Monday, November 23, 2015


Catherine Seo, School of Psychology

Body image dissatisfaction is a significant and painful issue for women, that comes with high costs that include physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and economic impact. There are few interventions that have helped. Current research indicates meditation can help. This research advances that research to shed light on whether Mindfulness Meditation (MM) and Innate Compassion Training (ICT), a form of Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) from the Tibetan tradition, can help build self-compassion and improve body image. One hundred eighty-six women were recruited and received one of three meditation interventions (MM, ICT, BI/Control) to determine whether (a) MM, ICT, or BI/Control improves the five outcomes measured; (b) MM and ICT improve the five outcomes more than BI/Control; and (c) ICT improves the five outcomes more than MM. Women were recruited to complete all measures as a pre-test, randomized to participate in online MM, ICT, or BI/Control conditions, and asked to complete all measures in a post-test after completion of intervention. In all conditions, all outcomes improved from pre-test to post-test. MM and ICT did not improve outcomes more than BI/Control, and ICT did not improve outcomes more than MM. In conclusion, all conditions improved outcomes, so it is likely that meditation could have a positive impact on body image satisfaction. Due to attrition, we were unable to generate enough power to test for group differences, which should be remedied by future research.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Toyota Production System (TPS)Theories-In-Action and Lean Implementation Theories-In-Action: A contrast In Maximization of Human Potential

School of Human and Organizational Development, Jody Bicking

Thousands of companies have tried to emulate the Toyota Production System (TPS), through the concept of Lean manufacturing, resulting in disappointment or failure. Case studies have identified broad causal factors such as leadership actions, lack of overall skills, and “cherry-­‐ picking” TPS techniques, instead of embracing them in the spirit and mindset intended. This research sought to identify the collective mindset, which enables Toyota to effectively apply TPS, when others cannot. The findings provide insight into pre-­‐requisites of Lean implementation. Such knowledge benefits companies desiring to embrace continuous improvement thinking into the fabric of their culture and consultants concerned with “how”. The research began by exploring the similarities and differences between Lean implementation theories-­‐in-­‐action and TPS theories-­‐in-­‐action. A triangulated
approach using case studies, q-­‐sort methodology, and survey was employed. Participants in the q-­‐sort and survey came from 2 sources. The first, a company that has attempted to implement Lean practice more than once with disappointing results. The second source, a team of Toyota employees from their Erlanger, KY plant. Comparisons yielded 3 important findings. First, Toyota responses indicate a willingness and commitment to challenge the status quo at, every level; not evident in the other company. Second, a definite lack of understanding the underlying purpose of Lean and the tools was apparent in the non-­‐Toyota organization. Third, the method of organizational learning employed by Toyota has a different focus than the non-­‐ Toyota organization. The findings indicate pre-­‐requisite organizational characteristics, necessary for successful implementation of Lean, exist. A CAS perspective, openness to collaborative, non-­‐defensive, reflection within Toyota far exceeds the non-­‐Toyota company. Further investigation on how to foster collaborative reflection among teams,
organizations, and society is warranted and could enable positive social change.

Looking at Challenging Behavior Through a Different Lens: An Implementation Science Approach

School of Educational Leadership, Mary C. McLennan

This study addressed the problem of how to effectively implement a systems-wide approach to address challenging behavior in young children. It specifically addressed the gap between science and practice as it relates to addressing challenging behavior. This research focused on the children of rural migrant workers in rural California who attended a Migrant Head Start program. To address challenging behavior, a researcher and early childhood educators used a collaborative integration of implementation science and evaluation science to evaluate the implementation of Program-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PW-PBIS), and the fidelity rate of the intervention PW-PBIS. The analysis of the data illustrated the interplay between the implementation and the intervention and the outcome of the PW-PBIS intervention. We used the Active Implementation Framework, and the context, input, process, and product (CIPP) evaluation model to guide the implementation of PW-PBIS, as well as the evaluation of the implementation. 

