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2013 Dissertations

2013 Dissertations

 

Comparison of Student Success in Traditional and Distance Delivery Platforms

Mohammad Araeipour

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to compare the traditional and distance delivery platforms (onsite, hybrid, and online) at the college level in terms of student success, as measured by the final course grades, and to discover important predictors that contribute to student success in an urban educational setting.

The participants consisted of 144 college students who took an intermediate algebra course in three sections of various platforms at a community college. A quasi- experimental research design was used and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), Stepwise Multiple Regression Analyses (SMRA), and Chi-Square Tests were performed to examine the impact of variables including differing levels of prior knowledge of mathematical skills, language, gender, ethnicity, and dispositions on student success, and to explore the factors that influence students to choose the educational platform that might contribute to their success.

 

The findings show that there was no significant differences in participant’s learning outcomes between students enrolled in any of the course formats.  However, student math disposition-attitude and prior knowledge of mathematical skills were identified as the significant predictors for student success.

In addition, the findings show that there was a significant main effect for interaction between age groups and teaching platforms. The group of 18-24 year old students had the highest mean score for the on-campus group, while the group of 30-34 year old students earned the highest mean score for the hybrid and online groups respectively, conversely, the group of 18-24 year old students did the worst in both online and hybrid.  The results from student responses on their choices of the educational platform show that on-campus students found that “course schedule” to be the most important factor to register in an on-campus course, online students believed that “work schedule” was the most important of such factors, and all three platforms, including hybrid indicated that “flexibility” mattered to all. Moreover, students’ comments led to another common theme of “In-Person Interaction” for the on-campus and hybrid mode, and Study at “My Own Pace” for the online mode.   The implications of this study indicate the importance of having different teaching platforms to meet student diverse needs and to address the value of online learning in an educational setting.  


Exploration of Academic Engagement & College Preparation of High Performing Urban Athletes: A Retrospective Study

Andrea Burnside

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

Historically, overall blame for Black male student-athletes’ low academic achievement in education appears to point in the sole direction of the student (Douglas, Pitre & Lewis, 2006 Irvine, 1990).  Black student-athletes have been criticized for lacking appropriate study and social skills to be successful in a rigorous collegiate environment.  Moreover, Black male high school athletes may tend to have inadequate academic guidance and successful college preparation (Comeaux, 2010; Gayles, 2004; Hrabowski 2002; Sellers, 1992).  At the secondary school level, it is not uncommon for college-bound high performing Black male athletes to lose out on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I scholarship opportunities due to incomplete fulfillment of NCAA Clearinghouse A thru G required college courses and/or standardized test score requirements. 

Much of the success of super-athletes is related to their motivation (Barrell & Ryback, 2008).  Elevated performances and accomplishments in athletics confirm that Black male student-athletes are fully capable of maintaining high levels of intrinsic & external motivation, exhibited through their willingness to work long hours, commitment, and drive to succeed in athletics.  Thus, Black male student-athletes’ intrinsic and external zeal for athletics is not commonly mirrored in their academic achievement. 

Guided by Critical Race Theory framework, this retrospective qualitative study employed 20 open-ended interviews to gain understanding of possible systemic educational barriers “NCAA college-bound” athletes’ may face at the secondary school level. 

Findings concluded high school student-athletes’ possess minimal understanding of NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse academic expectations and/or standardized test requirements.  Counselors were named as most common school representative responsible for high school student-athletes’ college counseling and academic advisement.  Coaches were named as the school representative most trusted for student-athlete academic decisions. 

Recommendations to implement effective and organized high school student-athlete college preparation programs which should include:  (a) Organized, mandatory study hall for high school student-athletes. (b) Assignment of an academic counselor to specifically work with the student-athlete population. (c) Implementation of mandatory student-athlete bi-weekly progress reports requested by athletic leadership from student-athletes teachers.


Behavioral Intervention Teams: A Case Study Exploring How Student Affairs Professionals Support and Serve Students with Mental Health and Behavioral Issues

Jazmyn M. Childress-Garror

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

Student mental health is directly related to academic achievement and degree completion (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education [NASPA], 2004). In a national survey of college students (n=765), nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents indicated that they suspended their education due to a mental health related condition (National Alliance on Mental Health [NAMI], 2012). Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety, are among the most commonly reported mental health issues that impact student academic performance (NASPA, 2004). As the prevalence of students with mental health and behavioral issues continues to rise, professional staff must adapt their practice to respond to the unique needs of this population. The behavioral intervention team (BIT) is an increasingly common approach to addressing the needs of students and to promote campus safety (Deisinger, 2008).

