Dissertation Defenses

2020-2021 Dissertation Defenses

The following is a listing of this academic year's dissertation defenses by date and program.  The doctoral candidates are presenting dissertations to complete the requirements for their respective programs.

To view some of the dissertations from last year, visit last year's dissertation archive.


Ph.D. Counselor Education & Supervision

Friday, August 28, 2020 -  11:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Scanlon, Aniela Kathryn

Dissertation Title:
The Lived Experiences of Males Within a Committed Relationship Who Are the Primary Caregivers for a Partner Diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia

Aniela's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Spouses who are caregivers for their partner with dementia experience significant changes within the relationship and in their daily lives. There is a focus in the extant literature on female caregivers and types of dementia that are more mainstream, like Alzheimer's disease. However, little is known about the lived experiences of male primary caregivers for a spouse or partner diagnosed with dementia such as frontotemporal dementia. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of male primary caregivers in a committed relationship who are the primary caregiver for a partner diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) to understand how the male primary caregivers are personally impacted and how they experience interdependence and intimacy and ambiguous loss within the relationship. This study found male primary caregivers for a partner with FTD are deeply emotionally impacted by the changes in interdependency and intimacy within the relationship. This study also found that male primary caregivers retain their sense of independence even though their time to participate in individual activities is limited due to the caregiving role tasks.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 -  9:00 a.m - 11:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Tanner, Michelle

Dissertation Title:
School Counseling in an Oppressed Society: Examining the Relationship Between Social Justice Advocacy Competence, Empowerment, and Social Justice Self-Efficacy

Michelle's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract:Dissertation Supervised by Dr. Jered B. Kolbert

Due to oppression’s impact on students’ social/emotional, academic, and career development, school counselors are being called to engage in social justice advocacy (ASCA, 2019a). Although there is a growing body of theoretical and conceptual literature calling for school counselors to be social justice advocates (Bemak & Chung, 2005; Dixon et al., 2010; Lewis et al., 2003; Holcomb-McCoy, 2007; Singh et al., 2010), empirical research is lacking regarding school counselors’ personal characteristics that may serve as antecedents to practicing social justice advocacy. The present study used a non-experimental, relationship-based, quantitative research design to explore whether relationships exist among self-perceived levels of school counselors’ social justice advocacy competence, structural empowerment, psychological empowerment, and social justice self-efficacy among 209 practicing K-12 licensed or certified school counselors. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that social justice advocacy competence was a statistically significant predictor of social justice self-efficacy. Additionally, structural empowerment had moderating effects on the relationship between social justice advocacy competence and social justice self-efficacy. Finally, psychological empowerment was not a moderator in the relationship between social justice advocacy competence and social justice self-efficacy. Also discussed are the results compared to related research and theory, implications of results applied to school counselor practice and training, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 -  11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Locke, Gabriella

Dissertation Title:
Technology and Pleasure: A Qualitative Study on Using Mobile Applications for Online and Offline Sexual Purposes

Gabriella's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract:This study sought to examine the experiences of young adults who use mobile applications for online and offline sexual purposes. The study explored how young adults use mobile applications for online or offline sexual purposes, the motivations behind use, and benefits and risks of using the applications. There is a lack of detailed research on the experiences of young adults who use these types of applications.

This qualitative study, analyzed using inductive thematic analysis, completed eight semi-structed interviews with individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 who had reported using mobile applications for online or offline sexual purposes at least one time in the past five years. This study identified four themes relating to how young adults use mobile applications for online and offline purposes, including sexual exploration, casual sex, searching for romantic relationships, and developing friendships. This study identified three themes relating to the motivations behind use, including convenience, connection, and seeking attention. Finally, this study identified seven themes relating to benefits and risks of using the apps, including facilitating risk taking, feeling empowered, impeding deeper connections, vulnerability, being able to be yourself, conflicting family values, and breaking down barriers. The implications, limitations to the study, and ideas for future research are included.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 -  3:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Acklin, Kayla

Dissertation Title:
Empowering Mothers: A Conceptual Model for Promoting Perinatal Mental Wellness Among Women in the United States

Kayla's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract:Dissertation Supervised by Dr. Waganesh Zeleke

Globally, there are certain expectations surrounding becoming a mother related to pregnancy and the birth. For many women, the birth of a child represents a natural event filled with joy. Societally, the expectation is that pregnancy, birth, and the transition into motherhood are normal, positive experiences for all women (Davis-Floyd & Cheyney, 2019). Motherhood, as a concept, has been described by many women as a highly pleasurable and fulfilling experience that is incomparable to anything else. (Hanley, 2009; Gamble, & Creedy, 2004). However, research shows that some women develop impairments in physical and mental health functioning and wellbeing as a result of the major physical and psychosocial changes that take place during the transition into motherhood (Austin et al., 2010; Ayers & Pickering, 2001; O'Hara et al., 2014).

