Student Research

By:  Karla McCullough Cohort 8

Higher education institutions are creating partnerships with corporations vastly; however, there is limited knowledge regarding how this phenomenon is impacting the institutions. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of corporate-university partnerships on the universities’ organizational systems. The research question: What elements of the institutions’ organization system are affected by corporate-university partnerships?

This study examined the impact of corporate-university partnerships through the lens of Albrecht’s system theory. The theory is based on the concept that an organization is an adaptive system that adjusts to environmental changes that can cause changes within the organization. The universities’ organizational systems were examined utilizing the four subsystems: technical, social, administrative, and strategic.

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By: Ricki R. Garrett, Ph.D., Cohort 3

Historically, woman have not played a significant role in governance of higher education. Despite the fact that woman now compromise more than 50% of those participating in higher education in the United States, they are still underrepresented on boards of trustees (Anderson, 1993; Dotherow, 2000; Dika & Janosik, 2003). There has been little research on the leadership roles that women trustees assume on their board and the contribution they make in those positions.

This grounded theory research focuses on the experience of woman trustees of public higher education boards, both system and individual institution boards, who have served as the chair of board. The role of women in the governance of higher education was categorized into six areas: (1) experiences that women have in common, (2) barriers to appointment as trustees, (3) the primary areas of interest and focus, (4) the barriers to service of key committees and the leadership of the board, (5) the impact of backgrounds, and (6) the contributions female trustees provide to the board through their leadership.

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By: Jonny L. DuPree, Ph.D., Cohort 1

Kubala (1999) reports that college administrators are being challenged to place their institutions in the forefront to not only serve their local districts, but to carry out national mandates. They are faced with day-to-day pressures that tax their knowledge, patience, and skill as they strived to fulfill the missions of the colleges they lead. Much like an elected official, Selman (1990) proclaims that every college administrator is not only a personal decision-maker, but is also a social decision-maker.

In the age of accountability, many of the colleges and universities in Mississippi are struggling to find ways to promote unity, increase student achievement, and encourage collaboration among its faculty, staff, and student body. Much like elected officials, college administrators can be released when major university issues and concerns are misjudged, mishandled, or taken for granted. Campbell (2004) noted that the modern college administrator is in a permanent campaign because he/she must face his/her constituents more frequently than an elected official. For college administrators, election-day is everyday, and when college administrators improve, so do their institutions.

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By: Barrett Hatches, Ph.D., Cohort 4

There is a general acknowledgement among researchers, health care professionals, policy makers and numerous other stakeholders that access to health care in the United States is not equitable for all individuals. Moreover, research has demonstrated a link between access to quality health care and positive health outcomes (Ferraro & Farmer, 2005). Research also indicates that access to primary care medicine is a vital aspect of good health (Rosenthal, 2008; Cardarelli & Chiapa, 2007; Ferrer, 2007). Nonetheless, millions of Americans have limited access to high quality medical care. This longstanding issue results from several interrelated characteristics of the health care delivery system: a) insufficient numbers of medical students choosing to practice primary cared medicine, b) large numbers of Americans without health insurance, c) large numbers of individuals being underinsured, d) misdistribution of physicians throughout the country, and e) health care financing/reimbursement policies.

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By: Nancy Mahmood, Ph.D., Cohort 6

Despite the astronomical growth in online learning in higher education institutions, and the advantages and flexibility it offers to adult learners with job and family responsibilities, this mode of education delivery has a much higher dropout rate than traditional face to face learning. Furthermore, there is a dearth in the literature on the factors that impact adult learners’ decisions to persist or dropout. This research study test Park’ theoretical model of adult dropout in online learning for significant predictors of the persistence and dropout of a sample of learners in undergraduate and graduate asynchronous online courses. The significant differences between the groups of persistent and dropout learners related to learner characteristics of age, gender, education, and employment status; external factor variables of motivation in terms of relevance and satisfaction were examined in this study. Furthermore, the significance of each predictor variable mentioned was examined in predicting the criterion variables of persistence and dropout. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized in this study including chi-square, two-way factorial, MANOVA, and logistic regression.

The results of this study revealed that age, educational background, and type of class taken were significantly different across the group of persistent and dropout learners in online courses, while gender and employment status were not found to be significantly different. Level of motivation in terms of both relevance and satisfaction were significantly different across the group while family support and organizational support were not. The significant predictors of persistence and dropout in online courses were age, employment status, and satisfaction. The Park (2007) adult dropout in online learning theoretical model was able to correctly predict 98% of the persistent learners, and only 37.8% of the dropout learners resulting in an overall accuracy of 89.3% and R2=.380.

