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To sustain world preeminence, 21st century university and college leaders in the United States are redesigning their institutions organizationally and culturally to align with the direction of local and global societies and markets. The New American University enterprise model at Arizona State University has become one of the leading organization and cultural redesigns in United States higher education since its inception in 2002. Yet, sustaining a 21st century model such as this one means every individual in the college or university must understand his or her specific role to further progress the new model forward. Therefore, to advance and sustain a 21st century higher education redesign model at a U.S. college or university, it becomes imperative that every master-level professional who works in the academic/student services field at the institution understand his or her specific role in helping to further progress the new model forward. To this end, there is a need to change the way graduate students in higher education/student affairs masters programs are educated to work in the 21st century institution. This change can prepare new professionals to understand these enterprise models and how to integrate them into their practice in order to meet the needs of the institution, local and global societies and markets. The purpose of this action research study is to highlight one program, the ASU M.Ed. Higher and Postsecondary program, and show how graduates from 2007 - 2011 understand New American University concepts and integrate them into professional practice within higher education. Through use of a quantitative approach, this action research study described how the ASU M.Ed. in Higher and Postsecondary program graduate students' understanding of New American University concepts informs their thinking and practice to lead and respond to changes and challenges facing today's 21st century higher education field.
Universities have been increasingly engaged in international collaborations with peer institutions overseas. In recent years, Confucius Institutes have emerged as a new model of collaboration between American universities and Chinese universities. In an attempt to identify factors contributing to successful international university collaborations, this study used the case study method and focused on one Confucius Institute between MMU, an American University, and ZZU, a Chinese university, and intended to identify factors leading to the success of the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration. The study investigated the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration within the framework of the MMU-ZZU institutional partnership. Based on data collected from the institutional documents, interviews, site visits and news reports, this study examined the experiences and perceptions of the university's stakeholders involved in creating and sustaining this particular Confucius Institute, including stakeholders at the program level, at the college level, and at the institutional level both at MMU and ZZU. Using the glonacal agency heuristics framework, the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration was a result of joint forces of stakeholders at the program level, at the college level, and at the institutional level from ZZU and MMU. Stakeholders, no matter what level they are and which institution they are affiliated with, had to navigate through the significant differences between them to develop synergy to be successful. Synergy, including vertical synergy developed among stakeholders within each institution and horizontal synergy developed among stakeholders between institutions, turned out to be critical to the success of the MMU-ZZU CI. The study concluded that synergy in leadership, organizational contexts, stakeholders' resources, and the synergy in the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration and the MMU-ZZU institutional partnership, led to the success of the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration.
ABSTRACT This study examined the schooling experiences and perceptions of resettled sub-Saharan African middle school refugee students in a metropolitan area of the United States Southwest. The research questions underpinning this study included: What are the schooling experiences and perceptions of resettled sub-Saharan African middle school refugee students in a southwestern U.S. state? 1a) How do they view their relationships with their teachers and peers? 1b) Can they identify a teacher or school staff member in their school community who is a significant resource for them? and 1c) What factors contribute to their challenges and successes in their school community? This qualitative study documented and analyzed the schooling experiences and perceptions of resettled refugee middle school students, who are relatively new to the U.S. educational system. Purposive and convenience sampling were sources utilized in selecting participants for this study. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were used to capture the stories of 10 resettled sub-Saharan African refugee students enrolled in 7th and 8th grade, who have lived in the U.S. not more than 10 years and not less than three years. Among the participants, half were male and half female. They came from six countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Findings of the study revealed six major themes: teachers' helpfulness, positive perceptions of school, friends as resources at school, disruptive students in the classroom, need for better teachers, and before and after school activities. Overall, the participants in the study expressed a positive perception of their teachers and their schools, yet presented a dichotomous view of their schooling experiences and perceptions.
