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Below are listed the names of students who have completed a Ph.D. program in Human Development and Education and the abstracts from their dissertations beginning in 2004.   

JULY 2011-JUNE 2012


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Participation and Children with Physical Disabilities: A Program Evaluation of a Physical Activity Curriculum for Children with Physical Disabilities in the Fargo Moorhead Area

Advisor: Dr. Kathy Enger

The purpose of the study was to measure the impact of active participation in meaningful activity for children with physical disabilities.  A needs assessment was conducted prior to creation of the research design.  Findings of the needs assessment included the identification of children’s needs in the Fargo Moorhead community, a review of recreational mobility opportunities currently available in the community, and feedback from caregivers regarding the unique needs of each child and the quality of available opportunities.  The following research questions were proposed to measure the impact of active participation: (a) What are children with physical disabilities able to do physically?  (b) What do caregivers perceive that their children with physical disabilities are able to do physically?  (c) What do children with physical disabilities perceive that they are able to do physically? (d) What is the level of progress children with physical disabilities can make while participating in a community-based recreation program?  (e) How do the perceptions of physical activity correlate with actual performance?

A program evaluation of a local children’s fitness center, TNT Kid’s Fitness, was conducted in the summer of 2010 using a single-subject, multiple measures research design.  Findings indicated that involvement in recreational mobility opportunities over a 9-week period did not result in physical activity change that was statistically significant.  Caregivers, however, did perceive an increase in physical activity over the course of a 9-week session of physical activity.  Additional findings suggest that there are other effects or variables that may significantly impact how children with physical disabilities benefit from participation in recreational mobility activities.  Results of this study provide support for the belief that all children need physical activity, and children with physical disabilities need greater opportunities to participate in physical activity that are currently available in the local community and beyond.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: The Starfish Project: A Mixed-Methods Study of Student Achievement and Teacher Efficacy Following Sustained Professional Development Mentorship Training

Advisors: Dr. Kathy Enger and Dr. Nathan Wood

This mixed-method, concurrent, transformative research study was conducted for the purpose of examining the impact a sustained professional-development program would have on the faculty students, and greater culture within a secondary-level system that included both a traditional high school and an alternative high school.  Using both quantitative statistical methods and grounded theory analysis of qualitative data, the study addressed the following questions:  (a)  Does a positive mentor-mentee relationship result from the use of Downey’s (2008) four clusters:  i. teacher student rapport; ii. classroom climate; iii. instructional strategies; and iv. student skills?   (b)  Does risk-behavior reduction occur within mentees when they are mentored with the four clusters?  (c) Is there an increase in teachers’ self-efficacy when supported by an integrated series of professional development?  (d)  Does additional professional development in teacher leadership and pedagogical methods for a small group of teachers positively impact cultural change?

The research site had a purposive, homogeneous sample of 80 teachers and their selected mentees.  Data were analyzed concurrently with descriptive and inferential statistics supported by grounded theory methods of qualitative analysis that utilized open coding, axial coding, and selective coding; analysis concluded with theoretical integration. 

The following conclusions are supported by the study:  (a) the teachers and students realized positive affective outcomes from the effort of mentoring; (b) risk reduction for office referrals declined with statistical significance and also showed significant correlations to specific mentor behaviors.  Grade point averages remained stable over the course of the year-long study; (c) teacher efficacy declined over the course of the year, but was not statistically significant except in the two cases; (d) cultural change was realized in a variety of ways, including an increased holistic focus on students, recognition of needs and ability to critically evaluate and identify solutions within the greater school community, and development of a more cohesive faculty.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Motivational and Adaptational Factors of Successful Women Engineers.

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

It is no surprise that there is a shortage of women engineers. The reasons for the shortage have been researched and discussed in myriad papers, and suggestions for improvement continue to evolve. However, there are few studies that have specifically identified the positive aspects that attract women to engineering and keep them actively engaged in the field.

This paper examines how women engineers view their education, their work, and their motivation to remain in the field. A qualitative research design was used to understand the motivation and adaptability factors women use to support their decision to major in engineering and stay in the engineering profession. Women engineers were interviewed using broad questions about motivation and adaptability. Interviews were transcribed and coded, looking for common threads of factors that suggest not only why women engineers persist in the field, but also how they thrive. Findings focus on the experiences, insights, and meaning of women interviewed. A grounded theory approach was used to describe the success factors found in practicing women engineers.

The study found categories of attraction to the field, learning environment, motivation and adaptability. Sub-categories of motivation are intrinsic motivational factors such as the desire to make a difference, as well as extrinsic factors such as having an income that allows the kind of lifestyle that supports the family. Women engineers are comfortable with and enjoy working with male peers and when barriers arise, women learn to adapt in the male dominated field. Adaptability was indicated in areas of gender, culture, and communication. Women found strength in the ability to 'read' their clients, and provide insight to their teams.

Sufficient knowledge from the field advances theory and offers strategies to programs for administrators and faculty of schools of engineering as well as engineering firms, who have interest in recruitment, and retention of female students. Future research includes expanding the research to other areas of the United States, and improving engineering education pedagogy with more active and experiential learning.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Administrative Evaluation of Online Faculty in Community Colleges

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

Policy and procedure haven’t kept up with institutional practices at community colleges. With over 5.5 million college students taking online courses, 29% of college students are taking an online course. As student numbers taking online courses have increased, so have the number of faculty teaching online. The purpose of this study is to determine if and how community college, online, faculty are administratively evaluated. The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of the members of the American Association of Community Colleges were surveyed to determine the factors considered relevant for online, asynchronous, administrative evaluation of faculty that are currently being used by community colleges and to determine the methods by which community college, online faculty are administratively evaluated. The literature review did not identify any research directly related to the administrative evaluation of community college, online faculty. A very limited amount of research on administrative evaluation of faculty was identified, but nearly all were over a decade old. The survey results indicate that a majority of community colleges do not specifically address evaluation of online faculty in policy. The results identify the criteria and methods used to evaluate online faculty and their rated importance. The most common criteria included in the evaluations were identified and their importance ranked by CAO’s. The data was analyzed by institutional size based on IPEDS categories and contrasted and compared with the other institutional size categories. A proposed model/method for developing a comprehensive faculty evaluation system based the survey results and best practices from the literature review is presented along with recommendations for further research.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Development of an Instrument to Measure Collaborative Competencies in Interprofessional Health Care Education

Advisor: Dr. Nathan Wood

Despite the widespread endorsement of interprofessional education (IPE), health care education has not implemented the strategy to the extent expected.  Decisions to adopt and implement IPE must be based on evidence indicating that the approach is superior in promoting collaboration as compared to the traditional, unprofessional educational approach.  Evidence supports that incorporating IPE into the curricula generally improves students’ attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of teamwork skills on a short-term basis.  Whether IPE produces graduates who are prepared to collaborate more effectively on the health care team in practice has not been determined because valid instruments have not been developed to measure the collaborative competencies expected for health care students and professionals.

This dissertation examined the psychometric properties of an instrument designed by the researcher to measure collaborative competencies in health care students.  In addition, this study examined the impact of IPE undergraduate nursing students’ ability to collaborate with other members of the health care team.  Using an electronic version of the instrument, data were collected during the spring semester of 2011.  The convenience sample (n = 293) included baccalaureate-nursing students enrolled at two Midwest state universities that incorporated IPE into the curriculum and six midwest state universities that did not incorporate IPE into the curriculum.

Factor analysis was conducted using two, four, five, and six factor rotations with varimax and promax rotations  The four-factor model with promax rotation provided the best defined factor structure, demonstrating a combination of empirical findings and theoretical constructs.  Results indicated that patient-centered care, role clarification, interprofessional communication, and teamwork are constructs that can be used to design competencies for collaboration.  The construct of conflict resolution did not emerge as a separate factor.

The independent-samples t-test revealed significant differences between the mean scores for interprofessional communication (p = 0.010) and health care teamwork (p = 0.044) between non-IPE and IPE groups.  One-way ANOVA analysis revealed no significant differences for gender, previous experience, or GPA.  Students in the older age group (>31) rated themselves significantly higher in the factors of role clarification (p = 0.002), interprofessional teamwork (p < 0.001), and patient-centered care (p = 0.003).


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Association between Factors Affecting Enrollment Decisions in Manufacturing Occupational Clusters in Two-Year Colleges

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationships between factors that affect student enrollment decisions in manufacturing occupational programs in two-year colleges and to describe current enrollment status of these programs. This purpose was pursued by five hypotheses and one research question that addressed the categorical factors that affect student enrollment decisions in a diversity of academic programs in higher education. These factors are: awareness; influence; recruitment; and socioeconomic status.

Quantitative data were gathered through an online survey instrument. The target populations were full time instructors, academic advisors, and program directors of manufacturing occupational programs in two-year colleges in the Great Lakes and Plains States. The two-year colleges were mostly community and technical colleges that offer certificate and associate’s degree programs in manufacturing-related occupations. A total of 288 full time faculty and academic advisors from 155 two-year colleges participated in the study by responding to the survey instrument and providing the data that were later analyzed to address the research questions.

PASW software was used for data processing and three statistical methods: descriptive statistics; path analysis; and discriminant analysis were employed for data analysis. The descriptive analysis corroborated most of what the literature suggest are the most and the least effective awareness, influence, recruitment, and socioeconomic factors that affect student enrollment decisions. While path analysis showed that, the path to student enrollment in manufacturing occupational programs in two-year colleges starts from awareness, and goes through influence, and recruitment factors, the discriminant analysis showed that, awareness and recruitment factors are the main independent categorical variables that predict enrollment size in manufacturing occupational programs in two-year colleges in the Great Lakes and Plains States.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:   The Effectiveness of Parental Involvement in Preschool Education Programs on Parent Perceptions of their Child’s School Readiness

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of this study, that analyzed the impact of parent perceptions of child development and school readiness, and selected student academic measures, was to determine if the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program created a significant impact on parent understanding of children’s development and aspects of school readiness. Parent perceptions of their child’s readiness to make the transition to school were also assessed.

The study also measured the Gearing Up for Kindergarten impact for children’s scores on selected academic measures.

A selected sample of 75 parents were surveyed with pre, post, and post post program assessments using the Practical Parent Assessment of School Readiness survey. The survey used Likert scale measures to assess parent perceptions of readiness in the 5 domains of child development: Approaches to learning, Social and emotional development, Physical well-being and motor development, Language development, and Cognition and general knowledge. The survey found significant differences between the treatment and control group on selected measures of the social and emotional scales. The survey also measured parent perceptions of their child’s readiness for the transition to school and found no significant difference between treatment and control groups.

The AIMS Web children’s assessment measured children’s academic knowledge with three one minute tests: letter identification, number identification, and oral counting. This assessment compared children’s scores using an ANOVA and found no significant differences in children’s scores between treatment and control groups.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Educational Social Software: The Use of Social Network Sites for Teaching and Learning

Advisor: Dr. Ron Stammen

Although social network sites (SNS) are in use by millions worldwide, the deployment of such sites as tools for teaching and learning is new.  Topics related to the ways, means, and outcomes of SNS use in educational technology.  This mixed-methods research project gathered information regarding the use of SNS in education and training settings.  Respondents to an Internet survey showed familiarity with a range of social media software, and several had used social network sites including Facebook, Ning, and MySpace in their professional practices.  Respondents identified these sites as offering support for communication and community building and rated this affordance as the most useful aspect of SNS for use in educational settings.  Privacy control settings were the individual SNS feature identified as most important in the educational use of SNS.  Personal publishing, content creation, and multimedia display functions were also rated as important.  Respondents supported the utility of social network sites for use in the delivery of education.  Themes expressed in the data regarding participant views of the use and importance of various features of educational social software indicated apparent acceptance of SNS-type tools as potential agents of paradigmatic change (as per Kuhn, 1996) in educational domains.  Respondents made substantial commitments to working toward support of a new paradigm shaped by the use of SNS and social media tools.


Ph.D. of Human Development

Dissertation Title: The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Student Retention and Lifestyle Behaviors

Advisor: Dr. Gary Liguori

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between alcohol consumption and first year to second year retention in college students, as well as the association between students’ alcohol consumption and the lifestyle behaviors of sleep duration, physical activity, and screen time. Numerous studies have examined the drinking patterns of college students. However, research is limited on the relationship between alcohol and retention, and the relationship between alcohol and lifestyle behaviors.

This study included a convenience sample of 820 undergraduate students enrolled in two general education courses at a Midwestern university. The students completed a 25-question health survey at four time points during the semester. Retention data were obtained from the registrar’s office at the university.

Paper 1 identified patterns of alcohol use in college students and sought to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and first year to second year retention. Significant gender differences were found in drinking among all students and in students < 21 years of age with male students reporting more drinking than female students throughout the semester. Significant gender differences were also found in binge drinking episodes among all students and in those < 21 years of age with male students reporting more binge drinking episodes than females. In addition, students ≥ 21 years reported significantly more binge drinking episodes than students < 21 years of age.

Relative to retention, drinking status was significant for first-year male students in that drinkers were 2.29 times more likely to not be enrolled second year compared to first-year male students who did not drink. In addition, binge drinking was significant for first-year male students in that binge drinkers were 1.34 times more likely to not be enrolled second year with each one unit increase in binge drinking episode. These findings suggest a relationship between drinking and binge drinking in first-year male students and retention, which has implications for institutions in their programming efforts related to retention of first-year students.

Paper 2, in addition to identifying patterns of alcohol use in college students, investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and the lifestyle behaviors of sleep duration; moderate and vigorous physical activity; and screen time, which included TV time. The significant findings related to social drinking and binge drinking were noted above.

A significant difference in moderate physical activity was found at one time point with nondrinkers reporting more moderate activity than drinkers. Moreover, significant differences were found in TV time at three of the four time points with drinkers and binge drinkers reporting more TV time than nondrinkers. These findings provide preliminary support for a relationship between drinking and TV time, but underscore the need for additional research on college students’ alcohol consumption and its association with lifestyle behaviors.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Multiage Instruction: An Outdated Strategic or a Timeless Best Practice? A Delphi Study

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of multiage instruction with experts who have best practice knowledge or practitioner expertise in the multiage classroom. This investigation provided a foundation of knowledge on multiage instruction regarding strategies and challenges, the pros and cons of multiage instruction, and training and resources needed for the successful implementation of multiage instruction.

A Delphi methodology was utilized which consisted of three rounds of surveys. The population comprised two panels of experts, multiage theory experts and multiage practitioner experts, based on required criteria for each panel set. A total of 21 experts completed Round One, which consisted of 55 Likert scale statements. A total of 20 experts completed Round Two, which consisted of 31 statements/questions. A total of 20 experts completed Round Three, which consisted of 29 statements.

The panel experts in this study agreed that multiage instruction remains a credible practice today that should be recognized and supported by state boards of education. They also agreed that once oriented to the philosophy and after their child has spent time in the classroom, parents tend to be generally excited about the practice of multiage instruction. The experts further agreed that children of all abilities and needs can be successful in the multiage classroom. In terms of training and preparation, experts agreed that parents, teachers, school boards, principals, and superintendents all should receive training on the philosophy and strategies of multiage instruction in order for it to be a successful practice. They further agreed that it is difficult to find regular training and conferences geared for elementary teachers who work in multiage settings.

In this study, panel experts identified strategies that multiage teachers use including how the room is arranged, flexible grouping, theme-based learning, collaborative learning, and peer mentoring. Through open-ended questioning, panelists also identified challenges as well as training and resource needs.


Ph.D. of Human Development

Dissertation Title: Effects of Nutrition Education and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Knowledge of Antioxidants and Biomarkers of Inflammations and Chronic Disease

Advisor: Dr. Gary Liguori

The purpose of this dissertation was to prospectively track preschoolers' physical activity (PA) during childcare while investigating for seasonal differences in accelerometer measured PA between the fall and winter months in Fargo, North Dakota. This dissertation also evaluated the feasibility of a novel dance-based intervention for increasing PA and reducing sedentary (SED) time in childcare using short activity breaks (< 10 min) interspersed throughout the childcare day. Two studies were conducted as part of this dissertation. The first study (Paper 1) examined for seasonal differences in preschoolers' PA. The second study (Paper 2) evaluated the feasibility of a novel dance-based intervention for increasing PA and reducing SED time during childcare. Preschool aged children (3-5 years) were recruited from four childcare centers in Fargo, North Dakota, to participate in both studies.

Children (N = 59) in study one wore an accelerometer during childcare for 5 days in October/November 2011 (fall) and for 5 days in January/February 2012 (winter). Significant decreases in all intensities of PA were observed from fall to winter. Levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) decreased by 17% ( p < .01), while SED time increased by 3.2% (p < .01). Children averaged 6.1 min/hr of MVPA across the two assessment periods. Levels of MVPA among preschool children from this study fell within the range of estimates reported in the current literature. Findings from study one suggest that preschoolers' PA levels can substantially change across seasons.

