Student Showcase

Campus-Based Leadership, Professional Development Programs, and Institutional Support for Entry and Mid-Level Administrators at California Community Colleges

Graduate Assistant: Jessica Kaven, Ed.D Educational Leadership, Program Cohort 3
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jim Riggs, Interim Director/Professor, Advanced Studies in Education

Overview: This project focuses on campus based leadership and professional development programs and institutional support for entry and mid-level administrators at selected community colleges in Northern and Central California. Entry and mid-level administrators (MLAs) are generally defined as those individuals who hold management and administrative positions below the vice presidential level (including coordinators, directors, assistant/associate vice presidents and deans).  Even though MLAs make up the vast majority of academic and student services leadership at community colleges, little is known about their career and professional development or the support institutions provide for them. What is missing from the literature is an inventory of successful campus-based leadership development programs for this group.  In reality, many colleges do very little to support the development of their MLAs, even though these are the individuals who are responsible for the vital day-to-day operations of the colleges. Unfortunately, entry and mid-level administrators have often been left out of the professional development equation, despite the fact that most MLAs enter into their leadership positions with little or no formal training in educational leadership.  The demands of their jobs are substantial and complex, and require highly sophisticated administrative skills and abilities in order to be successful.

The goal of this research project is to help provide some meaningful information and direction that colleges can use to develop meaningful leadership and professional development programs for their entry and mid-level administrators and ways that colleges might be able to better support these leaders to become successful in their positions. Dr. Riggs is the principal investigator on this project and is assisted by a team of doctoral students.  Jessica Kaven serves as the lead EdD student on the research team, providing instrumental support and assistance for project participants. As the project is still in its initial phases, Jessica has assisted with background research on institutional support of California community colleges, participated in survey development, and managed the project Blackboard site.

Multiethnic Traditions and Ecocriticism in California Literature

Graduate Assistant: Daniel Canal, M.A. English with concentration in Literature
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Margaret Winter, Professor, English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Overview: Daniel'€™s work as a Graduate Assistant during the Spring 2011 semester encompassed a wide range of professional projects all geared toward building experience in the areas of classroom instruction and research publication. His time on campus was spent working as an assistant in an undergraduate literature class with his faculty sponsor, which provided him the opportunity to discuss pedagogy, lesson-planning, and student assessment with the professor overseeing my GA work. In addition to assistance with exam-writing and grading, his work in the classroom has also included two independent lectures in the classroom on books that have remained crucial in his own literary studies. These lectures have allowed him to probe more deeply into research that aligns with his own academic interests as well.

Outside of the classroom, Daniel'€™s Graduate Assistant work has involved a great deal of personal research and writing to be considered for both publication in scholarly journals and presentations at academic conferences. These two large areas of study include in-depth analysis of the relatively obscure California novels of Jack London (a personal literary hero) and extensive research regarding the areas of ecocriticism in literature (ecological criticism). These two areas of research have led to surprising findings about London’s role as an ecologically-aware California writer; in essence, Daniel’s GA work this semester has opened up a wide area of study that yields incredible amounts of information for future surveys into American literature and ecocriticism. The process of compiling research and formulating theses that do not conform to an actual class has allowed him a great deal of intellectual freedom, and his efforts as a GA during this semester will culminate with a submission packet for future application to a doctoral program in literature.

Experimental Studies in Psychology Research

Graduate Assistant: Garrick Garcia, M.A. Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Victor Luevano, Professor, Psychology, College of Human and Health Sciences

Overview: Garrick, who has extensive experience as a graduate researcher and research assistant, served as a Teaching Assistant for the Experimental Psychology Research Seminar. Because of this, Garrick'€™s graduate assistantship walked the line between having a teaching and research focus. Garrick helped design the study that was to be conducted by students in the class, a study that examined the effects of viewing reality TV on a number of variables including narcissism and cooperative behavior. Garrick provided help and feedback to the students as they conducted literature reviews, collected data, ran statistics, and prepared visual aids to present their findings. Garrick also developed a class lesson plan and designed his own in-class activity to assess student learning. Garrick’s work under CEGE has enriched his academic experience and provided him with a solid foundation that will aid him in his attempts towards a terminal degree.

