• Nature's Resillence: African American Males Countering Barriers To Garner Academic And Social Success

      Rose, Ashley Marie
      The social science discourse that labels African American males as endangered has contributed to the grand social, political, economic, and racial metanarrative that has served to reduce African American males to popular, yet negative, stereotypes of their true existence. As a contribution to social science discourse, this dissertation offers a a counter to the current deficit-laden narrative that has been constructed about African American males. Through an analysis of narrative field texts, this study seeks to elucidate the resilience factors that lead to an African American male’s ability to develop his best possible self and garner academic success. In addition, this study sought to offer African American males a voice with which to share their stories of success. The findings from this study revealed that protective factors with in the family, school and community lent to the students’ ability to garner resilience in the face of adversity. Additional findings suggest the there is a need for culturally affirming curriculum in the k-12 schooling environment. As a contribution to the existing body of literature, this success oriented narrative recommends a an investigation of the school connectedness and the specific elements that determine a student’s connectedness to their school environment.
    • Need For Transitional Guidance And Training For New Pastors In The CME Church

      Kirkland, Tracey Andrea
      THE NEED FOR TRANSITIONAL GUIDANCE AND TRAINING FOR NEW PASTORS IN THE CME CHURCH The biblical foundation of this project stems from the notion and belief that Jesus operated in a manner that resembled an itinerant minister. I contend that pastors and the church are best served if the incoming first-year pastor has received some measure of significant transitional guidance and training prior to their appointment. Some denominations prepare their pastors accordingly and implement requirements that allow them to acquire guidance and training that will help them in their transition. My project is seen from the lens of the United Methodist Church which provides a short transitional period for pastors and churches to come together to confirm if the “new marriage” is a fit for both pastor and church. The purpose of this project is to capture first-year experiences and stories of pastors in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) to identify common ideologies that there is a need for significant guidance and substantial training prior to their appointment. Perhaps some other ideas and suggestions may arise from this study. My methodology entails qualitative research in the form of a survey that was used to gather data on the views of new pastors in the CME Church. United Methodist provides resources of information to their pastors to help facilitate their transition process before they take ownership of a new appointment. My mission is to build upon their transition process which includes appointing a transition team to the pastor. This project revealed there is a need for more substantial training and guidance for first-year pastors in the CME Church. Although 93% felt they transitioned into the role well, their responses reveal they lack certain skills or expertise in certain areas that may have helped with the transition. There is a lot of growth potential in the CME Church in the areas of training, grooming, preparing, mentoring, educating, and teaching new pastors on how to transition into a new ministry. The training needs to be revamped for Probationary Ministers or Ministers on Trial. I believe if pastors had well-developed classroom training opportunities or direct guidance from a mentor or another seasoned pastor, they would be better prepared for their appointment. The new training should entail a resource guide that covers various topics that can aid in the training and transition of new pastors. Additionally, the Committee of Ministerial Assessment (CMA) should make it a point to charge the Committee on Ministerial Examination (COME) to take a significant role in the training of ministers and make sure they are adhering to the Bishop’s Course of Study (BCS) in its full capacity. Furthermore, the CME Church at some point must address the requirements of its ministers in the areas of seminary schooling or theological training. I believe ministers must have theological training or a mandated program that covers material one would receive had they attended seminary. If changes can be made in the areas of curriculum requirements, mandated programming, mentoring training, and ministerial assessment, the CME Church could make great strides in the preparation of its ministers.
    • Neuroscientific Strategies For Managing Stress Related To Pervasive Change In Public Education

