Dissertation Advisement (narrative)

At Hofstra University, serving as a dissertation chair earns a faculty member 0.75 credits per semester towards the contractually mandated 18 credit per year teaching load.  There are limits on how long a doctoral candidate can enroll in dissertation advisement, but within those limits, for as long as the faculty member works with the candidate, from proposal development to dissertation defense, teaching credits are earned.  In my opinion, that policy makes great sense as dissertation advisement is very much a teaching endeavor.  In fact, viewing it as a co-learning experience, dissertation advisement is an aspect of my work that I particularly cherish.  I have really embraced the opportunity to work one-on-one with true scholar-practitioners and to be both a guide and a co-learner along the dissertation process.

For me, there is a certain amount of intimacy that necessarily comes with working with doctoral students as their dissertation chair.  As a result, the relationships I have developed with each of the students for whom I served as chair will always remain special and important to me.  I am still in regular contact with all of my former advisees.  In fact, when I made the decision to leave Hofstra in 2007 to join the faculty at VCU, the first people I notified were my existing dissertation advisees.  I made an absolute commitment to continue working with them, so long as they were willing to do dissertation advisement from a distance.  They all chose to do so and I spent a great deal of time in academic year 2007-08 on the phone or via Skype (videoconferencing) with my advisees in New York while I was in Virginia.  I attended two dissertation defenses “virtually” (by videoconference) and travelled to New York for a few others. One Hofstra doctoral candidate with whom I was still working during the transition had moved to new employment in central Pennsylvania.  Despite the fact that neither of us was geographically proximate to Hofstra, we made a mutual commitment to continue to work together and to both be In New York for her dissertation defense. That defense took place in December 2008, and we were both at Hofstra in New York for the defense.

I have done a LOT of dissertation advisement, having now worked in two departments VERY much committed to doctoral study. In my five years at Hofstra, I served as the chairperson for nine doctoral candidates, ALL of whom graduated.  In addition to serving as a dissertation chairperson, I served as a committee member or examiner for 11 other doctoral candidates at Hofstra.  In my five years at VCU, I have hooded 7 newly minted Ph.D.s, and an 8th advisee successfully defended his dissertation in the Summer of 2012 and will be hooded in December 2012. There is also the very real possibility that I will be hooding three more additional new Ph.D.s in December 2012. Those doctoral candidates who might graduate in December are three of 10 Ph.D. students whose dissertation I am currently chairing. With the possible exception of Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, no VCU School of Education faculty member has graduated more Ph.D. dissertation advisees than me.

In the tables below, I list all of my dissertation advisees who have graduated and all of my current (as of 8/20/12) dissertation advisees. I do not list the dozen or so doctoral candidates for whom I have served or continue to serve on their dissertation committee.

The following table lists all of my dissertation advisees who have successfully defended their dissertations:

Barbara DonnellanA Snapshot of School Information Support Systems in Nassau and Suffolk Counties of New York State: To What Degree are Information Support Systems in Place in These School Districts?Successfully defended; November 2005
Vicki MinginA case study of one school district's use of Root Cause AnalysisSuccessfully defended; December 2005
Kathy MooneyAn Historical Case Study of the Intersection between Policy and Practice in One School District: Untangling the Disproportionate Representation of Students of Color in Special Education.Successfully defended; May 2007
Cathy AvolinThe First-Year Student Experience: Intention to Persist at a Small, Private Business UniversitySuccessfully defended; May 2007
Jennifer Morrison HartWhat Does it Mean to Integrate Technology in Education? A Grounded Theory Study.Successfully defended, December 2007
Rachelle WolosoffLeading Difference: Multiple Case Studies of Leaders of Technologically Innovative SchoolsSuccessfully defended; February 2008
Eric SundbergDeliberative Civic Education and Student Civic EngagementSuccessfully defended; April 2008
Tim EagenParent and Adolescent Internet Use, Perception, and Regulation: A Dyadic Analysis Successfully defended; May 2008
Gina-Lyn CranceFirst year college students’ expectations of the college judicial system at a residential four year institution.Successfully defended; December 2008
Robin FranklinA case study of a three-year pilot program on one district’s attempt to increase the gifted identification of diverse elementary school students by having a talent development programSuccessfully defended; November 2009
Troy WrightFreshmen First: An Evaluation of a Ninth Grade Transition ProgramSuccessfully defended; April 2010
Naeemah RodriguezUpper classmen‘s valuation of their roles as mentors to new ninth graders: A Case study in a diverse suburban high schoolSuccessfully defended; August 2010
Mary EckertEight years of ubiquitous technology access and digital curricula: business and marketing high school teachers’ perspective.Successfully defended; graduated December 2010
Candice BarkleySchool Leader Use of Social Media for Professional DiscourseSuccessfully defended - April 19, 2012
Greg SmithAn Analysis of the Effect of Lecture Capture Initiatives on Student-Athletes at an NCAA Division I Institution
Successfully defended - April 23, 2012
Anton BrinckwirthImplementation and Outcomes of a Portuguese-English Tandem Language Exchange (TLE) Program Delivered Jointly Across a U.S.-Brazilian University Partnership:
A Case Study
Successfully defended - April 25, 2012
John AndrewsInto the Tangled Web: K-12 Educators, Free Speech Rights, and Social MediaSuccessfully defended - July 27, 2012

The next table lists all of my current (as of August 20, 2012) dissertation advisees:

Ann NashRole clarity and instructional technology support: A naturalistic examination of various perceptions of the role of the ITRT within and across three high schoolsDefended prospectus; expected to graduate December 2012
Rachel LovingSchool Counselor Training: Differentiated Site Supervision Based on Prior Work ExperiencesDefended prospectus; expected to graduate December 2012
David RankinPredictors of Success for High School Students Enrolled in Online Courses in a Single District Program
Defended prospectus; expected to graduate December 2012
Emily SneadDescribing High School Readiness: Implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavioral SupportsDefended prospectus; expected to graduate December 2012
Cherise HodgeITRT (instructional technology resource teacher) effectivenessDissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012
Beth SepelyakITRT (instructional technology resource teacher) effectivenessDissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012
Tracie OmohundroPreparedness of 1st year teachers for technology integration in a 1:1 computing environmentDissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012
Jan ParrishThe effectiveness of a community-based truancy pilot program Dissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012
Greenlee NaughtonSchool district social media policiesDissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012
Michae JamisonPreparedness of urban high school students for collegeDissertation advisement; expected to defend prospectus Fall 2012


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