Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fielding student Zella Mae Muro presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Moving Forward: Technical Development for Female Semiconductor Engineers

Zella Mae Muro, Student, School of Educational Leadership & Change

Many technical industries struggle to achieve a workplace that fosters both male and female leadership advancement. This feminist action oriented study addresses gender inclusion in an organization that had an engineering population where 24% are female and of that, only 5% of the female engineers had achieved senior-level status. The over-arching goal of this study was to develop an in-house leadership training program, as a pipeline system, for mid-level female engineers to progress to senior-level positions. The program had been in place for over a year and included multiple components: 1) manager preparation sessions that focus on program awareness and management roles; 2) leadership workshop with senior-level female guest speakers; and 3) a set of learning series with unique objectives to serve program participants. The learning series included numerous topics and activities: job shadowing with principal-level engineers; developing leadership skills; building a community of trust and practice; establishing mentorships; advocacy from the General Manager; career planning; applying technical career ladder tools; and preparing for senior roles. As part of this ongoing action research project, the participants, technical female members and their managers, attended focus group and individual interviews to identify the benefits and challenges of the program. Overall, participants reported four times more benefits than challenges and unanimously agreed that the program was very powerful. Participants were also asked to recommend strategies for making program improvements, and their feedback will be used in the next cycle of program development. At the onset of the study, the female engineers were asked to develop individualized leadership goals and to establish a set of rubrics for achieving those goals and assess the related skills. From this rubric, a pre- and post-skill assessment Likert survey was developed. Its results showed the female engineers and their managers rated the women’s post-assessment skills as being higher at the end of the program. Taken together, these findings suggest the leadership training program was successful in preparing technical female engineers for leadership roles, and at the closure of this study, the number of female engineers who participated in the senior-level Technical Leadership Pipeline program had more than doubled.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fielding student Alice S. Kitchel presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Eliciting Open-Mindedness: A Phenomenological Study of Acceptance Same-Gender Marriage by Vermont Residents

Alice S. Kitchel, Student, School of Human & Organizational Development

In this study I explore the lived experience of changing one’s mind about civil unions and/or same-gender marriage in Vermont. I interviewed nine participants, all Vermont residents, two times and asked about their early beliefs and influences, experience of the change process, current perceptions and beliefs, and their ideas on why they were able to change their opinions about LGBT issues and same-gender marriage. I also included my protocols on experiences of being and feeling prejudiced.

I analyzed the findings using hermeneutic phenomenological methods. Reviewing several areas of literature I focused on Engel’s presentation of social movement theory and the inception, etiology, and reduction of prejudice based on theories of Allport, Devine, and Herek, and the role of empathy founded on Hoffman’s concepts in the reduction of prejudice. I also reviewed Conforti’s theory of pattern analysis based on Jungian archetypal theories, field theory, and system theory and human development theories of Kegan, Moshman, and Bentz, and theories on religious/ spiritual development, and moral development.

From the analysis of the data I draw several conclusions in light of the literature, the process of change was long and slow and most participants described their process using metaphors depicting a physical, felt component of the change process. My interpretation of the data also revealed that the capacity to change seemed to be linked to a previously acquired ability to change. Multiple paths of change included conversations with marital partners, friends, gay individuals, the media, and debates and testimony in legislative committees. The messages of a social movement did influence some participants in their change process. Several participants evidenced a qualitative degree of adult development. There seems to be no change in religious/spiritual or moral development, although several participants describe empathic responses. How the experience of change is expressed, more affectively or cognitively, is indicative of the degree of perceived transformation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gabriel Jude Il'Giovine Young completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Masculine Gender Role Stress and Educational Achievement in a Sample of Mexican American Boys, Gabriel Jude Il'Giovine Young

