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COE doctoral candidates receive national recognition

Ed.D. Educational Leadership Candidates John Banter (left) and John Egan

During the recent national conference of the Association of Leadership Educators (ALE) in Chicago, two College of Education (COE) doctoral students in the educational leadership program, John Banter and John Egan, were recognized with multiple awards.

The pair presented a workshop titled, “Escape Rooms: A Student-Centered Approach to Animating Leadership Learning,” which shared findings from a pilot study and framework they developed for educators to use escape games as a pedagogical practice to teach leadership.  During the awards presentation at the close of the conference, their presentation was named the conference’s Distinguished Educator Workshop.

This award was determined reviewing both the workshop proposal and the conference presentation. A peer-review of the workshop proposal focused on the research, use of literature and the proposed interactive workshop presentation. From this review, the conference awards committee appointed anonymous judges to attend those workshop presentations selected for further review in order to determine who will receive the workshop awards.

“John and I were extremely pleased to be named the Distinguished Educator Workshop at ALE’s national conference,” Banter said. “Being able to share our research on a national stage and receive great feedback from colleagues in leadership education was very exciting.”

Banter and Egan are currently working with Kip Sorgen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the COE’s Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development, to further examine the use of escape games as a pedagogical practice to teach leadership competencies.  

Banter and Egan also received ALE’s Outstanding Program of the Year award for Georgia Southern University’s Southern Leaders Program, which they direct through their work with the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement (OLCE) in the Division of Student Affairs. Banter serves as the associate director and Egan the leadership educator in the OLCE for the University.

The Southern Leaders Program is a co-curricular leadership program that engages over 300 undergraduate students in a set of three leadership courses, peer mentoring, service-based team projects and a capstone leadership experience.

ALE’s Outstanding Program of the Year Award recognizes outstanding leadership programs implemented by leadership educators that can substantiate impact on individuals, organizations, institutions, and/or communities through data.  

“The knowledge we gained through the educational leadership doctoral program enhanced our professional practice, especially in regard to the integration of assessment and evaluation in our program,” Banter said. “This practice provided the necessary evidence for the Southern Leaders Program to be selected for this national award as we were able to provide evidence of students’ leadership development through their participation in our program.”  

Banter and Egan are currently working on their doctoral dissertations under the guidance of Juliann McBrayer, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational leadership in the COE.


For more information about the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, visit


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