Our commitment to implement PW-PBIS with fidelity and with implementation fidelity (quality assurance and quality improvement) moved beyond investigating what interventions worked, to investigating the processes that support the implementation, fidelity, and sustainability of PW-PBIS to ensure positive outcomes for children with challenging behavior. The quality assurance and quality improvement processes worked by collecting and utilizing data to monitor and evaluate performance against the established PW-PBIS benchmarks. This support helped to create incentives to implement PW-PBIS and to improve the implementation of PW-PBIS. As a result of a continuous, iterative, and interactive evaluation of the quantity and quality of implementation of PWPBIS, there was evidence of high fidelity rate of PW-PBIS, effective implementation of PW-PBIS resulting in few incidences of challenging behavior, and early educators rethinking their views on challenging behavior.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Variation in Beliefs about Social Justice by Ethnicity, Gender, and Income at Fielding Graduate University

Hoffman, T., Metivier, J., Turner, R., Elliot, A., Wong, T., Dennis, C., Ives, N., Vivian, J., Newton, R. & Osherson, S.

How much does variation in social demographic variables influence attitudes towards social justice? The Fielding website states that students should be committed to social justice. Our survey of almost 200 Fielding students indicates, in fact, a very high commitment to social justice, although attitudes vary according to demographic variables.
 We found significant differences in ethnicity, gender, and income, indicating that African American Fielding students report greater commitment to social justice action than Caucasian students. Research also indicated that the African American sample was more traditional and more conservative in their political attitudes than Caucasians. Similarly, African American female Fielding students were more committed to social justice than all other groups. Differences among ethnicities in attitudes toward social justice were unconnected to income. However, there was a small but significant inverse correlation between income and commitment to social justice.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Heutagogy in Oncology Nursing: The Experience of Nurses, and the Factors that Facilitate and Hinder Self-Determined Learning

School of Educational Leadership for Change, Charissa Cordon

Heutagogy is defined as self-determined learning and is an extension of andragogy (Blaschke, 2012; Hase & Kenyon, 2001). It is a learner-centered approach that blends various concepts related to adult learning, double-loop learning, reflective practice, and complexity theory. Nurses are already engaging in this type of learning, however, no published research exists that has explored heutagogy in nursing, using complexity science as a framework. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore how oncology nurses were engaging in heutagogy and to understand the factors that facilitated and hindered self-determined learning. I interviewed 13 point-of-care oncology nurses working in a quaternary cancer institution. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Complexity theory was used as a framework. Nurses provided examples of their engagement with heutagogy. The most frequently identified reason for engaging in heutagogy was to keep their knowledge and skills current in order to provide good care to their patients. Participants in this study pursued learning based on their preferred learning style, their existing commitments, and their lifestyle. One of the most frequent factors that either enabled or constrained nurses from engaging in heutagogy was time. Participants also indicated that their previous experiences with self-determined learning were helpful in their subsequent experiences, as they learned about their preferred learning methods and became more confident as learners. Finally, participants indicated that by engaging in heutagogy, they were able to problem solve in new and unfamiliar situations. In order for nurses to effectively apply heutagogy, this approach must be embedded in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Nurse leaders play a fundamental role in supporting nurses with their engagement in heutagogy. Improving access to continuing education programs and investing in preceptorship programs are a few strategies for nurse leaders to support nurses with heutagogy. Finally, it would be beneficial to conduct action research in heutagogy to better understand the transformational learning that is occurring for the learner, but more importantly, to better understand how to effectively apply heutagogical approaches to work-based learning in nursing.

Keywords: self-determined learning, heutagogy, oncology nursing, continuing education, lifelong learning, complexity theory, complex-adaptive system


School of Psychology, Patricia Gingras

The purpose of this study is to determine if reality health television shows cultivate higher levels of anxiety among viewers; particularly those with heightened concerns about their wellness. This idea arose from observations in my clinical practice. I have witnessed many patients presenting with anxiety symptoms that are manifested by constant rumination and worry about having developed a specific health problem. People prone to health anxiety have the tendency to misinterpret health information received from reality television programming as evidence that they either have or are at risk for developing a serious illness. While there are ample research articles that review medical drama television shows, the literature is sparse when it comes to examining health talk television programming.

