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A Legal Analysis of Litigation Against Alabama Local School Boards and Teachers under the Alabama Sovereign Immunity Law

Description: As American schools moved into the twentieth century and beyond, they encountered an increasingly litigious society. While many school districts and their employees have enjoyed protections from tort liability via some form of state tort claims act or exemption, this immunity varies from one state to another. The variations in these laws have made it difficult for educators and school districts to understand how state legislation impacts their daily activities inside and outside the classroom. In this environment, it has become imperative for educators to understand state and federal laws related to tort liability. By focusing specifically on tort claims filed against school boards and educators in the state of Alabama under the Alabama Sovereign Immunity Act, this dissertation adds to a growing body of research on state tort laws as they apply to local school boards and their employees. From over one hundred cases reviewed, fourteen were selected for in-depth analysis of the ways in which Alabama courts have interpreted sovereign immunity statutes and the specific limits on those protections. This study found that courts in Alabama have recognized local boards of education as state agencies and their employees as state agents, making them subject to the doctrine of sovereign immunity so long as they are operating within the scope of their assigned roles and responsibilities.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Warfield, Alphonso B
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-Healing Ceramics for High Temperature Application

Description: Ceramics have a wide variety of applications due to their unique properties; however, the low fracture toughness leads the formation and propagation of unpredictable cracks, and reduces their reliability. To solve this problem, self-healing adaptive oxides were developed. The aim of the work is to gain new insights into self-healing mechanisms of ceramics and their application. Binary oxide systems were investigated that are at least partially healed through the extrinsic or intrinsic addition of silver or silver oxide to form ternary oxides (e.g., Nb2O5 + Ag → AgNbO3). Sintered pellets and coatings were tested. For self-healing TBCs, model systems that were studied include YSZ-Al2O3-SiC, YSZ-Al2O3-TiC, YSZ-Al2O3-Nb2O5, and YSZ-Al2O3-Ta2O5. Laser cladded samples and sintered pellets were produced to test. The healing process occurs due to the formation of oxidation products and glassy phases depending on the self-healing mechanism. X-ray diffraction was used to explore phase evolution, chemical compositions, and structural properties of these samples. SEM equipped with EDS was used to investigate the chemical and morphological properties for the cross-sectional area. Pin-on-disc test was applied to test tribology performance for Nb2O5-Ag2O system, and infiltration test was applied to test CMAS-resistance for TBCs at elevated temperature. The improvements in the performance of these materials were demonstrated.
This item is restricted from view until March 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Gu, Jingjing
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Influences of External Literacy Assessment on Curricular Decisions: A Systems-Based Study of a Local School District

Description: National and state-based assessments have been a common practice for the past several decades. These assessments often come with high-stake consequences for students and schools, which tends towards the creation of a test-centric environment where educators prioritize test-based instruction to prepare students to be successful on those assessments. The over-arching purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how mandated high-stakes testing influences educators specifically within a complex system by first seeking to identify ways educators at different levels within the system—the classroom, campus, and district levels—perceive these testing influences. This study is based on complexity theory with a particular focus on complex adaptive systems (CAS) and frameworks from human systems dynamics (HSD), which helped to identify key tensions within a complex learning ecology. This study used thematic analysis of interview data from the classroom, campus, and district levels. Analysis also included mapping the emergent themes and patterns onto a CAS model for each level. Findings revealed a tension between a complicated, linear approach and a complex approach to curricular and instructional decisions that is moving those decisions ever closer to standardization. This study includes implications and recommendations for balancing these tensions for a healthy, complex learning ecology.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Larson, Tiffany R
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Changing Role of On-Air Women Journalists: Journalists on Local Television News and Digital Influencers on Instagram

Description: This thesis looks at how women journalists are now also digital influencers on Instagram. It analyzes the gendered expectations of women journalists that are also included on their professional Instagram accounts.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Lara, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring Enactments of Agency in Children's Literature from School Libraries