This study explored possible explanations for the educational achievement gap experienced by Mexican American boys. This was done from the theoretical perspective of cognitive psychology, specifically exploring the experience of masculine gender role stress (MGRS). The author adapted the existing MGRS scale for use with minors and administered it to a sample of Mexican American boys and their peers at a California middle school. The method used in other studies of calculating Pearson correlation coefficients with presorted subgroups at first appeared to show a strong negative correlation between levels of MGRS and standardized test scores in Mexican American boys ages 13 and up. However, multiple regression tests controlled for other factors and demonstrated that this method of calculating Pearson coefficients was flawed. ANOVA tests revealed that there was no significant variance between the MGRS scores of boys and girls, but that age was a significant factor, with scores steadily declining from ages 11 to 14. This result suggests that the MGRS instrument may have been capturing an adolescent stress as opposed to gender role stress. Significant item correlations demonstrated links between social, emotional, and life skills and academic achievement. The author recommends future studies integrating social, emotional, and life skills groups into curricula to test for causal relationships between these factors and educational achievement.

Key Words: Education, Masculinity, Mexican American, Gender

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fielding students Suzi W. Highfill and Mary A. Couvillion, and faculty member Jared P. Dempsey present research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Worry and the Socially Anxious Smoker

Suzi W. Highfill, Student, School of Psychology; Mary A. Couvillion, Student, School of Psychology; Jared P. Dempsey, Ph.D., Faculty, School of Psychology

Purpose: This preliminary study investigated the relationship between worry and smoking to cope among socially anxious smokers. Pathological worry is defined as excessive and unrealistic apprehension characterized by uncontrollable thoughts which focus on negative outcomes (Borkovec, Shadick, & Hopkins, 1991; Andrews et al., 2010). Worry is based in non-reality, but comprises a component of perceived control, such that individuals who worry use it to help them find solutions and prevent bad things from happening. Therefore, individuals may cling to worry in order to increase personal control and help them manage uncertainty during negative life events (Anderson & Schwartz, 1992; Freeston et al., 1994). Research indicates that among anxious individuals who smoke, worry is correlated with positive beliefs about smoking, such as “worry will help me cope,” and “if I worry I will solve the problem,” leading to a perception that negative affect can be personally controlled (Andrews et al., 2010; Nikcevic & Spada, 2008). These beliefs may contribute to enhanced motivation to smoke in order to reduce anxiety and manage emotions, strengthening barriers to smoking cessation (Nikcevic & Spada; 2008; Peasley-Miklus et al., 2012) and consequently perpetuating the maintenance of smoking to cope behaviors (Santanello & Gardner, 2006; Watson et al., 2012). According to a recent national epidemiologic survey, cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in our country (Grant et al., 2004) yet because of worriers’ distorted beliefs, smoking cessation may become even less achievable (Watson et al., 2012); and since worry interferes with effective coping, this study hypothesized that socially anxious individuals who smoke to cope with anxiety would suffer from greater pathological worry compared with socially anxious individuals who do not smoke to cope with anxiety. Methods: Participants included 138 undergraduate smokers who were enrolled in university in northwestern Oklahoma. Procedure: This data was gathered as part of a large multi-survey study of 1580 undergraduate introductory psychology students. Excluded from these were non-smokers, non-socially anxious individuals, and cases with missing data. The resulting 138 students who were self-reported socially anxious smokers were included in this analysis. Measures: An abbreviated version of the Smoking-to-Cope scale (STC) (based on the Drinking to Cope survey, Thomas, Randall, Book, & Randall, 2008) was used to distinguish individuals who utilized cigarette smoking to cope with anxiety (N = 82) from smokers who did not (N = 55). An abbreviated version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) (Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990) was used to determine the degree of pathological worry among this sample of socially anxious smokers. Results: An analysis of variance indicated that socially anxious smokers who utilize smoking to cope score significantly higher on pathological worry compared with socially anxious smokers who do not utilize smoking to cope. In other words, cigarette smokers who smoke to cope with social anxiety symptoms suffer from greater levels of pathological worry, in comparison to smokers who do not purposefully smoke to cope with social anxiety symptoms. These findings highlight the need to improve clinical recognition of pathological worry to target more accurate treatment interventions for individuals with social anxiety who utilize cigarette smoking to cope.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fielding graduate K. Drorit Gaines presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Executive Functioning Neuropsychological Testing of Veterans Diagnosed with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

K. Drorit Gaines, Ph.D., Alumna, School of Psychology (2012)

In mild TBI functions served by the prefrontal cortex are often disrupted as a result of the injury. Given the importance of the executive functions in daily functioning and head injury rehabilitation, and their localization in the prefrontal region, it is important to detect the extent of executive dysfunction resulted from mild TBI.