This case study explored the role of student affairs professionals in the context of a BIT and how they assisted students with mental health and behavioral issues. This study was conducted at a private, liberal arts college on the West Coast. The purpose of this study was to examine how campus policy and practice combine to influence the work of professionals who support students and serve the campus community. Data was gathered from interviews with student affairs professionals and allied support staff (n=12). Additional data included documents (i.e., manuals, policies, and websites) and participant observations of a BIT meeting. Analysis of data was inductive and produced findings that elaborated on how student affairs professionals assist students and promote safety and wellness in the campus community.

The findings revealed that laws and regulations at the federal level motivated the creation and implementation of policies at the local level. Within the larger system of laws and policies, the BIT members promoted a “culture of care” philosophy. The culture of care was consistent with the institution’s mission and motivated BIT members to communicate and collaborate across the institution in order to serve students and support campus safety.


The Importance of Workforce Training in Community Colleges: A Case Study on the Discourse and Best Practices During Financial Difficulty

Adriene L. Davis

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

Since the 2008-2009 academic year, community colleges in the state of California have faced a budget reduction of 12%.  This represents a reduction of $809 million in state appropriations.  Despite the reduction in funding, the California Master Plan for Higher Education includes provisions for community colleges to develop quality workforce training programs to prepare young and older students with vocational skills that lead to employment. 

The purpose of this study is to explore workforce training programs in two southern California community colleges to determine what practitioners are doing to keep training afloat in times of financial difficulty.  This research study is investigated through the lens of a human capital theoretical framework, which examines the relationships between economic development, workforce training, and partnerships.

This qualitative case study explored the experiences of 14 workforce training practitioners, comprised of community college administrators, directors, managers, and faculty members, and public and private agency and association partners who are responsible for overseeing and delivering workforce training.  The Findings of this study indicate that due to budget cuts, workforce training practitioners have become more entrepreneurial-minded in delivering, developing, and sustaining their respective training programs.  Findings also suggest that participants in this study attribute the support of their leaders, collaborations with partners, and the contributions of their stakeholders to be critical resources that keep workforce training afloat and relevant in the community colleges in which they are associated.


The Juggling Act: Community College Counselors Managing Multiple Role Expectations

Ralph Davis

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore community college counselors’ perception of role strain in their positions on their respective campus.  Although there was research dedicated to gaining knowledge regarding students’ perceptions of their experiences with student services and counseling in higher education, there was not similar dedication to gaining better understanding of counselor’s experiences. 

This study examined community college counselors’ understanding of their experiences with role strain.  Role strain theory explains the difficulties individuals face as they determine which behavior expectations they fulfill in their relationships.  It was determined that counselors have important role relationships with students, college administrators and their peers.

Through qualitative analysis, this study aimed to provide additional knowledge about community college counselor’s perceptions about various expectations of their role on campus.  The study aimed to discover student and administrator expectations of counselors, as well as the beliefs counselors held regarding the roles based on their formal educational and on the job trainings.  It was hoped the findings could contribute to the literature base and provide additional resources for community college counselor education and training.

This research aimed to answer the following questions: 1) How do California community college counselors define their roles in serving their student population? 2) What are California community college counselor’s perceptions of student, administrative and professional expectations of the counselor’s role? 3) What are the role expectations community college counselors learned from their formal education and on the job training programs? and 4) How do community college counselors perceive any differences in role expectations to affect their ability to provide quality counseling services?  In order to answer these questions, this research utilized in-depth interviews to collect qualitative data from California community college counselors.

The findings of this research resulted from qualitative data analysis of the interview transcripts from the twenty study participants.  Using thematic coding and analysis the interview data was grouped by codes into recurring themes.  This resulted in the identification of four critical themes: 1) counselor preparation; 2) counselor role expectations; 3) counselor experiences with students; and 4) Counselor perceptions of college administrators.

After analyzing the data, I determined in order to improve counseling practice, counselors must discover ways to effectively deal with student mental health, and teach students how to navigate the higher education system.  Counselors must also learn new ways to meet administrative requests for data based on information they already collect from students.  I also proposed this research be further developed by collecting data from a larger more diverse group of counselors.  The data can also be enriched by analyzing what Master’s programs intend to teach future counselors.  Last, collecting data from students is always recommended as the goal is always to improve their success.

This research examined the functioning of counseling services from the perspective of the counselor.  It seemed the experience of the counselor was often deemed secondary to that of the student in research.  Therefore this study provided a worthy addition to the literature regarding community college students and their success. 


