Theses/Dissertations - Curriculum and Instruction

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    Exploring student integration into academic and social systems using Tinto’s theory of student departure : a qualitative case study of student connectedness at a metropolitan university in the midwest.
    (2023-08) Faust, Kelsi M., 1995-; Sloan, Amy M.
    Declining retention is one of the greatest challenges higher education battles today. Large universities with broad admissions standards and high commuter populations face challenges to retaining students. Historical and systemic issues impact first-generation, low-income, and non-White students. Access institutions attract students considered most likely to drop-out. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated ongoing problems while also creating new challenges relating to virtual learning and student mental health in these institutions. Academic advisors work with students every day with the goal to retain them. However, many advisors face high caseloads causing time constraints and limited ability to foster relationships with students. Tinto’s Theory of student departure was the guide to this qualitative, case study. I reviewed an intake questionnaire from five students then proceeded to interview the students to understand their experiences with an advising office. Further, I analyzed documents relating to advising to provide triangulation in the study. The university I selected had low retention rates, yet the students’ program had extremely high retention rates. The study focused on advising students at access institutions who were more likely to face higher chances of dropping out. The purpose of this case study was to understand the impact of an academic advising office on student persistence by analyzing formal and informal social and academic connections fostered by academic advisors. With proper time and ability, I found that advising can fulfill formal and informal social and academic influences. Administrators must advocate for realistic caseloads for academic advisors. Advisors must foster intentional and relational communication and advising practices outside of course selection. Students, specifically those more likely to drop-out, need to utilize advising regularly. Further researchers must continue to study advising caseloads at access institutions. The study showed the need for investment into advising that can include both social and academic influences for students at access institutions.
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    Seeking familiar faces in restricted academic spaces : a single case study exploring how students of color access advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs and experience a sense of community and belonging.
    (2023-08) Castle, Erin R., 1984-; Foster, Marquita D.
    Since 2018, no more than 39% of Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) students at Flatland High School (FHS) have been Black or Latinx, while these combined populations represented an average of 66% of the school’s annual population. In contrast, White or Asian students constituted up to 55% of AP or IB, but an average of only 32% of the school’s population. Researchers have extensively studied racial inequity in advanced coursework, but no current research explores the historical context of FHS and the ongoing inequity within its unique system. This embedded single case design explored what facilitators of or barriers to AP or IB membership academically motivated students of color perceived and how students assessed belonging in the racially disproportionate AP or IB community. The study utilized a semi-structured interview and questionnaire with six high school graduates who took AP or IB classes at FHS. The study answered the following questions: What school influences do academically motivated students of color perceive as facilitating or obstructing their membership in AP or IB programs? How do students of color assess belonging in racially disproportionate AP or IB communities? The participants reflected the demographic categories most often underrepresented in AP and IB classrooms: Black and Latinx students. The study found that students perceived four facilitators of or barriers to AP or IB membership: familial support or influence throughout schooling, academic experience in elementary through 10th grade, knowledge of AP or IB and their autonomy to choose it, and perceptions of the program rigor or community. The study also found that participants perceived community leaders (teachers) and community members (peers) as facilitators of or barriers to developing a deeper sense of community through influence, reinforcement, and shared emotional connection. The findings have implications for the subsequent development of district policies that enable broader access to foundational coursework for AP and IB. The findings also have implications for campus and classroom policies and practices that strengthen students’ sense of belonging in AP and IB communities.
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    Counterstorytelling collaborative solutions to improving academic performance in rural communities of color : an oral history of Texas school turnaround.
    (2023-08) Conner, Karynecia Elizabeth, 1992-; Nichols, T. Philip.
    The experiences of school communities that undergo systematic school turnaround and improvement still need to be studied. The silenced voices of school communities' reform experience contribute to gaps in knowledge regarding the impacts of policy interventions on turnaround outcomes. Using a Community Oral History Methodology, this study investigates the lived experiences of a school community under school turnaround reform. The multiple case study analysis of six school community members' memories comprises the findings of this study. A Phenomenological Transcendental Analysis of the findings reveal that a school community’s sociocultural values school turnaround interventions impact the outcome of school turnaround reform rather than increase student achievement. The findings of this study show the importance of a culturally plural place-based approach to implementing school turnaround improvement systems. The discussion aims to provide policymakers with the broader impact that culture has on policy design and implementation. The scholarly significance of this study is garnered from the development of discursive inroads between communities and policymakers/educators to communicate their understandings of what is best for their children’s learning needs. Moreover, current educators in similar community contexts engage in school turnaround to learn and reflect on the impact of turnaround interventions on their community’s experience to develop a community–specific approach in their respective school systems.
