Summit Institutional Repository @ PSU

Summit Institutional Repository @ Plymouth State University is a digital repository for gathering, indexing, preserving, and making available a treasury of research and scholarly work generated by PSU faculty, students and staff. Based on the principle of Open Access, one of Summit's key missions is to ensure that these scholarly and creative endeavors are accessible to the widest possible audience.

These collections are freely available, organized, made accessible by PSU's Lamson Library. They demonstrate the summit of academic production at the University and its commitment to encourage transformational teaching and connected learning, to advance the Plymouth State University motto - Ut prosim (That I may serve). The content is available to be used responsibly under fair use US copyright law for personal and educational purposes or with the permission of the authors and/or copyright holders. For more information about submitting your work to Summit, please contact us at

Recent Submissions

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    "Canning" Social Capital: Rural Literacy, Community Resilience, and Solving the Rural Schools Problem
    (2023-12-20) Robinson, Sean
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Sean R. Robinson for the degree of Doctor of Education Presented on November 30, 2023 Title: "Canning" Social Capital: Rural Literacy, Community Resilience, and Solving the Rural Schools Prpblem Abstract Approved: November 29, 2023 Scott Mantie, Ph.D., Dissertation Committee Chair Over the last fifty years, populations in the northern and western counties of New Hampshire have decreased. As part of a nationwide phenomenon that has been under study for decades, the concern for learning in rural communities has been of national interest for much longer. Literature in the fields of rural education, rural literacy, and community resilience suggests a link between rural educational practices and social capital-the intangible attachments that link, bridge, and bond people, communities, and the government and allows communities to face socioeconomic challenges. This study investigated the relationship was between educational practices in public high schools in the rural counties of New Hampshire and the social capital of the communities that support them. A convergent mixed-methods study was designed to identify curriculum and learning in public high schools inside the study area, and to identify the level of social capital of each school district. Qualitative methodology including questionnaires, semi­ structured interviews, and document analysis were used to identify ways in which schools developed social capital. Quantitative methodology used the Social Capital Index to use publicly available census data to identify social capital for each district. The study found that while school districts provided a variety of opportunities for students to develop social capital, schools who worked with their communities as sites of learning had communities with higher social capital than those who viewed their communities predominantly as funding sources.
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    Assessment of the Impact of Senate Bill 18(2007) on High School Dropout in New Hampshire: A Theory of Change
    (2023-08-31) Gall , Amy
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Amy E. Gall for the degree of Doctor of Education Presented on July 26, 2023 Title: Assessment of the Impact of Senate Bill 18(2007) on High School Dropout in New Hampshire: A Theory of Change Abstract approved: July 31, 2023 Annette M. Holba, PhD, Dissertation Chair There are extensive negative generationally perpetuating consequences related to high school dropout including economic, health, relationship, parenting, criminal justice, community engagement, tax revenue, and public welfare effects which disproportionately impact minority groups. In 2007 the New Hampshire legislature enacted Senate Bill 18, a statewide dropout prevention measure which effectively raised the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 and created alternative learning plans for students who would otherwise drop out. The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy of that policy change, using a Theory of Change to compare measurable outcomes with the intentions of policymakers who worked to enact the change. Empirical evidence indicated that raising the compulsory school attendance age had mixed and sometimes ambiguous results that could lead to either increasing or decreasing dropout rates. This study found that raising the compulsory school attendance age in New Hampshire did not have much effect on dropout and completion rates, as state data reports demonstrated these rates were already improving before passage and implementation of SB18(2007) and continued to do so at analogous rates afterward. A survey of school districts revealed that many districts are offering a wide range of dropout prevention services and programs.
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    (2023-08) Connelly, Brittany
    ABSTRACT DOWNWARD TRENDS OF SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2 ) EMISSIONS IN THE NORTHEAST DUE TO THE CLEAN AIR ACT: A CLIMATOLOGY OF THE REDUCTION OF ACID RAIN by Brittany C. Connelly M.S. in Applied Meteorology, Plymouth State University, August 2023 Anthropogenic emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) are primarily caused the by burning of sulfur containing fossil fuels at power plants for heat and power generation. Emitted SO2 reacts with oxygen (O2 ) in the atmosphere to form the secondary pollutant sulfate (SO4 ). Acid rain formation is the result of a change in atmospheric chemistry when SO4 combines with water vapor (H2 O) in the air to form sulfuric acid (H2 SO4 ). The Clean Air Act (CAA) was federally implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate hazardous air emissions which initiated the creation of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and the environment. Individual states are required to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create