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Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies

Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies

Date: December 2013
Creator: Lung, Wei-Liang
Description: This dissertation assesses the importance of a specific debt instrument, the Certifi- cate of Obligation in the state of Texas. It conceptualizes the Certificate of Obligation as a type of contractual debt that enables local governments to finance their capital projects. This dissertation is guided by three research questions: (1) What are the various types of debt instruments employed by local governments and what are their relative advantages? (2) How prevalent is the use of a specific debt instrument such as Certificates of Obligation? And why would some local governments prefer to issue them while others do not? (3) To what extent does the local institutional environment, e.g., the executive authority of city managers in the council-manager form of government, affect debt financing behaviors of local governments? To examine the first research question, we created a typology to represent four ideal types of borrowing methods: (1) Contractual Debt, (2) Voter Approval/Special Tax Debt, (3) Guaranteed, and (4) Non-Guaranteed Debts. The typology examines whether or not the state mandates the referendum requirement for the use of each of these debt instruments, and at the same time determines whether each debt instrument is secured by multiple or single revenue sources. Using data ...
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Churches, Social Service Access and Korean-american Elders: an Exploratory Study

Churches, Social Service Access and Korean-american Elders: an Exploratory Study

Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, Eunkyung
Description: This study examined how Korean co-ethnic churches serve as connections between Korean seniors and the agencies that offer social and health care services. The study developed from a pilot outreach program funded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Area Agency on Aging (NCTAAA) to inform Korean seniors about Medicare-related programs between February and May of 2011. The results of the pilot program suggested that the Korean-American church can be an effective place for program outreach. The dissertation project, working in partnership with the NCTAAA and 2-1-1 services, further explored the use of Korean churches as a vehicle to connect Korean seniors to Extra Help (EH) and Medicare Saving Programs (MSP) and 2-1-1 services, a toll-free number for information about non-emergency health and social services. Fifty-three pastors were contacted to participate in a telephone survey and a face-to-face, in-depth semi-structured interview. Thirty telephone surveys and 11 face-to-face interviews were conducted. Five of the 30 pastors agreed to host program outreach presentations for the EH, MSP, and 2-1-1 services in their churches. Host churches tended to be more likely highly structured, regularly scheduled programs (e.g., Senior College) for seniors already in place. A total of 405 Korean seniors participated in ...
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Integrated Computational and Experimental Approach to Control Physical Texture During Laser Machining of Structural Ceramics

Integrated Computational and Experimental Approach to Control Physical Texture During Laser Machining of Structural Ceramics

Date: December 2013
Creator: Vora, Hitesh D.
Description: The high energy lasers are emerging as an innovative material processing tool to effectively fabricate complex shapes on the hard and brittle structural ceramics, which previously had been near impossible to be machined effectively using various conventional machining techniques. In addition, the in-situ measurement of the thermo-physical properties in the severe laser machining conditions (high temperature, short time duration, and small interaction volume) is an extremely difficult task. As a consequence, it is extremely challenging to investigate the evolution of surface topography through experimental analyses. To address this issue, an integrated experimental and computational (multistep and multiphysics based finite-element modeling) approach was employed to understand the influence of laser processing parameters to effectively control the various thermo-physical effects (recoil pressure, Marangoni convection, and surface tension) during transient physical processes (melting, vaporization) for controlled surface topography (surface finish). The results indicated that the material lost due to evaporation causes an increase in crater depth of machined cavity, whereas liquid expulsion created by the recoil pressure increases the material pileup height around the lip of machined cavity, the major attributes of surface topography (roughness). Also, it was found that the surface roughness increased with increase in laser energy density and pulse rate ...
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Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Date: December 2013
Creator: Campbell, Robyn
Description: Research has indicated that OEF/OIF veterans are experiencing mental health concerns following deployment. While there are increasing numbers of veterans returning to higher education institutions after discharging from the military, there is a scarcity of empirical research investigating student veterans’ experiences as they transition into college. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether social support moderates the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment among a sample of student veterans. Participants were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, measures of psychological distress (i.e., GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R), Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, and the Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire. Multiple regressions revealed significant main effects for the variables of interest, but analyses failed to support the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment.
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An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance

An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance

Date: December 2013
Creator: Hartmann, Lillian Ann
Description: Among educational researchers, important questions are being asked about how to improve mathematics instruction for elementary students. This study, conducted in a north Texas public school with 294 third- through fifth-grade students, ten teachers and three coaches, examined the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the mathematics teaching and coaching instruction they received. Student achievement was measured by the Computer Adaptive Instrument (CAT), which is administered three times a year in the district and is the main criterion for students’ performance/movement in the district’s response to intervention program for mathematics. The response to intervention model employs student data to guide instruction and learning in the classroom and in supplemental sessions. The theoretical framework of the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) was the basis to investigate the concerns that mathematics teachers and coaches had in using the CAT student data to inform their instruction. The CAT data, based on item response theory, was the innovation. Unique in this study was the paralleling of teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and profiles for their use of the data with student scores using an empirical approach. Data were collected at three intervals through the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire, the Levels of Use interviews, and ...
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The Effect of Menthol on Nicotine Metabolism:  a Cross Species Evaluation