The purpose of this research is to focus on the mental health and wellbeing aspect of this pivotal transition in women's lives. This study is designed to provide a starting point for understanding the concept of perinatal mental wellness in the context of the culture of the United States and strategies that support mental wellness during the perinatal period. The focus of this study is to meaningfully define perinatal mental wellness, explore how wellness is supported during the perinatal period, and explore strategies that that could provide increased support for perinatal mental wellness.

This study is guided by a qualitative research approach and grounded theory methodology in order to address the gap in the current knowledge related to perinatal mental wellness. Specifically, the study is based on evolved grounded theory by Strauss and Corbin (1997). Grounded theory methodology is a creative process that will illuminate the social processes of interaction around the phenomenon in question- perinatal mental wellness.

Data used in the study was collected via semi-structured interviews with mothers who have experienced at least one pregnancy and birth. Purposive and snowball sampling methods were used so that the participants identified had knowledge and experience related to the perinatal period relevant for the study (Bluff, 2005; Tie, Birks, & Francis, 2019). Additionally, theoretical sampling was used in order to include additional cases that contributed additional insight and refined the concepts. This type of sampling is beneficial to ensure each category is conceptually dense; therefore, theoretical sampling and data saturation work together (Strauss & Corbin, 1997).

The data in this study was analyzed using the constant-comparative method. Using constant comparative analysis involves constant comparison between the data verbatim including words, sentences, and paragraphs and the codes and categories that emerge. This is a key feature of a grounded theory study (Bluff, 2005; Bryant & Charmaz, 2007). The purpose of the process is to identify similarities and discrepancies in the data leading to the development of categories and finally the theory itself. The constant comparative analysis process continued until the final report was written.

The data analysis indicated four categories including perinatal mental wellness; factors supporting perinatal mental wellness; factors not supporting perinatal mental wellness; and systemic change. Additionally, the data analysis clarified the meaning of perinatal mental wellness. Perinatal mental wellness in the context of this study means mental readiness for birth and the changes to come via mental healthcare provided alongside physical healthcare throughout the perinatal period. The final model that emerged from the data suggests that the systemic change themes could be used as strategies implemented within the existing perinatal care model in order to promote perinatal mental wellness among mothers in the United States. These findings align with other research findings from countries throughout Europe and findings from Australia.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, June 25, 2021 -  1:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Johnson, Erin K.

Dissertation Title:
Psychometric Synthesis of the Drug Abuse Screening Test 20-Item Version (Dast-20)

Erin's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract: Dissertation Supervised by Dr. David Delmonico

Numerous research articles have reported data on the psychometric properties of the 20-item version of the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-20, Skinner, 1982a). Aggregating this diverse information can lead to a better understanding of how to use and interpret the instrument with clients and research participants. In this psychometric synthesis, evidence of reliability and validity of the DAST-20 scores was aggregated in order to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the psychometric properties of the instrument to better inform professionals in the counseling field when using the DAST-20. Overall, the available evidence indicates that the DAST-20 produces reliable and valid scores when screening for drug abuse consequences. However, data was limited and future research is needed to further assess the psychometric properties of the instrument. Implications for professional counselors and counselor research are discussed.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 -  1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Belsito, Emily T.

Dissertation Title:
Examining the Moderating Role of the Supervisory Working Alliance on the Relationship Between Administrative Supervision and Burnout in Mental Health Counselors

Emily's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract: Dissertation Supervised by Dr. Jered Kolbert

Mental health counselors continue to experience burnout due to their roles and the nature of their work. The supervisory working alliance and clinical supervision have been shown to be one protective factor against burnout, however the research to date on administrative supervision's relationship to burnout is scant. This study involved a moderation analysis to begin to explore the relationship between administrative supervision, burnout, and the supervisory working alliance through a moderation analysis. This quantitative study involved a sample (N=110) of mental health counselors, who met specific criteria, who completed a series of three inventories: the Counselor Burnout Inventory (CBI), the Brief Supervisory Working Alliance Trainee Form (BSWAT), and the Satisfaction of Administrative Supervision Scale (created by researcher). The responses were analyzed using correlational analyses and a moderation analysis. Results indicated that there exists a moderate negative relationship between both burnout and administrative supervision and burnout and the supervisory working alliance. The results of the moderation analysis showed no statistically significant results, which revealed that the supervisory working alliance does not influence the relationship between administrative supervision and burnout. Implications and future directions for research are presented.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 -  1:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Irizarry III, Ivan Emmanuel

Dissertation Title:
Counselors Dumbfounded: Implications for Counseling Ethics

Ivan's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to counselored@duq.edu.

