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2011 Dissertations

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2011 Dissertations


Teachers' Perceptions of the Effects of Standards-based Reform on Curriculum, Instructional Practices, and the Quality of Student Learning: Keeping the Debate Alive!

Adomou, Desire S.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Korostoff, Marilyn

Abstract

Standards-based reform and the proliferation of legislative mandates to improve the quality of teaching and learning in K-12 education are two of the most hotly contested and complex educational issues in contemporary U.S. education. Although teachers are the main agents of implementation of these legislative mandates, they remain absent in this debate and their voices continue to be relegated to a lesser rank in the design and implementation of educational reforms. In efforts to give voice to teachers, this qualitative multiple-case study explored middle and high school English and Mathematics teachers' perceptions of both the value and effects of standards-based reform in relationship to curriculum, instructional practices, and the quality of student learning. The study's focus on English and mathematics teachers was motivated by the emphasis standards-based reform, notably the No Child Left Behind Act, places on these two subjects with the goal of 100% proficiency for every student by the year 2014.

The findings of this study revealed teachers believed the K-12 educational system needs to be "reformed" and they unanimously welcomed the ideals that the reform movement and NCLB promote. However, they believed standards-based reform has floundered in its implementation because policymakers, uninformed about classroom realities, set policies promoting unrealistic expectations that affect the curriculum, instructional practices and the quality of student learning adversely. Teachers viewed the reform as an attack on their profession, and they expressed strong views against the testing culture as well as the excessive volume of the prescribed curriculum and the lack of time to teach it. Further, they were concerned about students' lack of academic preparation to meet the standards, because most of them are performing far below grade level, which places them at greater risks for failure.

These findings suggest teachers' voices and opinions are important factors to consider for designing appropriate educational policies, for teachers are the ones most closely affected by any legislative mandates and the ones who know their students better than any policymaker. If legislative mandates continue to be crafted without any basis in classroom realities, students will continue to suffer and flounder academically. Similarly, teaching will become a mere act of compliance as opposed to a creative exercise, which promotes the intellectual and personal growth of both the teacher and the learner.


A Community College Study of Low-income, First-generation, African American Female Students and Persistence in Extended Opportunities Programs and Services

Alfred, Tangelia

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the persistence rates of first generation, low-income, African American female students involved in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and CalWORKs. More specifically, the study compared persistence rates for such students in EOPS and CalWORKs. The literature review covered general aspects of community college student persistence theory that identified factors influencing attrition. Additionally, the literature review examined a wide range of support programs associated with retention and persistence practices of community college students.  The study sought to find out the effect on persistence rates of EOPS students during a 6-year time period.

Findings of this study did not support previous research that suggested EOPS students would have higher persistence rates. EOPS students did not complete more degrees within the six-year time period than their CalWORKs counterparts. The results of this study suggests that community college administrators at the site from which data were drawn should:  (1) Expand institutional research efforts by tracking the persistence rates of first-generation, low-income, African American female college students, because they are considered a significant part of the student population at Seaside Community College and (2) Complete a more comprehensive evaluation of services provided by the EOPS and CalWORKs programs to more fully assess what affects the persistence of students.
 


Factorial Structure of Engagement and its Relationship to Persistence: A Study of Adult Secondary Education Students

Arballo, Madelyn Rodriguez

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Masunaga, Hiromi

Abstract

Adult education programs provide a viable option for adults who seek lifelong learning. One type of such programs is the adult secondary program where high school dropouts can earn a high school diploma. Although a significant number of students return to adult secondary programs, most fail to change their dropout status as they fail to complete their programs. The large body of available engagement research pertaining to K-12 and higher education students appears to be a promising source from which to address the issue of poor persistence of adult secondary students.

The purpose of this study was to examine the structure of engagement for students in an adult secondary program and to investigate how different components of engagement are associated with persistence. This study utilized a quantitative methodology, specifically employing a survey research design. The instrument used included the Student Engagement Instrument (SEI), a researcher-developed behavioral engagement scale, and demographic items. A convenience sample of 184 students who enrolled in the Luna Crest College Adult Diploma Program completed this instrument and indicated their perceived levels of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement.

The findings from a confirmatory factor analysis showed that the instrument tested in this study reliably identifies factors of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement among adult secondary students. It is expected that this instrument of engagement will provide adult educators and researchers with a useful tool with which to measure engagement within adult secondary students. This is a significant contribution of this study, as there was not such an instrument available for use with adult education students prior to this study. In further analyses to examine the relationships between factors of engagement and persistence, Peer Support to Learning (PSL) was found to predict persistence of students in the adult secondary program. Persistence was operationalized with attendance hours of 62 hours or more, as students at Luna Crest College are required to complete at least 62 hours of school work to obtain credits for one course. The results of this study call for: (1) future efforts to modify the instructional format in adult secondary programs to promote peer support, student engagement, and student persistence, and (2) a more comprehensive examination of barriers that adult secondary students face in their endeavors to complete their programs.