Due to federal mandates, Title I schools now are being asked to implement parent involvement programs that meaningfully involve parents in the schools to increase academic gains. This action research study was based on three different concepts from the literature: a) critical pedagogy theory from Paulo Freire, b) parent involvement from diverse scholars including Epstein, Olivos, Mapp, Henderson, and Gonzalez-DeHass, and c) Wenger's communities of practice approach. The study was designed to determine whether a community of practice approach could provide the necessary conditions to meaningfully involve Latino Spanish-speaking parents in school. This innovation took place for 14-weeks, during which the community of practice approach was developed and utilized during meetings. Data were collected during each community of practice meeting at two schools. The data sources were surveys, audio video transcriptions of the meetings, journal, field notes, leadership meetings, and analytic memos. To add reliability and validity, mixed methods were applied to triangulate the data sources. Results indicated that through a community of practice approach Latino Spanish-speaking parents could become meaningfully involved in their children's schools. Parent participants reported that the community of practice allowed them to dialogue, contribute, learn, reflect, and become self-aware of their role in the schools. Data also showed that parent participants applied the community of practice approach to contribute to the solution of problems at their school. After participating in the study, parent participants realized their potential to impact in their children's school. Additionally, they started purposefully becoming more interested in participating and planning activities with the parent liaison. Based on the results, further cycles of action research are suggested.
The United States is facing an emerging principal shortage. This study examines an intervention to deliver professional development for assistant principals on their way to becoming principals. The intervention intended to boost their sense of efficacy as if they were principals while creating a supportive community of professionals for ongoing professional learning. The community was designed much like a professional learning community (PLC) with the intent of developing into a community of practice (CoP). The participants were all elementary school assistant principals in a Title I district in a large metropolitan area. The researcher interviewed an expert set of school administrators consisting of superintendents and consultants (and others who have knowledge of what a good principal ought to be) about what characteristics and skills were left wanting in principal applicants. The data from these interviews provided the discussion topics for the intervention. The assistant principals met regularly over the course of a semester and discussed the topics provided by the expert set of school administrators. Participant interaction within the sessions followed conversation protocols. The researcher was also a participant in the group and served as the coordinator. Each session was recorded and transcribed. The researcher used a mixed methods approach to analyze the intervention. Participants were surveyed to measure their efficacy before and after the intervention. The session transcripts were analyzed using open and axial coding. Data showed no statistically significant change in the participants' sense of efficacy. Data also showed the participants became a coalescing community of practice.
Parents die during the lives of their children. If the child is an adolescent, that death will impact the student's education immediately or in subsequent years. Findings show the death of a mother does impact the daughter's education. It is imperative educators are willing to work with the student at the time the death occurs as well as in the ensuing months. Seidman's (2006) three-interview format was used as a template for the interviews of 11 women, ranging in age from 19 to 78 and whose mothers died when the women were adolescents. The interviews were primarily conducted in one sitting, transcribed, and then analyzed for common themes that connected to the research on the topic. Those themes include grieving, the role of caring in education, the role of teacher as the second mother, mother-daughter relationships, and the impact of parent death on schooling. These themes from the data cross cut with thematic strands within the study's theoretical framework: the nurturing and empathetic role of the mother, a desire of the daughter not to be different, and the ethics of caring. Findings in this study reveal that the negative impacts of mother loss are felt in diffuse ways, such as a lack of academic or emotional encouragement. Many women discussed the need and availability of support groups including groups at colleges. One practical implication of these findings is schools need to become caring communities in which caring is the norm for all students and teachers, thereby providing all students with needed support in times of crisis. The implications for further research include the impact of the mother death on the education of daughters, how volunteering with an organization related to the cause of the mother's death assists the daughter and types of programs most important to a student's success in post-secondary education. Adolescents are in a time of great change in their lives, and for a daughter, the loss of a mother has an everlasting, life-changing impact.
Educational Leadership is inherent of many qualities. Individuals who possess leadership stand apart from the mainstream population in general society and in any organization, thus they are change agents who influence others by their uniqueness and dynamism. The art of leadership is challenging, but meaningful, and purposeful as the focus is implementation of consistent affective and effective practices at all levels to assure achievable outcomes no matter the organization type. A leader's calling is rewarding and the journey is that of making and sustaining change through influence. The purpose of this study centered on the relationship factor of educational leadership especially the dynamics between the principal and the teacher and what constructs affect this relationship to affect principal effectiveness. The methodology employed a quantitative format and consisted of a 20 question survey sent to one school district's teachers (N=465) over a 3 month window. The summaries of results were presented in two formats: Raw (exactly how teachers answered) and a Cross-tabulation (Age & Licensure). The findings of the study yielded attitudes and perspectives of teachers regarding valuable information on leadership behaviors, styles, and practices that teachers believe were relevant to principal effectiveness. The most noteworthy aspect gleaned from this study was the people factor wherein relationships are a key factor to a leader's success in any realm that one leads.