Abstract:Dissertation Supervised by Dr. Jered Kolbert

How counselors should make ethical decisions often differs from how counselors actually make ethical decisions, which his often non-linear process. Social Intuitionist Theory (Haidt, 2003) suggests this process is a socially-influenced intuitive judgment followed by post hoc rationale. The purpose of this study was to examine whether moral dumbfounding, which entails maintaining a moral judgment without supporting reason, occurs with practicing counselors. The results of survey data and open-ended coding showed that 58.5% of counselors were dumbfounded at least once when presented with four moral or ethical vignettes. Additional analyses exploring differences in dilemma-based vs. non-counseling vignettes, moral vs. ethical framing of dilemmas, and the potential moderating role of need for cognition were non-significant. The presence of moral dumbfounding among practicing counseling has implications for counselor education, ethical decision-making models, counseling philosophy, and future research.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email counselored@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.


Ph.D. School Psychology Program

Friday, September 25, 2020 -  9:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Gyke, Chelsea Nicole

Dissertation Title:
Effectiveness of an Interdependent Group Contingency with Randomization Using the iPad

Chelsea's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing request to Audrey Czwalga at schoolpsychology@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Classroom management, although considered one of the essentials of the optimal learning experience, is often a challenge for teachers. Certain classroom management strategies, such as group contingency interventions and token economies, are evidence-based strategies to aid teachers in gaining successful management of the classroom. The utilization of Class Dojo, a popular classroom management website, as a mechanism to implement an interdependent group contingency (IGC) intervention with randomized components may increase both the effectiveness of the intervention and the social validity of the intervention when compared to a manual implementation of the intervention.

Participants included students in an elementary school self-contained special education classroom and a special education teacher. Students in the classroom consisted of four male and one female students from fourth and fifth grade. The current study is an A-B-C-B single subject design that includes a baseline phase, two intervention phases, and a maintenance phase. Data was collected by one or more trained professionals during each intervention period and the classroom teacher filled out formal and informal surveys regarding the interventions at the end of the study.

It was hypothesized that the IGC intervention would significantly decrease student disruptive behaviors along with the IGC with Class Dojo as the vehicle of implementation for the intervention and that the classroom teacher would prefer using Class Dojo over the use of a traditional paper and pencil data collection mechanism. Results were inconsistent with the hypotheses for a variety of confounding reasons. However, both intervention phases did result in a consistently decreasing trend in data points. The classroom teacher identified the use of Class Dojo as a preferred vehicle for implementing an IGC intervention and discussed her satisfaction with the classroom management system.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email schoolpsychology@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Monday, November 23, 2020 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Quinn, Cydney

Dissertation Title:
Trauma Informed Care in Alternative Education Settings

Cydney's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to schoolpsychology@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Schools are considered to be the primary location for providing children with prevention and treatment for mental health symptoms, however, it is well documented that children's mental health needs remain underserved. Especially at risk are children who have experienced trauma and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Many children in this group are subject to disciplinary action, and are often removed from primary classrooms to alternative education placements (AEP) in an effort to manage behaviors. Therefore, it is important that alternative education teachers are trained in trauma-informed care (TIC).

While it may be presumed that AEP staff would be well-versed in TIC, due to the high number of students who have encountered trauma, researchers have suggested that AEP personnel often express confusion about what specific TIC attitudes are needed to effectively implement TIC, due to teacher training having a focus on disruptive behavior management, rather than understanding the underlying causes. Thus this study examines the perceived attitudes to TIC demonstrated by a group of AEP staff and compared to the normative sample of general education teachers.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email schoolpsychology@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.


Ph.D. Special Education

Friday, October 16, 2020 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Aladsani, Mohamed

Dissertation Title:
Investigating Teachers' Perspectives of Gifted Students with Specific Learning Disabilities in Saudi Arabia

Mohamed's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at specialed@duq.edu.

Abstract:
The educational system in Saudi Arabia has been developing since the establishment of the Directorate of Knowledge (currently the Ministry of Education) in 1925. Although the teacher preparation programs in Saudi Arabia have been developed under the Ministry of Education, general education teacher preparation programs in the country do not require teaching candidates to take any special education courses as part of their general education training (Aldabas, 2015). Thus, general education teachers are often not prepared to teach in inclusive settings, which commonly include diverse students such as gifted students, students with specific learning disabilities (SLD), and gifted students with SLD. The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perspectives of gifted students with SLD in Saudi Arabia. This study also aimed at examining the relationships between teachers' perspectives and factors (e.g., years of teaching experience and gender) that might affect their perspectives. Specifically, it investigated variables associated with teachers' perspectives about the existence, identification, and education of gifted students with SLD in different regions in Saudi Arabia. This study used statistical analysis of quantitative data collected from an online survey that was adopted and modified specifically for this study. The study participants included 936 teachers with various backgrounds working in different grade levels in schools in Saudi Arabia. The results of this study indicated that teachers in Saudi Arabia, in general, had positive perspectives regarding the existence, identification, and education of gifted students with SLD. They also revealed that there are no significant differences among teachers' perspectives in Saudi Arabia based on their years of teaching experience nor gender. It was notable that the majority of participants are general education teachers, and approximately 59% were female. The mean age of the respondents was approximately 31 year, which could mean 7-9 years of teaching experience. About 50% of participants have not taught students with SLD and about 41% have not taught gifted students. The results of this study should provide a better understanding of teachers' perspectives about gifted students with SLD in Saudi Arabia, which may lead to more attention to their unique needs and create more supportive learning environments in the future.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email specialed@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 -  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Chen, Xiaohan

