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., 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.


Ph.D. School Psychology Program

Friday, September 25, 2020 -  9:00 a.m., 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., 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., 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.


Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 -  12:00 p.m., 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., 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., 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., 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.


Ed.D. Educational Technology/Instructional Technology

Thursday, October 30, 2020 -  11:00 a.m., 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., 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.