School administrators rarely have the opportunity to confer and share their challenges with colleagues. To address this problem in 2005 the Educational Administration Department (EAD) at Central University (a Midwestern PhD granting institution located in a thriving city of about 100,00 people) created a virtual/local doctoral cohort for 14 school leaders living and working in two states. Three years into the course of study we conducted a year long inquiry that asked, "How did students' self-perceptions evolve within a cohort context, and how did these changes advance or retard professional learning community (PLC) growth?" Our interviews had a phenomenological focus but we used symbolic interactionism to analyze them and dramaturgy to present our findings. Themes of faculty and student relationships, work and/or personal problems and dealing with technology indicated that despite some significant hurdles students' identity evolutions moved the group toward becoming a PLC, a collaborative culture of thinkers.


Learning Communities, Doctoral Cohorts, Phenomenology, Dramaturgy

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