Donna H. Swapp

Critical Policy, Equity and Leadership Studies

Donna H. Swapp

Critical Policy, Equity and Leadership Studies

My research into the school principalship, and the work of school leaders more broadly, spans 14 years and local/national, regional, and international contexts. My doctoral study explores school principals’ work in Grenada; how incumbents understand their work, the contested ways in which they undertake such work, and the characteristics, challenges and opportunities such work presents. I am currently writing the PhD thesis.

Throughout my postgraduate journey at Western, I have worked in several roles: Instructor, B.Ed. program; Teaching Mentor, Teaching Support Center; Chair and member of several Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) committees; Education councillor for Faculty of Education at SOGS; and, Research Consultant, Research Assistant, and Teaching Assistant in the MPEd and EdD programs. My RA work at Western involved collaboration with lead investigators including Drs. Faubert and Pollock on projects funded by SSHRC, Ontario Principals Council, and the Ontario Ministry of Education among others.

Other noteworthy academic positions at Western include:

  • Instructor, B.Ed program: I taught two sections of the course, Social Foundations: Teacher Professionalism and Schooling in the BEd. Program. Among other duties, I prepared and facilitated weekly, 90-minute face-to-face tutorials, monitored the online component of the course, and graded all course evaluations (2015-2016).
  • Teaching Assistant (TA): I held several positions in the MPEd and EdD programs (9721B-650 & 651 Aims of Educational Leadership; 9770A-650 Contemporary Issues in Higher Education; 9688A-650: Special Topics in Educational Policy Study: Theoretical Foundation of Inquiry; 9688B-651: Approaches to Research). Among other duties, I created the OWL online course site, and assisted with lectures, online forum facilitation, and grading (2013-2014; 2016-2017).

My postgraduate journey is supervised by Dr. Katina E. Pollock.

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Katina Pollock, PhD



  • Daphne Lord Memorial Scholarship (2017; $500);
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2013-2014; $15, 000);
  • the Robert MacMillan Graduate Award in Educational Leadership (2013 $1, 000); and,
  • the TA Townshend Gold Medal in Education (2012; Gold Medal - no monetary value)



Peer-reviewed Articles (5) :

Swapp, D. H. (accepted). Work intensification in the school principalship. A case for A Special Issue, Canadian Cases: Issues and Challenges of Educational Administrators’ Work Intensification. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy (CJEAP, Volume Two, 2019-2020).

Faubert, B. C., Le, A. T. H., Wakim, G., Swapp, D., & Watson, K. (2019). Using the EBAM across educational contexts: Calibrating for technical, policy, leadership influences. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 14(4), 1-19. (Special Issue on the Canadian Context). Available at:

Swapp, Donna (2017) "Critical Thinking, Active Learning, and the Flipped Classroom: Strategies in Promoting Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice in the B.Ed. Classroom," Teaching Innovation Projects: Vol. 7: Iss. 1, Article 8. Available at:

Swapp, D. H. (2015). International organizations and their educational mandates: Challenges for small islands in the Caribbean region. Caribbean Educational Research Journal, 3(2), 17-32.

Pollock, K., Murakami, E., & Swapp, D. H. (2015). The work of school leaders: North American similarities, local differences. International Studies in Educational Administration, 43(2), 5-20/19-34.

Book Chapters (1):

Pollock, K., Walker, A., Swapp, D. H., & Ben Jaafar, S. (2019). Personal resources for leading. In, J. Weinstein and G. Muñoz (Eds.), Cultivating leadership in education/Cómo cultivar liderazgo educativo. Trece miradas (pp. 140-171). Santiago, Chile: Educational Leadership Development Center/ Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales (UDP).

Book Reviews (3):

Swapp, D. H. (2017). A review of Leadership Re-Imagination: A Primer of Principles & Practices, by Canute S. Thompson, PhD, 2013. Forum for International Research in Education, 3(3), 101-104.

Swapp, D. H. (2014). "Book Review: Miller, P. (Ed.) (2013). School leadership in the Caribbean: Perceptions, practices, paradigms.," Canadian and International Education / Education canadienne et internationale: 43(1), Article 11.

Swapp, D. H. (2014). A review of How School Principals Sustain Success Over Time: International Perspectives, edited by L. Moos, O. Johansson, & C. Day. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 13(2): 223-227.

Professional Journals (1):

Swapp, D. H. (Fall, 2017). Exploring Some Core Principles in Leading Student Learning. Canadian Association of Principals (CAP) Journal, 14-16.

Theses (2):

Swapp, D. H. (in progress). School Principals’ Work in Grenada. PhD Thesis. London, ON: University of Western Ontario.

Swapp, D. H. (2012). Exploring the current nature of a school principal’s work. M.Ed. Thesis. London, ON: University of Western Ontario.

Swapp, D. H. (2008). What school principals do: Teachers’ perceptions of the leadership practices of their principals. Unpublished B.Ed. Thesis. Bridgetown, Barbados: The University of the West Indies.

Written acknowledgement of research contribution in:

The Changing Nature of School Principals' Work: Research and Report submitted to the OPC. Changing Nature of Principal's work - Report

Papers at Upcoming Conferences:

Swapp, D. H. (accepted). Spirituality, Altruism, and Philanthropy: Defining Tenets of School Principals’ Work in Grenada. The Institute for Educational Administration & Leadership ( IEAL). March 7 & 8, 2019, Kingston, Jamaica.

Swapp, D. H. (accepted). How School Principals in Grenada Enact Understanding of Work. American Educational Research Association ( AERA). April 5-9, 2019, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Swapp, D. H. (accepted). The Work of School Principals in Grenada. Canadian Society for the Study of Education ( CSSE), June 1-5, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.