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A POSTMODERN APPROACH TO IMPROVING CAMPUS CLIMATE THROUGH STRATEGIC THINKING AT A MINORITY SERVING INSTITUTION IN TEXAS

A Dissertation Defense by Barbara Ann Thompson November 19, 2012

Dissertation Committee Members


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Patricia Hoffman-Miller, PhD Dissertation Chair

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Committee Member

Clement Glenn, PhD Committee Member

Solomon Osho, PhD Committee Member

Outline
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I.

Introduction

II.
III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII.

Statement of the Problem


Purpose of the Study On Postmodernism Design Research Questions Methodology Findings Quantitative and Qualitative

IX.
X. XI.

Concluding Remarks
Recommendations for Further Study References

Introduction
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The 20th century may be divided in two periods, modern and postmodern. The modern period before 1914 was described as a cultural movement. It included progressive art, architecture, music, literature and design. The emerging modern world was embraced by academic and historical traditions. The postmodern period was described by new economic, social and political aspects that defined the modern period such as individualism, rationality, mistrust of government and religion and a disbelief of any absolute truths. One of the functions of higher education institutions is to prepare future leaders. Educational leadership emphasizes rationality and efficiency in its approach to preparation and in its models and standards (English, 2003, p. 145).

Statement of the Problem


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The problem identified in this research study focused on a decline in students graduating or completing their 4-year academic program at a Minority Serving Institution in Texas. For a variety of reasons, graduation rates declined in the past decade. College students current perceptions and attitudes of campus climate at this Minority Serving Institution had an effect on student academic achievement, students persistence to continue their four-year degree, students believing they are socially connected to the university, and graduation and retention rates.

Purpose of the Study


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The purpose of this study was to investigate the applicability of


a postmodern process for improving campus climate through strategic thinking at a Minority Serving Institution in Texas.

On Postmodernism
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Postmodernism's primary significance is its power to account for and reflect vast changes in our society, cultures, policy, and economy (Boland, 1995). Postmodernism is about the breaking down of barriers, calling into question and disrepute the binaries on which culture and social stratification have been based that privilege a class, gender, sexual identity, and race-based social/cultural differentiated structure. One of its principal weapons is textual de-construction (English, 2008, pp. 169-170). A conceptual landscape of educational leadership exists and includes epochs of foundational writings (English, 2003). An epoch is a distinctive period of time marked by an event or written text that serves a an anchor to advance major concepts along a continual line of development (English, 2003). For example, the line of development for this presentation is pre-modern, modern, and postmodern.

PROTO-SCIENTIFIC EPOCH PREMODERN

PSEUDO SCIENTIFIC EPOCH MODERN

POSTMODERN EPOCH POSTMODERN

Key Tests and Epochs Impacting Leadership Thought on a Continuum of Premodernity and Postmodernity (English, F. W., 2003, p. 147)

PROTOSCIENTIFIC EPOCH PREMODERN

PSEUDO SCIENTIFIC EPOCH MODERN

POSTMODERN EPOCH POSTMODERN

5 Frederick Taylors Scientific Management 1 Plutarchs Parallel Lives 2 Suetonius Twelve Ceasars 3 Machiavellis The Prince 6 Henry Fayols General Management Principals

Feminist & Critical Theory Epoch


15 Kathy Fergusons The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy 16 Jurgen Habermas Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action 20 Jean-Francois Lyotards The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge 21 Jacques Derrida Of Grammatology

7 Mary Parker Folletts Work - Conflict resolution, Power Sharing


8 Chester Barnards Functions of the Executive Behaviorism Epoch 9 Herbert Simons Administrative Behavior 10 Douglas McGregors The Human Side of Enterprise 11 Katz & Kahns Social Psychology of Organizations Structuralism Epoch 12 James Thompsons Organizations in Action 12 Henry Mintzbergs Structure in Fives 14 Bolman and Deals Reframing Organizations

Critical Race Theory Epoch


17 Richard Delgados Critical Race Theory

Queer Theory Epoch


18 Bill Tierneys Academic Outlaws: Queer Theory and Cultural Studies in the Academy 19 W. Edwards Demings Total Quality Management

4 Shakespeares Tragedies

(English, 2003, p. 147)

Design
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The design of this study was a qualitative-quantitative model also known as exploratory mixed-methods. The qualitative phase of the study was a narrative analysis of student perceptions and attitudes on campus climate. The quantitative portion of the study was a survey and used both descriptive and correlation statistics.

