Gary B. Peters
Gary B. Peters, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Educational Leadership
As a university professor I conduct research, provide service to the university, and advance scholarship in both theory and practice. Nurturing the educational process by example, it is my desire to inspire students through leadership that is transformational. Therefore, I believe the classroom to be a collaborative effort, a community of learners, who learn not only content but gain an understanding of cultural context through their interactions. It is my desire build upon research experiences and to implement these findings in my courses. Reflection is an integral part of my teaching which provides an opportunity to examine my pedagogy, best practices, and effectiveness.
My substantive research agenda focuses on cultural factors underlying leadership processes; organizational behavior from the perspective of individuals, groups and the organization as a whole; and leadership in crisis situations. Understanding the subtleties and nuances of leadership as it is exercised by the prevalent culture, subculture, and counter-culture provides perspective on emerging social structures within organizations. As a former resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina, the experience allowed me to examine crisis leadership and its organizational function in post-disaster recovery efforts. Bridging the knowledge gap between social service agencies and the university community has been a fruitful byproduct of my research endeavors. By bringing together scholars with practitioners much can be learned about the analysis, adaptations of structure, information dissemination, policy initiatives, and leadership required for rapidly-developing crises and eventual community recovery efforts. The qualitative research paradigm is essential to capture the phenomena in humanitarian crisis situations and to assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of leadership practices.
My primary service areas within the School of Education are the NCATE Assessment Committee, Faculty Professional Development Committee, Diversity Committee, and Sterne Library Collections Committee. Through field experience requirements associated with courses in the Educational Leadership Program, I work with school leaders to implement effective learning and leadership strategies.
My wife, Sherry, and I have three grown sons. The boys are avid sports enthusiasts just like dad. We enjoy our family gatherings which are always made special by Sherry. A professor of mine ended each class with the words of Socrates, Òthe unexamined life is not worth living,Ó and these principled words have served me well.