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2010 Dissertations

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2010 Dissertations


Noncredit to credit transitions: The role of cultural capital and habitus for adult immigrant learners in the community college

Becker, Liza A.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

Adults who immigrate to the United States recognize the value of fluency in the dominant language as a bridge to social mobility in their new homeland. In California, many of them invest time and energy in noncredit English as a Second Language (ESL) programs offered within the community college system to gain communicative competence and enhance their opportunities for a successful resettlement. For this study, Bourdieu's constructs of cultural capital and habitus provide a framework to explore the experiences and perceptions of the participants. The overarching question was: What are the supportive and impeding factors that influence the noncredit-to-credit progress of adult immigrant learners who have completed the highest level of noncredit ESL? The 17 participants interviewed for this phenomenological study came from an ESL bridge to-credit program at a large suburban college in Southern California. Findings indicate that the educational background and socioeconomic status of the individuals in their countries of origin had an important influence upon their choices and options to continue into credit. Their sense of self-identity and marginality/mattering varied as did the strategies they used to adjust into a new cultural milieu. Participants who transitioned in a timely manner had high cultural capital (earned degrees) and through their habitus (social conditioning) knew how to utilize support services to maximize benefit; noncredit ESL was their bridge toward reclaiming a more prominent and active role in their new homeland. A subgroup of participants had no intentions of transitioning; they also were of high cultural capital but chose a more independent path to meet their lifelong learning needs. Participants who postponed their progress had low cultural capital (limited education) and were ambivalent about using available resources; they had greater stress due to conflicts of work, family, and school obligations. Nevertheless, learners with lower capital made great strides in terms of social mobility in the United States and could visualize a future transition into credit. Recommendations include the integration of reflective and emancipatory curriculum at the classroom level, the integration of instructional and support services in noncredit programs, and the inclusion of student narratives in accountability reports at the policy level.


High school athletics and the "whole adolescent": A case study of three urban high schools

Davidson, William B. 

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Korostoff, Marilyn

Abstract

As the United States Congress prepares the debate related to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), there has been a great deal of recent interest expressed in the area of "whole child" education. The "complete education" approach has become a key component of the Obama Administration's educational reform agenda. An area often under-represented in education literature is the impact of high school athletic programs as they relate to the development of the "whole adolescent."

The purpose of this study is to describe the degree to which athletic programs at 3 urban high schools incorporate a holistic orientation to the development of the "whole adolescent" by exploring the characteristics of each athletic program's impact on the athletes' social, emotional, and physical development and the relationship between athletic participation and the athletes' academic performance.

This study utilized a qualitative multiple case study approach. Data analysis using closed and open coding methods was employed to analyze the results of field observations, interviews of 3 athletic administrators, 3 athletic directors, 9 varsity boy's head coaches, and 9 varsity male athletes. In addition, relevant documents were analyzed. Across sites, each school's male population, each participating varsity team, and each participating athletes' grade point averages were compared.

The findings from this research propose that athletic programs positively influence the "whole adolescent," specifically in the areas of social, emotional, physical, and academic development. The data also reveal that these specific athletic programs extend their influence beyond just physical improvement. Overall, it was found that the 3 schools all incorporated a holistic approach to educating their athletes and stressed the following areas to support this all encompassing approach: a focus on "well roundedness," the expectation of high levels of citizenship for all athletes, the use of the coach as a pivotal figure to promote the holistic approach, and an active and consistent focus on the importance of academics Each athletic program is similar in their approach: however, one school stands-out, it has several unique aspects incorporated into its athletic program that attempt to meet the needs of its athletes.


