Dissertation Defenses

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

Name:  Kari L. Smith

Title:  School Climate and Connectedness For African American Students with and without Disabilities

Committee Chair:  Elizabeth Talbott

Date:  Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Time:  2:00pm – 4:00pm

Location:  Room 3427, ETMSW Building, 1040 W. Harrison St.


Guided by a developmental systems theory, I examined the correlations between licensed professional staff members' perceptions of school climate and the perceptions African American students both with and without disabilities have of school climate at three racially-ethnically diverse suburban middle schools. The findings from this study illustrate that for African American middle school students with and without disabilities, there is a significant and predictive relationship between school climate and connectedness.


Name:  Dana Cole

Title:  Borderzone Pedagogy:  A Rhizomatic Curriculum as Life

Committee Chair:  Dr. William Schubert

Date:  Thursday, September 28, 2017

Time:  11:00am – 1:00pm

Location: Room 3427, ETMSW Building, 1040 W. Harrison St.


This dissertation is a call for a new pedagogy, one that teaches to new ideas about learning and knowing, called Borderzone Pedagogy.  This work incorporates autobiography, narrative, and visual and structural creativity alongside conventional academic content, tone and form.  The autobiography provides an insight into the author’s movement through time and space; theory and ideas, to arrive at Borderzone Pedagogy.  The first part, the more conventional academic writing, details the theoretical framework for Borderzone Pedagogy, which is found in rhizomatic inquiry, border studies, postmodernism, postreconstructionism and public pedagogy/outside curriculum.  The second half of this work breaks through the boundaries and barriers of academicese by creating a rhizomatic text, which is a multilayered narrative told through a bike ride from the perspective of the author as teacher. By including links, pictures, poems, and other nonacademic text, each reader contributes to the structuring of the work, creating his or her own unique experience.  The content of the narrative illuminates Borderzone Pedagogy by bringing the reader into the classroom, on the street and in the head of the author as she passing in and out of her multifaceted identity.