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The Relationship between Teacher Attrition and Student Achievement in Reading among Middle School Students

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a significant relationship existed between teacher attrition and student success in middle school reading by conducting a quantitative analysis. Additionally, the inclusion of school demographic characteristics were included in the model to consider previous findings referencing the challenges schools face in attracting and retaining teachers in low performing urban schools with high populations of economically disadvantaged and minority students. In this analysis, the relationship between teacher attrition and student achievement in middle school as measured by the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for reading among middle school students in Grades 6, 7, and 8, as reported on the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), were examined. The regression models used to analyze the three research questions addressed in the study include an examination of teacher attrition on campus pass rates, and grade level pass rates for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades as measured by the STAAR Reading assessment. The data utilized in this study were collected from seven North Texas middle schools in a fast growth school district together with their comparable campuses as identified by the Texas Education Agency for the school years 2013-2014 through 2015-2016. The results of the analysis indicate teacher attrition accounts for a significant variance in STAAR Reading pass rates among middle school students. Additionally, the school demographic characteristics defined as percentage economically disadvantaged, percentage English language learners, mobility rates, and percentage white students account for 83.4% of the variance in the average campus pass rates for STAAR Reading when combined.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Perkins, Gwendolyn Moseley

The Impact of Commuting on Mental Health

Description: The purpose of this research is to explicate the relationship between commuting behavior, stress, and mental health. The overall results from the regression analysis turned out to be inconclusive given the researcher's initial hypothesis. The commute time reported by respondents did not have a statistically significant bearing on mental health outcomes. This was true for both the normal sample, and the sample that was split by gender.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Malek-Ahmadi, John H.

A General Approach to Buhlmann Credibility Theory

Description: Credibility theory is widely used in insurance. It is included in the examination of the Society of Actuaries and in the construction and evaluation of actuarial models. In particular, the Buhlmann credibility model has played a fundamental role in both actuarial theory and practice. It provides a mathematical rigorous procedure for deciding how much credibility should be given to the actual experience rating of an individual risk relative to the manual rating common to a particular class of risks. However, for any selected risk, the Buhlmann model assumes that the outcome random variables in both experience periods and future periods are independent and identically distributed. In addition, the Buhlmann method uses sample mean-based estimators to insure the selected risk, which may be a poor estimator of future costs if only a few observations of past events (costs) are available. We present an extension of the Buhlmann model and propose a general method based on a linear combination of both robust and efficient estimators in a dependence framework. The performance of the proposed procedure is demonstrated by Monte Carlo simulations.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Yan, Yujie yy

MBE Growth and Characterization of Graphene on Well-Defined Cobalt Oxide Surfaces: Graphene Spintronics without Spin Injection

Description: The direct growth of graphene by scalable methods on magnetic insulators is important for industrial development of graphene-based spintronic devices, and a route towards substrate-induced spin polarization in graphene without spin injection. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), low energy electron diffraction LEED, electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) demonstrate the growth of Co3O4(111) and CoO(111) to thicknesses greater than 100 Å on Ru(0001) surfaces, by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The results obtained show that the formation of the different cobalt oxide phases is O2 partial pressure dependent under same temperature and vacuum conditions and that the films are stoichiometric. Electrical I-V measurement of the Co3O4(111) show characteristic hysteresis indicative of resistive switching and thus suitable for advanced device applications. In addition, the growth of Co0.5Fe0.5O(111) was also achieved by MBE and these films were observed to be OH-stabilized. C MBE yielded azimuthally oriented few layer graphene on the OH-terminated CoO(111), Co0.5Fe0.5O(111) and Co3O4(111). AES confirms the growth of (111)-ordered sp2 C layers. EELS data demonstrate significant graphene-to-oxide charge transfer with Raman spectroscopy showing the formation of a graphene-oxide buffer layer, in excellent agreement with previous theoretical predictions. XPS data show the formation of C-O covalent bonding between the oxide layer and the first monolayer (ML) of C. LEED data reveal that the graphene overlayers on all substrates exhibit C3V. The reduction of graphene symmetry to C3V – correlated with C-O bond formation – enables spin-orbit coupling in graphene. Consequences may include a significant band gap and room temperature spin Hall effect – important for spintronic device applications. The results suggest a general pattern of graphene/graphene oxide growth and symmetry lowering for graphene formation on the (111) surfaces of rocksalt-structured oxides.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Olanipekun, Opeyemi B

