Stacey Shears, the Disability Support Services Manager at Diablo Valley College, has completed her doctorate program in educational leadership at San Francisco State University (SFSU). California State University system was recently granted permission to offer educational doctoral degrees independent of the UC system, and Stacey was part of the first cohort of the SFSU Educational Leadership Ed.D. program.
Stacey took a sabbatical leave during spring term 2010 to finish her dissertation, a study titled, “Understanding African American Community College Transfer Students’ Experiences: A Qualitative Study.”
She was awarded an Ed.D. in educational leadership, and attended the SFSU College of Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership Recognition Ceremony.
Stacey earned her B.A. degree in Latin American Caribbean Studies from the City College of New York, and her M.S. degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island. She was hired at DVC in 2002 as Disability Support Services Counselor.
“I wanted to understand more about African American community college students’ interpersonal experiences with transfer since they are one of the groups with lowest transfer rates throughout the state. And I wanted to accentuate successful transfer outcomes within this group of community college students,” Stacey said, in explaining how she chose her topic.
She said the work on the doctorate coursework and dissertation “improved my writing skills and my ability to understand how to help underrepresented students with transfer success. It also helped me understand how racism and ethnicity impact community college students in the District.”
Dr. Helen Hyun, SFSU chair of Shears’ dissertation committee, said “Her important study has the potential to improve practice by reconceptualizing student services and campus climate to better serve African American students in higher education. It will also contribute to the theoretical literature on Critical Race Theory.”
Helen and Stacey plan to publish the findings of her dissertation study and present at the American Educational Researchers Association Annual Convention in April 2011.