Department of Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations

Research Highlights

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Educational game presented at Student Success Symposium

Dr. Noah Schroeder, assistant professor in LDR, was awarded a Research Initiation Grant from Research and Sponsored Programs (with the CEHS’s support) to develop a Student-centered Interactive Modular Performance-based Learning Environment (SIMPLE). In essence, SIMPLE is an educational game that can be used in different content domains with minimal modification.   Kenneth Deffet, an undergraduate student in the Fine Arts program, is working on the development of the first level within SIMPLE. Thanks to his hard work, the visual development of the first level is rapidly progressing. Dr. Schroeder and Kenneth are currently working on fine-tuning the level, such as adjustments to the lighting, props, and sound effects. More in-depth programming will take place during the upcoming school year, as will the first research study. A playable version of the game was presented at the Student Success Symposium on August 25, 2015.  If you have any questions about the project please don’t hesitate to contact Noah Schroeder at

LDR Facutly present research at Student Success Symposium

Dr. Sheri Stover presented a roundtable session at the Teaching for Student Success Symposium: Reducing the Achievement Gap on August 25th, 2015. Her roundtable, "Designing Classes using Brain-Based Learning Principles" discussed learning strategies involving retrieval-based learning, where students are required to actively recall answers without prompting or clues. The session included examples of teaching methodologies and technologies that can be used in the classroom, including retrieval-based learning and spaced study that can increase students' course-relevant long-term memory.  Dr. Stover also presented a poster, "Student Perceptions Regarding the Efficacy of Clicker Technologies."  Her poster received first place in the category, "Assessing Student Success." 

Dr. Stephanie Davis also presented a roundtable session, "Help! Teaching Practices that Enhance Student Engagement."  Her session focused on what happens when faculty and students perceive learning as a shared endeavor, which strengthens retention and course completion. Dr. Davis led a discussion on theory and practice of pedagogy to help faculty engage students in course and program content, and increasing student understanding of expectation, completing high quality assignments and particpating in learning.  

Freshman Focus study results shared

Wright State University College of Education and Human Services recently formed an alliance with Milton-Union High School, West Milton, Ohio, to study Freshmen Focus, the high school’s nationally-recognized mentorship program led by upperclassmen to decrease the dropout rate.

Implemented in 2007, Freshmen Focus was developed to assist and retain ninth grade students in the high school environment. The study was completed by Mrs. Nancy Clark (MSLD, 2015) as part of her graduate capstone project.  The project team was comprised of Dr. Sharon Heilmann (LDR), Dr. Adrianne Johnson (HS) and Mrs. Ryan Taylor (Internship and Community Engagement Coordinator).  A CEHS $1000 mini-grant supported the project.  Results from the study have resulted in two conference paper acceptances at the Midwest Academy of Management (a paper solo-authored by Mrs. Clark has been nominated for a best paper award) as well as being accepted to the National Network on Education Renewal Conference in Chico California.

The WSU research was the first quantitative and qualitative study of the Freshmen Focus program, which demonstrated an increase  in students' emotional attachment to their school, as well as  increasing students' GPA's and graduation rates. 


Grant Awarded

Dr. Roxanne DuVivier and Dr. Mindy McNutt received a Research Initiation Grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  Along with graduate assistant Jason Farkas, this funding is assisting with their research on university student and military personnel personal values and perceptions of organizational culture. The ultimate outcome of this preliminary data gathering will be to apply for federal grants related to values and cultural factors that may give rise to sexual assault on university campuses and military bases.


Faculty in the Leadership Studies Department were actively involved in research during the 2013-2014 academic year

At the end of February 2014, the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) released a new report, “The Impact of the Relationship between OTES and OPES on Principal and Teacher Evaluations,” co-authored by Drs. Jill Lindsey, LDR Chair and Professor, and Suzanne Franco, LDR Professor, along with Dr. Ted Zigler at Ohio Dominican University.  The study examined both RttT and non-RttT schools from across the state to study the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) and Ohio Principal Evaluation System (OPES) implementation impacts on student growth measures adopted by districts, how student growth measures were selected, how the measures impacted performance metrics, and the effects of these evaluation measures on educators.

In early April 2014, Dr. Franco and Dr. Lindsey presented their research on student growth measures use in educator evaluation in Ohio at the 2014 Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia.  They were joined by fellow researchers Dr. Ani Rhul and Dr. Marsha Lewis from The Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs at Ohio University.

Dr. Sheri Stover is researching in the area of Scholarship and Teaching in her own classes and with other faculty. Within her own classes she is studying Project-Based Learning and the use of rubrics for formative feedback. With other faculty (WSU and other universities) she is examining the Scholarship of Teaching with a variety of themes: the use of Poll Everywhere, the use of Clickers, Flipping Classrooms, and Online Teaching and Learning, to name a few.

Dr. Sharon Heilmann is working with West Milton High School administrators on Freshman Focus (mentorship program) to analyze program effectiveness outcomes. She is also working on a grant application for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Rural Veteran Coordination Pilot to service the veterans. Dr. Heilmann will collaborate with PAXIS Institute in designing evaluation tools and monitoring research efforts stipulated in the grant proposal which is awaiting award decision. 

Dr. Yoko Miura recently completed a research project about High School Credit Recovery with the Huber Heights school district. She is currently working on a Math Science Proposal to measure the impact of lesson designs on student achievement and was recently funded through the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) to investigate 8th grade to 9th grade transition of Special Needs children. She also recently worked with the WSU College of Engineering to submit an NSF proposal for Research Experience for Undergraduates. 

Dr. Suzanne Franco and Dr. Jill Lindsey completed research regarding the relationship between the implementation of Ohio’s Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems and Performance Funding.  They are continuing 2012-2013 work regarding Student Growth Measures in the Evaluation Systems, student engagement in STEM schools, ONET School Improvement Awards, Beginning Principal Mentoring, and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Drs. Franco and Lindsey also provide program evaluation services for multiple schools and organizations. 


Recent Student Affairs in Higher Education M.A. graduate Olivia Matthews completed her thesis during Spring Semester 2015. It is titled The Transfer Student Experience: Challenges and Institutional Support Systems for Undergraduate Transfer Students at a Public Four-Year University.


The transfer student population is rising on college campuses in the United States. Institutions of higher education should better understand how to support this growing, diverse population. This qualitative study of transfer students investigates what transitional challenges these students face, how they utilize institutional support services to assist them with these challenges, and if they feel appreciated, welcomed, and supported in their new environment. Focus group sessions and a demographic questionnaire were used to obtain data in this study. Participants invited to participate were second term transfer students who began at their current institution during the fall of 2014. Transfer students could not have previously participated in the post-secondary education option (PSEO) or dual enrollment program in high school, and could not be international or permanent resident students. Four participants engaged in the focus groups and were between the ages of 20-32, with three of the participants identifying as female and one as male. All transfer student participants were currently enrolled in an undergraduate program full-time at a mid-size four-year, public university located in the Midwest. Themes that emerged from the sessions included academic advising issues, lack of institutional communication, awareness of support services, and campus culture. Limitations of the study, implications for higher education, suggestions for future research, and recommendations for professionals working in higher education are also addressed.

Keywords: Transfer students, academic advising, support services, campus culture

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