For study two, four childcare centers were randomly assigned (cluster randomized design) to take part in a novel dance-based PA intervention or to serve as a control site. Preschoolers (N = 61; intervention group [n = 30], control group [n = 31]) wore an accelerometer while at childcare for 5 days at baseline in January 2012 and for 5 days during the intervention in February 2012. No significant differences between groups in baseline to intervention period changes for MVPA or SED time were observed. Results from study two indicate that adding an additional 15-20 min of dance to preschoolers' childcare day did not significantly increase MVPA or reduce SED time.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: School Counseling Supervision: A Qualitative Summary from the Perspective of School Counseling Site-Supervisors

Advisor: Dr. Brenda Hall

School counseling supervision is an area of research that has limited information available to school counselors. As a result, a qualitative study from the perspective of school counseling site-supervisors was conducted to address the following three research questions 1) What is good school counseling supervision?, 2) What exemplifies exceptional school counseling site-supervisors?, and 3) Why do school counselors become involved in school counseling supervision?

In order to best address the questions in this study, the researcher conducted individual phone interviews with ten participants working as school counseling site-supervisors throughout the United States. To increase the trustworthiness of the study the following methods were used: member checks, data saturation, triangulation, the peer review process, identification of the researcher's perspective, maximum variation, an audit trail, and participant quotations.

As a result of the study, the researcher identified seven major themes. The themes identified in the study are: 1) Good school counseling supervision facilitates professional growth and development of the school counseling intern from a developmental perspective, 2) Good school counseling supervision establishes a collaborative working relationship for the intern with the supervisor and the school's stakeholders, 3) Good school counseling supervision establishes an environment that is conducive to learning, flexible and well-defined, 4) An exceptional school counseling supervisor is aware of the developmental process of the school counseling intern, 5) An exceptional school counseling supervisor acts as an educator, counselor and consultant throughout the internship experience, 6) An exceptional school counseling supervisor is self-aware and reflective in their own work as a school counselor, and 7) School counselors become involved in school counseling supervision as a part of their professional growth, continual development of the counseling profession and to maintain the professional identity of a school counselor.

Finally, the researcher provides a summary of the research study's results identifying connections between the results, the existing literature and how this study fills current gaps. Additionally, the researcher provides a critical analysis of the study, the study's limitations and areas for future research to enhance the field of school counseling supervision.


Ph.D. of Human Development

Dissertation Title: Effects of Nutrition Education and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Knowledge of Antioxidants and Biomarkers of Inflammations and Chronic Disease

Advisor: Dr. Yeong Rhee

Obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions contributing to the majority of Americans experiencing a state of chronic inflammation. Associations between inflammation, oxidative stress, and increased disease risk contribute to detrimental consequences of obesity. Regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress is possible via antioxidants consumed through a diet adequate in fruits and vegetables but consumption among adults is poor. Previous studies have assessed the impact of fruit, vegetable, and antioxidant consumption on oxidative stress and inflammation among healthy individuals. However, no studies have examined effects of education and fruit and vegetable consumption on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and other chronic disease biomarkers in a single study of overweight and obese adults. The purposes of this study were to examine effects of nutrition education and fruit and vegetable consumption on: interest and knowledge related to antioxidants; consumption patterns; weight, body mass index (BMI), body composition, blood lipids, and blood glucose; and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. Fifty-four adults (19 men/35 women; age 44.7±12.1 y; BMI 33.2±7.7 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups. The control group received no intervention, the education group attended weekly nutrition lessons, and the fruit and vegetable group attended weekly nutrition lessons and received one serving of fruits and two servings of vegetables per day for 10 weeks. Fruit and vegetable-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors were assessed using questionnaires. Fruit, vegetable, and antioxidant consumption was assessed using semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires and three-day food records and anthropometric measurements and fasting blood draws were conducted. Results indicated improvements in fruit and vegetable-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and increased consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables following nutrition education. Associations existed between increased fruit and vegetable consumption and improvements in LDL cholesterol. However, minimal associations between changes in consumption of fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were indicated. In order to be effective, nutrition intervention programs need to thoroughly address participants’ fruit and vegetable-related knowledge and attitudes, provide exposure to fruits and vegetables, and promote adequate consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables while concurrently emphasizing management of overall energy intake.

JUNE 2010-JULY 2011


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  Utilizing E-Health Messages to Improve Employee Health and Wellness

Advisor: Dr. Ardith Brunt

Employees who participate in a worksite wellness program experience positive outcomes. Therefore, employers are seeking cost effective methods to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors in their employees. There were three purposes of this research study.  The first purpose was to determine if incorporating weekly e-health messages related to the seven dimensions of wellness had a positive effect on lowering health risks. The second purpose was to assess the effectiveness of e-health messages to motivate individuals in progressing through the stages of change constructs. The last purpose was to determine if gender, participant motivation, or length of intervention would alter participation in a worksite wellness initiative using e-health messages.

This quasi-experimental study consisted of 105 participants. Participants completed a wellness survey and biometric testing at baseline and at the end of the study. The intervention utilized weekly e-health messages.

Forty-six participants completed biometric testing. Of those, 31 had biometric measures that identified them as at higher risk for chronic disease, of which 25 improved in at least one area regardless of the type of message.

A total of 31 participants completed both Pre- and Post-Wellness Survey. All study groups showed positive advancement along the change continuum. Nearly half of the study participants obtained their self-identified health goal. Individuals who received basic e-health messages had a significant increase in goal obtainment compared to individuals who received more detailed messages.

There was a significant difference between the four group’s participation rates (p=0.002). More participants from the motivated groups opened at least one e-health message compared to unmotivated groups. Participants who indicated at baseline they wanted to receive e-health messages had nearly double the participation rate. Of the 27 participants who did not open any of the e-health messages, 19 were from the unmotivated group. Participation rates decreased by one e-health message for each month into the intervention.

E-health messages are a low time-commitment and low-cost way to encourage motivated employees to make behavioral health changes. These changes can help lower the risk of chronic disease. E-health messages can assist employees in moving along the change continuum to help reach their goals.



Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Defining the EdD and the PhD in Education: A Delphi Study

Advisor:  Dr. Nathan Wood

This Policy Delphi explored how experts perceived the differences between the EdD and PhD in education and the surrounding issues.  It also identified barriers to differentiation, a core knowledge base, and desired outcomes for the EdD and PhD degrees in education.  The Policy Delphi was completed in three rounds.  It used an instrument for the analysis of policy issues that sought information from a panel of experts in an effort to present all the issues and supporting evidence for consideration (Linstone & Turoff, 1975). 

The areas where panelists agreed to disagree frequently, or had the most non-consensus items, were in the sections of philosophy, barriers, and additional comments.  There was a higher level of agreement for the core knowledge base and the desired outcome sections as compared to the other sections.  The core knowledge base section was the most similar of any section with a great deal of overlap between the EdD items and the PhD items.  The results parallel the literature (Brown, 1990; Shulman, Golde, Bueschel, & Garabedian, 2006; Toma, 2002; Townsend, 2002) in that there are few actual differences between the content and coursework of the degrees.

Understanding the differences between EdD and PhD degrees is important because they impact not only policy and the decisions institutions make, but also students, society, and future stakeholders.  This study makes a significant contribution to institutions as well as their development and continued assessment of doctoral programs in education.  As a Policy Delphi, this study identified the critical areas for discussion by decision-makers.


Ph.D. of Education:  Institutional Analysis and Occupational and Adult Education

Dissertation Title:  Strategies for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in Technology Education

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

This study examined the leadership role technology education professionals should play in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education.  It provides strategies for technology education curriculum, pre-service and in-service programs as well as leadership within the technology education profession.  The current curricular and methodology trends were examined in technology education as well as the issues related to STEM education.  The study sought to answer the following research questions:  (a) What are the current curricular and methodology trends affecting technology teacher education programs?  (b) What are the issues in STEM education? (c) What strategies can be recommended to effectively address Technology and Engineering in STEM? (d) What strategies can be recommended to meet the needs of future pre-service teachers in Technology Education? And (e) How can the Technology Education profession position itself as a leader in STEM education?  Suggestions for future research were also offered.



Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  Person-Centered Academicians' Perceptions of Intuition in Counselor and Psychotherapist Education and Practice               

Advisor: Dr. Wade Hannon

The overall endeavor of this qualitative study was to advance awareness about the construct of intuition and its function in the education, training, and practice of counseling and therapy through rigorous exploration and examination, utilizing the conceptual framework of the Heuristic Research Method. An exploratory study was conducted to observe the phenomenological experiences of Person-Centered Academicians' perceptions of intuition in counseling, psychotherapy, and pedagogy. Six semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews were conducted to increase comprehensive insight into the co-researchers' experience and to acquire further understanding about intuition within the professions of counseling and psychotherapy. The five major themes which emerged are (a) conceptualizing intuition, (b) understanding the process of intuition, (c) intuitive occurrences in the therapeutic setting, (d) fostering intuition in counseling/psychotherapist education, and (e) and tenets of Person-Centered theory relating to intuition. Recommendations for further research were discussed.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Impact of Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation, Employment Status, Parity, and Other Social-Ecological Factors on Lactation Duration for New Mothers in Upstate New York 

 Advisor: Dr. Kathy Enger

The purpose of this study, that analyzed the existing Feeding Your Infant (FYI) dataset, was to examine the impact of Baby-Friendly (BF) Hospital designation, employment, parity, and other social-ecological factors on lactation status at three months postpartum in upstate New York. The FYI dataset was analyzed using an adapted version of the Bronfenbrenner Social-Ecological Systems Framework. A convenience sample of 842 breastfeeding mothers was surveyed at baseline between two sites – one a BF designated hospital, and one a community-based hospital with a mature breastfeeding program. Of the 515 mothers who returned the three month survey, 409 (79.4%) were still breastfeeding. Using t-tests, Chi square, multiple correspondence analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis, the following findings were reported: Maternal age of 31 to 35 years, women with 16 or more years of education, and married women, were statistically more likely to be breastfeeding at three months postpartum than younger, unmarried, and less educated women. In addition, mothers who reported a history of “mastitis and/or breast infection,” and those who expected a maternity leave greater than 3 months, were also more likely to be breastfeeding. Those who had a prior live birth, who reported having a “not fussy” baby, and those who associated breastfeeding with “convenience” were more likely to be breastfeeding. A mother’s race, parity status, expected amount of paid maternity leave, perception of having a “sleepy baby,” experience with engorgement, experience with sore and/or bleeding nipples, and a mother’s delivery site, whether BF designated or not, were not statistically significant. Within the multiple logistic regression analysis, predictors of breastfeeding status at three months postpartum were: insufficient milk, the perception of “too much time,” and mothers’ educational level.

In light of “the 2011 U.S. Surgeon’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” and the growing interest in The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, these findings have important implications for education, practice, policy, and future research.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Building Sense of Community in Rural North Dakota Towns: Opportunities for Community Education 

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of multiage instruction with experts who have best practice knowledge or practitioner expertise in the multiage classroom.  This investigation provided a foundation of knowledge on multiage instruction, and training and resources needed for the successful implementation of multiage instruction.

A Delphi methodology was utilized which consisted of three rounds of surveys.  The population comprised two panels of experts, multiage theory experts and multiage practitioner experts, based in required criteria for each panel set. A total of 21 experts completed Round One, which consisted of 55 Likert scale statements.  A total of 20 experts completed Round Two, which consisted of 31 statements/questions.  A total of 20 experts completed Round Three, which consisted of 29 statements.

The panel experts in this study agreed that multiage instruction remains a credible practice today that should be recognized and supported by state boards of education.  They also agreed that once oriented to the philosophy and after their child has spent time in the classroom, parents tend to be generally excited about the practice of multiage instruction.  The experts further agreed that children of all abilities and needs can be successful in the classroom.  In terms of training and preparation, experts agreed that parents, teachers, school boards, principals, and superintendents all should receive training on the philosophy and strategies of multiage instruction in order for it to be a successful practice.  They further agreed that it is difficult to find regular training and conferences geared for elementary teachers who work in multiage settings.

In this study, panel experts identified strategies that multiage teachers use including how the room is arranged, flexible grouping, theme-based learning, collaborative learning, and peer mentoring.  Through open-ended questioning, panelists also identified challenges as well as training and resource needs.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Practices to Increase the Academic Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Rural Students in High Poverty Schools 

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, beginning with children in their earliest years.  The greatest challenge facing public education has been the education of all students to proficiency, with the most difficult aspect of this challenge as teaching the underachieving children of poverty.  The enactment of No Child Left Behind, Public Law 107-110 (NCLB) has brought increased accountability standards for public schools to the forefront.  Narrowing the achievement gap for poor and minority students has become a concentrated focus.  It is necessary that elementary school teachers are knowledgeable of the instructional strategies, interventions, best practices, and environments to ensure that students who live in poverty learn and achieve acceptable standards of academic excellence and school success.

This study investigated the interventions implemented for increased student achievement in elementary schools in North Dakota with high-poverty enrollments.  It was accomplished by examining the factors associated with lower academic achievement for children living in poverty.  The study also explored the school-based practices that are perceived to help increase the academic achievement of children living in poverty.

This was a quantitative survey study with a target population of 29 elementary schools in North Dakota who are considered high-poverty.  Survey data from 176 elementary teachers (69% response rate) indicated that both rural and urban schools participated in the study.  The data were collected and analyzed to ascertain basic descriptive statistics, t-test, and ANOVA analysis.  The comments from each section of the survey were qualitatively coded, themed, and reported.

The conclusions were that the elementary schools in North Dakota, serving 40% or more students living in poverty who made Adequate Yearly Progress as determined by performance on the North Dakota State Assessment, are using a majority of the best practices reflected in the research about high-performing, high-poverty schools.  The data suggest that parenting skills and attendance issues were identified as having an effect on student achievement most often.  The study revealed that there should be a concentrated effort towards parenting workshops for families living in poverty through the school and other community organizations.

The study also indicated that the teachers’ highest level of agreement for increasing achievement was having high expectations for all students.  Teachers reported that the use of assessments to monitor progress, to measure progress, and guide instruction were utilized to a high degree.  Classroom management with rules and routines established, rapid pace of instruction, and a combination of negative and positive reinforcements were also identified as being used in high-achieving schools serving students living in poverty.



Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Current Status and Future Direction of Post-Professional Graduate Athletic Training Education: A Delphi Study

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the current status and future direction of post-professional graduate athletic training education.  The study was guided by four research questions that addressed health care education models, and current and future post-professional education.

A Delphi methodology was utilized which consisted of three rounds of surveys.  The population consisted of two panels of experts, post-professional faculty and leaders in athletic training, based on the required and preferred additional criteria for each panel.  A total of 23 experts completed found one, which consisted of 37 Likert-scale statements.  A total of 19 experts completed round two, which consisted of 42 statements.

The experts agreed that professional education should be supported at the post-baccalaureate level and housed in a School of Allied Health Professions.  They also agreed that there is a concern that professional students are being encouraged to diversify in their masters’ degree and accept a graduate position in a non-athletic training masters’ degree.  However, they were not able to reach consensus as to whether professional education should remain at the undergraduate level or move to the masters’ level.

In addition, the experts agreed that more post-professional masters’ programs should be developed and that accreditation should be required of all post-professional educational programs.  The experts also believe that all post-professional education should be optional.  Although the experts agreed that if professional education moves to the masters’ level, post-professional could evolve into PhD programs; the post-professional could evolve into PhD programs; the post-professional faculty were not able to reach consensus on this.  The experts also agreed that a residency experience should be different from a traditional graduate assistant experience by incorporating clinical mentoring and structured development of advanced knowledge and focusing on a specialized area.  However, the experts’ suggestions for potential specialty areas varied.  In addition the experts’ suggestions for potential specialty areas varied.  In addition, the experts were not in favor of a clinical practice doctorate as a professional, advanced, or terminal athletic training degree.  Overall, the experts believed that all post-professional education should be optional and that it can help bring parity with other health care professions.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  A Descriptive Study of Athletic Training Education Programs Based on Findings on CAATE Standard H and Program Evaluations

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

There is limited research that describes the evaluation procedures utilized by Athletic Training Education Programs (ATEP). The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the process the CAATE member institutions use to assess outcome-based standards in Standard H. This research used a cross-sectional study design. A survey link was sent to the 371 undergraduate and graduate Entry-Level Athletic Training Education Program Directors listed on the CAATE website. An online survey instrument was used to collect information about the key factors involved in the assessment of the CAATE-accredited programs. Descriptive statistics were used to assess program director demographics and program demographics. Frequency responses were used to determine performance on the CAATE Standard H during the most recent accreditation visit and to determine the types of tools used to assess the outcome-based standards in Standard H. BOC exam pass rates were the most frequently used tool to evaluate achievement outcomes relative to educational mission and goals (N = 84, n = 76, f = 90.5%). The most frequently used tool to evaluate achievement outcomes relative to the quality of didactic instruction was academic course performance (N = 83, n = 65, f = 78.3%). Clinical-instructor evaluations were the most frequently used tool to evaluate achievement outcomes relative to clinical instruction (N = 84, n = 84, f = 100.0%). The results indicated that program directors use similar assessment tools to evaluate outcomes for Standard H. The similarity of the assessment tools may be a factor of the types of materials listed as acceptable for outcome evaluations by the CAATE. The types of materials that the CAATE accredited programs use to evaluate the program are similar to materials reportedly used for accreditation purposes of other allied health fields. Twenty program directors indicated that they had issues with this standard during their last accreditation visit (f = 23.8%). The fact that program directors are still reporting problems with meeting the CAATE Standard H indicates that there is still confusion about what is necessary to meet this standard.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  Re-Partnering in Later Life: A Qualitative Study of "Young-Old" Remarriage                  

Advisor: Dr. Gregory Sanders

The current study was initiated as an exploration of older adults' transitIon to remarriage. It included in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 11 individuals (seven females, four males) who had remarried between the ages of 55 and 75 and had been married 5 or fewer years. Analysis of data resulted in two articles found in Chapters 3 and 4. The first article presents the salient themes of "young-old" remarriage: positive orientation towards remarriage, practical/pragmatic view of the union, willingness to adapt, recognition of others' feelings, and desire for companionship. The second article outlines information about the time prior to marriage and the courtship process. Four mediating factors of courtship and the transition to remarriage were identified: importance of compatibility, influence of past relationships; role of age, and role of technology.


