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Island Empire: the Influence of the Maceo Family in Galveston

Description: From the 1920s until the 1950s, brothers, Sam and Rosario Maceo, ran an influential crime family in Galveston, Texas. The brothers’ success was largely due to Galveston’s transient population, the turbulent history of the island, and the resulting economic decline experienced at the turn of the 20th century. Their success began during Prohibition, when they opened their first club. The establishment offered bootlegged liquor, fine dining, and first class entertainment. After Prohibition, the brothers continued to build an empire on the island through similar clubs, without much opposition from the locals. However, after being suspected of involvement in a drug smuggling ring, the Maceos were placed under scrutiny from outside law enforcement agencies. Through persistent investigations, the Texas Rangers finally shut down the rackets in Galveston in 1957. Despite their influence through the first half of the 20th century, on the island and off the island, their story is largely missing from the current literature.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Boatman, T. Nicole

Texas Principals’ Data Use: Its Relationship to Leadership Style and Student Achievement

Description: This study applies an empirical research method determine whether Texas public school principals’ leadership styles, coupled with their use of real time data in a data warehouse, influenced their leadership ability as measured by student achievement. In today’s world of data rich environments that require campuses and districts to make data-driven decisions, principals find themselves having to organize and categorize data to help their school boards, campuses, and citizenry make informed decisions. Most school principals in Texas have access to data in multiple forms including national and state resources and a multitude of other data reports. A random sample of principals was selected to take the Multi Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ5x) and the Principals Data Use Survey. The MLQ5x measured principals’ leadership styles as transformational, transactional, or passive avoidant. The Principals Data Use Survey measured how principals use data to inform campus decisions on student achievement, shaping the vision of the campus, and designing professional development. Data obtained from the survey were correlated to determine the relationship between principals’ use of data warehouses and their leadership styles on student achievement as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. The results yielded significant relationships between student achievement, principals’ leadership styles, and the principals’ data use with a data warehouse. Student achievement scores were highly correlated with the campuses that participated in the study and provided limited differences between those with data warehouses and those without data warehouses.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Bostic, Robert E.

Cowboys, “Queers,” and Community: the AIDS Crisis in Houston and Dallas, 1981-1996

Description: This thesis examines the response to the AIDS crisis in Houston and Dallas, two cities in Texas with the most established gay communities highest number of AIDS incidences. Devoting particular attention to the struggles of the Texas’ gay men, this work analyzes the roadblocks to equal and compassionate care for AIDS, including access to affordable treatment, medical insurance, and the closure of the nation’s first AIDS hospital. In addition, this thesis describes the ways in which the peculiar nature of AIDS as an illness transformed the public perception of sickness and infection. This work contributes to the growing study of gay and lesbian history by exploring the transformative effects of AIDS on the gay community in Texas, a location often forgotten within the context of the AIDS epidemic.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Bundschuh, Molly Ellen

Weeding Out the Undesirables: the Red Scare in Texas Higher Education, 1936-1958

Description: When the national Democratic Party began to transform to progressive era politics because of the New Deal, conservative reactionaries turned against the social welfare programs and used red scare tactics to discredit liberal and progressive New Deal Democrat professors in higher education. This process continued during the Second World War, when the conservatives in Texas lumped fascism and communism in order to anchor support and fire and threaten professors and administrators for advocating or teaching “subversive doctrine.” In 1948 Texas joined other southern states and followed the Dixiecrat movement designed to return the Democratic Party to its original pro-business and segregationist philosophy. Conservatives who wanted to bolster their Cold Warrior status in Texas also played upon the fears of spreading communism during the Cold War, and passed several repressive laws intended to silence unruly students and entrap professors by claiming they advocated communist doctrine. The fight culminated during the Civil Rights movement, when conservatives in the state attributed subversive or communist behavior to civil rights organizations, and targeted higher education to protect segregated universities. In order to return the national Democratic Party to the pro-business, segregationist philosophy established at the early twentieth century, conservatives used redbaiting tactics to thwart the progressivism in the state’s higher education facilities.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Bynum, Katherine E.

