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A Mixed Method Analysis of Undergraduate Student-run Public Relations Firms on U.S. College Campuses

Description: Student-run public relations firms are part of collegiate public relations pedagogy, and this study used a mixed-method approach to analyze such firms on U.S. campuses. A listing of campuses with student-run firms was created as part of this study. Through an online survey questionnaire, advisers from 55 of the 119 student-run firms provided data about firm characteristics and observations about student learning and career development. Multiple correspondence analyses was used to see if the firms grouped into clusters and somewhat aligned with previous research by Lee Bush in 2009. Firms clustered into four groups, with the fourth group representing a mix of the other three. One additional finding was that firm characteristics are more similar than dissimilar even when comparing firms of varying years in operation. Analysis of variance to compare characteristics between different types of firms revealed that one type of firm tended to employ students at a higher average number of hours per week (F = 6.61, eta squared=0.16) and one was more likely to be accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (F = 3.71, eta squared=0.13). Advisers reported mostly positive reflections on observed transformations they see in their student workers and the value of the firm experience including how it helps students in post-graduation job attainment. Responses to a graduate questionnaire is included but, because of low response rate (N = 6), provided only cursory information.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Maben, Sarah Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Institutional Policies and Practices of Community and Technical Colleges in Texas on Student Persistence in Online Courses

Description: Online education is the fastest growing form of course delivery of higher education in the United States. It has revolutionized how students and instructors interact in the educational process. Yet students in online courses continue to experience higher attrition rates than their counterparts in traditional face-to-face classes despite the advantages offered by the technology. This study examined the impact that institutional policies and practices at community colleges in the state of Texas have had on student persistence in online courses. It also examined how institutions collect and use data in addressing students' attrition. The findings were used to identify the most effective institutional practices to share with community college systems in Texas in an effort to improve student persistence in online courses across the state. The population for the study consisted of the 50 public two-year community college and the technical college systems in the state of Texas. The study used a mixed method. A theoretical model of institutional impact on online persistence was drawn from the literature review. This model's five categories were then used to construct a survey to collect data on institutional practices and measure the effectiveness in addressing student persistence. Four college systems were identified using the survey data that best met the five categories. Interviews were then conducted at these four college systems to produce case studies of these institutions' practices and experiences with online persistence. The results highlighted the roles that institutions play in promoting student persistence in online programs. They revealed differences in the ways institutions define and track student success in online programs and the difficulty these differences pose in comparatively evaluating various institutions' programs. Results lent support to the theoretical model of institutional impact on online persistence that was developed for this study, and results yielded a proposed list of promising ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Hills, Fred W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Leadership Styles and Cultural Sensitivity of Department Chairs at Texas Public Universities

Description: As the U.S. population diversifies, so do its higher education institutions. Leadership at these institutions should be prepared for this diversification of students, faculty, and staff. The purpose of this study was to gain greater knowledge about the leadership styles and cultural sensitivity of department chairs. Survey research was used to determine if department chairs’ leadership styles correlated with their cultural sensitivity. The target population was department chairs from public universities in the state of Texas. The survey was distributed to 406 randomly selected department chairs. The participants completed three measures: Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire (LDBQ) for leadership style, the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS) for cultural sensitivity, and a demographic questionnaire (gender, age range, race/ethnicity, and years of service as department chair). The sample included 165 usable surveys (40% return rate). The department chairs were primarily male (72%), White (78%), and over 50 (71%) years of age. First, a statistically significant negative correlation (r = -.431, p < .0001) occurred between LBDQ overall scores and overall ISS scores: As chairs scored higher on leadership ability, they scored lower on intercultural sensitivity. Second, leadership style by demographic variable displayed mixed results. No significant difference was found for leadership style by age, gender, years of service, or region of service. For ethnicity, White participants scored significantly lower than Minority participants on the LBDQ scales of consideration (t [162] = -2.021, p = .045), structure (t [162] = -2.705, p = .008), and overall (t [162] = -2.864, p = .005). Minority participants might work more diligently to increase their leadership abilities based on their higher LDBQ scores. Third, findings on intercultural sensitivity by demographic variable were mixed. No statistical significance was observed between any of the ISS scales and age, gender, years of service, and region. For ethnicity, Minority participants’ scores showed ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: Hernandez-Katz, Melissa
Partner: UNT Libraries

Community College Choice and the Role of Undermatching in the Lives of African Americans