Given the surge of immigrant and resettled refugee student enrollment in public schools, a strong understanding of the transition process for these students and their families and facilitating the creation of effective schooling contexts are major educational priorities. It is critical to determine how to best support and assist resettled refugee students in academic and other endeavors. This study seeks to better understand the perspectives of resettled refugee students who are recent high school graduates and their mentors in order to contribute practical insights into resettled refugee education and to give voice to these students. Informed by sociocultural theories as reflected in the works of Daniels, Cole and Wertsch, (2007) and others, twelve resettled refugees from Bhutan, Iraq and Burma (aka Myanmar) and ten mentors participated in individual interview sessions and focus group discussions. The study took place in Arizona. The participants' responses were audio-recorded, transcribed, interpreted, coded, and categorized into themes. Study findings suggested that: resettled refugee students struggled with adjusting to their new school system. They were marginalized and faced discrimination and suffered low teacher expectations. They were placed in English language classes that they felt were not beneficial to them; and almost all attended inner city urban schools in areas with a high poverty concentration characterized by gang and drug activities that further adversely affected their performances. Against the odds, with the help of their mentors, striving for a better life, commitment to family, and resilience, the study participants were able to not only complete their high school education on time but earned impressive grade point averages of between 3.5 to 4.2 that helped five of them win scholarships to four-year colleges.
The purpose of this study was to answer the question, "What are the experiences of students who have completed the Achievement Academy program?" In collecting data to answer this question, a series of clarifying questions also emerged: "What are the cultural, academic, and personal costs and benefits associated with being a part of Achievement Academy?"; "How have students defined or redefined their cultural, social, academic, and personal identities because of Achievement Academy?"; and "In what ways have the students used their surroundings and experiences to overcome preconceived notions of either what they were capable of or general expectations of those around them?" While there have been studies undertaken to examine students' experiences in both public school and private school academic programs, there is currently no research on the unique academic program and partnership of Achievement Academy with both public and private schools. This study provides direct insight from a participant focus group and individual participant interviews of students that attended Achievement Academy. A phenomenology research methodology was used to collect the data and Critical Race Theory (CRT) was used as the lens through which the data from the focus group and interviews were analyzed. This analysis resulted in three distinct findings in the research data: peers, program environment, and the presence of a mentor or positive role model are the major influencing factors for their success both in Achievement Academy and afterwards. First, the Achievement Academy students' peers in the program had a strong positive influence on how they viewed and defined themselves. These interactions allowed some students an opportunity to re-evaluate and recreate their identities and allowed validation of identity for others. Second, the Achievement Academy program, and more specifically its stated mission and practices, also provided a strong positive influence on their success. Third, the presence of a mentor or role model was instrumental to their success. The program's emphasis on empowerment and enrichment also created opportunities for students to stretch themselves academically, socially, and culturally.
ABSTRACT Current federal and state education mandates were developed to make schools accountable for student performance with the rationale that schools, teachers, and students will improve through the administration of high-stakes tests. Public schools are mandated to adhere to three accountability systems: national, state, and local. Additional elements include the recent implementation of the Common Core standards and newly devised state accountability systems that are granted through waivers as an alternative to the accountability mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act NCLB of 2001. Teachers' voices have been noticeably absent from the accountability debates, but as studies show, as primary recipients of accountability sanctions, many teachers withdraw, "burn out," or leave the profession altogether. The present study is based on the premise that teachers are vital to student achievement, and that their perspectives and understandings are therefore a resource for educational reform especially in light of the accountability mandates under NCLB. With that premise as a starting point, this dissertation examines practicing urban teachers' experiences of accountability in culturally and linguistically diverse schools. To fulfill these goals, this qualitative study used individual and focus group interviews and observations with veteran elementary school teachers in an urban Southwestern public school district, to ascertain practices they perceive to be effective. The study's significance lies in informing stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers of practicing teachers' input on accountability mandates in diverse urban schools.