Assessment of Competencies among Doctoral Trainees in Psychology

Description: The recent shift to a culture of competence has permeated several areas of professional psychology, including competency identification, competency-based education training, and competency assessment. A competency framework has also been applied to various programs and specialty areas within psychology, such as clinical, counseling, clinical health, school, cultural diversity, neuro-, gero-, child, and pediatric psychology. Despite the spread of competency focus throughout psychology, few standardized measures of competency assessment have been developed. To the authors' knowledge, only four published studies on measures of competency assessment in psychology currently exist. While these measures demonstrate significant steps in progressing the assessment of confidence, three of these measures were designed for use with individual programs, two of these international (i.e., UK and Taiwan). The current study applied the seminal Competency Benchmarks, via a recently adapted benchmarks form (i.e., Practicum Evaluation form; PEF), to practicum students at the University of North Texas. In addition to traditional supervisor ratings, the present study also involved self-, peer supervisor, and peer supervisee ratings to provide 360-degree evaluations. Item-response theory (IRT) was used to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PEF and inform potential revisions of this form. Supervisor ratings of competency were found to fit the Rasch model specified, lending support to use of the benchmarks framework as assessed by this form. Self- and peer-ratings were significantly correlated with supervisor ratings, indicating that there may be some utility to 360-degree evaluations. Finally, as predicted, foundational competencies were rated as significantly higher than functional competencies, and competencies improved significantly with training. Results of the current study provide clarity about the utility of the PEF and inform our understanding of practicum-level competencies.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Price, Samantha

Community of Inquiry Meets Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA): A CDA of Asynchronous Computer-Conference Discourse with Seminary Students in India

Description: The purpose of this study was to better understand student learning in asynchronous computer-conference discourse (ASD) for non-native speakers of English in India through the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework. The study looked at ASD from an online course taught in the fall of 2015 to 25 students in a seminary in South India. All but one of the students were non-native speakers of English. The class consisted of 22 men and 3 women. Eight students spoke languages from the Dravidian family of languages (Malayalam, Tamil, Telegu and Kannada). Eight students were from the Northeastern states of Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, where most languages are from the Sino-Tibetan family. Three students were native speakers of Indo-Aryan languages (Odiya and Assamese). Five students were from Myanmar representing several Sino-Tibetan languages. The COI is a framework used to understand learning in ASD, often used in online learning. To study the ASD of this group, critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used with the COI to capture the unique socio-cultural and linguistic conditions of this group. The study revealed that non-native speakers of English often reach the Exploration phase of learning but rarely show evidence of reaching the Resolution phase. This phenomenon was also observed in native English speakers as reported in the literature. Also, the structure of ASD showed that students took an examination approach to discussion shaped in part by their epistemology. This examination approach shaped how knowledge was constructed. CDA also showed that the discourse acquired an instructor-centered structure in which Resolution and Repair were initiated and finalized by the instructor. The study advances the COI framework by undergirding it with a theory of asynchronous discourse using critical discourse analysis and capturing cognitive, social and teaching presence phenomena for non-native speakers that were not observed through the traditional COI framework. These ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: George, Stephen J

A Case Study of Mathematics Teachers' Use of Short-Cycle Formative Assessment Strategies

Description: A single case study was used to examine two middle grades mathematics teachers' use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies. Data was collected using multiple sources to provide a description of this single case. Participant change in knowledge of short-cycle formative assessment strategies was collected and analyzed through participant pre- and post-interviews and targeted instructional support was provided through professional development sessions designed to meet diverse needs of participants. Participant change in use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies was collected and analyzed through classroom observations using Assess Today observation protocol and targeted instructional support was provided through post-observation conferences with written feedback. Findings from the study verified that changes in teachers' use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies were positively influenced by the targeted instructional support provided to each participant during the study. The study further indicated that an assessment of teacher's present knowledge and use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies should be considered before providing targeted instructional support to maximize the learning potential for each teacher. Future research is needed regarding the importance of building student self-efficacy through teacher use of short-cycle formative assessment, as well as the importance of involving students in the formative assessment process.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Davis, Adreana A

Microwave-Assisted Synthesis and Photophysical Properties of Poly-Imine Ambipolar Ligands and Their Rhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes

Description: The phenomenon luminescence rigidochromism has been reported since the 1970s in tricarbonyldiimine complexes with a general formula [R(CO)3LX] using conventional unipolar diimine ligands such as 2,2;-bipyridine or 1,10-phenanthroline as L, and halogens or simple solvents as X. As a major part of this dissertation, microwave-assisted synthesis, purification, characterization and detailed photoluminescence studies of the complex fac-[ReCl(CO)3L], 1, where L = 4-[4,6-bis(3,5-dimethyl-1H-pyrazol-1-yl]-N,N-diethylbenzenamine are reported. The employment of microwaves in the preparation of 1 decreased the reaction time from 48 to 2 hours compared to the conventional reflux method. Stoichiometry variations allows for selective preparation of either a mononuclear, 1, or binuclear, fac-[Re2Cl2(CO)6], 2, complex. The photophysical properties of 1 were analyzed finding that it possesses significant luminescence rigidochromism. The steady state photoluminescence emission spectra of 1 in solution shift from 550 nm in frozen media to 610 nm when the matrix becomes fluid. Moreover, a very sensitive emission spectral analysis of 0.1 K temperatures steps shows a smooth transition through the glass transition temperature of the solvent host. Furthermore, synthetic modifications to L have attained a family of ambipolar compounds that have tunable photophysical, thermophysical and other material properties that render them promising candidates for potential applications in organic electronics and/or sensors - either as is or for their future complexes with various transition metals and lanthanides.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Salazar Garza, Gustavo Adolfo

The King Arrives: Chinese Government Inspections and Their Effects

Description: This dissertation studies a critical facet of Chinese politics, inspections by higher Chinese government to villages. Principally, it looks at how village economic development determines government inspection decisions and how inspections, once conducted, impact village politics. Specifically, I argue that villages perceived as destabilizing to the Chinese regime, villages with higher levels of economic inequality and villages located at the two extremes of economic development, should see more inspections. In addition, I argue that inspections, in return, drive village politics: they increase village leaders' governing efficacy and raise villagers' political awareness. This theory has received strong support from both field work and quantitative empirical tests using the Chinese Household Income Project (2002) dataset.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Xi, Jinrui

A Systemic Model for Family Functioning: Mutual Influences of Spousal Attachment, Marital Adjustment, and Coparenting

Description: The current study examined direct and indirect influences of romantic attachment processes, marital adjustment, and the coparenting relationship on family functioning. Data was collected from a community sample of 86 heterosexual couples with a child aged eight to eleven living in the home. Both spouses completed a demographic questionnaire, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Coparenting Scale, and the Self-Report Family Inventory as part of a larger study on family processes in middle childhood. Data analysis included multilevel modeling, utilizing the actor-partner interdependence model. Results indicated that marital adjustment mediated the association between attachment processes and family functioning, suggesting that a healthy marital relationship is an important variable that helps explain links between attachment security and the family functioning. Findings also highlighted the benefit of conceptualizing adult romantic attachment, marital, and coparental subsystems within a systemic framework.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Young, Anne Michelle


Description: "Momentarium" is a collection of poems that examines the instability of moments. By engaging with photography, the poems examine the strengths and flaws in representation. Qualified accuracy, in other words representations that exact no absolute authenticity, are paradoxically, most accurate. The original poems attempt to express both empathy an end to empathy, "I mean to give you what you cannot keep: a blue twice as true" and "I mean to give you what I cannot." The competing forces animate a contingent moment, before it becomes the past.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Zuehlke, Karl

Predictors of Postsecondary Success: An Analysis of First Year College Remediation

Description: This study was a quantitative multiple regression investigation into the relationships between campus factors of high school students graduating in 2013 who immediately enrolled in first-year college freshman level remedial coursework at a large, Central Texas two-year postsecondary institution. The goal of this study was to determine which high school campus-level factors predicted enrollment into college remedial education coursework. The dependent variable was a continuous variable representing the percentage of students from Texas public high school campuses enrolled into at least one student credit hour of remedial education during their first semester as a first-year college student. Eight high school campus-level independent variables were included in the regression model at the campus-level: at risk percentage, economically disadvantaged percentage, limited English proficient percentage, advanced course/dual-enrollment percentage, college ready math percentage, college ready English percentage, ACT average, and SAT average. Pearson correlations and linear regression results were examined and interpreted to determine the level of relationship between the eight selected variables and first-year college student remedial coursework. The multiple regression model successfully explained 26.3% (F(8,286) = 12.74. p < 0.05, r2 = 0.263) of the variance between first-year college students enrolled into remedial coursework at a large, Central Texas two-year postsecondary institution and the campus-level variables from high schools from which they graduated and indicated campus-level economic disadvantaged percentage and campus-level SAT average to be statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Baker, Emmett Andrew

