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William Diffley

diffleyWilliam Diffley, Ph.D; Associate Professor


William Diffley, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department, where he has developed and taught the doctoral program's courses in research design, quantitative methods, and advanced  quantitative methods.  As Director of the Research, Statistics, and Measurement Master of Science program he taught: courses in univariate and multivariate statistics, research design, survey research, and non-parametric statistics. He has also chaired numerous dissertation and master's thesis committees. Across the university he has consulted with faculty, and departments, on research design and data analysis.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut on a U. S. Office of Education  sponsored Research Training Fellowship. He also received his Master of Educational Administration at UConn.  He completed a Master of Mathematics under a National Science Foundation Grant from Wesleyan University, and obtained his B.S. in mathematics from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Dr. Diffley started his career teaching mathematics at the high school level. After earning his doctorate, he taught courses in research design and statistics at Boston University, both on the Boston campus and for two years in B.U's overseas graduate program in Germany and Italy. His follow-on positions were in the corporate sector where he practiced organizational psychology at several Fortune 10 companies including: General Electric where he was program manager at GE's Leadership Development Institute;  ITT's Advanced Technology Center where he was responsible organizational development in the company's offices in the U.S. and Europe; Ernst and Young, LLP where he was Manager of Measurement Products and Services.  He also founded and held the position of Director at the Customer Focus Group, a consulting firm specializing in organizational development, and process reengineering, providing services for numerous Fortune 100 companies in a variety of industries.

 In the course of his tenure in the corporate area Dr. Diffley, among other things, developed and delivered leadership training programs for GE, publish numerous internal papers and video programs that established the operating procedures for companywide organizational development. A few of the more significant products included:  The Specifications Model which detailed the process for conducting the instructional design process from investigation of job performance problems through delivery of interventions for corrective action; Testing in the Classroom, a 35 minute videotape on the design and use of performance-based measurement; Four Levels of Readiness Model used for human resource capacity planning and development; Business Process Change Model, a qualitative  methodology for improving customer and supplier processes and interactions; Measurement Streaming, a model for identifying the relationships between real time actions and lag time consequences.  In Dr. Diffley's faculty position at Southern he utilizes the lessons learned from his varied professional experiences to bridge the gap between theory and practice both in the classroom and as advisor to students conducting dissertation research.

Dr. Diffley's research agenda includes: organizational change, professional development, knowledge vs. performance, formal and informal measures of classroom learning, and antecedents to creativity.  He has numerous presentations in these areas, both in the corporate sector and at regional, national, and international scholarly conferences.