Creative confidence: Self-efficacy and creative writing in an out-of-school time program and beyond

Deegan, Allison

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

This study explores the connection between participation in an out-of-school time (OST) creative writing program for adolescent girls and the development of self-efficacy in creative writing, and in other areas such as academic confidence and educational goal formation. The study was conducted using an adaptation of the Listening Guide methodology, which seeks to uncover individual voices within interview transcripts, analyzing them alongside the researcher's personal impressions and synthesis. Participants (N = 18) were drawn from alumni members of WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based OST creative writing and mentoring program for teen girls. This study utilized electronic methods and tools such as online interviewing, qualitative data analysis software and interne social networking spaces. The study revealed a strong articulated connection between confidence in creative writing skills and confidence in other areas, as well as a link between the development of that creative confidence and participation in the WriteGirl OST program. Future implications for research and practice include strategies to incorporate creative content into OST program models and academic curricula, especially those designed to build confidence and reach out to adolescent girls.


Searching for an A+: Techniques for implementing a successful student learning outcomes process in California community colleges

Dunsheath, Barbara

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

Demand for assessing student success and educational accountability in the United States is increasing. In 2002, California community colleges were required by the accreditation agency to develop a student learning outcomes (SLOs) process. A student learning outcomes process involves creating, assessing and evaluating student outcomes for every course, program and degree.

This case study researched a California community college's student learning outcomes process. Athena College was chosen because it created a successful SLOs process. This qualitative study relied on interviews of major stakeholders in the SLOs process, observations and document collection.

Characteristics that promoted a successful SLOs process include: institutional culture; leadership, especially that of the SLOs coordinator; communication; resources and support; planning that incorporates involvement of stakeholders and use of results and evaluation. Barriers identified included time, aversion to change, interference with academic freedom and lack of knowledge about the SLOs process. Most of the characteristics of Athena College's student learning outcomes process aligned with the literature review.

Data from this qualitative study illustrates a student learning outcomes process that meets the highest standards of the regional accreditation agency while maintaining an institutional focus on improving the teaching/learning process and promoting student success. Athena College demonstrates that a California community college can implement a successful SLOs process and that the SLOs process has altered instructional practices. Faculty at Athena College use the SLOs process to improve teaching/learning practices. Athena College has infused its SLOs process into its culture aligning it with existing practices such as curriculum, program review and continuous improvement.

Accreditation and its accountability standards may have generated the initial incentive for SLOs at Athena, yet the SLOs process developed because Athena's culture embraced the concept and recognized its potential good. Athena's example should encourage other California community colleges to embrace SLOs, not because an accreditation agency demands it, but because the process works.


Successful California State University presidents: A case study of how well their professional qualities mirror job descriptions

Edwards, David

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

For many years, the number of university leaders in the United States nearing the age of retirement has grown garnering a great deal of attention from universities who foresee the need to recruit the next generation of educational leaders. Higher education has failed to develop a substantial body of literature on how to conduct university presidential searches. Some researchers suggest a sense of urgency because about half of college presidents are nearing retirement age. These challenges are not new in America's higher education system. The California State University System (CSU) has several campus presidents who are nearing retirement age. The need to understand what skills are required to be a successful president within the CSU is critical for recruiting purposes.

The purpose of this study was to examine if the professional qualities of the most successful CSU presidents mirrored those used in job descriptions utilized to recruit presidents. The goal of this research was to provide information helpful for future CSU presidents and for the CSU system as it recruits future educational leaders. The study found that while there were similarities in the professional qualities of successful CSU presidents and those job descriptions, there were remarkable areas of omission in the CSU job description. Areas where the two were not congruent included the following: relationship development with the local community, experience working within a large, complex system of higher education and understanding the dynamics of working with a faculty governance system.


Fruit and vegetable intake and exercise practices of college students of color

Fino, Michelle

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the leading causes of death in the United States, with people of color experiencing higher rates than the general population. Like most adults, college students typically do not adhere to nutrition and exercise recommendations that are in place to reduce the risks of chronic illnesses and promote good health. With increasing numbers of students of color attending college today, colleges must address their health and wellness needs. The purpose of this dissertation was to study the exercise behaviors and fruit and vegetable intake of college students of color by determining if relationships exist between various characteristics of students of color and their health habits. This study used a subsample of 5,587 African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students of color from the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment fall 2008 nationwide college health survey. The results of this study indicate African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students do not meet current exercise or fruit and vegetable intake recommendations, with female students in all groups exercising less than their male counterparts. The results also indicated that distinct factors predicted fruit and vegetable intake and exercise practices for African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students. This study proposes a research-based Healthy Campus Committee model designed to improve the nutrition practices and increase exercise activity among African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students.