A qualitative research study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with 11 upper management employees employed by a large Canadian service company. The employees belong to a highly diversified social-cultural Canadian subgroup. Participants offer a cross range of marital status, ethical backgrounds, age and gender. Interviews were analysed using categorical content analysis to reveal eight main themes. Primary findings suggest that socio-cognitive factors such as behaviour, cognitive, personal factors and environmental all interact with each other, thus defining how one interprets health media content. This interaction, which accounts for how individuals control their thoughts, feelings and actions, is unique to every individual. Four dominant cognitions have been demonstrated to be correlated with the development of health anxiety: (1) the perceived likelihood of contracting or having an illness, (2) perceived awfulness of having an illness, (3) perceived inability to cope with illness, and (4) perceived inadequacy of medical resources for treating illness. Personal factors may also contribute to one’s health anxiety and the sick role. For example, individual personality traits will also have an influence on one’s perception of health vulnerability. Individuals who score high on Neuroticism have the tendency to worry about their health Bowlby’s attachment theory identifies dominant environmental influences. Of the three basic attachment patterns: secure, avoidant, and ambivalent styles, insecure attachment style can lead to a low level self efficiency and an anxious avoidance style when dealing with health issues and doctors. Self efficiency level determines one’s resiliency and ability to not overreact and panic about the risk messages depicted on health reality television shows. An individual’s efficacy is grounded in the belief they are capable of having the ability to exert control over the events that affect their lives. A participant’s experience of a major illness did not correlate to one developing health anxiety.

Keywords: anxiety, cultivate, social cognitive factors, personality traits, health talk television, attachments styles, self-efficacy

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Mixed Methods Inquiry into Teachers Willingness and or Ability to Implement Accommodations in the Classroom

Implementing classroom accommodations for children diagnosed with a mental health disorder is often vital for student achievement, but implementing those accommodations can often be difficult and daunting for many teachers-especially those who have low expectations for classroom behavior (Ohan, 2008).  Previous research has indicated that teachers’ perceptions of the efficacy of a particular intervention are positively related to the overall implementation and efficacy of the intervention (Eckert & Hintze, 2000; Wilson & Jennings, 1996).  Understanding teacher motivation and perceptions involves a multifaceted approach that includes the examination of intrinsic motivational factors factors, values, and self-efficacy. Teachers may have valuable classroom experience and expertise that are helpful in guiding effective treatment plans and interventions that are often important components in student achievement. 

A larger research project conducted by this team in the area of teachers’ perceptions of psychological recommendations found that neither teachers’ perceptions of the necessity for the successful implementation of psychological recommendations, nor the clarity of the psychological report were influenced by the student’s diagnostic type (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] versus Oppositional Defiant Disorder [ODD]).  Preliminary data supported the notion that the type of mental health diagnosis does not affect teachers’ perceptions about their ability to provide classroom accommodations and or modifications based on diagnosis.  The results of this study also produced findings that were inconsistent with previous research (Ruble et al., 2011) in the area of teacher self-efficacy and experience (Harris, Norton, Emick, Hubbard, 2013). 

Researchers for the current project sought to understand teachers’ perceptions toward implementing classroom accommodations for students suffering from ADHD and ODD. A second goal was to better understand other factors that may impact or influence teachers’ perceptions of challenges related to implementing accommodations and modifications for children with behavioral disorders in the classroom via qualitative responses, as there is a limited amount of research on the topic.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Heutagogy in Oncology Nursing: The Experience of Nurses and the Factors That Facilitate Self-Determined Learning

Charissa Cordon, RN, M N, CON(C), EdD (cand)

Heutagogy is defined as self-determined learning, and is an extension of andragogy (Blaschke, 2012; Hase & Kenyon, 2001).  It is a learner-centered approach that blends various concepts related to adult learning, double-loop learning, reflective practice and complexity theory.  Nurses are already engaging in this type of learning, however, no research exists that has explored heutagogy in nursing, using complexity science as a framework.

