2015 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellows

Ujju Aggarwal, City University of New York Graduate Center

Ujju Aggarwal is a cultural anthropologist and a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research examines how “choice,” as a key principle of reform and management in education, emerged in the post-Civil Rights era, and became central to how rights, freedom, and citizenship were imagined, structured, and constrained. Her current research takes a closer look at schools in relationship to gentrification and the production of urban space. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School, Hunter College, and the Educational Opportunities Center (SUNY). Her research has been published in edited volumes as well as scholarly journals including Transforming Anthropology, Scholar & Feminist Online, and Educational Policy. She is completing her manuscript, The Color of Choice: Race, Rights, and Inequality in Education.

Defining Community and Claim-Making: Gentrification, Mixed Income Public School Districts, and Educational Equity.

This study will use a mixed methods approach to examine what occurs when public schools within one urban school district experience both a reinvestment from middle-class families and retention of low-income families. The site of this study is one of the most economically and racially diverse school districts in the nation’s largest school system and yet, one of the most segregated and unequal. Choice policies heavily dictate the admissions processes to public elementary schools in the district. Given the district’s significant public housing stock, some low-income families will stay. In the after-life of gentrification, as parents of different backgrounds increasingly encounter one another to negotiate the shared resource of public schools, what political subjectivities become articulated, and to what end? The aim of this study is to answer this question by examining: 1) the ways that schools become critical sites through which definitions of community and kin networks are developed, negotiated, and produced; 2) to what extent and to what ends these concepts are mobilized by parents of different backgrounds in making claims to urban space and to public sector goods such as public education; and 3) the implications of these claims to educational equity.

Patrick Camangian, University of San Francisco

Patrick Camangian is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of San Francisco and Co-Director of the Urban Education and Social Justice Credential & Master’s program – recognized for recruiting and supporting 67% students of Color for a profession where approximately 80% of all teachers are Caucasian. In 2011, he was awarded the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Camangian earned his Ph.D. in Urban Schooling at UCLA. His scholarship examines critical pedagogy and transformative teaching in urban schools; action research, critical literacy, culturally empowering education, and urban teacher development. Two of his articles that are frequently used by classroom teachers and teacher educators are, “Starting with Self: Teaching Autoethnography to Foster Critically Caring Literacies” (2010) and “Seeing Through Lies: Teaching Ideological Literacy as a Corrective Lens” (2013). Camangian’s recently published article, “Teach Like Lives Depend On it: Agitate, Arouse, Inspire” (2015) is based on his 2011 AERA, Division B Dissertation of the Year Award winning dissertation. Currently, he is turning to both critical theory and research in the health sciences to inform his research findings on complex traumas and urban education. Camangian has been an English teacher since 1999, continuing in the tradition of teacher-research, applying critical pedagogies in urban schools. Camangian began in the Los Angeles Unified School District where he was awarded “Most Inspirational Teacher” by former mayor Richard Riordan for his teaching in South Los Angeles. As a professor, he continues to teach English in the Oakland Unified School District as part of the East Oakland Step to College program. Camangian engages grassroots efforts to advocate for humanizing, socially transformative education as a founding member of California’s People’s Education Movement and as an advisory board member of the Education for Liberation national network.

From Coping to Hoping: Teaching Youth to Thrive through Trauma

While we must always recognize the talent, brilliance, and vigor of young people persisting through everyday life in urban communities, studies have shown that many youth in urban spaces experience trauma—that result of social toxins including poverty, racism, violence, environmental toxins, gentrification, xenophobia, language discrimination, substandard public services, and more. While critical scholars have introduced transformative pedagogies proven to facilitate cultural affirmation, critical consciousness, and subsequent improvements in academic engagement among urban youth, as a field we have yet to acknowledge and address the healing needs of students that would allow them to fully thrive.

For this project, I will be turning to research in the health sciences—spanning the fields of public health, epidemiology, social work, and psychology—to inform a new paradigm for thinking about pedagogy, complex traumas, and urban education. The new, robust framework will provide a richer basis for understanding previously underexplored questions about how pedagogy can not only be critical and culturally relevant and sustaining but how it might also help better account for the holistic demands youth in urban settings must negotiate. Through this project I seek to solidify and introduce the aforementioned interdisciplinary lens that will serve as the analytical lens for a corpus of qualitative data collected as part of a four-year qualitative dataset.