Description: The purpose of this study was to analyze student-selected library books for how, if at all, agency is enacted by the characters. This study uses tenets from critical multicultural analysis (CMA) and elements of visual analysis (VA) to guide a critical content analysis of enactments of agency in the most circulated books from three school libraries during the 2019-2020 school year. This study builds on and extends the existing research on agency development in children and demonstrations of agency in children's literature. Data revealed a variety of characters, genre, and contexts within the identified books. Analysis provided evidence that characters in these child-selected books demonstrated enactments of agency in varying ways and degrees across all titles. Following a discussion that is organized around the themes created from the findings, characters are identified as belonging within one of the following agentic groups: activists, survivors, problem solvers, and friends. Implications for practice and research include further study of agency in characters of popular books, how children perceive enactments of agency of the characters, and the need for school librarians and other educators to understand agency development and acknowledging the agency of children as they make choices in the literature they read.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Loomis, Kathryn Barkley
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Flow-Recruitment Relationships of Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) in Three Texas River Basins

Description: This project focused on the relationship between instream flows and smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) recruitment in the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas. The flow regime is the dominant factor in lotic systems and, consequently, the relationship between instream flows, including impacts to natural flow regimes, and life-history is a subject of growing interest. Smallmouth buffalo is a good model to investigate the relationship between river flows and variable interannual recruitment success of periodic life-history strategist fish species. Smallmouth buffalo were collected from the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe Rivers of Texas, U.S.A., and otoliths were extracted from individuals in the field and sectioned and photographed in the lab. Photographs of sectioned otoliths were used to estimate age and thus the year in which the individual was spawned by counting back from the time of capture. Population age structure (i.e. a ‘state' or condition at a point in time) was used to infer effects of flow variation on a rates-based process (i.e. recruitment). After controlling for mortality using recruitment index values, interannual variation in recruitment was modeled using multiple components of the flow regime quantified as indicators of hydrologic alteration (IHA) variables based on daily discharge data from USGS gaging stations in each river system. Model selection followed a two-tier approach, first fitting models using only flow attributes associated with the spawning season then adding additional informative parameters from the pre-spawn and post-spawn periods. The primary finding from model selection was that duration of high flow pulses during the spawning season is a critical component of the flow regime associated with successful Smallmouth Buffalo recruitment. These findings have implications for river management and conservation of ecological integrity, in particular populations of periodic life-history strategist species.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Reeves, Cole Griffin
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

To Seal or Not to Seal? Equity and Policy Discourses in the Texas Seal of Biliteracy

Description: Initiated in California in 2011, the Seal of Biliteracy is a distinguishing graduation recognition honoring the academic success of bilingual biliterate high school seniors. The purpose of this study was to illuminate and describe Texas language education policy discourse by critically examining policies including the Seal of Biliteracy and Texas' House Bill 5 Performance Acknowledgment. This study used the discourse of language policy frameworks, global human capital (GHC), and equity heritage (EH). Viewed as a hegemonic discourse adversely affecting current landscapes of dual language education, GHC is demonstrated by a rise in elite bilingualism and neoliberal effects on language education, including an inclination to commodify and marketize language learning. The EH discourse is focused on language programming and support of emergent bilinguals developing multiple linguistic systems simultaneously, for heritage language maintenance and growth in English. This study critically analyzed Texas macro language policies and discourse alongside the school district's micro level implementation of these policies. Using critical policy analysis, this research explored the interpretation and implementation of Texas language policies, and their impact on language minoritized students. Analytical methods also included a critical discourse and content analysis. Findings revealed an enlightened understanding of the Texas context for the biliteracy seal initiative and how language policy, power, and discourse operate within bilingual education on various levels. Evidence of EH discourse was found, in addition to opposing policies which countered the equity language framework. Implications and recommendations are suggested to minimize language inequalities, prioritizing educational access and equity for marginalized and linguistically diverse students.
Date: August 2021
Creator: DeVaughn, Nichelle
Partner: UNT Libraries

Low-Energy Electron Irradiation of 2D Graphene and Stability Investigations of 2D MoS2