Heutagogy in Oncology Nursing: The Experience of Nurses and the Factors That Facilitate Self-Determined Learning

The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore how oncology nurses were engaging in heutagogy, and to understand the factors that facilitated and hindered self-determined learning.  Thirteen point-of-care oncology nurses working in a quaternary cancer institution were interviewed.  Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method.  Complexity Theory was used as a framework in this study.

According to participants, they engaged in self-determined learning to keep their knowledge and skills current in order to provide good care to their patients. The most frequent factor that either enabled or constrained nurses from engaging in heutagogy was time.  Participants also indicated that their previous experiences with self-determined learning helped them in later experiences, as they developed learning skills and they became more confident learners.  
Implications for nursing education include embedding heutagogy in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.  Nurse leaders play a fundamental role in supporting heutagogy for nurses by improving access to continuing education and preceptorship programs. Finally, more research in this area is needed to understand the transformational learning that is occurring for the learner, and determine effective application of heutagogy in work-based learning for nurses.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Role of Climate Perceptions in Predicting School Outcomes and Distress

A.J. Ormerod, O. Alabi, L. Bolt, S. Connell, S. Glass,  G. Moore, and S. Palmer

Role of Climate Perceptions in Predicting School Outcomes and Distress - Method, Results, and Concusion
The current study investigated the relative contributions of peer sexual harassment, student perceptions about a school climate that tolerates the sexual harassment of girls, and climate perceptions about the harassment of boys to predicting psychological distress, perceptions of personal safety while at school, and withdrawal from school.  Dominance analysis supported that of the three predictors for high school boys’ outcomes, climate perceptions about whether school officials are responsive to girls’ complaints about sexual harassment were relatively most important.  For high school girls, direct experiences of peer sexual harassment and climate perceptions about school tolerance of the harassment of girls were relatively most important to explaining outcomes.  Climate perceptions that one’s school tolerates the harassment of boys were relatively least important to all outcomes for high school boys and girls.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Education of Jewish Children in Nazi Occupied Areas Between 1933–1945

Jacqueline Silver, School of Educational Leadership for Change

This inquiry looks at the efforts to educate Jewish children who lived under Nazi occupation in Europe and North Africa between 1933 and 1945. My research question asks what are the important factors that relate to understanding the improvised, and generally clandestine, education of Jewish children during the Shoah in German occupied areas between 1933 and 1945. My goal has been to offer answers to the questions who, what, where, how, and why Jewish children received education. The information has been retrieved from multiple sources in order to gain a comprehensive understanding not only of how Jewish children were educated but also the effects of this education on them emotionally, physiologically, socially, and morally.

Children, who lived in Germany during the rise of National Socialism and later in German ghettos and concentration camps, in orphanages, forests, or hidden in Christian homes, convents and monasteries, dealt with constant fear, trauma, hunger, and other terrible conditions. This work shows that despite severe restrictions there often were adults who took responsibility for providing children with “schooling” that gave them a semblance of normality and contributed to their lives in other ways. The conditions under which children lived during this period, the treatment they received from the adults with them, and their activities often determined, to a great extent, their survival and even conditions of their later lives.

Data for this study has been retrieved from several sources in order to corroborate historical information. It has come from biographies and memoirs, articles, documentary films, archived videotaped interviews of survivors as well as interviews conducted by the author.

Role and Effect of Social Determinants on Moral Judgment: A Study of Employee Behavior When Communicating Using Social Technology

Patricia Oelrich, School of Human and Organizational Development

Research from 20th and 21st century scholars demonstrates from any moral or cognitive perspective, that social determinants play a dominant role, particularly on ethical behavior. This study’s main purpose was to examine how employees’ ethical behaviors differ when using social technology as compared to traditional face-to-face communications. Using a practice lens, narrative inquiry was used to capture the lived experiences of 22 employees, including managers and senior managers, from three large, global companies (two highly regulated) that use social technologies in their everyday work situations.