The California State University education doctorate: Public policy

for the public good

Garcia, Robert

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

In 2005, the California Legislature authorized the California State University (CSU) to begin offering doctorates in education. SB 724, authored by Senator Jack Scott, has altered the California Master Plan for Education by eliminating the University of California's monopoly on public doctoral education. The overall objective of this study was to document efforts in the development and passage of SB 724, and to draw conclusions about the bill as a reform for the public good.

The centerpiece of the study is a qualitative examination of the process and passage of SB 724 through interviews and document collection. This case study included 10 interviews of past and present legislators, administrators, staff and other key players who had deep knowledge about SB 724 and its history.

The major findings in this report reveal that SB 724 was crafted to address a series of important public needs including access for students, cost of programs, and a state shortage of educators with doctorates. This report also finds that the dissatisfaction with aspects of the joint program, and its own ambition to offer independent doctorates, drove the CSU to support SB 724. Additionally, the report notes that the University of California was strongly opposed to SB 724 and viewed the legislation as an affront to the Master Plan for Education. Finally, this report concludes that those interviewed do not consider SB 724 a major educational reform, or a reform to the California Master Plan, but an alteration or change.

Recommendations for policy and practice include encouragement for the CSU to seek other independent professional doctorates and for the CSU to create a website to collect all the documents and records about the passage of SB 724 for future scholars and practitioners. Recommendations for future research on evaluation of programs, effects on private institutions, and legislative perceptions and knowledge are also presented.


Educators' perceptions of the effectiveness of the Desired Results System: A study of the California Department of Education accountability initiative

Khaleghi, Farahnaz

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Korostoff, Marilyn

Abstract

The deluge of early child development research over the past 20 years has sparked an unprecedented public interest in the first years of children's lives. Research indicates that quality early education promotes the overall development of a healthy child. The Desired Results System, a standards-based accountability initiative of the California Department of Education, changed the way child development services were evaluated from a process-oriented and compliance model to one based on results.

The purpose of this study was to explore early childhood educators' perceptions of the effectiveness of the Desired Results System and determine which factors facilitate or inhibit the implementation of the system for programs serving low-income children ages 3 to 5. The data were gathered through the administration of survey questionnaire and four focus group interviews with 11 administrators and 29 teachers from 4 child care and development sites.

The study employed a mixed methods concurrent triangulation strategy to analyze the data. Descriptive statistical methods were utilized for quantitative data analysis. Qualitative data analysis using closed and open coding as well as the constant comparative method was employed to analyze focus group interview data. The overall results demonstrate that early childhood educators perceive the Desired Results System as a comprehensive and valuable system that has improved their program quality, knowledge, and skills. However, they believe challenges and hindrances such as lack of sufficient funding for staff training and development, lack of resources to provide staff with necessary time for completion of required forms/reports, heavy paperwork, frequent changes, and staff feeling stressed and overwhelmed have detracted from the overall system's effectiveness.

The findings further suggest that in order for publicly funded early childhood programs to be held accountable to the highest standards of quality, there need to be fully funded staff training days; revised level of early childhood teacher education, certification, and compensation; clear policy strategies to link early childhood to the public education system, P-21; clear policy strategies for parent involvement; and adequate resources to enable programs meet quality standards. Policymakers need to consider these factors in order to facilitate implementation and to produce the desired outcomes.


Effectiveness of career academies: A quantitative study on career academy participation and its relationship to student achievement and engagement

Kwong, Eugene W.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

The academic demands of No Child Left Behind have narrowed the curriculum and much of the teaching and learning is centered around performing on standardized tests. Many students are meeting these demands while others are slowly disengaging from the school creating the potential for dropping out. A curricular reform, called the career academy, was introduced in the 1970s to help keep students in school by focusing on vocational education and preparing students for entry-level jobs and skilled labor. Over the years, these entry-level jobs have evolved to include technical skills, and many require more than a high school diploma.

