Michelle Rudolph Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Michelle Rudolph

for the degree of Doctor of Education

December 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm / Virtual via BlueJeans

Major Advisor: Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, EdD

EXPLORING THE EFFECTS OF VIDEO FORMATS HAVE ON TEACHING, SOCIAL, AND COGNITIVE PRESENCE IN ASYNCHRONOUS ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

ABSTRACT: Since student retention in online courses is related to the students’ community, this dissertation explores the effect of discussion board prompt format on students’ sense of community of inquiry (CoI). The quasi-experimental study design examined the participation levels, sense of CoI (i.e., social, teaching, and cognitive presence), and final grade of nontraditional, fully online undergraduate students in an entry-level graphic design course in the Graphic Arts Department at a fully online college. The study involved 90 undergraduate students in the Graphic Arts Department at a fully online college. The study consisted of four groups: one control group who experienced the text-based discussion prompts and three experimental groups who experienced one of the asynchronous video discussion prompts (i.e., voice-over-presentation, picture-in-picture, or overlay mode). A one-way ANOVA was used to examine if the number of discussion posts made by students was significant different across groups. The same analysis was used to examine whether there was a significant difference in student’s final grade among the groups. A one-way multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was used to determine if the format of facilitation for weekly discussion prompts in the online courses influenced online, nontraditional undergraduate students’ sense of Community of Inquiry (CoI) (i.e., social, teaching, and cognitive presence) while controlling for the CoI pretest. All results were non-significant.

Cammesha Sims Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Cammesha Sims

for the degree of Doctor of Education

November 13, 2017 at 10:00 am in Ball Hall 123

Major Advisor: Charisse Gulosino, PhD

Holistic Approach to Professional Development Using Competing Values Framework and the Impact on Job Satisfaction, Teacher Turnover, and School Performance

ABSTRACT: Abstract Holistic Approach to Professional Development Using Competing Values Framework and the Impact on Job Satisfaction, Teacher Turnover, and School Performance The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between educators’ perceptions of the quality of professional development to which they have been exposed and three outcomes related to school productivity: specifically, teacher retention, teacher satisfaction, and student proficiency in basic skills. For that purpose, secondary data extracted from the 2013 administration of the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Questionnaire (TELL) were merged with pertinent school demographic information archived on the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) website. Once combined, these data were subsequently used to identify some 1425 schools with complete information on all variables of interest. Representing the independent variable was the scale mean computed across the thirteen items constituting the professional development subsection of the TELL. Serving as dependent variables were the percentage of respondents who intended to return to their present schools the following year, the mean level of respondents who agreed that their school was “a good place to work and learn,” and separate elementary and secondary indices of student achievement. The results of a hierarchical multiple regression indicated that the teacher-perceived quality of professional development appears to make a substantial contribution to teachers’ “staying” on the job, increasing the proportion of variance explained in the percent of returning teachers by roughly 12%. Similarly, a second hierarchical multiple regression showed that the teacher-perceived quality of professional development was linked to teachers’ finding their school overall “a good place to work and learn,” amounting to a 13% increase in the proportion of variance explained in satisfaction. Finally, after controlling for student demographic characteristics, a statistically significant association between the teacher-perceived quality of professional development and students’ basic skills proficiency was also observed, but proved to be only slight regardless of school level, albeit larger at elementary than secondary institutions.

Darren Walker Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Darren  Walker

for the degree of Doctor of Education

November 09, 2017 at 10:00 am in Ball Hall 123

Major Advisor: Charisse Gulosino, EdD

The Effect of the Four Quadrants of the Competing Values Framework on Elementary School Student Achievement

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between longitudinal assessments of student achievement at 1187 elementary schools and educators’ perceptions of the manner in which their school resolves the “organizational tensions, trade-offs, and conflicts” (Cameron, Quinn, DeGraff, & Thakor, 2006, p. 50) embodied in the Competing Values Framework (CVF). With this end in view, some 24 items were selected from the 2013 state-wide administration of the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning survey in Tennessee (TELL Tennessee) and used to represent the eight organizational functions residing in the four quadrants of the CVF. After aggregating person-level observations to that of the institution, the result was merged with information pertinent to student and faculty demographic characteristics and with archived Tennessee Department of Education student achievement data in reading and in mathematics, averaged over three years. In the five sets of multiple regression analyses subsequently conducted, student demographic characteristics proved to be the most important factors in explaining variation in student achievement, whether measured as three-year averages of students’ NCE scores in reading and mathematics or as three-year averages of the percent of students proficient in reading and mathematics. Although higher levels of faculty tenure regularly emerged as a statistically significant, if only slight, influence on student outcomes, no such influence was observed with respect to higher levels of faculty experience. Over and above these background variables, the Competing Values Framework (CVF) profiles concerning ‘balance,” “stability,” an “external” orientation, and a disposition towards “rational goals” were all associated with higher NCE scores, but only the CVF “balance” profile was statistically significantly linked to student proficiency scores. While the findings concerning “balance” were consistent with standard CVF expectations and prescriptions, those concerning a disposition towards higher NCE scores and “rational goals” were seen to resonate with the educational reformist literature on magnet schools, charter schools, and the adoption of comprehensive school reform models. Common to all of these strategies is the intent to leverage school improvement by endowing schools with a visible focus and lending their instructional programs a greater coherence.

