From barriers to international entrepreneurship to counseling students’ self-awareness, Walden Faculty Research Initiative Grant recipients will investigate a range of issues.

January 2012—In support of research that produces real-world solutions, Walden University awarded 18 faculty members the 2011 Faculty Research Initiative Grant, totaling almost $120,000. The grants provide seed money for the development of faculty research agendas.
Walden University congratulates the following individuals for their standout research:

Identifying Discrepancies between Expertise and Expert Status in Academic Virtual Communities of PracticeBeate Baltes

  • Co-principal Investigators: Dr. Beate Baltes, Dr. Nic Nistor and Dr. George Smeaton, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
  • Grant Amount: $19,700
  • Project Abstract: An online university facilitates the interaction of faculty and the relationships they develop in virtual Communities of Practice (vCoP) to encourage collegial relationships. These communities act as places for teaching and learning along with knowledge construction, negotiation and expansion among the participants. However, the computer-mediated communication may lead to discrepancies between members’ expertise and their expert status. The purpose of the proposed study is to identify these discrepancies to minimize them. Further knowledge of the actual interactions will foster positive social change by facilitating the formation of bottom-up social structures that allow members to share their experiences, expertise, resources and best practices.

Barriers to Successful Entrepreneurship for Women in Ukraine

Edward Garten

  • Co-principal Investigators: Dr. Edward Garten and Dr. John Johnson, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
  • Grant Amount: $20,000
  • Project Abstract: Nineteen years have passed since Ukraine declared its independence. The country has made real progress in shifting toward the free-market economy and democratization. However, many problems still remain, including high barriers to entrepreneurship and traditional views of women as the “weaker” gender. The purpose of this study will be to identify the common barriers female entrepreneurs face in Ukraine and develop guidelines to help them overcome each one. The study will help women who are excluded from the business life of their country leverage their talents and provide support for those who depend on them in the local economy.

The Genre of Instructor Feedback in Doctoral Programs: A Corpus Linguistic Analysis

  • Kelly Jo WaltersCo-principal Investigators: Dr. Steve Vinella and Dr. Kelley Jo Walters, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
  • Grant Amount: $14,910
  • Project Abstract: Providing transparent written feedback to doctoral students may be essential to the learning process and preparation for the capstone. It may be even more critical in an online environment where face-to-face interaction is limited. The purpose of this study is to conduct a qualitative exploration of faculty feedback on benchmark written assignments in an online doctoral program. This study seeks to: Describe the types and frequency of feedback; analyze if there is a relationship between embedded feedback and summative feedback and identify if other methods are used to convey feedback to students.

A Study of the Impact of Drum Circle Participation on Self-Awareness in Counseling Students

Stephanie Scott   Nina Spadaro   Stephanie J.W. Ford

  • Co-principal Investigators: Dr. Stephanie Scott, Dr. Nina Spadaro and Dr. Stephanie J.W. Ford, School of Counseling and Social Service
  • Grant Amount: $3,989
  • Project Abstract: This study will explore the impact of drum circle participation on the personal development of counseling students in the areas of internal self-awareness, external self-awareness and empowerment. The study will explore the impact of experiencing drum circle participation from the student’s perspective through structured interviews. The findings will help counselor educators better understand how drum circles impact counseling students as a means of advancing counselor development and improving counseling education programming.

Entrepreneurship Sustainability for Ethnic Enterprise: A Case Study

Alvin Perry

  • Co-principal Investigators: Dr. Emad Rahim, School of Management, Dr. Darrell Burrell, School of Health Sciences, along with Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) student Alvin Perry
  • Grant Amount: $19,400
  • Project Abstract: Many Cambodians who have migrated to the United States are faced with the burden of providing financial support for family members overseas. A report conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank estimated that in 2006 immigrants residing in the United States sent an average of $45 billion to support family members living overseas. The responsibility for supporting family members while simultaneously maintaining living expenses in the United States can be financially overwhelming and unsustainable. This study will gather information found in the delivery of an entrepreneurship boot camp program, which will be developed to integrate case-study methods and business counseling in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Program-Level Evaluative Learning Experiences in Nursing Doctoral Programs

  • Jody EarlySandra BeverPrincipal Investigator: Dr. Eric Anderson, School of Nursing with co-principal investigators Dr. Jody Early and Dr. Sandra Bever, School of Health Sciences
  • Grant Amount: $13,185
  • Project Abstract: Doctoral education has experienced unprecedented challenges in the 21st century. Program-level evaluative learning experiences (PELEs) such as qualifying exams and dissertations are historic traditions in doctoral programs, but their value in preparing students to conduct meaningful scholarship following graduation has been questioned. This study proposes to explore the PELEs used in nursing doctoral programs in the United States to determine how they are used as well as learn about their perceived efficacy in aiding the development of nurse scholar-practitioners.

Automated Essay Scoring for Doctoral Level Writing Readiness: Mass Customization and Writing Profiles

  • Jennifer SmolkaPrincipal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Smolka, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, with co-principal investigator Dr. Laurel Walsh, College of Undergraduate Studies
  • Grant Amount: $18,450
  • Project Abstract: The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership doctoral students exhibited an observed pattern when their writing readiness scores were assessed in an initial course: 5% of the students were identified as candidates for a curricular intervention. By using this pattern in identifying writing skill deficits to create profiles of writing readiness, the college is now able to provide a prescriptive writing intervention to 100% of entering students. This study will investigate the efficacy of the mass customization delivery model for remediation.

Engaging and Persistence Factors in Pursuing a Higher Degree in Online Programs Among Graduate Students with Disabilities

Principal Investigator: Dr. Susana Verdinelli, School of Psychology
Grant Amount: $9,900
Project Abstract: Students with disabilities face a number of obstacles to completing their graduate education and tend to graduate at a lower rate than students without disabilities, and a growing number of adult learners with disabilities are enrolling in online graduate programs. Understanding the factors that contribute to academic persistence in online environments may help educational institutions better meet these students’ needs, improve their academic experiences, and increase their retention rate. This qualitative study aims to understand the reasons that lead graduate students with disabilities to enroll in online programs and identify the factors that promote or inhibit their persistence in these programs.

About the Faculty Research Initiative Grant

The Faculty Research Initiative Grant program is open to all faculty members who have been employed by Walden for a minimum of six months. Grant funds can be used to support pilot research projects and small-scale research studies and to supplement new areas of investigation that are spin-off studies or substudies of larger ongoing research projects.