Friday, September 28, 2012

Karis Dawn Pearson Fitch completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

The Effect of Self-Identified Stages of Change and Therapeutic Alliance on Attrition in Treatment in Incarcerated Juvenile Males, Karis Dawn Pearson Fitch

Although many communities and judges expect adolescent offenders to receive rehabilitative services while committed to juvenile correctional facilities, it can be problematic to maintain youth in treatment. This research study was developed to assess the association between an adolescent male offender’s Stage of Change and the overall strength of his therapeutic alliance with his primary therapist in relationship to treatment retention. The youth’s Stage of Change was measured with the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment; strength of therapeutic alliance was measured with the Working Alliance Inventory- Short Revised Form. In addition, the youth completed a Participant Information Questionnaire. Each participant completed the assessments and questionnaire at the onset of the study followed by a 3-month study period. At the end of the study period, data were collected regarding the participant’s retention in treatment. The intended analysis methods were problematic due to a lack of participant attrition from treatment and high participant expectation of remaining in treatment. Fisher's Exact test found no significance between Stage of Change and treatment retention. Logistic regression found no significance related to treatment retention and strength of working alliance or treatment expectations and strength of working alliance. A review of the distribution of the data along with considerations of unique environmental factors was conducted and implications for future research are offered.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Christina T. Callos completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

The Transformative Nature of Greek Dancing: A Qualitative Inquiry of Adolescent Experience, Christina T. Callos

In this research I explored the experience of dance by studying 13 adolescents who were members of an ethnic performance group situated in a Greek Orthodox community. Using a hermeneutic and phenomenological approach, I explored the meaning teens made of this experience and the significance that dancing had for their lives and development. I drew on the literature of embodiment, self-development, positive psychology, and movement and dance and their relationship to self-knowledge. I conducted interviews and used video clips of performances to stimulate the participants’ recall of their dance experiences, and then transcribed and analyzed the data using van Manen’s (1990) three approaches—the wholistic, essential statements and detailed. The descriptions of the experience of dance coalesced around the following topics: (a) feelings and thoughts while performing, (b) the group experience, (c) the meaning of dance, (d) learnings and benefits of dance, and (e) transferability of learning. This research suggested that through ethnic dancing these adolescents experienced intense feelings of joy and passion, developed confidence, learned leadership skills, developed important interpersonal relationships, strengthened their ethnic identities, learned to work as a team, and transferred what they learned from dancing to other aspects of their lives. The study suggested possible implications for ethnic community youth programs and for educational policy in general.

Keywords: embodiment, somatics, dancing, Greek dance, ethnic identity, aesthetics, phenomenology, hermeneutics, stimulus recall, self-development, leadership, confidence, relationships, team work, adolescents, superordinary, peak experience, flow

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cindy M. Mitchell completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

A tale of two psychopathys: Paradigm shift for psychopathy, Cindy M. Mitchell

Beginning in ancient times when psychopaths were viewed as evil or demonic, the conceptualization of psychopathy has endured many transformations. Psychopathy has been referred to as psychopathic deviance, insanity without delirium, sociopathy, and likened to antisocial personality disorder. Empirical evidence during the past century has contributed much to the conceptualization of psychopathy. Cleckley’s documented observations marked a renewed interest in the study of psychopathy. Since Cleckley, Robert Hare developed a single construct theory of psychopathy based upon a hierarchical model in which two factors are interrelated in such a way as to form a single superordinate factor. Research demonstrating heterogeneity within the construct of psychopathy has led to the development of a bifactor model of psychopathy, in which two etiological pathways (Factor 1 and Factor 2) lead to a single phenotypical outcome (psychopathy). More recent research evaluating psychopathic outcomes opens the door for a possible alternative theory of psychopathy, in which Factor 1 and Factor 2 characteristics are representative of two separate disorders. This alternative theory proposes that Factor 1 characteristics are representative of Psychopathic Personality Disorder, and Factor 2 characteristics are representative of Antisocial Personality Disorder. In addition to outcome studies, research conducted on Antisocial Personality Disorder, successful psychopathy, and gender and cultural disparities provide support for conceptualization of the two factors as separate disorders. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a review of the literature, and evaluate how the literature builds upon itself to construct an alternative model of conceptualizing psychopathy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fielding graduate Audrey Cuff Ed.D. publishes new book