Qualitative Research Questions


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The qualitative questionnaire relative to Campus or School Climate Climate can be described as the atmosphere or ambience of an organization as perceived by its members. An organization's climate is reflected in its structures, policies, and practices; the demographics of its membership; the attitudes and values of its members and leaders; and the quality of personal interactions (Campus Climate Network Group, 2002 p. 1).

1. 2. 3. 4.

How do you describe your school climate? What are your experiences at this Minority Serving Institution (MSI) that would demonstrate a need exists to improve campus climate? Describe the customer service at your school. Does this Minority Serving Institution (MSI) support your educational goals? If yes, then how? If no, then why not?

Quantitative Research Questions & Null Hypotheses


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There were four quantitative research questions and four null hypothesis used to guide this study. 1. Is there a relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement? H01: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement.

2. Is there a relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their 4-year academic program?
H02: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their 4-year academic program.

Quantitative Research Questions & Null Hypotheses


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3. Is there a relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university? H03: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university. 4. Is there a relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university? H04: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university.

Methodology
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The quantitative portion of the study used both descriptive and correlation statistics. A one-way ANOVA tested the null hypotheses. The qualitative portion of the study was narrative and was based on student responses to open ended questions on student perceptions and attitudes on campus climate.

Quantitative Variables
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Campus Climate questions addressed safety, quality of instruction,

educational environment being positive and supportive, buildings and grounds


being maintained, computing facilities being available, and satisfaction with ethnic and cultural events.
Question #1 was answered using questions on student academic achievement

which addressed skills student gained, examples given in class on how theories apply to real life, advising, having at least one faculty member to talk to, up-todate information on subject matter, students having an active voice, information on scholarships, staff and faculty being sensitive to student concerns, and if starting over, if the student would choose this same university.

Quantitative Variables
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Question #2 was answered using student centered questions and

educational and student activities questions which addressed temperatures in class, adequate accommodations for people with disabilities, convenient courses and time, a variety of courses and interests to choose from, and sexual orientation, appreciation for different groups, involvement in student activities, being comfortable with the assessment process, media coverage, and catalog accessibility.

Quantitative Variablescontinued
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Question #3 was answered using questions that addressed customer service

from the bookstore, cafeteria, health services, and from the university counselor, diversity, sense of belonging and socially connected to the university, adequate assistance during registration, and participation of persons with disabilities.

Question #4 was answered using questions that addressed areas that lead toward graduation and helped students to succeed, such as academic support, learning occupational skills needed, excellent quality of instruction, and getting the education needed toward graduation.

Quantitative Findings
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RQ1. H01:

Is there a relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement? There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement. Respondents agreement and importance items on campus climate and student academic achievement revealed a strong correlation and statistically significant relationship. The null hypothesis was rejected. A calculation of a One-Way ANOVA was used to test the Null Hypotheses. Results revealed a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement: F(3, 66) = 6.18, p = .001. The p value is less than or equal to the alpha level .05. The null hypothesis, H01, was rejected. Therefore, there was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement.

Quantitative Findings
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One-Way ANOVA Tested the Null Hypothesis H01: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement. F(3, 66) = 6.18, p = .001 The p value is less than alpha level .05. The null hypothesis, H01, was rejected. Therefore, there was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student academic achievement.
Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.

Between Groups Within Groups Total

2.155 7.688 9.843

3 66 69

.718 .116

6.167

.001

Quantitative Findingscontinued
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RQ2. H02:

Is there a relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their four-year academic program? There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their four-year academic program.

Research Question 2 and H02 There was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their four-year academic program. Null Hypothesis H02 was rejected.

Quantitative Findings
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One-Way ANOVA Tested the Null Hypothesis H02: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their four-year academic program. F(2, 67) = 6.28, p = .003 The p value is less than alpha level .05. The null hypothesis, H02, was rejected. Therefore, there was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and a students persistence to continue their four-year academic program.
Sum of Squares Between Groups 1.554 df 2 Mean Square .777 F 6.281 Sig. .003

Within Groups
Total

8.289
9.843

67
69

.124

Quantitative Findingscontinued
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RQ3. H03:

Is there a relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university? There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university.

