Timothy Michael Eklin, PhD, is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Timothy Michael Eklin at his Dissertation Defense, January 2015.

L-R [ Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Dissertation Chair, Dr. Timothy Eklin, Dr. Lize Booysen, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Lize Booysen, DBL, Committee Member
  • Nancy Hogan, PhD, Committee Member
  • Travis Schermer, PhD, External Reader


prison, corrections, corrections officer, corrections sergeant, leadership, job satisfaction, grounded theory, dimensional analysis, powerlessness, training, prison riots, paramilitary, criminal justice

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This study explored the lived-experiences of 15 correctional officers and 5 sergeants working in adult state-operated prison facilities in Michigan. In particular, this qualitative grounded theory study revealed the impact that budget driven decision-making had on the lives of correctional officers: its effect on institutional custody, security, and safety. The study finds that many recent policy changes resulted in a sense of powerlessness expressed by the participants of the study. Participants found themselves in a precarious position, situated in between the prison population and the administration. Having an understanding of how correctional officers make meaning of their work in relation to powerlessness provides increased clarity regarding overall job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness. Perhaps the most significant finding involves the participants’ foreshadowing prison riots based on a lack of resources and a return to a time when Michigan prisons were less safe. Participants reference low staffing levels, changes to the inmate security classification system, overcrowding, inadequate training, disengaged staff, low organizational commitment, inexperienced executive leadership, and poor food service as contributing factors to the participants’ overall sense of powerlessness to prevent future prison unrest. Most participants have voluntarily deselected from consideration to assume future formal leadership roles; most of the sergeant participants have expressed regret for joining the ranks of management. These factors have significant implications for organizational leadership and change. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, and AURA,


Dr. Eklin is a scholar-practitioner who served in the Michigan Department of Corrections for over twenty years from 1987-2007. He started his career as a corrections officer and held numerous supervisory and management positions during his tenure. He is experienced working in all prison security levels ranging from community corrections to maximum security. He has supervised both male and female inmates along with youthful offenders sentenced as adults. A significant portion of his career was devoted to new employee and in-service training development and delivery.

In addition to earning his Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Dr. Eklin holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership & Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Saginaw Valley State University.

Dr. Eklin is currently a tenure-track assistant professor at Ferris State University, College of Education in Human Services, School of Criminal Justice. He teaches numerous undergraduate courses covering a broad range of correctional topics. In addition, he is a member of the graduate program faculty and specializes in organizational leadership.

Finally, Dr. Eklin was appointed by the Office of the Governor to serve on the Michigan Correctional Officers Training Council. He currently is the elected Chair of the Committee, which is tasked with approving all training standards for Michigan correctional officers.

Dr. Eklin is available as a consultant for any organizational leadership issues including coaching for individuals, strategic leadership planning, or group training sessions.

LINK TO : Dr. Eklin's Faculty Web Page at Ferris State University :