The results of this study suggest that the use of social technologies in the workplace promotes ethical behavior, if guided by good leadership. While ethical leadership is always important, it is critical in environments where the audience is much broader, and leaders are more accessible. Leaders need to recognize the unique skill set required for optimized use of social technology in the workplace. They must build and invest in the management of their own reputation as an ethical leader.

Key Words: Ethical Behavior, Moral Psychology, Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Ethical Leadership, Ethical Infrastructure, Social Technology, Enterprise Social Technology, Ethics

The Relationship of Childhood Maltreatment and Adult Attachment Style to Adjustment to Chronic Pain in Adults Experiencing Chronic Pain

Leslie Blake, School of Psychology

This study investigated the relationship of childhood maltreatment, adult attachment style, and indicators of adjustment (pain catastrophizing, pain disability, and resiliency) to chronic pain in adults experiencing chronic pain. The researcher recruited 100 participants from two chronic pain rehabilitation clinics and a chronic pain online support group. Participants completed the Childhood Maltreatment Scales for Adults (CCMS-A; Higgins & McCabe, 2001), the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale-Short Form (ECR-S; Wei, Russell, Mallinckrodt, & Vogel, 2007), the Relationships Questionnaire (RQ; Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991), the Pain Disability Index (PDI; Chibnall & Tait, 1994), the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS; Sullivan, Bishop, & Pivik, 1995), and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003). Initial findings using parametric statistical methods were compromised due to distributional characteristics (truncation and skew) of the data. Consequently, the researcher conducted alternative non-parametric PLS-SEM path analyses. The results of path analyses revealed significant associations between childhood maltreatment severity and insecure adult attachment style, pain catastrophizing, and pain disability. Adult attachment style partially mediated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and pain adjustment processes. Resiliency emerged as the pain adjustment variable most strongly predicted by childhood maltreatment severity and adult attachment style.

KEY WORDS: childhood maltreatment, childhood abuse and neglect, chronic pain, adult attachment style, pain adjustment, resilience, pain catastrophizing, pain disability

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hemispheric and Frontal Differentiation in Cognitive Processing in the Wechsler Intelligence Tests

Cinamon C. Romers, School of Psychology

Previous research has focused primarily on left hemisphere brain functioning but there is a dearth of information on right hemisphere, cognitive functioning in the literature. The subtests that make up the Perceptual Reasoning Index of the Wechsler scales were administered to a sample of 241 adults and children to determine if any of these tasks, which claim to measure visuospatial constructs thought to be dependent on right posterior parietal brain areas, actually tap into analytic, left posterior parietal and executive frontal functions.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Grey Matters: A Study of the Cognitive Impact of Color through the Lens of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

Carrie Vanetta Perry, School of Psychology

Persuasion is defined as the art of getting what you want (Lakhani, 2005). However, it is also a science, because principles of persuasion can be investigated through scientific methods. The scientific study of persuasion, such as advertising, provides an open access laboratory within which researchers investigate principles of inducement through cognition to better comprehend the psychological theories behind the art of persuasion (Snyder, 1989). The goal of an effective and persuasive mass media campaign is to produce enduring changes in attitudes with behavior consistent results (BehaviourWorks, 2012). For this research project “effective persuasion” is defined as positive or desired changes in audience attitudes and/or behavior (Petty, Barden, & Wheeler, 2009) and is framed by the elaboration Likelihood model of persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). The underlying purpose of this research study was to determine whether a message that contains black-and-white components was more persuasive than the same message containing color components. The first hypothesis stated that those with a high need for cognition are more likely to donate after viewing a black-and-white message than those with a low need for cognition. Findings from this study suggest that need for cognition did not have a statistically significant impact on participant’s donation action. Hypothesis 2 stated that a black & white message is more likely to generate a donation action than the color equivalent message. Results of the study indicate that color or black-and-white ads have no statistically significant effect on donation response. Over time, the ELM has proven to be a vigorous model for predicting the effects of advertising and marketing messages on consumer attitudes and behavior.

Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Engaging and Maintaining Community Mental Health Center Patients

Kaitlin Boger, School of Educational Leadership for Change

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) (SAMHSA NREPP, 2014a) listed Beating the Blues (BTB) as an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. In this study I examined how BTB works with a sample of U.S. patients, some of whom had severe depression and/or anxiety symptoms. The purpose of this study was to determine what additional aspects could improve the BTB program as used in a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC). I used a mixed method approach to answer these research questions:

1. What aspects of BTB work effectively and efficiently for participants?

2. What aspects of BTB do not work effectively or efficiently and how would participants recommend they be improved?

3. How effective is BTB for people who experience severe depression and/or anxiety?

I gathered data from:

(a) The reports that the software generated which included the participants’ Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item (PHQ-9) score and their Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 item (GAD-7) score.

(b) The Beating the Blues feedback forms, which used 12 questions to gauge how participants felt the program could be improved.

(c) Individual narratives from participants.

I found that, overall, BTB participants at the CMHC benefited from using the BTB program. Participants noted enjoying the coaching aspects of the program as well as the technology aspects of the program. Participants with severe symptoms were not significantly more likely to complete the program than participants with non-severe symptoms. Males were more likely to complete the program than females. Referral sources appeared to impact results; those who were referred by their primary care physicians completed more sessions than those referred by other sources. Implications of the study included considering BTB as a first step when patients have mild to moderate or severe anxiety and/or depression since BTB appears to allow severe participants to decrease into a moderate range.

Keywords: Beating the Blues, computerized cognitive behavioral therapy, patient experience, mixed methods, effective, efficient, depression, anxiety, severe, mental health, community mental health center

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Entrepreneurial Exit Strategies: A Qualitative Study In The Biopharmaceutical Industry

Donna Schubert, School of Human and Organizational Development

This qualitative study explores why and how entrepreneurs develop exit strategies. The study is situated solely in the biopharmaceutical industry in the United States and Canada. Ten founding biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs completed background questionnaires and participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using the methods of thematic analysis facilitated by the use of Atlas.ti. The study finds that all biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs developed strategies for their investors, but consistent with prior research less than half developed personal exit strategies. This study also found that the source of funding may impact whether or not exit strategies are developed. Entrepreneurs explained that the infrequent use of personal exit strategies was due to perceived low value of strategizing in this industry with limited exit options, combined with uncertainty and the need for flexibility, rendering exit strategies ineffective. In exploring how biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs develop exit strategies, the study identified five impactful components of the process: the entrepreneur’s motivation to start the venture, his or her personal exit intention, building business value through innovation, the entrepreneur’s psychic income, and effectuation logic. The researcher offers a model of this process. Though the sample size is small, this study provides valuable information for aspiring entrepreneurs and offers intriguing questions for future research.

Key words: Biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, entrepreneur, exit, exit strategy

The Impact of Immigration and Acculturation on Recent Latino Immigrants Suffering from Mental Illness

Ingrid Diaz, School of Psychology

This study focused on the impact of immigration and acculturation on recent Latino immigrants suffering from mental illness. The participants migrated to an inner-city, densely populated area, with prevalent Latino enclaves. All interviewees were adults, self-identified heterosexuals, from Latin American countries, diagnosed with a psychiatric condition within 5 years of arrival to the United States. Subjects included two men and eight women, 24 to 52 years of age, with diverse socioeconomic and educational levels. Participants were legal residents or undocumented immigrants, with an array of psychiatric conditions, ranging from Major Depression Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Common themes that emerged were an idealization of their lives in the country of origin, fear, failure, perceived eminent danger, disillusion, disconnectedness, regret, resentment, self-loathing, promiscuity, and unforgiveness of themselves. Findings indicated that symptomatology presented within the first 6 months to a year of arrival, leading to persistent and severe mental illness.

