School of Education Faculty Research

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    Online Schooling in the United States: A Response to Saultz and Fusarelli
    (Taylor & Francis, 2017) Beck, Dennis; LaFrance, Jason
    In this paper, we discuss some concerns and recommendations of Saultz and Fusarelli (2017), offering nuanced and detailed views of online schooling from a different perspective. This includes addressing challenges regarding online learning such as fluctuating enrollments, financial concerns, quality assurance, and accountability. In addition, we propose recommendations related to funding, better quality data, and oversight and monitoring. We conclude with a short discussion of the need for differentiated research for specific online learning contexts. [For "Online Schooling: A Cautionary Tale" (Saultz and Fusarelli), see EJ1130469.]
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    The World is Flat, Stanley: Globalization, Ethnocentricity, and Absurdity."
    (Routledge, 2016) Anderson, Anne W.; Rebecca L. Powell
    When his young sons asked one evening what would happen if the bulletin board on their wall fell on them during the night, New Yorker editorial staff writer Jeff Brown replied that they would not wake up because it would fall very slowly. However, he added, when they did wake up, they would probably be flat. From that absurd notion, Brown created other bedtime stories for his sons about a flat child sliding under doors, being flown like a kite, and being mailed to faraway places. In 1964, Brown published the adventures as Flat Stanley. In the 1990s, Flat Stanley became an internationally recognized character when Canadian and American schoolchildren began mailing cutout Stanley-figures to friends and family, asking them to document his journey. More recently, a digitized Stanley travels via email and cell phone. One new series of books sends Stanley on global adventures while another series of I Can …
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    CHAIR AGENCY, CHAIR PREPARATION, AND ACADEMIC SUPPORTS IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP DOCTORAL PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES
    (Informing Science Institute,, 2020) LaFrance, Jason A.; LaFrance, Diane; Melton, Teri Denlea
    Aim/Purpose The purpose of this exploratory qualitative case study was to understand dissertation chair agency, chair preparation, and academic supports provided by experienced Educational Leadership Ed.D. dissertation chairs in the United States. Background Previous research has identified attrition rates of 50-60 percent in education doctoral programs. This research helps identify the faculty profiles and academic supports provided by Educational Leadership faculty who have served on successful dissertation committees. Understanding these findings may help to improve retention and completion in other doctoral programs. Methodology This was an exploratory qualitative case study. Ten doctoral faculty who have successfully chaired 419 Ed.D. Educational Leadership dissertations at accredited U.S. colleges and universities were interviewed. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Contribution The findings from this study contribute to the body of knowledge on doctoral retention and dissertation completion by providing information on promising practices from the perspective of dissertation chairs. Findings While successful dissertation chairs exhibited expertise as researchers, seven of the ten participants reported that they had limited training for chairing dissertations. Academic supports included coursework that was organized coherently with a focus on opportunities for substantive feedback, writing support and research methodology. Recommendations for Practitioners Dissertation chairs should utilize their agency to ensure that the program has the proper resources to support doctoral education. This includes adequate writing support for graduate students, courses taught by faculty who are engaged in research and understand the requirements for completing a dissertation, and protecting faculty time so that they are able to provide students substantive feedback within coursework and at the dissertation phase. Recommendation for Researchers Researchers should continue to explore the causes of attrition in doctoral programs and identify specific actions that can be taken to improve program completion rates. Impact on Society Increasingly U.S. institutions of higher learning are being called to validate their success and improve retention rates. Understanding the faculty profiles and academic supports utilized by successful doctoral faculty has the potential to improve retention and thereby increase completion rates and consequentially alleviate the stressors that ABD students experience. Future Research Future research could focus on expanding the findings of this study by exploring the perspectives of faculty based on institution type and examining how socio-emotional factors such as student-student and faculty-student relationships are intentionally established in programs with high graduation rates. Keywords doctoral dissertations, dissertation chair, doctoral attrition, doctoral retention, graduation rate, educational leadership programs, educational leadership faculty development INTRODUCTION Higher education institutions in the United States frequently discuss the quest for excellence (Bowen, Kurzweil, Tobin, & Pichler, 2005). However, in the US, education doctoral programs are reporting attrition [...]
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    Learner Self-Efficacy in K-12 Online Environments
    (Springer, 2018-10-25) LaFrance, Jason A.; Beck, Dennis
    In this chapter, we examine learner self-efficacy broadly in K-12 face-to-face classrooms, learner efficacy in K-12 online learning, and then specifically issues related to self-efficacy based on the demographic characteristics of the learners. We do this with the understanding that self-efficacy beliefs are context specific [Hodges, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 20(3–4), 7–25, 2008]. From there, we review the literature on the learners’ level of preparation and how self-efficacy can be improved in online contexts.
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    Departmentalized, Self-Contained, or Somewhere in Between: Understanding Elementary Grade-Level Organizational Decision-Making
    (KDP, 2017) Parker, Audra; Rakes, Lori; Arndt, Katie
    Recent trends indicate a move away from self-contained classrooms and toward content-focused departmentalization in elementary schools. This study takes a snapshot of the existing organizational structures used in elementary schools in one district and explores administrators' beliefs and practices regarding this phenomenon. Our findings suggest administrators base their decisions to organize grade levels on various factors, including their own experiences, contextual dynamics, and personal perceptions of outcomes for students and teachers.