Dissertation Title:
The Effects of Asian Immigrant Parent Implemented Training on Mand Acquisition of Children With Autism

Xiaohan's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at specialed@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Asian population is proportionally the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States and Asian parents often hold different opinions on family functioning and childrearing. However, there has been no research conducted to examine how to best train parents from Asian immigrant backgrounds to teach manding to their child with autism at home. A behavioral skills training (BST) package was utilized to teach three Asian parents to train their children with autism aged between 6-12 to mand for preferred items. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to evaluate the effects of parent training on parent participants' implementation of mand training task analysis and the effects of the parent-delivered training on the acquisition of mands of their children with autism. All three parent participants demonstrated significant improvement in their task analysis implementation from zero to low percentage of accuracy in baseline conditions to 100% accuracy in intervention phases following the parent training delivered by BST. All three child participants had low levels of unprompted mands including two children with zero in baseline conditions. After receiving mand training from their parents, all three children demonstrated increase in the use of unpromoted mands. Two of them reached 100% and acquired two and four items as unprompted mands respectively. The three parent-child dyads demonstrated different levels of maintenance and generalization of the skills acquired. Implications of the findings and characteristics of supporting Asian immigrants with children with autism are discussed.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email specialed@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, March 19, 2021-  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Alsheef, Manal

Dissertation Title:
Examining the Effectiveness of an Intervention Package That Combines Behavior Contract and Token Economy in Decreasing Out-Of-Seat Behaviors in Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Saudi Arabia

Manal's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at specialed@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBDs) often exhibit disruptive behaviors in classroom, including out-of-seat behaviors, which have been found to negatively affect their overall academic achievement and social interactions as well as relationships with parents, typically developing peers and teachers, and increase the likelihood of being suspended or dropping out of school. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an intervention package that included behavior contract and token economy on out-of-seat behaviors in three elementary school students with EBDs (aged 7 and 8) in Saudi Arabia, where the effects of this intervention package has not been studied previously. A multiple baseline across participants research design was used to collect data in this study. Results showed that the intervention package was effective in decreasing out-of-seat behaviors in all three participants. The study was limited by the small number of participants and involved only children of similar socioeconomic status in a single geographic region of Saudi Arabia attending the same school. More future studies should be conducted to examine the effects of such an intervention package on managing distractive classroom behavior involving a larger number of participants with more diverse backgrounds across various regions of Saudi Arabia in the public-school setting.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email specialed@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021-  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Alghamdi, Maha

Dissertation Title:
The Effects of a Treatment Package of Video Self-Modeling and Phrase Drill Intervention of Improving the Reading Fluency in Students with ASD

Maha's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at specialed@duq.edu.

Abstract:
As the incidence rate of students with autism spectrum disorder in Saudi Arabia appears to increase, the need for evidence-based reading interventions that focus on the reading development of students with autism spectrum disorder increases. Reading fluency has been identified as a critical component of reading development and has been consistently linked with reading proficiency. Interventions to promote reading fluency in public and private schools in Saudi Arabia have focused on promoting the literacy attainment of typically developed students, disregarding students with disabilities. Unfortunately, there has been little research on evidence-based strategies to effectively improve the reading fluency skills of students with autism spectrum disorder. In this study, a treatment package of video-self modeling and phrase drill has been used to improve the students reading fluency skills. This study used a single-subject multiple baseline design across participants to investigate the effectiveness of the evidence-based strategies of video-self modeling and phrase drill on the reading fluency skills of students with autism spectrum disorder. Four students with autism spectrum disorder had been selected and had received the treatment package of video-self modeling and phrase drill. Results supported an improvement in the reading fluency skills of the four participants with autism spectrum disorder as evidenced by an increase in the correct words per minute read. With the combination of the video-self modeling and phrase drill method, there was a significant increase in the correct words per minute in all four participants with a moderate to large effect size. This study provides preliminary evidence of the usefulness of the treatment package of video-self modeling and phrase drill in improving the reading fluency skills in students with autism spectrum disorder.

Friday, June 18, 2021-  10:30 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Robinson, Jaleah N.

