College of Education and Human Development Theses and Dissertations

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    K-12 online literacy and reading instruction: A descriptive content analysis from 2000-2021
    (2022-07-06) Hill, Johnathan W; Valadez, Corinne; Bruun, Faye; Spaniol, Frank
    Online literacy learning is still a relatively new field, however, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, online learning became the primary mode of instruction for millions of students in public, charter, and private schools. This descriptive content analysis seeks to identify trends within the field of online literacy instruction from 2000 to 2021, contextual occurrences and some of the similarities and differences in the literature intended for academic audiences and the literature intended for practitioners. The articles for this content analysis were gathered from the Education Information Resource Center (ERIC) database and the Teacher Resource Center (TRC) database. 59 articles were identified as pertaining to the sample and were analyzed. Results found that within the 59 articles, those intended for academics outweighed those intended for practitioners and that the highest concentration of articles came from the end of the proposed timespan. Some differences between the articles intended for academics and practitioners were the ways the various articles addressed and were coded for student autonomy, transactional distance, and literacy instructional focus areas. The results of the content analysis revealed that there is lack of theoretical consistency within the research being produced for both academics and practitioners and there is a distinct lack of the transactional distance and systems theories, both of which underpin and are vital to the success of online literacy learning.
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    Experiences of mentors working Wwith international doctoral students in CACREP-accredited counselor education programs: A constructivist grounded theory inquiry
    (2022-07-08) Aras, Yahyahan; Watson, Joshua; Oliver, Marvarene; Ikonomopoulos, James; Thompson, Ethan
    The number of international students in counseling programs is increasing (Amparbeng & Pillay, 2021; Ng, 2006; Reid & Dixon, 2012). This growing number calls attention to students' diverse needs and challenges. In addition to the issues their peers in other programs are experiencing, international students in counseling programs face distinctive challenges due to the nature of the counseling training programs and the curricula they utilize (Ng & Smith, 2009; Rasheed, 2015; Reid & Dixon, 2012). International students in counseling programs are experiencing acculturative stress because of their academic, social, cultural, and language needs (Behl et al., 2017; Lertora & Croffie, 2020). Because of the language and cultural barriers, international students do not actively participate in the interactive counseling courses (Behl et al., 2017), and face challenges in terms of communicating, understanding, and using some Western mental health strategies with their clients (Ng & Smith, 2009). Furthermore, international students’ distinct cultural values and norms could influence their communication style and, as a result, their professional relationships with their advisors and peers (Seyeneh, 2018). Mentoring is suggested as one of the most effective ways of mitigating these challenges and struggles (King et al., 2015; Omar et al., 2016; Seyeneh, 2018). However, there is no available mentoring model to utilize while working with international counseling doctoral students. Therefore, this study aimed to establish a mentoring model for mentors to work with international doctoral students completing their CES coursework within CACREP-accredited counselor education programs in the United States. Charmaz’ (2014) constructivist grounded theory was used to establish a mentoring model based on the experiences and perceptions of 19 counselor educators mentoring international doctoral students. Recruitment, elements of mentoring, support systems, and graduation were found as the main themes of the model. The mentoring relationship between counselor educators and ICDSs starts with students’ recruitment, and the most frequently stated channels of recruiting international doctoral students were word of mouth, conferences, well-designed websites, international faculty, and institutional reputation. Utilizing cultural humility, intentionality, connection with resources, individualization, normalized experiences, and sense of trust as the elements of mentoring helps to build and enhance the mentoring relationship as well as increases students’ sense of belonging and supports their adjustment to the new learning and social environments. Among the elements of mentoring in this model, cultural humility and intentionality were valued the most among the participants for addressing academic, social, and cultural needs of international students. The full application of the elements of mentoring lead mentors to create support systems to address the social, emotional, cultural, financial, and administrative needs of international counseling doctoral students. Finally, mentors using the elements of mentoring and helping students to have access to the support systems influence their students’ retention and graduation. Graduated students with positive learning and social experiences contribute to recruiting new international counseling doctoral students. The process and interaction among these themes influence international doctoral students’ outcomes. Implications for counselor educators and counseling programs are discussed.