Identifying Cultural and Non-cultural Factors Affecting Litter Patterns in Hickory Creek, Texas

Description: Plastic deposition in hydrological systems is a pervasive problem at all geographic scales from loci of pollution to global ocean circulation. Much attention has been devoted to plastic deposition in marine contexts, but little is known about inputs of plastics into local hydrological systems, such as streams. Any attempt to prevent plastic litter must confront people’s behaviors, so archaeological concepts are used to distinguish between various cultural inputs (e.g., littering) and non-cultural forces (e.g., stream transport) that affect litter patterns on the landscape. Litter surveys along Hickory Creek in Denton, TX, are used to assess these factors.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Carpenter, Evan S.

An Action Research Study of Community Building with Elementary Students in a Title I School

Description: “In what ways does teaching with folk arts inspired visual arts-based instruction enhance community building among elementary students in a Title I school?” was the primary research question in this study. Agreeing with past and present day research that the construct of community is vital to social and cultural capital, this research attempts to determine how the notion of community benefits both students and teachers in the elementary art classroom. Folk art was utilized because this genre was accessible in terms of locality and familiarity among students and teachers. The purpose of this investigation was to produce teaching strategies and methods that show how community can be formed in the art classroom. The participants were elementary students, Grades 2 and 3, in a Title I school located in Denton, Texas. This investigation was conducted under an action research methodology. This approach to research is intended to be transformational, emergent, and accommodating. I recorded observations, field notes, and conversations from the participants. Emergent themes were discovered through content analysis and conceptual maps. Results from this investigation concluded transformation is only possible if the person wants change to happen. Data also showed that community and art education are symbiotic. Transformation, growth, and cultivation are demands that must be met in order for this relationship to flourish. In addition, data suggested that the role of folk arts-based lessons played a significant role in building community among second and third graders.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Dew, SaraBeth

Framing Bilingual Education Policy: Articulation and Implementation in Texas

Description: Language education policy and its implementation have been controversial and ongoing issues throughout the United States, especially in the border state of Texas, with its large population of students who are learning English. This dissertation reports two studies, the first of which was a frame analysis of problems and solutions as represented by the five bills amending the Texas Education Code with regard to bilingual education and English as a second language programs. These laws, passed in 1969, 1973, 1975, 1981, and 2001, have been enacted since 1968, the year the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) was passed. The problem framed consistently by these state policy documents was inadequate instruction for children who come to school speaking languages other than English. More variability was seen in the framing of solutions, with approaches changing from the authorization of instruction in languages other than English, to the establishment of mandated bilingual programs, to the extension of special language programs, and to the establishment of dual language immersion programs. The primary ideology influencing the policy documents was the monolingual English ideology; however, alternative ideologies are apparent in the policies that allow for dual language immersion programs. Geographic information systems (GIS) analysis was used in the second study to investigate the geographic locations of particular programs and the demographics of students they served. Choropleth maps showed variability in program distribution across the state with distinct patterns apparent in only two programs. The maps indicated that districts with high percentages of student enrollment in one-way dual language programs tended to be located in and near the major metropolitan areas, whereas many districts offering early exit transitional bilingual programs tended to be located along the Texas-Mexico border. Despite the literature on bilingual/ESL program effectiveness, the predominant program in the border region of Texas is among those considered ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Dixon, Kathryn V.

