The Boundary Spanner in Professional Development Schools: In Search of Common Nomenclature

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016


Teacher education is entering an exciting era for professional development schools (PDS). Recent reform efforts have called for increased school-university partnerships (AACTE, 2010; NCATE, 2010), which means that the PDS community may be well poised to offer insight into the necessary boundary-spanning roles and structures needed to support robust school-university partnerships. The purpose of this qualitative meta-analysis was to use the findings from thirteen empirical studies from the past 30 years to generate new knowledge about the boundary-spanner role in PDS. Findings revealed that in the PDS literature terms for boundary-spanners are contextually-based and therefore vary greatly. This variance has created a lack of common terminology and potentially a lack of common understanding of the boundary-spanner role. The findings also revealed that the boundary-spanner role is supervisory by nature. Implications offer a beginning framework for scholars to use when describing boundary-spanner roles in research and scholarship. The framework has the potential to foster a common understanding while preserving contextually-specific terminology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

School-University Partnerships, v. 9, no. 2, p. 28-39