Ed.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  A Delphi Survey Process on a Decentralized Educational System in Southern Sudan

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of this study was to develop a comprehensive educational/training model for decentralization components to empower educational programs in southern Sudan. The study’s purpose was accomplished by using a panel of 17 well-known global experts who were knowledgeable about the decentralized educational system and the political situation in the Republic of the Sudan. The experts used an in-depth analysis of the study topic that involved usage of a Delphi survey process to transform the literature review constructs of the study. This process helped conceptualize and predict the principles involved in the outcomes of a decentralized educational system in southern Sudan.

The findings from the panelists’ responses and analysis provided the basis for creating an educational/training model for education decentralization based on a relevant instructional framework. This framework consists of a variety of core variables categorized under five domains: (1) mission and vision of a decentralized educational system in southern Sudan, (2) centralization vs. decentralization, (3) factors to success commonly affecting implementation of a decentralized educational system in southern Sudan, (4) strategies for putting in place the new schooling system in each of the communities in southern Sudan, and (5) the impact of decentralization on education and its influence on local governance in southern Sudan.

The data collected from the Delphi process showed that the impact of two decades of civil war and use of the Arabic language as the medium of instruction in southern Sudan schools created differences in educational standards between the north and the south. Thus, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) attempts to identify mechanisms to address the five core domains of the findings from the panelists’ responses, which involved (1) control of educational system and decision-making on educational programs in southern Sudan, and (2) using the English language as medium of instruction in all the schools under a decentralized educational system that meets cultural needs.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title: The Experience of Older Foster Parents

Advisor:Dr. Gregory Sanders

This research was designed to better understand the experiences of foster parents over the age of 62 in the provision of foster care services. In this qualitative study, 37 foster parents, age of 62 and over, were interviewed to gain an in-depth understanding of their experience. Two articles report the results of this research in Chapters III and IV.  The first article presents the themes that reflect the participants’ experiences as older foster parents. The second article focuses on foster parent experiences with support. Themes related to these older foster parents’ overall experiences included: desire to help and make a difference; continuation of family; spouses may influence motivation; and contributing back to the younger generations; expressions of personal values; having support matters; stamina influences activities; society and change; and being older is a real strength.  Themes related to support included: social worker relationship is primary; support groups provide a context of respect and understanding; education and training build confidence; respite enables continuation; family and community supports make a difference; financial supports are valued but not a motivator; and life experience is a support to draw upon.. Older foster parents consistently experienced their age and life experience as a strong contributor to self efficacy.

More unique motivations for becoming and continuing as an older foster parent, compared to foster parents in general, included continuation of a family experience and giving back to younger generations through service. These foster parents effectively accommodated challenges of physical stamina related to activities with children. 

Future practice considerations should focus on the inclusion of older foster parents as a valuable resource in agency services to children.  Their motivations and competence provided a strong contingent of this needed resource.  As individuals approach retirement, new information with regard to this group, such as a desire to continue a sense of family and a desire to give back, in combination with positive health and positive accommodation for reduced stamina, may well establish this age group as a focus for foster care recruitment.  The increased understanding of the needs of older foster parents indicated that what had been done to effectively support foster parents in general was also effective with older foster parents. In addition, group support experiences were clearly effective with these foster parents.

Future research should include a study of effective recruitment strategies and differences in experienced older foster parents and inexperienced older foster parents. It will also be important to research child outcomes in relation to age of the foster parents and to explore the impact of foster parent age on the relationship with the foster child’s parents and family members.


Ph.D.of Education

Dissertation Title:  Teacher Burnout in North Dakota       

Advisor: Dr. Ron Stammen

The purpose of this mixed study dissertation was to determine if teachers in North Dakota public schools show signs of teacher burnout and the extent to which NCLB is a major stress factor. 

The research questions were:  To what extent are teachers experiencing symptoms of burnout?  What are the factors of burnout?  The research hypothesis was:  The policies of No Child Left Behind are the highest stress factor for teachers in North Dakota public schools.

This study used an electronic, web-based data collection procedure.  This was accomplished by surveying members of the North Dakota Education Association.  The target population was 2,000 teachers in public schools in North Dakota, with 687 (34% response rate) participating in this study.  The data collected and analyzed basic descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and a one-way ANOVA test.  The comments from teachers on their present job satisfaction were qualitatively coded, themed and reported.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory for educators was used for instrumentation which included 22 questions forming three sub-scales:  Depersonalization, Emotional Exhaustion, and Personal Accomplishment.  A seven-job satisfaction variable survey was used to determine what variables may cause teacher burnout.  The seven variables were: principal leader-ship, school funding, AYP, salaries, work environment, feedback on teaching and superintendent leadership.

Conclusions for question one were: teachers in ND do not feel good about their competency or effectiveness in the classroom:  there is low teacher morale; teachers do not exhibit depersonalization or blaming of their students; ND teachers are not cynical; and teachers have moderate levels of emotional exhaustion and struggle with factors of time on job and meetings.

Question two conclusions were: female, elementary teachers in large school districts show the most stress for making AYP, a factor for burnout; the more education a teacher has the less satisfied they are with the leadership of the principal; which is not the case for their superintendent.  Teachers were satisfied with work environment and feedback on their job performance.

The Research hypothesis was rejected because teachers do not feel that the NCLB policies were the highest stress factors compared to those on the MBI-ES survey.  The highest stress factors for North Dakota teachers were salaries and school funding.

Four themes emerged from the survey respondent comments: lack of time, high-stakes testing, financial concerns and control issues.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: A Mixed-Methods Study Examining the Effectiveness of Psychosocial Occupational Therapy Preparation for Therapists Working With Children in Schools

Advisor:  Dr. Kathy Enger

This mixed-methods research study was conducted for the purpose of examining school-based occupational therapists’ child psychosocial knowledge and attitudes, along with how therapists developed this knowledge and attitudes.  Using a phenomenological qualitative approach, the study addressed the following broad research question:  What meaning do school-based occupational therapists give to their experience in developing child psychosocial knowledge?  Using a quantitative approach, a survey instrument was used to answer the following questions:  (a) What level of child psychosocial knowledge and attitudes do school-based occupational therapists possess?  (b) How do the following variables impact child psychosocial knowledge and attitudes;  (1) level of education, (2) academic course content, (3) participation in mental health fieldwork, (4) application of psychosocial knowledge in non-mental health fieldwork, (5) professional practice experiences, and (6) continuing education experiences.

Snowball sampling was used to select 11 school-based occupational therapists for the phenomenological portion of the design.  Data were analyzed using Giorgi and Giorgi’s (2008) method of phenomenological analysis.  Random sampling was used to select 1,000 school-based therapists who were mailed the Occupational Therapy Child Mental Health Questionnaire based upon The Teacher Mental Health Opinion Inventory (Morris, 2002).  The response was N = 630.  Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and analysis of association.

Using the mixed-methods triangulation convergence model, where both quantitative and qualitative data were collected at the same time and the results converged during interpretation by comparing and contrasting them, the following conclusions were made:  (a) school-based occupational therapists possess and use child psychosocial knowledge; however, they do not believe it is sufficient; (b) school-based occupational therapists have a difficult time articulating psychosocial knowledge; however, through case descriptions they are able to give many examples of psychosocial knowledge they use in practice; (c) school-based occupational therapists believe that holistic, occupation-based, and client-centered practice, along with additional psychosocial intervention strategies, help them maintain a positive attitude toward children with emotional disturbance; (d) school-based occupational therapists experience tension when attempting to apply their holistic, occupation-based, and client-centered practice in an environment that is typically focused on students changing to meet the environmental demands; (e) due to the constraints of the educational system and the IEP, school-based occupational therapists practice holistically by incorporating psychosocial knowledge in a hidden fashion; (f) school-based occupational therapists believe that mental health fieldwork and rich experiences with individuals who have mental illness is important to developing a comfort level with people who have mental illness; (g) school-based occupational therapists do not readily connect the learning from adult mental health fieldwork that they apply in their school-based practices.


Ph.D. in Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title: Weight-Related Health Behaviors and Body Mass: Associations Between Young Adults and Their Parents, Moderated by Parenting Styles

Advisor:  Dr. Joel Hektner

The incidence of overweight conditions among children and adolescents is a growing national concern. Although current literature suggests that parental health behaviors could influence health behaviors of children, studies have not explored the actual predictive relationships of parents’ and their children’s weight statuses and weight-related behaviors. In addition, current studies have not tested the influence of parental authority, family communication, or demographic characteristics on the relationships.

This study first examines factors that contribute to overweight conditions among children and adolescents and the associated costs. Studies of interventions that target children’s and adolescents’ weight-related health are then reviewed and provide evidence that parental involvement contributes to intervention success. The theory of planned behavior, social cognitive theory, social action theory, and systems theory are discussed and support the notion that parental influences contribute to the development of children’s weight-related health behaviors. To test the relationships, 151 young adults and their parents were recruited and completed a series of questionnaires to describe their weight statuses, dietary behaviors, and physical activity behaviors. In addition, the young adult participants completed questionnaires to further describe their parents’ parental authority and their family communication environments during childhood and adolescence.

Comparisons of body mass index, average daily energy consumption, average weekly energy expenditure, and physical activity enjoyment of young adult participants and their parents were conducted with correlation analyses and paired-samples t-tests. Further, multiple regression analyses were used to explore the influence of parental authority and family communication, and demographic characteristics were also considered.

The empirical results of the current study indicate that, overall, parents’ weight statuses and dietary behaviors help predict weight statuses and dietary behaviors of their young adult children. Further, parent authority scales interact with the relationships. At high levels of authoritarian and permissive parental authorities, young adults tend to have weight statuses that are opposite to those of their parents; at high levels of authoritarian parenting, young adults also tend to follow opposite dietary consumption patterns. The findings in this study have implications for professional practice, parenting practices, and the design of intervention activities. Recommendations for future research are provided.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Understanding the Leaky Engineering Pipeline:  Motivation and Job Adaptability of Female Engineers

Advisor: Dr. Kathy Enger

This dissertation is a mixed-method study conducted using qualitative grounded theory and quantitative survey and correlation approaches.  The purpose of the study is to explore the motivation and adaptability of females in the engineering profession and, thereby, to develop a theoretical framework for both motivation and adaptability issues.  This study aims to design solutions for the low enrollment and attention of female engineers in the engineering profession, often referred to as the “leaky female engineering pipeline.”  This study addresses the following research questions:  (1) What motivated the females to select engineering as their career field?  (2) How adaptable are the female engineers in the profession?  (i) What are the positive aspects of the engineering profession that the female engineers perceive?  (ii) What are the negative aspects of the engineering profession that the female engineers perceive?  (3) How should a preliminary theoretical framework for motivation and adaptability of female engineers in the engineering field by designed based on the findings  (4) How are the different job-adaptability factors correlated to the self-perceived job-adaptability factor of female engineers in the engineering profession?  (5) How reliable and valid is the preliminary survey instrument for measuring female engineers’ job adaptability?  (6) What do the female engineers’ career, educational, and community-related plans or ambitions reflect about their adaptability in the engineering field?  (7) What are the significant adaptability factors identified from the overall study?

Through the qualitative approach 123 female engineers’ profiles were studied, whereas for the quantitative survey 98 completed responses were analyzed.  The qualitative, grounded-theory approach applied the constant comparison method:  open, axial, and selective coding was used to categorize the information as categories, sub-categories, and themes for both motivation and adaptability.  The emergent themes for motivation include cognitive, emotional, and environmental factors motivating female enrollment decisions.  The themes identified for adaptability include the seven job adaptability factors motivating female enrollment decisions.  The themes identified for adaptability include the seven job adaptability factors:  job satisfaction, risk-taking attitude, careers/skill development, family, gender stereotyping, interpersonal skills, and personal benefit, as well as the self-perceived job adaptability factor. 

Illeris’ Three-dimensional Learning Theory was modified as a model for motivation of female enrollment decisions.  A firsthand conceptual parallelism of McClusky’s Theory of Margin was suggested for the adaptability of female engineers I the profession.  Also, designing a survey instrument was attempted to measure job adaptability of female engineers.  The study identifies two factors that are very significantly related to job adaptability:  interpersonal skills (< p = 0.01) and family (< p = 0/05).  Gender stereotyping and personal benefit are the two factors that are somewhat significantly (< p = 0.1) related.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Relationship Among Workload, Job Satisfaction, and Burnout of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals from Six Land-Grant Universities 

Major Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of this study was to determine what job responsibilities Extension 4-H youth development professionals (n = 241) chose to spend their work time doing and how the workload related to their job satisfaction and burnout.  They were asked to rank order seven common, predetermined job responsibilities, based on the 4-H Professional, Research, Knowledge, and Competencies (4-H PRKC), and to identify their level of job satisfaction and burnout.  The study utilized quantitative methods for gathering data from 4-H youth development Extension professionals from 6 land-grant universities.

Over the past 25 years, there has been an increase in research investigating burnout and job satisfaction.  Burnout is a serious issue that can lead to decreased productivity for the employee and increased costs for the employer.  Finding the connections among burnout, job satisfaction, and work environment is important to help reduce problems, including work overload.  Based on the previous research on workload, burnout, and job satisfaction, 4-H youth development professionals are prime candidates for experiencing low job satisfaction and increased burnout, which may lead to professionals leaving the organization early.

To determine the workload, 4-H youth development professionals were asked to rank seven job responsibilities for each of the domains that are common to the youth development profession.  The job responsibility that had the lowest mean of any from the six domains was #1 “using volunteer committees” in the volunteerism domain, with 71.9% of the respondents ranking it as one of the top two job responsibilities within the domain.

Determining job satisfaction related to the individual job responsibilities was the first measurement used in identifying the level of job satisfaction in the survey.  The youth development domain’s job responsibility #6 “develop programs to practice life skills” provided the respondents the greatest degree of job satisfaction (M = 1.93, SD = 0.72) of any of the responsibilities with the six 4-H PRKC domains.  The second instrument used to assess job satisfaction for 4-H youth development professionals was the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS), in which the mean score was 3.72 (SD = 0.79).  The third and final measurement used to determine job satisfaction was the self-reported overall level of job satisfaction.  The mean for the self-reported overall job satisfaction was 2.20 (SD = 0.83).

The greatest degree of burnout (M = 3.21, SD = 1.26) within any of the domains was in the youth development domain with job responsibility #7 “dealing with conflict management.”  This job responsibility also indicated a negative relationship between the workload rank score and job responsibility burnout (r = -0250).  The overall mean for the Burnout survey was 3.84 (SD = 0.86).  The greatest burnout came from the work within the youth development domain.

The 4-H youth development professionals reported feeling very little overall burnout related to their job.  The overall self-reported mean for burnout was 2.75 (SD = 1.17).  They also reported being satisfied with their current job (M = 2.20, SD = 0.83).


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Data Mining for Higher Education Advancement:  A Study of Eight North American Colleges and Universities

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

The purpose of the study was to examine alumni advancement databases at eight public and private higher-education institutions in North America to identify variables that predict the overall likelihood of alumni giving.  A multiple regression analysis was completed for each institution.  The analyses tested the predictive power of all potential candidate predictor variables created through examination of data fields provided by the advancement offices of the eight institutions.

Although this study identified a number of single-predictor variables strongly correlated with cumulative lifetime giving through fiscal year 2008, it was the linear combination of these variables (multiple linear regression) that revealed their collective power to predict alumni giving.  Further, the researcher developed predictive scores (1-20) for each alumnus record where these records could be used to focus advancement resources on alumni most likely to give.

The model for each institution was tested by evaluating the percentage of alumni who gave anything in each of these 20 categories during FY 2009.  A chi-square test of these data revealed a highly significant relationship between score level and giving in FY 2009.  The research provided detailed information about how advancement staff for higher-education institutions can develop unique statistical models from alumni databases to help predict those most likely to provide financial support.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Assessing Minority Students’ Perceptions and Attrition at a Predominantly White Institution

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

The enrollment, retention, persistence, and overall college experience of minority students are topical issues in colleges and universities, and even more so in predominantly White institutions (PWIs) where minority students encounter difficulties adjusting to the campus environment (Bennett & Okinaka, 1989; Jay & D’Augelli, 1991).