This research was designed to determine whether recently deployed OEG/OIF veterans diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) show neuropsychological deficits in any of a number of areas (e.g., executive functions, memory) using neuropsychological testing. Independent groups, MTBI and control, are compared on a variety of tasks to get a picture of the effects of the MTBI. 64 veterans diagnosed with MTBI and 64 healthy veterans were used, and factors such as the presence of depressive symptoms, level of effort, compromised self-awareness, and pharmacological treatment are discussed with respect to neuropsychological findings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fielding graduate Jenny Fremlin presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Beyond Virtual: Sense of Community in a Mediated World

Jenny Fremlin, Ph.D., Alumna, School of Psychology (2012)

As Internet use becomes more prevalent and access to existing social relationships expands through the use of media, the landscape of community changes. Although feelings of sense of community differ within community types such as neighborhoods and interest-based communities, research continues to address online communities as a single concept due to their mediated nature. In contrast, this study measures sense of community across online and offline communities, starting with teams of players in an online game, to look for differences by community type. Guilds, the online game teams, show significantly higher sense of community scores than participant-identified online communities, which mostly include social news sites and social networks. Results indicate that that we can use a sense of community scale to measure this factor in online as well as offline communities. However, there are difference between online communities as well as between online and offline communities. Additionally, traditional factors of sense of community were present in open responses describing aspects of sense of community across community types. Traditional theories and scales can help us to understand mediated communities and the potential for sense of community that exists within them, but it is also important to look beyond their mediated nature and at the communities themselves.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fielding student Lauri A Francis presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Teacher Leadership for the 21st Century: Teacher Leaders’ Experiences in Supporting the Pedagogical Practice of Academic Rigor

Lauri A. Francis, Student, School of Educational Leadership & Change

The purpose of this research study was to ascertain teacher leaders’ experiences with supporting their colleagues’ pedagogical practice of academic rigor, a core tenet of 21st century skills (Blackburn, 2008; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2011). This phenomenological study permitted six teacher leaders in New York to share their experiences through a protocol writing activity, two interviews, and a reflection. Participants described their experiences within three domains: realization, engagement, and disengagement, identifying the pedagogical and andragogical issues that impact their ability to nurture the implementation of rigorous instruction. Examination of the results revealed that teacher leaders’ ability to support their peers in providing rigorous instruction was predicated upon teacher leaders’ ability to (a) position themselves as reflective practitioners; (b) encourage engagement within the professional learning community, and (c) advocate for socially relevant instruction.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fielding student Kory Floyd presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Relational Affection Predicts Hormonal Responses to Stressors

Kory Floyd, Student, School of Psychology

This study tested the prediction that affectionate communication predicts elevations in the release of oxytocin in response to stressors. One hundred participants completed questionnaire and diary measures about affection in their personal relationships prior to participating in a laboratory session that included a series of standardized stressors. Both state and trait affectionate communication predicted increases in oxytocin during exposure to stressors, an effect that was not moderated by sex. The results demonstrate the stress-buffering effect of affectionate interaction.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fielding graduate George Fedha presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

How Aid Workers Adapt to Complexity and Uncertainty in the Frontline of War Against Hunger

George Fedha, Ph.D., Alumnus, School of Human & Organizational Development (2009)