African American Male High School Graduates Participation in Single-Sex Programs and the Influence on Their College and Career Success

Glynetta De’Shon Fletcher

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Gamble, Brandon

Abstract

African American males in K-12 have the highest rate of suspensions, expulsions, referrals to special education, and the lowest graduation rates.  These statistics have existed for more than 25 years. Within the last eight years, since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, single-sex schools and classrooms have become an interest to narrow the achievement gap of African American males. African American male students benefit from gender specific instruction and culturally relevant pedagogy.  While the literature shows that controversy, exist about single-sex schools and programs that have proven effective. 

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the essence of African American high school male graduates and their participation in single-sex classes, single-sex schools, single-sex church and community based programs.  Students were recruited from single-sex schools, classes; church and community based programs and asked to complete an online survey.  Additionally, nine of the survey participants were interviewed one-on-one.  A survey instrument was developed for this study in order to collect demographic information.  The sample included 38 African American males that graduated from high school, participated in a single-sex program for at least six months, and are currently enrolled in college or working full-time.  The demographic information is presented to share how many are enrolled in college, the colleges in which they are enrolled, their interaction with women, and if participation in the single-sex program influenced their college or career choice.

The findings revealed themes of ways in which African American males connected to their single-sex program.  These results provide insight into connections students made as members of the single-sex program. Implications and recommendations based on the findings of this study are given. Further studies are recommended to further study the influence of single-sex programs on college and career.


Exploring Student Experiences in Developmental Education at a Four Year Higher Education Institution

Tara Hardee 

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

In the United States, the most commonly used method for developing an incoming freshman’s math and English skills is through remedial education courses.  Depending on the four year institution and the student’s level of need, these remedial courses will be taught in conjunction with varying other forms of support programs, such as supplemental instruction, mandatory tutoring, and advising sessions.  Once a student has taken a placement test to assess that level of need, he or she will then enter into college participating in developmental education.  The purpose of this study was to explore student experiences participating in developmental education during their first year in college.  This study gives voice to developmental education students’ perceptions of their experiences in the first year, provides insight into how non-cognitive variables may aid in students’ persistence through their developmental education coursework, and examines the importance of students experiencing validation during their developmental education program. 

In this qualitative inquiry, interviews were used as a way to gain understanding into how students experience developmental education.  The constant comparative method was employed as a way to gain deeper insight and meaning into each participant’s shared experiences.  The study sample contained 14 (twelve female and two male) students who had participated in three developmental education courses in their first year at Barkley University, a large 4-year public university in Southern California.  Participants completed all of the developmental education courses with a C or better, and enrolled in courses at Barkley University for their second year.  Since participants required three developmental education courses in their first year, they were subsequently part of the Sun Learning Community (SLC), a mandatory community that required participants to take their courses in a cohort model, participate in advising, supplemental instruction, and were provided with extra tutoring services. 

Five themes emerged from the data regarding how students experience their first year participating in developmental education coursework: (1) Reflection (2) Connection (3) Before (4) During; and (5) After.  These themes were developed through the lens of Laura Rendón’s validation theory, along with William Sedlacek’s concept of non-cognitive variables.  Implications for developing a conceptual understanding of the relationship between validation and specific non-cognitive variables and what this relationship may mean for students who participate in several developmental education courses are also highlighted.  Recommendations are given to faculty members, advisors, and higher education administration with the goal of encouraging these stakeholders to understand the complexities of being a first year college student who participates in several developmental education courses and to understand how students may feel about membership to a learning community.  This understanding would lead to an awareness of how various constituencies’ behavior could influence a student’s ability to successfully pass all coursework and persist to the next year. 


Disability: Faculty Knowledge, Awareness and Attitudes

Jamie Hoffman

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Despite the vast research on students with disabilities, little is known about the perspectives of faculty in higher education.

According to the literature reviewed, the overall experience of students with disabilities inside the classroom in higher education is negative due to faculty who lack of knowledge, awareness, and have attitudes.  Institutions of higher education are seeing an increase in the number of students with disabilities who are attending college.

Students with disabilities have needs inside of the classroom that exceed a typical student in higher education.  Faculty provide the support inside of the classroom necessary to meet both the university standards and the standards addressed in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990).  The purpose of this study was to assess faculty knowledge, awareness and attitudes as they relate to students with disabilities and the regulations that mandate accessibility in higher education.

A survey was administered to 162 faculty members at a large four year university in the southeastern United States.  The findings from this study identified that faculty at the university had significant differences across gender, knowledge, awareness, and attitudes.  No significant group differences were found in faculty based on years teaching and their knowledge, awareness, and attitudes.  Findings could serve as the foundation for future research on faculty knowledge, awareness, and attitudes.  In addition the findings add to the existing literature and provide data to offices for students with disabilities to further understand faculty knowledge, awareness and attitudes as well as possible justification for faculty development.

