E N D E A V O R S UMD statisticians widen the scope of education research
Teaching abroad in Poland
The role of school networks in intervention studies
Education policy and politics in the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital
SUMMER 2016 + ISSUE 31
THE EDGE OF DISCOVERY
ENDEAVORS SUMMER 2016 + ISSUE 31
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
4 THE EDGE OF DISCOVERY Two UMD statisticians set out to widen the scope of education research
LETTER FROM THE DEAN TEACH ME TO LEARN: HOW MY STUDENTS BECAME TEACHERS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
ALUMNI INTERVIEW: DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON CLASS NOTES
8 CRACKING THE “BLACK BOX”
Examining the role of school networks in intervention studies
10 LINDA VALLI Reflections on 23 years at the College of Education
STAFF EDITOR Joshua Lavender WRITERS Joshua Lavender Cristy Gross Emmy Schafer DESIGN Lynne Menefee
12 DIFFERENT UNIVERSES Connecting the policy world in D.C. with impacts on teaching and learning
PHOTOS Craig Breil Photography University of Maryland Athletics Joshua Lavender Jane West
ADVANCEMENT OFFICE Kurt Sudbrink Assistant Dean of Development Sarah Holmes Davis Donor Relations Coordinator
COVER IMAGE: Dr. Laura Stapleton (EDMS) and Dr. Partha Lahiri (JPSM). Photo by Thai Nguyen.
LETTER FROM THE DEAN Dear College of Education Alumni and Friends, It’s my pleasure to present you with the summer issue of Endeavors! In this special issue, we look at exciting work in quantitative methodology and education policy. The work of our Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation (EDMS) faculty may seem abstruse, but it’s not abstract – it is vital to the quantitative research taking place everywhere in the College. I’m especially proud of one of our rising stars, Dr. Tracy Sweet, whose project on the social networks within schools promises to unpack the mechanisms of educational interventions. Our cover story, “The Edge of Discovery,” delves further into the complexities of statistics. Under a joint MPower grant with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Dr. Laura Stapleton is leading a groundbreaking project to create viable synthetic data from the vast treasure trove housed in the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS). If successful, this work may be revolutionary for longitudinal data systems nationwide, making vast quantities of data available to education researchers without endangering student confidentiality, thus opening doors onto unexplored realms of research. A few years ago, Dr. David Imig and I invited our longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Jane West, to design a course on the practicum of education policy. Described in “Different Universes,” this course offers real-world policy experience to all of our Ph.D. students, as well as master’s students in the School of Public Policy. A former special education teacher, Dr. West links federal policy to everyday realities in the classroom and stresses above all the need for teachers’ voices in the public dialogue. This year, we say our farewells to Dr. Patricia Campbell and Dr. Linda Valli, two beacons in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership. Dr. Valli’s career, detailed in “Reflections,” has been vibrant: she has enlarged our understanding of reflective teacher education, professional development schools, education policy, and the ties between schools and their surrounding communities. I thank Pat and Linda for their tireless service and wish them the very best in retirement. Also in this issue is an interview with Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, an alumnus of our Ph.D. program in Student Affairs. As a diversity consultant, Dr. Washington works to bring people together. If this year’s ongoing political contest and the events of the last few years illustrate anything, it is the value and urgency of such work. This April, I attended a meeting of EDMS alumni at the AERA annual conference in Washington, D.C. I was impressed by the enthusiasm there, by the eagerness of many to reconnect with old friends and find new ones, to share in the future of the program. As we think about future events, I encourage you, our alumni and friends, to tell us how we can help bring you together. It is together that we achieve marvelous things! As ever, all the best,
Donna L. Wiseman Dean SUMMER 2016
Two UMD statisticians set out to widen the scope of education research Dr. Laura Stapleton
BIG QUESTIONS What courses do the most successful college STEM majors take in high school? What are students’ prospects after high school? How many attend a community college? A technical college? A four-year college? What’s the relationship between a student’s mobility between high schools and the likelihood of later enrolling in college? How long does it take high school and college graduates to land their first job? How many are unemployed? In which industries are graduates finding jobs? How much do they earn? For all of these questions – and a plethora of others – how do the trends break down demographically? How do they vary by gender, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status? What characteristics of Maryland’s students and schools might explain differences in outcomes? And how are these trends and outcomes changing over time? How do they change in the wake of new policies? Plenty of heated debate goes on in education policy, but not much of it seems soundly tied to demonstrated causes and effects. What are the causes, and what are the effects?
BIG DATA These are just some of the questions that researchers can address with the benefit of a statewide longitudinal data system. The interpretive power of these data systems is renowned. Since the U.S. Department
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“Longitudinal data allow you to answer questions about development, comparing rates of growth across populations of people over time…” of Education began supporting their development in 2005, most states have invested in them. In 2013, Maryland establishing the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS), a collaborative effort of the College of Education, the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and state agencies. MLDS follows public school students from pre-K to graduation, through higher education at state institutions, and into the workforce, informing education research by tracking and analyzing long-term outcomes to create snapshots of trends. “Longitudinal data allow you to answer questions about development, comparing rates of growth across populations of people over time,” explains Dr. Laura Stapleton, associate director of research at the MLDS Center and an associate professor in the Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation (EDMS) program. “As a simple example, for some kids you may see scores going up, while for others they remain flat or go down – why is that? A type of analysis called growth mixture modeling allows you to examine groups of students by their growth trajectories and evaluate characteristics that might explain their outcomes. For instance, perhaps the students whose scores stayed flat are those who avoided algebra in 9th grade.”