Dissertation Title:
School Choice Considerations of Black Parents of Students With Dis/Abilities

Jaleah's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at specialed@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Forty-four states and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation to expand school choice options for students and families (Cardine, 2019). In addition to a student’s assigned neighborhood school, one may enact choice by way of tax credits, charter schools, vouchers, relocation, and so on depending on where one lives. The act of choosing a school has been simplified by some to economic principles of competition and consumer satisfaction. What research has shown, however, is enacting school choice is much more complex and commonly intertwined with concepts of race, class, and ability (Ellison & Aloe, 2019). Academic quality (Mavrogordato & Stein, 2016), school location (Andre-Bechley, 2007), and the racial composition of schools (Weiher & Tedin, 2002) have been identified as key considerations of parents. The school choice considerations of Black parents and parents of students with dis/abilities specifically are largely absent from the literature (Mawene & Bal, 2018). This study was conducted with the aim of elevating their perspectives. Using Q-methology, 20 Black parents and guardians of students with dis/abilities rank-ordered a selection of 40 statements about various aspects of schools using the web-based data collection and analysis tool called Q-Assessor. Four themes in perspective were identified and referred to as Race Forward, Challenge, Represent, and Serve and Support. The findings reveal racial diversity, academic achievement, representation of multiple identities in curriculum, and special education services as top considerations in the school choice for Black parents and guardians.


Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 -  12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Alsulami, Maher Abdulrazzaq H.

Dissertation Title:
Stakeholders' Perceptions of Inherent Barriers to the Potential Implementation of Ultrasound in the Prehospital Setting Between the Saudi Red Crescent Authority and the National Guard Hospital

Maher's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
This exploratory study was designed to illuminate both the obstacles and the opportunities inherent in the current medical emergency systems within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in relation to the possible inclusion of ultrasound machines to assist both Saudi Red Crescent Authority professionals and emergency physicians in the hospital. The research explored the issue of implementing the ultrasound from the perspective of multiple institutions: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority and the National Guard Hospital. The research explored multiple healthcare professionals within both organizations including paramedics, EMTs, emergency doctors and Saudi Red Crescent station administrators. The purpose of this qualitative method study was focused on exploring the possibility to implement the ultrasound device in the ambulance by looking to the potential barriers that the Saudi Red Crescent might face in the implementation process and putting forth an action plan to overcome these barriers.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 -  12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

DiMaggio, Luci-Jo

Dissertation Title:
Approaches to Curricular and Co-Curricular Community Engagement with College Students: Building Relationships, Shifting Power, and Developing a Social Justice Mindset

Luci-Jo's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
Which programmatic principles of community engagement have a higher potential to irritate the beliefs that college students hold regarding their own power, privilege, understanding of social justice? This study takes a qualitative approach to the exploration of three groups of students representing curricular community engagement, co-curricular community engagement, and a hybrid model. Data showed that reflection and education as components of community engagement with college students allow students to better develop characteristics indicative of a social justice mindset.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, November 20, 2020 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Sarri, Triantafyllia

Dissertation Title:
Investigating the Contribution of SQD Strategies to The Development of Preservice Teachers' TPACK

Fillia's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
The purpose of this quantitative study is to investigate the impact of technology training offered by teacher education programs on preservice teachers' ΤPACK development. Specifically, this study aims to investigate how the SQD strategies of: 1) teacher educators acting as role models, 2) learning technology by design, 3) collaborating with peers, 4) scaffolding authentic experiences, 5) reflecting about the role of technology in education and, 6) moving from traditional to continuous feedback, contribute to the development of each TPACK domain. This research study employs a quantitative methodology for analyzing the data collected. The measurement instruments for data collection include the TPACK survey designed by Schmidt et al. (2009), and the SQD scale developed by Tondeur et al. (2016). Descriptive statistics describe the perceived knowledge of subjects on TPACK domains, and their perceptions on the v support they received while being trained. Finally, the researcher performs ten multiple linear regression analyses to determine if there is a significant contribution of the six strategies to each TPACK domain. Findings indicate that the SQD strategies, when used as a set of predictors, significantly contribute to five out of seven domains of the TPACK framework.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, December 4, 2020 -  12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Clara, Daniel

Dissertation Title:
Rural Elementary Teacher Beliefs Regarding the Effectiveness of Their Homework Practices During the Pandemic

Daniel's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
Through the lenses of C.S. Peirce's Belief and Genuine Doubt, Albert Bandura's Self Efficacy and Collective Efficacy, Bernard Weiner's Attribution Theory, and Critical Race Theory, this dissertation captured and codified rural elementary teacher beliefs regarding homework and its effectiveness related to learning, and in particular, the effects brought on by the 2020 COVID 19 school closure. Rural school systems are under-researched and present notable differences in homework challenges, including access to libraries, technology and distance from home to school. Using qualitative research, this study identified themes regarding teacher perceptions of homework. The author explained that many of the long-held tenants of homework may be questioned as a basis for evaluating student learning, programmatic and curricular efficacy, and to raise the question of homework as an effective vi practice in the current school setting. The study concluded that despite the many changes in the context of the pandemic and the opportunity to see homework differently, teacher beliefs about homework persisted. As school administrators look to craft policy, understanding homework from the teachers' perspectives is crucial, and the building of a collective understanding among faculty before developing a systemic model for measuring student learning is critical.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Wednesday, March 10, 2020 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Ramsey, Harley D.