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    Police training academies in the state of Texas and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic
    (2022-07-05) Olivares, Sergio; Bippert, Kelli; Benedetti, Christopher; Nelson, Kristina; Greene, Pamela
    This study focused on how police training academies in the State of Texas responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. A researcher-created survey was used to answer the three research questions posed. Research Question One asked: Are there differences between the three types of police training academies and their effectiveness in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? The responses showed that there were no differences based on the type of police training academy and their effectiveness in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also explored capable guardianship, an element that has been explored by criminal justice/criminology researchers, but comes from the original theoretical framework of the Routine Activity Theory developed by Cohen & Felson (1979). Research question two asked: Are there differences between the genders of the directors/training coordinators and how safe they felt entering their police training academies? The responses showed that there were no differences between the genders of the directors/training coordinators and how safe they felt entering their police training academies during the pandemic making them capable guardians. Research question three asked: Are there differences between the genders of the directors/training coordinators and whether they viewed themselves as capable guardians? The responses showed that there were significant differences between the genders of the directors/training coordinators and whether they viewed themselves as capable guardians. The results of this study also provided direction for future research on police training academies operating during a pandemic.
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    The lived experiences of men whose partners have postpartum depression
    (2022-07-02) Moseley, Melanie; Nelson, Kristina; Gerlach, Jennifer; Ratanavivan, Wannigar; Forgione, Bunny
    Studies involving postpartum depression (PPD) lack in their focus on the experiences of men whose partners have been diagnosed with PPD. PPD possesses implications not only for mothers, but also for their children and the fathers. Current literature focuses on studying mothers and children, and often ignore the father. The current study utilized a hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative inquiry to identify themes consistent with men’s’ experiences with having a partner with PPD. This study involved participants who 1) are 18 years or older, 2) identify as cisgender male, 3) in a current relationship with the mother of their biological child, 4) have a partner with a current, official PPD diagnosis, 5) live with their partner, and 6) are the biological father of their partner’s child. Participant selection included using purposive and snowball sampling from local obstetrics and gynecological, pediatrician, mental health services offices, and social media platforms. The findings of this study provided insight into the meaning of men’s experiences with having a partner that has PPD. This study yielded five major themes: 1) Getting Lost in the Shuffle, 2) My Own Worst Enemy, 3) Purgatory, 4) Light Within the Dark, and 5) Putting the “Partner” in Partnership. The current study helped pave the way for future research to analyze the mental health needs for men upon having a child and led the way to the offering of frequent mental health services to men. This dissertation discusses the findings of the study as well as provided insight into the implications for the counseling profession.
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    Assessing the link between learning modes and social media use for learning in first-year undergraduate students
    (2019-05) Brott, Jan Brashears; Kouzekanani, Kamiar; Lucido, Frank; Elwood, Susan; Bland, Eugene
    The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between learning modes and the use of social media for learning in undergraduate college students. Social media use among students has continued to grow for the past 10 years, yet, not many have been exposed to using it in an academic setting. The study was guided by Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Model, which categorizes learning mode preferences into a cycle of concrete experience (CE), reflective observation (RO), abstract conceptualization (AC), and active experimentation (AE). The non-probability sample included 143 undergraduate students enrolled at a federally-designated Hispanic-serving institution of higher education in South Texas. The study was correlational and retrospective in nature. A paper-based survey instrument was used to collect the data. The results showed that participants aligned most frequently with the concrete experience mode as a predictor of using social media to support learning. Google and YouTube were the most frequently used social media platforms that were utilized passively to search for information to support learning. Participants were least likely to use social media to collaborate with others or create their own content. While passive use of social media can be helpful in gaining academic information, its social aspect should be further explored. Integrating social media use in the classroom may provide the skills students need to fully realize its use as a collaborative and creative tool.
