The Educational Administration Department is pleased to present a compilation of Dissertation Abstracts from the HALE Ph.D. program. These abstracts represent the rich and dynamic community of scholars in EAD. The research presented reflects the wide range topics that emerge from a local as well as global perspective on postsecondary education and educational leadership. In reviewing these abstracts we hope you will learn about the interesting research that goes on in the EAD doctoral programs.
To access abstracts from earlier years, utilize the year links below for a PDF compilation of absracts from HALE graduates in the given year.
BECKER, B. K. (2016). It's a Christian world: The role of Christian privilege in the college experiences of Jewish and Muslim undergraduates
Brianna K. Becker
Advisor: Dr. Steven Weiland
This qualitative study explored the role of Christian privilege in the college experiences of Jewish and Muslim undergraduates at one large public, land grant, research intensive university, a predominantly white institution (PWI) in the Midwest. I interviewed 13 participants, seven Muslims (four women, three men) and six Jews (three women, three men), about their experiences in college, how Christian privilege appeared (or did not) in those experiences, and how and if they defined Christian privilege for themselves. Through narrative inquiry, in single session, semi-structured interviews, I gathered the stories of these 13 participants and the role of Christian privilege in their college experiences at Midwest University (MU).
This study provides an in depth exploration of what was in the current news when this study was conducted and written up regarding Jews and Muslims in the United States and particularly in higher education. A full chapter is dedicated to a history of religion, particularly Christianity and especially Protestantism, in the United States (and colonial America) and its higher education using Roger Geiger’s (2005) “The Ten Generations of American Higher Education” and Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen’s (2012) No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education as guideposts for understanding that history. I use the existing literature to define Christian privilege and provide seven major categories of Christian privilege on college campuses as seen in the literature: the calendar and time off; food; holidays, celebration, and worship; space; curriculum and language; the secularization of Christianity; safety.
Twelve of the 13 participants provided their own definition of Christian privilege, and all of the participants experienced Christian privilege as having a role in their college experiences, whether or not they identified it that way. The manifestations of Christian privilege in the college experiences of the participants fell into two major categories: living a (minority) religious life and interacting with others. Each of the two major categories had four subcategories. The calendar and time off, food, holidays, celebration, and worship, and space and structure were all salient aspects of living a (minority) religious life; religious literacy and language, the secularization of Christianity, safety, and social isolation and intergroup relationships were all important parts of interacting with others as Jews and Muslims in an environment saturated by Christian privilege. Race is also accounted for as part of how Christian privilege might be experienced.
Through the stories of my participants, this study offers a rich, nuanced, empirical look at the experiences of Jewish and Muslim undergraduates and the role of Christian privilege in those stories and experiences. Implications for practice, theory, and research are offered. Ahmadi and Cole’s (2015) campus climate model for understanding campus climate for religious minority students was identified as a useful and viable framework, and further studies could use this framework from the outset. There are a range of research implications that could take research in many directions including studying other religious minority populations, other geographic regions, and other institutional types as well as quantitative studies on this subject. Additionally, there are implications for practice for faculty, staff, students, and administrators – the foremost of which is the need for greater religious literacy in all roles and at all levels of higher education.
BRAZELTON, G. B. (2016). Adult learners at community college: Influence of technology on feelings of marginality and mattering
Grady Blue Brazelton
Advisor: Dr. Kristen Renn
Adult learners represent a population of students in community colleges who may be underserved or marginalized by digital technology. Because community colleges have implemented significant digital technologies to improve efficiency, communication, and overall operations, interacting with platforms (such as course management systems, student information systems, email clients, touch screen kiosks, and virtual/videoconferencing) is unavoidable for the adult learner currently enrolled. The purpose of the study was to examine and understand how technology made adult learners feel in their overall educational experiences at community colleges. I used qualitative research methods to interview 24 adult learners at 2 community colleges in the Midwestern region of the United States. I also interviewed individuals involved with the decision and implementation process of technology at both institutions. In the study, I used ethnographic approaches to examine the digital and technological culture at each institution, beginning with the prospective student phase and leading up to the matriculation process of a success student.