Joaquín de Arredondo in Texas and Northeastern New Spain, 1811-1821

Description: Joaquín de Arredondo was the most powerful and influential person in northeastern New Spain from 1811 to 1821. His rise to prominence began in 1811 when the Spanish military officer and a small royalist army suppressed Miguel Hidalgo’s revolution in the province of Nuevo Santander. This prompted the Spanish government to promote Arredondo to Commandant General of the Eastern Internal Provinces, making him the foremost civil and military authority in northeastern New Spain. Arredondo’s tenure as commandant general proved difficult, as he had to deal with insurgents, invaders from the United States, hostile Indians, pirates, and smugglers. Because warfare in Europe siphoned much needed military and financial support, and disagreements with New Spain’s leadership resulted in reductions of the commandant general’s authority, Arredondo confronted these threats with little assistance from the Spanish government. In spite of these obstacles, he maintained royalist control of New Spain from 1811 to 1821, and, in doing so, changed the course of Texas, Mexican, and United States history. In 1813, he defeated insurgents and American invaders at the Battle of Medina, and from 1817 to 1820, his forces stopped Xavier Mina’s attempt to bring independence to New Spain, prevented French exiles from establishing a colony in Texas, and defeated James Long’s filibustering expedition from the United States. Although unable to sustain Spanish rule in 1821, Arredondo’s approval of Moses Austin’s petition to settle families from the United States in Texas in 1820 and his role in the development of Antonio López de Santa Anna, meant the officer continued to influence Mexico. Perhaps Arredondo’s greatest importance is that the study of his life provides a means to learn about an internationally contested region during one of the most turbulent eras in North American history.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Folsom, Bradley, 1979-

Reckoning in the Redlands: the Texas Rangers’ Clean-up of San Augustine in 1935

Description: The subject of this manuscript is the Texas Rangers “clean-up” of San Augustine, which was undertaken between late January 1935 until approximately July 1936 at the direction of then newly-elected Governor James V. Allred, in response to the local “troubles” that arose from an near decade long “crime wave.” Allred had been elected on a platform advocating dramatic reform of state law enforcement, and the success of the “clean-up” was heralded as validation of those reforms, which included the creation of – and the Rangers’ integration into – the Texas Department of Public Safety that same year. Despite such historic significance for the community of San Augustine, the state, and the Texas Rangers, no detailed account has ever been published. The few existing published accounts are terse, vague, and inadequate to address the relevant issues. They are often also overly reliant on limited oral accounts and substantially factually flawed, thereby rendering their interpretive analysis moot in regard to certain issues. Additionally, it is a period of San Augustine’s history that haunts that community to this day, particularly as a result of the wide-ranging myths that have taken hold in the absence of a thoroughly researched and documented published account. Concerns over offending the descendants of the key antagonists, many of whom still live in the area, has long made local historians wary of taking on the topic. Nevertheless, many of them have privately expressed the need for just such a treatment, as they have crossed paths with enough evidence in pursuit of other topics that they recognize and appreciate the historical significance, and lack of an accurate modern understanding, of those events. Furthermore, descendants of some of the victims have expressed frustration over the lack of such an account, because it makes them feel victimized once more to see the ...
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Ginn, Jody Edward

Developing a Forest Gap Model to Be Applied to a Watershed-scaled Landscape in the Cross Timbers Ecoregion Using a Topographic Wetness Index

Description: A method was developed for extending a fine-scaled forest gap model to a watershed-scaled landscape, using the Eastern Cross Timbers ecoregion as a case study for the method. A topographic wetness index calculated from digital elevation data was used as a measure of hydrologic across the modeled landscape, and the gap model modified to have with a topographically-based hydrologic input parameter. The model was parameterized by terrain type units that were defined using combinations of USDA soil series and classes of the topographic wetness index. A number of issues regarding the sources, grid resolutions, and processing methods of the digital elevation data are addressed in this application of the topographic wetness index. Three different grid sizes, 5, 10, and 29 meter, from both LiDAR-derived and contour-derived elevation grids were used, and the grids were processed using both single-directional flow algorithm and bi-directional flow algorithm. The result of these different grids were compared and analyzed in context of their application in defining terrain types for the forest gap model. Refinements were made in the timescale of gap model’s weather model, converting it into a daily weather generator, in order to incorporate the effects of the new topographic/hydrologic input parameter. The precipitation model was converted to use a Markov model to initiate a sequence of wet and dry days for each month, and then daily precipitation amounts were determined using a gamma distribution. The output of the new precipitation model was analyzed and compared with a 100-year history of daily weather records at daily, monthly, and annual timescales. Model assumptions and requirements for biological parameters were thoroughly investigated and questioned. Often these biological parameters are based on little more than assumptions and intuition. An effort to base as many of the model’s biological parameters on measured data was made, including a new ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Goetz, Heinrich