Corbin Campbell, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Corbin M. Campbell is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her work, broadly situated, examines the organizational contexts that support learning and growth for students and faculty in higher education. Her recent inquiry has focused on developing new ways to conceptualize and measure the educational quality of colleges and universities that more closely reflect the teaching and learning process. By understanding college quality from a teaching and learning perspective, her work begins to question the current institutional prestige and reward structures in higher education. Dr. Campbell grounds this research in her earlier work on understanding faculty careers. Her research has been published in such venues as the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development, and has been highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times. She serves on the editorial boards of Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education and the Journal of College Student Development. She also serves on the Committee on Assessing Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competencies for the National Academies. Dr. Campbell received her PhD. in educational policy from the University of Maryland.

Assessing College Educational Quality: An Inside View of Teaching Quality and Rigor in U.S. College and University Classrooms

Do rankings represent colleges with strong educational practices? While many critiques of higher education focus on a lack of learning in college (e.g. Arum & Roksa, 2011), these studies do not view higher education from the inside: by watching the educational processes unfold. In this study, I use a new conceptualization and proximal methods to witness the educational quality of classrooms across diverse institutions of higher education. Building upon the previous work of k-12 and higher education scholars of teaching and learning, the study uses a developing framework that focuses on college coursework and the practices that take shape between faculty, students, course content, and context.

By contrast with K-12 education research, which has an extensive, broad-scale, quantitative observational program of study (e.g., Hill, Charalambous, & Kraft, 2012), to date there is no similar study of college teaching. In this study, I examine a representative sample of 587 courses across nine colleges and universities by witnessing in-class educational processes (observation) and analyzing curricula (syllabi). Data were collected during spring 2013-fall 2014. The colleges and universities represented in the study range from highly selective and highly ranked to broad access and unranked. My work begins to address substantive questions about educational processes across diverse institutions, for example: Do courses in high prestige institutions have better teaching than courses in low prestige institutions? Although early in understanding, this study begins to question whether the reward structures in higher education have bifurcated prestige and the teaching and learning process.

Juan Carrillo, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Juan F. Carrillo is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill School of Education and his primary affiliation is with the Cultural Studies and Literacies (CSL) program. He also teaches within the education minor and is a global studies affiliate faculty member. He is a native of the barrios of south Los Angeles, CA and he was a high school social studies teacher on the south side of Phoenix, Arizona and east Austin, Texas. Currently, his primary research interests include a focus on Latino education in the “new south” and on the identities of academically successful Latino male students. Dr. Carrillo is the 2014 UNC Chiron Award Winner for teaching excellence and service and he serves on executive board of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative (SLI), a mentoring program for NC Latino high school youth. Also, he is currently developing a UNC research and community collaborative within the school of education that will focus on Latino education issues. He holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, with a concentration in Cultural Studies in Education, and Mexican American Studies Graduate Portfolio from the University of Texas at Austin.

Beyond the City: Latino Scholarship Boys in the Rural South

In 2014, President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative centered the importance of addressing the various systemic threats that face men of color in the United States. This call to action comes on the heels of a national conversation about police brutality and the important reminder that it signals regarding the growing and pervasive inequities within various levels of our society. Similarly, there is a growing body of work and attention put on the schooling experiences of males of color. This important work addresses issues such as punitive social and schooling practices, machismo, the importance of mentorship, as well anthropological and sociological takes on the counter-school attitudes of some low- income youth and the need for additive frameworks (Conchas, 2013; Foley, 1990; Noguera, Hurtado, Fergus, 2012; Rios, 2011; Saenz & Ponjuan, 2009). For Latino males, there is also growing focus on their schooling trajectories. In fact, for Latino males that are 18 and older, they makeup a population of about 16 million and only 10 percent graduate from college and 30 percent graduate from high school (US Population Survey, 2009). Yet, while many Latino students are now in places away from traditional gateway regions, most of the work on men of color in education is generally situated in urban contexts and/or uses quantitative analyses and does not necessarily address important dimensions of identity and academic achievement in rural communities. This research will focus on addressing this gap by focusing on the trajectories and identities of 20 Latino male college students that received most of their K-12 schooling in the rural North Carolina communities.