This study analyzed historic enrollment/drop-out data to investigate changes in minority students’ attrition patterns, as well as the sensitivity to demographic characteristics, at a PWI that has conducted campus climate (CC) studies and progressively implemented survey recommendations (CCSRs). Data from an on-line survey, and information from focus group interviews, were also used to analyze students’ perception of CC at the PWI, and the sensitivity of perceptions to students’ demographic characteristics.

There was no significant impact on minority students’ overall attrition pattern following the implementation of CCSRs at the PWI; however, male minority students were more likely, than their female peers, not to attrite following CCSRs implementation. Although minority students were generally aware and appreciative of efforts to enhance CC at the PWI, their perceptions were strongly unfavorable with regard to the level of diversity at the PWI, the level of inclusion in decision making, and the services provided by Residence Life and Housing. Overall, minority students’ gender and class were found to be critical variables in their perception of CC-related issues, with implications in the design of CC-related efforts at the PWI as well as for further studies. The findings underscore the importance for PWIs to match commitments with actions on CC-related issues.


JULY 2009-JUNE 2010


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Kindergarten Teachers' Perceptions of Factors Related to Academic Achievement for Rural Children Living in Poverty        

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of this study is to describe which skills and characteristics kindergarten teachers identify as factors that differentiate rural kindergarten students who do well in kindergarten despite living in poverty. Academic success in kindergarten predicts further academic success throughout life.  Children raised in poverty often have limited academic and life achievement that begins in their earliest school years. Why some children raised in poverty achieve despite unlikely odds is not fully understood.

An electronic survey was disseminated to members of the North Dakota Kindergarten Association. Kindergarten teachers who teach in public schools answered questions about skills they have observed in successful rural kindergartners from poverty that differentiate them from their nonsuccessful peers.

Kindergarten teachers reported that skills in the emotional, social, cognitive, language and family domains are present in successful kindergartners and distinguish them from their nonsuccessful peers. Moreover, teachers identified other characteristics such as children’s attitudes that appear to help children in poverty succeed despite environmental disadvantages.

Findings provide insight into how educators may develop further ways to promote success at the kindergarten level and ultimately foster academic and life success throughout the lifespan.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  Impact of Using Celebrity Spokes-Characters to Market Fruits and Vegetables to Parents and Children

Advisor:  Dr. Ardith Brunt

The prevalence of overweight especially among children has become a major public health issue. Researchers found in 2003-2006, 16.3% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were and 31.9% were overweight. Overweight children and adolescents are at greater risk for health problems during their youth and as adults.  Diets with low-energy density and high nutrient content have been associated with less weight gain. A strategy to prevent weight gain in children and adolescents is to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables since most fruits and vegetables are foods that have high nutrient density. In spite of the several health benefits, intake of fruits and vegetables among children and adolescents in the United States remains below the recommended level.  

Advertising and marketing play a crucial role in the preference and consumption of food and beverages, especially for children. Therefore, celebrity spokes-characters have been used to market these products to children. There had been some allegations that celebrity spokes-characters had been used to market unhealthy food products to children. Following such allegations, Nickelodeon network has been restricting the use of their licensed characters on packages of non-nutrient dense foods. As part of the new policy celebrity spokes-characters including Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob Square Pants, are seen on packages of fruits and vegetables.  The move behind this initiative is to encourage children to consume more fruits and vegetables.  

The main purpose of the present study is to examine the impact of using celebrity spokes-characters to market fruits and vegetables to parents and children. The study included 233 parents and 218 third and fourth grade students from four schools. Survey and experimental study methods were utilized to examine the effect of celebrity spokes-characters on fruit and vegetable intake among children. Family likes and dislikes was the leading factor that determined purchasing decisions of parents/guardians in regard to fruits and vegetables. In an experimental study the presence of a celebrity spokes-character significantly increased intake of green beans among children. Children ranked taste as the leading factor that was considered in choosing whether or not to consume fruits and vegetables or not.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Social Work Education in Dual Relationships: An Analysis of Undergraduate Knowledge of Ethical Relationships  

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

This study examined ethics education as it relates to non-sexual dual relationships in accredited bachelor of social work programs in the state of Minnesota. The results of the study indicated that the majority of undergraduate social work students in Minnesota reported receiving instruction in ethical issues surrounding non-sexual dual relationships. Participants were asked to respond to 20 ethical dilemmas involving dual relationships. Two participant groups were used, one being a novice group made of university students in introductory social work courses. The second group was an advanced group that consisted of students completing their final advanced sources or field work. The study participants indicated if they believed the social worker was acting ethically or unethically in each scenario and how confident they were in their response. Of the 20 scenarios, advanced students answered 6 of them correctly significantly more often than the novice students. Novice students answered 3 of the 20 scenarios correctly significantly more often than the advance student participation. The advanced students were significantly more confident in answering all the scenarios. The novice students were also significantly more likely to indicate uncertainty when answering the scenarios in 18 of the 20 cases.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Gambling Among Older Adults Perspectives of Behavior, Attitudes and Public Policy 

Advisor:  Dr. Margaret Fitzgerald

This study explored gambling experiences of treatment-seeking adults using a mixed methods approach. A purposeful convenience sample was used to recruit participants with assistance from Gamblers Choice, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. Invitations to participate were mailed to all adults who applied for gambling treatment services from Gamblers Choice between 2005 and 2008. Quantitative data were obtained from 97 survey respondents from four Midwestern states in the U.S. with the majority of respondents residing in in North Dakota (72.2%) and Minnesota (23.7%). Qualitative data were collected from 41 participants; only data collected from adults 55 years of age and older were analyzed for the second article in this document.

The first article, a quantitative analysis, focused on comparing gambling attitudes and behavior of older and young adults ranging in age from 20 to 82. The average age at which older and younger participants first visited a casino differed by approximately 14 years. Both age groups reported spending more money than intended on their last casino visit. One quarter of older gamblers reported spending more than 10 hours gambling during their last casino visit compared to 7% of younger gamblers. Negative impacts such as bankruptcy and job loss were reported in similar frequencies between age groups. Younger adults were more likely than older adults to express positive attitudes toward casino gambling. Fifty percent of older adults and 25% of younger adults reported attending 12 or more Gamblers Anonymous meetings during the past year.

The second article in this document is a qualitative analysis of the personal experiences of older treatment-seeking adults. This portion of the study employed basic interpretive analysis of 11 interviews conducted with a sub-sample of survey respondents over age 55. Participants in the qualitative study ranged in age from 57 to 82. Data analysis revealed six themes: participants conceptualized their gambling problem as an addiction; gambling addiction followed other addictions and mental illnesses experienced by participants; family and friends influenced the development and recovery of participants; gambling addiction; participants' beliefs about casino gambling shaped their gambling behavior; factors such as lack of accountability and life stage manifested as vulnerabilities for the progression of gambling addiction; and losses associated with gambling addiction went beyond fiscal measurement.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Northwest Evaluation Association RIT Scale Compared with the North Dakota State Assessment for High School Students    

Major Professor: Dr. Ron Stammen

This study investigated whether the Northwest Evaluation Association-Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA-MAP) test is an appropriate measure to use as a precursor to the North Dakota State Assessment (NDSA) to help ensure that secondary schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).  The review of literature established a framework from an investigation into whether performance on the North Dakota Math and Reading Assessment can be predicted from Rasch unIT (RIT) Scores.

A mixed-methods concurrent triangulation approach was used to test the four research questions focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of using NWEA-MAP, the extent of its use, the extent to which math performance on the NDSA can be predicted using NWEA-MAP, and the extent to which reading performance on the NDSA can be predicted using NWEA-MAP.  Survey data from 16 Class A principals were used to conduct an in-depth qualitative analysis.  A qualifying sample of historical student data was obtained from four school districts, and a Pearson r correlation and multiple regression statistical analysis were conducted.

The survey data given by the Class A principals revealed that the advantages of using the NWEA-MAP assessment are that it can be used to track student growth over time, that it allows for early intervention and placement of students based on their strengths and weaknesses, that it provides the school with immediate feedback, that it is aligned with state standards, and that it helps school districts meet AYP.  The principals reported that the disadvantages of using the NWEA-MAP assessment included loss of computer lab time due to testing, loss of instructional time, too many assessments, and test scores being of little use.

The results of the statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant correlation between students’ NDSA math test scores, and students’ spring 2008 and fall 2008 MAP math test scores.  The results of the multiple regression statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant correlation between students’ NDSA reading test scores, and students’ spring 2008 and fall 2008 MAP reading test scores.

Although many principals stated multiple purposes for the use of NWEA-MAP, caution should be taken not to assume that a single assessment, such as the NWEA-MAP, has multiple purposes.  The MAP assessment is only a small part of the total assessment picture, and it is intended to be used with other sources of data to make instructional and resource-allocation decisions.

North Dakota school districts will be able to provide high-quality individualized instruction to all students if they utilize a combination of NWEA-MAP assessment data, classroom assessment data, NDSA data, and recommended services that could be provided by the North Dakota Regional Education Associations (NDREAs).


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title: Minnesota School Principals’ Perceptions of Minnesota School Counselors’ Role and Functions       

Advisor: Dr. Brenda Hall 

The purpose of the concurrent mixed methods study was to explore Minnesota principals’ perceptive responses regarding the role and functions of Minnesota school counselors.  A convenience sample of K-12 school principals was used for this study.  Participant criteria was that each individual be a school principal in the state of Minnesota.  School principals’ work e-mail addresses were collected via their schools’ websites to create a database of participants for this study.  For the 2010 Minnesota Principals’ web-based survey, 128 questions were developed by modifying the 2002 Florida Principals’ Survey, which was constructed by changing the Florida School Counselors’ Survey 2000, and adapted by the 1994 Texas Education Agency (1996) survey for Florida (Baggerly, 2002 Zalaquett, 2005).  There were three parts to the survey.  The first part being demographics, the second part asked for the principals’ knowledge of school counselors’ duties by indicating the actual time versus ideal time spent on nineteen job responsibilities, while the third part consisted of three open-ended questions regarding principals’ perceptions of the school counselor.  Responses form 203 school principals revealed that counselors were perceived as having a positive impact on the social, emotional, and academic development of their students.  Limitations of this study, recommendations for future research, and implications for school principals, school counselors, counselor educators and educational leadership educators will be discussed.



Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title: Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) Faculty and Programs: A Status Report of PETE Programs within the Central District Region

Advisor: Dr. Bradford Strand

Universities and Colleges across the country are preparing physical education teachers. However, there is grave concern that teacher preparation programs, more specifically, physical education teacher education (PETE) programs are falling short and students are not receiving an appropriate education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe PETE faculty and programs within the Central District of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD).

Two separate papers were developed for this dissertation. The first paper surveyed PETE faculty employed by institutions in the Central District and described current demographics of the PETE faculty employed by institutions in the Central District. The second paper explained the PETE program curriculum.

The first paper, A Status Report of PETE Faculty in the Central District, investigated PETE Faculty (N=118) located within the Central District (AAHPERD) and provided a status report for the discipline. Metzler and Freedman (1985) and Lawson (1991) believed that through knowing PETE faculty and their professional endeavors, we might have a better understanding of the students in the programs, those who graduate, and those who are becoming the next generation of physical education teachers in our K-12 schools.

The second paper, A Descriptive Analysis of Undergraduate PETE Programs in the Central District, described the content of undergraduate PETE programs located within the Central District (N=44) based on a general program profile, curricular items, field experiences, and professional involvement/development. Overall, the goal was to provide an overview of many key elements of PETE programs that would allow readers to compare their program offerings with others in a similar geographic area. Another goal was to encourage institutions to assess and therefore improve the preparation of future physical education professionals.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Retention of Special Education Teachers in North Dakota    

Advisor: Dr. Kathy Enger

This study examined the reasons special education teachers leave the field of teaching in rural North Dakota.  This mixed study collected information from teachers across North Dakota.  Thirty-seven special education teachers completed a quantitative survey.  The reasons teachers gave for leaving their teaching positions were inadequate time for paperwork, inadequate preparation time, inadequate salary, inadequate travel reimbursement, no input into curriculum decisions, lack of workspace, and lack of resources.

Eight beginning special education teachers were interviewed for the qualitative phase of the study.  Data was analyzed and the following themes were arrived at:  Support from mentors is important for special education teachers in the beginning of their careers, teachers in rural schools have positive safe environments with strong support from the students’ parents, lack of time to complete the excess of paperwork and lack of resources were stressors for special education teachers.

All of the teachers interviewed had positive mentoring experiences.  In the rural areas of North Dakota there was not always an experienced teacher available in the building, so they creatively found alternative mentors.  The teachers did not identify their schools as being rural (as defined in the literature), but rather, used the term “small town” and saw this as a positive setting for a professional teaching experience.  There was an overall description from the teachers being in a safe nurturing environment both at school and at home. 

Beginning teachers described paperwork as overwhelming and excessive.  An overall lack of resources was seen as a barrier to providing the students with needed supports.  Many of the teachers taught all students with disabilities in their schools and were not always confident in all areas of instruction.

The following conclusions are supported by the study:  States should support alternative-preparation programs for teachers to become highly qualified; administrators should provide high quality mentoring for beginning special education teachers during their first 2 years of teaching; special education teachers need to have time built into their schedules to complete paperwork separate from the preparation time.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title: An Examination of the Physical Activity Associated with Deer Hunting in North Dakota 

Advisor: Dr. Bryan Christensen

To evaluate the physical activity associated with deer hunting an accelerometer coordinated with a heart rate (HR) monitor was used to evaluate 22 healthy individuals. The following research topics were assessed: the physical activity levels associated with deer hunting; the difference between one’s physical activity level during the week and while deer hunting; the relationship between subjects’ activity level and filling their tag; the movement patterns associated with deer hunting; the influence of tag type and physical activity patterns; the relationship filling one’s tag and the physiologic response that is commonly referred to as “buck fever”. Measurements were taken every 15 seconds by accelerometry during all activities. Hunting activities were logged by the individuals, which were later matched up with the activity readings (step and activity counts) and HR measurements by time for analysis.

Physical activity associated with deer hunting appears to provide a variety of activity levels overall when different activity parameters (HR, step, and activity counts) are used as a reference. HR data provides results that indicate deer hunting could be considered moderate to intense activity as prescribed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). Step counts also yield results as being adequate for meeting USDHHS recommendations for moderate activity. Activity counts, however, yield results that conclude that hunting meets light activity levels. Significant differences in physical activity were seen between hunting and weekday periods, with hunting having higher levels of physical activity. Movement patterns were lowest in the morning, highest during late to mid afternoon, and decrease slightly from the middle of the day in the later portions of the afternoon. Hunters’ activity logs indicated the majority of the time was spent traveling in vehicle or walking during the hunting activities. Hunters who were more active in their hunting practices were also significantly more likely to fill their tag; in addition those who possessed a buck tag were significantly more active than those who had doe tags in the accumulation of physical activity. The phenomenon of “buck fever” was confirmed in this study as being non-tag specific and possibly being dependent on individual excitatory mechanisms.

In conclusion, a weekend of deer hunting in which deer drives are utilized would appear to meet or exceed the weekly recommendations for the accumulation of physical activity as set forth by the USDHHS. Moreover, deer hunting provides more activity than what is seen by an individual during the week. Accumulating elevated levels of physical activity may help to fill one’s deer tag, more specifically persons who possessed buck tags appear to have been more active in their hunting style. Movement patterns associated with deer hunting appear to be motivated by time of day and method of hunting preference. Buck fever in reference to a maximum heart rate does appear to exist, but may be dependent on individual physiological responses to hunting. 


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Impact of an On-line Educational Video and a Medical Amnesty Policy on College Students' Intentions to Seek Help in the Presence of Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

Institutions have implemented educational programs and medical amnesty policies to reduce the risk of college student deaths due to alcohol poisoning. Medical amnesty policies promise students amnesty from campus judicial sanctions when a student calls for help due to over-consumption of alcohol. To date, there is little published evidence to suggest medical amnesty policies increase helping behavior.

This study tested the impact of an on-line alcohol poisoning video and a medical amnesty policy on students’ self-reported likelihood of seeking help when witnessing alcohol poisoning symptoms. It also explored whether or not there were differences in help-seeking by gender (male, female), drinking level (i.e. heavy vs. light drinkers), and age (i.e. students under 21 vs. students 21 and over). In addition, the impact of an on-line alcohol poisoning video and a medical amnesty policy on students; recognition of and concern for alcohol poisoning symptoms was assessed. Finally, students reported on sources of help they would most likely use if they were to seek help.