Dissertation Title:
A Theoretical Framework for Effective Educational Leadership in Rural High-Poverty Schools

Harley's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
Due to oppression’s impact on students’ social/emotional, academic, and career development, school counselors are being called to engage in social justice advocacy (ASCA, 2019a). Although there is a growing body of theoretical and conceptual literature calling for school counselors to be social justice advocates (Bemak & Chung, 2005; Dixon et al., 2010; Lewis et al., 2003; Holcomb-McCoy, 2007; Singh et al., 2010), empirical research is lacking regarding school counselors’ personal characteristics that may serve as antecedents to practicing social justice advocacy. The present study used a non-experimental, relationship-based, quantitative research design to explore whether relationships exist among self-perceived levels of school counselors’ social justice advocacy competence, structural empowerment, psychological empowerment, and social justice self-efficacy among 209 practicing K-12 licensed or certified school counselors. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that social justice advocacy competence was a statistically significant predictor of social justice self-efficacy. Additionally, structural empowerment had moderating effects on the relationship between social justice advocacy competence and social justice self-efficacy. Finally, psychological empowerment was not a moderator in the relationship between social justice advocacy competence and social justice self-efficacy. Also discussed are the results compared to related research and theory, implications of results applied to school counselor practice and training, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Tuesday, May 25, 2020 -  2:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense can be viewed on Zoom*

Schoenecker, Carol

Dissertation Title:
Different Strokes: A Critical Race Discourse Analysis of the Experiences of Four Black Women Rowing for a Predominantly White Institution (PWI)

Carol's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
Collegiate athletics has the remarkable ability to serve as a catalyst for positive and wide-spread social change and identity formation. For Black women the formation of identity comes with the added intersections of race and gender in addition to sport. Collegiate rowing, in particular, is one of the most heavily scholar shipped sports coming out of the passing of Title IX legislation in 1972 and requires no previous rowing experience for participation (Garran, 2012). Despite the opportunity for rowing to serve as an access point for innumerable young athletes to obtain financial and social support through a pathway to higher education, there remains very little representation from Black females (NCAA, 2019). This dissertation combines Critical race theory (CRT) and discourse analysis to create a critical race discourse analysis of the narrative experiences of four Black women rowing for a predominantly White institution (PWI) in the Northeastern section of the United States. Through a series of four athlete-run and led storytelling circles, the author, and coach of the athletes, qualitatively coded the participants’ experiences as Black female rowers into four overarching themes; constructing and deconstructing race and racism in White spaces, code-switching, advocacy, and belonging. At the conclusion of the four storytelling circles, the athletes elected to host a fifth storytelling circle with myself as the researcher where they could learn more about my own experiences and story in order to better understand how our collective identities intersect within our rowing program. What came out of our collective discourse is two proposed designs for action that begin to address issues of inclusion and opportunity in collegiate rowing.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 -  1:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense can be viewed on Zoom*

Fleming, Jr., Thomas P. 

Dissertation Title:
Increasing Spiritual Leadership: An Analysis of the “And Then Some’ Components of an Effective Mentoring Program for Lay Principals in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese

Thomas' dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:
Traditional principal preparation programs address responsibilities in areas such as school management, student achievement, and staff development, among other areas. A principal of a Catholic school must be trained in these areas “and then some.” They must perform their responsibilities under the overarching umbrella of spirituality. Catholic school principals are expected to be the spiritual leaders of their buildings. When Catholic school principals are not members of the clergy, they lack formal training in theology and faith development. How are these principals prepared to be spiritual leaders? The purpose of this study was to evaluate two exemplary Catholic school principal preparation programs to identify components of their training, to identify the unique “and then some” qualities necessary for leading Catholic schools, and to identify the characteristics of a principal mentoring program, which supports the spiritual leader of a Catholic school. A close reading of the materials acquired from their web sites was conducted to determine similarities and differences between the two programs. The researcher compared the findings from the close reading and the comparative analysis to develop a resulting framework to identify competencies that define a spiritual leader in Catholic schools and how a structured mentoring program could support the development of those competencies. The resulting framework defines those characteristics and reveals a set of competencies that define those characteristics in practice. Finally, the researcher drew conclusions from the newly designed framework to suggest ways that a comprehensive mentoring program that rises to the level of excellence could be developed to support newly hired lay Catholic school principals by employing the competencies that emerged. Limitations of this study include the use of publicly published descriptions of the components from the two programs studied that did not include data on the impact of those programs on graduating students, or the effectiveness of the mentoring programs. Implications for future research are shared.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, June 24, 2021 -  9:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense can be viewed on Zoom*

Crawford, Ramona M. 