Research Question 3 and H03 There was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university. Null Hypothesis H03 was rejected.

Quantitative Findings
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One-Way ANOVA Tested the Null Hypothesis H03: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university. F(2, 67) = 6.28, p = .003 The p value is less than alpha level .05. The null hypothesis, H03, was rejected. Therefore, there was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and students believing they are socially connected to the university.

Sum of Squares Between Groups 1.554

df 2

Mean Square .777

F 6.281

Sig. .003

Within Groups Total

8.289 9.843

67 69

.124

Quantitative Findingscontinued
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RQ4.

Is there a relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university?

H04:

There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university.

Research Question 4 and H04 There was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and student graduation and retention rates at the university. Null Hypothesis H04 was rejected.

Quantitative Findings
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One-Way ANOVA Tested the Null Hypothesis H04: There is no statistically significant relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university. F(1, 68) = 16.89, p = .000 The p value is less than alpha level .05. The null hypothesis, H04, was rejected. Therefore, there was a statistically significant relationship between campus climate and graduation rates of students at the university.
Sum of Squares Between Groups 1.958 df 1 Mean Square 1.958 F 16.889 Sig. .000

Within Groups Total

7.885 9.843

68 69

.116

Qualitative Findings
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Question #1. How do you describe your campus climate? The themes that emerged were: 1) to provide an environment where outstanding educational service can be achieved, 2) an increase in diversity, 3) concern and increase in security, 4) cultivation and awareness of not just undergraduates, but master and doctoral students, 5) create a culture of hard work with rewards for achievement and penalties for unethical behavior, 6) create a climate that promotes continuous and improvement of customer service in financial aid, 7) create more internships and jobs with corporations.

Qualitative Findings
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Question #2. What are your experiences at this Minority Serving Institution (MSI) that would demonstrate a need exists to improve campus climate? The themes that emerged from question #2 included: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) improvement of the mode (style) of instruction, more mentoring on what to expect when venturing outside of the minority serving institution, provide more resources for graduate students who need financial aid, allow a student who works fulltime to use his or her company health benefits to satisfy the insurance requirement, an air of entitlement of some departments such as HR, parking, financial aid, registrar and some senior administrators believe they are doing students a favor by serving them, and enrollment in clubs and organizations should be open to anyone who wants to join.

6)

Qualitative Findings
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Question #3. Describe the customer service at your campus. Themes that emerged were: 1) needing and receiving help on who can fix the students problem and 2) putting the customer first, for example, the student needs should be a priority. Comments included why there is not a sense of fairness in customer service. Students who do not know anyone in the department they are seeking help from are not given the same expedient service as those who do know someone. Question #4. Does this Minority Serving Institution (MSI) support your educational goals? Please explain your answer. A theme that emerged was the professors response to students who worked off campus was excellent, such as having night and Saturday classes.

Demographics
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Demographics revealed the most frequent major responding to the survey was electrical engineering (20%). The figure below, shows (20%) of the respondents normally enrolled in evening courses, (40%) enrolled in the daytime courses, and (40%) normally enrolled in a combination of day and evening courses.

Demographicscontinued
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Most of the respondents were in the age group of 18-23 (48.6%). More males (57.1%) than females (42.9%) took the survey. Race/Ethnicity revealed that (82.9%) of the respondents were African/American/Black, (3%) Caucasian, (5%) were Asian.

Demographicscontinued
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Total household income highest percentage was (32.9%), where the income total was equal to $15,000 per year. The second highest was income in the rage of $16,000$26,000 (22.9%). Most respondents came from a medium sized community (28.6%) in the city (30%).

Demographicscontinued
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The current level of respondents revealed (58.6%) were seeking a bachelors degree, (37.1%) were seeking a master degree, and (2.9%) were seeking a doctorate degree. Seventy-four percent of the students were single, 18.6% were married, 1.4% lived with a partner, and 2.9% lived with their parent(s). Lastly, the comment section revealed the most frequent topic was the financial aid office needing a complete overhaul. Another comment was to increase advertisements of the minority serving institution at the airports and more internet advertisement.