The career academy model has evolved to incorporate an integrated vocational and academic curriculum, small learning community structure, and partnerships with local businesses to help students make the transition from school to work. Review of the literature on career academy effectiveness suggested positive effects on student engagement and mixed effects on academic achievement for students participating in career academies.

The purpose of this study is to examine differences in student achievement and engagement between career academy and non-academy students. This quasi-experimental study utilized statistical controls for prior academic achievement in order to estimate the effects of academy participation with greater precision. Therefore, the statistical control will account for the varying initial achievements of students and the removal of the variance attributed to initial achievement allows the researcher to estimate the impact of career academy participation.

The findings in this study suggest that low achieving students participating in career academies have significantly higher academic achievement than low achieving non-academy students. These results suggest the career academy model is beneficial to some students. Career academies can appeal to a wide variety of student interests and provide an alternative to the traditional academic curriculum by allowing students to integrate their learning of vocational skills with academic content. Additionally, students participating in career academies have the opportunity to complete the academic requirements needed to graduate from high school and qualify for postsecondary education.


Assessing the assessment: Access to algebra in an era of API

Lloyd, Jayson D.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

A high school education, which includes access to advanced math courses, has a positive effect on students. Math classes taken in high school show a relationship to higher salaries and college graduation rates. However, the high-stakes accountability system in California, redesigned in 2003 to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), may be negatively affecting college attainment and actually reducing potential earnings of many high school graduates. The Academic Performance Index (API) with its incentive to increase student performance on Content Standards Tests (CSTs), may be leaving students behind.

This quantitative study, focusing on 2003 and 2008 CST and API results of 153 schools with over 275,000 students, analyzed the percentage of 11 th grade high school students enrolled in Algebra II in 2003 compared to enrollment in 2008. The API ranks for schools were used to classify schools as successful or unsuccessful. API ranks were used as the independent variable and enrollment in Algebra II in the 11 th grade was used as the dependent variable, because of its potential to predict success after high school. Statistical analysis determined that high schools in which increasing numbers of students enrolled in Algebra I and Algebra II increased their API rank. Therefore, the success of the students mirrored the school's success, and the most successful schools significantly increased their students' access to both Algebras.


Cultivating a college-going culture: How schools can activate the cultural capital of Latino students

Munoz, Michael R., Jr.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

Research indicates Latinos are likely to attend schools that are not successful in implementing school policies and practices that promote a college going culture. As such, schools can play an important role in redistributing cultural capital to Latino students and their families that nurture college aspirations. Using Data from the Transcript Evaluation Service (TES) and MPR and Associates, an external evaluator commissioned by the University of California Office of the President to study how schools utilize TES data, this quantitative study investigates how students' cultural capital can be activated through a school-wide, pre-college counseling intervention and its relationship with college knowledge, motivation to pursue higher education, and the successful completion of entrance requirements to California public universities for Latino students at one large, urban high school in Los Angeles County.

Findings of the statistical analysis confirm that Latino students significantly increase their college knowledge and motivation to pursue higher education after participating in a pre-college, counseling intervention. The findings also suggest that Latino students who participated in a school-wide, pre-college counseling intervention were significantly more likely by the end of twelfth grade to complete UC/CSU college entrance requirements than those from a comparable group who did not participate in the intervention. Implications of the findings for future policy and practice to improve Latino college eligibility are discussed and recommendations for future research are provided.


Teachers' perceptions of the effects of No Child Left Behind on classroom instruction: A cross case analysis applying Dewey's theory of instructional methods

Powers, Deborah Lynn

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Korostoff, Marilyn

Abstract

Recently there has been great interest in understanding the effects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as the government considers the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, a voice that is often under-represented in education literature is the teacher's perspective on how NCLB impacts classroom instruction.

