Resources for the study of leadership and ethics

Research Projects

Moral Leadership - This line of study explores how moral reasoning is taught and learned in a leadership context. I also study the critical factors involved in developing the courage and integrity needed to follow-up moral thinking with moral action.

Education Policy - My interest in education policy includes the study of how resources are distributed in schools and how students use those resources. I am particularly interested in strategies for engaging students in meaningful learning practice. My former teachers that have most influenced my research agenda include Ted Sizer, Ken Strike, and David Monk.

Instructional Technology - Born mostly out of my own interest in integrating technology into my college teaching. I am focused on evaluating the value added impact technology has on student learning.

Selected Papers and Presentations

School Finance as a Moral Dilemma

Alternative approaches to raising funds for public schools have long been critiqued for their approach to providing an equitable and adequate distribution of educational goods. Inherent in these core concepts of fairness are ethical questions that drive how policy and practice evolve to generate revenue for the education of children. This paper explores the ethical issues within three broad categories that are common in the origination of public school revenue: Taxpayer equity, sin money, and the use of children to generate revenue.

Interpreting the Right to an Education as a Norm Referenced Adequacy Standard

Our current conceptions of educational adequacy emerged out of an era dominated by equity based school resource litigation. During that time of transitioning between successful litigation strategies, legal opinions provided clues as to how future courts might view a norm-referenced approach to establishing an adequacy standard - an approach that appreciates that for certain social goods, equity and adequacy are inextricably connected. This article explores three decades of school finance litigation and attempts to define the limits of the right to an education, to glean how a norm referenced right to education argument grows out of the historical legal framework.

Reconciling Educational Adequacy and Equity Arguments Through a Rawlsian Lens

A theory of educational opportunity that combines adequacy and equity arguments is informed by examining two popular philosophies of resource distribution. Amy Gutmann's democratic threshold theory provides an adequacy argument that mirrors in several ways arguments that have held favor in educational policy. Similarly, the distributive justice theories of John Rawls parallel the logic opined in several key school finance cases. The Rawlsian influence is particularly strong in developing connections between educational opportunities and the expression or enjoyment of basic liberties.

Influence of Salaries in Attracting and Retaining School Leaders

This article examines the salary trajectory of teachers as they move up the career ladder into leadership positions. The issue of compensation is set in the context of a principal shortage that has been widely reported and discussed in the literature. Urban schools are shown to experience the principal shortage differently from rural schools. District size and school type show significant differences in the additional compensation offered for moving from teaching to various leadership positions. The influence of salary is discussed in concert with the changing role of the principalship and candidate’s concerns about increasingly less desirable working conditions for school leaders.

Superintendents Perceptions of the Principal Shortage

The research literature on the principal shortage is inconsistent regarding the actual scope of the shortage and a clear articulation of factors contributing to the successful recruitment and retention of today’s school leaders. Often, critical data related to the principal shortage are ignored, including the number of younger principals overlooked in a candidate job search or the number of credentialed principal candidates who ultimately withdraw from a search. This study is based on a survey of 197 superintendents concerning their views on the principal shortage and factors associated with influencing the recruitment and retention of school leaders. Some major findings are that superintendents often underestimate the principal candidate applicant pool in their own districts, compensation continues to be the primary method of attracting qualified principal applicants, and rural schools are at a distinct disadvantage compared with urban and suburban schools in their search for new school principals.

The Role of Learning Theory in Building Effective College Ethics Curricula

This theoretical paper provides a framework for developing a college ethics curriculum that emphasizes the development of moral reasoning skills and behaviors. The framework draws heavily from successful efforts in the fields of moral development and learning theory applied to teaching complex problem solving skills. Best practices addressed in this paper include balancing theory and practice, teaching cross-contextually, practicing metacognition, targeting improved decision making skills in curriculum and assessment, addressing independent components of the decision making process, scaffolding moral decision making, and integrating skill development and curricular language throughout the program.

Maximizing State Lottery Dollars for Public Education

Today, it is increasingly difficult for states to adequately satisfy the demand for well-funded and quality public services, such as K-12 education by relying exclusively on traditional, broad-based taxes for fiscal support. State sponsored lotteries are an increasingly popular, non-traditional revenue stream for public education. There is in many cases, however, a gap between their promoted benefit to public K-12 schools and the actual fiscal support they provide. This article examines the efficiency of 42 U.S. state lotteries and the District of Columbia in transferring funds to public education programs. Historical and geographic trends are identified that have influenced the design of state lottery revenue allocation policies.

About Me

John Pijanowski is a Professor of Educational Leadership. He served abroad in 2018 as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2010 he was honored with the college's top faculty award for outstanding service, teaching, advising and research, and in 2011 honored by the university with the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award. Dr. Pijanowski earned his B.A. in psychology from Brown University and a Master's and Ph.D. from Cornell University in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education.

Recent Announcements

  • Pijanowski to Use Fulbright Award to Study Responsible Conduct of Research in Kutaisi, Georgia Photo SubmittedJohn Pijanowski and his 8-year-old son, Jack, who will join him in Kutaisi, are pictured on the campus of Akaki Tsereteli State University with a statue ...
    Posted Oct 4, 2018, 12:20 PM by John Pijanowski
  • UA pursues tool to track faculty’s scholarly output Full article can be found here on the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette websiteFAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville anticipates spending about $150,000 yearly if a deal is ...
    Posted Aug 18, 2016, 4:34 PM by John Pijanowski
  • U of A Professor Gives Teaching Seminar at Notre Dame      Photo SubmittedJohn Pijanowski, center, talks with Notre Dame graduate students.John Pijanowski, University of Arkansas professor of educational leadership, worked with faculty and graduate students at the University of ...
    Posted Jul 30, 2015, 7:35 AM by John Pijanowski
  • 'The Moral Mind in Action' Presented by Professor of Educational Leadership, John Pijanowski Sep. 15, 2014     Photo SubmittedAcademic Initiatives and Integrity is pleased to present the Integrity Awareness Week Kick-off Luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22 ...
    Posted Jul 30, 2015, 7:34 AM by John Pijanowski
  • Public School Leadership Program at U of A to Receive $1.9 Million FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Walton Family Foundation announced Monday, June 23, a $1.9 million grant to the University of Arkansas Foundation and the College of Education and Health Professions to ...
    Posted Jul 30, 2015, 7:33 AM by John Pijanowski
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