My study showed that adult learners are willing and able to learn technology, but they are less likely to teach themselves than younger users how to use all the required technology without experiencing frustration, anxiety, and fear. Frustration often arose from changes in educational technology since previous enrollments, and how technology had changed participation expectations. Also, as course content was often held in digital platforms, adult learners shared frustrations of having to learn first the technology medium before course content, evidence of technology being an implied prerequisite for educational success. Anxiety arose from significant assumptions having been made about adult learners, including computer ownership, internet access, available time for remote participation, and ability to navigate the dozens of systems implemented in higher education. Study participants often reported fear of breaking technology in a way that would be irreparable, expensive, and damaging to their academic progress, describing that fear as deeply rooted in previous experiences when they were first exposed to computers.
In my study I identify the ways in which forced technological interactions marginalize adult learners through a framework of marginality and mattering. In addition, I argue for support mechanisms to benefit adult learners, and all students, through reconsidering the role of technology in the overall experience, curriculum, institutional research agenda, as a necessary literacy for success at community college. The study does not set out to argue against using technology in education, only to filter expectations through nuanced understanding of the students who will be using and interacting with such technology in their lives as community college students.
CAMACHO, T. (2016). Navigating borderlands: Gay Latino men in college
Advisor: Dr. Kristen Renn
Despite the growing focus on Latino students within higher education little research has been done to explore how various subsets of the Latino student population experience the college environment. This study explores the experiences of gay Latino men in college and the barriers and success they encounter. This study was grounded in layering multiple theoretical perspectives, Ecological Perspective (Bronfenbrenner, 1993), Borderlands Theory (Anzaldúa, 1999), and the Reconceptualized Model of Multiple Identities (Abes, Jones, & McEwen, 2007).
This layered perspective guided the qualitative approach of this study. Ten gay Latino men who attended college in the southwestern United States were each interviewed twice for this study. Participants shared about their experiences as gay Latino men in college which resulted in the creation of a new theoretical perspective to view the experiences of gay Latino men in college.
Through this new theoretical perspective gay Latino men experience multiple borderlands between various identities, cultures, and worlds across various environmental levels. This perspective is illustrated by showing ways students experience the borderlands between gay and Latino as well as college. These multiple borderlands provided both barriers and opportunities for success for participants.
Participants employed various methods to navigate the multiple borderlands they experienced. These methods occurred both within and outside of the academic environment. Students used ethnic studies courses as a way to better understand their various identities and how the related to one another. In addition, students used involvement with identity-based organizations and fraternities as another method for navigating borderlands.
Finally, I provide recommendations on future directions for practice, research, and theory. The goal of these recommendations is to create more inclusive campus environments for gay Latino students and students with multiple marginalized identities. In addition, opportunities for ways to combine and layer theories are discussed.
EINFELD, A. M-B. (2016). Liberal arts education and online learning: Practices, prospects, and limits
Aaron Michael-Breuker Einfeld
Advisor: Dr. Steven Weiland
Recent massive growth in online learning and the proliferation of new digital tools have changed the landscape of teaching and learning in higher education. Enrollment in online learning has continued to grow despite disagreement and uncertainty regarding its educational value. It is likely that online learning will have a differentiated impact on the various institution types and sectors within the larger system of higher education in United States. This study focuses on a sector of education that is highly valuable and increasingly vulnerable: liberal arts education. Despite a strong record of offering robust undergraduate education, some liberal arts colleges are beginning to move some of their essential core courses online, potentially undermining the quality of education. This study employed an embedded case study design to examine how key stakeholder groups at a liberal arts college perceived the degree of compatibility between traditional liberal arts education and online learning. By interviewing key stakeholder groups of a liberal arts college, this study uncovered key issues, tensions, and trade-offs related to moving the core courses of a traditional liberal education, such as literature, philosophy, and history to online formats.
The consensus between stakeholder groups in this study was that a traditional liberal arts education is not compatible with a fully online degree. Simply put, every stakeholder group agreed that moving a degree entirely online would undermine the essential nature and core purposes of a liberal arts education. Administrators believed that an all online liberal arts education would undermine essential elements of liberal arts education, such as student vocational discernment, community life, and interactive learning. Faculty participants said that a purely online degree would undermine each of the essential elements of liberal arts education identified by faculty participants: a) multi-disciplinary approach, b) liberal arts skills, c) embodied learning, d) faculty to student interaction, and e) student to student interaction. According to the faculty, the essential nature of liberal arts education is embodied learning that addresses the whole person; mind, body, heart, and spirit. In order to achieve truly embodied learning, full human bodies must be physically present together. Students believed online learning was less personal, and that it would undermine the opportunity to develop close relationships and to pursue wholistic formation.