FEARLESS IDEAS Growth mixture modeling identifies usually unobserved subpopulations, examining both longitudinal change within them and variability between them. In essence, it reveals the causes and effects transpiring quietly but inexorably behind the superficial picture of where students presently stand in their academic careers. It is just one example of longitudinal data’s enormous potential to influence the future of education in Maryland. But as anyone brushed up on the recent history of data systems can point out, security is a real concern. Pooling large quantities of data means that a single breach can put people at risk. And MLDS pools a lot of data. Its sources include the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and the National Student Clearinghouse. To avoid a security nightmare, MLDS warehouses all of its data behind a firewall and shepherds the data through a rigorous deidentification process, stripping personally identifiable information. Even so, demographics – race/ethnicity, gender, citizenship – are retained. Other retained data include courses, attendance, test scores, and indicators such as qualification for free and reduced-price meals, special education or Title I designations, and whether students are English Language Learners, foreign exchange students, migrants, or homeless. After all, the goal is to document how populations fare in the education system. But since these data conceivably could be linked to individual schools and students, MLDS treats it all as sensitive and secret. These necessary precautions put researchers in a pickle. By law, only MLDS staff can access its database. Independent researchers sponsored by the governing board can get a yearly staff appointment to conduct research, but only two researchers are allowed to do this at a time. Fewer than a dozen academics in education policy, statistics, and social work staff the Center’s research branch, which fields external requests for data inquiry and analysis. They can provide nothing more than summaries of the findings. With such a clunky process, relationships in and between data sets can easily fly under the radar. Providing aggregate data, a common strategy for protecting confidentiality, is a no-go: analyzing aggregate data cannot answer highly detailed questions. With the data’s usefulness growing exponentially in tandem with the size of the database – by 2021, it will have a complete school record for students who began kindergarten in 2008, the first year for which the system collects data – the MLDS Center faces a burgeoning logistical problem. If the demand from researchers skyrockets, as expected, how will the staff keep up? Dr. Stapleton has been studying this question alongside Dr. Partha Lahiri, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM). Both of these scholars are statisticians. Their backgrounds include stints at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Association of State Colleges
and Universities, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Census Bureau. Together, they’re a powerhouse of expertise on “big data,” data sets so large and complex that traditional methods of capture, curation, and analysis are insufficient. Now, considering the tangled problem of how to make the vast MLDS database useful to researchers, they think they have a solution. They are pursuing synthetic data.
BIG AMBITION Viable synthetic data sets, Dr. Stapleton and Dr. Lahiri contend, can give researchers the ability to look at and analyze longitudinal data directly, without violating confidentiality. First proposed by Harvard statistician Donald Rubin, synthetic data consists of artificial data sets that closely mimic the properties of, but are distinct from, the original data from which they derive. To create synthetic data, conditional probability distributions for specified variables are constructed based on the raw values and then, extrapolating from these distributions, values are randomly drawn to create a new data set. This provides researchers with microdata – points in a scatter plot, for instance – on which finegrained analyses can be performed. If the statistical model used to create synthetic data is adequately specified, then under analysis the synthetic data will yield results comparable to those yielded by the real data. But because the synthetic data has no correspondence to real people, researchers can freely access it without risking confidentiality. More research can be conducted in a timelier manner. Under the aegis of the $6.9 million U.S. Department of Education grant that Maryland received last year for its statewide data system, Dr. Stapleton and Dr. Lahiri have teamed up with MLDS research SUMMER 2016
director Dr. Michael Woolley and JPSM visiting assistant research professor Dr. Daniel Bonnery to make synthetic data a reality for MLDS. (Former EDMS student Dr. Daniel McNeish, now on faculty at Utrecht University, was instrumental in writing the grant proposal.) In the project’s first year, the team will convene researchers to identify the kinds of inquiries and analyses they intend to pose to the longitudinal data. Over the next two years, they will create and test synthetic copies of three MLDS data warehouses for use in population-average analysis. The Census Bureau has already If the synthetic proved that synthetic data can data project is be accurately subjected to broad, population-average analyses. When successful, it researchers wanted access to its Survey will become an of Income and Program Participation exemplar for (SIPP), which gathers information longitudinal data on recipients of public assistance, the Census Bureau created a synthetic systems across data system. To test the synthetic data, the country. researchers wrote programming code and used it for analysis, then gave that code to the Census Bureau, which ran it on the real data in order to test and finalize the statistical procedures and models. Eventually, it checked out. For the SIPP data, synthetic data was viable. “But Census doesn’t really have the clusters that MLDS has,” Dr. Stapleton objects. “By ‘clusters,’ I mean kids are nested within schools, and schools are nested within local education agencies. Policies may differ across these schools and districts.” Educational data typically contains complex hierarchical structures in which students are cross-classified or have multiple memberships. For instance, students who move in the middle of the school year can end up “belonging” to multiple districts, and students who all attend the same middle school might not matriculate into the same high school. “We’d like to be able to synthesize data to capture clusterspecific deviations – what are called ‘random effects’ – in relationships,” Dr. Stapleton continues. “But whether that’s possible with synthetic data hasn’t been studied at all. Population-average analysis tells you about general trends, trajectories, and outcomes. But if you want to compare those trends and trajectories and outcomes across schools or districts with any validity, you need to do cluster-specific analysis. The upshot of clustering is massive increases in the number of parameters that define the data. The data set becomes a monster! Statistical theory has yet to devise a way to create synthetic data for these highly complex structures and analyses. That’s what we’re most excited about.”
