Recent Submissions

  • Creating safety policy and procedures in an active shooter event

    Nash, Mechelle L.; Taylor, Karen; DeCaro, Peter; Hum, Richard; Heckman, Daniel (2020-12)
    School and workplace active shootings are on the rise and seem to be the norm today and there is not a working policy in place to train for an active shooter event in our organization, Golden Valley Electric Association. The purpose of this project was to develop a workable policy and procedure for the employees and to enhance the safety culture within our organization. To achieve this goal, a training presentation was created using the ALICE Training Institute’s protocol to train the workforce. The ALICE acronym stands for A=Alert, L=Lockdown, I=Inform, C=Counter, E=Evacuate. Over the course of research for this project, research indicated that a crisis management plan (CMP) and crisis management team (CMT) would be a better option for training the organization, not policies and procedures. A sample crisis management plan and outline for the crisis management team were created. The crisis management team would deal with the policies and procedures and ensure the success of training the workforce and enhancing the safety culture of the organization. The recommendations are for the organization to select the CMT, review the CMP created, and implement and maintain the plan. Following and implementing these recommendations into practice would ensure the workforce was trained and would strengthen the safety culture of the organization.
  • 'I am the last frontier': idealized Alaskan themes through media and their influence on culture, tourism, and policy

    Lawhorne, Rebecca; Hum, Rich; O’Donoghue, Brian; McDermott, Tori (2020-05)
    A large body of literature suggests that in media history there exists prominent narrative themes about the State of Alaska. These themes affect both resident and visitor perceptions and judgements about what life is and should be in Alaska and subsequently, create values that ultimately influence how the state operates. The evolution of these themes are understood in a modern capacity in the Alaska reality television phenomenon of the early 2000’s. This study concludes that the effect of these forms of media may create conflict and ultimately, may not work in the state’s best interests. The researcher believes that the state has new tools to use in its image management. She recommends that new forms of media be cultivated Alaskan residents, tourism industry leaders and special interest groups as a means of alleviating the misrepresentations, expanding communication representation and developing positive visitor experiences for younger visitors who utilize new forms of media. Communication Theory, interviews and content analysis are used to present a study on Alaskan culture, its presence in media and the influence mass media has on this unique environment.
  • Engineering communicators: agenda setting impacts on perceptions of communication for engineering students

    Heaney, Lindsey; Taylor, Karen; Hum, Richard; Trochim, Erin (2020-05)
    What is effective communication? Within the job industry, communication is a sought after and valued skill when it comes to hiring employees. The engineering field is no different with communication skills being an important component of the discipline through project management and working with others from a variety of backgrounds. However, there is a gap between what the engineering profession is expecting and what is being produced from college institute engineering programs regarding communication skills. To better understand this phenomenon, message constructs regarding communication in course materials and perceptions from engineering students were examined through anonymous surveys and curriculum analysis. Through the lens of agenda-setting theory, clear themes between course materials and the surveys center around emphasis on the end result and the use of god-terms when referring to communication. Furthermore, communication by example with faculty and staff play a key role in the way students perceive and understand communication’s role within the profession.
  • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

    Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
    The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
  • You say I can, I think I can: peripheral route persuasion as a contributor to employability self-efficacy for undergraduate students

    Uzzell, Brandon W.; Sager, Kevin; Arundale, Robert; Richey, Jean (2011-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the persuasive communication phenomenon between university students and professors concerning students' post-degree employability. Communicative interactions were examined as originating with the Elaboration likelihood model's peripheral route cues (persuasive messages) and the outcomes of these interactions as student's employability self-efficacy (beliefs about employability). Hypotheses predicted that a positive correlation exists between perceived peripheral route cues and employability self-efficacy of students. Senior level undergraduate students at a Northwestern university voluntarily completed an electronic survey containing need for cognition, peripheral route cues, and employability self-efficacy measures. Analysis indicated that employability self-efficacy could be successfully predicted by peripheral route cues. Results showed an overall significant positive correlation between the predictor and outcome variable. Implications of these results, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
  • Sense versus sentiment: emergent persuasive strategies of non-profit organizations in dichotomous economic climates