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By: Pamela D. Moore, Ph.D., Cohort 5

This dissertation addresses the important topic of change management in the higher education sector. It examines how change agents respond and adapt to new realities and trends in the external environment and in this sense exemplifies aspects of academic entrepreneurialism. The purpose of the study is to deepen our understanding of the evolving role of higher education in a globally-connected modern society. This is accomplished through a case study that focuses on a global higher education initiative launched by Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi’s urban university, in collaboration with the University of Zululand (Unizulu), a rural-serving institution in South Africa. The study specifically explores the perceptions and roles undertaken by various actors in developing and implementing global HIV/AIDS initiative. Drawing upon diverse tools of research, insights and lessons learned are gleaned relative to the motivations of the change agents involved, what they were able to accomplish and ways in which they found their experience meaningful. Although this initiative remains on-going, the study focuses specifically on the timeframe of 2005-2008.

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By Daarel E. Burnette, Ph.D.Cohort 7

The purpose of the research, An Analysis of Public Higher Education Finance: Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Expenditures, was to determine if there are significant differences in states' capital spending between public four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) counterparts located in the Southeastern and bordering regions of the United States. This investigation was viewed through nine academic years (2002 to 2010) and in those states where the United States v. Fordice (1992) decision mandated the dismantling of "de facto segregation" practices. When referring to matters of governance contrary to a regulation, this means in custom but not necessarily ordained by law. In the case regarding capital spending per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) between the combined HBCUs and PWIs population, the Maim Whitney U tests revealed several instances where there were disparities in capital spending between the two groups. Of the researched periods, PWIs' overall capital spending patterns were statistically higher than HBCUs in six of the nine years. These findings agree with anecdotal accusations that alleged capital spending ambiguities still exist after the Fordice 1992 decision.

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By Andrea J. Cunningham, Ph.D., Cohort 8

The purpose of this study, Generational Status, Self-Esteem, Academic Self-Efficacy, and Perceived Social Support: Their Role in First Generation Graduate Students’ Psychological Well- Being, was to extend previous research conducted by Wang and Castaneda-Sound (2008) that examined the influences of generational status, self-esteem, academic self-efficacy, and perceived social support on undergraduate FGC students’ wellbeing. This research explored how the previously mention variables affected the FGC students on the graduate level. It also attempted to confirm the findings on students on the undergraduate level.

As first generation college students (FGC) continue to increase in numbers at colleges and universities, administrators much acknowledge and deal with the issues which accompany them. This is especially true for first generation students on the graduate level. If challenges such as lack of preparation for college and psychosomatic issues are not mitigated on the undergraduate level, the persistence of graduate students may be affected.

This study used a qualitative methodology to investigate the relationships, if any, between academic self-efficacy, self-esteem, and perceived social support from family and friends on first generation graduate students’ psychological well-being. The results of this study have implications on the retention and persistence of first generation students who wish to go on to purse graduate degrees. The study allows higher education administrators an opportunity to see some of the challenges today’s first generation graduate students face.

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Latitia D. McCane, EPh.D. Student | Bishop State Community College, Mobile, Alabama

The purpose of this study was to examine STEM on historically black community college campuses in order to understand the role this environment plays in African American students’ academic and social integration on campus; interaction with other STEM students and faculty; and their persistence in STEM. In order to solve the low graduation rate of minorities in STEM, there has been a national movement to recruit and retain students from Community Colleges. Tinto’s model of persistence was the theoretical framework applied to a phenomenological study to document the experiences, perspectives, and recommendations of fifteen African-American students currently enrolled in STEM pathways at five historically black community colleges in Alabama.

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Rita Christopher Ignatius, Ph.D. | Jackson State University

There are distinct benefits related with engaging with health promoting practices and psychological well-being of individuals as they are important determinants of health and wellness. While continued unhealthy health practices and behaviors will jeopardize not only their health status in later life, but also have a long term impact, on their overall well-being (Lee & Loke, 2005). Further, research indicates that programs designed to improve college student’s wellness, specifically focusing on improving their self-efficacy and promoting belief in one’s ability to participate in physical activity and maintaining good nutritional habits can in effect delay the onset of chronic illness which ultimately affects their health and wellness (Sidman, Abundo & Hritz, 2009).

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