Description: In this work, we demonstrate the mechanism for etching exfoliated graphene on SiO2 and other technological important substrates (Si, SiC and ITO), using low-energy electron sources. Our mechanism is based on helium ion sputtering and vacancy formation. Helium ions instead of incident electrons cause the defects that oxygen reacts with and etches graphene. We found that etching does not occur on low-resistivity Si and ITO. Etching occurs on higher resistivity Si and SiC, although much less than on SiO2. In addition, we studied the degradation mechanism of MoS2 under ambient conditions using as-grown and preheated mono- and thicker-layered MoS2 films. Thicker-layered MoS2 do not exhibit the growth of dendrites that is characteristic of monolayer degradation. Dendrites are observed to stop at the monolayer-bilayer boundary. Raman and photoluminescence spectra of the aged bilayer and thicker-layered films are comparable to those of as-grown films. We found that greater stability of bilayers and thicker layers supports a previously reported mechanism for monolayer degradation involving Förster resonance energy transfer. As a result, straightforward and scalable 2D materials integration, or air stable heterostructure device fabrication may be easily achieved. Our proposed mechanisms for etching graphene and ambient degradation of MoS2 could catalyze research on realizing new devices that are more efficient, stable, and reliable for practical applications.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Femi Oyetoro, John Dideoluwa
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Evaluating Program Diversity and the Probability of Gifted Identification Using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking

Description: Multiple criteria systems are recommended as best practice to identify culturally, linguistically, economically diverse students for gifted services, in which schools often incorporate measures of creativity. However, the role of creativity in identification systems and its recruitment of diverse student populations is unclear. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) is the most widely used norm-referenced creativity test in gifted identification. Although commonly used for identifying talent, little is known on the variability in composite scores on the TTCT-Figural and student demographics (i.e., race/ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, English language learning status). This study evaluated student demographic subgroup differences that exist after the initial phase of an identification process (i.e., universal screening, referrals) and examined the relationship among student demographics (i.e., race/ethnicity, free/reduced lunch status, English language learning status, sex), cognitive ability, academic achievement, and creativity, as measured by the TTCT-Figural Form A or B, to the probability of being identified for gifted programs. In a midsized school district in the state of Texas, findings indicate several demographic differences for students who were referred or universally screened across the measures of cognitive ability, academic achievement, and creativity. However, there were lower differences when using the TTCT-Figural. Results of a hierarchical generalized linear regression indicate underrepresented groups showed no difference in the probability of being identified after controlling for measures of cognitive ability, academic achievement, and creativity. Though, cognitive ability and academic achievement tests were more predictive of identification compared to the TTCT-Figural. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Lee, Lindsay Eryn
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Relationship of Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Social Support to Psychological Well-being in NCAA Female Athletes during COVID-19

Description: When COVID-19 hit the United States in spring of 2020, collegiate student-athletes, who had sport seasons canceled and were forced to move off-campus, were uniquely and significantly impacted. Psychosocial resources, such as social support, self-compassion, and resilience, may have been used to help athletes cope with the stress of COVID-19. I used structural equation modeling to analyze the relationship of resilience, self-compassion, and social support to collegiate female athlete's (n = 3,924) psychological well-being at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collectively, the more supported, self-compassionate, and resilient the athletes reported being, the less psychological distress they said they were experiencing (resilience to psychological distress (β = -.215, p < .001), self-compassion to psychological distress (β = -.533, p < .001), and social support to psychological distress (β = -.187, p < .001)). Further, self-compassion and social support were related indirectly (and inversely) to psychological distress, to the extent that they contributed to the athletes perceiving themselves as more resilient (Self Compassion X Resilience X Psychological Distress: β = -.106, 90% CI [-.148, -.069]; Social Support X Resilience Psychological Distress: β = -.065, 90% CI [-.099, -.041]). The total effect of social support, which included the direct and indirect effects, also was significant (β = -.253, 90% CI -.307, -.196]), as was the total effect of self-compassion (β = -.639, 90% CI [-.679, -.597]). Although I collected my data in the context of this pandemic, the supported relationships have application beyond it and can guide how sports medicine professionals intervene with athletes and their general mental health concerns.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Mikesell, Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Life and Death in the Field: Farmer Suicide and the Necessity to Feed