    Miller, Alexis S. (2011-05)
    This study seeks to explore the rhetoric employed by the United Way in contrasting economic contexts. With a theoretical framework of Aristotle's Theory of Rhetoric, this study employs rhetorical criticism. Interpretation of results suggests that pathos is most prevalent in crisis conditions, such as a recession, whereas logos is most prevalent under stable economic circumstances. Initial conclusions drawn from the study highlight the importance of community supportiveness appeals in crisis conditions.
  • Teaching adolescents conflict management skills

    DeLong, Debra M. (2011-05)
    In response to a parents request a workshop to teach a conflict management workshop to high school students was created. A pre-post test design to assess the effectiveness of the workshop was used, with the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as the measurement. Responses were available for 76 students who were evenly divided between females and males. Overall preferences for using conflict styles did not show a statistically significant change; however, preferences for individual styles did change, with competition showing a statistically significant difference.
  • Well-being: the looking glass in 4-D

    Bays, Joey M.; Richey, Jean; Arundale, Robert; Anahita, Sine (2011-05)
    Well-being affects all of us. It is intricately interwoven with our identity and interactions. This study explores the relational contexts in which well-being is created, maintained, and diminished. In order to accomplish this goal, three main themes were addressed: (a) the co-researcher's understanding of what well-being is, (b) the co-researcher's understanding of how community affects a person's well-being, and (c) a description of the co-researcher's best of times and worst of times. These phenomenological themes guide the context and process of this research. This study is grounded in the theoretical stance of interpretivism with a constructionism epistemology; the methodology employed is phenomenological research utilizing conversational interviewing methods. I thematically analyzed the emergent capta from the interviews into the following themes: (a) What is Well-Being?: a definition of well-being and (b) The Struggle in the Search: co-researchers lived experiences of wellness. These themes offer an in-depth exploration of understanding the meaning of well-being the lived experiences informing those understandings.
  • The relationship between the achievement motive and downward communicative adaptability

    Weaver, David E.; Sager, Kevin L.; Dexter, Charlie; Mason, Charles (2019-05)
    In this paper, a model was created linking the Achievement Motive to Downward Communicative Adaptability. As theorized in the model, there is a significant positive relationship between the Achievement Motive and Downward Communicative Adaptability. Participants who supervise or manage others completed an in-person paper and pencil survey. The collected data were entered into an SPSS data file, and a simple correlational analysis was run. A significant positive correlation was found between the Achievement Motive and Downward Communicative Adaptability.
  • Outdoor education and feminism: a review of the outdoor adventures program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Bessent, Danielle; Taylor, Karen M.; May, Amy; Oldmixon, Mark T. (2019-05)
    This report is an organizational review of the Outdoor Adventures (OA) Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). I will be reviewing the communication strategies within the program as well as the risk mitigation and socialization process of the organization. The goal of this document is to provide a theoretical background to justify decision making and communication practices within the organization based on a feminist critical perspective. This document provides recommendations based upon improving communication dynamics that play a role in the gender disparity as well as the processes through which staff of the organization are socialized. This document provides a brief history of the OA program at UAF and a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis to give perspective on the current state of the program. Next this project contains an overview of the gender disparity in the outdoor field, ways in which risk management is viewed and implemented, and the socialization processes of staff members within the program. Methods used to review the organization included document review, direct observation, and autoethnographic practices. The results of this project include documents to aid in socialization and risk management processes and further explores recommendations to mitigate the gender gap, update risk management practices, and train staff.
  • Search for identity in post-war Lebanon: Arab vs Phoenician