Although each stakeholder group expressed ways in which online learning would undermine liberal arts education, there was also openness to online learning. Administrators said that incorporating a limited number of online courses would not undermine liberal arts education. Faculty expressed optimism that hybrid formats could leverage the best of online and face to face formats in ways that could truly improve liberal arts education. By providing the right mix of experiences, instructors could take advantage of the unique opportunities in both online environments and face to face settings. According to the participants in this study, online learning has the potential to seriously undermine long-held and valuable features of liberal arts education. At the same time, each stakeholder group identified ways that online and hybrid learning might be incorporated in ways that are compatible with the essential nature and core purposes of liberal arts education.
FLETCHER, S. (2016). The research university president's service on external boards
Advisor: Dr. Marilyn Amey
This dissertation explores and analyzes the nature of the service on external boards performed by presidents at twelve research universities. This qualitative study examines why presidents choose to serve on some boards and decline other opportunities to do so, provides insight as to the relationship between a president’s role and objectives and external board service, and illustrates various components of such board service. The dissertation then uses two theoretical frameworks to investigate how such service is both managed and perceived by a president.
GONYO, C. P. (2016). The sense of belonging of Black gay men at predominantly White institutions of higher education
Claire P. Gonyo
Advisor: Dr. Kristen Renn
This qualitative study utilized Harper and Hurtado’s (1997) Sense of Belonging Model as a conceptual framework and intersectionality and a processes similar to ground theory as theoretical frameworks to answer two research questions: 1. Do Black gay men feel a sense of belonging at predominantly White institutions? 2. If Black gay men do feel a sense of belonging, what processes contribute to sense of belonging? Given that the graduation rate of Black men is lower than any other group of students in higher education (Harper, Berhanu, Davis III, & McGuire, 2015) and that Black gay men are likely to experience homophobia, heterosexism, sexism, and racism at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) (e.g., Jaggers & Iverson, 2015; Mitchell & Means, 2014; Strayhorn & Tillman-Kelly, 2013a; Woodford & Kulick, 2015), Hurtado and Carter’s (1997) Sense of Belonging was a fitting conceptual framework because sense of belonging is known to lead to higher rates of persistence for all students and specifically, minoritized students (e.g., Harper & Hurtado, 1997, Strayhorn, 2012).
Social constructivist, anti-deficit, and intersectional lenses were used to explore the sense of belonging of 16 self-identified Black gay men who were at least completing their first year of college at three different PWIs in the Midwest. I conducted two interviews with each participant using a semi-structured interview protocol informed by Strayhorn’s (2012) definition of sense of belonging, Harper and Hurtado’s (1997) Sense of Belonging Model, and other relevant literature. I used intersectionality as a theoretical framework in addition to a process similar to grounded theory to analyze interview data including the processes of open, axial, and selective coding.
Though participants identified examples of homophobia, heterosexism, sexism, and racism they experienced, they all reported feeling a sense of belonging both within specific groups at their institutions and within their institutions as a whole. The analysis of this study led to the creation of a sense of belonging model that illustrates the process that the 16 Black gay men in this study went through to feel a sense of belonging. The factors identified in the model that led to sense of belonging include identities, cognitive mapping and perception of campus climate, learning appropriate behavior, expression of identities, and developing relationships and finding fit/place. Two participants noted feeling a sense of belonging at some point during their time attending their institution, but did not feel a sense of belonging at the time of their interviews. I describe the sense of belonging model and then the process that three individual participants, Greg, Timothy, and JJ, went through within the sense of belonging model.
The discussion situates the factors in the sense of belonging model in existing literature and addresses the contradiction of participants sometimes having negative experiences on campus and yet still experiencing a sense of belonging. Implications for practice include recommendations for institutions based on university programs, student workplaces, faculty, and student organizations. Future uses of anti-deficit and intersectional research lenses are discussed in relation to implications for theory. Finally, implications for future research include recommendations for studying the sense of belonging of Black gay men at historically Black colleges and universities, applying the sense of belonging model identified in this study to students with other minoritized identities, Black masculinities, and sense of belonging and persistence.
