Rodney W. Grist is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Rodney W. Grist at his Dissertation Defense, July 28, 2015, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Left to Right: Dr. Rodney Grist, Dr. Laurien Alexandre, Committee Member, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Chair

Dissertation Committee:

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Susan Erinrich, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • George Belliveau, Ph.D., External Reader


Teachers, Teaching, Ethnodrama, Faculty Development, Euphoria, Self-Care, Self-Perception, Stress, Burnout, Action Research

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This study is intended as a mini-pilot program, exploring the potential of ethnodrama to positively impact the burnout experiences of urban public secondary teachers. The current study holds small sample sizes and limited development time, yet an informant panel of nine teachers met in three sessions to discuss and reveal their personal stories, and to plan an ethnodramatic performance to be shared with the entire school faculty and administration (Mienczakowski, Handbook 468; Saldaña, Anthology 2). Informant panelists’ dispositions toward burnout was measured pre and post experience via the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and a small, non- participant group was also measured for comparison purposes. The research project was essentially Action Research through performance, with the researcher positioned as an insider, working in a joint effort with other insiders in my organization (Mienczakowski and Morgan 219). Qualitative in scope, my research grows from a place of concern and passion for my vocation. The purpose of this study was to determine how interactive theatre, specifically Ethnodrama, might have a positive influence on teachers by promoting teacher euphoria©, thereby increasing self-efficacy, reducing stress, and minimizing the loss of quality human capital in our schools. Results, though statistically insignificant, demonstrated a clear and present need for effective teacher development in the urban public school. Further, the study continues to support the growing research on ethnodrama as a tool for change in a variety of professions. A larger sample size, more time to develop the ethnodrama, and an assessment tool more closely aligned with the specific topic areas dictated by the panel, are among the recommendations for further study. This mini-pilot shows potential for widespread use with teacher groups. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and Ohio LINK ETD Center,


Rodney W. Grist, Ph.D.

Nearly 20 years in an urban secondary classroom, a dab of experience in private education, and a faculty experience at the U.S. Air Force Academy, has softened this man’s heart for the challenges, mounting pressures and abuses of the classroom teacher and hardened his resolve to make a difference through meaningful faculty development and advocacy. Experiencing the education process in a variety of environments has led to one clear revelation; teachers are breaking under the regularly imposed strains and the resulting stress leads to apathy, reduced self-concept, and burnout. It is time that teachers, as the only cogs capable of making our antiquated education machine run, are attended to. Attention, attention must finally be paid to these laborers.

Rodney earned his BS and MA in Education from The Ohio State University. He is certified secondary 7-12 in Speech, Theatre and English and currently teaches Theatre History and Technical Theatre in the Columbus (OH) City Schools. His passion for teaching and for the theatre has merged in his current efforts to reach teachers and education stakeholders through ethnodrama.


18 years CCS Teacher: Fort Hayes MEC (8) Brookhaven H.S. (10)


  • · BS Education - The Ohio State University
  • · MA Education -The Ohio State University
  • · PhD in Leadership and Change - Antioch University

ORCID Scholar ID #: 0000-0001-8936-779X