Description: Farmer suicide is at crisis levels in the United States and India. This crisis is both a problem of experiential knowledge within infrastructure as well as a problem of discourse power. I argue that the logical abstraction required to conceptualize and evaluate farmer suicide cannot be separated from the overall experience of farmer suicide. Rather than existing as distinctly separate phenomena, these elements are co-constitutive. Despite the Centers' for Disease Control identification and designation of farmer suicide as complex, statistically relevant, and elevated, nearly all the policy efforts addressing farmer suicide focus on narrow economic impact and narrow economic relief. While these economic vectors are important, the problem is multifaceted and requires a broadening of policy discourse to include additional factors (e.g. philosophical, existential, psychological, etc.). Using Hannah Arendt's work on politics and the human condition, I connect the conditionality of homo faber (human fabricator/maker), animal laborans (laboring animal), and vita activa (active life) with farmer struggle and suicide. Through the work of Georges Canguilhem and Achille Mbembe, I critique and analyze the predominant discourse and framing of suicide as a disease. Last, but not least, I propose decolonial theory and degrowth theory as viable critical pathways to shift the scale of farming infrastructure towards a more equitable and just future.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Opoien, Jared Wesley
Partner: UNT Libraries

Particulate Matter Accumulation to Urban Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) Feathers

Description: This research investigates particulate matter (PM) deposition to rock pigeons (Columba livia) in urban environments within Denton County, Texas. Pigeon habitat was characterized within a 2-km radius at eight locations using the 2016 National Land Cover Database (NLCD). In summer 2020, feathers were sampled from 10 rock pigeons at two locations (n = 20) differing in degree of urban development. Birds were captured using walk-in funnel traps baited with bird seed. Based on molt pattern and appearance, four old flight feathers were identified and sampled from each bird. New primary feathers were obtained from each population as reference samples. Feathers were washed three times with double deionized water and acetone, and the solution vacuum filtered through a glass microfiber filter to collect all particles >1.5 µm in diameter. Particulate matter mass was determined by gravimetric analysis and calculated per unit feather surface area. Relative PM accumulation rates were significantly different between the populations. Characteristics of urban land cover, proximity to and types of emissions sources, wind exposure, and building density were drivers of variability in PM deposition to feather surfaces. The results from this study should be useful for subsequent research to help identify best practices for using feathers collected from pigeons or other urban restricted bird species to monitor PM levels across multiple spatial scales.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Ellis, Jennifer Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Artificial Intelligence Teammates in a Collaborative Information Seeking Environment from the Perspective of Women Engineers in the United States

Description: The purpose of this study was to collect design requirements from women engineers on artificial intelligence teammates such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello. A mixed methods research design was used for this study with an online survey and semi-structure interviews. The study results revealed design requirements from women engineers including solutions to sociotechnical issues that could arise from artificial intelligence teammates in the workplace. The results showed various ways women engineers collaborate in the workplace with and without artificial intelligence. Additionally, women engineers' attitude towards artificial intelligence was examined to identify if there was a correlation to self-efficacy. This research study fills a previous study gap that solicited design requirements from research scientists, by soliciting practitioners. Practitioners such as women engineers are underrepresented in the workplace, and they could benefit from an artificial intelligence teammate with their design requirements. Finally, this study contributes to the information science literature on collaborative information seeking, artificial intelligence design, and engineers' information seeking behaviors.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Floyd, Schenita A
Partner: UNT Libraries

Studies on the Fibrinolytic Pathway in Zebrafish

Description: Fibrinolysis pathway is an important mechanism for dissolution of fibrin clot by the action of plasmin which is formed from plasminogen, a zymogen via the action of plasminogen activators, i.e. tissue plasminogen activator and urinary plasminogen activator. The regulation of fibrinolysis system in vivo is maintained by plasminogen activators and natural inhibitors i.e. α2-antiplasmin, α2-macroglobulin, Thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 and 2 (PAI-1and PAI-2). There are several fibrinolytic assays developed for human plasma but there are no reports describing fibrinolytic assay using zebrafish plasma. In this study, a fibrinolytic assay via using small amount of zebrafish plasma was developed. This assay was performed under different conditions; one by the addition of exogenous tissue plasminogen activator alone to the pooled zebrafish plasma along with calcium chloride and thromboplastin, second Dade ACTIN was used instead of tissue plasminogen activator and third Dade ACTIN along with thromboplastin was used. Epsilon amino caproic acid (EACA), a synthetic antifibrinolytic agent was used at different concentrations to inhibit fibrinolysis successfully. Similar experiments were performed on human plasma as well to check the applicability of the assay to humans and positive results were obtained. Furthermore, knockdown of tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen genes was performed and the prolongation of peak time, the time taken for the maximal formation of fibrin was observed, similar to the EACA inhibition. In conclusion, a fibrinolysis assay using miniscule amount of plasma was developed and applied to study knockdown of fibrinolytic pathway genes. The assay developed here may have clinical utility.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Gill, Jaspreet Kaur
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performance Guide to "Passacaglia for Solo Violin" (1997) by Byung-dong Paik