Suggestions and implications for practice are also addressed.


Making Character Education a Reality: An Investigation of Secondary Teachers’ Perspectives Toward Implementation

Jamie Kay Jakubowski

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Jeynes, William

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to address the gap between the available wealth of resources and the dearth of character education currently in practice at the high school level by investigating if secondary teachers’ knowledge of character education information, their beliefs toward character education preparation and their perceived role as an educator relates to their use of character education practices on the school campus and in their own classrooms.  The participants consisted of 103 secondary teachers employed in six comprehensive high schools in an urban Southern California city.  The researcher used a non-experimental correlational design.  Descriptive statistics and frequency scores found that teachers are not familiar with existing character education information, strongly believe in their role as character educators, strongly believe that preparation would enhance their practice, and do not frequently practice character education school wide strategies but frequently practice character education in their classrooms.  Multiple regression analyses found teachers’ school wide practice of character education to be significantly associated with their knowledge of character education information and found no statistically significant relationship between classroom character education practices and various awareness and attitude indicators.  Two-way analysis of variance tests found no differences exist between gender groups and years of teaching experience for any of the variables except in the case of classroom practices which found a significant interaction effect between males teaching eight to 15 years and males teaching 16 years or more.  The implications of this study highlight the importance of recognizing teachers’ strong beliefs in their role to educate for character and their perspectives toward the value of preparation to enhance the practice of character education.  The results not only clarify the gap that exists between theory and practice of character education but also suggest that more prevalent opportunities to educate teachers and future teachers in character education may be the next step to move toward a more comprehensive approach to character education.

 


Searching for Student Success: Implementing Immediacy in Online Courses

Amy B. Jennings

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

Growing demand for higher education has contributed to the popularity of online education. While the literature shows that online courses can be effective in terms of student learning and success, and there are many potential benefits, there are also still areas of the online experience that could benefit from improvement. For instance, there is evidence that students experience online courses as impersonal and lacking interaction. They can feel isolated, less satisfied, less successful, and are more likely to withdraw. Such indicators run counter to the goal of student engagement (Kuh, 2008), which research suggests can be a powerful tool in supporting student learning and success. Thus, one of the challenges facing online education is to find ways to increase connection and interaction between and among both students and faculty.

One means for addressing the sense of isolation students might feel in online courses might be instructor immediacy. However, while instructor immediacy in traditional classes has been shown to motivate students, create a sense of connection, and support their learning and success, it is not known whether or how immediacy can help students in a fully online course.

The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental intervention study was to examine the effectiveness and impact of faculty immediacy on undergraduate student engagement and success in a fully online psychology course. Students were randomly assigned to either a traditional only version of the course or a course redesigned to more intentionally reflect immediacy behaviors on the part of the instructors. The study also assessed students’ perceptions of faculty immediacy behaviors in the online course. The study employed a conceptual framework developed for this research utilizing instructor immediacy, student engagement, and student success as the main frames for analysis. The hypothesized framework suggests that faculty members can use immediacy to enhance engagement, and thereby influence student success.

A survey instrument was developed for this study measuring immediacy and student engagement in an online course. The sample included 215 students enrolled in an upper division psychology online course in the fall 2012 semester. An exploratory factor analysis was used to create composite variables for the study. Demographic information is presented and independent samples t-tests, correlations, multiple regression, and repeated measures ANOVA were the statistical tests used.

The findings revealed no significant differences between the high immediacy (intervention section) and low immediacy (regular non-intervention group) sections of the course. Immediacy and engagement were highly correlated. Engagement was a significant predictor of student success. Age, units completed, and gender were also significant predictors of student success in this study. These results provide insight into the relationship between immediacy and engagement. Implications and recommendations based on the findings of this study are given. Further studies are recommended to further study the relationship between immediacy and engagement.


Exploring the Adoption of Instructional Technologies: The Mainstream Faculty Perspective

Leslie Kennedy

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

In recent decades the adoption of digital technologies has grown from a few elite users to influencing and affecting almost all of modern society.  Higher education is one aspect of modern society where digital technologies have become embedded in its administrative and instructional practices because digital technologies provide greater efficiencies with administrative processes and can enhance student engagement with innovative instructional practices.  In general, not all instructors in higher education have been known for adopting innovations quickly.

