Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Dr. Edmund Hamann

Second Advisor

Dr. Guy Trainin

Third Advisor

Dr. Lauren Gatti

Date of this Version

Winter 12-1-2020


Moser, S. (2020). Struggling student teachers: Interventions for support and success. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]. UNL Campus Repository.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of the Educational Doctorate, Major: Educational Studies Specialization in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning, Under the Supervision of Professor Edmund Hamann. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 1, 2020

Copyright © 2020 Sheree M. Moser


Teacher shortages in K-12 schools have created unique challenges for teacher preparation programs. University instructors face the task requirements of supporting candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds at the undergraduate and graduate level. While some of these candidates enter higher education programs skilled, eager, and committed, others are less prepared, requiring significant attention to make it through the program. Exams required by state departments of education and minimum grade point averages influence each candidate’s ability to move forward within the program, causing some students to experience additional struggles related to mental health and financial burdens.

The problem of practice addressed in this dissertation identifies common struggles of students enrolled in four Career and Technical Education (CATE) programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and thus common struggles for their teacher educators. All of these CATE programs share a common content designation within state and national policies, and strategies were examined that faculty use to support struggling students throughout their time as teacher candidates.

This study consisted of two parts methodologically. In Part One, a narrative case study was conducted to examine the progress and struggles of a single student, hereafter referred to as Josie. That research laid the groundwork for Part Two, in which three formal interviews were completed with faculty running CATE programs to gather initial qualitative data to identify common struggles faced in all content areas.

A qualitative methodology was used to document interview results. Each interview was summarized based on question categories, similarities, and differences were highlighted to identify checkpoints and interventions that have worked well for teacher education candidates, as well as common themes of struggle and intervention. Consistent with a ‘dissertation-in-practice' study that proposes application as well as diagnosis, a letter to the college deans with CATE TPP colleagues was created to share information related to program status and structure.

Advisor: Dr. Edmund Hamann