      Hamlin, Cami Rae
      ABSTRACT CAMI RAE HAMLIN NEUROSCIENTIFIC STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING STRESS RELATED TO PERVASIVE CHANGE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION Under the direction of EDWARD L. BOUIE, JR., Ed.D. The purpose of this research was to look to neuroscientists for help in identifying strategies that may help bypass the fight-or-flight response of stressed educators undergoing the chronic stress of reform. Educator stress is a pervasive problem equally matched by the level of pervasive attempts of reform that exists in P-16 education. Neuroscience findings that the brain registers change equal to that of threat poses a problem of ongoing inappropriate responses to change, contributing to a crisis of up to a 50% mass exodus of new teachers in some markets. The study results provided strategies suggested by neuroscientists for educational leaders to implement to help educators reduce stress, stay cognitively engaged, and improve success with pervasive change environments. A panel of expert neuroscientists from the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) participated in surveys in three rounds of the Delphi method. Twenty-four experts initially responded and collectively identified 16 strategies. Using a 5-point Likert-type rating scale, 12 experts in Round 2 of the Delphi rated their degree of agreement of the appropriateness of each of the suggested 16 strategies. Using mean and sampling standard deviation, the researcher rank ordered the results of the Round 2 Delphi strategies suggested by DABI members. In Round 3, the experts reviewed the collective contributions for final recommendations of strategies for implementation by educational leaders to reduce stress and increase cognition of their employees when confronted with reform and change in schools, essentially bypassing or inoculating themselves against the reflexive “flight or fight�? mode. The 17 experts participating in Round 3 agreed to the use of four strategies: benefits of sleep; understanding the causes and preventions of stress; hands-on strategies; and active, collaborative learning in small groups. One hundred percent disagreed to the use of medication-based strategies. Because half of the experts expressed uncertainty of whether neuroscience could contribute to the field of educational leadership, future recommendations pointed to a need for more empirical research around this infancy partnership.
    • Newly Graduated Registered Nurses' Perceptions About And Use Of Principles Of Palliative Care In Acute Care Settings: An Interpretive Phenomenology Study

      Geyer, Latrina T
      LATRINA T. GEYER NEWLY GRADUATED REGISTERED NURSES’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT AND USE OF PRINCIPLES OF PALLIATIVE CARE IN ACUTE CARE SETTINGS: AN INTERPRETIVE PHENOMENOLOGY STUDY Under the direction of LANELL M. BELLURY, PhD, RN, AOCNS, OCN The terms serious or life-threatening illness now included in current palliative care literature indicate the broadened scope of palliative care. However, the change in defining terminology has not consistently translated to a broadened understanding or advanced clinical practice for many healthcare professionals in acute care settings. The purpose of this research study was to discover NGRNs’ perceptions, meanings, and use of principles of PC for seriously ill patients in acute care settings. The research question for this study was: What are NGRNs’ lived experiences of providing PC for seriously ill patients in acute care settings? A conceptual framework adapted from Kolcaba’s (2003) comfort theory and Benner’s (1984) competencies of the helping role were developed for this study. Interpretive phenomenology research design was utilized. A purposive sample of 12 NGRNs participated in this study. Using Saldaña’s coding methods, and guided by van Manen’s (1990) thematic analysis, four themes and six subthemes were developed: 1) Trying to Figure Out What the Balance Is; 2) Working in the Dark; 3) It’s Just Who I Am; and 4) The Kairos Effect. Newly graduated registered nurses’ common and valued experiences demonstrated insight and understanding of comfort (interventions) and comfort (outcomes) for seriously ill patients in acute care settings, as well as professional formation in nursing practice. The lived experience of providing palliative care for these NGRNs included experiencing a continuum between extreme measures and giving up and the weighty emotionally and ethically taxing nature of caring for seriously ill patients. The NGRNs also applied principles of palliative care daily and found the experience rewarding, validating, and important for professional formation. The innovative framework was useful in understanding the lived experiences of NGRNs and, further research is needed to apply the framework in additional practice settings and nursing populations. Additional research is also indicated to explore whether the findings were influenced by organizational factors including structured transition to practice programs and organizational culture.
    • Novel Akt Pathway Inhibitors: An Integrated Approach Between Theory And Experiment