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In its final year, the project will examine the feasibility of creating cluster-specific synthetic data warehouses. These would capture the most complicated aspects of educational data, such as the nuances of students’ movement through the public education system. If the synthetic data project is successful, it will become an exemplar for longitudinal data systems across the country. With that lofty ambition in mind – to widen the very scope of education research – Dr. Stapleton and Dr. Lahiri are racing on the edge of discovery. – JL To learn more about the Maryland Longitudinal Data System, visit mldscenter.org. Dr. Laura Stapleton is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. Her work examines analysis of administrative and survey data obtained under complex sampling designs and multilevel latent variable models, including tests of mediation within a multilevel framework. She is the associate director of research for the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center. Dr. Partha Lahiri is a professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology and in the Department of Mathematics. His service on advisory committees and panels includes work for the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, as well as an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Dr. Michael Woolley is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. With an eye to intervention, he investigates factors in social environments that influence school success for students from kindergarten through high school, with an emphasis on vulnerable groups and students at risk for poor educational outcomes. He is the director of research for the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center. Dr. Daniel Bonnery is a visiting assistant research professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology. Prior to coming to the United States, he worked in France at the National School for Statistics and Information Analysis, in the Toulouse School of Economics, and at the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). Thanks to Dr. Bob Croninger, MLDS research team member and associate professor of education policy, for contributing to this article. To learn how you can help support EDMS, please contact Kurt Sudbrink at (301) 405-8874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teach Me to Learn: How My Students Became Teachers
Teaching abroad in Poland, UMD junior Emmy Schafer discovers the value of connection
Twenty-five expectant faces peered up from behind twenty-five desks, each housing a tidy population of colored pencils, pens, and noticeably blank paper. My stomach plunged into my shoes as I glanced at my lesson-planning notebook. I’d already used up most of my ideas during the first half of class. I looked up nervously, and the expectant silence intensified. It was my first day of teaching at the local primary school in Brzesko, Poland. I had applied to teach English language classes for four weeks during the summer through Learning Enterprises (LE), a program that places volunteers in schools around the world. I was initially intrigued by LE’s flexibility – it provides no curriculum and encourages volunteers to come up with their own lesson plans – and by its mission to increase global understanding by promoting crosscultural exchange. But I also had misgivings. Though I was passionate about developing students’ potential, I had never envisioned myself as the kind of person who could dash across the globe, plop down in a new city, and communicate with a roomful of people I’d never met. My first day of teaching only seemed to affirm my fears. I decided to begin by teaching the numbers 1-10, but as soon as I wrote the digits on the board with a flourish, my students started calling out “One! Two! Three! Four!” I tried to teach them to play Go Fish, but it was a struggle to keep track of so many groups of students. During the car ride home with my host family at the end of the day, I thought about giving up. Deep inside, I had a sinking feeling that I just couldn’t do this.
But I kept doing it. When I got back to my host family’s house, I pulled out my notebook and started jotting down notes. The first thing to do was learn their names. Soon, instead of a sea of unfamiliar faces waiting in silence, I saw Klaudia and Emilka, Łukasz and Filip smiling at me each day. Then I noticed that Anna and Marysia were bringing in little yellow minion toys to play with during lunch, so I had everyone draw comic strips and write stories about minions. I watched with delight as they dashed around the room playing my own made-up version of duck, duck, goose: “Minion, minion, BANANA!” I taught them action verbs by playing Simon Says – at first I felt silly hopping and jumping around by myself. But when I saw how much fun everyone was having, I laughed and jumped all the more. My older students had fun, too. To my delight, the 13-year-olds in my afternoon class told me they loved reading Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. So I taught them literary vocabulary like “plot” and “character.” We made up skits about our favorite books and had debates about whether the books were better than the movies. After class one day, Anna and Marysia presented me with a notebook they had crafted from colored paper. “This is your school book!” they said. “We’re your teachers now!” They showed me how to write “Hello, my name is Emmy!” in Polish (“Dzie dobry, jestem Emmy!”) as well as the numbers 1-10. “Your homework is: learn the numbers!” they laughed, while I struggled to pronounce dziewi (“nine”) and dziesi (“ten”).
“My most treasured memories from teaching in Poland are the times when my students taught me…” I realized then that I didn’t need to be a certain “kind of person” to be a teacher. All I had to do was be open to learning from them. I also realized that I didn’t have to do anything alone. My most treasured memories from teaching in Poland are the times when my students taught me, whether how to count in Polish or how to laugh and be silly. They had so much enthusiasm, so much to share, and all they needed me to do was share a little of myself in return. When I did, the joy and friendship I experienced far outweighed the first day’s awkwardness. – ES Emmy Schafer is a junior double-majoring in English and Secondary Education.
Assistant Professor Tracy Sweet proposes examining school networks in intervention studies
“Which resource is the most beneficial to your classroom and your teaching practice?”
sk any teacher this question, and the answer will likely be not
Social networks are powerful mediators between interventions and outcomes, especially in large-scale intervention studies. However, social network analysis has been absent from such research due to a lack of methodology.
professional development or supportive administrators or even
The norm in intervention studies is to compare schools to each
a good school library but instead another teacher. Schools are intensely
other, rather than divide one school into treatment and control groups.
social environments, and teaching is perhaps the most social of all
Thus, social network analysis must include multiple school networks.
professions. So it should be no surprise that many teachers get the most
Until recently, statistical models that could accommodate multiple
help in their work from each other. What is surprising is that education
networks were rare. An even greater impediment is that, as yet, there
researchers have paid little attention to relationships between teachers in the schools where they deploy intervention studies – methodologically rigorous experiments that seek to evaluate the impact of innovations in education. Instead, educational interventions typically use student achievement as a yardstick for efficacy. “Often, researchers call interventions ‘black boxes.’ Looking at intermediate outcomes, such as changes in a social network, helps to unpack these black boxes,” says Dr. Tracy Sweet, an assistant professor in the Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation (EDMS) program. “It may not be as relevant as student achievement, but it lets you assess an intervention’s effectiveness at any earlier stage and get a better sense of its underlying mechanisms.”
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can be communication about teaching or just spending time observing another teacher. The models seek to detect these effects at the network level: let’s see if the intervention is influencing how teachers interact before we even think about student achievement.” Studying social networks has strong implications for an intervention’s “theory of action” – the researcher’s belief about how it will catalyze change. For instance, in an intervention enacting professional development for the Common Core State Standards, the researcher might theorize that bringing teachers together to talk about Common Core on a regular basis will improve their informal discussions about how to teach it. If they are indeed talking about the Example of a Hierarchical Network Model (HNM) framework.
are no known statistical models for the social network as a mediator in an intervention. Dr. Tracy Sweet is developing such models. As a graduate student and then postdoctoral fellow in statistics at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Sweet created the Hierarchical Network Model (HNM) framework, which handles multiple network data and treatment effects on networks in experimental interventions. Her advisor, psychometrics expert Dr. Brian Junker, helped her develop some of these models. Now, with the benefit of a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, Dr. Sweet is extending her work on HNMs to create models for mediation and influence. Social networks in education have previously been used to study access to professional resources, collective efficacy, formal school structures, and district policy. Where students are concerned,
standards, their ability to implement them will improve, translating into better instruction. Understanding a school’s social network, then, can help researchers design more effective interventions. But interventions also cause changes in the networks which radiate out to become changes in the people within them. For instance, if more teachers are discussing Common Core pedagogy at a given school, that fact alone may influence a particular teacher’s instruction. The attitudes of respected teachers in a network also may have profound effects. So Dr. Sweet’s models are also designed to detect social influence in school networks.