A Nurse at Heart: The Journeys and Experiences of Nursing School Deans

Blass, Tammy C.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

This qualitative study explored the experiences of 13 nursing school deans to understand how their personal characteristics and nursing background influence how they perform their role and manage challenges as dean. The conceptual framework, based on role theory and Mintzberg's Model of Managing, provided a lens through which the nursing dean's journey from practitioner to dean and her role as dean could be explored. The four themes that emerged were: Core: Always a Nurse; Character: Playing the Part; Context: Facing the Issues; and Connection: Creating Solutions. By connecting with their core as a nurse, the deans were able to draw upon their nursing experiences in performing their role and creating solutions to their challenges. This core, shaped by their strong sense of self as a nurse, their journey to the deanship, their past experiences, and their gender influenced who they became as dean and the parts they played. In playing these parts, they performed informative, supportive, and active roles that were congruent with Mintzberg's information, people, and action planes. The challenges, which the deans perceived as being mainly related to student, faculty, and resource concerns, required that they adapt and blend their roles to create solutions. The solutions focused on meeting the students' needs and included getting resources and results, setting the course and boundaries, letting others have the glory and control, and netting internal and external bonds. By building strong connections, the deans in this study created a secure net for their students to ensure they had the necessary resources to be successful. Recommendations for policy and practice include empowering nursing deans to remain connected to the profession and practice, preparing future deans, and advocating for the profession. Areas for future research include exploring the nursing dean's role among various populations, such as male and minority deans. Although the nursing dean's professional journey has taken her away from clinical practice where she began her career, she will always be a nurse at heart.


Novice Principals' Perceptions of Beginning Principal Support and Induction

Bodger, Cheryl L.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

This qualitative study used multiple-case study methodology to explore the beginning principal support and induction experiences of six elementary principals. The study brings the voices of beginning principals to the body of knowledge about novice principal support and induction. In this study six beginning principals describe the types of support activities they participated in and how these activities helped them to perform the complex tasks of a 21st-century principal.

Current literature acknowledges the need for comprehensive and systematic support programs for novice principals. This study used role socialization theory as a lens to explore how novice principal support and induction activities assist new principals during the process of socializing to the role of principal.

The study's findings confirm that in order to make a successful transition to their new role of school principal, novice principals need support in many forms. The six principals in this study experienced mentoring, formal professional development activities for novice principals, and the opportunity to acquire administrative experience prior to being appointed to the principalship. Consistent with the literature are this study's findings that new principals welcome support from mentors, role models, and coaches and need professional development to help them to put theory into action in their daily work. The study also confirmed the application of socialization theory to addressing the problem of novice principal support. Surprising findings include the importance of providing a training ground of experience for aspiring administrators and the significance of a districtwide commitment to providing support for new school leaders.

Recommendations for policy and practice include designing multifaceted support programs for new principals that include job-embedded real-time coaching, informal mentoring, and formal professional development designed specifically for novice principals. Areas for future research include exploring the novice principal support outside of California and addressing the issue of generational differences when designing new principal support programs.


High School Principals’ Perceptions of Teacher Leadership

Boyd, Kerry

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

As high school principals today have many responsibilities, various forms of shared leadership (such as teacher leadership) have become more widespread on high school campuses.  Most of the scholarly literature concerning teacher leadership only questions teacher leaders about their own perceptions, which overlooks the perceptions of principals.  As a result, principals’ voices are missing in conversations about teacher leadership.  Moreover, principals are the leaders of record on their campuses, uniquely situated to influence the creation of a leadership culture.  The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to investigate high school principals’ perceptions of teacher leadership, namely how they define “teacher leadership”, how they facilitate it, and how they sustain existing teacher leadership structures to meet school goals. 

This study contributes to a small body of literature regarding principals and teacher leadership.  Through this interview study, it was found that high school principals tended to define teacher leadership through ideal qualities, and also through examples such as tasks, roles, and opportunities.  In addition, high school principals facilitated teacher leadership through a highly collegial culture on campus, modeling leadership, and providing opportunities for teacher leadership despite certain obstacles.  Last of all, high school principals sustained teacher leadership through building capacity, cultivating a sense of shared vision, and organizational structures.  In addition, principals also reported their past experiences as teacher leaders and how it influenced their development and approach as leaders.  Implications of the study and recommendations for policy and practice are offered within the discussion.