While the complexity of humanitarian aid intervention has been the focus of global response to disaster, little is known from the perspectives of the people who actually carry out the work itself. In conjunction with 21 colleagues who serve as aid workers, this research was an ethnographic journey in Darfur, Sudan which explored how aid workers respond to unpredictable and often insecure aid work environment. Central to this research was the aid workers' own perception and experience of humanitarian aid work. These experiences were weaved and then viewed through the lens of Complex Adaptive Systems. Findings showed aid workers as a highly adaptive and self-organized group of people who frequently confronted new situations by introducing new behavior. Informal interaction with rebel groups while maintaining intricate relationship with Government authorities are key characteristics of aid workers in the frontline. This behavior underpins the effectiveness of aid workers to deliver humanitarian assistance in an often insecure and unpredictable environment. The ability of aid workers to deviate from established procedures in order to engage in life-saving activities was identifi­ed as a critical competency which apparently propels aid workers to confront the numerous challenges they face in the course of their work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fielding graduate Ruth D. Edwards presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

A Search for the Formation of Self: How do Black Women Born and Raised in the United States Describe and Understand How Black Girls Become Black Women

Ruth D. Edwards, Ph.D., Alumna, School of Human & Organizational Development (2008)

Black women born and raised in the United States live at the intersection of race, gender, and class, a concurrence that significantly influences their development. This study focused on describing and understanding how racism, sexism, and classism influence the way Black girls become Black women in US society. Qualitative research using Collective Memory Work was conducted with a total of eight U. S. born Black women (pilot study and research inquiry) including the author, to describe, interpret, and understand their lived experience growing up in the United States. The women recounted situations and incidences from their family, work, and social interactions. This study revealed that Black women function within the realities of Institutionalized Oppression and Internalized Oppression, simultaneously holding themselves in a state of Resistance and Resilience. The author submits that Black girls born and raised in the United States access an Internalized Collective Consciousness comprised of Institutionalized Oppression, Internalized Oppression, and Resistance & Resilience that facilitates their development into Black women.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fielding students Mary A. Couvillion and Suzi W. Highfill, and Fielding faculty member Jared P. Dempsey present research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Differences in Global Self-Esteem between Nonsmokers, Smokers, and Smokers who Smoke to Cope with Social Anxiety

Mary A. Couvillion, Student, School of Psychology; Suzi W. Highfill, Student, School of Psychology; Jared P. Dempsey, Ph.D., Faculty, School of Psychology

The present study will examine whether significant differences exist between nonsmokers, smokers, and smokers who smoke to cope with social anxiety on global self-esteem scores. Smoking to cope refers to smoking behaviors which are engaged in by socially anxious individuals in order to alleviate their feelings of social awkwardness, insecurity, and unease. Global self-esteem can be understood as an individual’s overall appraisal of his or her value, significance, and general worth (Rosenberg, 1965; Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). There is some indication that global self-esteem may act as a defense against the effects of anxiety (Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Solomon, Arndt, & Schimel, 2004) and that high levels of global self-esteem may be negatively correlated with emotional distress in reaction to failure (Dutton & Brown, 1997). Participants included 1,590 undergraduate students from an introductory psychology course at a large university in the southwest. These participants completed the Smoking to Cope Questionnaire (STC) which consists of 16 items which measure self-reported levels of smoking behaviors utilized in order to cope with social anxiety. The STC was based on the Drinking to Cope survey (Thomas, Randall, Book, & Randall, 2008). Participants also completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965) which assesses levels of global self-esteem. It was hypothesized that there will be significant differences on global self-esteem scores between the three groups and that mean scores on the RSES will be lowest for smokers who smoke to cope with social anxiety in comparison to both nonsmokers and smokers who do not smoke to cope.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fielding student Dorianne Cotter-Lockard presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Chamber Music Coaching Strategies and Techniques that Enable Collaboration

Dorianne Cotter-Lockard, Student, School of Human & Organizational Development

This study documents and provides an understanding of how the Cavani String Quartet (CSQ) uses their “coaching strategies and techniques” to teach advanced music students to work together as teams. My primary goal in conducting this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the process of coaching student string quartets, in particular the process used by the CSQ. My secondary goal was to gain an understanding of how the coaching process helps student string quartets learn to work effectively together. Gaining an understanding of how student string quartet members learn to work together may provide insights into how organizational teams learn collaboration.