A randomly selected sample of 5,000 students was randomly assigned into four groups: comparison group (R0) and three treatment groups (R1, R2, R3). All four groups were asked to read a hypothetical scenario that involved a college student bystander who observed a drunken peer exhibiting the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. The comparison group did not receive any interventions (no medical amnesty policy, no on-line alcohol poisoning video). The treatment groups received an on-line alcohol poisoning video (R2), a medical amnesty policy (R3), or both an on-line alcohol poisoning video and a medial amnesty policy (R1). A total of 1,087 students complete the survey.

Findings showed that the medical amnesty policy and the on-line alcohol poisoning video were each independently effective in significantly increasing students’ intentions to seek help as well as when used together. When controlling for gender and drinking level the medical amnesty policy contributed most to students’ intentions to seek help. Women were significantly more likely to report intentions to seek help than were men, regardless of testament group. Students did not differ in their intentions to help by age (under age 21 vs. 21 and older). Abstainers and light drinkers were significantly more likely to report intentions to seek help than were moderate or heavy drinkers. The on-line alcohol poisoning video was effective in significantly increasing recognition of alcohol poisoning symptoms and increasing concern for three alcohol poisoning symptoms (mental confusion, vomiting, and pale skin). Finally, the students in the study reported being most likely to seek help from other students, resident assistants, or medical personnel. 

This study provides evidence to support a medical amnesty policy and an on-line alcohol poisoning video as methods to increase help-seeking behavior among college students. Administrators should consider implementing medical amnesty policies and educational campaigns about alcohol poisoning, and should evaluate the effectiveness on their individual campuses. Educational efforts surrounding medical amnesty policies should be targeted to men and heavy drinkers as these individuals show the lowest likelihood of intentions to seek help.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Role of Recruiters in a Time of Fewer Applications for Public School Superintendencys in Minnesota    

 Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

This study identified and analyzed how those responsible for filling vacant superintendencys identify and recruit applicants for the position of school superintendent in Minnesota, notwithstanding the factors that lead to the diminished pool of potential candidates.

The study affirmed the shortage of superintendent applicants in Minnesota, established the reasons for the shortage as perceived by recruiters, and researched the techniques and strategies employed by these recruiters to compensate for the unwillingness of qualified candidates to apply.

The study established that recruiters rely heavily upon their network of contacts within the education leadership establishment to identify potential applicants, and attempt to match the characteristics and personality of a potential applicant with the unique requirements of the vacant position.

In addition to brochures or other advertising techniques to publicize an opening, consultants use active recruiting techniques such as cold calling, face-to-face meetings, or other personal contact to encourage potential applicants who have been identified as high potential by their associates or peers to consider the possibility of submitting an application.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  A Policy Analysis Perspective of the Teacher Compensation Plan in North Dakota    

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of this study is to provide a policy analysis of the state teacher compensation plan of North Dakota.  The 2001 teacher compensation plan mandated that state monies be used to increase teacher salaries and benefits.  This research provided insight into the extent to which the educational finance policy of dedicating state monies specifically to enhance teacher compensation met the goals of the legislative and executive branches.

This research study has three research objectives and they are: (1) to measure the effect of funding components on the school district’s general fund levy from 1995 to 2001 and from 2001 to 2007, (2) to determine the effect of fiscal years teacher compensation on new state funding monies, and (3) to determine if the teacher compensation plan assisted school districts in teacher recruitment and retention.

A multiple regression equation that was used is Y(predicted school district’s general fund levy) = b1(X1) + b2(X2) + …+b10(X10) + a in order to compute a beta coefficient on ten independent variables.  Research objective two used a ratio to compare two fiscal years teacher compensation increases to the amount of new state funding monies.  Descriptive statistics were used in research objective three where the School Board President, Superintendent, and Teacher Association President were asked to complete a twenty-five question survey on teacher compensation, and teacher recruitment and retention. 

There were four findings of the study: (1) local property taxes increased slightly due to teacher compensation, (2) school districts with an enrollment under 250 were negatively impacted by the teacher compensation plan, (3) the teacher compensation plan had no measurable effect on teacher recruitment or retention, and (4) the School Board President and Teacher Association President had opposite viewpoints in regards to the effect that compensation plans would have on teacher recruitment and retention.

Education is experiencing a shortage of quality teachers due to teachers retiring or leaving the profession. Additional research is essential to determine the impact of teacher compensation on the recruitment and retention of teachers. Replacing teachers will be critical to maintaining the quality of education that citizens have come to expect.

JULY 2008-JUNE 2009


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  A Determination of Basic First Aid Qualifications and Knowledge Among Youth Sport Coaches in Organized Sport 

 Advisor:  Dr. Bradford Strand

The purpose of this dissertation was two-fold; first to complete a research paper on the history of organized youth sport in the United States, and secondly, to complete a research study determining the basic first aid qualifications and knowledge among youth sport coaches in organized sport.

The inception of organized youth sport in the United States began during the mid to late 1800s. With continual growth of organized youth sport throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, youth sport has not been without important, and at times, serious implications. One of the implications (a major focus of this dissertation) involves injury in youth sport and the basic need for qualified youth sport coaches to care for injury situations that might arise during the course of regular season practices or during game competitions.

One hundred, fifty-four youth sport coaches from seven different youth sport organizations were surveyed to determine whether the coaches had the basic first aid (FA) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation/automated external defibrillation (CPR/AED) training to serve their young athletes in the event of an emergent or non-emergent injury or sudden illness. Additionally, coaches were asked whether they had the confidence to manage a basic emergency injury or illness situation should such an occurrence arise during the course of a sports season involving regular practices or game competition. Major findings of this study revealed that only 19% and 46% of the 154 youth sport coaches surveyed were formally trained with basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certifications, respectively. Additional findings indicated that youth sport coaches holding one or two of the suggested certifications, possessed more knowledge and confidence to use that knowledge when faced with FA injury or illness situation. In consideration of these findings, recommendations should be made to encourage or mandate youth sport coaches involved with organized youth sport to become FA and CPR/AED certified.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  An Investigation into the Attitude of Those in the Field of Addiction Treatment Toward the Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices    

Advisor:  Dr. Wade Hannon

The purpose of the study was to investigate the attitudes of those in the field of addiction treatment toward the adoption of Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs). The study included a review of the professional literature and a random survey of addiction treatment Program Directors and Providers employed at treatment facilities identified in the 2006 Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. The findings of the study were that Program Director gender did not have a statistically significant effect on attitude toward EBPs but that Treatment Provider gender did. Neither Program Director nor Treatment Provider level of education had  statistically significant effect on attitude toward EBPs. The recovery status of Program Directors in recovery and Treatment Providers not in recovery was found to have statistically significant effects on attitude toward EBPs. Familiarity with EBPs was found to have a positive effect on attitude toward EBPs. An endorsement and utilization of the Minnesota Model by Treatment Providers was not found to have a statistically significant effect on attitude toward EBPs. 


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  Wellness Promotion on the Campuses of Two-Year and Four-Year Colleges and Universities  

Advisor:  Dr. Bradford Strand

Colleges and universities are concerned about the health of their students and have been promoting ways to improve student health in two areas; health and physical education courses for the general college student as well as campus wellness programs. Although periodic studies have been conducted regarding basic health and physical education over the last 50 years, few have included 2-year institutions and health-related fitness (HRF) courses. Even less research has been conducted on the prevalence and practices of campus wellness programs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct two separate surveys to investigate the current prevalence and practices of health-related fitness courses as well as wellness programs/centers at 2-year and 4-year institutions.

Two separate papers were written for this dissertation. For the first paper, physical education coordinators at 241 institutions in the Central District Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CDA-AAHPERD) were surveyed regarding HRF and physical activity (PA) courses. No statistically significant difference was found between institution type and the prevalence of HRF and PA courses. Findings indicated that 89.2% of the 2-year institutions offered HRF courses and that 86.5% offered PA courses. HRF courses were at 82.0% of the 4-year campuses, and 87.2% had PA courses. In addition, this paper includes information that is currently not available regarding the delivery of HRF courses online. Two-year institutions were significantly more likely to offer online HRF courses than 4-year institutions.

The second paper surveyed wellness directors at the same institutions regarding college student wellness programs and centers. The findings indicated that 64.7% of 2-year institutions had a wellness program and that 68.6% had a wellness center. Wellness programs were in place in 78.6% of the 4-year institutions with 84.0% having wellness centers. There was no different between the prevalence of wellness programs/centers and the type of institution. This study also provides additional information comparing 2-year and 4-year institutions on campus wellness program features and wellness center facilities.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  The Association Between Physical Activity and Screen Time in College Students

Advisor:  Dr. Gary Liguori

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the association between physical activity (PA) and screen time (television viewing, computer use, and video game playing) in college students.  Paper 1 examined descriptive data on college students’ PA habits and sedentary behaviors to assess if any evidence exists that may suggest displacement between PA and screen time.  Male students were significantly more physically active than their female counterparts in terms of days per week engaged in aerobic exercise, strength training, and when categorized by stages of change.  Male students also reported significantly higher levels of overall screen time and television viewing, whereas female students reported significantly higher levels of time engaged in homework.  Regardless of gender or PA levels, when students were categorized according to their PA stage of change, there was no significant difference in the amount of television watched, which suggested that, within a collegiate population, television and PA are not competing behaviors.  Paper 2 sought to determine the relationship among PA, television, computer use, and video game playing throughout a 24-hour period of time and within 4 distinct time blocks which reflect a typical day in the life of a college student.  Students were given a 24-hour time diary to log PA and screen-time behaviors.  Male students reported significantly higher levels of PA, television viewing, and video game use than females across a 24-hour time period.  When the day was categorized by time blocks, males reported significantly greater amounts of time spent viewing television and playing video games across all four blocks of time than did females.  In terms of PA, males reported higher amounts of exercise than females between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm.  Weak relationships existed between PA and screen time across both a 24-hour time period and when categorized by time block, regardless of gender.  Implications of this dissertation suggest that, within a collegiate population, PA, television viewing, computer use, and playing video games are independent of each other and that no relationship exists between PA and any variable of screen time. 


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  A Study of Themed Residential Learning Communities at a Midwest Four-Year University: North Dakota State University    

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

This dissertation used a mixed method study to examine themed residential learning communities and their impact on student learning and development.  This study incorporated a two-phase process, starting with qualitative data gathered from faculty and staff interviews along with semi-structured group interviews of learning community students.  Resulting themes and findings from these interviews were used to formulate a quantitative survey that was administered to students living in four high-rise buildings on the North Dakota State University Campus.  Data analysis procedures included analyzing interview transcripts for these to formulate questions for the survey.  T tests were conducted to find differences among the groups of students determined by residence hall, learning community or control building.  This study found that those learning communities with direct and intentional involvement from the faculty and staff had a greater investment by the students participating in it.  Those students were actively involved in their educational endeavors and took an interest in the learning opportunities presented to them in their living environment.  By further analyzing the learning community’s responses to the quantitative instrument in this study, it was very comparable to other research complete that indicated if a learning community is to be successful there needs to be collaboration between students, faculty and staff.  The resulting information can be useful to those in student affairs and academic affairs with learning communities to assist in creating an enhanced learning environment for students.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Assessment of Critical Thinking Skills Among Undergraduate Athletic Training Students 

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

Critical thinking skills and abilities are essential in the practice of athletic training.  Faced with an array of situations on a daily basis, critical thinking is a key component in the decision-making process exercised by athletic trainers.  The intent of this study was to provide information regarding critical thinking skills of undergraduate athletic training students.  The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) was utilized to assess critical thinking skills among undergraduate athletic training students.  A sample of 78 undergraduate athletic training students from 4 accredited institutions participated in this study.

Scores generated from this study provided a critical thinking baseline score for undergraduate athletic training students.  Using a 95% confidence interval, undergraduate athletic training student scores were compared to existing data from studies from the allied health professions of nursing, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, and dental hygiene.  Results show that undergraduate athletic training students’ CCTST scores are comparable to students in other allied health professions.  This study also indicates that the CCTST is an appropriate measurement tool for athletic training.  An analysis of variance revealed no significant difference between academic level and critical thinking scores (p = 0.05).  A t-test for independent samples found no significant difference in CCTST scores among gender or students reporting previous instruction in critical thinking (p = 0.05).  Recommendations for future research include longitudinal research designs to assess critical thinking changes over time and studies that focus on instructional strategies.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Advisor Retention Issues of a Post-Secondary Student Organization: Delta Epsilon Chi  

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

This dissertation is the culmination of a qualitative research study of advisors serving Delta Epsilon Chi, the college division of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA).  The purpose of this research was to ascertain what variables within a post-secondary student organization, Delta Epsilon Chi, inhibit its potential to retain current advisors.

Using a modified grounded theory type of approach, this research study addressed the following research questions:  (a) To what extent is advisor retention affecting the Delta Epsilon Chi association mission?  (b) What factors tend to influence retention of the Delta Epsilon Chi association advisors?  (c) What methods of training would be recommended for new advisors?

Three focus groups were held in two locations, New Orleans, Louisiana, and New York City, New York.  Data analysis was completed using the constant comparison analysis method of emergent categories following the procedures of open, axial, and selective coding to arrive at themes of interest. Themes identified included the following:  template and Internet information/communication, adjustments to workload so more time for Delta Epsilon Chi is available, feeling of inclusion and mentor support, frustration with name identification and lack of support, motivational factors including sense of accomplishment, and monetary rewards.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  The Prevalence of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Certified Members of the National Athletic Trainers' Association

Advisor:  Dr. Donna Terbizan

The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of work-related musculosketetal disorders among certified members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.  A random sample of 6,500 certified athletic trainers (ATC) representing 3 employment settings was sampled using a reliable and valid survey, the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire.  A response rate of 34.4% was achieved using an electronic survey via email.  Six research questions were examined regarding various aspects of work-related musculosketetal disorders (WRMD) and the profession of athletic training.  The relationship between gender and WRMD in ATC revealed that women reported significantly (p < .006) more WRMD in the past 12 months than males in 5 of 9 body regions (neck, shoulders, wrist/hand, upper back, and hip/thigh).  Males reported significantly (p < .013) greater WRMD compared to females in the past 12 months in the elbow/forearm.  Statistical tests that examined the relationship between gender and WRMD that prevented ATC from doing work at home or away from home and prevalence within the last seven days were inconclusive.  Lifetime prevalence of WRMD between the genders found that only females showed a significant (p < .016) relationship for the neck and wrist/hand.  Younger ATC (20-30 year old versus 30-66+ year old) reported significantly (p < .043) greater WRMD in the neck, shoulder, elbow/forearm, upper back, and hip/thigh regions.  The relationship between the number of years employed as an ATC and WRMD revealed that employment within 0-5 years versus 6-21+ years was significant (p < .044) for the neck, shoulders, and upper back while 6-21+ was significant (p < .003) for the elbow/forearm and hip/thigh.  Relative to the number of hours worked per week and WRMD. There were no significant (p < .050) differences between the nine body regions relative to the number of hours worked per week (40 hours and less versus 41 hours and more).  No significant relationship was noted between a specific employment setting (clinical, college/university, and high school) and WRMD.  Prevalence rates in the 9 body regions were also examined.  The low back had the highest prevalence rate of WRMD at 67.9% followed by the neck, 60.0%; the shoulder, 46.3%; the knee, 38.3%; the upper back, 34.9%; the wrist/hand, 31.0%; the ankle/foot, 30.9%; the hip/thigh, 16.5%; and the elbow/forearm, 15.8%.  The following conclusions were noted:  ATC do suffer a high prevalence of WRMD.  Based on this current study, the need to spread awareness of WRMD in ATC, the need to incorporate WRMD discussions into the education process of athletic training students, and the need to incorporate education of WRMD and safety measures in the clinical setting to prevent WRMD from occurring in the workplace are suggestions for the athletic training profession.



Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  The Professional Identity of Occupational Therapist:  Construction, Enactment and Valued Supports    

Advisor:  Dr. Kathy Enger

This research study was conducted for the purpose of examining the construction and enactment of professional identity of occupational therapists employed in medical settings.  Using a grounded theory approach, the study addressed the following broadly stated questions:  (a) What constructs are used by occupational therapists in hospital settings to define occupational therapy?  (b) How do hospital-based therapists construct individual professional identity?  (c) What factors influence the enacted of individual professional identity in hospital-based occupational therapy practice?  (d) What supports are identified by therapists as helpful to construction and enactment of professional identity?

A combination of sampling methods 9nomination and purposive) was used to select 12 occupational therapists for personal interviews>  Data were analyzed using the constant comparison method of emergent categories beginning with open coding and continuing with axial and selective coding.