A Case Study Examining Chief Business Officials’ View of Essential

Leadership Skills in Colorado and Illinois

Budhraja, Steve

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Powers, Kristin

Abstract

School business officials oversee the districts’ implementation of policies and adherence to laws, and ensure the proper use of resources, such as state and federal funds through the preparation of budgets and union contract negotiations.  The research suggests that Chief Business Officials (CBO) from states with stringent oversight policies place a greater value on technical skills than visionary leadership skills.  This case study examined data from the 2007 Leadership and Technical Skills for School Business Officials (LTSSBO) survey in order to determine whether CBOs from a state with stringent oversight (Illinois, n = 76) would differ from CBOs from a state with less oversight (Colorado, n = 51), in their perceptions about the role of the position.  The findings of the study suggest that although technical skills were rated slightly higher with CBOs from Illinois (a state with high regulatory oversight policies) over Colorado CBOs, there was no significant difference.  In addition, the findings also suggest that while the Colorado CBOs (a state with low regulatory oversight policies) valued visionary/leadership skills slightly more than the Illinois CBOs, the difference was not statistically significant.  Factors other than state mandates that may influence CBOs’ perceptions about leadership are briefly explored and implications for future research are suggested.


The Role of the Dean in the Public Comprehensive Community College

Colvin, Diane J.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Deans in U.S. public community colleges hold an important, challenging, and little understood leadership position. Within an institution, the academic division dean is the administrator with the most direct influence over the academic unit. Little data can be found on the specific nature of the roles, tasks, competencies, challenges, and strategies related to the position. The lack of empirical research on the role supports a need for this study.

The purpose for conducting this study was to understand the unique role of the dean in the public community college context. A proportional stratified random sample was drawn from the 7 Carnegie Classifications of public 2-year institutions to ensure a representative nationwide sample. The survey instrument was adapted from one created by the Maricopa Community College National Community College Chair Academy and the Study of Higher Education and Post Secondary Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The results of the study indicated that the respondents perceived all 14roles as important in their position, including planner motivator, and advocate. Of the 32 tasks, 20 were considered important, including communicate unit needs to upper administration, create a positive environment, and develop long-term plans. All 12 competencies were viewed as important, including judgment, organization, and decisiveness. Of the 34 challenges, 29 were identified as important, including maintaining program quality, maintaining high quality faculty, and strengthening the curriculum. Respondents agreed that 23 of the 25 strategies were useful to some degree, including long-range institutional planning, integrating budget and planning, and conducting curriculum reviews. Finally, the results showed that there was no difference in how deans viewed the dimensions of their role across the Carnegie categories.

The results of this study may provide useful data to community college leaders and hiring committees by identifying the roles and competencies perceived as necessary to succeed in this position. In addition, the results of this study may be useful to educational leadership programs by providing information about the responsibilities of the position and the strategies current practitioners view as effective.


Finding Our Way through the House of Mirrors: Higher Education, Administrative Leadership, and Social Justice

Diaz, Susan

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Dumas, Michael

Abstract

Leadership within higher education is currently limited in its capacity to address the needs of a diverse student population. Although diversity initiatives within higher education are growing, educational inequities among various social groups persist. This evidences a need to address issues of social justice within higher education and higher education administration. However, we have not sufficiently theorized nor documented leadership for social justice within higher education administration.

This qualitative study gives voice to leaders’ conceptualizations and operationalization of social justice in higher education and higher education administration. The aim was to explore administrators’ experiences of the nature, implementation, and negotiation of leadership for social justice within higher education institutions.  This involved investigation into the meanings administrators attach to their work as well as their assessment of its impact. Using a two-stage process of in-depth interviews influenced by the tenets of phenomenology, I engaged in praxis with six administrative leaders to examine how they perceive and practice social justice.

I performed thematic analysis of data that yielded several themes within participant stories and seven meta-themes across participant stories. Meta-themes speak to participants’ prioritization of social justice as well as the complicated nature of simultaneously enabling and challenging institutional systems. In addition, the communal nature of leadership for social justice and the necessity to gain a critical understanding of one’s own positionality in relationship to issues of equity were emphasized within meta- themes. Leadership for social justice within higher education emerged as a multidimensional and ongoing process of community, administrator, and institutional transformation.

Research findings offer implications for the continued formation and evolution of leadership for social justice within higher education. Recommendations are provided for leadership preparation programs, administrative and institutional practice, and further research.