Description: This study explored why academically qualified African American students, those eligible to attend four-year institutions, choose to attend community colleges and are, thereby, undermatched. This qualitative study investigated how these students navigated the college choice process, what influenced their decision to attend a community college, what their experience at a community college was like, and their aspirations to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Purposeful sampling was used to gather a sample of 19 African American students attending community college in Dallas, Texas. The sample included 14 females and five males. Data were collected through 40-60 minute semi-structured interviews and a brief demographic survey. The conceptual frameworks for this study included Kassie Freeman’s predetermination model that includes cultural considerations in college choice and the Somers et al. model that addresses factors that increase the likelihood of a student choosing to attend a community college. This integrated framework captures the role that family and culture play in African American community college choice. Findings suggest that the community college choice influences for academically eligible African American students vary from traditional college choice models. Whereas factors such as cost, location, and the role of peers played somewhat of a role in their choice, participants were also heavily influenced by sports, self-perceptions of maturity, and the perceptions of their families. Another key finding was that the effects of undermatching vary. All of the participants in this study felt that attending a community college fostered transfer preparedness, supported personal development, and promoted their academic success. However, some of the participants also felt that attending a community college hindered their sense of autonomy and limited their social engagement. This variation leads to the conclusion that undermatching effects vary and are dependent upon a variety of contextual factors. Policy and practice recommendations are provided for parents, teachers, counselors, and ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Lowry, Kimberly M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Marianismo and Community College Persistence: a Secondary Data Analysis of the Educational Longitudinal Study 2002

Description: Hispanics represent the greatest U.S. population growth, yet Hispanic women are the least educated of all U.S. ethnic female groups and reflect the lowest college enrollment as a percent of their total population. Since nearly half of Hispanics enrolled in college are served by community colleges, this research sought to understand if marianismo, i.e., the cultural expectations that Hispanic women females must focus on caretaking and mothering while reflecting passivity, duty and honor, and self-sacrifice, might provide some explanation for the low levels of degree attainment among Hispanic female community college students compared to their female peers from all other ethnic groups. Marianismo was once a construct that limited the role of women to the home. However, today’s Hispanic female is expected to juggle home priorities along with other roles in which she may engage. These various role demands may influence Hispanic female college persistence and success. Using secondary data analysis of the national Educational Longitudinal Study 2002 (ELS), this study examined the relationship between marianismo and persistence (semester to semester enrollment) of Hispanic females (n = 368) enrolled in community colleges. To create a marianismo scale, 13 items were selected from the ELS and reviewed by individuals familiar with Hispanic culture and marianismo. Confirmatory factor analysis was then used to generate a reliable marianismo scale (Cronbach’s alpha = .82). Logistic regression revealed that of marianismo, socio-economic status, generational status, and high school GPA, only high school GPA was statistically significant for predicting persistence.
Date: August 2014
Creator: LaCoste, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship Between Institutional Expenditures and Student Completion of Momentum Points: a Community College Perspective

Description: This study investigated the relationship between community college institutional expenditures and student success in reaching momentum points. The 3 years of student cohorts of a large community college district in Texas formed the population. Student characteristics and institutional context characteristics served as control variables. Institutional financial data functioned as the independent variables. Student success variables (milestones and momentum points) served as dependent variables. Because each of the three cohorts contained over 10,000 students and displayed equivalent characteristics, the random sample of 7,634 students was drawn from the combined cohorts. Institutional financial variables predicted the milestones of reading readiness (χ2 = 315.10, df = 17, n = 3,495, p < .001) and writing readiness (χ2 = 296.64, df = 17, n = 3,149, p < .001). Financial variables contributed to the completion of English-1301 (χ2 = 1004.14, df = 17, n = 7,634, p < .001), college-level math (χ2 = 615.24, df = 17, n = 7,634, p < .001), 30 college-level credit hours (χ2 = 833.85, df = 17, n = 7,634, p < .001), and reenrollment the second fall semester (χ2 = 375.41, df = 17, n = 7,634, p < .001). Student services expenditures provided high odds for completion of English-1301 (odds ratio = 4.85 x 1014), college-level math (odds ratio = 5.24 x 1018), 30 college-level credits (odds ratio = 1.60x1015), and for re-enrollment in the second fall semester (odds ratio = 7.32 x 1014). Instructional expenditures and operations & maintenance expenditures also predicted student enrollment in the second fall semester. Student services’ influence on student engagement and success should inform decisions about programs for improving student success. Institutional policymakers may utilized these expenditure results support momentum point attainment. Finally, the influence of full time enrollment on student completion of milestones and momentum points in every regression ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Isbell, Teresa
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-determination of Military Students in Postsecondary Education