A Mixed Methods Approach to Exploring Social Support and Resilience in Coping with Stigma and Psychological Distress among HIV-Positive Adults

Description: Since its emergence in the U.S., HIV has been a stigmatized illness. People living with HIV (PLH) are a minority and prone to psychological distress and poor mental health outcomes due to HIV-related stigma. PLH who identify with another minority group in addition to being HIV-positive (e.g., gay, African-American) experience multiple forms of oppression or layered stigma. Affirmative social support and resilience are negatively associated with HIV-stigma and are important coping resources for PLH. We used an explanatory sequential mixed methods design study involving a quantitative survey phase and a qualitative interview phase. We explored whether social support and resilience (Positive Psychological Resources) mediate or moderate the relationship between HIV Stigma and Psychological Distress among HIV-positive adults using partial least squares (PLS) path modeling and multiple regressions. Via PLS, we found Positive Psychological Resources partially mediated the relationship between HIV Stigma and Psychological Distress: the path between HIV Stigma and Psychological distress reduced (from t = 5.49, p = .000 to t = 2.39, p = .000) but remained statistically significant. Similarly, via regression, the Sobel test was significant (Sobel = .26, SE = .07, z = 3.63, p = .000). However, moderation was not found (HIV Stigma x Positive Psychological Resources β = .05, t = .66, p = .508). Overall, our quantitative survey and qualitative interview data were consistent. We anticipate that our findings will inform strengths-based therapeutic interventions to mitigate stress and stigma among PLH.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Fritz, Sarah-mee

Educational Uplift along the US-Mexico Border: How Students, Families, and Educators Cultivate a College-Going Culture in Contested Terrain

Description: Using critical race theory and LatCrit as conceptual frameworks, I conducted a qualitative instrumental case study of a cadre of self-identified Mexican-American and Hispanic college students who bring college knowledge, goodwill, and aid to their border town communities. The purpose of this study was to explore how college knowledge and other forms of academic capital are transmitted and co-constructed in the contested terrain of the borderlands. Primary data sources included semi-structured interviews, participant and non-participant observation, and personal artifacts (e.g. newspaper articles, college admissions essays, social media, etc.) collected from 17 full-time undergraduate student participants, 11 males and 6 females, ranging from 19 to 22 years old, who were active members of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Supplemental data sources included semi-structured interviews with 23 family members and 9 educators identified by student participants, as well as a review of public records regarding student participant's border town communities (e.g. newspaper articles, census data, educational statistics, etc.). Findings detail how this group of college students manages the 'scholar' distinction in their hometown and utilizes distinct methods to promote academic capital formation. Specifically, this study delineates the following four types of scholars: (1) pioneers, (2) guardians, (3) ambassadors, and (4) advocates. Ultimately, this research highlights the importance of college students' ingenuity in response to enduring system inequality in higher education, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border, with implications for research theory, policy, and practice.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Sanchez, Nydia C

Social Support as a Moderator of Racial/Ethnic Differences in Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The North Texas Heart Study

Description: This study examined racial/ethnic differences in pre-clinical disease, social support, and tested whether social support was a moderator of racial/ethnic differences in subclinical atherosclerosis. Participants were NHWs, NHBs, and Latinos (n = 283) from the baseline and cross-sectional sample of the North Texas Heart Study. Results from unadjusted models showed no significant racial/ethnic differences for common or bifurcation intima-media thickness (cIMT). However, unadjusted models for cIMT showed a main effect for race/ethnicity F(2, 229) = 3.12, p = .046, partial η2 = .027, with Latinos demonstrating significantly greater internal cIMT compared to NHB but not NHWs. In minimally adjusted models, there was a main effect for race/ethnicity, F(2, 227) = 3.10, p = .047, partial η2 = .027, with significantly greater internal cIMT in Latinos compared to NHBs but not NHWs. In fully adjusted models, racial/ethnic differences in cIMT were attenuated. Contrary to study hypotheses, no racial/ethnic differences in social support were found and social support was not a moderator of racial/ethnic differences in subclinical disease. In the North Texas Heart Study, few racial/ethnic differences emerged, with fully adjusted risk factor models accounting for these differences.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Garcia, James Jonathan