Transition, Socialization, and Adaptation of Private Sector Managers

 into Community College Cultures

Flores-Church, Adriana

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

The turnover in leadership in community colleges has and will continue to increase in the next few years as baby boomers pursue their retirement plans. Many administrators and faculty members who joined the workforce of community colleges during their first decade of their inception, have reached the age of retirement and are leaving these higher education institutions at an alarming rate. With this shortage of leadership, more and more private sector managers are transitioning to these positions in community colleges. However, a common challenge is to prepare these private sector managers for the changes they may experience when entering the organizational culture of a community college. The purpose of this study was to explore how private sector managers experience the cultural change between their former private sector organizational culture and the new community college culture, and to examine how private sector managers socialize and adapt into the new culture. This qualitative multiple-case study research explored the experiences of 12 administrators who transitioned from a private sector organizational culture to a community college culture. Findings of the study suggest that information from seasoned administrators prior to entry to the new environment benefited some participants' initiation experiences. Findings suggest that participants, who received support from their supervisor, advice from a mentor, and had a support group or internal network during their socialization stage, were more likely to adapt to the college culture. Positive initiation experiences appeared to ameliorate the negative experiences these managers encountered when decoding the structure and the culture of the community college. Findings also indicate that participants' conviction to overcome obstacles, affected their adaptation outcome.

This research study revealed a void of resources necessary for managers to transition from a private sector organizational culture to a community college culture. Community college officials should understand that the socialization needs of these new administrators are different and they have to develop institutional practices to facilitate their transition.


Accountability of NCLB, Student Subgroup Count, and Their Combined Impact on our Public Schools

Franklin, Thomas G.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Kim, Simon

Abstract

According to the Accountability Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), schools are held responsible for the academic performance of all student subgroups they service. Since some student subgroups significantly outperform others, schools and districts that service substantial populations of students in the low-performing subgroups do not compare favorably to those schools and districts that service lower populations of students in these groups. Institutions that service students in the low-performing subgroups are at greater risk of not making their mandated benchmark adequate yearly progress (AYP).

This study is intended to replicate the examination originally conducted by Novak and Fuller but to use a 5-year period. The purpose is to determine whether results from the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test support their findings that diverse schools are less likely to achieve their AYP targets as designated by NCLB. The researcher decided to review 5 years instead of 1 year because: a) a 1-year examination only provides a snapshot of school performance, b) the AYP targets have changed several times during the 5-year period, and c) an examination of 5 years of data may allow for a determination on the development of trends in test performance and paint a clearer picture of overall school performance.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher chose a longitudinal, descriptive, quantitative research design using secondary data. Descriptive research seeks to collect information to answer questions through the analysis of variable relationships. Quantitative research design is a formal, objective, systematic process utilizing numerical data to ascertain knowledge about the world. Secondary data analysis is the utilization of analytical methods on pre-existing data. In this case, the use of secondary data analysis granted access to a database of higher quality and larger sample size than the researcher could have collected.

The results indicate that the number of subgroups represented in a school's population has an effect on its ability to make AYP. The socioeconomic status (SES) of a school also affects its ability to make their AYP targets. The data also suggests that the presence of certain student subgroups affect a school's chance of making AYP more than other subgroups. Listing the subgroups in the order the subgroups most affect their schools' chances of making AYP are: disabled students, African American, English Language Learner, Hispanic, Disadvantaged, and White.

The findings of this study also indicate a strong and increasingly large trend in the disparity between state and federal accountability standards. Over the span of 4 years, the number of California elementary schools who achieved state API scores of at least 800 but failed to meet federal AYP standards increased approximately 1,900%, while the number of middle schools increased approximately 2,000%.


Success of Online Mathematics Courses at the Community College Level

Lee, Lisa S.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

Low success rates in online mathematics courses at the community college level have raised concerns. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that contribute to student success in online mathematics courses at community colleges. The non-experimental quantitative design began with descriptive statistics to explore the quantitative evidence and then applied multiple regression analysis to identify the significant predictors. A total of 135 students enrolled in three online math courses at a Southern California community college were invited to complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire which was designed based on the seven principles of successful college teaching. The findings show that student success was associated with the following areas: Principle One--interaction between students and faculty and Principle Three--use of active learning, tutoring services, and technology competence. Students who had the lower final grades in the course reported greater needs for tutoring services. Mastering online homework has a positive impact to students. Strategies should be developed to encourage interaction between faculty and students and promote active learning environments. Institutions should provide extended hours for in-person and online tutoring services. Technology training workshops and supports should be available for both online faculty and students.


Wired and Engaged?: Student Engagement in Online Learning

at the Community College Level

Lerma, Maria del Pilar

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Kim, Simon

Abstract

Over the past 10 years, higher education has experienced dramatic changes due to online instruction, especially at community colleges. It is important to recognize the role of the college in the implementation of online techniques and strategies that can serve to engage students effectively in the online learning environment. However, very little is known about student engagement in online learning at the community college level.