Concluding Remarks
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In conclusion, campus leaders at all levels need to be held accountable for encouraging a more positive climate. The purpose of this study was to investigate the applicability of a postmodern process for improving campus climate through strategic thinking at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) in Texas. All leaders must set the tone by not ignoring any disrespectful behavior that goes on in their units. In progressing, the campus can expect a variety of listening sessions, forums and additional professional development opportunities. Even if all faculty and staff cannot go to diversity workshops, leaders can be encouraged in departments, schools and colleges, administrative and service units, to participate. Postmodernists would say there are multiple forms of truths from multiple sources. Feyerabend said it best in his 1993 study, Without chaos, no knowledge. Without a frequent dismissal of reason, no progress (p. 158).

Concluding Remarkscontinued
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The findings in this study suggested that when campus climate was positive, students wanted to achieve academically. They wanted and needed mentoring and wanted an environment of continuous improvement. They valued a positive and supportive environment for academic achievement.

Concluding Remarkscontinued
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In order for this Minority Serving Institution (MSI) to become a world-class university, it is essential that students, faculty, and staff have a positive, supportive environment in which to work, learn, and live (Minority Serving

Institution (MSI) with Texas University Systems, 2007). There is no one cure for
all (English, 2003). The day will never come when there is a 100% success rate, because there will never come a day when there is no conflict in the university. It will come down to whether administrators and leaders at this Minority Service Institution want to improve how people feel, work, learn, and live in this campus

community.

Recommendations for Further Study


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Recommendations for further study include the following: 1) 2) 3) 4) A study could be conducted to gather views on creating an office of ombudsman (complaints) for faculty and staff. A study could be conducted to examine why students and faculty leave the university. A study could be conducted for faculty which would generate feedback from the facultys point of view to help improve campus life. A study could be conducted on how a MSI can improve cultural proficiency and campus climate for all, on a continuous basis.

Recommendationscontinued
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5) A study could be conducted by monitoring a campus through listening sessions to know which initiatives are working and which are not working. 6) A study could be conducted that is inclusive of all students at the university and compare the results with another HBCU. 7) A study could be conducted in developing a social network page, such as FACEBOOK or Twitter, by level (Undergraduate - UG, Graduate GR, Doctorate -DR, Post Bach - PB) to keep students socially connected to the university.

References
Boland, H.G., 1995. Postmodernism and Higher Education. The Journal of Higher Education 66(5), 521-559. Campus Climate Network group (2002). What is the definition of campus climate? In Yahoo Answers. Retrieved January 8, 2011 from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080527091059AAAQmYs English, F. W. (2003). The postmodern challenge to the theory and practice of educational administration. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Feyerabend, P. (1993). Against method. London, England: Verso. Fullan, M. (1982). The meaning of educational change. New York: Teachers College Press. Fullan, M. (1991). The new mean of educational change (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press. Fullan, M. (1993). The complexity of the change process. In Change forces: Probing the depth of educational reform, pp. 19-41. Falmer Press. Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press Hoy, W. K. & Miskel, C. G. (2005). Educational administration, Theory, research, and practice. (7 th ed.). New York: NY: McGraw-Hill. Hubbard, S. M. & Stage, F. K. (2009). Attitudes, perceptions, and preferences of faculty at Hispanic serving and predominately Black institutions. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(3), 270-289 Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Compact with The Texas A&M University System, (2007). Retrieved January 8, 2011 from www.tamus.edu/strategicplan/docs/Compact%20FY08FY09%20Individual%20Compacts/PVAMU.pdf Seyfarth, J. (2008). Human resource leadership for effective schools. Boston, MA: Allan & Bacon. Tableman B. & Herron, A. (2004). School climate and learning. Best Practice Briefs, 31, 1-10. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, University-Community Partnerships. The University of Wisconsin-Madison (2003). Campus Climate. Madison, WI: Author. Retrieved January 8, 2011 from www.provost.wisc.edu/climate/what.html Usher, R. & Edwards, R. (1996). Postmoderism and education. London: Routledge. Vogel, S.A., Holt, J. K., Sligar, S., Leake, E. (2008). Assessment of campus climate to enhance student success. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 21(1), 15-31. Willett, T. (2002). Gavilan college campus diversity climate survey. Gavilan College. Gilroy, CA: (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 473876).

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"Good, Better; Best - never let it rest - until your good is better and your better is BEST!"
Shirley J. Neeley, Commissioner of Education

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Questions

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