I conducted a qualitative study to explore CSQ’s coaching strategies and techniques, using an interpretive inquiry approach. The research design included semi-structured interviews of members of the CSQ and their chamber music students, video-recordings of coaching sessions and individual post-coaching session interviews of students and coaches. During the post-coaching interviews, I showed video-clips of the coaching session and asked open-ended questions to elicit experiences related to the coaching and learning process.

The results of this study support existing literature in the areas of establishing a positive environment, psychological safety, instilling democratic rehearsal processes and the use of gesture and body movement. The findings also support and extend literature in the areas of rehearsal strategies and collaboration processes. This study contributes a comprehensive model for coaching chamber music, as well as the concept of the generative team, which includes elements such as positivity, caring communication, equal voice, ability to shift perspective, commitment, and the ability to become the ‘other.’ These results have the potential to be used to expand music education in schools around the world and to be generally applied to develop teams in other types of organizations to collaborate effectively.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fielding students Malena Castillo and Don Talley present research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Mentoring Minority Students at Fielding Graduate University

Malena Castillo, Student, School of Psychology; Don Talley, Student, School of Psychology

The mentoring of minority students at institutions of higher learning has been demonstrated to contribute to their academic success (Grover, 2006; McGregor, 2006). There has been significant interest for several years in the benefits of mentoring most notably in the fields of education, business, and psychology. Research has specifically surrounded the influence a mentor may have over the mentee. The focus of mentoring programs has increased in the area of underserved and “at risk” minority populations as mentees who may find such programs to be of benefit. Research conducted on available programs largely has member of the dominant culture acting in the mentor role. However, with the increased populations of students of color and diversity in higher learning institutions, there is a notable percentage increase of availability of these students to serve as mentors. In addition, many students from diverse backgrounds have expressed an interest in having mentors who are from the same racial and/or ethnic group with whom they identify. Fielding Graduate University intends to develop a research project that will survey the needs and demands of students from diverse cultures at the school to determine what factors may be important in the mentor/mentee relationship within the multicultural population. This information will then be used to create a mentoring program at Fielding to assist students with academic performance, professional development, and assist in navigating the nuances indigenous to the doctoral psychology program.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fielding students Leanora Barreca, Malena Castillo, and Chad Brownfield present research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Mental Health Practitioner Approaches to Treating Harmful and Substance Dependent Alcohol Use

Leanora Barreca, Student, School of Psychology; Malena Castillo, Student, School of Psychology; Chad Brownfield, Student, School of Psychology

Members of the Addictions Study Group under the supervision of Marilyn Freimuth Ph.D. designed an exploratory study in mental health providers’ assessment of addictions. The aim of the study was to identify the various factors that contribute to providers’ ability to accurately identify the severity of alcohol abuse and treatment plan when misuse is evident. Participants were mental health providers (N=120) who were asked to complete a questionnaire that included demographic and background information in addition to providing clinical responses to two vignettes. Vignettes depicted examples of both harmful drinking (HD) and symptoms of substance dependent (SD) alcohol use. The participants decision of whether to engage the individual in the vignette in treatment and if so what the goals of the treatment would be were analyzed. Results showed that participants elected to engage both the HD and SD individual in treatment at similar rates, 64% and 72% respectively. Participants selected recommended treatment goals 26% of the time for HD and at 34% for SD use. While a large portion of participants selected recommended treatment goals for both HD and SD use, there were still several participants who did not. Results lead to further questions about accurate assessment and treatment of substance use disorders. Implications for further research, training, and practice are discussed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fielding student Burt Ashworth presents research posters at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

Establishing a Community Based Pre-doctoral Internship Program -- Burt Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology

Purpose: A crisis in Clinical Psychology has developed over the last decade due to the growing number of psychology doctoral students and the shrinking number of American Psychological Association (APA) and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship (APPIC) programs available (Deangelis, 2012; Mattu, 2011). The aim of this poster was to disseminate the experiential effects of creating a pre-doctoral internship site.

