Dissertation Defense Announcements

Candidate Name: Wendy C. Long
 May 06, 2022  11:00 AM
Location: Zoom

Employee overqualification is becoming increasingly relevant in a post-pandemic world. While there have been theoretical advancements in the overqualification literature, several methodological issues remain unresolved. Specifically, the conceptualization and operationalization of perceived overqualification (POQ) are often not aligned. To date, the perception of overqualification is not yet fully understood. Thus, the main goal of this dissertation is to address these methodological limitations. In Study 1, I refined the scope of POQ by offering an explicit construct conceptualization grounded in person-job fit theory and developed a new scale to measure the multidimensional construct. In Study 2, I validated the psychometric properties of the Perceived Overqualification at Work Scale (POQWS) and explored the relationship of POQ with various work-related outcomes. Taking a person-centric approach, I used latent profile analyses (LPA) to identify different profiles of overqualified employees in Study 3 based on the POQWS dimensions. This study is the first to examine the process by which patterns of variables are identified in POQ profiles and how these combinations differentially relate to outcomes. Results from a series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses clearly supported a four-factor model. In the subsequent study, four distinct profiles emerged from the latent profile analyses. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) provided further criterion-related validity evidence for these four profiles. Taken together, the findings from this dissertation lay the grounds for future person-centered research.

Candidate Name: MiKayla Raines
Title: Customer Success and the Transformation of Customer Relationships
 April 11, 2022  9:00 AM
Location: Zoom

The construct of “customer satisfaction” has been used for several decades in marketing to achieve outcomes such as customer loyalty, word-of-mouth communication, resistance to competition, and customer equity. Recent research, however, has indicated little to no correlation between customer satisfaction and many of these outcomes. A more recent marketing construct is “customer delight,” where affective bonds and positive associations are the foundations for customer relationships. While customer delight has numerous advantages, an important limitation is that it can only be used with certain types of products and consumption situations.
This study introduces the academic construct of “customer success,” an objective tool that could redefine customer relationships, and define it as an objective and mathematically based strategic process to maximize customer-desired outcomes. A long-term customer success strategy is customer-driven and designed to be mutually beneficial to both an organization and its customers. While the construct of customer success has been sporadically used by practitioners in the past, the use of the term has often been arbitrary, and the construct has never been precisely defined.
First, drawing on the reverse logic framework (RLF) of relationship marketing, the customer valuation model, and return on relationships (ROR), this study will use Hunt’s indigenous theory, inductive realist approach to help build the initial theoretical framework for the construct of customer success. Then, this study uses this construct in a government-to-customer (G2C) market scenario to test a series of hypotheses to evaluate government-achieved customer success for COVID-19 pandemic response outcomes. This study will conclude with theoretical and managerial research contributions and provide directions for future research.

Candidate Name: siqi huang
 April 07, 2022  9:00 PM
Location: Online

Resource-hungry applications play a very important role in people's daily lives, such as real-time video streaming applications and mobile augmented reality applications.
However, there are several challenges to satisfy the user Quality-of-Experience (QoE) requirements of resource-hungry applications. First, these applications usually require a vast amount of network bandwidth resources to support the data communication of different functionalities. However, only limited network bandwidth resources can be assigned to these applications which leads to long network latency and poor user QoE. In addition, artificial intelligent (AI) and machine learning (ML) models are widely adopted in these applications which significantly increases the computation complexity of these applications. Because of the limited computing resource on mobile devices, computation-intensive tasks are offloaded to edge servers located at the edge of the core network. However, additional network latency and bandwidth usage are introduced which may degrade user QoE. In this dissertation, the characteristics of popular resource-hungry applications are first analyzed. Then, based on the analyzed characteristics, we propose several specific ally designed algorithms to enhance the performance of several popular resource-hungry applications.

