Education Edge » McNamee Awarded Dissertation of the Year by The American Educational Research Association


McNamee Awarded Dissertation of the Year by The American Educational Research Association

by Leslie Joblin on February 12, 2024

Scholar inspires colleagues to implement policies and practices that support students from rural and working-class backgrounds.

Ty McNamee, assistant professor of higher education, has been awarded the 2024-2024 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J Dissertation of the Year Award.

The mission of the division is to increase awareness about timely issues that influence postsecondary education.

McNamee was selected from a pool of 24 faculty-nominated doctoral graduates from more than 15 U.S. universities.

McNamee’s dissertation focuses on the challenges and opportunities specific to students entering higher education from rural, poor, and working-class backgrounds.

“Very few studies have critically evaluated rural students’ transition from poor and working-class backgrounds into college,” said Roy Y. Chan, chair of the selection committee and assistant professor of education at Lee University in Tennessee.

Smiling man in blazer and jeans stands in front of a poster.

“Dr. McNamee’s qualitative work inspires us as teacher-scholars and practitioners to implement policies, procedures and practices that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion for minoritized and marginalized groups in postsecondary education.”

The review committee evaluated submissions using six data points: clarity of purpose; clarity of research questions; synthesis of relevant literature and theory; research design and rigor; presentation of data findings; and the implications for Higher Education research, policy, and/or practice.

“Dr. McNamee’s dissertation stood out by the quality and depth of his writing, as well as the originality and unique contribution to the field of higher education,” said Chan, who directs the master’s degree in higher education administration program at Lee.

McNamee continues to study the supports and policies that can help students from rural and working-class backgrounds succeed in higher education.

Since completing his dissertation, he has obtained two grants that will enable study of rural students experiences at Wyoming community colleges and an R1 university in the South. Find more on these studies here.