The present study is a replication of Robinson's 2006 study on student engagement at the 4-year university level, which used a modified NSSE survey instrument. The purpose of this study was to measure the level of student engagement in online learning at the community college level and to determine if there was any relationship between engagement factors and student satisfaction with the institution in which the online course was taken through four NSSE benchmarks. Additionally, this study analyzed to what extent were the factors of gender, age, and dependent care related to student engagement in the online learning environment. The participants in this study were 465 students enrolled in an online course at one of three community colleges in a multi-college district in a suburb of Southern California.

A combined theoretical framework using Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles for Good Practice and Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory was chosen as the lens by which to examine and analyze the literature on methods and strategies used to engage students in the online learning environment.

The data were analyzed through multiple quantitative methods--descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, and 2 x 2 x3 factorial ANOVAs. The findings indicate higher than average levels of engagment and that student satisfaction with the community college in which the online course was taken in was positively correlated with three benchmarks. Finally, age was found to have a significant interaction with two benchmarks.

Findings from this type of research may aid instructors and institutions on how best to develop and offer their online courses. Recommendations include ongoing research in online learning because of its continuously evolving nature. Areas for future research include replication in urban and rural areas.


The Role of a University in the Development and Support of it Leaders

Lenz, Christopher

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Universities in America today are complex, multi-faceted organizations sharing the same kinds of logistical, administrative, financial, personnel, political and legal issues as many businesses. Additionally, they face numerous external challenges, such as legislative questions about rising costs and quality, demands from business for better prepared graduates, and changing demographics of students. As organizational success has been linked to the effectiveness and quality of leadership, it is important that universities have effective leadership to successfully manage their institution and meet the challenges.

Research on university leadership has shown that the vast majority of leaders had little to no preparation for their roles and little support after assuming them, which exacts a cost in terms of professional effectiveness as well as personal stress.  This state of affairs has been linked to cultural values within university settings. What has not been previously studied though is what role the university takes in the development and support of its leaders.

The purpose of this research project was to conduct a case study of a large, urban, public university, to examine what role it takes in the development and support of its leaders, how that relates to the culture of the university, and how incumbent leaders themselves perceive the university’s role. All of the divisions of the university were examined, through analysis of documents, archival data, and artifacts, to develop a portrait of the university’s role and the culture related to that role. A survey of all of the leaders on campus was conducted for confirmatory evidence about the culture, and to ascertain their perceptions about the university’s role in developing and supporting its leaders.

The results show that while the university does acknowledge its role in the development and support of leaders, what is actually provided to those ends is very limited, and is inconsistent across divisions. The campus culture supports this disposition, but there is apparently some pressure for change, as incumbent leaders strongly feel that development and support of leaders by the university is very important.


Student Athletes’ Perceptions of Their Academic and Athletic Roles: Intersections amongst Their Athletic Role, Academic Motivation, Choice of Major, and Career Decision Making

Mahoney, Michele

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Student-athletes’ academic and athletic roles both require commitment, time, energy, and effort.  Managing and balancing these multiple roles not only impacts student-athletes’ use of time (Martinelli, 2000), but also their overall college experience.  The purpose of this study was to explore how collegiate student-athletes perceive their academic and athletic roles. This study gives voice to student-athletes’ perceptions of their multiple roles, provides insight on how they navigate these roles, and examines the intersections between athletic role, academic motivation, choice of major, and career decision-making processes.

Qualitative interviews were conducted employing the constant comparative analytic method as a means to gain a meaningful understanding of how student-athletes perceive and experience their multiple roles.  The study sample contained 18 (eight female and 10 male) student-athletes at Sunny Hills University (SHU), a large four-year public university in Southern California.  A purposeful sample technique was employed resulting in participants being either sophomore, junior, or seniors on the following SHU teams:  Baseball, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Men’s Outdoor Track, and Women’s Outdoor Track. 

Five overarching themes emerged from the data regarding how student-athletes perceive their academic and athletic roles: (1) Two interconnected roles; (2) Part of an elite group; (3) Athletic role is more reinforced than academic role; (4) Stereotypes; and (5) Career decisions: A backseat to athletics.  Implications for developing a theoretical or conceptual understanding of how Role Theory and in particular role conflict, affects student-athlete and how participants’ viewed their academic and athletic roles as interconnected are also highlighted.  Recommendations are provided for the NCAA, academic counselors, Athletic Departments, coaches, and faculty members with the goal of encouraging these different constituencies to understand areas where their behaviors could change in order to assist student-athletes with managing the multiple responsibilities, demands, and expectations of their role.