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    Crisis leadership: Experiences of K-12 principals in South Texas school districts during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (2022-08) Teran, Katherine; Maxwell, Gerri; Cervantes, Bernadine; Elliff, D. Scott; Doolan, Stephen
    The COVID-19 pandemic which began in March of 2020 was the start of a crisis no one ever anticipated experiencing in our lifetime. Education was impacted on many levels and the effects continue today. K-12 schools experienced a new way of teaching and learning when forced to utilize modes of online learning to continue with school as communities faced COVID-19 fears and waves of sickness until a vaccine was made available. Although COVID-19 has now began to dissipate, schools continue to face instructional gaps with students having lost instruction for a little over a year on top of the already existing instructional gaps. Lives have been affected with staff, students, and families having experienced COVID-19 or lost a friend or family member to it. Educational leaders had not experienced leading through a crisis such as a pandemic. This qualitative study is expected to make a crucial contribution to the existing body of literature of crisis leadership and traditional leadership approaches. Six principals in South Texas school districts were interviewed to gain a better understanding of their experiences and leadership approaches and skills they utilized as they navigated through uncharted territories. Major themes across the participant data included: (1) crisis informs leadership, (2) crisis reshapes leadership approaches, (3) crisis hones leadership skills, (4) crisis required addressing social emotional realm, and (5) crisis reshapes instruction.
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    On common ground: A study of teacher leadership in the Rio Grande Valley post pandemic
    (2022-08) Hoglund, Celena; Maxwell, Gerri; Cervantes, Bernadine; Lara, Denise; Jorgensen, Daniel
    Crises often bring about educational change (Stewart, 2012). The COVID – 19 pandemic highlighted the need for school systems to further support teachers. Between May and October 2020, the increase in stress and teacher burnout rose from 25 percent to 57 percent, according to a RAND Corporation study (Gewertz, 2021). Previously, few studies have focused on how teacher leadership development aids capacity-building efforts during unexpected events. This study focused on the South Texas region, and more specifically, the Rio Grande Valley as its high concentration of minoritized and low-income students amplified the need to address this region. The themes that emerged from the participants’ responses include leadership identification, adult learning, and crisis leadership.
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    Use of coping strategies to deal with the effects of accountability pressures on principals
    (2022-08) Perez, Elizabeth; Maxwell, Gerri; Cervantes, Bernadine; Elliff, D. Scott; Sherman, W. Scott
    This study explored the perceptions of successful campus principals regarding their strategies to navigate and mitigate the challenges of their roles in the context of high stakes accountability pressures. More so, this study proposed to explore the means by which school administrators cope with the challenges of accountability and the challenges of being a high school principal. Perceptions of those successful principals who rise above the fray of negative conversations around accountability and provide real behind-the-scenes insight into enacting leadership of successful campuses will inform the extant literature seeking real world examples. The lead researcher, who recently served as a current high school principal in an urban Coastal Bend high school and was promoted to central office, knows that successful leadership is possible when campus principals do have the necessary support from upper administration and superintendents to focus on building their own capacity and coping skills. The study included principals who experienced success with leading schools during this accountability era, as well as principals who left the profession of leadership due to accountability constraints. The study addressed several overarching research questions which focus particularly on the various challenges that cause work related stress for administrators as well as their coping strategies utilized to reduce the stress. Emerging themes identified may contribute to the understanding of the various forms of stress and support identification of the need for coping strategies. Findings from this study may assist educational institutions on better preparing aspiring principals by better understanding the challenges principals face in the public school system. More robust principal preparatory programs could potentially be informed of enhanced professional development and mentoring programs to support emerging leaders. The study’s findings may serve as a vessel to meet the needs of principals and better equip them with the tools and skills necessary to manage the ever changing accountability culture that exists in schools.