HILL, L. B. (2016). Advancing undergraduate STEM reform through multi-institutional networks: The role of formal boundary spanners
Lucas Benjamin Hill
Advisor: Dr. Ann Austin
Multi-institutional STEM reform networks have become a popular way to address the challenges facing undergraduate STEM education. Despite an intuitive sense that networks are effective educational reform pathways, few empirical research studies investigate their impact. Many have argued that institutional representatives, serving as boundary spanners, are key to securing the benefits of interorganizational membership. Boundary spanners are individuals who connect their organizations to the external environment and gain valuable external knowledge and resources to support local organizational performance.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the inter- and intra-organizational boundary-spanning roles of institutional representatives at one multi-institutional higher education STEM reform network. The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is a network of 43 universities that seeks to prepare graduate students to be effective teachers so they can go on to positively affect undergraduate STEM education.
Using a case study design involving qualitative social network maps and semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study addressed three primary research questions: (1) what inter- and intra-organizational connections do formal, institutional representatives of a multi-institutional STEM reform network have (in relation to the network) and for what purposes, (2) how, if at all, do these formal institutional representatives engage in and make sense of inter- and intra-organizational boundary-spanning roles to help advance the network’s reform agenda locally, and (3) what individual and organizational attributes help or hinder their boundary-spanning activities?
Institutional representatives maintained several types of interorganizational connections related to network operations, network contributions, collaboration, and knowledge exchange. Due to these connections, they found numerous individual and institutional benefits and worked with their local teams to translate network gains for local implementation. They diffused network-related information to and gained institutional support from administrative and academic units and stakeholders. There were multiple individual and institutional attributes that influenced boundary-spanning behaviors. At the individual level, factors such as commitment, institutional role, role alignment, and managerial skills shaped how local CIRTL leaders engaged in boundary-spanning roles. Organizational factors such as institutional alignment with the purposes of CIRTL, programmatic infrastructure, and a decentralized organizational structure likewise played a major influencing role on boundary-spanning activities. In summary, this study demonstrated the complexity and integration of four primary boundary-spanning activities of institutional representatives in service to local STEM reform. They were able to inform campus groups and units, advance a dialogue of the importance of preparing future faculty, and influence local policies and practices.
LEE, J. A. (2016). From underdog to overcomer: Counter-stories of academic resilience from Black, first generation college students from low-income backgrounds, studying at a Predominantly White Institution
Jasmine Antoinette Lee
Advisor: Dr. Matthew Wawrzynski
The purpose of the current study was to explore the academic resilience of Black, first generation, low-income college students at a particular Predominantly White Institution (PWI). Through an exploration of lived experiences of Black, first generation, low-income college students, the current study sought to understand, from student perspectives, the institutional, communal, and personal factors contributing to academic resilience in ways leading to continued persistence. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as the macro theoretical lens and critical race methodology, the study elicited counter-stories that focused on academic resilience in the face of daily and historical challenges. The study employed purposeful sampling to select 10 participants who identified as Black, first generation, and low-income. Each participant engaged in a single semi-structured interview and follow up participant focus group; both of which lasted no more than two hours.
Based on thematic analysis, I identified three primary themes that arose from patterns in the data. To honor CRT and participants' voices, I used participants' quotes to assist in the naming of the themes. The themes include (a) “Do whatever needs to be done to get the goal accomplished. That’s really all it is.” — Intrinsic motivation, grit, and academic resilience; (b) “It kinda just puts you in a situation where you just feel like failure’s not an option; even after you fail, you gotta get back up.” — Academic resilience and the sense of obligation to family and the broader Black community; and (c) “They raised a doctor” — The village model and academic resilience. The themes represent students’ lived experiences of remaining academically resilient while navigating an institution and society rife with classed and raced oppression. Student experiences were taken into consideration to develop recommendations and conclusions for theory, research, and, most importantly, future practice.