Benjamin Brett Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Benjamin Brett

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

November 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm in Ball Hall 103

Major Advisor: Suzanne Lease, PhD

Neurocognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease Patients: Assessing the Unique Contributions of Depression and Fatigue While Controlling for Disease Severity

ABSTRACT: Background: While individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often experience cognitive deficits, depression, and fatigue, the relationships among these nonmotor sequelae throughout the progression of the disease are unclear. Objective: To examine the relationships among disease severity, depression, and fatigue and investigate the independent contributions of depression and fatigue to a composite measure of cognitive impairment, when controlling for disease severity in PD patients. Methods: A mixed retrospective and prospective sample of PD patients completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, as well as self-report measures of depression and fatigue. Cognitive impairment was represented by a summary statistic, or cognitive impairment index (CII). A hierarchal linear regression model, controlling for disease severity, examined the unique contributions of depression and fatigue on cognitive impairment. A Pearson correlation examined the relationship between depression and fatigue. Results: At step one, disease severity significantly contributed to the model, F(1, 41) = 48.06, p < .001, accounting for 52.8% of the variance in cognitive impairment. Introduction of depression and fatigue explained an additional 7.2% of the variance and this change in R2 was significant F(2,39) = 4.68, p < 0.05. Both depression, t = 2.751, B = 0.30, p < 0.01, and fatigue, t = -2.03, B = -0.21, p = 0.049 significantly contributed to the model in addition to variance accounted for by disease severity. Conclusions: Findings suggest that depression is uniquely associated with cognitive impairment observed in PD patients independent of disease severity or level of fatigue. Interventions targeted towards depression may improve cognitive functioning.

Chantal Taylor Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Chantal Taylor

for the degree of Doctor of Education

November 10, 2017 at 10:00 am in Ball Hall 123

Major Advisor: Charisse Gulosino, EdD

Examining Teachers’ Perceptions of Climate in the Areas of Teachers’ Use of Time, Resources, and the Quality of Participation at Schools with Very Low and Very High Percentages of Learning Disabled Populations

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are differences in how educators view the use of instructional time, the availability of instructional resources, and the quality of parent/community relations at schools with very low and very high percentages of students categorized as learning disabled (LD). Secondary data extracted from the 2013 administration of the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Questionnaire (TELL) were merged with pertinent school demographic information archived on the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) website. Once combined, these data were subsequently used to identify some 1425 schools with complete information on all variables of interest, including concurrent percentages of LD students. Analysis of the frequency distribution of these 1425 percentages enabled the location of the cut-points marking the lowest and highest deciles and the subsequent categorization of “very low” schools as those with proportions of LD students at or below 9.38% (n = 143) and “very high” schools as those with proportions of LD students or above 20.91% (n = 142). For these 285 schools, means were then obtained on the TELL subsections pertinent to instructional time (seven items), instructional resources (nine items), and parent/community relations (eight items). After controlling for the effects of two covariates, multivariate differences were observed apropos all three outcomes. With respect to time, five of seven item means favored “low” LD schools. Conversely, eight of the nine item means concerning resources favored the “high” LD schools. The most consistent and largest between-group differences were observed with respect to parent/community relations, however, Of the nine means in this set of items, all but one favored the “high” LD group, with the strongest effects observed for item comparisons involving clear, two-way communication (g = .59) and providing parents/guardians with useful information about student learning (g = .59).

Laura Alderson Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Laura Alderson

for the degree of Doctor of Education

November 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm / Virtual via Google Hangouts

Major Advisor: Deborah Lowther, PhD

Using Digital Tools to Achieve Connectedness in Higher Education Online Courses: Faculty Perceptions and Practices

ABSTRACT: This research examined higher education faculty perceptions and practices regarding the role of digital tools, specifically, social media and communication tools to achieve connectedness between the faculty member and students and among students in fully online courses. The study was guided by three research questions: 1) What are faculty perceptions of connectedness and its importance with regard to achieving connectedness? 2) In what ways do faculty use social media and/or communication tools in online courses to achieve connectedness? and 3) What do faculty report as key benefits and challenges to achieving connectedness in online courses? A qualitative, intrinsic case study approach and purposeful sampling were used to ensure relevant information would be obtained from five business college faculty who teach fully online courses and potentially used social media and communication tools in these courses. Data were collected using face-to-face semi-structured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed. Constant comparative analysis of data involved categorizing and sequencing of data to discover emerging themes as associated with the research questions. The findings suggest that to achieve connectedness in fully online courses, faculty must be available, responsive, sensitive to student needs, and create an online environment of connectedness. Additionally, connectedness among students is often more important than between faculty and students. Faculty used social media and communication tools for student encouragement, course support, and sharing her/his personality with students, while students used these tools for peer teaching, mentoring, and community building. Connectedness was thought to benefit students by helping them feel less isolated, more engaged, and achieve greater course success and a sense of relatedness. Faculty reported challenges related to the difficulty of achieving early semester student engagement, cheating, lack of resources/support, and work environment constraints that inhibit achievability of connectedness in fully online courses. This study has implications for designing online courses that incorporate the use of social media and communication tools to foster connectedness between faculty and students and among students. Future research is needed to examine student perceptions of connectedness in fully online courses and possible influences of connectedness on course completion and retention.