The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' perceptions of the relationship between NCLB and its accountability policies on classroom instruction, with particular attention to the effects of NCLB on teachers' abilities to infuse engaging instructional practices. Dewey's theory of instructional methods, often regarded as an exemplar of engaging instruction, was used to analyze the findings.

This study utilized a mixed method, multiple case study approach. Teachers' perceptions were obtained using a researcher-designed survey and focus group interviews. The sample was drawn from Grades 3-8 teachers from three different K-8 school sites within one public school district.

The results of this study indicate that teachers support accountability in education. Yet, there is great concern the current implementation of the ESEA in the form of NCLB emphasizes testing and test scores over student learning, has unrealistic accountability targets, and strict sanctions for failure. In addition, the current high-stakes, test-based, accountability-driven environment pressures teachers to prioritize the tested subjects and content of English language arts, reading, and mathematics, thus narrowing the curriculum. Further, classroom instruction has become more directed and teacher-centered, inhibiting student-centered practices and experiential learning opportunities.  As a result, the amount and types of engaging strategies used in classrooms have been curtailed.

The results of this study also indicate that teachers serving in schools with higher percentages of low socio-economic students are impacted by the stress and pressure to increase test scores to a great degree, especially if their school is labeled as Program Improvement. The extensive pressure on testing and scores significantly impacts teachers' ability to be creative in the classroom, and negatively impacts teacher morale.


Viviendo en las sombras: Examining the educational experiences of undocumented immigrant Latino students in a public secondary school setting

Rodriguez Jr., Jesús

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Though much has been written on undocumented students’ access to higher education, few studies have examined the experience of school for the undocumented student in a secondary setting.  This study sought to explore and understand the educational experiences of undocumented immigrant Latino students across three generational cohorts.  Some of these students belong to what researchers have called the “1.5 generation” because although they were born outside the United States, they have much in common with children of immigrants born in the United States (second generation).  This study expands the 1.5 generation category to include 1.25 and 1.75 to explore differences within the group.  The study found that undocumented immigrant Latino students undergo a “youthful or parallel” version of their parent’s adult migration narrative with its own immigrant experiences of displacement, rejection, and discriminatory treatment especially at the hands of members from their own ethnic group.  The study resulted in a conceptual model of a shared immigrant narrative that illustrates the youth’s movement forward despite facing legal and social contradictions.  The research has implications for practitioners and policymakers in addressing undocumented students’ needs and concerns in an educational setting.  Recommendations include increasing faculty and staff knowledge on undocumented students by creating safe zones or AB-540 Allies for undocumented students, and maintaining educational-immigration reform (e.g. California’s DREAM Act and Federal DREAM Act) on the national agenda.


An investigation into the faculty development practices in chiropractic education programs

Scaringe, John G.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

A descriptive case study design using a cross-sectional quantitative survey method was used to investigate the impact of faculty development programs on teaching effectiveness perceived by faculty teaching at chiropractic colleges in the United States. The availability of faculty development programs related to teaching and student learning was examined in order to determine which program characteristics are consistent with educational effectiveness and the perceived learning effects of different development interventions.

A review of the literature in chiropractic education revealed that there is little published on faculty development, with much of the available research focusing on developing faculty research skills. Currently, there is no published research that investigates the impact of faculty development programs on teaching effectiveness perceived by faculty teaching at chiropractic programs. The study instrument used was a self-reporting electronic questionnaire that determined the characteristics of faculty development in chiropractic programs and the perceived benefits of these programs on teaching effectiveness by full-time faculty. The population consisted of 801 full-time faculty members. Three hundred and forty-five respondents completed the survey instrument representing all 18 United States chiropractic program sites with an overall response rate of 43.1%. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation, and ANOVA.

