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The Professors Are In

Development Across Borders For School of Education Assistant Professor Raquel Plotka, PhD, this is an exciting time to be in the classroom at Pace—for both students and professors. “Pace is at the heart of New York City, where a huge expansion of Pre-K programs is taking place, and our faculty and students have worked hand-in-hand with the Department of Education to make that expansion possible,” she says in regard to her work in early childhood development. As a result, enrollment in the program has grown tremendously.

PASSION APPLIED TO EDUCATION “It is an exciting time to be in the School of Education, where we are seeing a slow but steady increase in enrollment,” says Associate Professor of Education Shobana Musti-Rao, PhD. “Increased enrollment means more students, and that means staying busy doing what I like doing most—teaching and engaging in scholarship!” Musti-Rao’s students try their classroom management strategies in a safe, fun environment using the TeachLivETM mixed-reality simulator. “I’m eager to meet students who want to enter the field with a passion to teach students with disabilities in inclusive settings and a curiosity to learn,” she says. But that’s not all she’s passionate about; she believes that engaging in applied research has always been a deeply engrained part of what she does as a teacher educator. “I hope to engage in more crossdisciplinary research and collaborate with faculty from other departments and schools,” Musti-Rao explains.

Plotka is collaborating with colleagues to conduct research in language and identity development in multilingual children. Typically, the early childhood classroom is the first English experience for many children new to the United States. Her cutting-edge research with high-quality and culturally sensitive measures can inform practices for teachers and other professionals who work with children and families. “I love bringing my own international perspective and experience to my classes and my research,” she says.

WHERE LOCAL AND GLOBAL MEET School of Education students are learning firsthand how vital it is to support culturally and linguistically diverse students in the classroom. For Tasha L. Darbes, PhD, a new assistant professor of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and bilingual education, these are skills that Pace’s fledgling teachers will need after graduation. “Pace University is uniquely positioned to be an innovative institution in a globalized world,” says Darbes. “The TESOL and bilingual education programs can be a part of an expansion to bring in diverse students from around the world, as well as address the various educational complexities experienced by immigrantorigin students locally.”

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION Pace University • Leadership – Winter 2016

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Leadership Report 2016, Pace Magazine