Crystallographic Complex Reflection Groups and the Braid Conjecture

Description: Crystallographic complex reflection groups are generated by reflections about affine hyperplanes in complex space and stabilize a full rank lattice. These analogs of affine Weyl groups have infinite order and were classified by V.L. Popov in 1982. The classical Braid theorem (first established by E. Artin and E. Brieskorn) asserts that the Artin group of a reflection group (finite or affine Weyl) gives the fundamental group of regular orbits. In other words, the fundamental group of the space with reflecting hyperplanes removed has a presentation mimicking that of the Coxeter presentation; one need only remove relations giving generators finite order. N.V Dung used a semi-cell construction to prove the Braid theorem for affine Weyl groups. Malle conjectured that the Braid theorem holds for all crystallographic complex reflection groups after constructing Coxeter-like reflection presentations. We show how to extend Dung's ideas to crystallographic complex reflection groups and then extend the Braid theorem to some groups in the infinite family [G(r,p,n)]. The proof requires a new classification of crystallographic groups in the infinite family that fail the Steinberg theorem.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Puente, Philip C

Using Possible Selves to Examine the Impact of Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness on the Career Development of College Students with Hidden Disability

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of internalized stigma of mental illness on the career development of college students with hidden disabilities. The availability of research investigating career variables within this population is limited and is primarily focused within the vocational rehabilitation arena. Therefore, one of the goals of the current study was to link separate bodies of literature on college students with disabilities, career development, and internalized stigma of mental illness. The second goal was to examine the interaction of internalized stigma of mental illness between career decision self-efficacy and career exploration on the perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for occupational possible selves (OPS). The study included college students with hidden disabilities and investigated variables related to mental illness and career. Participants were administered a background information questionnaire, the Career Decision Self-Efficacy scale (CDSE-SF), selected subscales of the Career Exploration Survey (CES), and the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale (ISMI). Contrary to hypotheses, career decision making self-efficacy, career self-exploration, and internalized stigma of mental illness did not have a direct effect on the perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for OPS. However, career environment exploration did have a direct and positive association with perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for OPS. Results further indicated internalized stigma of mental illness did not moderate the effect of career decision self-efficacy and career exploration on the perceived likelihood of achieving one's hoped for occupational self. Study implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Campbell, Robyn

Reproduction and Metabolic Responses to Acute and Chronic Hypoxia in Ovoviviparous Blaberid Cockroaches, with a Focus on Blaptica dubia

Description: The major components of the tracheal system of insects are an extension of the exoskeleton, and the size of the exoskeleton is fixed in the adult stage, so any increase in metabolic demand that may accompany reproduction must be met by a relatively unaltered tracheal system that the female set in place at ecdysis, when entering adulthood. Acute hypoxia tends to elicit an increase in ventilation in insects, and here, I observe increased interburst VCO2 release, and a tendency towards a more continuous gas exchange pattern being preferred over discontinuous gas exchange when Blaptica dubia and Eublaberus posticus are exposed to a descending regime of hypoxia. Additionally, higher temperatures appear to increase sensitivity to hypoxia in these species, an expected result because both species, like most ectothermic animals, display a Q10 effect, increasing metabolic rates as temperature increases. The reproductive mode of B. dubia is considered to be lecithotrophic pseudoviviparity (or type A ovoviviparity), and by the time the embryos are born, they have more than doubles in volume from the time of oviposition. This gain is apparent in the wet mass of the embryo, with no change occurring in dry mass. The egg mass that can be attributed to water begins at 39% at oviposition and increased to nearly 82% at hatching. The metabolic rates of females and embryos increase as embryonic development progresses, but bomb calorimetry reveals that energy content of the embryos does not change. It is possible that these embryos gain some nutrition from the mother during embryonic development, but direct evidence remains to be demonstrated. Blaptica dubia and Eublaberus posticusare both blaberid species that display the same reproductive mode, pseudoviviparity, with incubation occurring in a brood sac. Comparisons between the reproductive traits of B. dubia and E. posticus reveal that the two species have similar ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Mallery, Christopher Sean