    Ghalioum, Ibrahim A.; Taylor, Karen M.; Hum, Rich; DeCaro, Peter (2019-05)
    This study uses textual analysis and network mapping in order to understand the rhetoric surrounding Phoenicianism in modern day Lebanon, using 1,336 data points from a political discussion forum. The ability of rhetoric grounded in science to persuade others of genetically essentialist views is examined, as well as the ability of social constructionism to naturally resist such rhetoric. We identify common themes found in our data set, the use of science based ethos in Phoenicianist rhetoric, and the growth (or lack thereof) of the Phoenicianist network in order to answer this question. Our research indicates that science based rhetoric and science based proofs do not lead to the growth of a network through the persuasion of others. This also presents us with some interesting opportunities for future research, such as the reasons why Phoenicianism failed to create long lasting identity change in Lebanon. A study on the various environmental factors that resulted in this instance of failed rhetoric could shine a light on the importance of demographics when it comes to successfully creating social movements.
  • 'It's a magnifying glass': the communication of power in a remote field station

    McDermott, Victoria; May, Amy; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean (2019-05)
    Remote field stations play a critical role in advancing our understanding of the world and how humans cause environmental change. Remote field stations are sentinels of Earth's climate, environment, and biodiversity that provide scientists with the infrastructure to collect data in inaccessible areas of the globe. These research stations are considered isolated, confined and extreme (ICE) environments which provide people with unique opportunities and intensely stressful potentially life-threatening situations to overcome. Traditionally, remote field stations have been considered harassment hell for men and women, alike. There is little research on the impact of remote field stations on communication and factors that influence power communication within remote field stations. In the present study, the researcher traveled 10 hours north of Fairbanks, Alaska to Toolik Field Station in the Brooks Range of the Alaskan Mountains. The researcher interviewed 20 participants, 15 males and 5 females, willing to talk about their experiences in remote field stations and especially their experiences at Toolik. Using theories of power construction, standpoint theory, and contrapower harassment this study sought to understand how remote field stations impact communication dynamics and the influence of gender on communication within a remote field station. Findings in the present study suggest that gender is a crucial factor that impacts power dynamics in remote field station. Through the data collected in this study, three areas of opportunity were identified for overall camp improvement, including group cohesion, reintegration coping strategies and overcoming gender barriers.
  • Identity crisis: how ideological and rhetorical failures cost Egyptians their revolution

    Abou Ghalioum, Ramzi; DeCaro, Peter; O'Donoghue, Brian (2019-05)
    The Egyptian uprising, which began on January 25, 2011, and ended on February 11, 2011, culminated in the ending of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign as dictator. After free elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood ascended to power in the country, they were ousted in a military coup d'état only one year after their ascension to power and were replaced by former military general Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. The symptoms which led the country to rise up against Mubarak continue to exist under el-Sisi today, indicating that no revolution really took place. This paper answers the question, "why did the revolution fail?", offering a rhetorical reason for the revolution's failure. The uprisings, which were billed as decentralized, offer unique opportunities for analysis of rhetorical strategy. This paper uses the reconstitutive-discourse model, a critical model which examines a rhetor's reconstitution of their audience's character, to examine the rhetoric of three different parties in the revolution. First, it examines the rhetoric of all protestors irrespective of source via Twitter and on the ground protestors; next it looks at the rhetoric of Wael Ghonim, who is credited with instigating the uprisings, and Mohammed ElBaradei, an influential figure who became interim vice-president in the aftermath of the uprisings. The study found that first, the uprisings were not really decentralized and indeed has leaders. Further, rhetorical failures on the part of its leaders caused the uprisings to fail in their goal of democratic revolution.
  • Tanana Valley State Fair crisis public relations plan project