The Effect of Menthol on Nicotine Metabolism: a Cross Species Evaluation

Date: December 2013
Creator: Pace, Wendy Lee
Description: The effect of menthol on nicotine metabolism was examined in liver S9 fractions of four different species and in the in vivo mouse model. The purpose of this study was to investigate three parameters: (1) biotransformation of nicotine to cotinine in various species (human, mouse, rat and trout) using in vitro methods; (2) to determine if the addition of menthol with nicotine altered biotransformation of nicotine to cotinine; (3) and to assess similar parameters in an in vivo mouse model. The major findings of this study include: (1) mice appear to metabolize nicotine, over time, in a manner similar to humans; (2) menthol decreased cotinine production, over time, after a single dose in mice; and (3) menthol increased cotinine production, over time, after repeated doses, in mice.
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Laser Surface Modification on Az31b Mg Alloy for Bio-wettability

Laser Surface Modification on Az31b Mg Alloy for Bio-wettability

Date: December 2013
Creator: Ho, YeeHsien
Description: Laser surface modification of AZ31B Magnesium alloy changes surface composition and roughness to provide improved surface bio-wettability. Laser processing resulted in phase transformation and grain refinement due to rapid quenching effect. Furthermore, instantaneous heating and vaporization resulted in removal of material, leading the textured surface generation. A study was conducted on a continuum-wave diode-pumped ytterbium laser to create multiple tracks for determining the resulting bio-wettability. Five different laser input powers were processed on Mg alloy, and then examined by XRD, SEM, optical profilometer, and contact angle measurement. A finite element based heat transfer model was developed using COMSOL multi-physics package to predict the temperature evolution during laser processing. The thermal histories predicted by the model are used to evaluate the cooling rates and solidification rate and the associated changes in the microstructure. The surface energy of laser surface modification samples can be calculated by measuring the contact angle with 3 different standard liquid (D.I water, Formamide, and 1-Bromonaphthalen). The bio-wettability of the laser surface modification samples can be conducted by simulated body fluid contact angle measurement. The results of SEM, 3D morphology, XRD, and contact angle measurement show that the grain size and roughness play role for wetting behavior of ...
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Boosting for Learning From Imbalanced, Multiclass Data Sets

Boosting for Learning From Imbalanced, Multiclass Data Sets

Access: Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Abouelenien, Mohamed
Description: In many real-world applications, it is common to have uneven number of examples among multiple classes. The data imbalance, however, usually complicates the learning process, especially for the minority classes, and results in deteriorated performance. Boosting methods were proposed to handle the imbalance problem. These methods need elongated training time and require diversity among the classifiers of the ensemble to achieve improved performance. Additionally, extending the boosting method to handle multi-class data sets is not straightforward. Examples of applications that suffer from imbalanced multi-class data can be found in face recognition, where tens of classes exist, and in capsule endoscopy, which suffers massive imbalance between the classes. This dissertation introduces RegBoost, a new boosting framework to address the imbalanced, multi-class problems. This method applies a weighted stratified sampling technique and incorporates a regularization term that accommodates multi-class data sets and automatically determines the error bound of each base classifier. The regularization parameter penalizes the classifier when it misclassifies instances that were correctly classified in the previous iteration. The parameter additionally reduces the bias towards majority classes. Experiments are conducted using 12 diverse data sets with moderate to high imbalance ratios. The results demonstrate superior performance of the proposed method compared ...
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Relationships of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure with Land-use, Habitat, In-stream Water Chemistry, Depositional Sediment Biofilm Fatty Acids, and Surfactants in the Effluent Dominated Texas Trinity River

Relationships of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure with Land-use, Habitat, In-stream Water Chemistry, Depositional Sediment Biofilm Fatty Acids, and Surfactants in the Effluent Dominated Texas Trinity River

Date: December 2013
Creator: Slye, Jaime L.
Description: The Trinity River is an urbanized, effluent-dominated river, and is heavily relied upon for drinking water. The benthic macroinvertebrate community has been monitored for over 20 years, with the focus of this dissertation on three studies (1987-88, 2005, and 2011). Water quality improvement following dechlorination resulted in increased benthic metrics. Overall habitat quality, in-stream cover, surface water total organic carbon, sediment total organic carbon, near-field urban land-use, near-field forested land-use, surface water surfactant toxic units, and depositional sediment biofilm fatty acids all have statistically significant relationships with benthic macroinvertebrate metrics. These relationships are better defined with increased taxonomic resolution at the genus/species level for all benthic taxa, including Chironomidae and Oligochaeta. It is recommend that benthic identifications for state and city water quality assessments be done at the genus/species level. A novel method for quantifying depositional sediment biofilm fatty acids has been produced and tested in this dissertation. Benthic metrics are directly related to fatty acid profiles, with several essential fatty acids found only at upstream sites.
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Using a Multimodal Sensing Approach to Characterize Human Thermal Comfort Level

Using a Multimodal Sensing Approach to Characterize Human Thermal Comfort Level

Date: December 2013
Creator: Wicaksono, Cakra Aditya
Description: A method to distinguish human level of comfort has been developed by using a thermal camera, physiological sensors, and a surroundings sensor. The method has successfully collected data from hominal facial features, breathing rate, skin temperature, room temperature, blood volume pressure, relative humidity, and air velocity. Participants from all genders and races were involved in two sessions of a human comfort experiment including a psychology survey session. The variables, such as room temperature and clothing are controlled to maintain steady test conditions. The region of interest was determined by body temperature and facial temperature as registered by the thermal imaging camera. To experience different levels of discomfort, participants were required to perform two different activities. The first session included an activity on the air resistance elliptical and the second session required the subjects to remain steady in front of a fan. The data was subsequently compared on all subjects to determine whether human discomfort and comfort can be predicted by using various approaches. The parameters of discomfort and comfort were simulated to characterize human levels of comfort. According to arrangement of correlation among thermal comfort responses, blood volume pressure, skin temperature, respiration, and skin conduction, we are be able to ...
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