“If we’re changing how people interact, then we can also create ways to show how those changes affect their teaching. It may lead to a richer dialogue about teaching practices.”
networks help us understand the formation of friendships, aggressive behavior and bullying, and how teachers’ social attitudes affect their students. Networks are also particularly informative for studies aimed at changing professional structures, whether by increasing teacher collaboration, moving toward small learning communities, or changing other resource-sharing relationships. But their role in interventions is still new territory for researchers. “What my models propose to do is to study the networks first,” Dr. Sweet explains. “Are we seeing differences in the ways teachers interact, for example, as a result of an intervention? These interactions
“This gives us a way of looking at processes, not merely outcomes,” Dr. Sweet says. “If we’re changing how people interact, then we can also create ways to show how those changes affect their teaching. It may lead to a richer dialogue about teaching practices.” – JL Dr. Tracy Sweet is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. Her research focuses on developing statistical social network models for education applications. She holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.
r. Linda Valli has made the University of Maryland her home for 23 years. In 2007, she was appointed the Jean, Jeffrey and David Mullan Professor of Teacher Education – Professional Development. Now, as she begins a well-earned retirement, we thank Dr. Valli for her unwavering dedication to the children, schools, and communities most in need. Like many teacher educators, Dr. Valli was once a teacher herself. She taught high school humanities, literature, and social studies for seven years while taking a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. But her interest in the sociology of education and her concerns about social inequality drew her to the Ph.D. program in Education Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After serving ten years as Director of Teacher Education at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., she joined the faculty of the College of Education, where she found a community of kindred spirits. “The people here are caring listeners, hardworking, thoughtful, committed to improving the world,” she says. Early on, Dr. Valli dug into the nuances of teacher preparation with Reflective Teacher Education: Cases and Critiques (SUNY Press, 1992), which examined how teacher preparation schools gave candidates an orientation to curriculum and pedagogy that helped them think reflectively about how their actions affect student motivation, learning, and educational inequities. “It was quite a dramatic shift in thinking about how to prepare teachers,” Dr. Valli recalls. “Now we talk a lot about ‘high-leverage’ and ‘core’ practices: How do teachers learn to think about and enact complex practices that challenge and engage diverse groups of learners?” Her focus on teacher preparation led her to study professional development schools, envisioned by education scholars as public schools where novice teachers learn to teach and where university and school faculty work together to investigate questions of teaching and learning. Collaborating with special education scholar David Cooper, Dr. Valli looked at challenges in creating and sustaining these schools. She was surprised by what she found. “One goal of professional development schools was to redress social inequalities, but we found little evidence they were reaching
ENDEAVORS | COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
that lofty goal,” Dr. Valli says. “Reducing inequality is one of the most complicated problems there is. In-school inequities – gaps in achievement across socioeconomic statuses and racial categories – are so impacted by the broader picture of community support and resources.” This broader picture increasingly became Dr. Valli’s focus. She now works with CASA de Maryland, an immigrant advocacy and assistance organization in Langley Park, to find grants for programming. For instance, she is an evaluator and curriculum developer on an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, “Learning Together,” which addresses a vital factor in schooling – family engagement. The program works to make schools more hospitable to parents and to help parents understand the school system and its expectations, so that they can better support their children. Such programs are often victims of legislative myopia, Dr. Valli points out, because they are difficult to implement well and sustain. But the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was even more egregiously out-of-touch policymaking that hurt schools, she believes. With fellow UMD education professors Robert Croninger, Marilyn Chambliss, and Anna Graeber, and Daria Buese of McDaniel College, she authored Test Driven: High-Stakes Accountability in Elementary Schools (Teachers College Press, 2008), a broad examination of how NCLB reshaped teaching. “NCLB totally changed what was happening in schools,” Dr. Valli remembers. “Teachers and students came under tremendous pressure to pass benchmarks, to push kids up from ‘basic’ to ‘proficient.’ It was a very stressful environment. Consequences were often more punitive than constructive. Instead of receiving more support, schools would be closed.” Dr. Valli also observed that, in the long term, NCLB hurt the ability of education colleges to recruit strongly motivated, talented people. Now, as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) shifts many accountability provisions to the states, Dr. Valli tempers her optimism with caution. “I think teachers’ voices have finally been heard,” she says. “However, I share the civil rights community’s concern that, without some way to look at achievement gaps for vulnerable populations, these gaps can easily become hidden again. There are struggling students in high-achieving schools, not just poor urban schools. In addition to keeping a spotlight on vulnerable students, we need to strengthen communities – make sure families have access to social services, decent housing, and jobs. When there’s a safety net, so that kids have their basic needs met and feel they have opportunities in life, school has a better chance of being positive and meaningful for them.” (A longer version of this article will appear in the June issue of The Benjamin Bulletin.) For information on how to honor Dr. Valli’s contribution to the College of Education, please contact Kurt Sudbrink at (301) 405-8874 or email@example.com.
ADVANCING THE COLLEGE
DIFFERENT UNIVERSES In “Education Policy and Politics in the Nation’s Capital” (EDUC 798C), Dr. Jane West (Ph.D. ‘88) guides students through the policy world and reveals its impacts on teaching and learning. by Joshua Lavender
Dr. Jane West
Before the 1975 passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which later became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, public schools accommodated only one out of five children with disabilities. More than a million American children had no access to public schools, and another 3.5 million children attended segregated facilities where instruction was often subpar. One federal law dramatically changed the picture.