City of Thieves, Audrey Cuff Ed.D.
Wild Child Publishing

When Ashley Brown was five years old, her parents left her in the care of her Grandma, though her mother promised to return for her. At fourteen, Ashley is still living with her grandmother in Highland, a city on the outskirts of Maryville, a place known as the "ghetto."  Ashley has shadowy memories of her mother taking her to her favorite place, the library. Reading a good book allows Ashley to escape her poverty and crime infested community.  One afternoon after listening to the Mayor's press conference, Ashley discovers that the Mayor is taking away the community library. In spite of being put on punishment for a week by her Grandma for defending herself from the school bullies, Ashley feels it is worth the risk to sneak out of her apartment to mail a letter she has written to the Mayor about keeping the library open.  Every day homeless people approach her and beg for something to eat or for money. The most frequent requests come from two disheveled individuals Ashley has nicknamed "Orphan Annie" and the "business-man bum."  As if escaping the homeless people isn't enough, there are a bunch of bullies who harass Ashley. One day, the bullies chase her into an alley. They force her to the ground and Ashley is afraid of what could have happened next. This is one time Ashley wished she listen to her Grandma.

The book has a social justice message in respect to political choices that impact people in poverty stricken environments.

"That stupid Mayor. I don't believe it! She's shutting down the library. The only library we have in this community and replacing it with some, some business store," Grandma yelled. She scowled at the TV.

"I don't believe the stupid Mayor. You see what I mean about people in power making decisions that ruin your life, and you have no say about anything."

"Oh, oh, Grandma, that's so terrible. The library is the only place I have left that's positive in the community."

"Ashley, don't you get it? They don't give a hoot about people from our neighborhood. All they care about is making money off of the poor," she said.  Then a quick flash the Mayor came on the television. Suddenly, my knees felt weak and heavy. I felt like I was ready to collapse.

"Grandma, what is, is the Mayor's name?" I asked. I struggled not to stumble.

"I'm not for sure. Some person name Baldwin, a Mrs. Baldwin I guess. Oh watch they are showing that evil witch on television right now," Grandma said. She glared at the television. Grandma was going nuts.
I desperately tried not to break down, Grandma didn't have a clue that I'd met Mrs. Baldwin, and I wasn't about to tell her. Luckily, Grandma was going crazy about the Mayor; she didn't notice that I'm emotionally falling apart.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kelly A. Clark completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Long-Term Unemployment Among the Baby Boom Generation: An Exploration of Coping Strategies and Subjective Well-Being, Kelly A. Clark

Why some long-term unemployed individuals are able to cope with job loss and maintain their subjective well-being and others are not able to is a topic of conjecture and research. This study explored the ways that those of the baby boom generation who report positive subjective well-being following job loss have successfully coped. A qualitative approach, using narrative inquiry and analysis was used to explore the coping experiences of long-term unemployed boomers born between 1952 and 1964. A purposive sample of 16 participants reporting positive psychological well-being on the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was drawn from a broader population. A large body of literature has argued that job loss has profound and long-lasting detrimental psychological effects (Clark, 2003; Ervasti & Venetoklis, 2010; Jahoda, 1982; Kaufman, 1982; Warr, 1987; Winkelmann & Winkelmann, 1998; Zawadzki & Lazarsfeld, 1935) and many of these studies have found unemployment lowers subjective well-being (Clark, 2003; Ervastia and Venetoklis, 2010; Jahoda, 1982; Warr, 1987; Winkelmann & Winkelmann, 1998). In contrast, and consistent with the findings of Fryer and Payne (1984), Patton and Donohue (1988), McKee-Ryan et al. (2005), and Lin and Leung (2010), the participants in this study reported positive subjective well-being and demonstrated a proactive stance towards unemployment. The 16 study participants took constructive action, adapted, and exerted power on their behalf to buffer the psychological impacts of long-term unemployment. Six key findings were identified: (a) participants productively used their time and maintained structured schedules of meaningful activities; (b) participants experiencing job loss accessed existing and new financial resources to cope; (c) social supports engaged by boomers buffered the impacts of job loss; (d) cognitive maneuvers, such as holding a positive self-assessment, optimism, consciousness, reappraisal, and agency were employed to negotiate their inner struggles; (e) participants living through job loss use the latent functions of employment and personal agency; and (f) participants experiencing job loss are generative midlife adults. This research uncovered the coexistence of three behavioral coping strategies—social support, productive and meaningful use of time, and proactive job search—which together buffered subjective well-being and enabled participants to remain active in their job search. Unexpectedly, this study found that Jahoda’s latent deprivation theory (1982) can be extended to understand subjective well-being among the unemployed. This study has implications that could assist in designing counseling services for unemployed individuals. Findings call for programs for the unemployed to focus on providing access to social supports and productive activities in tandem with the job search. Overall, the results of the study inform employment counselors, gerontological–social work practitioners, social workers, psychologists, and the field of vocational behavior.