Critical Transitions in Academic Writing

Graduate Assistant: Alexandria Janney, M.A. English with concentration in Rhetoric and TESOL
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. John Wittman, Professor, English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Overview: Alexandria and Dr. Wittman have been working on a project tentatively titled Critical Transitions, in which they are seeking to discover what critical reading and writing strategies being used in the CSU Stanislaus Writing Program have the highest impact on future student writing. In other words, they are researching which skills that students develop in English writing courses have a high transitive value to writing in other courses. The research focuses on developmental students (students who did not pass the English Placement Test with a score of 148 or better). Alexandria and Dr. Wittman have taken a grounded theory approach to this research. In the spring semester they interviewed twenty-four students who had just passed English 1000 and were currently enrolled in English 1001. Those same students were also interviewed at the conclusion of the semester after they completed English 1001. In addition, extensive writing samples were collected (all English 1000 writing assignments, key essays from English 1001, and writings completed in other core and/or discipline-specific courses). Student interviews and writing samples have been coded and are currently being analyzed. In the future, the researchers hope that this can become a longitudinal study in which data is collected from the same students until graduation.


Graduate Assistant: Anne Engert, M.A. English with concentration in Literature
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Anthony Perrello, Professor/Department Chair, English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Overview: Throughout the months of her spring semester service as a Graduate Assistant, Anne has worked closely with Renaissance literature and critical writing Professor Dr. Perrello on research projects for both a paper presentation at the national convention of the Shakespeare Association of America and planned research for a chapter of a study in Renaissance revenge tragedy. Anne, a prolific writer and active and energetic student body member, describes the experience of preparing a paper for a national audience as daunting, but with Dr. Perrello's guidance, she has gained confidence in her ability to meet the both the intellectual and professional challenges. Anne has been deeply involved in the projects from inception: she gathered and closely researched and analyzed literary material (in the form of 16th- and 17th-century primary texts, books, articles, films, facts, statistics, and artifacts from popular culture) and contributed to the writing and editing processes of both projects. She also attended the national conference for the Shakespeare Association of America to present a paper on jests in Renaissance literature. Upon reflection, she describes her experience:

I was somewhat apprehensive about what the reception of our paper would be at the national conference, and I was delighted to see work that I had a hand in creating received enthusiastically by academic colleagues from many parts of the U.S. and even Europe.  I also had the opportunity to participate in the peer review process among the members of our topic seminar group.  This was a particularly eye-opening experience for me—seeing the range of research among the participants, both in topic and in approach.

Anne also describes herself as being appreciative to have had the opportunity to participate in the GA program through CEGE:The research on which Dr. Perrello and I have worked has been a boost to my spirit academically. The chance to engage in research that looks beyond a classroom assignment has been refreshing and energizing. Anne hopes to continue her work as a Graduate Assistant and to continue pursuing opportunities for scholarly publication.

Studies in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduate Assistant: Daizy Grewal-Bhandal, M.A. English with concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Stephen Stryker, Professor/TESOL Direcctor, English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Overview: During the spring semester of 2011, Daizy worked as a Graduate Assistant in an upper division grammar class, English 4800, with English instructor Mary Ann Simoneau. This course, which carries a strong component of curricula that addresses the topic of teaching English grammar to second language students, consisted primarily of seniors and juniors majoring in English or Liberal Studies.  Daizy assisted Professor Simoneau in administrative duties and facilitated one whole class period independently. Daizy also worked closely with the instructor in reading and providing critical written feedback to regular student writing assignments.

Studies in Relationships between Personal Appearance and Perceptions of Competence

Graduate Assistant: Pablo Escobar, M.A. Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kurt Baker, Professor, Psychology, College of Human and Health Sciences

Overview: Pablo has conducted a study to determine whether a relationship exists between a person's physical appearance and others perceptions of that person's competence.