Description: Byung-dong Paik is the one of the most famous Korean composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He has wanted his music to keep up with the times and also incorporate features of Eastern music without catering to the "difficulty" of modern Western music. The Passacaglia for Solo Violin takes a unique modern approach to the Baroque form of passacaglia and its tonal structure by transforming the characteristics of the original theme in a series of seventeen variations and a coda. In this paper, a general analysis of the work leads to suggestions on how to perform it effectively.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2022.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Lee, Seowon
Partner: UNT Libraries

"I Love This Land": A Performance Guide for Six Chinese Art Songs by Zaiyi Lu

Description: English, Italian, French, German, and Russian songs often appear in the repertoire of Western singers, but only a few singers try to sing Chinese songs. Chinese songs have a wealth of musical material uninterrupted for nearly 10,000 years. However, the lack of clear and correct International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) makes non-Chinese singers confused and unable to pronounce Chinese accurately. In this study, I have used the IPA that singers are familiar with to change the old version of Chinese IPA, which applied many phonetic transcriptions that are not included in the Western phonetic alphabet and even wrong phonetics. The new version Chinese IPA I created solves the problem of the old version. To demonstrate the practicality of this new IPA version, I have then used this revised IPA in six songs by Zaiyi Lu, who is one of the most outstanding contemporary Chinese composers. His vocal music works are among the finest works of contemporary Chinese art songs. I added Chinese pinyin to the song translation, given a performance guide to introduce the songs' background, IPA with word-by-word translation, poetic translation, singing skills, and emotional expression for both singers and pianists. This study developed a useful tool (new version of Chinese IPA) for western singers, introducing Chinese songs to singers worldwide, giving future scholars more ideas, allowing people to feel the charm of East Asian art, and enriching the repertoire.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Han, Yixuan
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Optimal Look-Ahead Stopping Rules for Simple Random Walk

Description: In a stopping rule problem, a real-time player decides to stop or continue at stage n based on the observations up to that stage, but in a k-step look-ahead stopping rule problem, we suppose the player knows k steps ahead. The aim of this Ph.D. dissertation is to study this type of prophet problems for simple random walk, determine the optimal stopping rule and calculate the expected return for them. The optimal one-step look-ahead stopping rule for a finite simple random walk is determined in this work. We also study two infinite horizon stopping rule problems, sum with negative drift problems and discounted sum problems. The optimal one, two and three-step look-ahead stopping rules are introduced for the sum with negative drift problem for simple random walk. We also compare the maximum expected returns and calculate the upper bound for the advantage of the prophet over the decision maker. The last chapter of this dissertation concentrates on the discounted sum problem for simple random walk. Optimal one-step look-ahead stopping rule is defined and lastly we compare the optimal expected return for one-step look-ahead prophet with a real-time decision maker.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Sharif Kazemi, Zohreh
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Asynchronous Level Crossing ADC for Biomedical Recording Applications

