Dissertation Defense – Paulette Terry Sigler @ Haas-Howell building, room 624
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Can You Hear My Voice? At-Risk Students’ Reflections Regarding Access to Music Participation During Secondary School
by Paulette Terry Sigler

This research was purposed to discover how students perceived the impact of participation or lack or participation in school music classes on their global school experiences during secondary school. The research stemmed from concern that recent focus on state and federal mandates may have resulted in a return to educational policies that discount consideration of student experience. All of the students in a university choral department in the southeastern United States comprised the participant population for the initial screening questionnaire. Questionnaire results informed the purposeful sampling of 16 students in six focus groups. Six students were selected from focus groups to participate in one 30-45 minute individual interview. The researcher designed screening questionnaire was a structured survey with open-ended and closed questions (Creswell, 2012; Markus & Nurius, 1986). The interview instruments had guiding questions based on the phenomenological suggestions or Moustakas (1994 ). The second interview was informed by the responses obtained during the first interview. The resulting information is in narrative form. Analysis, beginning with the data generated by the questionnaire, was ongoing throughout the study. Hallam’s (2002) motivational model positing the malleable aspects of the personality such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, possible selves, and the ideal self anchored the final analysis. Students reflected on the influence of school music experiences. The overarching question was, “Did involvement or lack of involvement in school music affect students’ perceptions of the global school experience and extra-musical success?” The findings support the premise that participation in school music can have a positive affect on students’ global school experience extending to a sense of community, increased self-confidence and leadership, enhanced learning in non-music classes, and a time of relief from academic stress. The at-risk students described the ameliorating effects of music participation on their challenging life situations. An ancillary finding was that many students were advised to discontinue music classes to take advanced academic classes, rather than for remediation due to academic struggles. Future research could investigate whether participation in music classes promotes learning and memory consolidation of academic knowledge by providing a divergent learning task that stimulates new modes or thinking.

Dissertation Defense – Michael S. Leeman @ College of Education, room 923
Jun 8 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Life-style, Coping Resources, and Trauma Symptoms: Predicting Posttraumatic Growth
by Michael S. Leeman

Despite the negative psychological, emotional, relational, and physiological impact of traumatic events that often persist into adulthood (Breslau, Davis, Andreski, Peterson, 1991 : Briere, 2004), some individuals may also experience posttraumatic growth (PTG) as they struggle to resolve their traumatic experiences. PTG is a process that originates from a cognitive response to cope with traumatic events, and an outcome that yields positive personal changes (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1998). Several factors are linked to the increased likelihood of PTG such as symptom severity, coping resources, and personality characteristics (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). This study examined the contributory roles of personality themes, coping resources, trauma symptoms, and their interaction on different forms of PTG in a sample of college undergraduates. Wanting Recognition, Tension Control, Social Support, and trauma symptoms were positively related to PTG. Coping resources partially mediated the relationship between trauma symptoms and PTG. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Prospectus Presentation – Katika D. Lovett @ College of Education, room 481
Jun 8 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

At the Intersection of Race, Discipline and Disability: A Quantitative Analysis of Principal Perceptions and Exclusionary Discipline Practices in an Urban School District
by Katika D. Lovett

Data collected by the Office for Civil Rights for the 2011-12 school year reveals that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the use of exclusionary discipline practices, including suspensions and expulsions, throughout the nation’s schools. Such disparities serve as the basis for the development of Guiding Principles by the nation’s Department of Education to assist school leaders, district officials, policy makers and stakeholders in the implementation of fair and equitable discipline practices that support effective teaching and learning (USDOE, 2014). While many studies have focused on disproportionality and student risk factors for suspension along the lines of gender and race; few studies have sought to provide explanations for how principals’ perceptions impact discipline practices. More specifically, to what degree does a difference exist between definable principal perceptions and the subsequent use of suspension across schools? This quantitative study seeks to answer these questions th rough the use of non-experimental, causal-comparative methods employed in a large, urban school district located in the Southeastern United States. To gauge principals’ perceptions of school discipline, participants will be administered Skiba & Edl’s (2004) Disciplinary Practices Survey, an instrument designed to gauge principals’ attitudes and beliefs about the purpose, processes and outcomes involved in school discipline, rather than solely focus on the frequency of disciplinary actions. Archival district data will also be analyzed to further investigate the existence of statistically significant differences across categories of race (Black compared with White students), gender (male compared with female students) and disability status (students with disabilities compared to students without disabilities) for students subjected to the exclusionary discipline practice of suspension.