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    Understanding mental health professionals' perspective of therapeutic alliance in working with unaccompanied children: A grounded theory approach
    (2022-08) Rivera, Wendy; Oliver, Marvarene; Gerlach, Jennifer; Ikonomopolous, James; Quick-Schumann, Catherine
    The number and trends of unaccompanied children immigrating to the U.S. has drastically changed throughout the years and many are placed in shelters while they remain in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Unaccompanied children subject to traumatic experiences in their country of origin or throughout their journey present with high levels of adverse mental health. Despite this, there is limited literature exploring the mental health concerns of unaccompanied children or the experiences of mental health professionals serving unaccompanied children specifically unaccompanied children in ORR care. This study aimed to understand the perception of mental health professionals of establishing therapeutic alliance with unaccompanied immigrant children in an ORR shelter. Grounded theory methods were utilized to identify elements vital to the process of building therapeutic alliance with unaccompanied immigrant children. In this qualitative study data was drawn for 6 participants providing mental health services to unaccompanied immigrant children in ORR shelters in South Texas. The pressing elements identified were, policy impacts treatment, boundaries, limitations due to setting, cultural competency, creating a safe environment and impacts of COVID-19. Understanding how these elements present themselves and how to address them in the process of developing therapeutic alliance is crucial. Future research should include a specific focus on building therapeutic alliance in other ORR settings. More work can be done to educate communities and other mental health professionals about the efforts and practices necessary in building therapeutic alliance with unaccompanied immigrant children and addressing their unique needs.
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    Development and evaluation of the sex positivity inventory for counselors
    (2022-08) Burks, Ashley; Gerlach, Jennifer; Watson, Joshua; Hollenbaugh, K. Michelle Hunnicutt; Hinojosa, Yndalecio
    Sexuality is highly stigmatized and typically accompanied with shame-inducing attitudes, misinformation, and behaviors which make seeking sexual wellness a daunting task (Iantaffi, 2016). Despite the challenges of accessing sexual wellness, research shows several mental health correlations to sexual wellbeing that contribute to happiness, socioemotional development, and overall wellness (Anderson, 2013; Blanchflower & Oswald, 2004; Pariera, 2018). Unfortunately, sexuality is not addressed in many counselor preparation programs which leaves counselors underprepared and potentially apprehensive of addressing sexual issues with clients (Burnes et al., 2017a; Sanabria & Murray, 2018; Talley, 2020). Instead, researchers and advocates are now calling for a new approach to counselor education called sex positivity (Cruz et al., 2017; Mosher, 2017; Phillips, 2022). Sex positivity is an approach for addressing sexual issues in counseling that includes an emphasis on strengths and wellbeing, acknowledges individuality and embraces multiple ways of knowing, upholds professional ethics, promotes open, honest, humanizing, and peacemaking communication, and explores the impact of sexuality across multiple levels of the social structure (Williams et al., 2015). Incorporating this type of approach in counseling is important because it reflects the counseling professional and ethical values and prepares counselors to address sexual issues with clients in a useful and humanizing way (Burnes et al., 2017b; Cruz et al., 2017). However, research on sex positivity is limited and mainly conceptual in nature (Bloom et al., 2019; Litam & Speciale, 2021; Neuer Colburn & Upton, 2019). This means that definitions of sex positivity and approaches for implementing sex positivity are lacking in empirical evidence (Ivanski & Kohut, 2017). To address these issues, I developed and analyzed the Sex Positivity Inventory for Counselors (SPI-C) using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). The goal of this study was to clarify the definition of sex positivity and illuminate sex-positive attitudes, knowledge, and skills. The EFA results supported a six factor, 34-item scale of sex positivity that accounted for 32.9% of the variance. The factors included Procedural Sex Positivity, Comfortability with Sexuality, Perceived Sex Positivity, Fundamental Sex Education, Sexological Worldview, and Unconditional Positive Sexual Regard. The SPI-C had an excellent internal consistency of 0.96 meaning it is suitable for future research. The findings of the SPI-C support Williams and colleagues’ (2015) conceptualization of sex positivity. Additionally, the SPI-C illuminates basic educational needs (Abbott et al., 2015; Reissing & DiGuilio, 2010; Zeglin et al., 2018), the need for comfortability to discuss sexual issues (Kelsey et al., 2013; Mercer & Dermer, 2020; Miller & Byers, 2012), and useful practices to establish competency in sexuality counseling (Cruz et al., 2017; Sanabria & Murray, 2018). The SPI-C will be a useful measure for inclusion in counselor education, improving counselor self-awareness and competency, and increasing empirically based research on sexuality counseling.