North Carolina has the sixth fastest growing Latino population in the United States (Chesser, 2012). Latino students and families are reshaping the historically rooted Black-White binary in the south. Latinos in North Carolina are now entering the state’s colleges and universities and there is minimal understanding related to their identities and trajectories. Some of the research on Latinos in North Carolina has examined issues such as paternalism, benevolent racism, the politics of dual language programs, and the neoliberal co-option of the Spanish language (Cervantes Soon, 2014; Cuadros, 2006; Hamann, Wortham, & Murillo, Jr., 2002; Villenas, 2001). There remains a need to expand on this work. In fact, the research on Latino male college students in North Carolina is for the most part, non-existent. This is a problem in light of the fact that Latino settlement in the state will likely continue into the future.

To examine the identities of North Carolina Latino Male college students, I will primarily draw from life history (Hatch, 2002) data collection and elements of photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1997). By following this process, my goals are to both contribute to research but also to engage the possibility of praxis and social action in ways that can improve the academic outcomes and contexts under which Latinos experience schooling within the state of North Carolina.

In sum, this work will explore a population that is coming of age in a region that is under-examined. As such, this research will contribute to the academic literature on males of color in schools and hopefully provide a call to action to stakeholders within North Carolina and in other “new south” locations.

Eddie Cole, College of William and Mary

Eddie R. Cole is an assistant professor in the School of Education at the College of William & Mary. Dr. Cole’s research examines college presidents’ and chancellors’ responses to student racial unrest in both historical and contemporary contexts. For example, his book chapter about Alfonso Elder, president of North Carolina Central from 1948 to 1963, illustrated the complex political maneuvering black college presidents utilized during the student civil rights uprising. Additionally, Dr. Cole’s analysis of college presidents’ statements on campus racial incidents was recently featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In summary, his research agenda centers on the investigation of academic leaders and student unrest. He used the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to advance his book project about presidents and chancellors and civil rights in the 1960s. This study will provide much-needed context for better understanding academic leaders’ role in the debate over social change. Prior to joining the faculty at William & Mary in 2013, Dr. Cole earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education at Indiana University (minor: Race and Rhetoric), and he completed his undergraduate studies at Tennessee State University, a historically black institution in Nashville.

College Presidents and Civil Rights: A History, 1960-1964

In 1960, college presidents and chancellors across America faced a new and unusual challenge when the student civil rights uprising emerged. Before then, no national wave of student activism against racial inequality had washed over U.S. college campuses. Yet, in February 1960, four black students’ sit-in demonstration at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, ignited similar student demonstrations across the nation. This project follows presidents and chancellors through one of the most challenging periods in U.S. history.

This is the first study of academic leaders’ responses to students’ off-campus protests against segregation, the issue of desegregating all-white colleges, and students’ on-campus demands for racial equality. As the movement unfolded, presidents and chancellors carefully balanced the demands of influential segregationists and a growing number of student demonstrators. This project uncovers how academic leaders positioned themselves within the national dialogue around desegregation and civil rights, and illuminates the pivotal decisions these leaders made during this national student movement. By doing so, this study challenges the prevailing historical narrative that typically focuses on student activists or elected officials. Instead, this project focuses on the chancellors and presidents of 25 institutions across the country. Based on archival research, this examination of academic leaders across different regions, private and state-supported institutions, and historically black and white colleges offers an untold account of one of America’s most notable racial crises from the perspective of presidents and chancellors.

Kathleen Corriveau, Boston University

Kathleen H. Corriveau is an Assistant Professor at Boston University, where she directs the Social Learning Laboratory. She received her ScB from Brown University, her MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and her EdD from Harvard University. Her research focuses on social and cognitive development in childhood, with a specific focus on how children decide what people and what information are trustworthy sources. Dr. Corriveau has written over 30 journal articles and book chapters in high-impact journals including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Psychological Science. She is the recipient of a Gates Fellowship, and holds early career awards from the Developmental Psychology and Educational Psychology divisions of the American Psychological Association. Her current work focuses on the role of social relationships in fostering school readiness skills, such as critical thinking.

The Development of Critical Thinking Skills in Urban Preschoolers

Children are expected to engage in critical thinking by the time they enter kindergarten, yet developmental research exploring children’s critical thinking abilities at this age is mixed. Some research argues that critical thinking skills have not yet developed by kindergarten, whereas other research suggests that even preschoolers are capable of engaging in such thinking.

One reason for the conflicting findings may be variability in the use of the adult to scaffold the learner. The proposed project aims to explore how adult explanations can aid in children’s ability to engage in critical thinking when playing a novel categorization game. Using a pre-post between-subjects design, this project will explore urban preschoolers’ critical thinking abilities with and without adult scaffolding. We aim to determine whether learned critical thinking strategies are retained after a 1-week delay, and whether or not individual differences in metacognitive understanding can be viewed as a mechanism for the development of critical thinking. Findings will have implications on sensitive interventions aimed at promoting critical thinking skills for preschool and kindergarten students.

