Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Jane Jensen


Following the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, institutions of higher education appeared to restructure themselves and change the way that they worked with students who may pose a risk to self or others. They formed committees, sometimes known as Communities of Concern, to help review these concerns and respond appropriately. The purpose of this study was to examine how the Community of Concern Committee at the University of Kentucky was developed following the incident at Virginia Tech. Particular attention was focused on the change and learning that took place. Using the frames of single-loop and double-loop learning, this study examined six oral history accounts of the development of the Community of Concern Committee at the University of Kentucky. The oral histories coupled with historical documents provided a timeline of events related to the development of the committee. In addition, the oral histories revealed a complex learning process which blended single and double-loop learning to guide this institutional change. The comparison between this incident and other legal issues within higher education was explored as well as the opportunity to expand this exploration outside of the current case study.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This research was supported by the Arvile and Ellen Turner Thacker Research Endowment.