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    Can you see me now? The perceived impact of a virtual instructional coaching partnership applied through the lens of the partnership principles on first-year teacher professional growth : an explanatory sequential mixed-methods study.
    (May 2023) Layton, Tiffany D., 1973-; Kaul, Corina R., 1969-
    While coaching exists as a widely accepted employee development practice in the business world, the coaching mindset has not firmly taken hold in K–12 education. According to the 2015–2016 National Teacher and Principal Survey, the average percentage of public schools with at least one on-site instructional coach is 37% (United States Department of Education, 2016). In rural settings, the average percentage of schools with instructional coaches drops to 27% (United States Department of Education, 2016). Lack of instructional coaching creates a hardship for teachers as they remain subject to one-size-fits-all learning that does not meet their individual professional learning needs and goals. As Karlberg and Bezzina explained (2020), this hardship is especially true for first-year teachers. This explanatory sequential mixed-methods study aimed to explore coaches’ and teachers’ perceived impact of virtual instructional coaching partnerships on first-year teachers applied through the lens of the partnership principles. In the quantitative phase of this study, I surveyed first-year teachers and coaches participating in the Oklahoma State Department of Education First Class Program using two complementary surveys, the Teacher Reflection and Impact Survey and the Coach Reflection and Impact Survey (Yopp et al., 2010). I analyzed teacher and coach survey data at the mid-point and the end-point of the program. I also compared matched pairs of first-year teachers and instructional coaches who completed end-of-program surveys. Only one factor, Student-Centered Discussions, produced statistically and practically significant results. However, one additional factor, Impact of Coaching, resulted in practical significance. In the qualitative phase of the study, two teachers and their coaches who completed both the mid-program and end-of-program surveys participated in semi-structured interviews to share further insight into the impact of virtual coaching. The qualitative data revealed that six of seven partnership principles (equality, voice, choice, praxis, dialogue, and reflection) positively impacted virtual coaching partnerships. Additionally, mentoring and gratitude emerged as themes outside of the theoretical framework. When applied together, the identified partnership principles and student-centered discussions positively impacted first-year teachers’ professional growth.
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    Exploring the principal perspective on teacher attrition in urban education : a single case study.
    (May 2023) Burroughs, Danielle L., 1982-; Shelton, Ryann N.
    Teachers at all educational levels and disciplines are leaving the profession at a rapid rate across the United States with numbers increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic. Retention tools and strategies are critical to the success of a school and school district. The purpose of this single case study was to explore urban high school principals’ perceptions of why teachers leave the teaching profession and to identify the methods used by principals to retain teachers. I conducted this single case study to answer two research questions rooted in Frederick Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory. The research questions were first, according to urban high school principals, for what reasons do urban high school teachers leave the teaching profession? Second, what policies, procedures, or strategies do urban high school principals use to retain teachers? I collected data using semi-structured interviews with four principals, conducted a focus group discussion, and collected related artifacts. I analyzed the data using the data analysis spiral (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Analyzing the lived experiences of principals navigating teacher attrition allowed me to identify commonalities among their experiences, their perceived reasons for teachers leaving the profession, and the methods they used to retain teachers. As a result, I uncovered five findings. First, the principal participants in this study perceived compensation, performance pay, and workload balance as critical to teacher decisions related to remaining or leaving the profession in different ways. Second, the principal participants in this study identified leader support and relationships as reasons why teachers stay in the profession. Third, the principal participants in this study identified classroom management and negative student behaviors lead to teacher dissatisfaction. Fourth, the principal participants in this study recognized growth opportunities within the charter network as a reason teachers stay in the field. Fifth and finally, the principal participants in this study identified relationships as the leading retention strategy they used. This research benefits principals, district administrators, and teachers as it highlights principals’ perceptions related to teacher dissatisfaction and their perception of the necessity of building meaningful relationships with teachers to reduce attrition.
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    “I think I can, I think I can” : a case study that explores the perspective of single mothers and their ability to become self sufficient.
    (May 2023) Ormes-Ripley, Kandyce L., 1983-; Howell, Leanne.