Alexander Barton Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Alexander Barton

for the degree of Doctor of Education

November 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm in Ball Hall 110

Major Advisor: Stephen Zanskas, PhD

Graduate Counseling Students’ Perception of their Preparation to Counsel Children

ABSTRACT: This exploratory study examined masters level counseling students’ perceptions of their preparedness for counseling children. A web-based survey was distributed nationally to students in clinical mental health, rehabilitation, and school counseling programs to explore the students’ desire to counsel children, their perception of their overall ability, and their theoretical preparation. Differences were found among three counseling specialties and the level of student preparation. Significant differences were found between rehabilitation counseling students and clinical mental health students. Significant differences were also found between rehabilitation counseling students and school counseling students. Significant differences were also found between students that had coursework for counseling children and students that did not. Differences were also found between students that had clinical experience counseling children and those that did not have clinical experience counseling children. Implications for counselor educators, student preparation, and future research are discussed.

Keywords: counseling children; clinical mental health; school counseling; rehabilitation; masters level counseling students; perceptions; preparedness

Brian Bruijn Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Brian Bruijn

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

October 30, 2017 at 11:00 am in Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Elin Ovrebo, PhD

Domestic Sex Trafficking Survivor-Advocates’ Experience with Aftercare

ABSTRACT: In recent decades, the United States government passed laws to make human trafficking a federal offence and fund efforts to mitigate the use of humans for illegal labor. There has been little research regarding aftercare services for survivors of domestic sex trafficking. For this qualitative study, eight survivors of domestic sex trafficking (DST) were interviewed about their experiences with aftercare. The semi-structured interviews were analyzed using grounded theory. The core category, or central finding, of this study was “For DST survivors, a successful restorative aftercare experience is bookended by high-risk phases of building trust and connection that is critical to healing, hope, and future success.” Other findings focused on relapse (or going back to one’s trafficker after having sought restorative support), continued support for survivors when the aftercare program is complete, and the importance of community collaboration for service provision. It takes a concerted effort on the part of survivors, service providers, and communities working together, in the context of a safe and ethical aftercare setting, to establish an environment where healing can occur.

Margie Stevens Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Margie Stevens

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

October 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm in 103 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Alison Happel-Parkins, PhD

Navigating Cultural Differences in an Afterschool Literacy Program

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how undergraduate tutors navigate cultural differences with second grade students in an afterschool literacy tutoring setting. This study explored the following research questions 1) What cultural assumptions do tutors make throughout the tutoring process about the students they tutor? 2) How do tutors’ cultural assumptions influence the tutoring process? 3) How do tutors and students navigate instances of cultural misunderstandings as they arise? 4.) How do the tutors perceive a change in their cultural assumptions by the end of their participation in the tutoring program? Findings revealed four themes that influenced how novice tutors navigated cultural differences in tutoring elementary students in an afterschool literacy tutoring program. These findings included: 1) Caring and respectful relationships were purposefully established; 2) Race and socioeconomic differences led to misunderstandings between the tutors and students; 3) Incorporating the student’s home culture and technology bridged cultural mismatches; and 4) Discussions of racist events disrupted the normal flow of tutoring. Findings indicate that while purposefully developing caring and respectful relationships is time consuming, it is an important asset in the tutoring relationship. Second, it is argued that the tutors need to develop skills related to cultural competency. Finally, in addition to becoming culturally competent, tutors need to develop a racial and intersectional awareness.

Matthew Binion Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Matthew Binion

for the degree of Doctor of Education

August 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm in 301 Browning Hall

Major Advisor: Jeffery Wilson, PhD

Students Affairs Administrators’ Understanding of Motivations to Attain a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration

ABSTRACT: Students are motivated to pursue education for various reasons and understanding those motivations can help administrators and faculty better serve graduate students who choose to participate in doctoral studies. This study analyzed qualitative data in an effort to better understand how student affairs administrators perceived their motivations while discerning doctoral study in the field of Higher Education Administration (HEA). This study used Self Determination Theory (SDT) as a framework for understanding how motivational factors influence students to participate in doctoral education. The results showed that there existed three major themes that described the participants experience with considering pursuing a doctorate in HEA; Motivational Orientations, Discernment Processes and Environmental Factors. Implications and recommendations for action and future study are presented. As a result, the findings suggest that changes in how doctoral education is promoted and encouraged, the importance of the doctorate as a credential as well as creating communities of support can help to increase doctorate representation in the area of Higher Education Administration.