Narratives of New Principals: Facing Challenges and Finding Support

McKivett Magee, Constance

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

There is little knowledge on how to best prepare urban principals to succeed in challenging schools. Current preparation and support is based on leadership theory, not experience. This narrative inquiry study examined the experiences of new urban principals as they transitioned into their role during their first year.  The research questions focused on the challenges new principals faced and the types of support they were offered. These stories give new principals a voice in the literature and their experiences can help inform future preparation and support for new principals.

The findings were organized in individual narratives addressing each of the research questions, the conceptual framework, and the three commonplaces of narrative inquiry. Each case was unique; however, there were common themes across the four cases. The five common themes revealed were, trust, team, time, tension, and transformation. These new principals re-cultured their schools while facing various levels of resistance to change from students, parents, staff, and the communities. Their stories did not follow the predicted path of survival to comfort described by Huberman (1989) and Daresh (2007). They transitioned into comfort weeks into the job, alluding to their preparation as a key factor in their success as new principals. This confirms the importance of internship-like experiences in similar schools, prior to becoming principal.

Findings also confirm the literature on first year principal placement in challenging urban schools. Theses principals addressed student behavior and campus appearance before shifting their attention to classroom instruction. This order of action is also present in the literature on successful urban principals in challenging schools. Findings confirm the effectiveness of coaching and mentoring. Time, fit between coach and new principal, feedback, and experience were important factors in successful principal coaching. Surprise findings included the power of networking with outside districts to improve experienced principal practice and the need to support the managerial, instructional, and emotional needs of new principals. Changes of principal workshops were an exceptionally helpful district support. Recommendations address national, state, and district level reform, concluding with a proposed path for changing challenging schools. Recommendations for further study include correlating the possible effects of new principal support on principal effectiveness linked to student achievement data, piloting the use of the change of principal workshop format in other districts, and evaluating the content of the Administrative Tier II program and its alignment to current new principal job requirements.


Emerging Technologies as a Form of Student Engagement for Nontraditional California Community College Students

Ogilvie, Gina

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Technology usage is increasing important for community college students, but whether Nontraditional students differ from Traditional students in technology usage and support was unclear. Further, it was not known whether Nontraditional and Traditional community college students feel equally connected to the college when using social networking software for school purposes.

A large percentage of students attending community colleges have characteristics that may negatively influence their persistence in college. These at-risk characteristics include receiving a GED or not completing high school, delaying postsecondary enrollment, being financially independent of one’s parents, being a single parent, having dependents other than a spouse, attending college part-time, and working full-time. Students who possess one or more of these characteristics are categorized as Nontraditional students.

However, Nontraditional students cannot be lumped into one grouping. Using Horn’s (1993) Nontraditional definition, students are considered minimally Nontraditional if they have one characteristic, moderate if they have two to three, and highly Nontraditional if they have four or more.  The more at-risk characteristics a student has, the less likely they will persist in college. Retention activities geared toward Nontraditional students is extremely challenging. Emerging technologies in the form of social networking and course management tools may be a means to engage Nontraditional students that are preoccupied with preexisting obligations and time constraints.

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether Traditional and Nontraditional students use social networking and course management tools differently and explored group differences in faculty-student interaction and support for learners within the context of emerging technology usage.

This study utilized the 2009 California subset of Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and technology supplemental. Nine Californian community colleges participated in the survey, totaling 9712 respondents. Data were analyzed with ANOVA to contrast Traditional and Non-traditional groups, and using simple correlation to determine the relationship between technology use and both faculty-student interaction and support for learners. Differences and relationships were considered statistically significant at a threshold of p < .05.

The findings suggest that emerging technology usage differed between Traditional and Non-traditional students, such that Highly Nontraditional students use technology less overall and less for classroom use. Traditional students use course management significantly less than Nontraditional students.

Moreover, technology use was inversely related with faculty-student interaction, such that the higher the technology usage, the lower the faculty-student interaction. This pattern was evident across Traditional and Nontraditional student categories. Additionally, technology use was inversely related with support for learners, such that the higher the technology usage, the lower the student support. This pattern was evident across Traditional and Nontraditional student categories. Lastly, exploratory analyses suggest that when connected via social networking, Traditional and Nontraditional groups feel equally connected. Combined these findings suggest that emerging technologies in the form of social networking and course management tools may be a form of engagement that community colleges can utilize in the retention of Nontraditional students.


Funding the Plan: Integration of Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation

Pagel, Richard

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

California Community Colleges are facing increased accountability while at the same time experiencing reduced and uncertain state funding.  When resources are not properly allocated there is waste, public criticism, and ultimately increased oversight.  A review of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) sanction letters from 2008, 2009, and 2010 noted that colleges are having difficulty in demonstrating the linkage between planning and resource allocation.  Institutions failing to demonstrate effectiveness through the integration of strategic planning and resource allocation are not accomplishing their mission and face increasing levels of discipline from the accrediting commission.