Dissertation Title:
Is Being Respectable Enough?: A Critical Investigation of Code-Switching and The Lived Experiences of Black Leaders Who Work at Nonprofits in Bridgertown

Ramona's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract:The current literature on Black nonprofit leaders is scarce, causing little to be known about the experiences that they have encountered when navigating their roles and responsibilities. Even less literature is available on these Black leaders and their usage of code-switching strategies when attempting to navigate those same nonprofits. Based on themes uncovered during the literature review this study employs an in-depth narrative inquiry qualitative methodology. While using theories such as critical race theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 200; Ladson-Billings,1998), the politics of respectability (Higginbotham, 1993) and the theory of capital (Bourdieu, 1985; 1996) the researcher examines the leadership experiences of four Black nonprofit leaders in Bridgertown, a predominantly White Mid-Atlantic city. Based on themes uncovered during the literature review and the researcher's lived experiences, initial deductive codes for code-switching were used to analyze the interview data; linguistics, behavior and double-consciousness.

The primary findings of the data analysis suggested that code-switching was more than a matter of alternating linguistically, behaviorally, and consciously but rather a full embodying experience. Additionally, code-switching was not solely based on the act of alternation itself but also the why or reasoning behind that alternation. As a result, it was revealed that additional themes of code-switching were salient when studying Black leaders in this specific context: code-switching as inauthenticity, as survival, and as a means for advocacy. This dissertation not only plans to shed light on the experiences of these Black nonprofit leaders in Bridgertown but to also offer insights and implications for theory and practice.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, June 24, 2021 -  1:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense can be viewed on Zoom*

Loper, Chase A. 

Dissertation Title:
An Investigation of the Assumptions and Practices of Enrollment Management Professionals and Their Impact on Enrollment Decisions of African American/Black Students at a Private, Predominantly White Institution of Higher Education

Chase's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to address the low participation of African American/Black students at private, predominantly White institutions (PPWIs), specifically exploring the influence the assumptions of administrators have of the current matriculation outcomes. The research question that drove the study is as follows: How do the assumptions and practices of administrators influence the recruitment and matriculation of African American/Black students at a PPWI? The research question is justified by the examination of empirical findings that describe the enrollment disparity among African American/Black students across higher education institution types and the systemic barriers that have impacted the participation of African American/Black students in higher education. Additionally, the changing demographics of higher education enrollment are examined to explain the approaching "enrollment cliff", and the projected increase of African American/Black, and Hispanic students, coupled with the decline in White students. The empirical findings will be understood through the theoretical lenses of the role of prestige as a driver of higher education decisions and student college choice theory. The principles of improvement research will serve as the general methodological frame for data collection and analysis. Qualitative data were collected via semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The participants were six members of the enrollment management group at a PPWI. The interviews yielded themes that helped to answer the research question. Four themes emerged from the analysis of interview responses: institutional self-perception, addressing affordability, lack of diversity, and lack of interest. The findings are interpreted in order to offer (1) an explanation of how the assumptions and practices of enrollment management professionals at a PPWI influence the recruitment and matriculation policies and procedures that target African American/Black students and (2) a plan for improving the systems that bear on increasing the proportion of African American/Black students and the particular PPWI that served as the research site.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, June 25, 2021 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense can be viewed on Zoom*

Williams Hewitt, Nubia 

Dissertation Title:
Making Space and Place for African American Women at PWI's

Nubia's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to edleadership@duq.edu

Abstract: This research study utilized a critical race studies approach to explore the lived experiences of African American women undergraduate students at a predominantly White institution. The purpose of this study is to investigate challenges experienced by African American women at these institutions, and the support they require in order to develop a sense of belonging at these institutions. Five African American women undergraduate students from Incline University (pseudonym) were selected to participate in this research study using criterion sampling (Patton, 2002). Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed through an interruptive phenomenological approach (Creswell, 1998; Merriam & Associates, 2002; Patton, 1990, 2002; Willig, 2001). The outcomes of the study suggest (1) women require a support system; (2) their experiences regarding racism and discrimination on campus have a negative impact; and (3) barriers across peer and faculty interactions make it difficult when finding support on campus.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email edleadership@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.