Since the adoption of interactive and emerging technologies has not been uniform across the spectrum of instructors in higher education, this study focused on the instructors who are less likely to adopt innovations such as instructional technologies which could enhance their instruction and students’ learning.  From E. Rogers’ adoption of innovation perspective, these instructors consist of a large group of the tenure-track and tenured instructors who impact their students’ learning experiences daily.  This study explored the reasons why these instructors eventually adopt instructional technologies, the facilitators and obstacles, and the nature of the experience.


Lift Ev’ry Voice: the Resounding Experiences of Black Male Athletes at a California Community College

Michael Lynn McClellan

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Black male student-athletes are entering the California Community College (CCC) system at an unprecedented rate.  CCCs have become a repository for Black males that have aspirations of competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I member institutions.  This historically disenfranchised subgroup of students is required by the NCAA to achieve higher academic standards than their non-athletic peers. While students who are not governed by the NCAA, such as general students, have the freedom to transfer to four-year universities at a pace that matches their skill level and personal commitments, student-athletes must transfer at an accelerated pace.

The purpose of this study is to provide Black male student-athletes with the rare opportunity to voice their lived experiences at a CCC and to discover what is known from previous research about the experiences of Black male student-athletes, particularly those who are considered NCAA non-qualifiers.

A basic qualitative interview approach was employed as a lens to gain a more meaningful understanding of how Black male athletes’ experiences may promote and/or deter their graduation from a two-year college and transfer to a four-year college.  The sample group included 14 Black male subjects at Crown Jewel City College (CJCC), a large, urban, and single district community college in southern California.  Purposeful sampling was conducted to form an information-rich environment that offered insightful answers to underscore the study. 

Eight major themes emerged that best describe experiences that may promote or deter graduation from a two-year college and transfer to a four-year college.  Promoting themes included: embracing the CCC, faculty and academic support, time management, and grit, confidence, and motivation (GCM).  Deterring themes included: negative perceptions, self-reliance, poor choices and decision making, and challenges and distractions.

Alexander W. Astin’s model of student involvement—the inputs, environment, and outputs associated with student development—was the theoretical framework employed to analyze the findings.  Recommendations are provided for the NCAA, CCCAA, high school and college counselors, coaches, family members, policy makers and key stakeholders.  The aim of this study is to bring awareness to the social, environmental, and institutional factors that often lead to higher graduation rates and lower attrition rates for a subgroup that has been largely ignored in the past.  Hopefully, the findings will inform and trigger the NCAA to create policies that better support all student-athletes while not penalizing underrepresented students as a result of their pre-college experiences.


Addressing Disruptive Behaviors in an After School Program Classroom: the Effects of the Daily Behavior Report Card

Zamecia J. McCorvey

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Hansuvadha, Nat

Abstract

There is a need to address behavior discipline problems in special and general education setting classrooms. Disruptive behavior is a major concern as they create excessive stress and demands for classroom teachers and school administrators to address them. Effective interventions are needed to properly address them. Moreover, classroom disruptions affect the instructional process and learning outcomes. Disruptive behaviors do not just occur in regular school classroom settings, but in After School Program (ASP) classrooms as well. After school program classrooms that operate on regular school sites are important to students, school staff, and parents. Educational researchers found that there is a lack of evidence based interventions for ASP staff to address the behavior issues that impact the quality of the service that they provide students.  The purpose of this study was to assess an evidence base intervention (EBI) called the Daily Behavior Report Card (DBRC) in an ASP classroom to address disruptive behaviors. A single-subject multiple base methodology design was used to conduct a four week intervention study of the DBRC. Direct behavior observations were conducted for three students in a 3rd grade after school program classroom while the teacher documented the student’s behavior and provided the results with the parent to assess the effectiveness of the DBRC intervention. A visual inspection of a direct behavior observation graph and a DBRC teacher rated graph were conducted for analysis to determine if the DBRC intervention changed behavior. In addition, a posttest was administered for further analysis. Results of the study revealed that the DBRC intervention had some level of positive impact on the participants’ behavior overall, but was not the cause of decreasing disruptive behaviors in the 3rd grade after school classroom.  Interviews were also conducted after the study with the participants and the ASP teacher. The results of the qualitative data showed attitudes in favor of the DBRC being used as a communication and collaboration device among parents and school staff in the ASP setting in the future.


How Does Military Service Affect Student Veteran Success at Community Colleges?

Patrick O’Rourke

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Increasingly more service members are separating from the military as the United States draws down the force and moves towards a post-war era.  Tens of thousands of these veterans will leverage their GI Bill tuition and housing benefits in an attempt to access southern California community colleges and bolster their transition into mainstream society.  Some of these men and women have served multiple tours in combat zones and carry with them the burden of physical and mental injuries.  After four years of GI Bill benefits costing over $20 billion and supporting 750,000 veterans or their dependents, it is unclear whether these veterans have been successful in higher education.  This study starts the dialogue for further quantitative research on this diverse population.             