Candidate Name: Allura Pulliam
 April 05, 2022  2:00 PM
Location: Virtual

The manifestations of institutional and interpersonal racism have been linked to lower recruitment, retention and matriculation rates among ethnic minority students in predominantly white institutions (Harper, 2012). Those who experience racial and ethnic microaggressions have been impacted in numerous deleterious ways. Physical, mental, emotional and political outcomes have been examined in prior research (McGee & Stovall, 2016; Smith, Allen & Danley, 2007; Sue, 2010; ). In counselor training programs, specific coursework in multicultural education introduces counselors to the foundational aspects of the Multicultural and Social Justice Advocacy Competencies (Ratts et al, 2016) . Using Critical Race theory as a framework, a non-experimental, correlational survey design was used to explore the relationship between institutional type, perceived experiences of school-based racial and ethnic microaggressions, racialized experiences in multicultural coursework and social justice advocacy orientation among counseling students and professionals (N= 346). A standard multiple regression indicated a significant relationship between the school-based racial and ethnic microaggressions and racialized experience in multicultural coursework with social justice advocacy orientation. However, there was no significant relationship with social justice advocacy orientation and institutional type. Results from an independent sample t- test indicated there were significant differences between institutional type in experiences with school-based racial and ethnic microaggressions and racialized experience in multicultural counseling coursework. There however, was no significant difference between institutional type with regard to the social justice advocacy orientation of participants in this study.

Candidate Name: Sabrina M. Brown
Title: Heritage-seeking and its impact on Black HBCU students
 April 07, 2022  10:00 AM
Location: https://wustl.zoom.us/j/96241646240?pwd=bkNzN3pycERQY1VzNnljdFBzczZGUT09


Study abroad is a high-impact practice in the college and university setting that can lead to increased student engagement and student success. While study abroad participation has increased, it is not a common practice across ethnic demographics or minority-serving institutions. Heritage-seeking is a form of study abroad that allows students of the ethnic minority to learn more about themselves in the context of another country. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to understand what, if any, impact heritage-seeking study abroad had on Black, HBCU students. This study also identified the aspects of heritage-seeking that are important to include in the experience to encourage student success.

This study utilized interviewed six HBCU students who participated in a heritage-seeking experience in Haiti. At the conclusion of the interviews, it was found that heritage-seeking study abroad impacted the students in two ways; it nurtured their university relationships, and it instilled a greater sense of responsibility to the Black community. This study also found that there were three aspects of heritage-seeking instrumental to this type of study abroad program: creating opportunities for students to develop relationships, developing it as an immersive experience; and allowing students the space to self-reflect.

Candidate Name: Raghuveer Gouribhatla
 April 13, 2022  2:00 PM
Location: EPIC 3344

Driver errors are the leading cause and contribute to about 94% of traffic crashes. To mitigate this issue, improve mobility, and enhance safety, automobile manufacturers are striving to develop various types of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These ADAS are designed to assist or in some cases take over certain driving maneuvers. On the other hand, the acceptance levels of ADAS among drivers are questionable. Many surveys determined that drivers are unaware of the applications and limitations of ADAS. While ADAS are designed to enhance safer driving, their indirect effects on driver behavior have been seldom ventured and widely debated.

The focus of this research is on developing different driving scenarios that replicate real-world driving conditions using a driving simulator. Selected participants were prompted to interact with traffic within the simulation environment through a setup equipped with warning (lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, and over speed warning) or automated (lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control) features. The responses of participants when driving a vehicle with warning features, advanced features, and without ADAS in the simulation were captured, analyzed, and compared to understand their effects. The findings are valuable insights to automobile manufacturers as well as policymakers to better design ADAS such that their applicability is streamlined from both safety and user perspective.

Candidate Name: Jonathan Koerber
Title: Characterization of Broadband Optical Functionality of Freeform Optics.
 April 08, 2022  2:00 PM
Location: Grigg 238

Candidate Name: Erin Godly-Reynolds
Title: The School Environment Project: Measuring Key Elements of School Climate and Culture in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
 April 05, 2022  12:00 PM
Location: Zoom

Previous research has investigated the school context using conceptualizations of two constructs, school culture and school climate, that appear to overlap and contain measurement flaws, limiting their utility in applied research settings. To improve learning conditions and promote more equitable academic opportunities and outcomes for students in grades 3-8, the Charlotte, NC, community would benefit from a standard system of measurement that captures the essential elements of school climate and culture that local stakeholders believe matter most for students to succeed in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). CMS does not currently administer a comprehensive school culture or climate survey. The present study aimed to address that need. Through a multiphase, participatory community research project, a coherent, parsimonious, and clear conceptualization of school environment emerged, setting the stage for the development and initial validation of the School Environment Survey.