Shiv Desai, University of New Mexico

Dr. Shiv R. Desai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Education Leadership, and Policy in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in Urban Schooling from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before completing his doctorate, Shiv was a K-12 classroom teacher for more than 10 years. He was a founding English Teacher for Opportunities Unlimited Charter High School. Within the classroom, he utilized Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), hip hop based education, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. Prior to coming to UNM, he was an Assistant Professor of Education at Thomas More College located in Northern Kentucky. Shiv is currently working with youth in New Mexico Youth Alliance’s Juvenile Justice Council (JJC), where he is helping them conduct a YPAR project that examines the school-to-prison pipeline as well as how YPAR can be utilized to inform new policies to shape a more socially just juvenile justice system. His other research interests include centering and privileging youth voices through spoken word poetry, hip hop and other forms of artistic expression. Shiv also recognizes that indigenous forms of knowledge are essential to reclaiming an education that pushes liberation. His research draws upon critical race theory, critical literacy, and decolonizing methodologies.

Unloved, Unwanted, and Unsure: The Counternarratives of Incarcerated Youth

Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) seeks to collaborate with young people in order to create community-based projects that are aimed at informing peers, educators, and community members about the most pressing issues they face in their daily lives. This study describes a YPAR project conducted by Leaders Organizing 2 Unite & Decriminalize (LOUD) youth members, which are comprised of allies and formerly incarcerated youth. LOUD investigates and documents how current juvenile justice policies detrimentally impact their peers as well as suggests recommendations to improve the current system. Specifically, I seek to answer the following research questions: 1) How can YPAR be utilized to empower incarcerated youth to challenge and affect current juvenile justice policies? 2) How do young people employ YPAR to improve the quality of life for youth in their communities? 3) How could YPAR potentially impact teacher education practices? This study utilizes the Social Justice Youth Development (SJYD) model as its theoretical framework because it analyzes interrelational power, makes identity central, promotes systemic change, encourages collective action, and embraces youth culture. The educational significance of this project is that it centers marginalized youth voices by allowing them to advocate what they believe to be the key issues and solutions within the Juvenile Justice System. More importantly, it allows youth to present counternarratives as it relates to their incarceration and reveals their pressing educational obstacles and successes.

Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Harvard University

Sarah Dryden-Peterson is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her work focuses on the connections between education and community development. She examines issues such as the role of social institutions in immigrant/refugee integration, the connections between education and family livelihoods, and transnational institution-building. Her work is situated in conflict and post-conflict settings globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and with Diaspora communities. She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy. She works closely with national governments, United Nations agencies, and international and local NGOs. Her work has been published in Teachers College Record, Comparative Education Review, Theory and Research in Education, among other academic and public venues (www.sarahdrydenpeterson.com).

Borderless Education? The Unknowable Futures of Refugee Children

Half of out-of-school children globally live in settings of armed conflict, and learning outcomes in these contexts are among the worst in the world. This books focuses on the educational experiences of refugee children and young people, drawing on a decade of field-based research in refugee contexts globally. The book argues that the education of refugees illuminates dilemmas at the crossroads of globalization. There are increasing global interactions around education through multilateralism, bilateral cooperation, global social movements, and formal and informal exchanges of information and ideas. And yet, educational institutions may be among the last to be significantly altered by globalization processes. In the goals they represent through structures and curriculum and how they define who belongs, both physically and vis-à-vis identity, education systems are inherently national. The book documents how current approaches to refugee education reflect national and global politics, but they are less attentive to the needs of refugee children for an unknowable and uncertain future. This book documents the failure of global structures of international development to make good on the right to education and the individual and societal futures this right might enable. It also explores spaces of possibility within the radical uncertainty that refugees face and examines the intervening structures that influence refugee children’s trajectories through uncertain presents and unknowable futures.