    Single mothers continue to face barriers that prevent them from being self-sufficient. The lack of fundamental resources including education, childcare, housing, and mental health are primary concerns that create challenges for single mothers (Hirschl, 2015; Wester-Stratton, 2011; Baker et al., 2010; Lewis & Hayes, 2020; The Aspen Institute, 2021). Many programs are available to help single mothers; however, most focus on only one of the two areas of concern: economic or psychological self-sufficiency. The lack of literature on the influence of the combination of both support systems led to the need for this research study. In this qualitative descriptive case study, I explored the long-term impact of single mothers and their children when provided with bi-dimensional supports. I utilized five former participants of the Buckner Family Pathways program in Dallas, Texas. All five participants completed the program successfully and agreed to participate in a semi-structured interview and a focus group interview. I also analyzed documents and artifacts. The interviews and focus group drew detailed descriptions of participants’ lived experiences and provided rich insights into their struggles and their successes to self-sufficiency. I utilized the theoretical framework of Hong’s Psychological Self-Sufficiency to address the problem that too few single mothers are self-sufficient. Hong’s framework drove the primary and secondary research questions that addressed the concern of self-sufficiency within the single mother population. This research further supported Hong’s theory and provided evidence that single mothers are more likely to reach self-sufficiency when both economic and psychological support systems are present. Four key findings emerged from this research study. First, both financial and psychological supports are necessary elements on the journey to self-sufficiency. Second, barriers that single mothers face are related to both economical and psychological challenges. Third, sustainable self-sufficiency requires a mindset shift; and finally, Buckner Family Pathways is an impactful program for single mothers. These findings are important to community, organizations, and program leaders, researchers, and mothers and their children.
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    STEM integration in elementary classrooms : a quantitative study exploring impediments and improvements.
    (May 2023) Neuman, Erika Y., 1979-; Kaul, Corina R., 1969-
    As the need for a STEM-literate workforce grows, educators must prepare to develop STEM-literate thinkers. American educators must modernize teaching practices and utilize the best research-based STEM pedagogy. STEM education can no longer be a novelty or supplement to classroom instruction, and this is especially true in elementary classrooms. Early exposure to STEM and the need for quality STEM instruction is imperative to capitalize on the innate curiosity and creativity of young learners. However, elementary educators are generalists and are not adequately trained to teach integrative STEM. Furthermore, state testing and lack of materials and funding make integrative STEM and other innovative teaching practices next to impossible. Elementary teachers need to be efficacious in STEM content and supported in integrating STEM instruction in their classrooms. This quantitative study utilized a cross-sectional survey to identify the teaching self-efficacy of elementary educators in elementary classrooms and identify variables that might predict their STEM instruction. I used an online survey for data collection to access a broad range of data, including teaching self-efficacy in mathematics and science, student technology use, STEM instruction, 21st-century learning attitudes, and interest in STEM-related professional development. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory was the theoretical framework used for this study. This theoretical framework asserts a teacher’s self-efficacy beliefs are related to the effort they invest in teaching, the goals they set for their students, and their perceived capability to learn new instructional strategies. Based on the results of this study, participants’ self-efficacy in teaching mathematics and science has very little relationship with interest in STEM-related professional development. Collectively, mathematics teaching self-efficacy, science teaching self-efficacy, student technology use, and hours of STEM-related professional development are statistically significant predictors of a teacher’s STEM instruction score. Student technology use is the most prominent individual predictor of a teacher’s STEM instruction score. To bring about positive change in elementary STEM instruction, administrators must promote integrative STEM professional development, professional development leaders must make learning opportunities purposeful, classroom teachers must embrace integrative STEM instruction as a teaching method, and educators in preservice teacher programs must expose integrative STEM to aspiring teachers as often as possible.
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    The use of a short-cycle formative assessment observation protocol to investigate alignment between a secondary science teacher’s beliefs and practices : a narrative inquiry study.
    (May 2023) Tedeschi, Joey, 1992-; Pratt, Sarah Smitherman.