Methods: A group of local licensed psychologists were approached to volunteer a minimum of one hour per week to individual or group supervision of two doctoral students in clinical psychology internship. Receipt of approval was gained from Fielding Graduate University (FGU) for the internship curriculum, site approval for each rotation, and placement of students. Concurrent with gaining approval, three agencies enrolled as initial internship sites: the Gero-Psychiatric Unit of Christus-St. Patrick Hospital, the Office of Juvenile Justice Services (OJJS) and Lake Charles Clinical Trials (LCCT), a research facility.

Results: The 2011-2012 internship curriculum served as the pilot project to develop the clinical and academic program. Additional regional facilities have agreed to be part of the rotation expansion training for the 2012-2013 term. The program is preparing to receive a site visit for APPIC approval.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence in Southwest Louisiana -- Burt Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate case histories of incident prevalence in southwestern Louisiana. The hypothesis stated a significant correlation between middle age groups and incidence rates on special needs population would be found.

Methods: Cases spanned a 14 month period revealing a total of 1969 victims, (470 male; 1499 female). Relevant material for the case study was obtained from judicial records. Permission was received from the district attorney to retrieve data. Data was gathered from de-identified material.

Results: A Pearson correlation showed a significant relation between a single incident of abuse and all races investigated, except Native American, p>.01, a significant relationship between Hispanics and Native Americans’ desire not to report incidents, p <.05, and a significant relationship between the 41 to 59 year cohort and IPA with special needs persons, specifically older women, p< .05.

Relevance of the Juvenile Inventory for Functioning (JIFF) -- Burt Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology

Purpose: The current study investigated the contribution of specific domains of symptoms and behaviors in predicting daily adaptive functioning as related to the computerized version of the Juvenile Inventory for Functioning (JIFF).

Methods: 60 adolescents (40 males, 20 females) with a mean age of 14.32 and a mean educational level of 6.71 were evaluated as part of standard psychological evaluation upon admission to a detention facility. Assessment instrument used to determine problem areas of functioning included the JIFF, utilized to identify behaviors and symptoms that may be problematic in daily functioning.

Results: A stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that perception of social domains is a significant predictor of adaptive functioning. This model showed non-compliance in the home, being picked on, and peer influence as the main predictors of significant amount of unique variance in adaptive functioning, F (3, 56) = 20.35, p < .05, R2 = .52.

Sequelae of a Pre-frontal Lobectomy: A Case Study -- Burt Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology

Purpose: A 23 year old male involved in a motor vehicle accident acquired a frontal lobe injury necessitating a pre-frontal lobectomy. The purpose of this study is to discuss the psychological consequences as a result of the sequelae.

Method: A neuropsychological evaluation was conducted on an outpatient basis. After completing the consent and release forms, the client was administered 27 instruments over a two day period. Tests were administered, scored and interpreted according to standard practice.

Results: The results of the neuropsychological evaluation suggested a decline in overall cognitive ability with a two standard deviation drop from premorbid status. Additionally, there were deficiencies in memory, executive functions and language processing. Disinhibition was significant with reports of hypersexuality, compulsive eating, and verbal outbursts. Elevations on measures of depression and anxiety were significant. The most notable impairments were revealed in general intelligence, language and executive functions. The client continues in therapy at this time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fielding graduate Barbara Ackermann presents research poster at Fielding's Summer National Session 2012

The Experience of High School Students with Emotional and Behavioral Impairments: A Critical Look Back Upon Alternative Educational Placements - Barbara Ackermann, Ed.D., Alumna, School of Educational Leadership & Change (2012)

Young people with emotional and behavioral impairments—known as emotionally disturbed (ED) in the United States public K-12 educational system—are generally not allowed a voice on their own behalf. Because they are young, and because they have problems, their experiences, knowledge, and opinions are discounted by the adult “experts” in education and mental health. This narrative inquiry turns this power relationship on its head. It gives voice to five former high school students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

They retraced the sequence of events that culminated in their transfer to non-public school. They explored whether and how the alternative school placement supported their academic success and personal development. And finally—standing firmly in a place of personal knowledge and expertise—they explained to educators and mental health professionals how they might help other young people more effectively.