state implementation plans (SIPs) in order to comply with NAAQS which, help regulate and decrease air pollution. This study contains a meteorological background of the transport of SO2 emissions from power plants from the Midwest to the Northeast. There are three main components to this study: a 10-year analysis of the trends in hourly SO2 concentrations in the Northeast compared to wind direction, a case study comparing SO4 concentrations to two days that have different meteorological conditions that impact winds, and a 35-year climatological analysis in acid rain trends throughout the Northeast. Environmental and human health impacts of SO2 as a primary air pollutant, in addition to the secondary air pollutants that result from SO2 emissions such as SO4 and acid rain, are discussed, indicating the importance in SO2 emission regulations of the CAA. Annual hourly SO2 concentrations at two Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) sites at Lawrenceville, PA and Londonderry, NH show a gradual decrease from 2012 to 2021. Higher SO2 concentrations were measured when winds were from the south or southwest with exception of Lawrenceville, PA site that had the greatest SO2 concentrations from the northwest which is influenced by surrounding topography. The case study for this study analyzes daily SO4 concentrations from different wind directions on two days in the summer of 2022 at the same two IMPROVE sites that were analyzed for SO2 concentrations. When winds were from the north on 1 July 2022, the measured SO4 concentrations were 1.838 μg/m 3 at the Lawrenceville, PA site and 1.508 μg/m 3 at the Londonderry, NH site. When winds were from the southwest on 12 August 2022, the measured SO4 concentrations were 0.188 μg/m 3 at the Lawrenceville, PA site and 0.315 μg/m 3 at the Londonderry, NH site. Lastly, the acid rain climatological analysis of 19 National Trends Network (NTN) sites throughout the Northeast show an increase in precipitation pH and a decrease in SO4 concentrations between 1985 and 2020 at all 19 sites.
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    This Was All Us: The Experience of Middle School Youth Engaging in YPAR Within Their White Community.
    (2023-12) Carlson, Rebecca
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Rebecca Carlson for the degree of Doctor of Education presented on June 19, 2023. Title: This Was All Us: The Experience of Middle School Youth Engaging in YPAR Within Their White Community. Abstract approved: ____________________________________________ Annette M. Holba Dissertation Committee Chair This phenomenological study examines the experience of middle school youth at a small public school in New Hampshire as they engaged in youth participatory action research (YPAR) designed to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within their predominantly White suburban community. This study centered the 22 participants’ perspectives by employing only the students’ written or spoken words for first and second cycle coding. Data sources included small group and individual semi-structured interviews and student presentations. The themes of agency and developmental relationships permeate these findings. The ideal YPAR outcome of praxis was not realized, however, and an explanation for that shortcoming is explored. The central findings of this study provide educational leaders an effective model for YPAR opportunities within a public-school setting. They also speak to possible challenges to social justice education created by the current political climate and recommend steps educational leaders should take to support students and educators engaging in social justice work.
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    Examining Student Departure: A qualitative program evaluation of the Ascent program at Plymouth State University
    (2023-05-12) Grant, Rebecca
    AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Rebecca A. Grant for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning and Community Presented on March 29, 2023 Title: Examining Student Departure: A Qualitative Program Evaluation of the Ascent Program at Plymouth State University Abstract approved: __________________________________________ Roxana Wright, Ph.D., Dissertation Committee Chair The purpose of this qualitative evaluation was to understand how the Ascent program, a bridge initiative at Plymouth State University, programmatically addressed institutional concerns regarding student retention and persistence during its three-year pilot phase, according to the perceptions of past participants, faculty, and administrators. The evaluation was designed to provide an opportunity for direct stakeholders to articulate their authentic perceptions of the efficacy of the Ascent program as an initiative developed to mitigate student departure. To gain this insight, a focus group was conducted with prior Ascent students who are now in mentorship roles in the program, and semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with Ascent instructors and administrators. Many student participants articulated that their participation in the program aided in their transition to college, provided valuable social support, and increased self-confidence. Additionally, it was found that student mentorship, increased academic advising and advocacy, and exposure to campus resources were successful aspects of the programmatic structure. While the Ascent program was not found to have mitigated student departure, the successful aspects of the program that should be considered for implementation in future departure mitigation efforts include increasing student support through building positive relationships with faculty and peers, implementing rigorous advising practices, and providing opportunities for foundational academic skill building. The findings from this study may inform future retention and persistence initiatives at Plymouth State University and may provide insight for other institutions of higher education that are working to address student attrition.

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