The Impact of Observational Learning on Physical Activity Appraisal and Exertion Following Experimental Back Injury and the Role of Pain-Related Fear

Description: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is one of the most prevalent and disabling health conditions in the US and worldwide. Biomedical explanations of acute injury fail to account for why some individuals experience remission of pain and restoration of physical function while others do not. Pain-related fear, accompanied by elevated appraisals of physical exertion and avoidance of physical activity, has emerged as a central psychosocial risk factor for transition from acute injury to chronic pain and disability. Research has indicated that these pain-related factors may be maintained through observational learning mechanisms. To date, no studies have experimentally examined the role of observational learning and pain-related fear in the context of actual musculoskeletal injury. Accordingly, the present study examined the impact of observational learning and pain-related fear on activity appraisals and exertion following experimentally- induced acute low back injury. Healthy participants' appraisal of standardized movement tasks along with measures of physical exertion were collected prior to and following a procedure designed to induce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to the lower back. Following induction of DOMS, participants observed a video prime depicting CLBP patients exhibiting either high or low pain behavior during similar standardized movements. In line with hypothesized effects, participants assigned to the high pain behavior prime demonstrated greater elevation in pain and harm appraisals as well as greater decrement in physical exertion. Further in line with hypotheses, significant changes in appraisal and physical performance following the high pain behavior prime were only observed among participants endorsing high pain-related fear during baseline assessment. Discussion of findings addresses potential mechanisms of action as well as study limitations and direction for future research.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Guck, Adam

Fabrication of Photonic Crystal Templates through Holographic Lithography and Study of their Optical and Plasmonic Properties in Aluminium Doped Zinc Oxide

Description: This dissertation focuses on two aspects of integrating near-infrared plasmonics with electronics with the intent of developing the platform for future photonics. The first aspect focuses on fabrication by introducing and developing a simple, single reflective optical element capable of high–throughput, large scale fabrication of micro- and nano-sized structure templates using holographic lithography. This reflective optical element is then utilized to show proof of concept in fabricating three dimensional structures in negative photoresists as well as tuning subwavelength features in two dimensional compound lattices for the fabrication of dimer and trimer antenna templates. The second aspect focuses on the study of aluminum zinc oxide (AZO), which belongs to recently popularized material class of transparent conducting oxides, capable of tunable plasmonic capabilities in the near-IR regime. Holographic lithography is used to pattern an AZO film with a square lattice array that are shown to form standing wave resonances at the interface of the AZO and the substrate. To demonstrate device level integration the final experiment utilizes AZO patterned gratings and measures the variation of diffraction efficiency as a negative bias is applied to change the AZO optical properties. Additionally efforts to understand the behavior of these structures through optical measurements is complemented with finite difference time domain simulations.
Date: August 2017
Creator: George, David Ray

John Playford's "The Division Violin": Improvisation and Variation Practice in English Violin Music of the Seventeenth Century

Description: English publisher John Playford (1623-1686/1687) first published his "The Division Violin: Containing a Collection of Divisions Upon Several Grounds for the Treble-Violin" in 1684. The first edition of this violin collection contains 26 written-out examples of improvisation, serving as a living snapshot of the performance practice of the time. This research is based on the second edition, which Playford had expanded into 30 pieces for the violin, published in 1685. The purpose of this study is to investigate the art of improvisation in England during the late 17th century, focusing on Playford's "The Division Violin." The dissertation first surveys the development of English violin music in the 17th century. Then, the dissertation traces eight selected 16th-century Italian diminution manuals. This will help readers understand the progression of the Italian diminution and improvisation practice in the 16th century and how it relates to the English division of the 17th century. Finally, based on a thorough research of the 17th-century improvisatory style and rhetorical approach, the author of this study provides performance suggestions on "Mr. Farinell's Ground," No. 5 from "The Division Violin."
Date: August 2017
Creator: Chan, Tzu-Ying

A Comprehensive Performance Guide for the Use of Advanced Technology in Euphonium Repertoire with Electronic Media through Analyses of Works by D. Edward Davis, Neal Corwell, and Lucy Pankhurst