    Many secondary science educators within the United States describe a feeling of disconnect between their teaching beliefs and instructional practices. Whether dissonance stems from high-stakes testing or contention among colleagues regarding best instructional practices, this tension can influence how an educator constructs their classroom environment. Irrespective of an educator’s instructional approach, there should be alignment among learning target, learning theory, and pedagogical practice. Short-cycle formative assessment enactment within the classroom can be used as a tool to investigate the congruence between an educator’s beliefs and practices, facilitating the implementation of instructional adjustments that mitigate an educator’s feeling of disconnect. I conducted a narrative inquiry study to investigate how one educator’s assessment perceptions provide insight into the alignment between their beliefs and practices. Data sources included interviews, observations, field notes, reflective discussions, and other artifacts. I applied the crossdisciplinary framework (Kirshner, 2016) as a theoretical framework lens to evaluate the appropriate alignment among learning targets, learning theories, and pedagogical practices. I utilized the AssessToday Short-Cycle Observation Protocol (Eddy & Harrell, 2013) as a tool to investigate the congruence of educator beliefs and practices. Three main findings resulted from this study. First, beliefs on best instructional practices and assessment approaches can shift based on specific learning targets. Second, educators can use AssessToday (Eddy & Harrell, 2013) as an effective tool for reflecting on the congruence among learning targets, beliefs, practices, and assessments. Third, adding assessment and reflection to the crossdisciplinary framework (Kirshner, 2016) helped an educator alleviate feelings of disconnect between their beliefs and practices by identifying instances of misalignment and making instructional adjustments toward realignment. These findings contribute to the field of secondary science education, as the results support an effective process for science educators to not only identify potential misalignment between their beliefs and practices but also to make adjustments that can mitigate feelings of disconnect originating from that misalignment.
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    The path to teaching emergency medical services : a multiple case study of paramedic educators’ preparatory experiences.
    (May 2023) Tilden, Leah M., 1978-; Shelton, Ryann N.
    Quality education requires quality educators (Filgona et al., 2020; Gibbs & Coffey, 2004; Martino, 2021), and many post-secondary educators are not adequately prepared to teach informal pre-service experiences to shed light on how those experiences prepared them to teach adult learners. Knowles’ (1973, 1980) principles of andragogy provided the foundation for the theoretical framework for this study, which specifically focused on three of the six principles of andragogy: self-directed learning, prior life experiences, and intrinsic motivation. I selected eight paramedic educators from across the United States to participate in the study. Each participant completed a questionnaire and participated in a semi-structured interview. I also collected artifacts including job descriptions, resumes, and sample lesson plans from each of the participants to triangulate the data. I reviewed the transcripts for accuracy and coded the data based on the principles of andragogy. Finally, I conducted a within-case and cross-case analysis and uncovered five findings. Five themes emerged from the data. First, paramedic educators desire to improve the quality of paramedic education for paramedic students. Second, paramedic educators are motivated by previous positive education experiences of their own. Third, paramedic most educators believe they lack pre-service preparation. Fourth, paramedic educators believe provider experience gives educators subject matter confidence. Finally, paramedic educators report ongoing mentorship as in-service development is essential to the success of paramedic educators.
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    Mission critical : a qualitative study on improving graduation success for first-generation, Black students at public universities.
    (May 2023) Hubbard, Michael P., 1962-; Ray, Brandi R.
    The United States is the wealthiest nation on the planet yet thirty-seven million live in abject poverty (International Monetary Fund, 2022). The Black community, which represents 8.5 million of this population, is experiencing a perpetual cycle of poverty and the lowest reported family income compared to other racial or ethnic groups (Caliendo, 2021; Creamer et al., 2022). These inequities perpetuate long-reaching problems in society including limiting the workforce, expanding wealth gaps, growing public health concerns, and even the criminal justice system (Chetty et al., 2020; Peterson & Mann, 2020). To break the cycle of poverty and prevent secondary societal ramifications, education is key (Allen et al., 2018; de Brey et al., 2019). While universities successfully attracted first-generation Black students, graduation rates for this group are the lowest of all student populations (Annalakshmi & Venkatesan, 2018). One factor, the hidden curriculum, which includes all unwritten rules, policies, and procedures of academic institutions (Pratt et al., 2019) creates and perpetuates social inequities, especially for Black students (Orón Semper & Blasco, 2018). This qualitative single case study with embedded units gave voice to the first-generation, Black students at a public university. Through focus groups and interviews, participants offered first-hand experiences of navigating hidden curricula. Student observations and record reviews offered additional context to further understand this complex problem. Through qualitative analysis of the data, themes emerged illuminating three findings impacting first-generation, Black student graduation rates. The first finding is that the students did not feel understood by university faculty or staff, therefore they did not feel like they belonged. Next, the students expressed a need for support systems throughout their post-secondary education journey. Finally, campus culture must align with the needs of the students to prevent cultural dissonance. These findings should provoke interest in university policymakers responsible for funding and managing campus culture as well as those responsible for student recruiting and retention. As future inbound students shift toward first-generation, minority students, college policymakers must consider changes to the improve graduation rates of first-generation, Black students.
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    Exploring elementary special educators' self-efficacy related to behavior data collection for behavior reduction before and after peer coaching : a multiple case study.
    (May 2023) Willmore, Sarah E., 1994-; Shelton, Ryann N.
