Ronald D. Flowers

A photo of Ronald Flowers.


Leadership and Counseling

304 John W. Porter Building


[email protected]


  • Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Eastern Michigan University
  • M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington
  • Master's program in Athletic Administration, The Ohio State University
  • B.A., Social Studies Education, The Ohio State University


Dr. Ronald Flowers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership and Counseling and served as Department Head from 2015-2019. He has been on faculty at Eastern Michigan University since 2006, and in addition to teaching graduate courses in educational leadership, administration, and the history of higher education, Dr. Flowers has held several leadership roles. Before becoming department head, he served as the Director of the Educational Leadership Internship Program, as well as, President of the EMU Graduate Council.

A historian, sociologist, and qualitative methodologist by training, Dr. Flowers’ has authored several works covering a range of topics across P-16 education. With an emphasis on organizational theory and a background in athletic administration, his research has examined the transitional experience of transfer student-athletes and analyzed the experiences and perceptions of academically successful African American college football players. In addition to an interest in intercollegiate athletics, Dr. Flowers has also explored the histories of The Michigan State Normal School, the establishment of Michigan’s public-school system, and rural schooling in the state. Currently, he is investigating the history of the Detroit Public Schools, specifically the development and implementation of the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan.

Before joining the faculty at EMU, Dr. Flowers gained significant experience as a college football coach, athletic director, and university administrator. In his free time, he is an avid woodworker and model builder.

Dr. Flowers, in addition to his teaching responsibilities in the Department of Leadership and Counseling, is the director of the Educational Leadership Internship Program. Before becoming a member of the faculty at Eastern Michigan University, Dr. Flowers spent over 20 years as a college football coach, athletic director and university administrator. His recent work has included authoring Institutional Hypocrisy: Sports on America's College Campuses, Physical Education and Athletics in America's Schools, and Win one for the Gipper: The Organizational Foundations of Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition to his work on intercollegiate athletics, he has written on the history of K–12 education including John D. Pierce and the Beginnings of the One Best System, Closing Small Rural Schools, and The Michigan State Normal School: An Institutional and Historical Analysis, (VDM Publishing). His research focuses on the use of history and organizational/institutional theory to analyze issues related to P–16 education. Most recently, he has examined the transition experience of transfer student-athletes and is currently working on a study of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's relationship to higher education's academic mission.

Interests and Expertise

Research Interests

  • Educational organizations and leadership studies
  • Organizational sociology
  • Politics of education
  • History of education
  • Sports in education
  • Qualitative and historical research methods
  • The role of sports and athletics in education
  • The sociology of education
  • The politics and history of education
  • Organizational theory and the study of educational organizations


  • EDLD 514 Organization and Administration of K–12 Education
  • EDLD 590 Special Topics: Intercollegiate Athletics and Higher Education
  • EDLD 613 Introduction to Higher Education
  • EDLD 622 Organization and Administration of Higher Education
  • EDLD 633 History of Higher Education
  • EDLD 681 Qualitative Research Methods
  • EDLD 687 Internship in Educational Leadership (K–12 and Higher Education General Admin)
  • EDLD 710 Educational Leadership and Change Process
  • EDLD 712 Analysis of Research in Administration
  • EDLD 820 Politics of Educational Leadership
  • EDLD 895 Dissertation Research Seminar

Publications and Presentations

Selected Publications

  • Gragg, D. and Flowers, R. (2014). Factors that positively affect academic performance of African American football student athletes. The Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 8(2), 77-98.
  • Flowers, R, Luzynski, C., and Zamani-Gallaher, E. (2014). Male Transfer Student Athletes and Schlossberg's Transition Theory. The Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, (8)2, 99-120.
  • Flowers, R. (2013). “Win one for the Gipper”: Organizational foundations of intercollegiate athletics. The Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 1(2), 121-140.
  • McWilliams, M., Flowers, R., Browing, A., Harmon, N., Harmon, J., Miranda, M. (2011). Aligning the study of intercollegiate athletics within higher education scholarship and policy: Student athlete experiences. In White Papers on Research and Intercollegiate Athletics. Indianapolis, IN: NCAA.
  • Flowers, R. (2008). The Michigan State Normal School: An institutional and historical analysis. Saarbruken, Germany: VDM Publishing.

Selected Presentations

  • Flowers, R., Luzynski, C., and Zamani - Gallaher, E. (2013, April). Applying Schlossberg's transition theory to transfer student athletes. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
  • Flowers, R., Luzynski, C., and Zamani - Gallaher, E. (2013, April). Transfers and transition in intercollegiate athletics. Paper Presented at Community Colleges in the 21st Century, The Council for the Study of Community Colleges, San Francisco, CA.
  • Flowers, R. (2010, April). Lost boys. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO.


  • American Educational Research Association
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education
  • Organization of Educational Historians
  • Politics of Education Association
  • Research Focus on Education and Sport