    Hoogestraat, Ron (2018)
    This project proposal outlines the necessity and importance of emergency public relations during a crisis situation for the Tanana Valley State Fair. It articulates what an organization can expect when it is not prepared to address communications during a crisis situation. This project proposal is a recommendation for management of the Tanana Valley State Fair for an effective Public Relations Crisis Communication Plan, as well as a personnel training program to address the current lack of a formal plan. The project also presents a literature review on the issue of crisis public relations and its application to the Tanana Valley State Fair. In addition, it describes the methodology employed in the development of the Public Relations Crisis Communication Plan. The training progam and its supporting materials for the training sessions, along with a media relations plan, have been developed based on the research discovered in public relations crisis communication. The construction of the training program is born by studies on prepatory data and its effects on human preformance during stressful situations. As a result of this research, the proposed project on a Public Relations Crisis Communication Plan and training program have been developed for the Tanana Valley State Fair.
  • Learning To Teach Where You Are: Preparation For Context-Responsive Teaching In Alaska's Teacher Certification Programs

    Vinlove, Amy Louise; Richey, Jean; Hornig, Joan; Hirshberg, Diane; Rickard, Anthony; Roehl, Roy (2012)
    Context-responsive teaching is defined in this project as teaching that responds to individual student needs and interests, linguistic backgrounds and family characteristics, the local community and the local natural environment. Context-responsive teaching, as defined in Chapter 1 of this dissertation, consolidates into one concept the pedagogical knowledge, skills and dispositions associated with culturally responsive teaching, place-based teaching, differentiated instruction, and purposeful collaboration with parents, families and communities. The research completed for this project examines current practices relative to preparing context-responsive teachers in Alaska's elementary and secondary teacher certification programs. A survey examining context-responsive teacher preparation experiences was developed and distributed to practicing teachers in Alaska who received their initial teaching certification from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), or the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), and who graduated in 2006, 2007 or 2008. The experiences of the graduates were juxtaposed with information on the three programs gathered through interviews with teacher educators currently working at UAA, UAF and UAS. Current practices at the three institutions are examined in relation to a literature-based framework of "best practices" in context-responsive teacher preparation. Following a presentation of the data gathered in this mixed-method investigation, nine research-based recommendations are offered for strengthening context-responsive teacher preparation in the state of Alaska.
  • Reading Comprehension Strategies In Children With High-Functioning Autism: A Social Constructivist Perspective

    Cotter, June Ann; Richey, Jean (2011)
    Individuals with autism see the world, by definition of the diagnosis, in a very different way than the typical student. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is a defining characteristic of this disability. Students with autism both can and need to learn to comprehend when reading to be successful in school and in life. This study evaluated the reading comprehension abilities of three students with autism and using a strength-based approach targeting comprehension strategies. These strategies also appear to have increased the students' communication skills. All participants were medically or educationally diagnosed with autism. All had an educationally-defined label of autism and had been identified as having difficulty with reading comprehension. The study is presented as a case study with limited participants. The author investigated the reading comprehension abilities of each student and through direct instruction provided support for the skills the student already possessed. Additional skills were then introduced thereby increasing the students' abilities to comprehend. An additional effect of increasing student personal communication skills was also noted.
  • Exploring supportive and defensive communication behavior and psychological safety between supervisors and their subordinates

    Strehl, Mary E.; Sager, Kevin L.; DeCaro, Peter A.; Jarrett, Brian (2015-05)
    This project explores the relationship between supportive and defensive communication behavior and psychological safety in the organizational setting. A paper and pencil survey measuring team psychological safety and supportive and defensive communication behaviors was administered to participants in the northwestern region of the United States. Supervisor use of supportive communication behavior was hypothesized to be positively correlated with employee psychological safety. Support was found for the hypothesis. This research sought to expand the scope of our understanding of psychological safety in an organizational setting while highlighting the benefits of using supportive communication behavior.
  • The state of climate change in AK: agency and networking of the governmental kind

