Date of Award

Winter 1-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Christina Ager

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Holderman

Third Advisor

Timothy Belloff


This research study merged the seemingly divergent challenges of a soft skills shortage among workforce-ready young adults and the need to develop curricula that are interesting enough to hold students’ attention. This study, based on social learning and human capital theories, explored the portrayal of soft skills in five prime-time television (TV) comedies from the 2019-2020 broadcast season, with the idea that, if the portrayals were sufficiently frequent, readily identifiable, and led to what the TV characters wanted to achieve by exercising those skills, then perhaps the viewing of TV comedies could constitute part of the elusive yet engaging and effective curriculum of presenting, for students’ learning and modeling, the exercise of soft skills. The results of the study demonstrated that, indeed, soft skills were portrayed often (every four minutes, on average) in the episodes observed. They also showed that, in most cases (83.7% of the time), the characters did achieve their desired outcomes by using the soft skills.


Five television comedies observed and coded in this study:


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Goldbergs



Bader dissertation proposal defense 2020 11 12.pptx (15982 kB)
PowerPoint for Proposal Defense

Bader dissertation final defense 2021 01 21.pptx (7721 kB)
PowerPoint for Final Defense