Using quantitative methodologies based on a nontraditional student attrition model (Bean & Metzner, 1985), 261 student veterans at three southern California community colleges were surveyed to determine how military service affects their persistence.  Background variables, academic and social integration, psychological outcomes, and military service perspective as related to student veterans’ intent to persist, college GPA, and rate of attendance formed the framework for research.  Findings show that student veterans’ intent to continue their educational goals is affected by their military service perspective.  Military service is a significant intervening variable that distinguishes veterans from other nontraditional students at community colleges.  Military GPA was found to have a stronger association with college GPA than high school GPA.  Although academic integration was the strongest predictor of college GPA, the most successful student veterans balance their work, family, and academic lives. 

Although some findings relate closely to existing higher education literature, the experience and perspective of military service produces both advantages and disadvantages for veterans in college.  Accounting for veterans’ persistence and acknowledging their diversity are measures which will strengthen their chances for academic success.  Recommendations for policy, practice, and future research are addressed in this study.   


Gaining Insight on the Experiences of Reinstated Undergraduate Students

Jennifer Osborne

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Kim, Simon

Abstract

Students who have achieved academic success after reinstatement are largely overlooked in higher education. Studies on academic success and the experiences of reinstated students are fewer and less informative compared with the studies of students on academic probation and those at-risk. This study explored, through the use of a qualitative thematic approach, the experiences of reinstated students who persist to graduation and the barriers or contributing factors that they felt have influenced their success.

The findings from the study identified whether the students perceived the experiences that affected their academics as institutional or as personal barriers. Using Schlossberg’s transition theory as the theoretical framework, this study identified that during the time of academic difficulty students predominately perceived their struggles as personal issues and were lacking in one or more of Schlossberg’s 4 Ss (Self, Situation, Support, Strategies). Upon gaining resources with the 4 Ss they gained academic success. The findings also identified subthemes that emerged within the 4 Ss during a student’s academic struggles and eventual success, such as, Self (lacking and gaining maturity); Situation (unexpected life transitions and medical issues); Support (not utilizing resources and benefiting from advisors, faculty, and significant others); Strategies (utilizing and understanding policies and taking time away from their academics).

The themes expressed by participants suggest that universities use a more theory based approach in advising and readmission to focus on the whole students’ self-identity and situation not just courses and curriculum. The results also suggest a possible expansion of the Schlossberg transition model. The 4 Ss provide a framework for the student to understand their resources within the transition, however; the concept of recognizing and sustaining their resources in future transitions could prove beneficial when working with students who are struggling academically due to a transition.


School Board Presidents’ Perceptions of the Superintendent Selection Process

Robert Rasmussen

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

School districts face enormous challenges with recent reductions in fiscal resources due to cuts in California’s state budget (Bloom, 2010) and an average tenure for a school superintendent of only three years (Weinstein, 2011).   School boards are challenged to find a leader who can address the needs of the school district during these difficult times.   As numerous school superintendents are retiring, and a new generation of educators is applying for key positions in educational leadership, it is important to better understand the perceptions of school board presidents who have experience in selecting a school superintendent. 

This study explored the perceptions of the superintendent selection process of five participating school board presidents.  The participants in this study shared their perceptions of the superintendent search process and selection criteria, perceptions on the most important leadership characteristics desired in a superintendent, and perceptions in the standards used to measure leadership in the candidates selected as superintendent. 

The findings revealed several components of the selection process that will serve school boards in evaluating the best strategy for them in conducting the superintendent search.   When school boards embark on the process of selecting a superintendent, their actions become very public and ultimately reflect on how they view community involvement and input into on-going district leadership.   As a result, a well-defined plan of action will reflect well on the school board, build community trust, and set the stage for a positive transition to new leadership at the superintendent level.  The assertion  that selecting a superintendent may very well be the school board’s most important duty of action (CSBA, 2012), it is imperative that such a process be articulated and integrated within the scope of district need and community involvement.