Ed.D. Educational Technology/Instructional Technology

Thursday, October 30, 2020 -  11:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

McGeehan, David

Dissertation Title:
An Investigation of Postsecondary Centers for Teaching Excellence Support for Universal Design for Learning

David's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to instructionaltech@duq.edu

Abstract:
Which programmatic principles of community engagement have a higher potential to irritate the beliefs that college students hold regarding their own power, privilege, understanding of social justice? This study takes a qualitative approach to the exploration of three groups of students representing curricular community engagement, co-curricular community engagement, and a hybrid model. Data showed that reflection and education as components of community engagement with college students allow students to better develop characteristics indicative of a social justice mindset.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email instructionaltech@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Friday, December 18, 2020 -  12:00 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Broomer, Ramona

Dissertation Title:
Meeting Myself as an Instructor: A Self-Study Exploring the Process of Integrating Instructional Technology into Introductory Theatre Courses

Ramona's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to instructionaltech@duq.edu

Abstract:
A growing number of faculty in higher education are using technology applications in their teaching practices. However, a gap in the literature exists related to instructional technology integration in liberal arts courses. This gap also exists in theatre education, where I have spent the last 20 years of my professional life. This self-study aims to analyse my knowledge and practice of using instructional technology in theatre education. Using technological and pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) as a theoretical framework, I examine my teaching of introductory theatre courses in face-to-face and online formats. As part of the inquiry process, I collected and analysed multiple discrete data sources. My objective is to gain a deeper understanding of how I utilize instructional technology as a theatre educator and how TPACK informs my experiences regarding the intersection of three primary forms of knowledge: content, pedagogy, and technology knowledge. In combining the fields of instructional technology and theatre education, this study offers a novel contribution to the self-study literature on teaching in higher education. The four thematic findings of this self-study begin to fill the gap in the literature and have implications for faculty development related to technology integration in the liberal arts. Furthermore, this research leads to a better understanding of technology-infused teaching and learning practices in theatre as a disciplinary field. Recommendations for future research include an arts-based self-study exploring the integration of instructional technology using TPACK in costume, set, light, or sound design courses.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email instructionaltech@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.

Thursday, February 25, 2021 -  3:30 p.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

Cotten, Jordan

Dissertation Title:
"In-Service Teachers’ Ability to Integrate Instructional Technology into Lessons Based on SAMR Level Outcomes and their Perceived Ease of Use, Perceived Usefulness, and Self-efficacy"

Jordan's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to instructionaltech@duq.edu

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine in-service teachers’ ability to integrate instructional technology into their lesson plans. The Technology Acceptance Model 2 (TAM 2) survey was used to measure self-reported perceived ability of technology integration. Teacher self-efficacy, computer self-efficacy, and self-efficacy towards technology integration questions will be used to measure self-reported self efficacy levels. The Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) model was used to determine the level of integration in-service teachers actually incorporated. Participants (n = 131) were teachers from a suburban public K-12 school district in the northeastern region of the United States. Results showed that participants felt confident in using technology, perceived the use of technology important for their job, and that technology was perceived as easy to use. However, self-reported self efficacy and TAM 2 scores were found to be statistically different from lesson plan integration SAMR levels.

Tuesday, May 25, 2020 -  10:00 a.m. EST, Virtual Defense on Zoom*

McClelland, Katharine

Dissertation Title:
A Qualitative Case Study of the Influence of Student Presence in Teacher Professional Development

Katharine's dissertation is available for electronic review by emailing a request to at instructionaltech@duq.edu.

Abstract:
Although research exists on many of the various types of teacher professional development, it lacks in the area of teacher professional development in the presence of students (Durbin, 2018; Margolis et al., 2016). This exploratory case study of a suburban school district in southeast United States will contribute to the field by examining teacher and teacher leader perception of professional development in the presence of students. According to Margolis et al. (2016), teaching or learning changes cannot occur without simultaneous adjustments in the structure and culture of teacher professional development. Schools must adjust teacher professional development to better support teachers in the 21st century, forgoing the traditional one-size-fits-all workshop-style professional development (Collins & Halverson, 2018; Gulamhussein, 2013; Houston, 2008; Nooruddin & Bhamani, 2019; Patton et al., 2015). Schools must engage teachers in professional development that is non-linear, continuous, and filled with significant lifelong and experiential learning, supported by adult learning theory and research-based best pedagogical practices (Zuljan, 2018). The purpose of this study is to examine teacher and teacher leader perception of professional development in the presence of students. Specifically, this study will analyze teachers’ and teacher leaders’ perceptions of effective practice and motivation and how they improve teaching and learning. Informed by Margolis et al.’s (2016) Student Presence and Learning Theory Model, this study will focus on learning that occurs at the highest level of student presence in teacher professional development.

*If you would like to view this defense, please email instructionaltech@duq.edu for the Zoom link, meeting ID and password.