      Uko, Nne
      The AKT kinase signaling pathway regulates growth and survival of cells, and it is linked to the progression of numerous types of human cancers. Several studies have shown that deactivation of Akt can promote inhibition of cancer cell growth. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of novel AKT pathway inhibitors in terms of their ability to deactivate AKT and inhibit human tumor cell growth. These compounds were identified using computer-assisted drug design (CADD) methods. Pharmacophore modeling was used to screen hundreds of small molecule compounds as potential AKT pathway inhibitors. Five commercially available putative AKT pathway inhibitors were identified that had the necessary pharmacophoric features. Three compounds, labeled B, C and D were modeled after solenopsin, an alkaloid from the venom of fire ants and the remaining two, compound A and E were designed after a known Akt inhibitor. Cultured tumorigenic ras-transformed cells (WBras1) and human lung carcinoma cells (H2009) were treated with one of the test compounds at varying non-cytotoxic concentrations, or with the vehicle (DMSO). Akt phosphorylation levels at the Ser473 and Thr308 site were monitored. Among all the cells treated, compound B significantly decreased. phosphorylation at varying time points in both tumorigenic cell types at low micromolar concentrations. Downstream Akt effectors were assessed for alternations in pathway regulatory activity. The results indicated that compounds B and C effectively downregulated Akt pathway activation through reduced phosphorylation of Akt and downstream effectors in the Akt pathway. To determine whether any of the CADD compounds directly inhibit Akt, an in-vitro Akt kinase kit assay was utilized. The study revealed that none of the CADD compounds inhibited Akt phosphorylation at the ATP activation site. In this dissertation, it has been revealed that only compounds B and C decreased cancer cell growth in human lung carcinoma cells. The outcome of this investigation confirmed that by inhibiting activation of Akt, inhibition of cancer cell growth can be achieved. Compound B was the most effective of the 5 compounds in inhibiting AKT phosphorylation. Compound B was also the most effective in inhibiting H2009 cell growth. In addition, we studied and showed that an extract of an anticancer herbal mix (labeled as BAH), comprised of plantain (Musca paradisiaca), yam (Dioscorea rotundata) and fish (Atlantic herring), significantly decreased Akt phosphorylation, blocked cancer cell growth and inhibited the activity of Akt in the presence of ATP. Taken together, this study highlights the utility of CADD in identifying promising anti-cancer agents and for the first time unveils novel solenopsin derivatives that hamper the activation of Akt, including alteration of Akt signaling in the pathway. The inhibitory effect in vitro of a proprietary anticancer herbal extract for the first time in human lung cancer cells is also demonstrated.
    • Nurse Educators' Experiences Teaching Professional Values To Prelicensure Baccalaureate Nursing Students: An Interpretive Phenomenological Study

      Dunnington, Celeste S.
      ABSTRACT NURSE EDUCATORS' EXPERIENCES TEACHING PROFESSIONAL VALUES TO PRELICENSURE BACCALAUREATE NURSING STUDENTS: AN INTERPRETIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY Nursing's professional values, while important today, were first recognized in 19th century Europe by Florence Nightingale. Today's professional values, based on the American Nurses Association (ANA) code of ethics, include altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, and social justice. Nurse educators are afforded the opportunity to provide foundational underpinning for the development of professional values in prelicensure baccalaureate nursing students. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of teaching professional values to prelicensure baccalaureate nursing students from the perspective of nurse educators. Interpretive hermeneutic phenomenology was the method chosen for this study because it provides for understanding through interpretation of lived experiences. Face-to-face and Skype interviews were completed with 15 participants. Following transcription, each interview was analyzed using van Manen's research guidelines. These guidelines included focusing on the lived experience, collecting experiences as they were lived, reflecting on essential themes as they emerged, writing and rewriting, staying focused on the phenomenon, and looking at the parts and the whole (van Manen, 1990). xii The phenomenological approach allows nurse educators, as participants, to describe their lived experiences of teaching professional values to prelicensure baccalaureate nursing students. Journey work described the nurse educator's journey in teaching professional values which included personal struggles and professional growth. “There is a disconnect�? offered the opportunity to express the effect of generational differences and lived experiences on teaching professional values illustrating educators’ assumptions of their students. Shaping outcomes acknowledged the educator’s firm belief in the centrality of role modeling and building relationships to teaching professional values. The ultimate goal of teaching professional values was to see the transformation as students began with the basics, reached the crossroads of accepting professional values, and the final step of entering the professional practice of nursing having embraced nursing's professional values as their own.
    • Nursing Faculty's Experience With Disruptive Work Environments: A Mixed Method Study Of The Phenomenon Of Bullying Behaviors Among Nursing Faculty And Their Intent To Stay In Academe