The following conclusions are supported by the study:  (a) the concepts and constructs informing occupational therapy practice are reflective of ideas emphasized in the educational context and mediated by the medical practice context; (b) the temporal, physical, and reimbursement realities of the medical setting direct practice towards remediation of underlying impairment and development of self-care competencies; (c) the social context of the medical setting is critical to developing the language, knowledge, skills and resulting professional boundaries of the practice culture; (d) holistic therapy services are provided in a clandestine fashion; (e) with practice experience and opportunity for reflection, client-centered and occupation-based practice ideals can be incorporated into everyday practice activities: (f) research evidence, supportive leadership and enhanced communication between healthcare disciplines are valued for increasing the visibility of occupational therapy services.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  Perspectives of End-of-Life Decision-Making Among Older Chinese

Advisor:  Dr. Gregory Sanders

The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes and perspectives of Chinese elders on end-of-life decision-making and death and dying issues in Chinese society. A basic interpretative inquiry approach was used to conduct interviews with eighteen older people who were living independently in Macau, China. Findings revealed how preferences on end-of-life issues and attitudes toward death and dying were influenced by cultural beliefs. Four themes were identified regarding their personal preferences on end-of-life issues: (1) institutionalized care at the end of life was preferred as not to be a burden on family, (b) life prolonging measures were not preferred, (c) funeral arrangement preferences were based on personal and religious beliefs, and (d) end-of-life decision-making would be deferred to others. These themes provided an understanding on the personal preferences of older Chinese on end-of-life issues, and their preferences were always secondary to their respects toward family and medical doctors. Additionally, five themes related to attitudes toward death and dying were identified: (a) life course is predetermined, (b) religious beliefs give strength, (c) planning for end-of-life issues is not necessary, (d) elders are hesitant to discuss end-of-life issues, and (e) life satisfaction leads to acceptance. These themes offered insight into the influence of cultural beliefs on Chinese people coping with death and dying issues. Further research is needed and will benefit our understanding of Chinese people facing these issues and thus help provide culturally appropriate care and services.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  Cohort Model Learning Communities: The Tribal College Perspective of Best Practices in Teacher Education

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

The tribal college is widely considered to be the most successful educational institution serving Native American students in the United States. Within this culturally rich educational environment institutional efforts to improve student retention and persistence are targeted to accommodate the unique nature and needs of Native American students. Previous studies have shown a relationship between cultural conflict and poor persistence of Native American students in mainstream higher education (Davis, 1992). Currently there are six tribal colleges that offer an accredited Bachelor's degree in teacher education. Cohort model learning communities are common practice in teacher education programs in tribal colleges that offer this degree and are considered to have a positive influence upon student persistence. This mixed methods case study investigated whether learning communities in tribal colleges purposefully implement the eight characteristics of a learning community (student-student collaboration, student-faculty collaboration, increase in academic involvement, perspectivism, cooperative learning, linking academics to real life issues, interdisciplinary learning, and knowledge constructivism) as reported by Snider and Venable (2000). A ninth criterion, culture, was proposed as an addition to the current theory of learning communities in mainstream higher education. Data collection included student interviews, student survey, and teacher education faculty and staff group interviews. This methodology is a reflection of Vincent Tinto's previous research protocol for investigating a learning community in mainstream institutions (Tinto, 1998). Overriding themes reported in this research include: (a) the influential role of culture in the cohort model learning community; (b) evidence of the cohort model learning community operating as a family in the tribal college; (c) the role of the instructor in forming meaningful student-faculty relationships; (d) the impact of student-faculty relationships on student success, an increase in student academic motivation; (e) a diminished sense of perspectivism witnessed by Native students; (f) an increase in cooperative learning amongst cohort members; (g) an ability of students to link academics to real life issues; (h) value added learning through interdisciplinary course work; (i) and a mixed understanding of the theory of knowledge constructivism. Pedagogically, tribal college faculty view the cohort model learning community as an opportunity for them to model best teaching practices to their students. Tribal college faculty recognize the positive influence of the cohort model learning community upon student persistence, and view culture as the central theme from which all education emanates from at the tribal college. Validation of Native American culture is deeply embedded in all tribal colleges and is the central premise from which all academic programming and activities occur. The cohort model learning community is operationalized from a uniquely Native perspective, and the results of this study suggest that learning community criteria previously reported by Snider and Venable (2000) exists in a culturally relevant tribal college environment.



Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  Characteristics of Successful First Nations College Students: A Mixed Methods Study

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Nielsen

The purpose of this study is to develop a portrait of characteristics of successful First Nations college students from a mixed methods study using descriptive data gleaned from scores obtained on a Noncognitive Questionnaire (NCQ), and open-ended questions which were administered via a web site. Further descriptive characteristics will be gleaned from literature. This research is from an indigenous perspective, a First Nations researcher examining characteristics of successful First Nations college students.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Culture and Food Safety Awareness: A Study of International College Students' Need for Food Safety Training in the U.S.

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

This research determined food safety concerns and perceptions of food safety risks among international students by cultural regions and explored cultural influences on food handling and preparation behaviors.  The study further examined the prevalence of self-reported foodborne illness and food safety risks among international students, including factors associated with unsafe food handling practices.  The aim was also to assess international students’ preferred delivery and learning methods for food safety training and convenient sources of receiving information to mitigate food safety risks.

The study utilized mixed methods for primary data collection, an electronic group discussion method with 58 international students at the NDSU Group Decision

Center and an online survey sent to international students (n = 904) across eight land-grant institutions.  As indicated by the results, international students strongly agreed that food safety is an important issue.  Their major food safety concerns were foodborne diseases, unsafe or contaminated food, chemical residues and toxins in foods, food additives and preservatives, high sugar and high fat diets, and obesity.  Majority of the respondents (83.2%) were unlikely to perceive the occurrence of a food safety problem in their residence, whereas 24.9% do not believe that foodborne illness is common.  A self-reported prevalence rate of 28.6% of the study sample had been sick of a foodborne within the past year in the U.S., 10.1% have sought medical attention, and 3.2% have reported a suspected foodborne illness.  Factors influencing unsafe food handling practices among international students from the findings are lack of hand washing practices before food preparation (38.3%), incorrect thawing practices, holding of cooked food or leftover for prolonged periods at room temperature, and improper cooking behaviors.  International students’ food safety behaviors and food handling practices is influence by their cultural or traditional beliefs and family backgrounds.  Respondents across the eight cultural regional agreed (88.8%) that the ways in which they handle and cook food is influenced by their cultures.

International students indicated interest in multiple avenues for food safety education, half of the sample preferred workshops and seminars (50%), brochures (48%), and campus orientation seminars (45%) as a delivery method.  For delivery settings and time, more (42%) international students prefer learning in a social setting, while 29% prefer face-to-face class lectures or a classroom setting, and 20% prefer learning about food safety in interactive online classes for one hour or in short-time segments.  They also indicated multiple sources as the most convenient ways of receiving information which include:  food packages (56%), TV programs (52%), leaflets (40%), magazines (34%), campus emails (33%), blog postings (17%) and radio (12%).

Foodborne illness is a concern among international students.  An examination of international students’ concerns and perceptions of food safety risks, including their food handling behaviors and preferred delivery methods for receiving training could lead to an exploration of a new food safety curriculum and risk messages for this population.  Educators can target this audience using the preferred delivery methods.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  Nutrition Education: An Analysis of the Effects of a Multi-Level, School-Based Intervention on Elementary School Children

Advisor:  Dr. Ardith Brunt

This study explored the impact a multi-level, school-based intervention had on fifth and sixth grade students in Alexandria, Minnesota.  Sixty-five students completed both the pre-and post-tests of knowledge.  There were not differences in the control and intervention groups in pre-test scores.  The 38 students from the intervention site were engaged in a 7-week curriculum that included concepts such as healthy food choices, the importance of physical activity in daily life, and basics on how the body expends energy.  Healthy decision-making was reinforced with motivational posters and information throughout the school building/cafeteria.  The parents of the students were also engaged through the use of informational handouts.  At the end of the curriculum, the mean score of the intervention group was significantly higher than that of the control group (p = < 0.0001).  To determine if the intervention had an impact on physical activity levels, participants from the intervention group completed pre- and post-behavior surveys.  The members of the intervention group exhibited a significant change in their behavior in several areas, including playing with balls (p = 0.0086), riding bike (p = 0.0215), playing with toys that include running (p = 0.0009), and “other” (p = 0.0070).  Other activities produced insignificant results from pre- to post-survey.  Food diaries were randomly completed by participants in the intervention group.  The data collected for changes in food consumption were inconclusive.  In conclusion, the curriculum increased the knowledge of the students in the intervention group and may have helped increase their physical activity levels in several areas.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: The Impact Student Teachers Have on a Cooperating Teacher's Teaching Practices  

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

This dissertation explored the perceptions of cooperating teachers regarding their professional impact on working with student teachers.  This was accomplished by examining the importance of the intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for hosting a student teacher as well as the deterrents that dissuade working with a student teacher.  Further, this dissertation explored reflection, growth, or change that had occurred as a result of working with a student teacher.  Finally, it examined factors that influenced the recruitment and retention of cooperating teachers as well as explored mentoring a student teacher as a professional development activity.

This was a quantitative survey study that employed an electronic, web-based data collection procedure.  The target population was 262 cooperating teachers who have worked with North Dakota State University student teachers, with 129 (49% response rate) cooperative teachers participating in the study.  The data were collected and analyzed to ascertain basic descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and Chi-square tests of independence.  The comments from each section of the survey were qualitatively coded, themed, and reported.

The conclusions were that cooperating teachers believed that the intrinsic incentives were more important than the extrinsic incentives.  The sentiment of giving back” to the profession was paramount across the literature and findings of this study.  The work ethic and preparation of the student teachers, as well as the time commitment and workload, were viewed as potential challenges of working with a student teacher.  Generally, the cooperating teachers indicated that mentoring a student teacher was a rewarding experience.

The findings in this study suggested that the cooperating teachers were more reflective about their teaching practices, and they felt more energized and rejuvenated.  The cooperating teachers reported that mentoring a student teacher can vary considerably from student teacher to student teacher, citing both very stressful and very rewarding experiences.  Overall, cooperating teachers regarded mentoring a student teacher as a source of professional development, and in the spirit of “giving back” to the profession, they indicated they would continue to mentor with little or no compensation.



Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: A Mixed Methods Study of Positional Leadership of North Dakota 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni 

Advisor: Dr. Mark Schmidt

The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine the positional leadership of North Dakota 4-H and FFA leadership alumni. This study determined the influence of youth development programs on statewide leadership alumni (those who served from 1970 to 2000) and attainment of community leadership roles as adults.

Former North Dakota 4-H Ambassador Alumni and State FFA Officers were surveyed using a modified Youth Leadership Life Skill Development scale (Seevers, 1975) as to their gain in leadership life skills as a result of their leadership in these youth development organizations. Over 75% of the survey respondents reported much or very much gain in leadership life skills from their experiences.

Survey respondents also reported above average educational attainment in relation to the North Dakota census data. Eighty-eight percent of North Dakota FFA officer alumni and 96% of the 4-H Ambassador alumni reported having a bachelors degree or higher. 

State FFA Officer and 4H Ambassador Alumni from North Dakota provide leadership for community organizations. Over 90% of North Dakota 4-H Ambassador Alumni were involved in youth development organizations as leaders/advisors. For State FFA Officer Alumni, over 75% provide the same leadership to youth development organizations. For 4-H Ambassador Alumni and State FFA Officer Alumni alike, over 75% were involved in religious/faith based organizations in their communities.

A panel of experts, using a modified Delphi process, ranked both organizations to which 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni provided leadership and leadership positions. Two groups of experts made up the Delphi panel and included individuals versed in 4-H and FFA leadership development and those individuals identified as community leaders. This panel of experts identified serving in the state legislature, as state and/or national leaders in commodity organizations and serving as youth development advisors/leaders as the most influential positions as reported by the survey respondents.

While 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni report gains in leadership life skills, statistical analysis indicated no relationship between survey respondents and their leadership positions.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: Parental Choice in Non-Traditional Public Schools  

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of this mixed methods study is to ascertain how and why parents select an alternative public educational setting for secondary students in the state of Minnesota— a state with school choice options. Three research questions address this purpose, including why parents do not send their children to the local public high school, why parents select an alternative public educational setting for their high-school-aged children, and how various forms of communication influenced the decision-making process of parents in selecting an alternative public educational setting for their high school-aged children.

A data collection method used to conduct this study entailed quantitative questions followed by qualitative survey questions to validate and strengthen responses regarding why parents choose alternative forms of public education over local public high schools. Most of the questions were quantitative in nature with qualitative questions used to more fully understand and triangulate the quantitative responses. A target population of 900 parents with students in alternative learning centers (ALCs) and charter schools across the state of Minnesota was used to conduct the survey. A total of 321 parents responded to the questionnaire that provided the quantitative and qualitative data that was analyzed.

Results showed that parents have specific reasons for selecting schools of choice over traditional public high schools. Certain forms of communication provide parents with information about current issues in education, and some forms of communication are significantly more influential than others in the decision-making process of parents in selecting a school of choice. 



Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title: A Study of Academically At-Risk Freshmen and Sophomores in Four-Year Institutions in the Upper Midwest 

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

Given the ever-increasing cost of higher education, avoiding student failure is both an academic matter and a financial matter.  The waste that attends failure, both to the institution and to the students, warrants that all due effort be made to insure students’ academic success.

The purpose of this study was to identify programs and services that are offered at four-year institutions in the upper Midwest for freshmen and sophomore students who are experiencing academic difficulties, and determine if those students are seeking help from the services that the institutions provide.

 Institutions which participated in the study included Valley City State University, Valley City, ND; Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD; University of Minnesota-Crookston, Crookston, MN; Dickinson State University, Dickinson, ND and Black Hills state University, Spearfish, SD.  Participants form these institutions included academic affairs officials and students with freshmen or sophomore status.


JULY 2007-JUNE 2008


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Relationships Between NWEA-MAP Score Information and Teachers' Efficacy Beliefs for Student Performance on the North Dakota State Assessment

Advisor:  Dr. Justin Wageman

In the current environment of federally mandated high-stakes testing, teachers and schools are under great pressure to ensure that students demonstrate proficiency on state assessments.  Some state assessment programs do not provide teachers with the timely and feedback that connects what a teacher did in the classroom with positive outcomes o the state assessment, a teacher may not feel that he or she can make a difference in how students fare on the state assessment.  Teachers who experience low self-efficacy use less effective teaching techniques which, in turn, negatively affects student learning.

Many schools are now using computer adaptive testing, such as the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA-MAP), to provide additional information to teachers about student achievement.  Unlike the state assessment, the NWEA-MAP assessments may be given two or more times per year and can provide teachers with formative information to use for instructional improvement.  When adjustments to instruction result in higher student achievement, it can provide the teacher with mastery experiences that increase the teacher’s efficacy perceptions.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between teachers’ efficacy beliefs for making a difference in their students’ performances on the state assessment and teachers’ uses of NWEA-MAP test results.  To address the research questions, 162 teachers from the largest school districts in North Dakota were surveyed using 4 measures of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy.  Two measures created for this study to measure teachers’ efficacy perceptions specific to helping students do well on the state assessment demonstrated high reliability with the study sample and correlated well with the two existing scales.  Data were also collected on the way teachers used NWEA-MAP score information and the number of ways they used score information. 


Ph.D. of Human Development: Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  An Exploratory Study of Resilience in the Lived Experienced of Native American Elders

Advisor:  Dr. Gregory Sanders

Little is known about the resilience of Native elders, especially from their own perspective and worldview. Because there is a dearth of literature about their coping skills, strengths, and survival strategies, resilience is not readily conceptualized among this minority group. Studies of resilience are incomplete without a thorough exploration of how some groups of people have coped and survived when confronted by severe and unrelenting challenges. Native Americans have had to endure extreme challenges over the last 500 years and have lived through every type of trauma imaginable, including ethnic cleansing and genocide (Hall, 1999). Native American elders are recognized as the "wisdom keepers" among most tribal groups and have unique cultural and historical characteristics that make them of particular interest for understanding the psychological processes of resilience. The purpose of this study was to explore resilience through the lived experience of Native American elders. Native American elders are an untapped scientific resource because they have valuable and unique perspectives and ideologies to share with the rest of the world. The data gathered for this study were used to generate two analyses and perspectives that resulted in two papers. The first paper was titled "The resilience of Native American Elders" and revealed five themes. The second paper was titled "Resilience and Stereotyping: The experiences of Native American elders" and also resulted in five themes. Together these themes fit nicely under an over-arching grand theme of cultural resilience. The source of resilience found among these eight elders was inextricably and uniquely enmeshed in their traditional Native American cultures and world views. The inclusion of Native American elders in studies of resilience enhances, broadens, and diversifies the scientific knowledge base. Cross-cultural comparisons may help provide a truly multicultural understanding of resilience and could even illicit studies to understand the societal control mechanisms that perpetuate institutional racism and inequality. The results of this study indicate the need for the Native American people to define themselves both in the scientific literature and in the larger world.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  An Exploratory Study of Leadership in Social Worked Based on the Highlander Approach to Social Leadership

Advisor:  Dr. Thomas E. Hall

This study responds to concerns about the lack of focus on leadership and leadership development specific to the field of social work.  In particular, this study was interested in leadership to advance social and economic change that is consistent with the social justice mission of social work (Brilliant, 1986; Hopps, 1986; Karger & Hernandez, 2004; Lawler, 2005; Morrison & Alcorn, 1997; Rank & Hutchinson, 2000; Sheafor, 2005; Specht & Courtney, 1994; Spicuzza, 2003).  In 1986, Brilliant identified social work leadership as the “missing ingredient” and called for social work education to address the concept of leadership for theory and practice.  Almost 20 years later, Spicuzza (2003) argued that social work education too easily assumes that students automatically develop leadership capacity as they move through the social work curriculum.  He concluded that this is an inaccurate assumption and called for social work education to find ways to reach and model professional leadership to enhance social work’s vital practice commitment to social activism.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to address these concerns and explore social leadership among social work professionals in order to develop a theoretical model to inform curriculum for teaching social leadership concepts and skills for social workers.  The definition of social leadership and the theoretical framework for the study was derived from the Highlander research and Education Center (Tennessee, USA).  Alvord, Brown, and Letts (2004) identified Highlander as one of 7 cases worldwide to successfully provide leadership for fundamental transformations in political, economic, and social systems for poor and marginalized groups.  The central question of this study was as follows:  how do social work professionals perceive and experience leadership that affects changes in the social, political, and economic contexts for the poor and marginalized?