Dr. West had recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied literature with extraordinary professors such as the poet Kenneth Rexroth, and she thought of herself as a “hippie poet.” Naturally, she taught poetry to her students. Amazed by their original poems, she gathered and submitted them to a school-wide poetry contest. But the school’s principal harbored some ideas of his own about the abilities of people with emotional disabilities. He was convinced that Dr. West’s students had not written the poems, and he flatly refused to allow them into the competition. “And there was nothing I could do about it,” Dr. West says, recalling her dismay. “Talk about how assigning labels to people leads us to have low expectations of them!” Dr. West and I are sitting over coffee in a Benjamin Building conference room. Sporting a polychrome neck scarf and designer specs, Dr. West is the very picture of a high-powered D.C. professional. A lobbyist and consultant, she is a longtime fixture in the education
r. Jane West remembers what American public schools were
policy world. But her quick intelligence and easygoing candor say
like before the passage of federal legislation requiring them to
“teacher.” We are meeting to discuss a class she teaches on education
accommodate students with disabilities. In the early 1970s, she was
policy and politics at the College of Education. Dr. West begins with
a special education paraprofessional. Her classroom was a trailer in
her journey from poetry to policy.
a Bronx schoolyard. She taught English to emotionally disturbed
After taking a master’s in special education at Teachers College
children who were transitioning from psychiatric care back into the
of Columbia University, Dr. West moved to the D.C. area, where she
continued to work with emotionally disturbed students as a special
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EDUC 798C students at the White House.
education teacher and administrator for Prince George’s County.
“I wanted them to feel comfortable in that world, know how to
In the 1980s, she enrolled in the College of Education’s doctoral
engage in it, understand the opportunities to engage,” Dr. West says. “I
program in special education. She became an education staffer
wanted to give them a sense of the policy process, of its language and
for the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
ways of interacting, which are very different from higher education
Pensions. Then, as a senior policy analyst on the first presidential
task force on the HIV epidemic, she worked to ensure that the
At the encouragement of Dean Donna Wiseman and Dr. David
Americans with Disabilities Act’s anti-discrimination provisions
Imig, with whom Dr. West had worked at AACTE, she developed
would protect people with HIV. In the 1990s, she co-founded the
“Education Policy and Politics in the Nation’s Capital” (EDUC 798C),
firm Washington Partners LLC and lobbied for national education
a course for doctoral students at the College of Education.
organizations, including the American Association of Colleges for
The course is strongly oriented toward application. Policy
Teacher Education (AACTE), where she later served as a senior
experts visit the class on the first day. Over the following ten days,
students dig into readings to acquire a comprehensive picture of
As Dr. West worked with higher education faculty on policy
education policy spanning from early childhood to K-12 to higher
issues at AACTE, she began to discern a profound shortcoming in
education. Then they meet for five full days at the Ronald Reagan
their knowledge. Despite the enormous impact of education policy on
Building in downtown Washington, D.C., a stone’s throw from the
American classrooms, most teacher educators – and therefore most
White House. Their mornings are filled with speakers and activities.
teachers – have a tenuous grasp of its workings and politics.
In the afternoons, Dr. West and her students go visiting.
Dr. West concluded that one reason for this is that schools of education typically do little to help students understand policy.
“Very, very few people had ever been teachers.”
Realizing that experts’ lack of knowledge about the policy dialogue
During the class’s treks in D.C. last summer, students met with
bodes poorly for their ability to contribute to it, she decided to design
President Obama’s chief education advisor, Roberto Rodríguez, the
a course on the ins and outs of policy for students heading toward
chief of staff to U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland,
leadership roles in academia and the public schools. The course would
and lead Republican and Democratic education staff in both the
help these students connect impacts on the profession and practice of
House and Senate. It was an especially busy time, offering students
teaching with the policy world.
an opportunity to see the negotiation of education policy up-close. SUMMER 2016
Congress was then debating the reauthorization of the cornerstone federal education law, which would become the Every Student
Neither does education policy occur separately from impacts on
Succeeds Act, replacing No Child Left Behind. After seeing Congress
schools and classrooms. This fact is abundantly clear to Ph.D. student
in action, the class met with experts at the national education
Debra Delavan, who teaches government and Latin American studies
associations and think tanks, both conservative and liberal, scattered
at Walter Johnson High School in Montgomery County. Despite
along K Street.
a background of engagement in policy – before teaching, Delavan
“I wanted my students to understand the different perspectives –
worked for human rights advocacy groups, such as the Washington
the Republican side, the Democratic side – and what the issues were,”
Office on Latin America – she did not have a thorough understanding
Dr. West explains. “It was not just one perspective or the other. They
of the education policy sphere. Studying with Dr. West changed that.
remarked several times how much they liked getting the big picture.”
“Her course helped me better understand and articulate what I
For the final assignment of EDUC 798C, Dr. West has her
experience in my school, in my classroom,” Delavan says. “I was living
students do some pretending. They pick a topic from their coursework
with the narrowing of the curriculum, but I didn’t necessarily call it
– last summer’s topics ranged from Common Core to a college ratings
that. So it’s helpful for me to put words to some of the frustrations I have.”
system to universal preschool – as well as a role for themselves. In this
For Delavan, these frustrations are an everyday fact of her
role, for instance as a researcher, students write and present testimony
work in the classroom. Time is her greatest worry. Since the 10th
to their classmates, who act in the roles of specific legislators on a
grade government class she teaches is required for graduation and
Congressional committee. So in addition to honing an argument on
benchmarked to the Maryland High School Assessment, she is
their issue of concern, students have to do their homework on the
constantly under pressure to cover the mandated curriculum in
legislators – learn who they are and what views they hold on the issues.
time to prepare her students for tests. She struggles to find the time
Moreover, they have to speak in a way policymakers will tolerate
for teaching civic engagement and discussing current events, as she
discovered during the Baltimore riots that followed Freddie Gray’s
“Research and policy are different universes,” Dr. West contends. “In academia, people get paid by the word, but in politics, the shorter
death – a touchstone opportunity to talk about such issues as poverty, social justice, and the role of police in communities.
the better. On the Hill, if you can’t explain it in a one-page memo,
“Civics education is more than just knowledge of how the
forget it. That’s all a member of Congress has time to read. So you have
government works,” Delavan claims. “It’s about encouraging young
to get to the point, communicate the big picture, and also understand
people to engage, and one of the best ways to do that is discussing
the politics of what you’re saying. Policy doesn’t occur in a vacuum,
controversial events, going in-depth to help your students understand
separate from politics.”
