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College of Health, Education and Human Development

HEHD PH.D. Earns SACSA's Dissertation of the Year

Rebecca Caldwell, Ph.D. is the recipient of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA)’s Dissertation of the Year for her study Chief Student Affairs Officers’ Interpretation and Implementation of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age and the Amethyst Initiative: A Discursive Analysis.
Rebecca Caldwell, Ph.D. a 2012 graduate of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education Educational Leadership in Higher Education program is the recipient of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA)’s Dissertation of the Year for her study Chief Student Affairs Officers’ Interpretation and Implementation of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age and the Amethyst Initiative: A Discursive Analysis.

The primary purpose of this study was to explore how CSAOs describe the impact of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) (1984) on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related issues on college and university campuses. The secondary purpose was to describe the impact of the Amethyst Initiative (AI) (2008) on CSAOs who work on campuses that did and did not sign the AI. This study was among the first to use a scholarly approach to examine the perspective of CSAOs, the top college campus officials charged to oversee alcohol abuse prevention efforts, on the MLDA. CSAOs in this study defined the problem of alcohol abuse for their campuses as dangerous and irresponsible drinking, as opposed to underage drinking. With the problem behavior defined differently, CSAOs and proponents of the MLDA defined different strategies to address the problem.

Dr. Caldwell is the Director of Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Rebecca leads UNCW CARE, an interpersonal violence prevention and intervention program, and CROSSROADS, UNCW’s Substance Abuse Prevention & Education Program. Rebecca has authored over 1.5 million dollars in grants focused on gender-based alcohol prevention, campus-high school prevention partnerships, and campus violence prevention, including a 2009 promising model program designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

Rebecca graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1995, earned an M.S. in Counseling & Human Resource Development from South Dakota State University in 2000, and completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from Clemson in 2012. Dr. Pam Havice was Rebecca’s Dissertation Chair.

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