      Shugart, Kelli Palmer
      ABSTRACT KELLI PALMER SHUGART NURSING FACULTY’S EXPERIENCE WITH DISRUPTIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS: A MIXED METHOD STUDY OF THE PHENOMENON OF BULLYING BEHAVIORS AMONG NURSING FACULTY AND THEIR INTENT TO STAY IN ACADEME Under the direction of ELAINE M. ARTMAN, Ed.D Because of the limited research on the perceptions of nursing faculty on horizontal violence, this convergent mixed method study investigated the phenomenon of bullying behaviors among nursing faculty and the faculty’s intent to stay in academe following exposure to bullying. 300 nursing faculty members of the Nursing Educator Discussion list responded to a survey. The quantitative survey included demographics and the use of the NAQ-R, a two-page self-administered Likert-type questionnaire with constructs referring to work and personal related bullying as well as physically intimidating bullying. Participants who agreed to complete the survey were then invited to volunteer in the qualitative interview if they had been exposed to bullying behaviors by a peer. Twenty interviews were collected from these volunteers. The qualitative portion used Giorgi’s phenomenological method of analysis with interview data. Of the 300 completed surveys, descriptive and inferential statistics indicated some important findings. Finding indicated that overall bullying behaviors were low (x̅ =36, SD = 14.2) although work place bullying (x̅=13.35, SD = 5.66) and personal bullying (x̅=18.97, SD=8.01) had the greatest extent of bullying while physical bullying was the least reported type of bullying (x̅=3.9, SD = 1.6). Results indicated that those who indicated their intent to not stay in their current position reported significantly greater bullying behaviors for the total NAQ-R, work bullying, personal bullying, and physical bullying subscales (p< .001). The majority (89%) reported working in smaller institutions with enrollment less than 20,000. Surprisingly only 15.7% held a PhD in nursing, doctorate in nursing, and nursing doctorate combined. More than one in five participants (21.7%) indicated total years in teaching 5 or fewer years and 41.7% of respondents reported teaching less than 10 years. These numbers possibly reflects the number of young nursing academics in a field where nurses reportedly “eat their young,�? and may feel “ignored�? by the more than 31% of those with 20 plus years of teaching experience. While the quantitative results illustrated that more than 31% had at least 20 years of experience teaching, only 17.4% reported teaching in their current institution for more than 20 years. The qualitative results illustrate these learned patterns of abuse exist despite interviewees disbelief that bullying “could be possibly true�? with the older nursing faculty “in charge.�? The narrative data illustrates that while older faculty may “be in charge,�? they may feel threatened by younger competition. There was a perception of a laissez-faire leadership style for the deans that allow bullying to occur. Participants described no or ineffective policies, transitional environments including leadership change, turnover created enabling structures that allowed inappropriate behavior. In addition, turnover may not be mitigated by the fact that only 22% of the participants are tenured faculty. Qualitative data indicated that bullying behaviors can be direct, indirect or covert, with emotional-social interactions. Examples of indirect bullying are gossiping, leaving others out on purpose, or spreading rumors to destroy another’s reputation. Results indicated that bullying behaviors affect nurse educator both physically (depression, gastrointestinal upset, and insomnia) and emotionally (being scared, humiliated, sad, angry, devastated, and hopeless) and played a role in whether faculty remain in nursing education. Eventually, all nursing faculty that experienced bullying made a decision to stay or go. Remarkably, the relationship they had with students and other faculty and their love of teaching influenced their decision to stay. Nursing faculty, even those who are bullied, revealed that they are committed to the nursing profession and to making a difference in the lives of nursing students. Furthermore, the enabling structures within the institution play an important role on the climate of the institution. Institutions that are under transition, lack a policy regarding bullying, or have a laissez-faire leadership style are at risk for a bullying culture to exist. Leaders need to be cognizant that bullying does occur and investigate ways to prevent faculty from bullying each other. Academic leaders need to implement a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying behaviors and role model positive behaviors. Academic culture is extremely important because nurses play a vital role in the care and outcomes of patients. It is imperative for nurse educators to role model positive behaviors when socializing nursing faculty and students to do their part to stop bullying behaviors from entering the nursing work environment.
    • Nurturing Connection To God In A Small Group Of Women At Tomoka Christian Church With The Use Of Lectio Divina

      Humbert, Susan; McAfee School of Theology
      (Under the direction of William Loyd Allen, Ph.D.) Opportunities to connect individuals to God through engaging the Holy Spirit on deep levels, after the point of conversion, are not readily available to my constituency. With a desire to strengthen disciples in my ministry context, I sought a project that could respond to the problem. Through the method of qualitative research, eight women with no previous knowledge of or experience with Lectio Divina were gathered for an eight-week experience with this prayer method. The purpose was to learn if this method was effective in nurturing connection to God. A comparison of the pre-project and post-project interviews, along with shared journal entries in a weekly group meeting, revealed that there was perceived nurtured connection to God. This conclusion was based on the spiritual themes which emerged from the participants over the course of those eight weeks as well as conclusionary comments at the post-project interviews.
    • Odd Woman Out: Women in Non-Traditional Post-Secondary Career and Technical Education