Resource Allocation Efficiency at the Elementary and Middle School Levels in a Texas School District

Description: In recent years much attention has gone to school efficiency, as determined by assessing student achievement relative to expenditures at the school district level. The present study built on prior work in school efficiency with a focus on the school campus level instead of the district level. Included in the study were 28 elementary and middle school campuses in a selected school district in Texas. The approach taken in the investigation was data envelopment analysis (DEA), which provided scores for efficiency and was intended to provide clarity on efficiency research at the campus level. Past studies using the DEA model have involved business and private institutions, but not public schools. The DEA model calculated and assigned efficiency scores for each campuses. The two variable categories used to determine campus efficiency were student demographics and resource allocation. The total enrollment numbers included the number of White, economically disadvantaged, at-risk, and limited English proficiency students. The resource allocation variables included the total expenditures in instruction, instructional related services, instructional leadership, campus leadership, and student support services. The efficiency scores paired with student achievement scores determined campus efficiency and effectiveness. An effective and efficiency framework was used to represent the data with student achievement on the y-axis and campus efficiency scores on the x-axis. I applied Pearson product moment and regression analyses using the same variables as previous studies. The Pearson product moment assessed the correlation between student demographic variables, function code variables, and campus efficiency. The Pearson product showed a weak positive relationship between the number of White students and the number of LEP students enrolled in the district. The analysis also showed moderate and strong negative relationships between efficiency and instructional leadership and student support services. The regression analysis identified the student demographic and function code variables that affected the level ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: Hamlin, Lance

Immunity for New Mexico Public School Districts and the 1978 Tort Claims Act

Description: In a 3-year timeframe, nearly 800 student negligence suits were filed, and most involved some claim of personal injury. Despite heightened public attention of negligence lawsuits against school districts and their employees, an empirical study of court decisions revealed that the volume of litigation against school districts remained steady from 1990 to 2005, the majority of cases were ruled in favor of the school district employees, and government and official immunity were most often the basis for these rulings. Researchers have concluded that immunity laws are strong in the United States, although they vary by state in their application. However, a primary recommendation was that, because of the misconception of a lack of immunity for public school employees, a comprehensive study on governmental and official immunity is needed. This dissertation employed legal research, analysis, and methodology to engage in a comprehensive investigation of teacher immunity in the four southern states of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Of central concern to this dissertation was the Tort Claims Act of 1978 from the State of New Mexico. The Tort Claims Act is the vehicle by which immunity is granted to public school employees. Court findings over the last 35 years point to three primary domains under which cases pertaining to immunity fall: negligence (62.5%), evaluation and supervision (16.7%), and student discipline (8.3%). Immunity appears strong across all three domains; however, only future studies on cases by state will determine whether states in the southwest United States are the norm or an anomaly.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Herauf, Todd J.

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

Evaluation of Program Effectiveness: a Look at the Bedford Police Department’s Strategy Towards Repeat Victimization in Domestic Violence and Mental Health

Description: The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a program being run by the Bedford Police Department’s Repeat Victimization Unit on domestic violence and mental health and mental retardation. The study sought to determine whether the program was effective in reducing instances of repeat victimization in domestic violence and MHMR victims. Additionally the program investigated whether or not the program was effective at reducing victimization severity, and which demographic could be identified as the most victimized. Participants consisted of 157 domestic violence and MHMR victims in the city of Bedford, Tx between November 11, 2012 to July 30, 2013. Findings indicate that levels of repeat victimization for domestic violence and MHMR are relatively low regardless of whether the victim received services through the repeat victimization program or not. Additionally the severity of these repeat victimizations remains relatively constant regardless of whether services were received through the program or not. Implications and findings are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Huskey, Michael G.

