• Alaska Native females: understanding body image dissatisfaction in a culturally diverse country

      Naegele, Karaline M.; Cook, Christine; Renes, Susan; Harrison, Lynn (2013-05)
      The current study was conducted to expand literature on body image dissatisfaction (BID) in Alaska Native females. As BID has been a concern for European American females, and many minority groups in America, professionals should examine all cultural groups for the presence of BID. The research was comprised of qualitative interviewing methods. Interviews were conducted with Alaska Native female participants between the ages of 18 and 23 years, attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Research questions addressed whether or not Alaska Native females experience BID, and if so how BID develops and manifests for this population. The study found that all participants experienced BID beginning in adolescence. The development and manifestation of BID varied on an individual basis, reflecting other research findings.
    • Alaska Native scholars: a mixed methods investigation of factors influencing PhD attainment

      Jones, Alberta J.; Barnhardt, Ray; Vinlove, Amy; Leonard, Beth; Roehl, Roy (2018-05)
      This study entitled, "Alaska Native Scholars: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Factors Influencing PhD Attainment," investigates the contributing factors influencing the attainment of PhD degrees by Alaska Natives. Originating from a cross-section of rural and urban Alaska communities and tribal ethnicities, this group of scholars attended graduate schools throughout the country. Today many of these PhDs work in universities, conduct research, and advocate for Indigenous people in various leadership roles, both in and outside of Alaska. This study's assumption is these PhD graduates have gained valuable lessons along their path to success and an examination of these factors is relevant to advancing that successs. The findings analyze results from a survey instrument with approximately a 92% response rate from all living Alaska Native PhD/EdD graduates that were able to be located at the time, up to early 2015. Survey participants shared personal, demographic, cultural, social, academic, and economic factors both supporting and hindering PhD attainment. Survey data was validated by ten personal interviews with PhDs from eight different Alaska Native tribes. One goal of this study was to increase our knowledge of the circumstances and factors of Alaska Native doctoral graduates and to build upon knowledge necessary to increase interest and enrollment of Alaska Native PhD graduates. Some questions examined by this study are: What sets of factors do AN PhDs have in common which led to their success? What challenges and barriers are specific to the Alaska Native demographics? If patterns of successful factors exist, can these factors be replicated to expand Alaska Native participation in PhD or other graduate programs? Are there 'lessons learned' in terms of aiding university PhD programs in attracting and graduating Alaska Native students? A stronger PhD representation of this population has implications for leadership, education, business, and policy-making roles serving to increase Indigenous self-determination. Additionally, this research has implications for universities seeking to address gaps in Alaska Native and American Indian faculty representation.
    • Culturally responsive teaching and student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools

      Christian, Scott; Kaden, Ute; John, Theresa; Sesko, Amanda; Ontooguk, Paul; Jester, Timothy (2017-12)
      Culturally responsive teaching may provide practices and dispositions which support closing the achievement gap between minority and Caucasian student populations. For this research, culturally responsive teaching can be considered as teaching practices that address students' specific cultural characteristics. These characteristics include common practices such as language, values and traditions but also include concepts such as communication, learning styles, and relationship norms. The research also presents a definition of culturally responsive teaching that extends beyond curriculum and instruction to focus on student teacher relationships, empathy, and the teacher as learner. This research explores the beliefs and practices around Culturally Responsive Teaching in ten Alaskan Middle Schools. A mixed-methods, sequential explanatory research design was used to answer the research questions: 1. How do teachers identify what is culturally responsive teaching, and what is not? 2. How is culturally responsive teaching implemented in Alaskan middle schools? 3. How is culturally responsive teaching connected to student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools? Although culturally responsive teaching has become a recognized practice in the fields of teacher preparation and professional development for teachers, the working definitions as well as evaluation tools are inadequate to describe the actual practice that teachers enact when they are engaged in culturally responsive teaching. Despite state regulations requiring Alaska school districts to include teaching practice of the Alaska Cultural Standards in teacher evaluations, there is only limited focused research available about the implementation of the standards in classrooms. Through semi-structured interviews and surveys with teachers and principals, formal classroom observations, as well as a student self-efficacy survey, this research addresses the lack of research and understanding regarding the relationship between culturally responsive teaching and self-efficacy for middle school students. This study identified the integration of local culture and language into academic content areas, teaching through culture, and the establishment of positive, respectful working relationships with students as promising practices for culturally responsive teaching.
    • Engineering education professional development for teachers in the Delta Greely School District

      Dougherty, Jennifer; Kaden, Ute; Thorsen, Denise; Larson, Angela (2019-12)
      Over the last two decades engineering has become a new focus in many science curricula, in part due to the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Most teachers lack training or education in engineering and are not adequately prepared to implement effective engineering education. This research identifies the needs and constraints of one district, the Delta Greely School District (DGSD), in Delta Junction, AK (approximately 750 students district-wide). Surveys were distributed to fifty teachers and five administrators to gather information on attitudes and beliefs surrounding engineering education. Focus groups were conducted with teachers and administrators to better understand the needs of the teachers and the district as well as the perceived obstacles that currently limit engineering education in the classroom. The results were used to create recommendations for professional development to improve and increase engineering education in the district's K-5 classrooms. The final recommendations focus on a professional development plan and professional development delivery modes. Results of the study support two levels of professional development: one introductory level for teachers unfamiliar or not comfortable with engineering education and one for teachers who are comfortable with the subject and would like to improve their teaching. It was also determined that specific teaching resources (i.e., lesson plans and curricular material) should be part of professional development, and that professional development solution should be designed to complement the specific district-provided resources and curricula.
    • The use of social network analysis by school librarians to evaluate and improve collaborative networks in their secondary schools: a pilot study

      Rinio, Deborah; Jacobsen, Gary; Adams, Barbara; Stanley, Sarah; Richey, Jean; Gerlich, Bella (2018-05)
      Social capital, in the form of relationships among teachers, results in sharing information and resources, which leads to improved student academic achievement. As schools continue to seek out ways to improve performance, social capital is often overlooked in favor of development of human capital in the form of professional development and training. Schools that have implemented collaborative groups have the potential to increase social capital, but often fail to structure the groups intentionally or evaluate their outcomes. School librarians in secondary schools often face challenges when it comes to collaboration. The job of a school librarian is inherently collaborative. To effectively serve the school's population, school librarians must understand the needs of their community. To teach information literacy skills, they must have access to students, typically via classroom teachers. Not surprisingly, collaboration between teachers and librarians is a major focus of both professional and research literature, yet librarians report it is one of their biggest challenges. Librarians are urged to start small, work with the teachers who are willing, and hope that others in the school will see the value of collaboration; in other words, build it and they will come. This research sought to determine if school librarians could use social network analysis as an evaluative and strategic planning tool. This study used a mixed-methods approach in a three-phase process to collect social network survey data in two secondary schools, develop the Social Network Analysis for School Librarians (SNASL) Process, and pilot test the process with the school librarians in the pilot schools using participatory analysis. Analysis revealed that the SNASL Process has the potential to enable school librarians to evaluate and improve upon the collaborative network of their school by identifying individuals in specific role positions and producing generative insight regarding the structure of the school network.