Experiences and Expectations of Immigrant Pakistani Parents Regarding Parental Involvement in Schools

Fawzia Reza

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Pattnaik, Jyotsna

Abstract

There is a significant body of research that establishes the benefits of early parental involvement in schools.  However, very little attention has been devoted to exploring the experiences and expectations of immigrant Pakistani parents in this context.  Therefore, the present study explored the experiences and expectations of immigrant Pakistani parents regarding their involvement in their children’s education in the United States.  The theoretical perspectives that guided this study were based on the teachings of Bronfenbrenner, Epstein, and Spry and Graham who explained how the environment and the surrounding community influence the child.  A qualitative research design, using a phenomenological lens, was employed to interview eight immigrant Pakistani parents from diverse educational, socio-economic, English language fluency, and religious (extent of practice) backgrounds.  This ensured that a wide range of Pakistani parental experiences were observed and recorded.  The primary data collection instruments included interviews and publically available documents from websites of schools that participants’ children attended.

Findings from the study demonstrated that Pakistani parents in this study were very involved in their children’s schooling.  While some parents preferred to be visible on the school campus, others helped their children at home.  Their involvement included the academic realm as well as extra curricular activities.  While Pakistani parents wanted their children to succeed in school, they also desired that their children maintain their cultural and religious identities and therefore regularly engaged their children in transnational activities including celebrating Eid, and Ramadan.  Half of the parents interviewed reported at least one negative experience at school.  

Study participants provided several recommendations for schools to promote Pakistani parental involvement in school.  Their suggestions included instituting school-based activities that facilitate appropriate cultural and religious inclusion and providing greater opportunities for immigrant Pakistani parents to present workshops or lectures to the school community, especially during Muslim festivals and holidays.


Factors Affecting Minority Students’ College Readiness in Mathematics

Latisha Cheree Square

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

Mathematics college readiness rates for minority students have been an ongoing concern in the K-12 and university settings.  The purpose of this dissertation study was to analyze which demographic and academic factors affect college readiness in mathematics determined by students’ EAP scores and to identify best predictors for minority students’ college readiness in mathematics.  In addition, this study was to determine if there was significant difference in students’ EAP scores between diverse groups and between schools with different characteristics and programs.  Data were collected from a total of 30,750 students in fifteen Southern California public high schools.  Step-wise regression was analyzed to identify significant predictors.  One-Way ANOVA was used to test the significant differences between diverse groups and schools with different characteristics and programs.  The results show that academic variables, such as Mathematics and English (ELA) California Standards Test (CST) are the best predictors in comparison to demographic variables:  gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), language spoken at home, and language fluency.  The second best predictors were demographic variables:  gender and language spoken at home.  There was a significant difference found in EAP scores between gender groups, race/ethnicity, language fluency levels, SES status, and schools.  A recommendation to add academic intervention, as well as rigor for minority students, especially African-Americans and English Language Learners (ELLs), to assist in increasing mathematics knowledge for minority students’ college readiness. 


Exploring Internal and External Resources that Influence African American Males to Persist Through an Undergraduate Degree

Kim Tabari

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Educational leaders and their respective institutions struggle with increasing the persistence and graduation rates of Black male college students.  Research on Black male college students have often been approached from a deficit lens that shows their challenges and poor academic tenure.    This study explored what internal and external tools were utilized by Black male college students to influence them to persist through their undergraduate years from a Critical Race Theory, anti-deficit lens.  Participants included 18 Black male college students who had junior or senior academic standing at a public four year university in California.  Participants ranged in ages from 20-38 years old.  Data collected was based on one-on-one interviews with questions derived by the researcher, and analyzed using Nvivo data analysis software.  The data was coded into sub-themes around Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth model and Critical Race Theory components.  The Community Cultural Wealth model components include Aspirational, Social, Familial, Navigational, Linguistic and Resistant Capitals; and the Critical Race Theory components include race, gender, and socio-economic status.

The primary research question addressed what internal or external tools participants used to influence their success and help them graduate with a bachelor's degree.  Data revealed that tools participants used that were internal influences included personal motivation, educational values, being a role model, personal drive and determination, a sense of obligation and responsibility, positive self-talk, and proving self-worth.  Tools participants used that were external influences included campus involvement, supportive faculty and staff members, financial and emotional support, parental aspirations, early exposure to college, talking out-loud , friendships, and being successful in order to give back.

Findings showed that Black males indeed use a variety of capitals to navigate their way through college.  Findings also revealed that Black males are complex individuals and each participant had a different collegiate experience related to their race, gender and socio-economic status as a Black male college student.  Although there were findings of negative perceptions from others on campus, data revealed that participants used both internal and external resources and demonstrated a high determination to succeed and graduate with their college degrees. 

Recommendations for policy makers or practitioners can include but are not limited to:  (a) the development of campus programs that will positively impact their understanding, knowledge, values and skills they need to improve as college students, for example, culturally relevant programs; and (b) to create critical race pedagogy examples on all subjects in order to diversify students’ experiences and request that faculty infuse CRT tenets into their teaching methods and class syllabi.