Key Words: coping with job loss, unemployment, long-term unemployment, job loss, midlife, baby boomers, generativity, subjective well-being

Monday, September 17, 2012

Drew Thomas Foley completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Navigating Mythic Space in the Digital Age, Drew Thomas Foley

In prior ages, alternate worlds are associated with symbolic expressions of storied space, here termed mythic space. The digital age brings new forms of virtual space that are co-existent with physical space. These virtual spaces may be understood as a contemporary representation of mythic space. This dissertation explores the paths by which mythic space is navigated in the digital age. The cartographic metaphor is applied to questions concerning the nature of boundaries, relationships, and paths of navigation in virtual space. These questions present implications for the ways that spheres of work, play, and social connections are navigated in the emerging age. The research builds upon the ideas of cosmologist Edward Harrison and systems theorist Will McWhinney to establish connections to current literature on the ways that digital information systems shape the stories that we live. The inquiry uses traditional stories as a framing device to illustrate concepts through the companionship of symbolic (story) and analytic (cartographic) forms. Guide figures from literature offer insight into similarities and distinctions between the emerging digital age and prior historical periods. The reflexive approach considers the role of shared stories in providing orientation across traditional and digital spaces. Comparisons between analog and digital forms of grammar are used to articulate patterns that underlie contemporary conceptions of space. The study finds support for the ways that these connected spaces may serve as a fertile ground for the creation of shared stories.

Key Words: Digital Age, Myth, Mythic Space, Mythopoesis, Navigation, Story

Friday, September 14, 2012

Silvina G. Paciencia Bamrungpong completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Stories in Motion: Inviting Immersive Possibilities through the Chimera of Transmedia and Chameleon of Mediatecture, Silvina G. Paciencia Bamrungpong

Narratives are part of human culture; they provide a fundamental epistemological structure that assists us in making sense of the world. Narratives are the connection between discourse and story that have extended through various media. With the advancements made in technology, stories can be archived easily, accessed quickly, transferred among several devices, and readily modified and reconstructed in an infinite number of ways. Recently creators have begun to conceive narratives designed with more than one medium to be used simultaneously. Each medium tells a different aspect of the story or connects it in a different way. Transmedia storytelling takes key elements of a story and disperses them systematically across multiple media toward the creation of an integrated and coordinated experience for an intended audience. While a transmedia method may extend a story or storyworld, the introduction of mediatecture would diffuse the boundaries of digital and physical worlds even further. Mediatecture uses the collaboration of electronic and digital media in the physical environment to shape the perception of daily life through moving images that leave the confines of specific media and become part of physical space. This dissertation work endeavors to explore the terrain of transmedia and the topography of mediatecture to illuminate the powerful way story engages audiences through imagined storyworlds. Guided by this research this work introduces the Stories in Motion (SIM) approach that proposes using the techniques and tools of transmedia and mediatecture concurrently as an invitation for audiences to immerse themselves within a story or storyworld and temporarily enter into the reality of the created world.

Keywords: Immersion, Mediatecture, Stories in Motion, Story, Transmedia, Transmedia Storytelling

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dexter Juan Davis completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

An Exploratory Study of Inner-City College Athletes and Crime: Socialization, Risk, Strategy, and Hope, Dexter Juan Davis

An exploratory study was conducted to focus on what is being done to help college athletes stay out of trouble and avoid activities that may lead to crime and/or criminal activity. The study was designed to find real examples of poor decisions and/or productive decisions made by athletes in order to provide for a rich learning opportunity.

Crimes across college campuses remain a quandary with a host of associated risks for African American college athletes unintentionally risking serious injury as a result of criminal activity. The review of the literature supported scope of the problem, causal factors, trends, possible solutions and strategies.

The methodological strategies used were exploratory research study, interviews, ethnography and personal reflections. This approach was utilized and intended to generate evidence or data in relation to socialization, demographics, socioeconomic environment, and perspectives from athletes’ ethnographic context and in their own voices. The study results are designed to facilitate the design and conduct a larger, more detailed study of college athletes. However, although exploratory, the interviews were designed to generate data particularly exposure to criminal activity, use of support resources to advance athletic and academic careers, and most critical sources of influence on behavior. Although the study utilized interview questions to collect these data, subsequent studies will employ a more narrative research strategy.

I foresee my effort as a way to scrutinize responses of participants at the doorway by reevaluating and reframing a larger study with more responses and more qualitative interviewing as the first step in understanding the life cycle of socialization influences that may place a college athlete at risk for criminality and as a method for determining when and where an intervention such as I propose is most crucial. Implications for a post-graduate program development in prevention and solutions to the problem are discussed.