Description: Solos for euphonium with electronic media present the unique challenge of incorporating an active, physical involvement in the live accompaniment through sound-altering technology such as guitar pedals or digital processors. Instructions for this solo genre are often vague and demand a general knowledge of how to use non-traditional devices. Due to the lack of information available on newly-composed pieces for this medium, students and professionals easily overlook the artistic merit of electroacoustic music. This dissertation provides a comprehensive performance guide that aids in the set-up and operation of advanced technology and presents a methodical approach to performing common musical and technical challenges found in modern euphonium repertoire with electronic media. Included in this dissertation are tables of common audio vocabulary and images of connectors, safety precautions, equipment recommendations with performance settings, a list of required connectors, adapters, cables, speakers, and amplifiers, performance set up diagrams, background information, and analyses of both the technical and musical aspects of each piece. In the appendices are signal flow charts, visual illustrations of polar recording patterns, and an updated catalog of published and unpublished original, adapted, and arranged euphonium solos with live electronics and electronic media accompaniment between 1970 and 2017.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Ray, Irving

Neurocognitive Effects of Gist Reasoning Training in Student-Athletes with Concussions, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities

Description: Concussions, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities can adversely impact learning and academic achievement, particularly with respect to attention, memory, and executive functioning; fortunately, cognitive training can be beneficial and remediating these weaknesses. One such program, strategic memory advanced reasoning training (SMART), utilizes a top-down approach to train individuals in executive, higher-ordered thinking strategies including strategic attention, integration, and innovation to facilitate information synthesis and enhance cognitive efficiency. Thus, the purpose of the study is to examine whether SMART improved performances on various neuropsychological measures tapping into attention, processing speed, memory, and executive functioning for college student-athletes with neurological conditions (e.g., concussions, ADHD, LD). Student-athletes were randomly assigned to the SMART program or a "wait-list" control group and were administered a neuropsychological battery at baseline, immediately following the intervention, and after a four-month delay. Results showed that participants benefited from SMART with respect to working memory immediately following the intervention after controlling for baseline scores. The benefits of working memory also persisted after four months. Additionally, SMART was beneficial for improving attention, but only after four months after the intervention. The findings of the current study were consistent with previous studies which showed positive effects of SMART on working memory with a variety of populations (e.g., children, adolescents, older adults, Veterans, brain-injured patients); however, the current study did not see improved performance on other aspects of executive functioning which contradict prior research. Statistical differences between the present study and prior research regarding SMART may be explained in methodology, participant characteristics, research setting, and/or limitations. Future studies may include combining cognitive training as the intervention and utilizing neuroimaging alongside cognitive training to examine the relationship between structural/functional change with neuropsychological performance.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Nguyen, Thomas

An Investigation of the Impact of Social Vulnerability Research on the Practice of Emergency Management

Description: This dissertation examines the extent to which social vulnerability, as studied by researchers across multiple disciplines, has influenced the practice of emergency management at the local level. This study addresses two major research questions to accomplish this goal. First, how do local emergency managers perceive and define social vulnerability? Second, what strategies do local emergency managers employ to reach and meet the needs of socially vulnerable populations? Semi-structured interviews were conducted in person or by phone with a sample of local emergency managers, city managers, and American Red Cross personnel from the Houston - Galveston and the South East Texas regions as defined by the respective Councils of Government. A modified grounded theory approach was used with a constant comparative method to identify themes for each research question. Triangulation was accomplished through secondary census data and supplemental interviews. The interview data reveal that social vulnerability research has had an indirect influence on the practice of emergency management at the local level. This influence is facilitated through state and federal policy, training, and plans development. Based on the interview data, four themes were identified that capture the various ways in which local emergency management officials perceive and define social vulnerability. These include vulnerability as poverty and culture, vulnerability as a lack of security, vulnerability as a moral imperative, and vulnerability as a lack of awareness and knowledge. In terms of strategies employed to address social vulnerability, the data suggest four themes: leaving it to the professionals, bringing in volunteers, leveraging protocols to build buy-in, and fostering flexibility. The findings reveal the importance in closing the knowledge gap between research and practice, because increased damage, harm, and death can occur when the social inequalities of everyday life are not addressed in the planning process by emergency managers. The findings also reveal that ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Williams, Brian Don