A qualitative, grounded theory research methodology using semi-structured, in-depth, individual interviews was followed to develop a theoretical model of social leadership among social work professionals.  Maximum variation sampling was used to vary participants on the select characteristics of age, race, gender, years of experience, geography, organizational type (size and sector), and area of practice to ensure a diverse pool of respondents.  Participants were from two states in the north-central region of the United States.  All participants held a Master of Social Work degree from an accredited school of social work and had experience as a practicing social worker ranging from 9 to 35 years.  Theoretical saturation was reached after six interviews.

Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed.  Over 68,000 words comprising 5,400 lines of text were coded and analyzed using procedures outlined by Strauss and Corbin (1998) to identify themes, patterns, and relationships in the data.  The Nvivo7 qualitative software program was used to support data analysis.  The main result of this study was a theoretical model of social leadership for social work that consisted of four main categories and 13 subcategories.  The four main categories were (a) four core processes of social leadership, (b) three pre-conditions influencing social workers’ readiness for social leadership, (c) three contributing factors necessary for social leadership, and (d) three inhibiting factors of social leadership.  This study described these categories, discussed findings in relation to the literature and the Highlander framework, and identified implications for social work education and future research. 


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education 

Dissertation Title:  Introducing Spirituality to Counselors-In-Training From a Psychosynthesis and Anthroposophical Perspective 

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Nielsen

The research problem underlying spirituality in counseling is one of reductionism. The deficit is twofold: (a) there are relatable psychospiritual models that are presently excluded from counseling literature, and (b) there is a question as to whether contemporary counseling theory and practice can provide comprehension of the spiritual dimension. Two research questions directed the study: (a) How is the spiritual dimension perceived by counselors-in-training? (b) What are the experiences of counselors-in-training in a seminar that introduced spirituality in counseling from the standpoint of psychosynthesis and anthroposophy? The inquiry utilized qualitative heuristic methodology including (a) information from pre- and post-seminar interviews with former being a semi-structured and later being an unstructured format; (b) a 15-hour seminar generated data from reflective pauses, experiential exercises, and a summation activity; and (c) data from the debriefing team illustrated the experiences of nine research subjects. Research subjects’ perceptions and experiences of spirituality in counseling revealed the following patterns: (a) spirituality is a belief system, faith, higher, a quality, an intercessory being, a life-plan, individualistic, and includes, but is not, religion; (b) spirituality in counseling was excluded from coursework, but inclusion valued; (c) the experience of psychosynthesis and anthroposophy in an introduction seminar prompted learning patterns which were perceived as worthwhile.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Institutional Research in Higher Education: Chief Academic Officers' Perspectives

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of the study was to explore academic officers’ views and expectations of institutional research offices and how their expectations related to the use of institutional data for making decisions in higher education.  This purpose was pursued through seven research questions that addressed the use of institutional data, capabilities, effectiveness, expectations, future roles of the institutional research office, and factors that predispose data use when making decisions.

Qualitative and quantitative data were collected by means of a survey questionnaire instrument.  The target population was academic officers from doctoral, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate institutions in the United States of America according to the 2006 Carnegie classification.  A total of 332 academic officers participated in this study by responding to the questionnaire, thereby providing the data that were analyzed.

The result showed that academic officers consider institutional research offices’ tasks to be important.  They consider institutional research offices to be capable of performing their functions, thus relying on these offices for data when making decisions. 

The study found a significant relationship between academic officers’ expectations of the institutional research office and utilization of institutional data in decision-making.  It was concluded that academic officers who had high expectations of the institutional research office were more likely to use institutional research data for decision-making. 

The study found that academic officers differed in their views of the institutional research office’s effectiveness and the factors that predispose them to use institutional data for decision-making.  Academic officers from associate institutions were significantly different from their counterparts at doctoral and master’s institutions, but marginally different from those from baccalaureate institutions, in their views of institutional research office effectiveness.  Also, associate institutions were significantly different from doctoral institutions, but not from master’s and baccalaureate institutions, in their views about predisposing factors.  Specific areas of institutional data use, academic officers’ expectations of institutional research offices institutional research offices’ capabilities, determinants of institutional research offices’ effectiveness, future roles of institutional research offices, and factors that predispose academic officers to use institutional research data were identified through qualitative analyses of open-ended questions.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology 

Dissertation Title:  Exploring The Experiences of Communication Partners of Aphasic Individual 

Advisor: Dr. Greg Sanders

A qualitative research design was utilized to explore the lived experiences of communication partners of individuals with aphasia. In-depth, one-on-one interviews were conducted with nine participants who were primary communication partners of aphasic individuals with onset of two years or less. Analysis of the data was conducted from two perspectives: (a) experiences pertaining to the education received by the communication partners and (b) communication strategies that the communication partners identified as particularly effective. Experiences pertaining to the education received were explored through the framework of Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological model. Barriers and facilitators to effective education were identified at the microsystem, mesosystem, and the exosystem levels. Unique themes included the perception that it was important to remain positive and to demonstrate love and acceptance; education on transitions was a crucial need; and the current state of healthcare was implicated as the underlying cause of a number of barriers to effective education. Communication partners provided valuable insights into communication strategies they found effective when interacting with the individual who had aphasia. One of the most compelling insights was that the way a communication partner interacted with the aphasic person was just as important as the degree of aphasia and communicative abilities of the person with the altered communication. Active listening, patience, perseverance, and a genuine desire to perceive the message were judged important. Results were consistent with a social model of aphasia intervention that focuses on the effect that the environment surrounding a communicatively impaired person has on how effectively a person can interact with others (Simmons-Mackie, 2000). Effective strategies employed by the communication partners and the individuals with aphasia were identified as well as more comprehensive strategies, such as encouraging interaction with the social circle and educating others on aphasia.

The qualitative research pertaining to communication partners of aphasic individuals expanded the knowledge base of the experiences and needs of this population. Valuable practice implications and research avenues were identified, which moved beyond the interaction between the dyads to include the surrounding social environment, healthcare professionals, system-level entities, as well as cultural beliefs and practices of society as a whole.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education 

Dissertation Title:  The Grief Experience of African American Homicide Survivors: Understanding Trauma and Complicated Grief

Advisor:  Dr. Jill Nelson

Homicide has been defined as "the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another" (Bastain, 1995, p. 3). Survivors of homicide, those family members and other loved ones who mourn the loss of the victim, face unique challenges in the process of grieving. The experience of African American homicide survivors is further complicated by issues "connected to the larger system of racism and privilege that is impossible to escape in the United States" (Rosenblatt & Wallace, 2005, p. xii).

In this basic, interpretive qualitative study, the research examined the experience of African American homicide survivorship. Three main themes highlighted the experience of the participants: (1) Complicated Grief Experience, (2) Influence of Contexts and Situations, and (3) Recommendations for Counselors and Victim Service Providers. Applications to the counseling profession and areas of further research were presented.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  An Exploration of E-Mentoring Preferences of Master's Degree Students and Faculty in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance

Advisor:  Dr. Margaret Fitzgerald

E-mentoring preferences of graduate students/faculty were explored through an online graduate program. Data were compiled through online surveys completed by 42 graduate students and 11 faculty members from the Great Plains Interactive Distance Educational Alliance (IDEA). A factor analysis on the Ideal Mentor Scale (IMS) developed by Rose (1999) was conducted. The modified IMS accounted for 59% of the variance in the items of the scale. Faculty teaching lighter loads scored significantly higher on Integrity and Relationship mentor relationships. Female graduate students scored significantly higher on all IMS scales compared to male students. In a regression analysis, the only significant predictor of Integrity scores was being female, where race, age, gender, and distance to the home university were used as predictor variables. Future research with the modified IMS in distance education is suggested.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  An Investigation of Moral Reasoning in Undergraduate Business Students at Public and Private Institutions

Advisor:  Dr. Myron Eighmy

Businesses today are concerned with the ethics of their current employees and also of potential employees.  The purpose of this study was to investigate moral reasoning in undergraduate, senior-level business students at private and public institutions.

The study looked for significant differences in moral reasoning ability, as measured by Rest’s Defining Issues Test, version 2 (DIT-2), between students attending public and private institutions in North Dakota and Minnesota.  The research also investigated differing requirements for ethics content in business curricula as specified by the three business program accrediting bodies:  The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).  Also examined were differences in business ethics education requirements among the participating institutions.  Additionally, differing perceptions between business instructors and their students in regard to the extend business ethics incorporation into the business curricula were studied.

The Narcissistic Personality Index (NPI) was used to measure the levels of narcissistic personality tendencies of the students to analyze for differences between students from the two types of institutions, as well as to look for significant relationships among the NPI scores, the DIT-2 scores, and several demographic and textual variables collected from the participants.

The study did not find significant differences in moral reasoning ability between the private school and public school participants; however, private school students scored significantly higher on the NPI.  Significant relationships with the DIT-2 scores noted were G.P.A., participation in academic groups prior to college, and the total number of college activities in which a student participated.  No significant relationship was found between the DIT-2 and NPI scores.  Items with significant relationships to NPI scores included age, gender, school types, community type, family type, income level, participation in prior college athletics, participation in college athletics, total number of college activities, the number of business ethics courses taken, and the student’s self-assessment of preparedness of real-world ethical dilemmas.  The results of the findings were analyzed and compared to prior research with recommendation for further research provided.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Occupational Therapists Learning to Practice with Evidence: A Qualitative Study

Advisor:  Dr. Kathy Enger

This dissertation is the culmination of a qualitative research study of evidence-based practicing occupational therapists. The purpose of this research was to examine perceptions of the learning conditions (i.e., personal, professional, and organizational) related to the occupational therapy practitioner’s learning about evidence-based practice.

Using a grounded-theory approach, this research study addressed the following research questions: (a) How does the occupational therapist practitioner perceive the learning conditions in regard to becoming an evidence-based practitioner? (b) Does the therapist experience the learning conditions as enablers or inhibitors of learning about evidence-based practice? (c) What strategies do therapists employ to manage inhibiting conditions for learning? (d) What learning strategies do practitioners use to convert evidence-based research into practice?

Twelve peer-nominated occupational therapists were selected for personal interviews. Data analysis was completed using the constant comparison analysis method of emergent categories to arrive at themes of interest. Themes identified include therapist qualities, evidence-based practice variability, workplace influence, and therapist education. The occupational therapists interviewed for this research are conscientious therapists who value evidence-based practice and actively seek to continue their learning. The range of evidence-based practice activities includes the use of research-based assessment tools, literature searches, practice guidelines, and participation in research.

The workplace supports and inhibits therapist learning and application of evidence-based practice methods. Research-intensive organizations provide the strongest level of support for evidence-based practice. Occupational therapist learning activities are diverse and take place in and outside the workplace. Workplace education has strong potential for supporting occupational therapists’ evidence-based practice. Therapists’ statements n regard to learning goals for professional development reflect the therapists’ level of experience with evidence-based practice.

The themes and supporting data led the researcher to the following conclusions: (a) Occupational therapists understand the need to actively incorporate research evidence into daily practice as a means to continued competency; (b) Workplace conditions influence the therapist’s ability to seek and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to practice evidence-based occupational therapy; and (c) Learning experiences designed to develop evidence-based practitioners need to be transformative in nature in order to effectively change practice. 

JULY 2006-JUNE 2007


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Impact of an Electronic Portfolio on Teachers' Technology Skills and Concerns Toward Technology Integration

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

This study investigated differences in technology skills and stages of concern toward technology integration among 7,153, elementary and secondary educators in North Dakota.  The focus was completion of an electronic portfolio for meeting the requirements of no Child Left Behind, Public Law 107-110 (NCLB).  In order to understand why some teachers in North Dakota became technology integrationists while other teachers remained non-users, the extrinsic barriers and intrinsic barriers affecting technology integration in North Dakota schools were examined.

There were no significant differences among the portfolio users’ and non-users’ technology integration skills and the extrinsic barriers researched, including (a) teaching experience, (b) size of schools, (c) level of education, and (d) professional development experiences.  The results indicated that extrinsic barriers did not interfere with teachers’ technology skills and that the teachers’ level of technology did not influence a teacher’s decision to complete the electronic portfolio for meeting the highly qualified requirements of the NCLB law.  Despite professional development opportunities, teaching experience, level of education, and size of schools, North Dakota teachers were moving along the technology integration process. 

Although teachers were progressing along the Professional Competency Continuum, they continued to resemble a “non-user” on the Survey of Concern Questionnaire results.  Teachers were able to increase technology skills at a faster pace than they were able to change their beliefs about technology.  The portfolio users and non-users show a shift from high intense concerns to lower intense concerns from Awareness to Informational and Personal.  However, only the portfolio users voiced a concern regarding the scheduling, time management, and organization requirements of integrating the technology.  The study found no differences among the portfolio users and non-users regarding concerns due to level of education, teaching experience, size of school, or professional development opportunities.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  Snowbirds: Experiences and Intergenerational Family Relationships

Advisor: Dr. Gregory Sanders

Snowbirds flock to the Sunbelt from November to April in greater numbers every year to escape the cold winter months of the Snowbelt areas of the United States and Canada (e.g., Hogan, Happel, & Walls, 2003; S. K. Smith & House, 2006). Using a basic interpretative qualitative inquiry approach, the current study explored the experiences of older adults who migrated seasonally during the winter months, the lifestyle issues and concerns that were important to them, and the impact of this lifestyle on their intergenerational family relationships. Twenty-five seasonal migrants to the Sunbelt were interviewed from the upper Midwest. Seven themes were identified regarding their experiences: (a) there was flexibility and adaptability to change; (b) there was continuity in personality, activity and lifestyle; (c) friendships were established and maintained; (d) snowbirds’ lifestyles were diverse; (e) health and safety considerations affected lifestyle; (f) internal and external forces shaped the snowbird experience; and (g) seasonal migration was developmental. A qualitative examination was also conducted to investigate snowbirds’ intergenerational relationships with children and grandchildren, and how they managed holiday traditions and other family events while away. Four themes were identified relating to this research: (a) continued importance of family ties with seasonal migration; (b) grandchildren were very significant in snowbirds’ lives; (c) family change affects, but does not end, seasonal migration; and (d) snowbirds’ satisfaction with maintaining holiday traditions and other family events.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  The Effect of Music on the Pacer Test Results of Elementary-Age Students

Advisor: Dr. Bradford Strand

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect music had on elementary-age student performance on the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test. Research has shown that music can positively affect one's energy expenditure, but research is lacking on elementary-age children. The PACER test is used in elementary schools as a cardiovascular fitness test and has a CD that includes three versions of the test: one with faster-tempo music in the background (version "A"), one with mild-tempo music (version "B"), and one without music at all (version "w/o"). Upon completion of the test, participants completed a Self-Rated Performance (SRP) survey consisting of four questions assessed on a four-point Likert scale. The tests were counter balanced and performed by 69 fourth and fifth grade students at a local elementary school. Results indicate no significant difference in the total mean laps completed by the students ("A" = 25.7, "B"=25.79, and "w/o"=24.54). This study did, however, provide evidence that both male and female students attained their best overall score on the PACER tests that included music. While males performed their best on the "A" version, females performed their best on the "B" version. Both males and females also rated the same tests highest on their SRP scores.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Analysis and Use of Evidence of Study Learning: Community College Faculty Perspectives

Advisor: Dr. Mark Schmidt

The purpose of this study was to identify how community college faculty analyze and use evidence of student learning.  Using a mixed methods approach, this study identified the kinds of assessment information community college faculty collect or use; what they do with the information; what impact it has on their courses and programs; who else has access to or uses the data; and what impact they think it has had or should have at the course, program, or institutional level.  The target population for this study was full-time faculty form 10 public community colleges that underwent a comprehensive accreditation visit in the Higher Learning Commission region in 2005.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Intergenerational Interaction Among Undergraduate Students

Advisor: Dr. Myron Eighmy

This dissertation used a mixed method study to describe the interaction preferences among generational groups of undergraduate students and how these preferences factor into classroom interaction. The study utilized a two-phase process, starting with qualitative data gathered from focus groups. A published instrument was used to qualify participants for one of four focus groups, one for each generational group included in the study (Builders, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials). Resulting themes and findings were used to develop a quantitative survey instrument that was administered to undergraduate students at three Midwest universities in the second phase of the study. Data analysis procedures included multiple ANOVAs to determine if groupings of data gathered were able to be generalized. Raw data were aggregated and analyzed according to themes and generational expectation sets. Chi Square and t tests were conducted to find differences among various groupings of students determined by age groups and class rankings. A frequency distribution was conducted to determine cutoffs for defining solid and true members of each generational group. It was found that age alone is not a good indicator of generational group membership. Individual student values must be considered. Patterns of means within class rankings or age groups were analyzed to determine if students’ values change over time as students interact in the classroom. Preferences were summarized into value sets for each generational group. The resulting information can be useful to faculty and administration at undergraduate universities to create learning environments that address preferences among students by generational group.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  Preparing Preservice Elementary Teachers for Diverse Classrooms

Advisor: Dr. Ronald Stammen

This dissertation substantiates the theory that the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) process based on NCATE Standard 4:  Diversity and its four elements can be generalized in the targeted, regional state universities in North Dakota.  Useful ways were identified to prepare students enrolled in predominately white elementary teacher education programs similar to Valley City State University to teach in varied diverse environments.

