Student Research

Postsecondary Education Track

Jody Fagan

“The dimensions of library service quality according to undergraduate students: A confirmatory factor analysis of the LibQUAL+ instrument”

Description:  The LibQUAL+ survey has been used by over one thousand libraries to measure library service quality.  Researchers and library practitioners have been grouping student and faculty responses together and comparing group means, yet factorial invariance has not been demonstrated across groups for this version of the instrument. In my current research I plan to isolate undergraduate students and test whether their responses map to the theorized three-factor model of library service quality. Later research could investigate the extent to which the measure is invariant across groups.

Ken Newbold

 “University Impact on Regional Economic Development: Virginia as a Case Study”

Description: Postsecondary education has been viewed as an economic driver and many states (including Virginia) have placed additional emphasis on utilizing the resources and talents present at universities to pursue economic development. This study examines outputs from postsecondary institutions as measures of economic impact with a focus on Virginia.  

Paul Morgan

 “Development of an Ethical Limits Instrument”

Description: This research aims to develop a reliable and valid instrument to measure ethicality in relation to one’s moral development and the magnitude of moral violation and external pressure.

Lori Pyle

“Effects of a Leadership Education Program on College Student Development”

Description:  Using the participants of an established JMU leader/leadership development program, Make Your Mark on Madison, and a similarly-aged control group, I am examining differences on breadth and depth of curiosity; leader self-efficacy; leader identity; Social Change Model values including congruence, commitment, consciousness of self, collaboration, controversy with civility, common purpose, citizenship, and change; and leader behaviors, while controlling for pre-college extracurricular involvement, in-college extracurricular involvement, pre-college leadership positions, in-college leadership positions, in-college leadership programs or educational experiences, and demographics such as gender, age, class level, and ethnicity.

Jennifer Rau

“Effects of Gender Saliency on Leadership Effectiveness”

Description: It has been reported that fewer number of women are taking on student leadership roles on campus. In efforts to explain this phenomenon, this study explored the role of gender saliency on leadership effectiveness.  Leadership self-efficacy and Motivation to Leadership scales were also completed by the 136 student participants, to determine if saliency of gender moderates the relationship of these factors and leadership effectiveness.

Nonprofit and Community Leadership Track

Grant Rosen

Grant Rosen is studying the impact of Servant-Leadership attitudes and practices on the success of nonprofit organizations. 

Student/Faculty Research

Dr. T. Dary Erwin and Natasha DuMerville (Doctoral Graduate Assistant)

“Identity Development on Later Adult Outcomes: A 25 Year Longitudinal Link of College Impact”

Description:  Students sense of self during college was studied for relationships to alumni perceptions 10 years later and to adult outcomes 25 years later.

Dr. Georgia N. Polacek, Dr. T. Dary Erwin, and Jennifer G. Rau (Doctoral GA)

“How to Improve Health Outcomes: The Impact of a General Education Wellness Course On Undergraduates and Later Adulthood”

Description: JMU students were tested in the Wellness component of General Education as entering 2003 freshmen, again as late sophomores in 2005, and later as graduates in 2012 to study how they retained knowledge and lifestyle behaviors.

Dr. Larson, Dr. Susan Murphy, Grant Rosen (Doctoral Graduate Assistant)

Mentoring is touted as an important method for leadership development, but surprisingly little research has focused on how to improve mentoring specifically for leader development. In this study 230 managers involved in a mentoring relationship assessed their leadership development as an outcome of a mentoring relationship. Hierarchical regression investigating the role of mentor relationship quality showed that social, emotional, and cognitive facets of relationship quality related to greater leader development. Moreover, the more that mentors presented relational challenges to their mentee (Ensher & Murphy, 2010), the more likely the mentee was to develop leadership skills, and this process partially occurred through increased developmental efficacy. A third finding with implications for both mentoring and leadership literatures is that the type of mentoring, supervisory or traditional, had no main effect on reported measures of relationship quality, but there was a two-way interaction showing that mentoring challenges had different effects on leader development if used by direct supervisors or traditional mentors. The implications of supervisory mentoring for enhancing leader development are discussed.

Dr. Karen Ford, Daisha Merritt (Doctoral Graduate Assistant)

Rural communities have a growing homeless population (9% of the homeless population was rural in 2007 according to National Coalition for the Homeless).  The increased demand for skilled labor, lack of educational resources, systemic poverty, and decrease in the labor market in rural areas coupled with recent reductions in housing availability have moved the once urban problem of homelessness into smaller  communities across the country.  Because rural homelessness does not fit prescribed definitions of homelessness, and is exacerbated by the fact that, like the need for many other vital services in rural areas where the need is present but the infrastructure to meet the need is not (Allard 2009), there are fewer shelters and services available to homeless and the temporarily homeless in rural areas.  According to the National Coalition for the Homeless in rural areas “people experiencing homelessness are less likely to live on the street or in a shelter and more likely to live in a car or camper, or with relatives in overcrowded or substandard housing” which hides the problem from public view and therefore public consciousness.

The research will conclude by offering policy recommendations for addressing funding concerns at the federal (and state) level in addition to offering strategies for rural and micropolitan organizations to improve their ability to address the needs of growing homelessness. 

Research will be presented by Dr. Karen Ford and Dr. Margaret Sloan at this year’s ARNOVA conference, November 15-17 in Indiana.