LEONE, L. A. (2016). Dominant coalitions and dominant general management logic: A case study of community college degree completion
Lucian Anthony Leone
Advisor: Dr. Marilyn Amey
Community colleges in the United States are faced with several challenges, one of which is increasing the percentage of students that earn an associate degree. Research (American Association of Community Colleges, 2012; Amey, 2005; Eddy, 2010; Roueche, 2008) suggests that community college administrators need to think, act, manage, and lead in ways not required or expected in earlier generations. Significantly increasing the percentage of community college students that earn an associate degree may require a change in the dominant general management logic (Bettis & Prahalad, 1986) of American community colleges. The dominant coalition is the group that creates and revises an organization’s dominant general management logic. This study described the shared mental models of members of the dominant coalition at one community college, and the relationship between those shared mental models and the college’s performance as measured by the percentage of students who earn an associate degree. The research explored the relationships between the dominant coalition’s shared mental models, the community college’s dominant logic, and the college’s focus on associate degree completion.
The research found that the Foundations Studies Committee, a group comprised of faculty, staff, and senior leaders at the College, had a leading role in determining what the College would do to improve the associate degree completion rate. This group has many of the attributes of a Professional Learning Community (Lenning, et. al, 2013). Understanding the influence of Professional Learning Communities on organizational development may be helpful as community college work to improve performance on a range of outcomes metrics.
MARTINEZ, D. L. (2016). Transitioning: Experiences of transfer students
Dalinda Lou Martinez
Advisor: Dr. Marilyn J. Amey
Transfer students are a growing undergraduate population in higher education. Large numbers of underserved students, low-income, first-generation college students and students of color tend to begin their postsecondary education in community colleges. Yet, many studies show that while students may have intentions to transfer and obtain a bachelor’s degree, many do not. It is important to know what transfer students draw upon as resources to be successful in their degree attainment. The purpose of this study was to understand the post-transfer experiences of underserved transfer students related to transitioning after they enrolled at the new institution when existing in a native student paradigm, meaning in an environment normed on native students who began at the institution.
This qualitative study is guided by transition theory. This exploratory holistic case study was conducted to gain an understanding of the factors that contributed to the post-transfer experience of students, with a special interest in aspects of the institution. Respondents filled out an online demographic questionnaire and 27 individuals were selected to participate in one round of interviews (45-60 minutes). The findings show that the participants encountered both academic and social challenges. Through transitioning capital, the participants mitigated these challenges and contributed to their continuous transitioning at the senior institution. Implications for practice, policy, theory and suggestions for future research are presented.
McCUE, M. J. (2016). An ecological systems approach to understanding the lived experiences of law students with mental illness
Michael John McCue
Advisor: Dr. Kristen Renn
Students who matriculate law school bring with them their mental illness which influences their law school experience. Although research in this area exists, it is limited and dated. This study is the first nationwide, multi-institutional, qualitative study that investigates the lived experiences of law students with mental illness. The study reveals that students with mental illness face unique challenges in law school beyond the traditional challenges encountered by law students. This study’s research question was: What are the lived experiences of law students with mental illness? Understanding these individuals’ lived experiences offers a glimpse into how they interacted in their various environments and how these interactions influenced them.
Using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach this study gathered data from eleven law students from across the United States. Participants engaged in three interviews which focused on their lived experiences. These data were then analyzed using the Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory.
This study reveals the ways law students with mental illness navigate their law school experience. Law students with mental illness encountered stigma, microaggressions, and other obstacles in their journey to becoming a lawyer. Because of the competitive nature of law school, students with mental illness feared speaking publicly about their mental illness. The stigma further distressed students based on mental health questions asked as part of the character and fitness application for entry into the bar.
Students reported that the microsystems of family, romantic partners, friends, other law students with mental illness, and faculty influenced their development. In the exosystem, the results yield the influences of isolation, lack of institutional understanding of mental illness, the law school milieu, legal pedagogy, the legal profession, and the character and fitness portion of bar admission. This study reveals the high level of resilience that law students with mental illness possess and their ambition exhibited by the participants helped them succeed in law school.
Participants offered suggestions to prospective law students, law schools, and the legal field. In addition, creating programs to reduce stigma and increase education about mental illness reflected the opinions of most of the students. Students also urged law schools to make available more services for students and to actively inform students of those opportunities.
Through the course of this research several thought questions arose that are not yet ripe for further research. These questions address the future of legal education and the legal profession. This applies to not only persons with mental illness, but also the generational and global changes in the legal profession.
