National Network for the Study of Educator Dispositions (NNSED)
In the late 1950s, Arthur W. Combs and others began investigating dispositions (formerly referred to as “perceptions”) which contributed to effective practice in professional helping relationships. Pioneering the use of high-inference (perceptual) research methods for assessing dispositions, these researchers consistently found evidence in support of their central hypothesis, i.e., effective professional helpers have dispositions or perceptions about themselves, their clients, and the task of helping itself that can distinguish them from ineffective professional helpers (see link to FLORIDA STUDIES [This is a large PDF file and may take several minutes to download depending on the speed of your connection.] or the optional ZIP file).
Building on this foundation of perceptual theory and research, the National Network for the Study of Educator Dispositions (NNSED) was created to further define and measure the dispositions associated with educator effectiveness, and to integrate these into the recruitment, admission to training programs and preparation of future educators. Initiated by Mark Wasicsko, Ph.D., The Bank of Kentucky Endowed Chair at Northern Kentucky University, who studied with Arthur W. Combs, research is being conducted at Northern Kentucky University through the NNSED to improve preservice education, use research methodology in the admission process for education majors, and examine how dispositions change over the course of teacher preparation programs.
More about projects associated with NNSED can be found at the NNSED website.
Florida Studies in the Helping Professions
In response to numerous requests for reports of their studies on helping relationships, Arthur W. Combs and several colleagues compiled a monograph which was published in 1969 by the University of Florida Press. This publication summarized the theoretical foundations that led to the development of productive hypotheses, the research studies generated by these hypotheses, and the conclusions and implications drawn from the findings that emerged from these studies.
The publication has been out of print for some time now, but renewed interest in the relationship between dispositions and effective professional practice has led to its reproduction (in its entirety) at the following link: FLORIDA STUDIES [PDF File] [ZIP file].