      Pellom, Renee Denise; Tift College of Education
      The approval of legislation in the United States granting women equal entry into non-traditional career and technical education (CTE) occupational fields has not guaranteed their equitable inclusion into non-traditional occupations. In general, government, education, and industry leaders have not been successful in their attempts to adequately recruit, retain, and provide necessary supports for females to enroll in and remain in non-traditional post-secondary CTE careers. The purpose of this study is to describe the lived experiences of current and post-graduate women in post-secondary non-traditional CTE. This description of their experiences of navigating a predominantly male environment is considered through the lens of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in self-determination theory. The researcher utilized a qualitative phenomenological line of inquiry to describe and understand the under-told experiences of the participants. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to recruit 11 adult women (18 years or older) who were current students or recent graduates from a non-traditional CTE program in the last 18 months. Participants who were graduates were required to be currently employed in their field of study. The researcher engaged in semi-structured one-on-one interviews and utilized strategies to address data credibility that included transferability of the data by way of a thick, rich description, triangulation, engagement in reflexivity, verification through an audit trail, and utilization of external auditors. Results of the research show that participants were highly motivated, self-determined individuals who actively engaged in multi-dimensional behaviors that expressed a marked sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness throughout their academic, professional, and personal lives. The women utilized diverse forms of strategy and dynamic engagement to aid them in navigating relationships with individuals at their schools, on their jobs, and among family members and friends. Most women identified physical or interpersonal challenges at school or work because of their gender. They also reported ultimately forming positive relationships with many of the men around them, but several women continued to lack needed physical and social supports. Recommendations for future research include utilizing participant observations, and conducting additional qualitative and quantitative studies with women from diverse non-traditional post-secondary CTE careers and institutions.
    • On the Shoulders of Giants: Helping Students Understand Mathematics through its History

      Henderson, David K; Tift College of Education
      The IDEAS curriculum and instruction model was designed to help secondary students better understand mathematics by incorporating the historical development of the subject into classroom instruction. IDEAS is an acronym that describes the components of the model: I (Introduce the concept through a hands-on activity); D (Discover the historical, cultural, and human context through biography); E (Examine the primary sources through inquiry); A (Actualize the learning through written reflection); and S (Synthesize the understanding through practice and application). This study examined the effectiveness of the IDEAS model in a secondary setting, with 107 students enrolled in a pre-calculus course at a large suburban Title I public school in the southeastern United States. The IDEAS model was studied in both a classroom (face-to-face) context and a digital (online) context. A mixed methods approach was used, employing a quasi-experimental design, to determine the effectiveness of the intervention (the implementation of the IDEAS model). Quantitative data included pre- and post-intervention questionnaires, content assessments, and written reflections. Qualitative data included written reflections and one-on-one interviews. The main findings of this study were that the IDEAS model (1) increased participants’ understanding of the nature of mathematics (p < .02; d = .66); (2) helped participants develop a more positive attitude toward mathematics and its history; and (3) increased participants’ academic achievement in mathematics (p < .05; d = .33). These results have implications for secondary students, teachers, administrators, and researchers.
    • Optimization Of Protein Purification Paths For Clover-ruby2 Fluorescent Proteins For In Vivo Kinetic Model Development

      Fussell, Robert Charles
      Chromophores are photoactive molecules that can be excited by light and return to ground state by fluorescence. When two different fluorescent proteins are tethered together, an excited donor can transfer energy to the acceptor via a process called Förster Resonance Energy Transfer, FRET, if certain conditions are met. FRET results in the acceptor becoming excited as well, leading to emission at a specific wavelength. The phenomenon is useful for several different experiments such as protease assays, in which cleavage of the protein linking the donor and acceptor abolishes FRET as the pair separates. This mechanism would prove useful when comparing affinity and turnover rates of proteases on the fluorescent protein labeled surface loops of G protein coupled receptors, GPCR, in future investigations. However, the accuracy of the data can be affected by protein interactions that can inflate or deflate detectable FRET. There has been little research in the different methods of purification and their effects on the purity and functionality of the fluorescent proteins. To determine the effects by different chromatography columns, different purification protocols were devised. In addition, several experiments on the fluorescent proteins alone were done to determine the factors such as light, temperature, salinity, and concentration that contributed towards degradation and aggregation. Results identified the most successful protocol. Application of a G-25 desalting column followed by an ion exchange and gel filtration columns produced an almost pure substrate and the most functional mRuby-2. Additionally, maturation for 6 hours in low salt conditions allowed for optimized mRuby-2. Maintaining concentrations of the FRET pair at 1.5μM to 2.5μM provided concise quantity control data. The protocol can be utilized for in vitro vs in vivo model, to accurately determine the effectiveness of enzymes on GPCR surface loop.