Description: The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine undergraduate military veteran students’ self-determination and academic effort in relation to their nonveteran college peers. A total of 734 undergraduates attending 4-year institutions in Texas completed a survey, including: 76 veterans (63% males, 37% females); and 658 non-veterans (26% males, 74% females). This research created a more holistic survey of self-determination by adding the 8-item New General Self-Efficacy Scale to the 10-item Self-determination Scale. The survey also included 13-items drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement. A factor analysis with a varimax rotation of the items identified six factors: competence, autonomy, relatedness, reflection, learning strategies, and quantitative reasoning resulting in a significant Bartlett’s test of sphericity (2 (465) = 12324.53, p < .001). The first hierarchical ordinary least squares (HOLS) analysis results showed that undergraduate veteran students have statistically significant higher levels of self-determination than students without military experience with a small effect size (R2 = .022%, p < .001); however, a meta-analysis of self-determination revealed a large effect size of d = 1.33 between veterans (M = .81, SD = .12) and freshmen undergraduates (M = .65, SD = .12). The second HOLS analysis revealed that self-determination is a positively related, statistically significant factor in academic effort potentially adding 6.8% variance explained to the multi-factored general causal model of college impact (GCMCI).
Date: August 2014
Creator: Placido, Robert B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Student Involvement and Self-authorship Among African American Undergraduate Students at a STEM-focused University

Description: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the association between student involvement and self-authorship among African American undergraduate students enrolled at a medium-sized, North Texas STEM-focused university. Self-identified African American undergraduate students at the university completed an online, researcher-developed survey focused on co-curricular involvement activities, degree of involvement in those activities, and perceived self-authorship indicators. From the completed survey pool (N = 49), 10 females and 5 males participated in follow-up focus group sessions. The survey data analysis was limited to descriptive statistics of student involvement and demographic data. Survey results showed that African American undergraduate students at the university were actively involved in co-curricular activities and generally satisfied with their involvement experiences. The focus groups provided a more in-depth picture of the involvement experiences showing that students believed that their commitment to co-curricular activities contributed significantly to their interpersonal and intrapersonal growth—characteristics of self-authorship. The survey and qualitative data combined suggested a positive association between the involvement of African American undergraduate students in co-curricular activities at the university and the development of self-authorship characteristics in those students. Findings from this study support the practice of intentional outreach to African American undergraduate students in order to promote their active involvement in campus activities and events.
Date: August 2014
Creator: McNulty McCoy, Netreia Z.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation Practices of Community College Faculty Development Programs

Description: The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the current state of community college faculty development program evaluation and identify possible influences on evaluation practices. Data from 184 survey responses and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) were analyzed to answer three research questions. Multiple regression was used to determine if a relationship existed between the dependent/outcome variable (evaluation utilization score) and the independent/predictor variable (accrediting agency affiliation: MSCHE, NEASC, NCA, NWCCU, SACS, and WASC) and/or control variables (institution locale, student FTE, expenses per student FTE, percent spent on instruction, and percent of full-time faculty). Results were not statistically significant, F (12, 163) = 1.176, p = .305. The mean evaluation scores were similar for all six accrediting agencies ranging from 60-69. The rural variable was statistically significant with p = .003 and alpha = .05, but it only accounted for 3.6% of the variance explained. Logistic regression was used to determine if a relationship existed between the dependent/outcome variable (use of evaluation) and the above-specified independent/predictor variable and/or control variables for six faculty development program activities. Results revealed that significant predictor variables for the use of evaluation vary based on the faculty development program activity. Statistically significant predictors were identified for two of the six activities. The percent spent on instruction variable was statistically significant for financial support for attending professional conferences (p = .02; alpha = .05). The NCA affiliation and student FTE variables were statistically significant for orientation for new faculty (p = .007; alpha = .05 and p = .027; alpha = .05 respectively). The analysis of the evaluation methods was conducted using descriptive statistics and frequencies. The most frequently used evaluation methods were questionnaire and verbal feedback. NCA was identified as having the greatest number of institutions using the most frequently used evaluation ...
Date: December 2014
Creator: Bunyard, Magen Lynn
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Historical Study of the Paris Small Business Development Center in Paris, Texas: 1986-2006

Description: This historical study chronicled events of the development and implementation of the Paris Small Business Development Center at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas from 1986-2006. Data was collected from primary and secondary sources and oral histories through personal interviews. The analysis included a brief history of higher education and the service mission and situated the study in the broader context as an extension program in higher education. This study provided a brief history of the U.S. Small Business Administration and America’s Small Business Development Center Network as a background for the study. This study is significant to scholars in the field of higher education for a number of reasons. It provides a historical analysis of a service program that extends the college to the community and demonstrates higher education and its role in economic development. It adds to the current body of research by advancing an understanding of a past to contemporary knowledge. Finally, by integrating historical perspectives from multiple disciplines in higher education, what happened and the context in which it happened can be more fully appreciated. This study also contributes to practical knowledge as it deepens the understanding of significant events and processes that contributed to the success of an outreach program in higher education.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Smith, Donna Gayle
Partner: UNT Libraries