The purpose of this research is to explore how one California Community College successfully integrates strategic planning and resource allocation.  Through case study research, four themes emerged: Planning Structure and Support, Leadership, Planning Linked to Resource Allocation; and Communication.  Planning structure and support provided the foundation for the integrated planning process through a mission focused approach to planning, common set of definitions, documented process for planning and budgeting, and process evaluation and training.  Leadership provided the consistent effort and placed priority on the integration of planning and resource allocation.  Planning linked to resource allocation was used by the college through the practice of joint planning (program review and resource allocation) meetings and an integrated strategic planning calendar.  The college used communication strategies to announce successful integrated planning accomplishments and provide information on the campus efforts towards integrated planning.

This study contributes to the limited literature existing regarding the integration of strategic planning and resource allocation.  It is hoped that this study will encourage practitioners to create a culture of evaluation and improvement, focused on campus governance and planning structure.  Leadership should take deliberate action to integrate planning and resource allocation activities to ensure that planning drives resource allocations.  Success is also gained through an open well documented planning and allocation process so the entire campus community can understand how campus planning occurs and can participate in the planning process.  Furthermore, leadership should provide opportunities to communicate planning successes and reinforce the planning process at every opportunity.


Perceptions Held by High School Counselors of Community Colleges

Parham, Martha

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

High school counselors have a significant role in guiding students during their college decision making process, yet they are typically not an intended audience of community college marketing efforts and little is known about their perceptions of community colleges or how those perceptions influence their guidance regarding pathways to higher education.  The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine high school counselors’ perceptions of community colleges through the lens of Perception theory and to discover the factors that contribute to those perceptions and the role perceptions play on their advisement practices.

This study contributes to the existing literature regarding perceptions of community colleges.  Through case study research, three themes emerged: 1.) personal experiences with community colleges, 2.) the perceived quality of education and marketing materials, and 3.) the perceptions of community college as a primary pathway to higher education.  These themes were explored in terms of their influence on the perceptions held by high school counselors and the findings indicate that personal experiences and interactions with community colleges do help to create perceptions and that perceptions are ever-evolving based upon these experiences. Implications for policy and practice and recommendations for researching ways to create positive personal interactions with the community college are offered.

Community college educators and high school counselors work toward a similar goal of providing opportunities to students through education.  Creating a culture of positive personal interactions for students, potential students and influencers of the college choice process should be a deliberate and integrated part of marketing and outreach efforts by the college. 


Transitioning to Green: Implementing a Comprehensive Sustainability Initiative on a University Campus

Rasmussen, Joseph E.

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

Environmental sustainability has become increasingly relevant to institutions of higher education in recent years, particularly in the last decade (Bardaglio & Putnam, 2009). Although there may be general support for environmental sustainability on many college and university campuses, it can be challenging for educational leaders to effectively implement comprehensive green campus initiatives (Lozano, 2006). Change in higher education is described by scholars as slow and difficult (Boyce, 2003). This makes it complicated, on multiple levels, to effectively implement environmentally sustainable policies and practices in institutions of higher education (Bartlett & Chase, 2004). Although literature articulates the context of environmental sustainability in higher education and describes associated green practices, little addresses the process of how green campus initiatives are implemented in higher education (Wright, 2010).

Through a combination of interviews, observations, and document review, this case study explored how a university implemented a comprehensive environmental sustainability initiative. The conceptual framework for this study, a hybrid between a nested model of sustainability and Bolman and Deal's (2008) Four Frames model, provided a lens through which educational leaders can view the complexities involved with implementing green campus initiatives. This conceptual model emphasized the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability as well as the role of structural, human resource, political, and symbolic practices in realizing change for sustainability. Triangulation of data demonstrated that CBU employed a number of strategies to overcome the obstacles inherent in this implementation process. Three emergent themes provided an organizational structure for this case study's narrative description: Greening of Worldviews, Improving Green Campus Practices, and Leading a University-wide Effort.

CBU implemented a comprehensive environmental sustainability initiative by engaging in an on-going, iterative process designed to green worldviews, improve green campus practices, and lead a university-wide effort focused on change. CBU had been engaged in the process of campus greening for approximately twenty years, resulting in distinct changes to the fabric of the institution. These changes occurred within academic departments through the development of curriculum and co-curriculum, as well as within administrative departments in the form of planning and improving green campus practices. Through the combined efforts of campus community members working together across disciplines from the top down and the bottom up, CBU was transformed from a traditional university campus into one of the leading green campuses in the United States.