    This study addresses the problem surrounding low educator self-efficacy for data collection and behavior reduction strategies among elementary special educators. Educators working with students who present behavior challenges do not feel a strong sense of self-efficacy when it comes to data collection and behavior management. Due to this, educators are considering altering student placement for more restrictive settings. One opportunity for specialized professional development that offers one-to-one learning opportunities related to data collection and behavior reduction strategies is peer coaching. In this study, I utilized a multiple case study approach to investigate educator experiences with a peer coaching program for data collection and behavior reduction strategies. The purpose of this study was to explore how elementary special educators describe their self-efficacy related to behavior data collection for behavior reduction before and after coaching and to explore their related experiences with peer coaching. I held coaching appointments with four educators who taught students with disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviors. I used questionnaires, interviews, field notes, and a written reflection from each participant to investigate participants’ experiences with peer coaching. There were five findings in this study. First, participants highlighted the importance of individualized feedback for personalized growth. Second, the participants described the benefits of collegiality and accountability through the peer coaching program. Third, participants discussed having feelings of apprehension prior to participating in the study. Fourth, participants discussed the benefits of this program utilizing their learning preferences. Lastly, two participants mentioned imposter syndrome, and discussed how participation in this study aided with eliminating those feelings. This study has implications for special educators and special education coaches or administrators. This study revealed the impact of peer coaching on special educators struggling with feelings of low self-efficacy by providing a collaborative partnership with a peer to discuss practices and improve data collection and behavior reduction strategies. Rather than providing large-scale professional development on broad topics, districts should consider providing peer coaching opportunities with special educators who previously reported having low self-efficacy in data collection and behavior reduction strategies so that they receive individualized education on content that is relevant to their classrooms.
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    The perceptions of organizational culture in the community corrections profession : a quantitative study.
    (May 2023) Hernandez, Deana, 1986-; Davis, Brenda K., 1971-
    Despite efforts to implement and adopt effective supervision practices that construct long-term sustainable and effective community corrections systems, agencies struggle with internal organizational factors that impact the effectiveness and, subsequently, public safety (Baker et al., 2015; Kras et al., 2021; Viglione, 2019; Wilson et al., 2022). Too often, leaders overlook the organizational factors that formed the current organizational culture, which leads to ineffective staff behavior norms. In researching this problem, I discovered two main concerns. The first concern is the need for more research and acknowledgment to study organizational culture in the community corrections profession. The second concern is the disconnect between management and non-management staff perceptions of the expected staff behaviors and the organizational culture factors that led to the creation of a passive defensive operating culture. I used a causal-comparative quantitative research design with the How Culture Works theoretical framework in this study. The theory asserts that the different perceptions of organizational factors develop the expected behavior norms staff adapt to fit in and succeed in the organization and that the development of different expected behavior norms leads to defensive cultures. Therefore, I used the Organizational Culture Inventory to focus on three determinations. First, to determine the current organizational culture style of the participants. Second, to determine the current organizational culture style by organizational level, management, and non-management. Finally, to determine if there is a statistically significant difference between the perceptions of the current organizational culture between management and non-management participants. Descriptive analyses showed that the primary organizational culture style for the sample of participants is passive defensive. In addition, the primary organizational culture style for management participants was also passive defensive. However, the primary organizational culture style for non-management participants was constructive. Thus, the comparative analyses showed a statistically significant difference between management and non-management perceptions of the constructive, passive defensive, and aggressive defensive culture styles. Implications of these findings relate to governing bodies, professional leaders, and researchers associated with the community corrections profession.
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    Perceptions of gender norm stereotypes and the decision to report military sexual trauma : a multiple case study of enlisted Army National Guard service members.
    (May 2023) Waterman, Sarah R., 1994-; Shelton, Ryann N.
    Gender norm stereotypes in the Army National Guard continue to perpetuate a masculine narrative, often deterring enlisted service members from reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment. This qualitative case study explored Army National Guard enlisted service members’ experiences with gender norm stereotypes and explored enlisted service members’ perceptions of how gender norm stereotypes influence an enlisted service members decision to or to not report incidents of military sexual trauma (MST). The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore Army National Guard enlisted service members’ perceptions of gender norm stereotypes and how these perceptions could potentially affect an enlisted service member’s decision to or not to report incidents of MST through the lens of social role theory (Eagly & Wood, 2012). I purposefully selected the four participants in this study using specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. I recruited participants first through a recruiting email and a questionnaire. From the questionnaire, I selected 4 participants who met inclusion criteria. Following, I conducted semi-structured interviews with the participants and collected related artifacts. There were five key findings in this study. First, male service members were identified to serve in roles that were more physical, while females were identified to serve in more technical roles. Second, service members had differing experiences with discrimination while serving in the Army National Guard, based on gender and differing displays of emotion. Third, participants believe that a non-supportive environment in the Army National Guard potentially creates space for incidents of MST. Fourth, there is a fear of retribution amongst service members for reporting MST. Fifth and finally, there is an inherent gender role status, as there are more males in positions of power than there are females. This study emphasizes the need for Army National Guard program reform and a culture shift within the Army National Guard to encourage reporting incidents of MST.