    O'Neall, Mindy L.; DeCaro, Peter; Taylor, Karen; Hirsch, Alex; Dodge, Kathryn (2017)
    Alaska coastal villages are faced with relocating their communities' due to erosion, flooding, permafrost thaw and other slow-moving natural hazards that risk their safety. State and federal efforts to relocate, specifically, indigenous communities are thwarted by insufficient policy and restrictive agency missions, and coordination of actors, authority, responsibility, accountability, access and funding is lacking between levels of government, further complicating action. Networks are created to view mission statements from tribal, state, and federal agencies, nonprofits and private industry were coded to analyze coordination between key actors involved in climate governance and planned relocation. State and federal climate and disaster response policies are reviewed to identify areas to strengthen climate governance that is inclusive of indigenous communities' rights, culture, traditions and livelihoods.
  • Down side up: representations of Down syndrome in Born This Way

    Olson, Bekah L.; May, Amy; Hum, Richard; Lazarus, Jason (2018-05)
    Stereotypical media representations of people with disabilities reinforce stigma, resulting in dehumanization. Conversely, positive representations create counter narratives that challenge stereotypes and stigmatized information disseminated by the media. While some studies have explored media depictions of people with disabilities in general, there is a lack of research focusing specifically on Down syndrome. Born This Way, a reality TV show, provides an opportunity to explore mass media depictions of Down Syndrome. Qualitative content analysis was used to understand how Born This Way constructs representations of adults with Down syndrome. Four major themes were identified. Born This Way's representation of people with Down syndrome is a departure from previous portrayals of people with disabilities. Specifically, people with Down syndrome speak for themselves and take back their narrative. Instead of dehumanizing individuals with Down syndrome, Born This Way represents people with Down syndrome as capable, independent, sexual, and multifaceted. Although Born This Way depicts differences associated with Down syndrome, these differences do not become more important than the person with Down syndrome. The portrayals in Born This Way have the ability to educate and influence viewer perceptions of people Down syndrome and positively influence viewers who have Down syndrome as well. Additionally, Born This Way seems to be offering a type of vicarious social support for parents of children with Down syndrome.
  • Women In Alaska Constructing The Recovered Self: A Narrative Approach To Understanding Long -Term Recovery From Alcohol Dependence And /Or Abuse

    Richey, Jean Alice; Brown, Jin G. (2003)
    Autobiographical narratives are explored in a qualitative approach regarding women in Alaska who have been successful in long-term recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse. The literature review includes an integrative approach to theoretical perspectives from the disciplines of Human Communication, Anthropology, and Psychology. The epistemological orientation of Constructionism grounds this study, as well as provides a framework for theoretical understandings from the narrative co-construction of self-identity, gender studies, health belief and health behavior change models, anthropological views on alcohol and culture including Native American and Alaska Native approaches, and various psychological and transpersonal strategies for overcoming alcohol addiction. Today, a diverse resource of recovery paradigms and tools are available to women who have problems with alcohol. As a result, this study explores the applicability of various methods of recovery as they occur in the real lives of women in Alaska. Two emergent themes of recovery derived from nine narrative interviews are discussed in regard to identity reconstruction: (1) Survivorship and (2) the Transcendent Self. The emergent themes represent the reconstructed constitutive interpretations of a woman's self-identity as the recovered self. The process of recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse constitutes a uniquely personal and culturally specific journey for women. A recovered lifestyle is a completely different way of being for the woman who had previously been immersed in a culture of alcohol addiction---she now must construct a healthy self. A woman's process of recovery from alcohol addiction cannot be separated from the world of social/cultural/gender interactions in the construction of a healthier lifestyle. Whether a recovering person's social interactions are with professionals or are everyday interpersonal exchanges with intimates and others, they form the context within which the discursive evolution of identity is embedded. The narrative stories of the lived world of women in Alaska who are maintaining long-term recovery from alcohol problems provide an understanding of cultural, ethnic, and gender influences, various treatment and recovery paradigms, relational tensions, and the process of identity construction in the maintenance of ongoing recovery.

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