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    Latina superintendents in rural South Texas and the social and cultural values impacting their success in the superintendency
    (2022-05) Buckley Greses, Barbara; Maxwell, Gerri; Cervantes, Bernadine; Kachorsky, Danielle; Rodriguez, Stephanie
    According to the 2016-2017 Rural Schools Spotlight Report, Texas is home to more than 1,240 school districts with almost 665 serving less than 1,000 students. One focus for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been serving the needs of small and rural sites as they comprise more than 50% of the state’s districts. In South Texas, a number of these rural districts are high Latino/a, majority low-socioeconomic students. While some Latina superintendents lead these districts, nationally, Latina superintendents are not serving districts where a majority of Latino/a students, attend. This study explored the intersection of not only Latina social capital, but rural community cultural capital as well with regard to impact on successful Latina leadership (Murphy, 2015). Dominant themes in the study were: support in the superintendency, Latina leadership, and capacity of rural leaders, and the Latina’s barriers to the superintendency. These ways of knowing and strategies for navigating leadership through maximizing both social and cultural capital to impact Latina/o students, is anticipated to contribute to the extant research literature.
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    Working from the heart: Mexican American counselors-in-training and the development of counselor identity
    (2022-05) Majors, Stephanie; Oliver, Marvarene; Watson, Joshua; Ratanavivan, Wannigar; Xie, Feiqin
    Within the past 10 years, the fields of both counseling and counselor education have worked to improve their professional identity. In addition to the development of solid counselor identity through the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) consensus definition, the field has also worked to diversify its clinicians, faculty, and student populations. There have also been efforts by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) to support diversity in both masters and doctoral programs across the country. However, most students and faculty in programs across the nation identify as white. Yet not much is known about the development of professional counselor identity amongst students of color, specifically the Mexican American population of counseling students. Mexican Americans are one of the fastest growing subsets of the Hispanic population in our country, yet little is known about how these students develop and integrate their professional counselor identities during their master’s programs. This study explored the lived experiences of Mexican American CITs as they relate to the development of their professional counselor identities. A total of six participants were interviewed for this hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative study. This study resulted in the identification of five themes with corresponding subthemes. Themes identified are: (a) My cultural identity is who I am as a Mexican American CIT; (b) As a Mexican American CIT I need different types of support; (c) My Mexican American culture makes me a better CIT; (d) I want to help my people; and (e) I am a lifelong learner. This study helped to identify what is important with regards to counselor identity development and the integration of cultural and professional identities within the Mexican American CIT population. Implications for future research include repeating this study with Mexican Americans in different parts of the country as well as exploring counselor identity development with other Hispanic subpopulations.
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    The relationship between emotional intelligence, burnout, and compassion satisfaction of mental health case managers working in an outpatient mental health facility
    (2022-05) Robertson, Benjamin; Hollenbaugh, Michelle; Watson, Joshua; Ricard, Richard; Waheeduzzaman, Abu
    Mental health issues can have colossal and dismal consequences for not only those directly afflicted by them but also their circles of contacts. Mental health case managers (MHCMs) are often involved in the peoples’ lives who are affected by these mental health concerns. As a result, relevant constructs associated with the work of MHCMs are of interest. The prime purpose of this quantitative investigation is to identify if and to what degree emotional intelligence (EI) moderates the relationship between compassion satisfaction (CS) and burnout (BO). The purpose of additional inquiries is to determine if there are statistically significant relationships between the main variables themselves as well as between the main variables and selected demographics. The sample in this study involved 73 MHCMs working in eight distinct outpatient mental health facilities throughout the state of Texas. All the participants were provided an information sheet (see Appendix A), a demographic questionnaire (see Appendix B), a ProQOL questionnaire (Stamm, 2010; see Appendix C), and an SSEIT questionnaire (Schutte et al., 2009; see Appendix D). The findings of a three-step hierarchical regression analysis indicated that EI did not moderate the relationship between CS and BO. However, statistically significant findings were discovered between the main variables themselves and between the main variables and selected demographics. The conclusions from this study may be useful for MHCMs and administrators. Implications and recommendations for various stakeholders are offered. Keywords: emotional intelligence, compassion satisfaction, burnout, mental health case manager
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    "'Scared-ish' about writing": An exploration of the effects of bibliotherapy and dialogue journaling on fourth-grade students' writing apprehension and motivation to write
    (2022-05) Bryars, Leah; Pletcher, Bethanie; Bippert, Kelli; Gerlach, Jennifer; Concannon, Kevin