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    The hurting hero and the camouflaged consort : a qualitative collective case study to identify limitations to help-seeking behaviors among active-duty enlisted servicemembers and their spouses at Goodfellow Air Force Base.
    (May 2023) Hidalgo, Erica, 1978-; Howell, Leanne.
    The interconnectedness of military work and military life results in unique inhibitors to help-seeking behaviors for military personnel and their spouses. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to shed light on perceived elements that contribute to limiting help-seeking behaviors among active-duty enlisted servicemembers and military spouses in the U.S. military across a multitude of help-providing agencies. Highlighting inhibitors to the complex, multi-faceted problem of help-seeking in this population is a step toward curbing the military suicide epidemic, which has been on the rise over the last two decades and peaked at 28.7 deaths per every 100,000 personnel in 2020 (Defense Suicide Prevention Office, 2020). The theoretical framework undergirding all aspects of this research was Homans’s (1958) social exchange theory. There were three literature review focus areas formed to understand elements that contribute to active-duty enlisted servicemembers’ and military spouses’ decisions to seek help. The three literature review focus areas were military culture and military image, the importance of organizational trust and reciprocity, and the impacts of stress. This study answers the following primary and sub-research questions: What are the experiences of active-duty enlisted servicemembers and military spouses in regard to seeking help at a military help agency? The two sub-questions presented were: What is the perceived impact of seeking help on an active-duty enlisted servicemember’s or military spouse’s self-identity? What is the perceived impact on a military member’s career when an active-duty enlisted servicemember or military spouse seeks help? I employed three data collection methods to collect qualitative data to better understand help-seeking behaviors in the military. I collected data from eight participants comprising two cases, the first of which was comprised of former active-duty enlisted servicemembers and the second of which was comprised of spouses of active-duty enlisted servicemembers. My research unveiled eight research findings, seven of which served as unique inhibitors to help-seeking in the U.S. military.
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    Understanding the roles of psychological safety, team learning, and functional backgrounds for cross-functional product development teams : a convergent mixed methods study.
    (May 2023) Underwood, Cristen Jonassen, 1980-; Davis, Brenda K., 1971-
    Cross-functional teams in new product development bring together members of different departments and functional backgrounds to improve efficiency, collaboration, and speed-to-market (Majchrzak et al., 2012; Slepian, 2013). The evidence shows that for members of multidisciplinary teams, psychological safety facilitates effective problem-solving and the opportunity for members to learn from mistakes (Edmondson, 2019; Harvey et al., 2019). Product development requires innovation and creativity, and the combination of psychological and team learning behaviors allows for team members of diverse backgrounds to work together to effectively complete the product development process (Cauwelier et al., 2016; Han et al., 2019; Kark & Carmeli, 2009; Liu & Keller, 2021). This convergent mixed methods study focused on understanding the roles of psychological safety, team learning behaviors, and functional backgrounds on cross-functional product development teams. I collected data using the questionnaire variant of a convergent mixed methods design; the participants (n = 52) were all in the product development field with cross-functional team experience. The questionnaire contained three quantitative instruments with open-ended qualitative questions that coordinated with the construct measured in each instrument. I present the quantitative instrument data first, then the qualitative, open-ended question data, and finally, the mixed methods integration. I found a strong correlation between psychological safety and team learning, a moderate correlation between psychological safety and functional backgrounds, and a weak to moderate relationship between team learning and functional backgrounds. I also found that the duration of time that the participants were at their companies did not significantly affect their instrument scores. In investigating the open-ended questions, I created codes and categories from the data. From the categories, 11 themes emerged that influenced the development of psychological safety, team learning, and functional background understanding for the study participants. Finally, I present the integrated data to enhance knowledge of group members’ experiences within cross-functional teams.
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    The only person in my way is me : a multiple case study exploring the perspectives of experienced school principals regarding the perceived impact of executive coaching.