The findings addressed the need for more holistic teacher education and for high expectations for academics and behavior. More importantly, however, all research participants identified the relationship with authentic adults as the key ingredient of a positive educational experience.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Loren B. Naffziger completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Instructional Strategies for Face-to-Face, Internet-Based, and Hybrid Education: An Action Oriented Case Study -- Loren B. Naffziger

With the advent of the Internet and the rapid growth of educational software, high schools are applying new instructional strategies with their students, including online and hybrid education. Hybrid education combines face-to-face encounters with online methods; students attend classroom sessions with their teachers and peers, and they engage with a web-based learning environment. This dissertation reflects the action oriented process for improving the quality of hybrid education at Hybrid High School (HHS), a private school with about 240 students. The initial development of this action research was by the school administrators and teachers, and this dissertation represents a more focused effort to gather input from the students and parents who were associated with HHS. Specifically, students parents, and faculty offered their perceptions about the benefits and challenges of hybrid education, and they provided recommendations for making pedagogical improvements. The analysis of these perceptions for themes is reported in this dissertation. Standardized testing also informed this study with outcome data, and the results revealed that at the time of this study, HHS students scored similarly to state or national averages in English, Reading, and Science, yet they scored significantly lower on Math. Recommendations from students and parents have been added to the next phase of this school improvement process, and the action research will continue.

Key Words: Internet, high schools, online, hybrid, education, private school, action research, pedagogical improvements

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dawn M. Sieh completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Understanding Effective Leadership in Virtual Team Cultures -- Dawn M. Sieh

This study was based on interviews with virtual team members regarding their perceptions associated with effective virtual team leadership. “Leadership” was sub-divided as two types, formal and emergent. The interviews were conducted in two formats, a series of focus groups comprised of 5 to 7 participants and individual interviews with selected members of those focus groups. The roles of team leader and member were equally represented among the participants to allow for investigation into potential differences between the two. A grounded theory based approach supplemented with the qualitative analysis techniques of keyword in context (KWIC) and word count was utilized in order to generate propositions about effective leadership from the data. Findings include indications that it does indeed make sense to differentiate between formal and emergent leadership when discussing effectiveness in virtual teams and that the primary measure for evaluation is based on leader actions. In particular, this conclusion is supported by responses, from both leaders and followers, regarding types of effective leadership behaviors. The behaviors cited for formal leaders differed than those for emergent leaders across the dimensions of skills, process, person, and team. The study also provides insights into virtual team challenges, benefits, behavior, and roles. In particular, effective leadership was viewed as action-oriented, sensitive to style while trust was explicitly identified as being a critical success factor for virtual team leadership to cultivate.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mark J. Maluga completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

Spiritual Schema Shift, HIV, and Gay Men -- Mark J. Maluga

This study examined a spiritual schema and a shift that occurs when gay men experience the psychological trauma of being diagnosed HIV positive. Early maladaptive schemas (EMS) affect a spiritual schema, and schema polarity, worldview, purpose in life, and locus of control are discussed as components of a spiritual schema. The EMS of Abandonment/Instability, Mistrust/Abuse, Emotional Deprivation, and Defectiveness/Shame were targeted in this study. The Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ), an eight-item locus of control measure based on Rotter (1966), and the Purpose in Life Test (PIL) were utilized to identify a relationship between EMS related to a shift in purpose in life and locus of control in response to being diagnosed with HIV. The respondents completed the locus of control and PIL measures twice from pre-HIV and post- HIV diagnosis perspectives to identify shifts in both purpose in life and locus of control before and after HIV diagnosis. The YSQ was completed once by each respondent to explore the mediating role the four targeted EMS play in purpose in life and locus of control shifts before and after HIV diagnosis. Paired t-test analysis and multiple regression indicated no significant shift in purpose in life and locus of control before and after HIV diagnosis. Utilizing the Baron and Kenny method and the Sobel test to examine mediation, the four targeted EMS had a significant mediating relationship with purpose in life and locus of control. The results and implications related to spiritual schema and EMS mediating purpose in life and locus of control are discussed.

Key Words: Gay, HIV, Schema, Spiritual Schema, Early Maladaptive Schemas, Paranormal, Complementary Medicine.