The EDUC 798C class meets with Rick Hess (center) at the American Enterprise Institute. Pictured, left to right: Sean Gilmour, Jennifer Albro, Alicia Butler, Malia Howell, Kalia Patricio, Rick Hess, Jane West, Debra Delavan, Lisa Davies, Chris McKeown, and Juan Roa.
ENDEAVORS | COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
Delavan believes that a school culture of “working toward the
test” means that educators must always look at the endgame rather than the process of learning, thereby undermining education. She
acknowledges that yardsticks for holding teachers accountable are
low regulation, special favors
nd & o ly leg ver isla sig tion ht
po up ral s cto ele
“Everybody’s been to school, so everybody thinks they’re an
the pressures many public schools face.
have led to declining standards for entry into teaching, exacerbating
teachers in the toughest schools. And in some states, teacher shortages
st re te In
her estimation, its worst aspect is the placement of the least prepared
congressional support, via lobby
Duress in the teaching profession weighs heavily on Dr. West’s mind, too. Current policy does little to support first-year teachers. In
contribute to the de-professionalization of teaching.
acknowledge the breadth of factors in a student’s education and only
the Top grants created by the Obama administration in 2009 – do not
s ice cho on licy uti po exec &
teachers to students’ test scores – a hotly contested part of the Race to
necessary, but she thinks such methods as tying the evaluation of
The Iron Triangle.
expert on school,” Dr. West observes. “There’s been this rhetoric saying ‘experience doesn’t matter, credentials don’t matter, anybody
most well-known researchers, such as Linda Darling-Hammond,”
can teach.’ It’s really detrimental to the profession. Lowering standards
Albro remembers. “On our last day in D.C., we met with people at
is like putting on a Band-Aid instead of doing open-heart surgery. It’s
the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. They had the
a short-term solution that causes a long-term problem.”
latest research and a narrative to drive their point home. I could tell
How do myopic education policies come about? How do they
that they were advocating for policies that were fair and inclusive
find their way into law? In Delavan’s opinion, the most obvious culprit
of everyone. I felt the politicians knew how to use research to their
is the lack of direct experience among policymakers.
advantage, whereas the advocacy groups really knew the roots of the
“As we visited the White House, Congressional offices, and
problems and advocated for people. It was quite a contrast.”
think tanks, I asked people about their background in education,”
This contrast makes intuitive sense. The agendas of advocacy
Delavan recalls. “Very, very few people had ever been teachers. As
groups tend to be narrower and thus better defined, and their
a teacher, my concern is that policy affects my daily life and my
members also tend to have more direct contact with leaders in the
relationship with the community, and the people making it are
teaching profession itself, as well as more experience in schools.
not speaking from experience. I wish more teachers or former
For Dr. West, who knows firsthand the exasperation of having no
teachers were making policy. How else do people know what they’re
voice, the value of these relationships and the voices they amplify
Ph.D. student Jennifer Albro, who also took EDUC 798C
“The voice of teachers is very important in education policy,” she
last summer, observed a related but somewhat different problem
says. “There’s a big push now to get that voice in policy. One thing we
as the class met with stakeholders in the so-called Iron Triangle of
learned from the implementation of No Child Left Behind is that the
policymaking – the White House, Congress, and advocacy groups.
dialogue must include people working where the rubber meets the
Political posturing became apparent to Albro in certain quarters, and
road. When you’re in the classroom, the federal government seems
she grew concerned that the voices of many education researchers
far away. Most teachers think of all policy as derived from their local
were muffled or simply absent.
school district, but in many ways the state and local levels are echo
“Congressional staffers knew their constituencies pretty well,
chambers for what happens at the federal level. Teachers are busy
and they were working hard, but they only seemed aware of the
teaching, and they don’t typically have the sense that they should or
could be part of the dialogue. That’s one reason why I wanted to teach this course.”
“There are few jobs available that don’t require training past high school, not necessarily a four-year degree but some post-secondary education,” she notes. She expresses optimism about the movement
As Dr. West and I talk, the discussion turns slowly to upcoming challenges for education policy. Two issues loom large. One is the fact that the United States is becoming a majorityminority country. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s National
for competency-based education, which she calls “a wave of the future.” Such a system would award degrees for the demonstration of skill sets through assessments, rather than the accrual of credit hours, and may foster more individualization in programs of study.
Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projected that 50.3 percent
Dr. West believes that, overall, education policy is undergoing a
of schoolchildren enrolled for the 2014-15 school year would be
period of great turmoil. When I venture that we might call it “growing
minorities – a milestone for public schools. Mostly driven by growing
pains,” she levels a frank gaze at me.
Latino and Asian-American populations and a decline in the White
“The world is changing,” she says. “Maybe education is really at
population, this new collective majority is expected to keep growing.
the forefront of change, because it’s so big and we’re all invested in it. It’s our future. Pretty much no one in our country isn’t or hasn’t been
For inspiration on how teachers can get involved in policy, Dr. West recommends “Great to Influential,” a recent report on teacher leadership by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research. The report can be found at www.nnstoy.org/publications/great-to-influential.
touched by education. It’s hard to be in the midst of change, and it’s easy to cry doom and gloom. We know the old rules don’t apply, and we don’t yet know what the new rules are. But in the midst of all this, there are many opportunities.” Dr. Jane West is a consultant for education organizations seeking to engage with policy at the federal level, including the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, the American Association of Colleges
The teaching profession lags far behind this demographic trend.