    The ability to communicate well through writing has never been more critical. Writing is a necessary skill to make a living and a life. Even before beginning school, children try to make themselves known by writing. Graves (1983) writes that a child’s marks on paper-or a wall-say to the world, “I am” (p. 3). Children are aware of the value of writing, yet only 14% of them have writing that is considered “competent” (NCES, 2012). Lackluster results on national tests have spurred an increase in high-stakes testing. For students who experience fear and discomfort associated with writing, known as writing apprehension (Daly & Miller, 1975), practice for these tests and most other evaluative writing can cause an already negative disposition toward writing to become worse. Avoidance of situations that involve writing can lead to long-term consequences beyond school failure. This convergent-parallel mixed methods study explored the effects of an intervention that combines bibliotherapy and dialogue journaling on the writing attitudes of eight fourth-grade student participants. This purposive sample was chosen because these fourth-grade students were preparing to take the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) writing test in the spring of the 2019-2020 school year. Drawing upon social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978), and Graham’s Writer(s)-Within-Community model (2018), this study is rooted in the belief that learning is a social activity. In keeping with this belief, the eight fourth-grade participants met with me for twelve weekly meetings after school in the school library of a south Texas Title I school. This study was social activity by design, so it was imperative that the student participants feel a sense of togetherness and camaraderie. For this reason, I chose to call our group a “club” from the beginning. Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary defines the word “club” as a group of people associated for a common purpose or mutual advantage, usually in an organization that meets regularly (Webster’s, 2002). “Club” in this context applies well to the group that the student participants and I created. After reading a book in which a character overcomes adversity, we discussed connections to the book before the student participants wrote a response in a dialogue journal that I responded to after the meeting. In addition to transcripts of these journal entries, other qualitative data included survey responses from the fourth-grade language arts teachers, my field notes, and a post-intervention focus group interview. Quantitative data was gathered in the form of two surveys administered pre- and post-intervention. The qualitative data set was transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes, and quantitative data was analyzed statistically. Both data sets were compared side-by-side to discover congruent and discrepant findings. Findings from the quantitative analyses revealed no statistical significance between pre and post-intervention administrations of the surveys. Qualitative findings suggested that the student participants demonstrated increased confidence and were in the process of developing more positive attitudes toward writing.
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    Student awareness on access and Title IX resources
    (2022-05) Ruiz, Rosie; Banda, Rosa; Edwards, Dessynie; Lucido, Frank; Sparks, Jean
    Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) are required to address reports of sexual violence, which has received increased examination, especially since the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on April 4, 2011 (Department of Education, 2017). The DCL provides the IHE with guidelines on how to remedy sexual misconduct on campuses, a forum for students to report incidents of sexual misconduct, prevent future occurrences, and provide educational programming that addresses sexual violence (Department of Education, 2017). It is vital for IHE to stop, prevent, and remedy reports of sexual misconduct by ensuring students know how to report since close to 80% of sexual misconduct incidents go unreported to police (Department of Justice, 2014). Under the theoretical framework of Social Constructivist theory, this qualitative single-bounded case study used interviews, demographic profiles, and other related documentation. A total of five freshmen female participants were part of this study. Three themes emerged from the findings. The first theme, Lack of an Understanding of Role and Responsibilities of Title IX Office, with three subthemes: Lack of Awareness and Communication, Reaching Out to Other Campus Offices, and Not Utilizing Campus Title IX Resources. The second theme, Reluctance to Report Instance of Sexual Violence, includes three subthemes: Lack of Awareness of the Identity and Role of the Title IX Coordinator, Dynamics of Mistrust, and Stereotypes Associated with Reporting. The third theme, Vary Mediums in How Students Receive Information Regarding Title IX Resources, also includes three subthemes: Utilize Social Media Platforms, Weekly Distribution of Information, and Immediate Communication Upon Admission. The study found that participants lack an understanding of the role and obligations of the Title IX Office as there was an absence of awareness and perceived communication on Title IX information. The study also found the participants in this study had limited information and knowledge on the types of resources that can be provided by the Title IX office and the various resources that can assist with academic retention and success. Furthermore, the participants in the study did not fully understand the role nor the identity of the Title IX Coordinator for the campus. This outcome is impactful since Fowler (2013) highlights policies need to safeguard that student realize their rights and how to address situations that may impact their educational learning environment. Participants noted that the university needed to utilize various social media platforms to establish a clear line of communications with students. Utilizing social media to convey messages about Title IX arguably is now a component of how college students interact within their college environment (their social setting) to allow learning to occur (Burkholder & Pelaez, 2000).