The study concluded that the majority of chiropractic programs have committees or specific individuals charged with the oversight of faculty development programs. Faculty members participate in development programs at a high rate, and while there is evidence that many of the programs require faculty attendance, the majority of faculty members are motivated to attend programs to improve their teaching skills. Faculty development program topics offered at chiropractic colleges are consistent with what faculty perceive to be important and faculty are most likely to participate in on-campus workshops. The effectiveness of faculty development programs are consistent with the health sciences education literature and the most common barriers limiting faculty participation are lack of time, unclear goals of faculty development programs, and inadequate funding. Basic sciences faculty perceive the effectiveness of faculty development instructional methodologies differently than faculty associated with other academic departments or disciplines. Finally, the majority of faculty development programs in chiropractic education lack formal evaluation processes.


Prebaccalaureate students at a California State University: A study of student characteristics and first-year success

Smith, Candace Madonna

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

During the past 2 decades the provision of basic education courses in public 4-year universities has been scrutinized and debated by state officials, higher education executives, educators and the public. This cross-sectional study examined academic and psychosocial characteristics of entering fall 2008 students in relation to their persistence at a specific California State University. The sample included 1,790 students who completed the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's (CIRP) 2008 Freshman Survey. Multiple analytic procedures including exploratory factor analysis, independent t tests, one-way ANOVA and logistic regression were conducted to answer 3 research questions. This study compared prebaccalaureate students to nonprebaccalaureate students. Moreover, comparisons were made between 2 groups of prebaccalaureate students: a group completing 1 to 2 basic skills courses and a group completing 3 basic skills courses. Results from analyses indicated that several factors used with this study's sample and subgroups were consistent with those of other studies that utilized the CIRP Freshman Survey. Statistically significant differences were found between prebaccalaureate and nonprebaccalaureate students on single-item variables as well as factors such as academic preparation, academic self-concept, social personality, investigative personality, academic involvement, and faculty involvement. Moreover, statistically significant differences were found among nonprebaccalaureate students and the 2 prebaccalaureate groups. For example, a post hoc test showed statistically significant mean differences between the prebaccalaureate subgroups on academic preparation but not academic self-concept. Finally, results indicated different predictors of persistence for the entire sample and 4 subgroups. Interestingly, involvement with faculty emerged as the only common predictor for the entire sample, nonprebaccalaureate students, and prebaccalaureate students.

This study provides evidence that prebaccalaureate students are diverse and certain factors set them apart, for instance, the number and type of precollege courses a prebaccalaureate student must take. This finding alone presents implications for policy formulation, in that policies affecting prebaccalaureate students should be developed with discernment in regard to student characteristics.


A study of the effects of a structured instrument on the teaching and learning of mathematical problem solving of female college students

Starkey, Michele A.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

Problem solving is an integral part of mathematics and is therefore an essential skill to learn. Female students in particular seem to struggle with this specific area of mathematics more so than males. This study provides college mathematics instructors with an author-developed structured instrument, Examine-Strategize-Solve-Reflect (ESSR), which can be used, not only to assess female college students' problem solving strengths and weaknesses, but also to instruct students in the processes and strategies necessary for successful mathematical problem solving. The researcher hypothesized that improving female college students' problem solving skills will in turn raise students' mathematical confidence in their ability to solve mathematical problems.

A quasi-experimental design that included repeated pretests, repeated posttests, and removal of treatment in order to mitigate the threats to validity was used for this study. The results of an analysis of the descriptive statistics from the ESSR pretests indicated that the female college students in this study were strong in two components of mathematical problem solving: strategizing on ways to solve the problem and examining the problem. The results also indicated that the female college students in this study were weak in two components of mathematical problem solving: solving the problem and the reflecting upon the process.

Furthermore, results from a paired-samples t -test showed that the ESSR instrument accurately assesses female college students' mathematical problem solving skills and the results from a MANCOVA with repeated measures indicated that there was a significant effect of the intervention time periods on students' subsequent ESSR score. In addition, female college students in this study ranked themselves significantly more confident in their mathematical problem solving ability at the end of the study than they did at the beginning of the study. The largest effect sizes were in identifying the unknown, solving a math problem they had never seen before, solving a math problem by sketching graphs or diagrams, solving a math problem by using different strategies, and solving a math problem using structured methods. All five of these items can be tied directly to the structure of the ESSR instrument and the study that was conducted.