for Teacher Education, the Higher Education Consortium for Special
In 2012, the last year for which NCES offers data, 81.9 percent of public
Education, and the Council for Exceptional Children. In over three
school teachers were White. While the number of Latino teachers has
decades of experience, she has worked with education professionals to
slowly grown over the last three decades, they still account for only 7.8
improve such federal laws as the Higher Education Act, the Elementary
percent of the teaching workforce. Asian Americans make up only 1.8
and Secondary Education Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities
percent. Diversity in teacher education is faring no better: according
Education Act. She is also the editor of two books on the Americans
to one AACTE study, more than 80 percent of the bachelor’s degrees
with Disabilities Act. A former teacher and administrator, she earned
in education awarded in 2010 went to white students.
her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Maryland, where
“There’s a huge disconnect between the demographics of the school population and the teaching force,” Dr. West says. “We’re seeing it in these fiery immigration debates.” For Albro, whose research looks at parent and family engagement for literacy education, these demographic shifts highlight the need for policy to address the English Language Learner (ELL) population – an issue, she believes, on which some political crusaders are regressive. She is especially critical of Prop 227, a 1998 ballot law that effectively abolished bilingual education in California’s schools. A new proposition on the ballot this November offers voters a chance to repeal most of Prop 227. The second challenge of concern to Dr. West is globalization and its concomitant demand for a more highly skilled and educated workforce.
ENDEAVORS | COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
she is now a visiting professor. Debra Delavan teaches government and Latin American studies at Walter Johnson High School, where she is a co-coordinator for the Minority Scholars Program. She is a Ph.D. student in the Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry program. Jennifer Albro is a Ph.D. student in the Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry program. A former elementary school teacher and reading interventionist, she is the founder and president of Pages & Chapters, a nonprofit that works to engage families in literacy education. She also offers education consulting services for schools, nonprofits, and foundations.
Last year, The Economist named Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington (Ph.D. ’93) one of its Top 10 Global Diversity Consultants. Dr. Washington is president and co-founder of the Washington Consulting Group, a multicultural organizational development firm in Baltimore. Formerly an assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he is co-pastor of Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore. He serves on boards for the LGBT History Museum and the Creating Welcoming Churches project at the Vanderbilt School of Divinity, is on faculty at the Lead365 National Conference, and chairs the board of Many Voices, a Black church movement for LGBT persons. Taking him across the U.S., Canada, and South Africa, Dr. Washington’s work has earned him the epithet “The Engagement Specialist.”
How did you become a diversity consultant? I attended “understanding difference” workshops as an undergrad
What is the biggest barrier to “saying the unsaid”? A context of “say the wrong thing, lose your job.” People don’t want
at Slippery Rock State College. I realized how small my world had been, how
to be misunderstood. They fear being seen as an “-ist” and don’t want to
much I didn’t know, and I saw that when people have the opportunity to
discover they might actually be one. This gets in the way of real learning. If
learn about and across difference, it creates better understanding and builds
you say nothing because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, it maintains
relationships. Since then, I’ve been fostering those learning opportunities. In
the status quo.
divinity school at Howard, I found out that my calling was to help heal the
world through diversity.
preferred to describe themselves. Some folks stumbled around the
question, unsure why I would even ask. That’s fine – it’s all right not to know,
At a recent session, I asked people to state which pronouns they
What drew you to the Ph.D. in College Student Development (now
as long as it opens up a dialogue about inclusion.
Student Affairs) at the College of Education?
recruited me out of grad school at Indiana Bloomington. She and Dr. Cynthia
Johnson were stars in understanding student development. Maryland
of shared values based on inclusion, there’s more openness. But when I enter
produces the next generation of higher education practitioner-scholars. This
in the midst of a crisis – like with the Charleston 9, Freddie Gray, Ferguson
positioned me to work with good thinkers.
– there’s a lot of pain and it’s hard for people to engage in a dialogue of
The reputation of faculty in student affairs attracted me. Dr. Lee Knefelkamp
What’s the most challenging part of your work? One of the biggest challenges is the context. When the context is one
learning. In those spaces, people can begin to have the opportunity to be What did you get from your Ph.D. program that became useful in your work?
heard. But it’s so hard when they feel that they’ve done all they can do or that a precipitating event has taken them over the edge. We’re living through
Beyond a commitment to ongoing learning, I learned a lot about asking good
a moment of pain about race and racism.
questions and thinking beyond my own experiences. I acquired a theory-to-
I was at College Park during the passing of Len Bias. [An All-American
basketball forward at UMD, Leonard “Len” Bias died of cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose two days after he was picked by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft. More than 11,000 Terps packed Cole Field House for his memorial service.] We did real-time stuff. By analogy, if I were at College Park now, we would be talking about Mizzou and other current issues, looking at their impact on student learning and administration.
Who does your consulting group work with?
What other barriers to inclusion do companies and universities face?
Aspirational values of liberty and justice for all – “be who you are, everyone’s welcome” – show up in many American institutions, but we haven’t comfortably engaged with inequality itself. In the 1970s and 1980s, for instance, we assumed it was enough to be “colorblind.” It was wellintentioned, but to pretend we don’t see it misses the reality. We do see it and behave based on that, though we may not recognize it.
Creating equality is about owning inequality. If we want inclusion, we
must acknowledge who hasn’t been included and who’s been over-included,
Universities and government agencies, mostly. We hold workshops
without necessarily making anyone the bad guy. In the case of racism, it’s
and retreats to work with leaders on culture change. We manage crises and
not about making white people bad and people of color good. It’s about
conflicts through listening sessions, town halls, executive coaching, and
recognizing the actual situation so that we can move forward.
staff mediation. Our clients include Harvard, Princeton, the University of
Vermont, Northwestern, Brown, and Winston-Salem State. The Government
barriers. But now that more people are allowed in the space, what does it
Accountability Office nominated me for the Economist list.
mean to be in the space together?
The first round of work in achieving inclusion was breaking down legal
What’s the best part of your work? When people say the unsaid, when they say something they’ve
wanted to say but felt as if it was unsafe. Environments where people walk on eggshells and are afraid of political incorrectness make it hard to build positive relationships in organizations. SUMMER 2016
Keep in touch! Submit your classnotes via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the College of Education’s website: http://ter.ps/COEKIT
1960s Dr. Bernice Resnick Sandler (Ed.D. ’69) was honored for her tireless efforts as a women’s rights activist at a March event in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Women’s History Project. Widely known as the “godmother of Title IX,” the landmark law prohibiting sex discrimination at all levels of education, Dr. Sandler was previously profiled in the Fall 2014 issue of Endeavors.