Description: This thesis focuses on the recording challenges faced in biomedical systems. More specifically, the challenges in neural signal recording are explored. Instead of the typical synchronous ADC system, a level crossing ADC is detailed as it has gained recent interest for low-power biomedical systems. These systems take advantage of the time-sparse nature of the signals found in this application. A 10-bit design is presented to help capture the lower amplitude action potentials (APs) in neural signals. The design also achieves a full-scale bandwidth of 1.2 kHz, an ENOB of 9.81, a power consumption of 13.5 microwatts, operating at a supply voltage of 1.8 V. This design was simulated in Cadence using 180 nm CMOS technology.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Pae, Kieren
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Preliminary Investigation of How to Teach Undergraduate Students How to Build Rapport and Create Meaningful Interactions with College-Aged Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description: University peer-mentoring programs have shown to increase the retention rates of students, including students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and improved satisfaction with the college experience. The perceived quality of a mentee-mentor relationship may predict satisfaction with a peer-mentoring program; therefore, teaching peer mentors to engage in behaviors that could contribute to a high-quality mentee-mentor relationship may be beneficial. The current study identified target outcomes, operationally defined target behaviors, and developed a computer-based instruction (CBI) training module. The CBI training module was divided into four submodules that incorporated teaching through examples and nonexamples and discrimination training. The efficacy of each CBI submodule was evaluated using a pretest/posttest design with two mentors in a university peer-mentoring program. Results suggested that the CBI training module produced an increase in the frequency of correct responses in seven out of eight submodule posttests across both participants. The CBI training program also produced an increase in the frequency of target behaviors emitted by both participants across all submodules. These findings suggest that this CBI training module can be used to teach peer-mentors the behaviors that may improve their relationship with their mentee.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Espericueta-Luna, Williams A
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Influences on Teachers' Decision-Making when Working with Students who have Difficulty Learning to Read

Description: Research shows that having an excellent reading teacher in the classroom is key to preventing reading difficulties. However, teachers often feel unprepared to work with students experiencing reading difficulties. This can be problematic in a school that uses a multi-tiered system of support for students in which the classroom teacher is responsible for core instruction and early reading interventions. This qualitative study examined the influences on elementary teachers' instructional and assessment decisions when teaching reading to students who are experiencing reading difficulties. Data were collected through both survey and interviews and were analyzed using thematic analysis. Five themes were identified that suggest teachers' literacy instructional decisions are influenced by administrators, their knowledge of reading instruction, professional development, their beliefs about using data for instruction, and collaboration. Findings from this study provide evidence that teacher decisions are more heavily influenced by forces when teachers lack a deep understanding of their students or of effective literacy instruction. When this happens, teachers' efficacy is also affected, which research shows can affect student outcomes. Teacher decision-making is supported through professional development on effective literacy instruction and use of data for planning. Teacher efficacy improves with opportunities to work with and learn from colleagues and from having administrators who work alongside them when making literacy decisions. Recommendations for administrators, teacher educators, and teachers are included as well as suggestions for future research.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Pettet, Traci H
Partner: UNT Libraries

Carbon Capture Utilization for Bio-Based Building Insulation Foams

Description: Ecological, health and environmental concerns are driving the need for bio-resourced foams for the building industry and for other applications. This is because insulation is one of the most important aspects of the building envelope. Global building insulation is expected to reach USD 27.74 billion in 2022. Conventional insulation materials currently used in buildings are made from nonrenewable products (petroleum, fiber glass). However, they yield increasing unrecyclable eco-unfriendly waste at the end of their lives; styrene and polyurethane generates over 100,000 kg of waste insulation in US alone yearly. This is because they are non-biodegradable and can remain as microplastics in the environment for 1000 years. Polyurethane contains the same amount of energy as coal. Additionally, most of the processing techniques and blowing agents used in this manufacturing of these foams are cancerous and injurious to health when inhaled. Because buildings and their construction together account for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, there is a need to develop eco-friendly foams that will serve as possible substitutes to the currently used petroleum-based foams. This dissertation examined the development and characterization of eco-friendly foams that were developed using the melt mixing technique of bio-resourced polymers with the use of environmentally benign carbon dioxide as blowing agent. This study was conducted and financially supported by the National Science Foundation. A collaborative research: Engineering Fully Bio-based Foams for the Building Industry. Award NSF-CMMI: 1728096.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Oluwabunmi, Kayode Emmanuel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Three Essays on Harmony in Intrapersonal Identity Networks