This collaborative effort involved the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources via a partnership involving the Community Psychology Research Lab at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and two community partners: CMS and a nonprofit organization, Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. During the first phase of this project, essential elements of school climate and culture were reviewed, analyzed, and discussed during interviews and focus groups with 126 local stakeholders until the broader construct of school environment had been defined as a category of concepts that reflect the surroundings or conditions in which people operate in school. With this broad definition of school environment as the underlying, multidimensional construct, five applicable concepts (i.e., domains; see Kohl et al., 2013; Wang & Degol, 2016) were hypothesized to make up school environment: academics, safety, shared vision, community, and physical environment. Multiple participatory steps led to the development of 131 items hypothesized and designed to reflect 16 identified dimensions of school environment, organized into these five domains.

The resulting measure was piloted online with 186 teacher participants during the 2020-2021 school year. Exploratory factor analysis results suggest that within the boundary conditions of this effort (i.e., a focus on two CMS learning communities, the inclusion of teachers from grades 3-8, data collected during school year 2020-2021), a 25-item School Environment Survey that captures three domains (academics, safety, and shared vision) may be a useful indicator of teachers’ perceptions of school environment. That model explained 55% of the total variance and, notably, items that performed well on the resulting version of the measure cover nearly the entire hypothesized breadth of the concept as it was defined and operationalized by stakeholders; reliability estimates met or exceeded acceptable thresholds; and school environment results were found to positively relate to student learning outcomes (specifically, standardized tests in reading and math for students in grades 3-8).

However, this study had a relatively small sample size that prevented researchers from conducting a confirmatory factor analysis, and COVID-19 presented additional challenges and limitations. Therefore, in addition to an overview of specific advantages and the empirical and theoretical support for the current version of the School Environment Survey, recommendations for ongoing validation are provided as well as considerations of the implications for local practice.

Candidate Name: Craig Phillip Cardella
 April 06, 2022  3:00 PM
Location: Remote Zoom meeting

Project Management activities have become an integral part of almost every organization. Most
of the effort on a project tends to occur in the middle of a project with a substantial focus on the
planning and execution phases, but with limited emphasis on the closing or termination aspect.
Terminating a project has intrinsic and extrinsic organizational effects that need to be
acknowledged and addressed at the end of a project lifecycle. Even successfully completed
projects require post-project analysis to fully realize the benefit of the experience attained at the
end of a project. The learning that occurs augments or improves business processes,
technological capabilities, senior management trust, and can mitigate current and future
stakeholder issues. This dissertation intends to heighten the awareness of the importance
of project termination activities to insight commitment of resources from organizations for
closing efforts. The intention of this dissertation is to measure the effects of project termination
quality from the viewpoint of the project management community. Execution of a quality
project termination promotes organizational learning that strengthens the relationship between
organization’s capabilities and future project management success.

Candidate Name: Arnab J Baruah
Title: A Novel Bulk Acoustic Wave based Super-harmonic Quadrature Voltage Control Oscillator
 April 05, 2022  3:00 PM
Location: EPIC 2354

As the demand for wireless connectivity increases, new power and area efficient solutions will be required to meet the specifications of these systems. Most transceivers require a local oscillator with quadrature(I/Q) phases and the power and noise specifications of this oscillator plays a crucial role in the system performance. Although traditionally these oscillators were designed using on chip LC components, recent advances in manufacturing have opened the possibilities of incorporating Bulk Acoustic Wave(BAW) resonators in the design of such oscillators. In this work, we introduce a novel coupling technique for creating a Quadrature Voltage Controlled Oscillator(QVCO) which leads to a lower phase noise and power consumption compared to other published designs.