McKEAGUE, G. (2016). Global citizenship in a liberal arts curriculum: Meanings for faculty work
Advisor: Dr. Steven Weiland
This research study examined how faculty understand the term global citizenship, and the ways in which their understanding of this term provides meaning for their work. Higher education institutions in the U.S. are increasingly shaped by a globalized perspective. College graduates are now expected to have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to enter a workplace shaped by globalization. Colleges and universities have responded to this need through a process of internationalization, however these efforts are often sporadic and uncoordinated in practice (Hudzik, 2015).
A growing number of colleges and universities have started using the term global citizenship to help provide direction for campus internationalization. Rather than having a fixed or stable meaning, global citizenship is a contested term that is understood in many different ways (Gaudelli, 2016; Lapayese, 2003; Schattle, 2009). This presents a challenge for college campuses who are appropriating the term for institutional practice even while the meaning is debated.
Deardorff (2009) has argued that faculty play a crucial, yet overlooked, role in the development of internationalization and global learning on college campuses. She states that faculty across academic disciplines must be given the opportunity to contribute to institutional questions of internationalization. This is especially important in the process of internationalizing the curriculum.
This research used a case study methodology to explore faculty understanding of global citizenship at a single institution in the U.S. The setting was a faith-based liberal arts college with a long established tradition of global learning and preparing students for engaged citizenship in the world. Tully’s (2014) framework for understanding global citizenship was used as a basis for examining how faculty understood global citizenship. The findings from this study affirm the wide range of understanding attributed to the concept of global citizenship. The faculty participants understood global citizenship along a continuum of meaning rather than within fixed categories. Some faculty fully embraced global citizenship, while others were skeptical of the term or rejected it entirely. As a result, the ways in which global citizenship had meaning for faculty work also varied.
Themes emerged regarding the ways in which global citizenship had meaning in the areas of curriculum, as part of shaping institutional identity, and the position of global citizenship as a disputed term in this particular case. The ways in which faculty came to understand global citizenship was also examined, with their personal background, their academic department, and colleagues within the college emerging as most influential. The study concludes with implications for practice, including recommendations for integrating global citizenship within a liberal arts college.
NGUYEN, D. J. (2016). Does money really matter in doctoral education?: Exploring the influence of financial considerations on doctoral student socialization
David J. Nguyen
Advisor: Dr. Roger Baldwin
Doctoral student socialization is the most popular theoretical lens for understanding doctoral education. Socialization perspectives have illuminated the complex processes doctoral students undergo within their doctoral programs. Very little attention has focused on forces external to doctoral education. This study highlighted the ways in which 35 advanced doctoral student’s financial considerations exerts influence on their financial decision-making as they navigate the series of socialization decisions confronting them throughout their doctoral education journey.
This dissertation study offers insight into a series of decisions involving financial implications doctoral students make about their education. I utilized rational choice and socialization theory to explore how these decisions made by doctoral students shaped aspects of their educational trajectories. Study participants demonstrated that they conducted cost-benefit analyses about their doctoral program with particular emphasis on activities known to foster socialization. Guided by these theoretical perspectives, participants evaluated financial considerations in decisions concerning: (1) going to graduate school, (2) selecting a graduate program, (3) financing doctoral education, (4) participating in professional aspects of doctoral education, and (5) factoring a doctoral student’s family finances into their decision-making process. Study findings illuminated complex calculations participants evaluated as they navigated their doctoral education. I conclude by offering suggestions for practice, policy, theory and future research on doctoral student financial decision-making and doctoral student socialization.
PITCHER, E. N. (2016). Being and becoming professionally other: Understanding how organizations shape trans* academics' experiences
Erich N. Pitcher
Advisor: Dr. Kristen A. Renn
Transgender or trans* individuals are now more visible within higher education contexts than ever before, signaled by campuses hosting speakers on trans issues, trans* inclusion within women’s colleges, and the initiation of trans* studies programs, among many other positive trends. While trans* issues are more discussed, college environments remain unfriendly, and in some cases, overtly hostile. Further, despite a robust body of research about gender equity for faculty, and faculty diversity more broadly, transgender faculty voices have yet to be explicitly included within this research. Moreover, scholars and activists alike agree that trans* people face intense workplace discrimination, yet, with the exception of my pilot study, there have not yet been systematic investigations of the academic workplace experiences of trans* people. Given the increased visibility and widespread discrimination, as well as the noted gap in the literature, this study focused on how higher education organizations shape the experiences of transgender faculty.
