Dissertation Defenses

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

Name:  Timothy M. Stoelinga

Title:  Students’ Identifications with Discursive Obligations in a Calculus Workshop

Committee Chair:  Dr. Danny Martin

Date:  Thursday, July 6, 2017

Time:  10:00am – 12:00pm

Location:  Room 3312, ETMSW Building 1040 W. Harrison St.


Research on equity in mathematics education has documented the benefits of group work and classroom discourse, both of which can support learning of mathematics content (e.g., Freeman, et al., 2014; Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell, 2001; Webb, et al., 2013) and the development of identities of participation among students in discourse-rich classroom environments (e.g., Boaler & Greeno, 2000; Cobb, Stephan, & Gravemeijer, 2001; Gresalfi, 2009; Hand & Gresalfi, 2015). Less is known, however, about how and why individual students vary in the ways they take up opportunities to participate in discourse within a given classroom ecology. These issues are particularly salient for students of color and female students whose marginalization from mathematics classroom discourse has been well documented in the literature (e.g., Chizhik, 2001; Cohen & Lotan, 2014; Spencer, Logel, & Davies, 2016; Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002).

In this phenomenological case study, I examine a diverse group of students’ descriptions and explanations of their participation in discourse in an Emerging Scholars Program (ESP) calculus workshop, an undergraduate-level, elective course where group work is emphasized in support of students’ success in the concurrent calculus course. A localized, explanatory theory is generated for the patterns and differences in discourse participation that emerge among students. Instances of discourse are analyzed from a sociocultural perspective in terms of students’ moment-to-moment identifications with discursive obligations, defined by the socially constructed norms of what it means to be a successful contributor to mathematical conversations in the workshop community. Identifications emerge through students’ fulfillment (or non-fulfillment) of these obligations occurring in modes of affiliation, compliance, avoidance, or resistance. Variations in identification are primarily explained in terms of the situational roles students describe themselves occupying relative to other participants. Furthermore, students often interpret these roles in connection to identity-related factors acting at sociohistorical, community, school, classroom, and intrapersonal levels (Martin, 2000, 2012). Implications for ESP workshop design and mathematics classroom discourse are discussed, with focus on supporting equitable mathematics discourse in workshop settings among students from marginalized groups.


Name: Antonela Ciupe

Title:  Examining Caregivers’ Independence in Early Intervention Home Visit Sessions

Committee Chair:  Dr. Christine Salisbury

Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017

Time:  11:30am – 1:30pm

Location:  Room 3312, ETMSW Building, 1040 W. Harrison St.


Federal special education policy requires that early intervention providers focus on building the capacity of caregivers to support their child’s learning and development.  Although coaching is considered a primary mechanism for enhancing caregiver capacity in home-based early intervention sessions (Friedman, Woods, & Salisbury, 2012; Rush & Shelden, 2011), little is known about its potential for helping caregivers to independently use development-enhancing behaviors (teaching, responsiveness, encouragement and affection) associated with positive child outcomes. Data from a multiple baseline study collected through an IES Goal 2 intervention development study (Woods, Salisbury, & Snyder, 2013) were used to examine how a delineated coaching process affected the ability of caregivers to take the lead in promoting their child’s learning in the context of daily activities. Results revealed that all four caregivers increased their initiations of three of four development promoting behaviors: teaching, responsiveness and encouragement. Limitations and implications for practice and future research will be discussed.