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

Vickery Meadow Community Needs Assessment

Description: This study represents a community needs assessment conducted for Trans.lation Vickery Meadow, a community-based organization in a North Dallas community, Vickery Meadow. Vickery Meadow is a community where refugee resettlement agencies place incoming clients, and therefore, there is a focus on immigrants and refugees in this study. Using theoretical conceptions of development, immigration policy, and the refugee resettlement process, this project measured residential perceptions of Vickery Meadow, the operations of Trans.lation Vickery Meadow, and overall community needs. Also included are perceptions of Trans.lation Vickery Meadow members concerning community needs and the operations of Trans.lation. Recommendations are made based upon research and conclusions from fieldwork.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Jay, Sarah, 1986-

Enacting Community Through the Arts

Description: This study is concerned with the roles and relationships between artists-in-residence, community audiences, and program coordinators/art educators as they engage together in community arts programs. This study takes place at Project Row Houses (PRH), a community arts organization located in Houston, Texas and focuses on the artist-in-residence program, which commissions a group of national and international artists for a 6-month period to create art installations in relation to the community and its African-American heritage. This ethnographic case study is based on the activities and events surrounding the 2008 PRH exhibition, Round 29, Thunderbolt Special: The Great Electric Show and Dance, after Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins and employed qualitative data gathering methods of participant-observation, conducting semi-structured, open-ended, in-depth interviews, and through document collection, and contextual information. Observations were recorded through field notes, photographs, and video. Interviews were conducted with 3 artists-in-residence, 3 community audience members, and 3 program coordinators or staff members involved with the program, regarding their experiences at the site and experiences with each other. My analysis presents the roles of artist, community audience, and program coordinator/art educator through three sections on cultural work. Within these sections I discuss topics related to the power of voice, situatedness, and creativity, as it relates to the artists and community audiences. For the role of program coordinator/art educator, I focus more closely on her role in the process of mediation. Topics of power, social dynamics, identity, and representation are also framed within these discussions.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Keller, Sarita Talusani

Dismantling the Psychiatric Ghetto: Evaluating a Blended-Clinic Approach to Supportive Housing in Houston, Texas

Description: Locational decisions based on stigma and low funding have handicapped the efficiency of community based mental healthcare in the United States since 1963. However, the pattern of services in the 21st century American South remains largely unknown. This thesis addresses this gap in knowledge by using a mixed methodology including location allocation, descriptive statistics, and qualitative site visits to explore the geography of community clinics offering both physical and mental health services. The City of Houston has proposed using these facilities to anchor new supportive housing, but introducing more fixed costs to a mismatched system could create more problems than solutions. The findings of this study suggest the presence of an unnecessary concentration of services in the central city and a spatial mismatch between accessible clinics and the poor, sick people in need. Furthermore, this research reveals a new suburban pattern of vulnerability, calling into question long-held assumptions about the vulnerability of the inner city. Building supportive housing around existing community clinics, especially in the central city, may further concentrate vulnerable people thereby contributing to intensifying patterns of service-seeking drift and the continued traumatization of mentally ill homeless persons in Houston.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lester, Katherine Ann

Delaying Evacuation: Risk Communication in Mobilizing Evacuees

Description: Evacuation is oftentimes the best means to prevent the loss of lives when residents encounter certain hazards, such as hurricanes. Emergency managers and experts make great efforts to increase evacuation compliance but risk area residents may procrastinate even after making the decision to leave, thus complicating response activities. Purpose - This study explores the factors determining evacuees’ mobilization periods, defined here as, the delay time between the decision to evacuate and actual evacuation. The theoretical model that guides this research is built on the protective action decision model (PADM). It captures both the social and psychological factors in the process of transferring risk information to mobilization action. The psychological process of risk communication originates from personalized external information and ends with the formation of risk perception, ultimately influencing evacuees’ mobilizations. Design/methodology/approach – Using structural equation modeling (SEM), the model is tested using survey data collected from Hurricane Rita (2005) evacuees in 2006 (N = 897). The residents of three Texas coastal counties (Harris, Brazoria, and Galveston) are randomly selected and telephone-interviewed. Findings – The findings indicate that mobilizations are affected directly by respondents’ concerns of the threats to their personal lives and costs and dangers on their evacuation trips. The perceptions of evacuees can be related to their exposure, attention, and understanding of the risk information. Research limitations/implications – The results suggest that practitioners pay more attention on the residents’ understanding of different types of risks, their abilities to process the risk information, as well as the means information is delivered. Therefore the public authorities should be more active in protecting evacuees’ properties and assets, as well as encourage evacuees to take closer shelters to avoid potential costs on road. Also the community should be more involved in mobilizing evacuation, as long as social cues can assist evacuees to better ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Li, Xiangyu

Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Responsibilities in Teaching Social Emotional Skills: a Case Study

Description: This study investigated the beliefs of teachers at a particular elementary campus in North Texas during its first year of implementation of a social emotional curriculum regarding teaching social emotional skills and the influence of those beliefs on their classroom practices. The study drew from the works of Dewey and Bandura in the development of a framework for teacher decision making. A case study design incorporating multiple cases within the case study utilized a mixed-methods approach for data collection and analysis. Ten teachers volunteered and participated in the quantitative data collection, and four of those ten participated in the qualitative data collection through interviews and classroom observations. Data collection methods also included a demographic survey, a questionnaire on teacher beliefs about social emotional learning, and a self-ranking scale of practices related to teaching social emotional skills. Results indicated that although all participants believed social emotional skills instruction was part of their duties as teachers, their practices in teaching social emotional skills varied. Additionally, there was a mismatch between participants’ self-identified practices and the practices that were observed during the study. Administrative support for program implementation was high, but did not necessarily translate to effective practices during the first year of implementation of a particular program. While not significant in this study, variation in teacher characteristics may be important.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Madueke, Nkechi A.

Measuring Teaching Effectiveness Using Value-Added and Observation Rubric Scores

Description: This mixed-methods study examined the extent to which teacher performance and student performance measures correlated, and to understand which specific practices of mathematics teachers in Grades 3-5 related to student performance. Research was conducted at five elementary schools in a large, urban north Texas school district. Data sources included component scores and recorded evidence from observation rubrics, interviews with campus administrators, and value-added modeling (VAM) student growth scores. Findings indicated a modest relationship between teacher performance levels and student performance levels. Lack of access to individual teacher VAM data, per district policy, might have impacted the strength of the relationship. Interviews with administrators and an examination of the evidence cited in the observation rubrics identified specific practices associated with highly rated mathematics teaching. Differences in administrators’ experience levels with both mathematics instruction and the observation instrument might have influenced rubric scores and the level of specificity shown in evidence statements.
Date: December 2014
Creator: McKenzie, Andrew

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.

Youth-led Environmental Awareness: Initiatives Towards a Jain Faith Community Empowerment

Description: This project employs participatory action research methods in efforts to create a community specific environmental curriculum for the high school age youth at the only Jain faith community in the North Texas region. Aligned with the community’s goals, the youth led in deciding, creating, and carrying out initiatives that were aimed at increasing the level of awareness about environmental issues amongst community members. The research done by the youth aimed at looking at environmental issues through the lens of Jain doctrine. The final creation of a curriculum as a living document to be used by the youth in efforts to promote critical thinking skills and class discussion continues the participatory model. The curriculum encourages experiential and interpretative learning, which grants ownership of the topics to the youth themselves and ultimately empowering them to learn more and spread the importance of being environmentally friendly.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Otterbine, Joseph R.

The Academic Steroid: Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants at a North Texas University

Description: The goal of this study was to determine the extent, motivations, and justifications of nonmedical prescription stimulant use among the population at a large public university in the North Texas region. Participants consisted of 526 undergraduate students enrolled at the studied university during the spring and summer 2014 semesters. The findings of the study suggest that the nonmedical use by students was higher than the findings in much of the current literature, but was within the parameters established in the literature. The primary motivation for nonmedical use was academic in nature and was justified by moderation of nonmedical use to strategic academic times.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Pennington, Cody W.