CBU's approach to campus greening united an ethical high ground with simple pragmatism to drive decision making about environmental sustainability. This approach resulted in changes to campus operations, such as recycling, generating renewable energy, and irrigating with reclaimed water. Moreover, CBU expanded academic degree programs in this area and infused sustainability across the curriculum. This transition to green was the result of a concerted effort to re-think the goals of the university, plan with the well-being of current and future generations in mind, and commit funding to initiatives that could demonstrate economic, social, and environmental benefits.


Relationships between Student Characteristics and Student Persistence  in Online Classes at a Community College

Rodriguez, Vincent

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

California Community College online enrollments are increasing significantly and colleges are being held accountable for retention rates that are generally lower than traditional classroom retention rates.  As a result, community colleges need to gain a better understanding of why students are dropping out of online classes at a higher rate than students in traditional classroom courses.  This study is a secondary analysis of pre-existing data collected by a California community college.  A cross-sectional design uses descriptive statistics, t-test, factor analysis, and logistic regression to identify differences between persisters and non-persisters, reliable factors that capture the online student experience, and variables or factors that may be used for predicting student persistence in online classes.  By analyzing these data, this study may assist funding agencies, governing boards, and colleges in the development of policy and practice that lead to improvements in online persistence rates.

Results show positive influences on online course persistence at this college are related students’ background characteristics and prior educational performance.  Negative influences are primarily related to finance, socioeconomic factors, and being Black or African American, or Mexican or Mexican American.  Non-persisters report more frequent use college services and have higher perceived importance for college services than persisters.  One of the most important findings from this study may be that students most at risk of dropping out of online classes at this college generally take advantage of college services and support more than students who do not drop out of online classes.  However, even with the increased use of college services, these at risk students still drop out of online classes more than other students.  Therefore, online persistence rates at this community college may have more to do with the students who enroll in online classes than the quality of instruction or support services.


Supporting Student Scholars: College Success of First-Generation and Low Income Students

Salas Head, Angelita

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

This study examined the role of a federally funded, TRIO Students Support Services (SSS) program at a large, public university and how it may have contributed to the retention and persistence of students.

TRIO/SSS programs are designed to assist students whose parent or guardian has not completed a 4-year college degree as well as meeting income guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011) .   SSS programs are to “… assist students with basic college requirements, and to motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education” (Department of Education, Student Support Services Program, 2010).

While there is research available that focuses on the effectiveness of the SSS programs, there is little qualitative information from the student participants’ perspective on what their personal experiences were with the services provided.  Participants in the study were from the first year cohort that entered in 2006, and volunteered to be part of the research.  Most of the students graduated from the institution (Class of 2010), or were continuing seniors who would graduate that academic year (2011).  The participants were from one of two groups: students who had participated in a five-week, intensive summer academic bridge program (of whom forty participated in 2006), and students with similar characteristics but who did not actively participate in the SSS program.   Twenty students were interviewed; ten students from the 2006 summer bridge group and ten students from the non-bridging group.


The Relationship of Family Involvement and Family Structure on Children's Academic Achievement

Simon, Erin M.

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Jeynes, William

Abstract

The primary purposes of this study were to determine (a) the relationships between parental and family (including extended family) involvement, family structure, and various combinations of each and 8th graders' academic outcomes; and (b) the relationship between family involvement and the same academic outcomes. A quantitative study involving 183 8th-grade students from 2 public middle schools in a southern California district was used to gather data about students' perceptions regarding their parents' and family's involvement. The essential research questions used to guide the study were designed to explore family structure, broadly defined, on parental involvement (PI) and how it impacts the academic achievement of 8th-grade students. In addition, the research questions were designed to specifically distinguish between PI and the involvement of other family members (i.e., extended family involvement [EFI]). The study addressed whether each of these types of involvement was statistically significantly related to children's academic achievement. In addition, the researcher wanted to examine whether the extent of the effects of PI and EFI might differ by family structure. To address the research questions and supplemental research questions, data obtained from surveys were analyzed utilizing t test, 2 x 2, and 2 x 2 x 2 factorial analysis of variance test.

Although the researcher was primarily interested in examining EFI, the most important result to emerge from this study was the association between PI and higher academic achievement. This finding did seem to confirm the assertions of various researchers who had expressed the same pattern--that PI is the key to academic achievement. Implications include that researchers should rethink how they conduct PI research and consider examining PI in conjunction with family structure, as the results of this study suggest that the patterns of PI (and perhaps EFI) may be different depending on family structure. Recommendations were made regarding research on EFI, based on the findings of the study.

last updated — Jul 17, 2012