Description: Drawing attention to an under-examined process during organizational socialization, we develop theory to explain how newcomers' new organizational roles and social identities become embedded. The process of identities becoming embedded is influenced by how an individual's preexisting identities interact with new organizational identities during socialization. Perceived harmony relationships among identities indicate if newcomers experience identities interacting in a positive or negative manner generally. Using a network perspective, we suggest that the identity embeddedness of new roles and identities are indicated by: degree centrality in an intrapersonal identity harmony network, perceived harmony with the network itself, and the perceived cost of lacking harmony with a focal identity. Newcomers are likely to be more satisfied and engaged with identities with greater embeddedness as well as find such identities more salient. Organizations can work to embed their employees' new identities through initiating identity work directed towards increasing harmony perceptions among the newcomers' new organizational identities and preexisting identities. Through helping individuals create harmony relationships among identities, organizations can improve socialization outcomes.
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Anzollitto, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Multi-Level Governance Approach to Understanding Fragmentation in the Implementation of Stormwater Policies

Description: This dissertation argues that stormwater management is fragmented both at that vertical fragmentation (at the level of intergovernmental relations) and horizontal fragmentation (within the level of governments). The first essay focuses on the institutional arrangements used by states to implement stormwater management policies. Building on the race to the bottom literature, I examine the impact of the institutional arrangement centralization on state water quality in California, Texas, Virginia, and Minnesota. A five-year (2013-2018) permitting cycle was used to analyze five dimensions: formalism, coercion, education, prioritization, and accommodation.There is an inverse relationship between the quality of stormwater and the degree of centralization in the institutional arrangements adopted by state governments to implement their stormwater management policies. The second essay focuses on a local government's decision to join an inter-local agreement to comply with federal/state stormwater management policies. Building on the transaction cost framework, the study used a cross-sectional design to analyze a case study. The case study consists of 119 cities subjected to stormwater regulation requirements in northern Texas during 2017. The dependent variable is the membership of the regional inter-local agreement, and the independent variables are the number of neighboring cities and population density. Community wealth, public works spending, stormwater fees, government type, and the percent of the population over 65 were used as control variables. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. This study concludes that the increase in the number of neighboring regulated local governments is associated with an increase in the likelihood of a decision by the regulated local government to join an interlocal agreement (ILA), as well as finding that an increase in the population density is associated with an increase in the likelihood of a decision by the regulated local government to join the ILA. In addition, the study found that the type of government …
Date: August 2021
Creator: Qaisi, Ahmad Abdallh A
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wildfire Influence on Rainfall Chemistry and Deposition in Texas during the 2011-2014 Drought

Description: From 2011 to 2014, one of the most severe and intense droughts in Texas recorded history led to widespread wildfires across the state, with unknown effects on atmospheric nutrient and pollutant deposition. The objectives of this research were to: (1) characterize the frequency, magnitude, and spatiotemporal distribution of Texas wildfires (2011-2014); (2) identify smoke occurrence and source regions at eight Texas National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) National Trends Network (NTN) sites (2011); and (3) quantify the influence of wildfire on weekly rainwater chemistry and deposition in 2011 at three NADP sites (Sonora, LBJ Grasslands, Attwater Prairie NWR). Data on large wildfires, smoke occurrence, and rainfall chemistry and deposition were coupled with principal component and back-trajectory analysis to address these objectives. Between 2011-2014, 72% of all wildfires occurred in 2011, accounting for 90% of the total area burned. In total, there were 17 extreme wildfires (i.e., in the 95th percentile of hectares burned), of which 11 occurred in 2011. Wildfire activity was concentrated in West Texas ecoregions and consumed primarily shrub/scrub and grassland/herbaceous land cover. Although West Texas experienced the most wildfires, smoke at the NADP locations in 2011, the "high-fire year," was more frequent in East Texas due to regional wind patterns transporting smoke from diverse source locations. In 2011, weeks with smoke-influenced rain events––defined as weeks in which the rainfall event air mass trajectory intersected a smoke polygon, at any time, for at least one hour in the 72-hours prior to rainfall at the NADP site––had higher concentrations of Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, NH4+, and SO42- compared to background samples (not affected by smoke). At LBJ Grasslands, four smoke-influenced rain samples deposited >49% of annual wet deposition for all ions. Principal component analysis identified wildfire as a key component contributing to the variance in the dataset. Taken together, these findings …
This item is restricted from view until September 1, 2023.
Date: August 2021
Creator: Williamson, Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries
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