Key Words: socialization, athletes, amateur sportsman, criminal activity, sports, deviant and criminal behavior.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fielding graduate Carolyn Steigmeier publishes chapter in Gender in the Therapy Hour: Voices of Female Clinicians Working with Men

Carolyn Steigmeier, HOS 98, was asked to write the chapter "Coaching Men" in Gender in the Therapy Hour: Voices of Female Clinicians Working with Men, published by Routledge in their series on Counseling and Psychotherapy with Boys & Men.

She drew on her dissertation, "Men in a Cultural Vise," and years of executive coaching to provide personal insight and specific tools for therapists to work successfully with men.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fielding graduate Kathy Cowan Sahadath presents at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting

Academy of Management workshop delivery with two colleagues from the International Council on Organizational Change. Our session is entitled "Less Communication and More Conversation: Using Conversation to Facilitate Organizational Change" and focuses on:

1.  The role communication plays in affecting the outcome of an organizational change initiative. 
2.  The natural rhythm of conversation that occurs during change
3.  The use of the guided conversation technique as a practical and effective tool for facilitating change in an organization change.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Manuela Lynn Batalo completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Creativity and Mindfulness, Manuela Lynn Batalo

In this study, I explored the personal attitudes toward creativity of students enrolled in digital photography classes at a Southern California community college, and attempted to discover if awareness brought to creativity and participating in a creative process affects these attitudes. Pink (2005) suggested that creativity is a desirable 21st century skill, and that the future lies in individuals’ abilities to be creative. Yet, creativity is a difficult and complex subject, with many models and definitions. Due to this complexity, individuals may not be aware of their own creativity before they have identified it (Kaufman, 2009; Richards, 2007). Acquiring personal knowledge and insights about creativity through reflection and by participating in the creative process may also help to shift perspectives, increase awareness, and enhance creative potential.

Data collection for this mixed-method study included both quantitative and qualitative instruments. I used a Self-Assessment of Creativity, the Langer Mindfulness Scale (2004), and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (2003) as quantitative pre- and post-test instruments. An open-ended question on the Self-Assessment of Creativity, observation logs, journal questions, and photographs submitted by the participants during the 5-week period provided qualitative data. I used content analysis to analyze the results of the qualitative data.

Eighteen participants increased their self-assessment of creativity ratings. They were in two age ranges, 18- to-24-year-olds and 31- to-35-year olds. Two of the students were art majors, 6 of the students were STEM/social science majors, and 10 of the students had not yet decided on a major.

The results from this study indicate that educators may increase students’ assessments that they are creative by providing experiences that ensure students can successfully use creative tools, as in the case of digital photography. In addition, by bringing awareness to the students that creativity is multifaceted, educators may be able to link creativity to multiple areas of the students’ lives. It is important for educators to provide the experiences and opportunities necessary for students to develop the sense that they can be creative. One such experience is training in cognitive strategies for mindfulness.

Key Words: Creativity, Mindfulness

Monday, September 3, 2012

Megan Elisheva Beren completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Gay and Lesbian Families in the Early Childhood Classroom: Evaluation of an Online Course and Teacher Concerns with This Issue, Megan Elisheva Beren

Meeting the needs of young children requires communication, coordination, and trust between families and early childhood teachers. Talking about families is also an important theme in the classroom. This is how children make sense of their own identity and place in the larger world. When a child’s family is composed of same-sex parents, teachers have reported feeling unprepared and uncertain about how to build an inclusive classroom environment (Turner-Vorbeck & March, 2008). Some early childhood educators have expressed discomfort in introducing this topic into the classroom because of religious, moral, and/or cultural beliefs (Duke & McCarthy, 2009). Others have feared reprisal from other parents, supervisors, or the school district. Gay and lesbian families, in turn, have felt invisible, silenced, and excluded. This is a challenging area with strong feelings on both sides of the controversy. Overall, the topic has rarely been covered in teacher education programs, curriculum guides, or professional development courses (Souto-Manning & Hermann-Wilmarth, 2008). In this study, I examined the value of an online professional development course on gay and lesbian families in the early childhood classroom, as well as educators’ experiences with these families. Teachers completed the course online, and then assessed its value, via a survey, in knowledge conveyed, comfort with the content of the course, and helpfulness of the tools provided. The findings confirmed that most teachers received no training on the topic of gay/lesbian families in their teacher training programs or current job setting. They felt uncomfortable with their lack of knowledge, and the majority wanted training that included tools for being inclusive and welcoming; however, they were not interested in specifically discussing the topic with the children via a comprehensive curriculum. Online training was a comfortable modality and could be an avenue for providing professional development on this topic.

Key Words: early childhood, education, gay and lesbian, family, same-sex, online course