    (May 2023) Saddler, Ashlee, 1978-; Howell, Leanne.
    School principals serve as fundamental leaders in the educational system. These leaders are essential in ensuring that students in PK-12 schools receive high-quality instruction to prepare them to contribute as productive citizens in society. Principals have many responsibilities, including the critical task of developing teachers and educating students. Within the educational landscape, principals’ duties are immense and complex; therefore, it is essential to prepare them to effectively lead on the campuses where they serve. The United States has experienced an increase in principals leaving the profession. While several factors contribute to principal turnover, one key component is the lack of job-embedded professional development. Experienced principals, which I define as those who have been in their roles for four years or more, need job-embedded professional development to meet their professional needs. Experienced principals often lack specific, intentional, targeted, and differentiated professional learning. This study aimed to examine executive coaching to provide targeted, precise, and meaningful professional development to experienced principals. In exploring the problem, I conducted a multiple case study with the purpose of examining how principals with at least four years of experience perceive the impact of executive coaching on their self-efficacy as leaders. I aligned this study to a theoretical framework centered on self-efficacy. In alignment with the theoretical framework, data collection occurred through semi-structured individual interviews, a focus group interview, and written reflection from participants. This study’s methodology provided an opportunity to understand the perceptions of principals who were engaged in executive coaching and how they perceived how executive coaching impacted their efficacy as a principal. This study’s findings indicated an increase in the perceived self-efficacy of experienced principals after participating in eight executive coaching sessions. Specifically, I found that principals who received executive coaching experienced stronger leadership skills. This study also found that executive coaching provided a safe space for principals to be vulnerable. Finally, the study revealed that executive coaching provided principals with a validation of their experiences as school leaders.
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    A case study : elementary teachers’ perceptions of play-based learning on students’ social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
    (May 2023) Amberson, Mindi M. 1982-; Howell, Leanne.
    Play-based learning is an opportunity for holistic student development. Yet, too few opportunities for play-based learning currently exist in public elementary schools across the United States despite the benefits linked to the intentional use of play-based instruction. This case study identified elementary educators’ perspectives on the benefits of play-based learning and the barriers to its use. An extensive literature review was completed to identify themes in the current research. I used four conceptual domains, supported by Ginsburg (2007) and visualized by The Strong Museum (courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York) as the lens to conduct to this study. Play influences children’s development in four conceptual domains: physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. The data analysis consisted of five steps, ending with visuals showcasing result findings. The research findings provided strong evidence from participants about the benefits of play-based learning opportunities for student growth in the noted four conceptual domains. Ten themes were identified that supported benefits in each domain. In the social domain, impact was noted in areas of diversity and relationships. In the emotional domain, recognition of emotions and regulation of emotions emerged as impacted areas. In the physical domain, motor skills, classroom behaviors, and healthy habits were identified Last, in the cognitive domain, content knowledge, creativity, and problem-solving skills were identified as areas of impact. The findings also provided four themes as evidence for barriers with play-based learning opportunities. These four thematical barriers identified were professional development, funding, time, and limited space. There were two emerging themes identified in the research, expectations, and engagement Each finding is important to next steps in education. Implications and recommendations for this research are important to educational decisions and advocacy moving forward to impact educators’ ability and willingness to utilize play-based learning and promote optimal student development. Stakeholders in education are given support through this research for such advocacy. Through a collective voice, this research increases potential opportunities for play-based learning to move forward in its impact on student development.
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    A qualitative case study exploring the integration and enabling factors of asset-based pedagogies among non-native elementary school teachers in Hawai‘i.
    (May 2023) Hamlin, Erika, 1990-; Sanguras, Laila Y., 1977-
    Teachers across the United States are responding to an increasingly diverse classroom environment. Problems unfold where teachers face challenges in adapting curriculum to diverse learners. Historically, most research has focused on the voices of teachers in urban classrooms, however; the voices of teachers in rural classrooms with indigenous populations are less common. The main problem this study aimed to address was how and what non-native elementary teachers in Hawai‘i do to integrate asset-based pedagogies after moving from the continental United States to teach in Hawaiian schools. I explored the voices of experienced teachers who moved to teach in Hawai‘i. The sampling methods, or criterion, required participants to have previous teaching experience anywhere in the continental United States and be full-time and fully-licensed teachers in Hawai‘i. The research design for this study consisted of a qualitative case study of four participants. In this study, all participants identified as non-native elementary teachers who moved to Hawai‘i from the continental United States. The research design encompassed three data collection methods: an open-ended questionnaire, interviews, and focus group discussions. Concluding the results of this study, I identified four emerging themes. Participants adapted lessons to the individual student, leveraged community partnerships, created culturally safe learning environments, and developed intercultural competence. Additional findings suggest that the participants in this study share a sense of belonging, express cultural competence, and have intentional teaching practices. The results of this study suggest that non-native teachers independently adapted to an increasingly diverse learning environment through connections and continued learning. To better support teachers' ability to adapt to increasingly diverse classrooms throughout the United States, further research should consider the diverse and culturally rich demographic of Hawai‘i Furthermore, studies should take into account the perspectives of teachers, such as those who move to Hawai‘i, and transitioned from a classroom with less diversity to one with greater diversity.