1970s James Ferstl (M.Ed. ’73) has retired after a
career of dedicated service to the STEM community. Jim has designed, conducted, and managed STEM training and career development programs for the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the Link Division of the Singer Company, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. In retirement, he volunteers at several community centers and teaches Boy Scout merit badges on Electricity and Electronics.
Dr. Joan Lombardi (Ph.D. ’82) has joined the Center for American Progress as a Senior Fellow. An expert on child development and social policy, Dr. Lombardi was previously the first deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the first commissioner of the Child Care Bureau. Dr. Gary Ratcliff (M.Ed. ’86) has been named Director of the Montrose campus of Colorado Mesa University. Previously, Dr. Ratcliff served at University of California, San Diego, where he has been Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life since 2005.
1990s Dr. Teena Ruark Gorrow (Ed.D. ’96), a professor of teacher education at Salisbury University, is the co-author of a stunning new photo book, Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest: A Photographic Journey through the American Bald Eagle Nesting Season (Schiffer, 2013).
Dr. James D. Fielder Jr. (M.Ed. ’72) has been appointed Secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission by Governor Larry Hogan. Dr. Fielder brings to this appointment higher education experience at Towson University, Michigan State University, and the University of MichiganFlint, as well as several prior positions in Maryland’s government.
1980s Dr. Barbara B. Hines (Ph.D. ’81), professor
emerita and founding chair of the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University, was the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Lifetime Membership Award from the College Media Association.
ENDEAVORS | COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
In November 2015, Justine Hollingshead (M.Ed. ’90), chief of staff in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at North Carolina State University, was one of seven recipients of the 2015 Governor’s Award for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon state employees. Justine was praised for her work in the aftermath of the
February 2015 shootings of three members of the North Carolina State community. Her nomination read, in part: “Justine’s boundless energy brought together all facets of the university to ensure students were cared for, the families of the victims had university support, and the community at large had a place to heal.” Gregory Toya (M.A. ’96) has been named the Director of Student Development at El Camino College in his hometown of Torrance, California. He served for nine years as the Associate Dean of Students at California State University, San Marcos.
2000s Dr. Brian A. Burt (M.A. ’06), an assistant professor of higher education at Iowa State University, has been named a 2016 Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow by the National Academy of Education. Funded by the Spencer Foundation, this fellowship supports early-career scholars working in critical areas of education research. As a fellow, Dr. Burt will take a one-year leave from Iowa State to focus on a research project entitled “Exploring Learning and Theorizing Engineering Identity: The Key to Sustaining STEM Participation for Black Men.” Christine Yip Cruzvergara (M.A. ’07) is now serving as the first Executive Director and Associate Provost for Career Education at Wellesley College. In this role, Christine leads Wellesley’s effort to reshape how it teaches students about the myriad of career opportunities available to them. Amanda Espina (B.A. ’05) has been named the 2016 Teacher of the Year for Prince George’s County Public Schools. Amanda is a visual arts teacher at Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy, a K-8 magnet school in Morningside attended by students from across the county. She
works with the College of Education to mentor new teachers and is the coordinator of the school district’s visual arts department art show. Dr. Alicia B. Harvey-Smith (Ph.D. ’03), president of River Valley Community College in New Hampshire, was elected in November to a three-year term on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), where she will co-chair the Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development. Dr. Harvey-Smith’s national leadership has previously included service for the American Conference of Academic Deans, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), the National Council of Black American Affairs, and the National Council of Student Development (NCSD). Last year, Dr. Renique Kersh (M.Ed. ’01) was appointed the Associate Vice Provost for Engaged Learning at Northern Illinois University. In addition to her new duties, Dr. Kersh also directs the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. Dr. Laura Osteen (Ph.D. ’03), director of the Center for Leadership & Social Change at Florida State University, received the 2015 Women in Higher Education Achievement Award from the National Panhellenic Conference. This award recognizes significant contributions to higher education through leadership and positive support of the fraternity and sorority experience.
The Handbook for Student Leadership Development (Jossey-Bass, 2011), Dr. Owen teaches courses on socially responsible leadership, civic engagement, and communitybased research. Mario Peraza (M.Ed. ’04) is the Executive Director of Alumni Relations at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Tricia Shalka (M.A. ’08) recently attained her Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs at the Ohio State University and has now accepted a position as an assistant professor in the higher education program at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. Last November, she was married to Stephen Artim in Columbus. Dr. Nathan Slife (M.A. ’07) is the recipient of the 2016 Burns B. Crookston Doctoral Research Award from the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Dr. Slife’s dissertation, written during studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is entitled An Examination of Implicit Values in Cornerstone Student Affairs Textbooks.
a doctoral student in UMD’s Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation program, Dr. McNeish received the Graduate School’s AllS.T.A.R. fellowship in 2014, the College of Education’s Outstanding Doctoral Student award in 2015, and one of our Outstanding Dissertation Awards this year. Dr. Steve D. Mobley Jr. (Ph.D. ’15) has won two major awards for his dissertation, which was co-chaired by Dr. Francine Hultgren and Dr. Noah Drezner, from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE). Dr. Mobley’s dissertation looks at how intra-racial socioeconomic differences impact institutional cultures and the experiences of low-income AfricanAmerican students at elite HBCUs. Sarah Popovich (M.Ed. ’11) is program manager for the Office of Cross Cultural and Leadership Development at the University of Pittsburgh. In her role, Sarah manages the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership & Civic Engagement as well as other University of Pittsburgh programs that support the development of global leaders.
Dr. Daniel McNeish (M.A. ’13, Ph.D. ’15) has been appointed as an assistant professor in the Methodology and Statistics Department at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. As
Dr. Julie Owen (Ph.D. ’08), an associate professor of leadership studies at George Mason University, is the 2016 recipient of the Dr. Susan R. Komives Research Award from the NASPA Student Leadership Program. A co-editor with Dr. Komives of
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