Friday, November 30, 2012

Charlene Adams-Mahaley's dissertation on, "College Persistence of First-Year African American and African immigrant Males: Differences of Non Academic and Other Factors on Community College Black Male Students"

Charlene Adams-Mahaley, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

Literature has postulated that noncognitive or psychosocial variables are a strong predictor of African American and international students persisting in college. Using a modified version of the Noncognitive-Revised (NCQ-R) questionnaire developed by Tracey and Sedlacek (1984), this mixed methods descriptive study investigated the relationships among academic self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, preference for long-term goals, availability of strong support persons, living in a multicultural society, and demographic variables. The total sample size is 26 Black male college students, with 16 African Americans, and 10 African immigrant students ranging from 18 to 49 years of age.

The present study used Tinto’s and Bean’s social integration theories and Ogbu’s cultural-ecological theory as the theoretical framework, to understand Black male persistence and how students differed on the NCQ-R. To determine the meaning of noncognitive experiences relative to academic success, interviews were conducted with 10 African American and African immigrant students and thematic content was explored qualitatively. The bivariate analysis procedure with standardized regression coefficients was employed to test for interaction effects and followed up with logistic regression analyses, to examine the salient psychosocial and select demographic characteristic differences using version 15 of SPSS.

Results indicated that on the modified NCQ-R self-report instrument, four of the five scales showed predictive power in promoting academic persistence among African Americans and three of the five scales provided some importance for African immigrant college students. For African American men, positive self concept, availability of strong support persons to turn to in a crisis, realistic-self-appraisal, and living in a multicultural society were subjective predictors of persistence and an important predictor of continuous college enrollment. In contrast, for African immigrant males, positive self-concept, availability of support persons, and living in a multicultural society were positively associated with college persistence.

Somewhat consistent with social integration theory, qualitative findings yielded support that having supportive peers were positively correlated with achievement orientation, grade point average, and positive self-concept. More likely than not, these findings suggest that a positive peer support network may provide a higher level of emotional support particularly for male students of color. This is especially true for African immigrant males, whose peers played a more significant role in their lives. The implications of the descriptive findings, such as the family structure variable in relation to persistence are discussed and recommendations are made for the use of noncognitive strategies to retain African American and African immigrant male students.

Key words: African American males, African immigrant males, persistence, noncognitive, academic success, college student, community college, Noncognitive Questionnaire-Revised.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don Blohowiak's dissertation on, "Reinterpreting Kelly and Maslow: Effecting a Method to Integrate Psychological Theories"

Don Blohowiak, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

Situated in the literature that calls for less fragmentation and greater unification in psychological theory, this study undertakes the integration of two unrelated psychological theories from the past century that remain relevant if not prevalent: George A. Kelly’s personal construct theory and Abraham H. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In integrating Kelly and Maslow, the study builds on the theory-knitting concept (Kalmar & Sternberg, 1988), elucidating a method for integrating unrelated psychological theories. This theory integration method examines underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions to identify commonalities that disparate theories may share albeit not obviously so. In the study’s prototype example, such assumptions are identified and informed through analysis of texts written by Kelly and Maslow as well as psychobiographical examination of the two authors. As a result of integrating the theories of Kelly and Maslow, a synergistic theory of human development is produced, personal interpretive needs theory.

Key words: developmental theory; humanistic psychology; Kelly, George A.; Maslow, Abraham H.; needs theory; personal construct theory; psychological theory; theory construction; theory integration; theory bridging; theory knitting; theory unification.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dorianne Cotter-Lockard's dissertation on, "Chamber Music Coaching Strategies and Rehearsal Techniques That Enable Collaboration"

Dorianne Cotter-Lockard, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

This study documents and provides an understanding of how the Cavani String Quartet (CSQ) uses their coaching strategies and rehearsal 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 rehearsal techniques, using an interpretive inquiry approach. The research design included semistructured interviews of members of the CSQ and their chamber music students, video-recordings of coaching sessions and individual postcoaching session interviews of students and coaches. During the postcoaching 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, 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, commitment, caring communication, being empowered, the ability to shift perspective, 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.

Key Words: music, chamber music, collaboration, coaching, teams, small groups, generative team

Friday, November 9, 2012

Donna Y. Wilson's dissertation on, "African Americans, Depression, and the Thematic Apperception Test"

Donna Y. Wilson, Ph.D., Fielding's School of Psychology

This study investigated how participants reported levels of depression on the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the relationship with their score on the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) based on level of acculturation. African American participants (N = 180) completed the Measurement of Acculturation Strategies for People of African Descent (MASPAD) to determine level of acculturation and the TAT and BDI-II to determine depression symptomology. The study investigated whether participants endorsed a higher level of depression on the TAT than on the BDI-II. Further, this study investigated whether individual differences in acculturation group strategy caused the participant to endorse a higher level of depression on the TAT 2 depression subset than on the BDI-II. This study also examined whether individual differences in acculturation group strategy contributed to the participants’ endorsement of a higher level of pathology (depression) on the TAT 1 total score. The null hypothesis was accepted for all hypotheses as the results were not statistically significant. Lastly, the study was to determine which acculturation group scored highest for depression on the BDI-II. While it was hypothesized that the assimilationist would show higher scores of depression on the BDI-II than the other groups, the traditionalists and the marginalists showed significantly more depression than the integrationists or assimilationists. Thus the hypothesis as formulated was not supported by the data although there were significant differences between each of the acculturation groups.