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    Investigating voice classification protocols of higher education applied voice faculty and ensemble directors : a quantitative causal-comparative study.
    (May 2023) Huggins, Kristin A., 1987-; Kaul, Corina R., 1969-
    Voice misclassification threatens the vocal longevity and long-term career success of voice students enrolled in higher education (HE) vocal programs. Not every singer possesses the musculature required to support the unique vocal fold density and sub-glottal pressure necessary to sing repertoire and roles associated with certain voice types (Cotton, 2012). Despite the risk of misclassification and vocal injury, there is no universally acknowledged system of voice classification (Davids & LaTour, 2012; Miller, 2004). Utilizing a nonexperimental causal-comparative quantitative study, I investigated how current HE voice faculty classify student singers. I used Boldrey’s six-category classification model (1994) as the theoretical model for this study. Wolverton (1985) and Gish et al. (2012) provided foundational instruments upon which I based my online cross-sectional survey. My sample consisted of ninety full-time voice faculty and ensemble directors (n = 90) who currently teach in higher education music programs. Data analysis revealed that voice faculty reported tessitura as the most valued (41%) and most used (64%) vocal parameter. Faculty indicated the frequency of classification testing of once a year (23%) for an average of 5–10 minutes in duration per test (30%). Some faculty indicated that they do not classify their students (14%). Mann Whitney U results revealed a statistically significant difference between applied voice faculty (59%) and ensemble directors (15%) in how often passaggi was used when classifying voice students. No statistical significance was found in the vocal exercises and remaining vocal parameters used by these two faculty groups. The results of this study impact HE voice faculty, undergraduate and graduate voice students, HE administrators responsible for the development and oversight of music performance and pedagogy programs, and future research on classification practices. Four implications emerged from these results and informed my recommendations for programmatic change: communication between applied voice faculty and ensemble directors, encouragement for voice students to take agency of their voice development, endorsement of an expanded vocal pedagogy curriculum, and additional investigation examining origins of learned classification methods through qualitative research methods.
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    Appraising a chronic stressor : a causal-comparative study exploring the impact of diagnosis & support groups in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
    (May 2023) Talley, Blythe, 1990-; Kaul, Corina R., 1969-
    I focused my study on Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). As a person with EDS, I applied an advocacy lens to my research. The two purposes of the study were to explore the differences in demographic characteristics and reported quality of life (QoL) of individuals with or without formal EDS diagnosis and examine QoL differences between individuals who participate in support groups and those who do not. I conducted a causal-comparative, quantitative, exploration-focused study. In the theoretical framework I employed Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) theory of stress and coping. The transactional theory of stress and coping had been applied to previous research into disease populations and best suited the study’s goal of exploring impacting factors on QoL. In this study, I used the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire as the central instrument of measurement. The WHOQOL-BREF measured QoL via domains of physical, psychological, social relations and environment. In addition, I surveyed the sample to capture descriptive statistics. Using purposive-sampling, I recruited study participants from The Ehlers-Danlos Society, which allowed for a larger sample size and recruitment of participants with EDS diagnoses along with those who had symptoms but no diagnosis. After data cleaning (n = 335), participants were included in the sample group. Overall, the sample population was highly educated, mostly female, and if at all were diagnosed in middle age. Support groups were popular among all study participants. In looking at how diagnosis impacts QoL, I found those with a formal diagnosis scored lower in the physical domain but higher in the other domains tested. No statistically significant difference was found in diagnosis-related results. Using Chi-square testing, I found a statistically significant association between diagnosis status and support group participation. Participants engaged in support groups had lower QoL scores in all four domains (physical, psychological, social relations, environmental). In the environment domain, this result was statistically significant. I inferred that additional investigation is needed on support groups and how those without diagnoses engage with them. As a result of my research, I recommend further investigation into the influence of EDS on QoL.