Student and Faculty Research

Community CampusCurrent Undergraduate Research
Public Sociology students are currently participating in community based research at the Community Campus. Under the direction of Dr. Kristen DeVall, four groups of student researchers are examining the overall theme of access to resources or the lack thereof. The resources that teams are researching are afterschool programming, continuing education, employment and child care.

The following research questions have been identified:

  1. What factors affect low-income youth participation in afterschool programs?
  2. What barriers impede the most to the access to high education?
  3. How do structural factors limit the access to employment in low income neighborhoods?
  4. What are the barriers to accessing quality child care?

Current Graduate Research
Through her internship as the campus coordinator at Hillcrest, Kimberly Lancaster is focusing her thesis research on Community University Partnerships, specifically the Community Campus. She is investigating the history, implementation process and organizational structure that are currently in place. Kimberly will receive her MA in Public Sociology based on this research.

Previous Undergraduate Research
The 2010 Public Sociology students researched a variety of topics that aide in the formation and growth of community capacity. Led by Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, six different research areas were investigated producing a total of seven final research projects. Their research was presented to the Wilmington City Council, at the UNCW Undergraduate Research Symposium, and selected to represent UNCW at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference in Richmond. In addition, this research was published in a peer-reviewed journal article.

  1. Nutrition and Food Security in Resource-Poor Housing
  2. A Case Study: YouthBuild Program Informs High School Counseling Program
  3. Community-University Partnerships and Building Community Capacity, an Evaluation of the Community Campus at Hillcrest
  4. Increasing Human Capital in Resource Poor Communities
  5. Seniors and Social Isolation and Loneliness
  6. Possible Social Factors Influencing High School Drop Outs
  7. Early Childhood Intervention Programs

The 2009 Public Sociology student research examined the theoretical concept of building community capacity. This class was the first group of students to participate in an onsite learning experience at the Community Campus. Under the direction of Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, students worked conscientiously to build relationships with community residents and formed their research topics with input from residents. The projects examined key issues impacting community capacity in low-resource neighborhoods focusing on the local education system, transportation, health and nutrition and community gardening. There were five final research projects. Their research was presented to the Wilmington City Council, at the UNCW Undergraduate Research Symposium, and selected to represent UNCW at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference in Maryland.

  1. Bringing Parents and Schools Together in Low Income Communities
  2. Low Income Guardians’ Views on School Involvement
  3. Transportation in Resource Poor Areas in Wilmington, NC
  4. Community Gardening as a Means of Health Intervention in Low Income Communities in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. A Case Study: Growing Healthy Students

Previous Graduate Research
Jess McDonald, criminology and public sociology, completed her graduate thesis work on the Hillcrest Reading Program. She reviewed the first year of the Hillcrest Reading Program and analyzed related state education policies. Her analysis investigates the statistical significance of the program participants’ progress compared to local elementary school control groups, one of which utilizes whole language instruction methodologies; the other applies a curricular wide, group direct instruction approach. Upon investigation she found that reading program participants made significantly more progress than the control groups. Jess’ thesis can be found in full at the Randall Library.

Faculty Research
The Hillcrest Reading Program research team is led by John Rice, sociology and criminology and Martin Kozloff, education leadership. They are evaluating the progress of children who are participating in the Hillcrest Reading Program. Control groups have been formed and comparisons are being made between control group members and Hillcrest Reading Program participants. A final research paper has not yet been completed; however, two years of findings are included in their Executive Summary Reports. For more information about their research, please visit the Hillcrest Reading Program web site.


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