’ efforts to encourage and influence students to think, be, and do differently in the world.

“I am immensely grateful to the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education for the recognition,” Robinson-Morris said. “My gratitude also extends to my dissertation committee, Dr. Danielle Alsandor, Dr. Petra Hendry, Dr. Petra Robinson, and Dr. John Henderson for their guidance, support, and continued encouragement.”

Robinson-Morris received his BA in Communications - Public Relations in 2006 from Loyola University New Orleans, obtained his MPA in 2011 from the University of New Orleans, and PhD in Educational Leadership and Research with concentrations in higher education administration and curriculum theory at LSU in December 2015.

About SOE

The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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