A safe zone for veterans: Developing the VET NET Ally program to increase faculty and staff awareness and sensitivity to the needs of military veterans in higher education

Thomas, Marshall W.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

Given the increased educational benefits of the Post 9/11 G. I. Bill for veterans, and as the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and the troops come home, the number of military veterans entering colleges and universities is expected to increase. As non-traditional students with significant life experience, often including combat, this population of students may have different needs than traditional college students.

The purpose of this study was to develop, pilot, and evaluate the VET NET Ally program to educate staff and faculty about the needs of military veterans in higher education. Modeled after Safe Zone Ally programs common on college campuses, the VET NET Ally program provided 4-hour training seminars focused on pre- and post-military culture, personal identity issues, and the services available to veterans to assist them in achieving their personal, social, and educational goals. The study provides an outline of the training modules included in the seminar.

This mixed-methods study examined the effects of participation in the VET NET Ally seminar on participants' knowledge of and attitudes towards veterans. Additionally, participants were asked to evaluate and provide feedback on the value and effectiveness of the seminar. The researcher used pre- and post-seminar surveys and a post-seminar course evaluation to collect data. Major findings included positive, though not statistically significant, changes in both attitudes toward and knowledge about military veterans in seminar participants. Additionally, participants evaluated the course very highly and strongly recommended that their peers attend future offerings of the seminar.


Black male students in the minds of White female teachers: A phenomenological examination of how White female teachers construct their attitudes about Black male students

Woods, Leigh C.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

White female teachers comprise a significant majority of the public school teaching force in the United States. At the same time, Black males are one of the lowest achieving demographics of students. They are placed in special education, suspended, expelled, and drop out of high school in higher numbers than their White and Latino counterparts. Research suggests that cross-cultural relationships in the classroom present special challenges and opportunities. This qualitative, phenomenological study investigated one of the most common classroom scenarios: White female teachers and Black male students. Three White female elementary school teachers' descriptions concerning their interactions with their Black male students were elicited through semi- structured interviews. Their responses were analyzed using Whiteness Theory, White Racial Identity Theory, along with the Teacher-Child Relationship Model. The purpose of this study was to examine how White, female, elementary teachers make meaning of their relationships with Black male students. Findings from this study suggested that: (1) background factors, (2) interactions with people of color, (3) awareness of Whiteness, and (4) development of White racial identity influence teachers' attitudes about their Black male students. The research findings led to ideas that could inform the development of a racial awareness curriculum to help improve teacher effectiveness, multicultural competency, reflection, and self-confidence, so all students can thrive educationally, socially, and emotionally.


A community college's loss of accreditation: A case study

Young, Janet L.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

In 2006, Urban Community College (pseudonym) became the first public community college to lose its accreditation. In order to continue serving its students the school was required to partner with a neighboring college and was renamed an "Educational Center." The overall objective of this study was to gain an understanding of the perceived leadership and governance issues that led to the college's loss of accreditation and the affects this phenomenon had on the campus community.

This qualitative case study included a review of primary source documents including reports, journal and newspaper articles, internal documents, and 15 interviews of past and present staff, faculty, administrators, and special trustees. The participants were selected based upon their ability to contribute historical information, insights, and perspectives on various issues relating to leadership and governance prior to the college's loss of accreditation.

The major finding revealed that a lack of adherence to policy and practice which included corruption, unethical behavior, insufficient fiscal oversight, and micromanagement on the part of the Board of Trustees were the main issues that led to Urban Community College's loss of accreditation. The findings also showed that the faculty acted to bring the leadership problems to the attention of the authorities for many years. The study also revealed that the college's loss of accreditation had a profound and negative emotional effect on the campus community. Recommendations for policy and practice aimed at improving a community's ability to select and monitor Board members' actions as well as recommendations for future research are presented.

last updated — Jul 17, 2012