Key Words: Latinos, immigration, acculturation.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Comparison of Blended, Online, and Face-to-Face Modalities in STEM Programs: The Influence on Student Success and Retention

Wael Abdeljabbar, School of Educational Leadership for Change

Previous educational research has focused intensely on comparison between modalities: namely between face-to-face, hybrid/blended, and online course technologies. This study examined the effect of these three major course instruction modalities on student success and retention in STEM disciplines at one community college in the San Francisco Bay Area. The study used a quantitative research design that incorporated historical student data and survey data. Results showed that the hybrid modality had the most positive effect on student success and retention for a majority of STEM disciplines, followed by face-to-face and online modalities, respectively. The CSIT department performed the most effectively in the hybrid modality. The results of a survey distributed to students indicated that online courses were less preferred, but hybrid courses provided the most benefit. These findings confirmed previous research comparing instruction methods. This study served as an addition to previous research because of the focus exclusively on multiple STEM disciplines at an institution that had never been studied. The results of the study may encourage the community college involved in the study to evaluate and review the online and hybrid learning environments to determine the most effective methodology with regard to student enrollment, retention, and student learning outcomes.

Key words: online learning, hybrid learning, blended learning, course success, course retention, instruction methods, STEM

Friday, May 15, 2015

Does Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous Facilitate Use of Self Skills in Executive/Organizational Coaches?

Charles W. Berke, School of Human and Organization Development

This study explores the ways in which, if at all, coaches who work in organizational settings (also referred to as executive/organizational coaches) and are in recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) account for their ability to use themselves as an instrument in their work. This study proposes that for the participants that process is working the program of AA. The AA program is designed to be one of personal growth and enhanced self-awareness, among other things. This study suggests that one outcome of this growth may be an improved ability to demonstrate use of self skills for executive coaches who are also in recovery through AA. This improved ability could be used in a coach’s work in organizational settings and be one of the mechanisms of change that he or she employs to help his/her clients.

The current study employs a narrative analysis research design. Five executive coaches who are in continuous recovery through AA for at least 5 years share their stories and answer a series of questions related to the topic. The data are gathered, reviewed, and presented along with an intact version of the participants’ story, in the interest of understanding how if at all, they account for and describe the changes they have made through their recovery work. The current study then explores the ways in which these changes, have allowed them, if at all, to use themselves as an instrument in coaching others.

The key findings in this study are that the concept of acceptance, deep and reflective listening, and a spiritual approach to life gained through participation in AA have had a significant impact on the participants’ ability to make and internalize change. This study also finds that the participants are able to describe the ways in which their AA experience has translated to an ability to practice use of self in their work as coaches.

Keywords: Use of self, executive coaching/organizational coaching, alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous, The 12 Steps, recovery, mechanisms of change, AA stories

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Enriched Structured Living Environment For Older Adult Male Prisoners Helps to Maintain Cognitive Abilities

Mary Harrison, School of Psychology

Studies have suggested that environmental enrichment may have a significant effect on age-related cognitive decline. The present study was conducted to determine if living in an enriched environment within a prison setting had any effect on cognitive function in older adults. Using 14 instruments that tested executive function/dysfunction, general cognitive flexibility, gestaltic closure, attention span, intellectual ability, emotional state, sensorimotor ability, language, mood, and visual-spatial abilities, we compared the cognitive functioning of two groups of male prisoners age 55 and older. One group of men (True Grit) had been living in an enriched environment for a period of time ranging from 8 months to 7.25 years. The control group was composed of a demographically similar cohort of men who had been living in the general prison population, with minimal environmental enrichment, for a similar period.

The results of the study demonstrated that men in the True Grit group performed better, with effect sizes ranging from small to large, on 13 of the test instruments than did Controls. Scores on tests of executive function suggest that living in an enriched environment was associated with better cognitive flexibility, enhanced verbal fluency, and improved problem-solving ability in comparison to living in the general prison population. On the test of physical mobility and balance (TUG), Controls performed less well than True Grit men, even though their average age was 2 years younger.

Effect size for the six measures of executive function ranged from small to medium in favor of the test group, while effect sizes for six of the other seven measures ranged from medium to high. This suggests that the independent variable (enriched environment) did have a significant effect on maintaining cognitive activity, and might be a useful preventive measure in terms of cognitive decline.

Keywords: “Use it or lose it”; cognitive ability; aging; prisoner; executive function; environmental enrichment; cognitive intervention