Drawing on institutional logics, inequality regimes, and critical trans* politics, in this study I sought to understand how inter- and intra-organizational practices shaped the experiences of 39 transgender academics from diverse personal histories, disciplinary backgrounds, institutional affiliations, and personal identities. I used a transformative research paradigm, qualitative interviews, and narrative responses to elucidate the experiences of trans academics.
Findings indicate that the salient institutional logics shaping transgender academics’ experiences are the corporation and the market amidst a declining state logic. Each of these logics converged to create the academic market/workplace. The presence of these intra-organizational logics created a series of tensions for participants. The converging institutional logics created tensions for participants between producing good workers or good citizens, as well as challenges associated with increasing international enrollment. I also identified specific tensions within academic libraries and across institutional types (e.g., community college, private research university). With respect to inter-organizational processes, participants described a variety of experiences with genderism including being misgendered interpersonally and digitally, being hyper-visible and invisible, and exercising agency over disclosures about trans identity/history/status. The intra- and inter-organizational processes created four key tensions for participants’ experiences wherein they experienced isolation, alienation, precarity, and silence but yearned for community, familiarity, security, and voice. Based on the assentation that trans* academics are and/or become professionally other, I argue trans* academics must engage in coalition building with other minoritized scholars, while institutional leaders engage in substantial organizational change efforts that make trans* identities possible.
ROBINSON, H. L. (2016). - Understanding African American male persistence in the urban university: The student expertise model
Henry L. Robinson
Advisor: Dr. Marilyn J. Amey
Like its K-12 predecessor, higher education has presented a major stumbling block for many African American males and is great cause for concern (Bonner & Bailey, 2006). Black male completion rates are lowest among both genders and racial/ethnic groups in U.S. higher education (Harper, 2006a; Strayhorn, 2010). African American males are less likely to enroll in graduate programs at rates comparable to Whites or other persons of color (Harrell, Myers & Smedley, 1993), limiting access into certain professions altogether. Attrition is often not due to lack of ability, but to the failure of institutional systems to engage positively with and embrace African American male college students (Wright & McCreary, 1997).
Wood (2010) states that while similarities may exist among Black males in different institutional contexts, researchers should be cautious about assuming the uniformity of their experiences. African American male students confront myriad obstacles to their satisfaction with the college experience that may account for their high attrition rates in these institutions (Bennett & Okinaka, 1990). The literature is replete with unanswered questions about African American men’s participation, student success and graduation from college (Cuyjet, 2006; Polite & Davis, 1999). In particular, there is a dearth of research on successful African American males attending urban research universities. The purpose of this study was to provide instructive insights from African American male students who did well academically, maximized their college experiences and successfully earned baccalaureate degrees. Study participants interpreted their understandings of institutional barriers as they perceived and experienced them, and strategies they used to reduce or eliminate these barriers.
The research informing this study was conducted at Urban Research University a predominately White institution located in a Midwestern city with a significant history of racial conflict and economic decline. This study adds to the existing body of literature concerning non-cognitive strengths in regard to student success and the unique challenges faced by African American male students in urban research university environments. The study may provide policy makers, administrators, student affairs professionals, faculty members and others with an enhanced ability to develop policies and programs to increase African American male student success at urban universities.
SMITH, M. K. (2016). Student perceptions of SocialSim for simulation-based interprofessional education in healthcare
Mary Kathryn Smith
Advisor: Dr. John Dirkx
This descriptive qualitative study investigates perceptions of students regarding the use of SocialSim, a tool designed to deliver simulation in a virtual environment using social media as a platform to facilitate inteprofessional education.
There have been exponential changes in U.S. healthcare system in recent years, prompting the need for institutions in higher education to prepare students to function effectively as members of an inteprofessional team. Coinciding with this is advancement in the field of healthcare simulation and virtual methodologies. The incorporation of these three into a learning experience for IPE has not been previously explored and became the impetus for my study.
I developed SocialSim as a novel tool using social media as a platform to deliver a simulation facilitating interprofessional education. I examine the use of this tool and experiences of twenty healthcare professional students at a major public university. Through the analysis of semi-structured interviews, this study examines student perspectives related to the use of SocialSim as a new tool for IPE. The results can inform administrators and faculty decisions in addition to expanding the field of healthcare simulation.