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    Experiences of novice principals at low performing campuses in South Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (2022-05) Guajardo, Iris; Maxwell, Gerri M; Elliff, D. Scott; Cervantes, Bernadine; Klaus, Timothy
    This study is grounded at the intersection of the extant literature on leading effective schools, navigating the challenges of diverse low-performing, high poverty campuses, and supporting the needs of novice principals often hired to meet the needs of these struggling campus contexts. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological dissertation was to illuminate the voice and the perceptions of first-year principals regarding their experiences in leading low-performing campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Region One education service area in South Texas. To capture the essence of the experience of novice principals in this context, each of the six eligible participants, all of whom were also Hispanic, had to have assumed the position of campus principals in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 on Title I Schoolwide campuses identified as Targeted Support, Additional Targeted Support or Comprehensive Support schools in 2019, were interviewed. The findings addressed the challenges novice principals experienced across these themes: (a) first impressions set the reality; (b) school micropolitics add to the unknown; (c) lack of preparation for leading struggling campuses and (d) the impact of COVID-19 compounded the pressure. The findings also included the support novice principals need to navigate through the challenges of leading their low-performing schools: (a) creating a network of support and (b) developing social justice leaders.
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    A cross-case study exploring former school board member's perceptions when selecting and hiring a superintendent
    (2022-05) Reininger, Roxanne; Hemmer, Lynn; Lucido, Frank; Maxwell, Gerri; Clampit, Jack
    The purpose of the present study was to explore the nature of hiring a public-school superintendent in a context, which challenged school board trustees to select a particular type of leader. The researcher’s intent was to study three former school board trustees who were initially involved in what they considered a complex change process, exploring their perceptions about change and the leader they hired to effect change. The use of a qualitative cross-case study comprised the appropriate research design for this approach to investigate a contemporary phenomenon, seeking to understand real-world context (Yin, 2018). Three questions guided the research, (a) What events/situations are characterized by school board trustees as needing change within a district? (b) From the perspective of the school board trustee, what skills, values, and competencies are important for the work of the superintendent to effect change? And (c) What mental models are used by school board trustees when hiring a superintendent? Data were initially organized into general themes, including, context, necessary change, and superintendent changes. Subsequently, a cross-case analysis generated several themes, including (a) Called to Serve, (b) Motivated by Concerns, (c) Committee to Purpose P, (d) Hiring Processes Utilized, and (e) Superintendent Staying Power, and (f) Gender Absence: A Constant Refrain. Implications for practice and future research were discussed.
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    Hermanidad: Perspectives of the journey of Latina superintendents in school districts
    (2022-05) Rivas-Garza, Nora; Maxwell, Gerri M; Elliff, D. Scott; Cervantes, Bernadine; Murphey, Christina
    The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological dissertation was to understand the perceived lived challenges Latina leaders faced when serving in the position of school district superintendent. The review of the literature affirmed the oppressive forces that Latina leaders encounter, as well as the lack of mentorship programs available for them; yet, it also brought to light the cultural community wealth, skills that Latinas leaders possessed when in top leadership positions. To best capture the essence of their experiences, five eligible participants who served in the position of district superintendent in K-12 non charter public school districts in the state of Texas, concentrated in South Texas, were interviewed. The approaches implemented for this study were transcendental phenomenological and narrative inquiry which were appropriate to use to best capture Latina superintendents perceived lived experiences. These approaches have been frequently used in educational research as means of eliciting participant voice. The methods of data collection included interviews, field notes, reflective journaling, ‘memoing’ and member checking which allowed for triangulation and established credibility of the study (Creswell & Poth, 2018). The lived experiences that Latina leaders faced when in the post of superintendent illuminated methods to best support them and others in leadership roles. Furthermore, the research also informed of the need to conduct a cross-examination of systems and policies that suppress Latina leaders in reaching and persisting in district leadership positions and called on politicians, leadership program evaluators, and state and national leaders who develop and write policy on the changes needed to increase the number of Latina superintendents in the state of Texas and the nation.
