Wendy M. Stack

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This Dissertation won a 2011 Innovative ETD award from the international organization, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. This dissertation incorporates videos, accessible within the PDF.

Dr. Stack is a 2010 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership & Change at Antioch University. She is the Associate Vice President for Access, Innovation and Research and Executive Director of the Center for College Access and Success at Northeastern Illinois University.

Below: At her Dissertation Defense in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Dr. Wendy Stack [left] with her Dissertation Chair, Dr. Carol Baron


parent participation, GEAR UP, student achievement, social capital, mixed methods, quantitative, qualitative, urban, Chicago, transition, elementary, Latino, African Americans, college access, GPA, college aspirations, K-12, leadership

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Nationally, the education pipeline is not preparing enough students for success and high school dropout rates in the nation’s urban areas are alarming. This mixed methods (QUAN→qual) empirical study examines the influence of parent involvement on the academic success of 1,774 GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) students matched to their parents in 21 high schools in Chicago. The results of the regression analyses were presented to focus groups composed of GEAR UP parents and staff to assist in making meaning of the data and to gain deeper insight and understanding of the results. The study results were viewed through the lens of social capital and implications for leadership were drawn for marginalized stakeholders. Parental involvement was measured by the amount of time parents engaged in GEAR UP program activities and the degree to which this involvement is related to their child’s achievement and aspirations for college was studied. The study focused on students and their parents who have been involved in GEAR UP in 8th grade and 9th grade. Student success was measured by 9th grade GPA and 10th grade PLAN Composite Score and Aspirations for College measured by the postsecondary intent question on the PLAN. Regression analysis showed a significant relationship between parent involvement and 9th grade GPA (p


This Dissertation won a 2011 NDLTD Innovative ETD award.