Recommendations for future research on this topic includes but are not limited to, (a) conducting a longitudinal study regarding Black males from first year to senior year status to determine trends, similarities, or differences; (b) to conduct focus groups on Black men and explore how they communicate within their racial group, and utilize Social Capital and other select forms of Capital with each other as a resource enabling their success; (c) to explore what perceptions students have about their institutions and how responsive they are to students, in particular Black males.


Exploring the Intersectionality of AAPI and LGB Identities of College Students

Nam Ung

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

Social identity literature suggests college is a critical time for students’ identity development. However, there is a lack of studies exploring the experiences of AAPI LGB college students. This gap in the identity development literature also affects the ways in which postsecondary educators interact with and support these students’ success. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of AAPI LGB college students at four-year colleges and universities by examining the intersectionality of their ethnic identity and sexual identity. A basic qualitative approach was used to collect data via one-on-one ethnographic interviews with twenty-one current AAPI LGB undergraduate students at six local colleges and universities. 

Findings indicated that AAPI LGB students experienced complex dynamics at the intersectionality of their ethnic identities and sexualities. Participants’ ethnicity and family inextricably influenced their understanding of their identities. Students moved from an externally to internally defined identity through making meaning of and mediating tensions at the intersection of their ethnic identity and sexuality. Furthermore, college provided students with a safe and supporting setting to explore their identities and thrive.

Discussion of the major themes provided insight on how students made meaning of the intersectionality of their identities, how students develop their identities, and how their identities impact their college experiences. From this discussion, implications were drawn and recommendations were provided for educators who may interact with AAPI LGB college students.


Faculty and School Leaders Perceptions on the Implementation of Small Learning Communities to Narrow Perennial Gaps in Student Achievement in an Urban High School

Robert Whitman

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Contemporary school reforms are centered on “small school size” as an approach to ameliorate disengagement and under achievement of minority and economically disadvantaged students in urban, comprehensive high schools.  A common strategy is to reconfigure them into smaller subunits known as Small Learning Communities (SLCs).  Although widespread research on SLCs has found this reform promising in helping educators increase students’ sense of belonging in school,  studies have produced varying outcomes on the impact of SLC implementation in improving student achievement. 

Using Invitational Theory as a theoretical framework, a single case study was used to examine the perceptions of faculty members and school leaders of strategies implemented within SLCs to improve student engagement and academic achievement.  This study investigated an urban high school that demonstrated four years of sustained growth in student engagement (i.e., attendance, suspension, and graduation rates) and academic achievement (i.e., standardized test scores) through SLC implementation.  This study emphasized the promise of SLC implementation as a viable approach to address achievement disparities among minority and economically disadvantaged students.

The findings pointed to an intentional vision and effort among professionals as the impetus for developing SLC that summon students to recognize their unbounded potential.  Furthermore, the findings also corroborated the importance of several strategies found in the literature that foster community between students and adults and professional communities among staff.   Recommendations are provided for policy and practice to sustain the efficacy of SLC implementation in urban high schools. 


Una Cadena de Esperanza: How Latino Male English Language Learners’ use Community Cultural Wealth in Challenging Negative Educational Experiences

Veronica Yah

California State University, Long Beach 2013

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education Leadership

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Latino males from an English Language Learner (ELL) background are not successfully graduating from high school and going to college. This study seeks to understand this phenomenon through narratives of young Latino males in the Los Angeles areas. Guided by Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth Theory (2005), this qualitative study examines the challenges experienced by Latino males in their high school English Language Learner programs, and how these challenges were met. Community Cultural Wealth Theory provides six tenets of capital that communities of color possess: aspirational, familial, linguistic, social, navigational and resistance. These types of cultural wealth exist in the lives of students and can assist students in attaining successful educational outcomes. Interviews with 16 Latino male ELLs between the ages of 18-25 were conducted over a two-month period. The 16 Latino male ELLs were divided into groupings of high school graduates in college, high school graduates, high school students finishing their diploma requirements, and high school dropouts. Along with these interviews, four parent interviews were also conducted in order to gain a holistic perspective of the Latino males’ experiences. Latino male ELLs illustrated the utilization of multiple forms of community cultural capital in their narratives; forms of social, linguistic, and navigational capital made a difference in Latino male ELLs that reported not only finishing high school, but also attending college. Conclusions of the study will be used to make recommendations for improvements in counseling services, assisting newly arrived ELLs to high school, and specific changes to policy.

last updated — Sep 4, 2013