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    Development and evaluation of the intersectional privilege screening inventory
    (2019-08) Pester, Danielle; Lenz, Stephen; Nelson, Kristina; Watson, Joshua; Hamilton, Mary
    Power dynamics are an innate part of the counseling process. Counselors naturally enter the counseling relationship in a position of power while simultaneously inviting the client to a position of vulnerability. These dynamics are heightened when there are differing positions of privilege and marginalization in the counselor-client relationship. Because privilege is often an invisible construct for those who hold privileged positions, counseling practitioners must develop awareness of the construct to guide best practices in both counselor education and clinical practice. Currently, counselor educators and clinical supervisors have few psychometrically based resources to quantify the presence of this construct within their counselors-in-training (CITs). The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of the Intersectional Privilege Screening Inventory (IPSI) to be used within counselor training to measure student development that is consistent with current standards for social and cultural competence. Three hundred and thirty-nine CITs enrolled in counseling programs from regionally representative universities across the United States participated in this study. Protocols for item development, expert review, cognitive interviewing, psychometric analyses of validity evidence, and estimations of internal consistency were implemented for the IPSI. Findings suggest that the procedure used to develop IPSI items resulted in content that was representative of related constructs, whereas evidence for internal consistency was robust across the subscale scores. Furthermore, the bivariate correlation analysis between scores on the IPSI and related measures provided evidence for convergent validity with conceptually-related constructs. Taken together, these findings suggest that validity and reliability evidence for scores on the IPSI indicate that the measure may represent a defensible resource within counselor preparation programs and clinical supervision. The project manuscript will be submitted to the Counselor Education and Supervision journal published by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Overall, the use of the IPSI allows the invisible construct of intersectional privilege to become visible so that it can be appropriately tended to throughout a CIT’s training experience. Consequently, the IPSI allows counseling programs and clinical supervisors to be better poised to provide robust evidence that their students are meeting standards for social and cultural diversity.
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    Development and initial validation of a social media identity distress scale
    (2019-08) Luo, Ye; Watson, Joshua; Lenz, Steven; Nelson, Kristina; Buck, Gregory
    Today, emerging adults (18-25 years of age; Arnett, 2000) encounter various degrees of identity distress and identity issues due to stressors such as prolonged schooling and career uncertainty (Samuolis & Griffin, 2014). As a fast-growing platform, social media serves as a convenient way for emerging adults to express and explore themselves. Social media also allows its users to conduct social comparisons (Festinger, 1954) online, which creates mental stress for emerging adults in addition to their identity distress. I define this mixture of stress Social Media Identity Distress (SMIDS). In order to help young adults cope with SMID, counselors should first have a valid tool to measure SMID. The current study aims at developing and validating an instrument measuring the mental stress regarding one’s ability to create a coherent self while conducting social media activities. I have collected data from two random samples on Amazon Turk. I used Sample 1 (n = 450) data to conduct an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and Sample 2 (n = 297) data to perform a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). To obtain the convergent validity, I used bivariate correlation analyses. Additionally, I have calculated internal consistency reliability (α) for the scale. The results yielded a 45-item scale explaining 74.4% variances with a reasonable model fit. Moreover, SMIDS has good psychometric properties (α = .99). I plan to submit the manuscript to the Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development journal because it is noted for publishing articles regarding measurement in counseling, which matches well with the aim of the current study. The development of SMIDS enables counselors to focus on the potential impact of social media on their clients, which could accelerate the treatment progress. Further, counselor educators can introduce SMIDS to counseling trainees to help them understand the impact of technology in the counseling process. In future research, researchers could seek to obtain validation evidence by using SMIDS among other populations, acquire qualitative data to provide more clarity for the construct, and breviate the scale via scientific ways.