Field experiences should include communication and supervision from university supervisors. Using reflection papers, class discussions, in-class activities, and assignments that require students to adapt lesson plans.  Students need opportunities to interact with diverse faculty and to enroll in courses taught by instructors who have had experience teaching diverse populations, and options to attend authentic multicultural activities to prepare students to teach in diverse classrooms were also agreed upon.

Programs need to utilize authentic performance assessments, databases that house advisees’ past field experience information, partnerships with diverse universities and elementary schools, multicultural scholarships, student disposition forms, and data sheets collected by students containing demographic information from field experiences.  Program practitioners agree that the use of performance assessment models and field experiences helps teacher education candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity.  Reflection papers, class discussions, and in-class activities allow candidates to draw upon their own experiences with diversity.  Field experiences and assignments of adapting lesson plans assess the candidates’ ability to work with diverse students to develop plans for improving their practice.  Authentic performance assessments and partnerships with other universities and elementary schools enhance preparedness of candidates working with diverse elementary students.  It was found that having student collect data from cooperating schools during field experiences, requiring special needs courses with field experience opportunities, and requiring social foundation course with service learning opportunities encourage students to interact with diverse elementary students.  Partnerships with diverse universities and elementary schools, seminar courses with reflection opportunities, and student disposition forms were found to help candidates confront issues of diversity.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  Identification of Mental Health Issues Experienced by Collegiate Athletics

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Nielsen

The purpose of this research was to determine the mental health needs of collegiate athletes in order to assist student-athletes with personal and emotional development as well as athletic development. The participants in this study were male and female varsity athletes competing at the Division I level for North Dakota State University located in Fargo, North Dakota.

A survey was designed to identify various mental health issues experienced by collegiate athletes as well as the frequency of the issue. The survey consisted of questions related to mental health through the categories of adjustment, distress, depression, relationships, self-image, and risky behaviors. The data collected provided university personnel with a better understanding of the mental health needs of student athletics at North Dakota State University as well as provided a foundation for the creation of specialized services needed to meet the unique needs of this population. Suggestions for future research were also offered.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education

Dissertation Title: Exploring Client Experiences at Community Based Counselor Education Program Training Facility

Advisor:  Dr. Wade Hannon

It is becoming more important to evaluate the degree to which clients think they have received counseling services that are convenient, professional, and helpful. This research evoked an evaluation of current counseling services offered at a community-based counselor education program training facility. As a result, implications for future action to incorporate client-suggested improvements are presented. An exploratory, basic interpretive study that focused on participants’ phenomenological experience was conducted. Semi-structured, audio-taped interviews took place to learn about client experiences and gain potential suggestions for improving services.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: The Parent Perspective

Advisor: Dr. Gregory Sanders

The phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren has dramatically increased during the past 30 years (DeToledo & Brown, 1995; Fields, 2003; Fuller-Thompson & Minkler, 2000; Hayslip & Kaminiski, 2005; Rinaldo, 2003). In an effort to address the challenges experienced by this new family system, government and community organizations have started to offer resources and support services to grandparent caregivers (DeToledo & Brown; Brintall-Peterson & Targ, 2005). Absent from research on the grand-family system has been the parent perspective. The current study explored the parental perspective using a basic interpretive qualitative inquiry. Sixteen non-custodial parents who had relinquished parenting responsibility to grandparents were interviewed to describe their reasons for relinquishing custody as well as their relationships with grandparents, children, and other family members. Six themes were identified regarding non-custodial parent relationships with grandparents, children, and family members. Those themes were (a) personal problems precipitated losing custody of their children centered around drugs and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, or teen and single parenting challenges; (b) participants felt they had been forgotten in the grand-family system; (c) non-custodial parents were resolved to the grandparent caregiving situation as in the best interest of the child; (d) non-custodial parents experienced positive relationships with their children; (e) non-custodial parents experienced emotional ambivalence toward grandparent caregivers; and (f) relationships with siblings and other family members had not been negatively affected. A qualitative inquiry was also conducted to assess non-custodial parent experiences finding support systems from family, friends, and social services organizations. Four themes were identified in relating to this research. Those themes were (a) non-custodial parents felt forgotten in the grand-family system; (b) social service organizations were not seen as being helpful to non-custodial parents; (c) non-custodial parents were able to find support systems that were primarily informal and stemmed from their relationship with grandparents, other family members, and friends; and (d) non-custodial parents were able to identify resources and support services that they believe will benefit them in meeting future goals.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  The Effects of Physical Activity on Weight Loss in College Students

Advisor:  Dr. Donna Terbizan

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two different physical training programs on weight loss, body composition, and oxygen consumption in overweight individuals. Twenty sedentary, overweight students, based on a body mass index (BMI) > 25, at North Dakota State University volunteered to participate in this study. They were randomly assigned to either the cardiovascular (cardio) training group (n = 10) or the strength and cardiovascular (strength) training group (n = 10). The cardio group was required to accumulate 60 minutes of brisk walking 4 days per week. The strength group performed 30 minutes of brisk walking 4 days per week plus two strength-training sessions each week. Anthropometric measures consisting of height, weight, BMI, circumference measures, percent body fat, and fat-free mass, plus cardiorespiratory fitness were collected before and after the 12-week exercise intervention. During the study, the attrition rate was 10% of the strength group and 40% of the cardio group, equaling 25% of the total number of subjects who began the study. The results of the study revealed that the strength group finishers (n = 9) gained 1.27 kg. More specifically, they gained 1.95 kg of fat and lost about 0.68 kg of lean body mass. The cardio group finishers (n = 6) lost 0.75 kg (gained 0.44 kg of fat and lost 1.19 kg of lean body mass). However, the changes were not significantly different within or between groups. The strength group significantly increased body fat percentage by 2.27 ± 2.31% (p = .019), whereas the cardio group had no changes in body fat percentage. Finally, the cardio group demonstrated no change in estimated maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), despite walking twice as much as the strength group members, who demonstrated a slight increase in estimated VO2 max. The results of the current study support previous research which reported that exercise interventions only produce minimal changes in body weight without a change in dietary intake. Therefore, additional research is needed with a larger sample size and possibly diet modification to determine if combining strength training with cardiovascular training is superior to cardiovascular training alone for weight loss.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Gerontology

Dissertation Title:  Relationships Between Dietary and Serum Carotenoids, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Macular Pigment and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Advisor:  Dr. Ardith Brunt

Inadequate diet is often thought to be a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are over 600 carotenoids, but fewer than 40 have been identified in the human serum, including lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye. The macula is critical for central and near vision, and when the macula deteriorates, individuals are impaired in their driving, reading, and other activities of daily living. The relationship between dietary and serum lutein and zeaxanthin levels is important because it is theorized that increased serum levels lead to an increased macular pigment density. It is further theorized that increased macular pigment density is important because it is preventive to AMD, through either blue light filtration or perhaps due to the antioxidant activities of lutein and zeaxanthin. The etiology of AMD is unknown, and more research is needed.

Dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is inadequate in the American diet. Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables where lutein and zeaxanthin are primarily found. Currently, 1.75 million Americans have advanced stages of AMD, and by 2030, that number is expected to double. Egg intake is on the rise, but further public education is needed to alert the public that eggs are a key source of lutein and zeaxanthin and may be preventive to AMD.

In this pilot study of four cases, the researcher trialed a dietary intervention of lutein and zeaxanthin patient education and/or supplements in an ophthalmology clinic with individuals currently diagnosed with AMD. Patient education materials were designed so they could be used in clinical settings as well as for the general public via the North Dakota State University Extension Service.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  Dietary Quality and Leisure-Time Physical Activity are Related to Anthropometric Measures Among U.S. Adults 

Advisor:  Dr. Bradford Strand

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States (U.S.) and a major public health concern because this condition has been associated with multiple chronic conditions, reduced quality of life, and financial burden. Obesity is a progressive condition that arises from a long-term energy imbalance. Body weight results from multiple factors, such as behavior, environment, heredity, socioeconomic status, and cultural influences. The potential for intervention and prevention is great for behavior modification. Specifically, changes in diet and physical activity could lead to more a favorable body weight status.

This dissertation provides information that is currently not available for the U.S. population regarding relationships among diet, leisure-time physical activity, and obesity. According to this research, adults meeting current physical activity recommendations are at reduced risk of obesity and abdominal obesity. Higher dietary quality is associated with reduced risk of obesity and abdominal obesity. Specifically, higher fruit and lower meat and fat consumption reduce the obesity risk for women while men may benefit from higher grain and lower fat and saturated fat consumption to reduce obesity risk. This research provides additional information that improved diet and active lifestyles are associated with a lower risk of obesity and abdominal obesity.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation Title:  No Child Left Behind Act and North Dakota Life Licensed Teacher Retention

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

This dissertation examined how the major equivalency options, provided by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, impacted the retention and retirement decisions of the life-licensed teachers in North Dakota in response to highly qualified provisions mandated by the federal law No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

NCLB mandated that all teachers become highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.  The literature review provided limited research on the retention of teachers as they neared retirement.  The federal government and North Dakota state officials were worried teachers would retire in lieu of becoming highly qualified, especially during the time when baby boomers were facing retirement decisions.  The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, working to retain teachers in North Dakota, provided various major equivalency options for veteran teachers to document their highly qualified status.

A mixed methods concurrent triangulation approach was used to test the 2 research questions focusing on retention impact and retirement decisions.  Interviews were held with 11 respondents to acquire an in-depth analysis.  Survey data from 839 respondents (56% return rate) were tested to ascertain frequency data, Chi-square analysis, and cross tabulations.

The conclusion were that the majority of the North Dakota life-licensed teachers were already highly qualified and did not use a major equivalency to become highly qualified.  If they did use a major equivalency, they chose the portfolio option.  This study indicated there should be more focus by local, regional, and state entities on recruitment and retention of all teachers in North Dakota in response to the pending retirements and critical shortage areas.


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation Title:  The Evaluation of an Ongoing Faith Community-Based Health and Physical Activity Promotion Program: Trends and Comparisons of Psychosocial Well-Being, Health, and Functional Physical Fitness Measure of Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Advisor: Dr. Donna Terbizan

This study examined the impact of a faith community-based health and fitness promotion program. This study is unique in that investigated one of the few ongoing programs of this nature in the United States. This cross-sectional study explored psychosocial, anthropometric, and physical fitness differences of study participants. Specifically, this research examined the fear of falling, exercise self-efficacy, health-related quality of life, depression levels, and social support for exercise as well as demographic characteristics, levels of religiosity, physical activity adherence rates, physical health characteristics, and functional fitness levels of middle-aged and older adults. The results from this study suggest that this type of programming can favorably impact the health and wellness of individuals who claim membership in a faith community. Specifically, through continued involvement in the health promotion program participant's demonstrated improved lower body strength, lower body flexibility, dynamic balance, exercise self-efficacy, quality of life (e.g., physical functioning and social functioning) and heightened perceived social support for exercise. Implications of the research findings are discussed as well as suggestions for future research.

JULY 2005-JUNE 2006


Ph.D. of Human Development - Counselor Education

Dissertation Title:  Friendsickness:  Concept and Reality Meet

Advisor: Dr. Robert Nielsen

Friendsickness is defined as “relational challenges for college students that are induced by moving away from the established network of friends” (Paul & Brier, 2001, p. 77). The purpose of this study is to learn more about the concept of friendsickness. The researcher interviews first-year college students at a small, baccalaureate mid-western university. The author includes the analysis of these interviews and connects the findings to the retention efforts at that university. This concept may be of great interest to those in the higher education profession as well as high school personnel that help prepare high school students for post graduation. Possible roles and action for counselors, counselor educators, students, and student affair professionals are discussed.


Ph.D. of Education

Dissertation title:  An Educational Training Model for HIV/Aids Prevention in the Niger Delta of Nigeria:  A Delphi Study

Advisor:  Dr. Ronald Stammen

The purpose of this study was accomplished by using a panel of internationally renowned experts (N = 27) who were knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and socio-cultural issues in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.  The experts used the Delphi process to transform literature-based constructs generic to sub-Saharan Africa into specific measurable variables about the Niger Delta of Nigeria. 

The findings from the analysis provided the basis for creating an educational training model for empowerment based on a relevant instructional framework for HIV/AIDS prevention.  This framework consisted of key variables within six categories which included (1) the geopolitical context of HIV/AIDS transmission in Nigeria; (2) political economy and HIV/AIDS; (3) culture and religious diversity; (4) the social context of HIV/AIDS; (5) women and HIV/AIDS in the Niger Delta; and (6) HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and education.

The data garnered from the Delphi process revealed that, in the context of the Niger Delta, the variables in the construct framework were not all significant for transmitting HIV/AIDS in the region.  Nevertheless, prostitution, labor migration, poverty, low literacy, sexual promiscuity, stigmatization, gender roles, lack of safe sex practices, cultural worldview, and corruption were identified as major contributory factors to HIV/AIDS transmission in the region.  Among minor contributory factors included oil exploration activities and sexual behaviors of oil workers, urbanization, lack of sexual and reproductive education, female genital mutilation, culture, beliefs, and values vs. condom use.  Empowerment education was acknowledged by panelists as the most appropriate educational approach for preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Niger Delta.  The results showed that the panelists considered the construct framework to be an appropriate theoretical structure fro examining the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Niger Delta.



Ph.D. of Human Development, Counselor Education 

Dissertation title:  Adult Children Dealing with Parents' Late-Life Divorce

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Nielsen

Separation and divorce are no longer uncommon phenomena (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002; Wu & Penning, 1997). A great deal of research has been conducted in the area of divorce effects on young children and adolescents, but little is found in the area of divorce effects on individuals 18 and over whose parents divorce (Amato, 2001, 2003; Cooney & Kurtz, 1996). Studies exist on shorter-term marriages and divorces of people under age 35, but minimal recent research is available on the effects of divorce on older divorcing parents and their adult children (Aquilino, 1994; Furstenberg & Kiernan, 2001; Pett, Lang, & Gander, 1992; Pryor, 1999). 

In this basic interpretive, qualitative study, the researcher explored the implications of late-life parental divorce on adult children and their families. Four main themes highlighted the impacts experienced by the participants:  (1) Relationships, (2) Emotions and Behaviors, (3) Skills Acquired, and (4) Recommendations for Counselors and Adult Children. Applications to the counseling profession and areas of further research were presented.

JULY 2004-JUNE 2005


Ph.D. of Human Development, Wellness

Dissertation title:  The Effect of Physical Activity Prompts on Motivation, Behavior, and Recognition

Advisor:  Dr. Bradford Strand

This study explored the impact physical activity email prompts had on motivation and behavior towards physical activity in NDSU extension agents. Eighty-one subjects completed both the pre- and post-survey. Thirty-nine subjects were rank-ordered by population of county, with the largest counties constituting the e-mail group. They then unknowingly received eight e-mail messages every other week for sixteen weeks. The remaining 42 subjects, from the least populated counties, served as controls. Variables of interest included activity level measured by Met-min per week (MMPW), motivation measured by stage of change, and ability to recognize the message theme. There were no baseline differences between control and intervention groups in basic demographic variables. The overall mean baseline activity level was ~1300 MMPW. Post-test results were significant for increases in message recognition in the intervention group (p<0.001), within group decreases in MMPW (p=0.001), and motivation decreases in the control group (p=0.021). There was no difference in MMPW between groups on either the pre- or post-test. Additionally, the sub-population of parents was singled out, yet there was no difference in the amount of activity in this group compared to non-parents on either the pre- or post-test. In conclusion, the email messages increased message recognition and may have helped maintain motivation in the intervention group. The overall population had a high level of physical activity, possibly due to their previous exposure to health promotion efforts, high annual income, or high education level, yet still reported a significant decrease in MMPW over the winter months. Ultimately, there was no effect for improving physical activity behavior, yet there were some subtly positive trends that warrant further exploration of e-mail as an exclusive prompting device.

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