Tisha Lewis Ellison, The University of Georgia

Tisha Lewis Ellison, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia. Dr. Lewis Ellison’s research takes a critical perspective on how agency, identity, and power among African American families and adolescents are constructed as they use digital tools to make sense of their lives. As a recipient of the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr. Lewis Ellison examined the digital literacy practices of African American fathers, their ideologies of digital use to support their children, and the relative effects of their digital learning on their children’s education. Dr. Lewis Ellison was a fellow for the Organizing for Action, Digital Content Production Fellowship Program, a recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) Research Foundation Grant, NCTE Promising Researcher Award, and the Literacy Research Association (LRA) J Michael Parker Award. She was also a finalist of the International Literacy Association Outstanding Dissertation Award, a fellow for the LRA Scholars of color Transitioning into Academic Research and the NCTE Research Foundation’s Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color Program. Her work has appeared in the Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, and Journal of Education. Dr. Lewis Ellison holds a Ph.D. in Reading from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Examining African American Fathers’ Digital Literacy Practices

Research focused on the digital literacies of African American fathers and their role and influence in their children’s education is limited. Much of the existing scholarship presents deficit views about these fathers as contributors to their families and children (Cabrera, Shannon, Jolley, & Tamis-LeMonda, 2008). Such images are also reinforced in popular culture and in the media. However in this proposed research, this study examines the digital literate lives of low-and middle-income African American fathers and how their practices and ideologies impact the lives of their children in an increasingly technologically driven society. More specifically, I will investigate: the ways in which these fathers utilize tools (i.e., iPads and cell phones), social networking sites (i.e., Facebook and Twitter), and how they use their digital literacies and the social practices associated with them to influence their children’s learning experiences in and out of school.

Employing critical sociocultural, New Literacy Studies, and multimodality theories, I seek to find the link to what fathers do and how they use tools in their everyday literacy practices that produce, reproduce, and shape digital literacies, power structures, identities, and agencies in and out of their homes. This landmark and innovative study lays groundwork to explore the layers of African American fathers’ digital literacy practices and their contributions to their children’s education.

Understanding the digital lives, practices, and stories of African American fathers through this work is groundbreaking and instrumental to the literacy development of African American children. This study comes during critical moments in educational and political history, when the achievement gap and the separate but unequal education structures separate African American children from their counterparts, and at a time when the descriptive ways in which African American males have been portrayed in mainstream media continually perpetuate myths about the (in)stability of Black people. These accounts are upsetting and disturbing to the educational field as well as to our national culture, but this study has the potential to address and deconstruct these myths by examining the interactions between African American fathers and their children via digital media and tools. I am committed to understanding the academic and social barriers African American fathers and their families face, the unique and complex digital literacy practices that may arise in fathers’ interactions with their children, and the structural and institutional constraints that shape outcomes for their children despite their fathers’ positive role modeling. Such an understanding could potentially provide children with the tools needed to become active and dominant forces both in and out of school, and together with their fathers and the researchers who chronicle their lives, we could create a new narrative about African American families in general.

Glenda M. Flores, University of California, Irvine

Dr. Glenda M. Flores is a professor of Chicano/Latino Studies with a courtesy appointment in Sociology and the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her book manuscript Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture is forthcoming with New York University Press. In her book she explores how teaching has emerged as the number one occupation that college educated Latinas enter, and examines their workplace experiences in ‘majority-minority’ multiracial schools in Southern California. She has conducted extensive research with teachers in Santa Ana, Compton, and Rosemead, communities that serve predominantly immigrant and racial/ethnic minority populations. Her award winning research on Latina teachers has received national recognition and has appeared in academic journals such as Qualitative Sociology, Gender, Work and Organization, Latino Studies, Ethnography, and City and Community. Throughout the academic year Dr. Flores teaches “Latino Immigration, Incorporation and the Future,” “Chicano/Latinos and Labor,” and “Latinos in a Global Society.” She has also presented her research internationally such as at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos in Cuernavaca, México and the University of Keele in England. Dr. Flores just finished a three-year term for the Latina/o Sociology Council of the American Sociological Association and is beginning a three-year term as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at UCI. Professor Flores is currently working on several research projects with graduate and undergraduate students that examine the social mobility patterns of the children of Latino immigrants and their experiences in the white-collar world. Her areas of expertise include Latina/o Sociology, Work and Occupations, Middle Class Minorities, The Intersection of Race, Gender and Class, Education, and Qualitative Methods.

Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture

My book, Latina Teachers, sheds new light on the work lives of college-educated Latinas who enter the teaching profession and work in multiracial schools in metropolitan Los Angeles with mostly non-white coworkers. The book bridges the fields of cultural capital in education and race/ethnicity in occupations to elucidate how Latina teachers incorporate ethnic culture into their daily work lives in two different contexts. I examine the pathways into the job they have, how structural conditions influenced their agency and directed them to certain districts, and what creates the disparate workplace experiences. I argue that Latina teachers working in two scholastically underperforming ‘majority-minority’ multiracial schools actively assist Latino families in schools by creatively moving beyond institutionalized curricula—which is typically geared towards a white-middle-class mainstream-designed to fit all students regardless of background. Latina Teachers relies on a comparative study design to elucidate the workplace experiences of Latinas at Garvey Unified, a predominantly working-class Latino and Chinese community in the west San Gabriel Valley, and those of Latina teachers in Compton, a formerly African American community that is now predominantly Latino. The book draws upon the author’s 50 in-depth interviews with teachers; over 450 hours of copious ethnographic and participant observations; focus groups with parents of children enrolled in these schools, and analysis of district school meetings. I suggest that Latina teachers are “cultural guardians” who devise and fashion ethical alternatives to subtractive schooling practices and cultural deficit models to make schools more welcoming spaces for co-ethnic children. As a teaching method, they rely upon an alternative form of cultural capital I call Latino cultural resources or Chicana/Latina cultural pedagogies to guard their students’ cultural identities within and beyond the school, but the institutions, standardized testing, and the schools in which they find themselves simultaneously regulate them because they do not follow the Americanization script.

Antero Garcia, Colorado State University

Antero Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University. Prior to moving to Colorado, Antero was an English teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero completed his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on developing critical literacies and civic identity through the use of participatory media and gameplay in formal learning environments. Antero’s research has appeared in numerous journals including The Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, English Journal, and Rethinking Schools. He is the author of the books Pose Wobble Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy and Learning (with Cindy O’Donnell-Allen; Teachers College Press, forthcoming), Critical Foundations in Young Adult Literature: Challenging Genres (Sense, 2013), and Teaching in the Connected Learning Classrom (DML Hub, 2014).

Uncovering the Learning Practices of Tabletop Roleplaying Game Communities: The Affordance of Play and Non-Digital Media for Learning and Identity

As recent research enthusiastically points to the possibilities that videogames provide in supporting academic learning, the possibilities of these digital tools to impact youth learning appear promising. However, despite this enthusiasm and an explosion of commercially produced educational videogames, there are few studies that look at the principles of gaming and the affordances of play in digital and non-digital contexts. Further, as online spaces can sometimes lead to hurtful experiences, as most recently highlighted by #gamergate, the negative effects of digital gaming are often left unaccounted for by educational researchers. As such, it is likely that many of the educational values of videogames could also be derived and more sustainably distributed in non-digital formats. Conducting an 18-month ethnographic study of two gaming communities, this project highlights the learning and literacy practices that emerge in non-digital tabletop gameplay. Focusing on tabletop roleplaying games–Dungeons & Dragons being the most widely known example–this study will look at the ways players collaborate, communicate, and learn within gaming communities. This process includes transcribing and coding more than 400 hours of fieldnotes and interview transcripts in order to better understand how individuals construction meaning making and strengthen literacies in this extracurricular environment. The study contributes a needed empirical corpus of data that highlight how learning within games occurs. By exploring this out-of-school context of non-digital gaming, this project significantly expands educational gaming research and offers practical strategies for the use of non-digital games within schools. By offering findings that support additional in-school research on the use of games, this work bolsters pre-existing assumptions about the educational validity of videogames and highlights how 21st century learning principles are supported without digital tools and primarily through face-to-face interactions.

Kevin Gee, University of California, Davis

Kevin A. Gee is an assistant professor in the School of Education at UC Davis and a faculty research affiliate with the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. His central research focuses on the education-health nexus. In his research, he evaluates whether and how education systems can improve children’s health and well-being via school-based health policies and programs. He also investigates how the social organization of schools can protect and promote the well-being of vulnerable and marginalized children, including children of abuse and neglect, students of color and low-income students. To conduct his research, he uses quantitative methods to analyze large-scale secondary datasets. Dr. Gee’s research has been funded through the Spencer Foundation and a Young Scholars Program award from the Foundation for Child Development. Dr. Gee holds degrees from UC Berkeley (B.A.), UC San Diego (Master of Pacific & International Affairs) and Harvard University (Ed.M). In 2010, he received his Ed.D. in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Education of Abused and Neglected Children: Placement into and the Effects of Special Education

In 2012, over 6.3 million children in the US were involved in reported cases of maltreatment, which can include neglect, physical abuse, psychological trauma, and/or sexual abuse. Though approximately 25% of maltreated children are placed into special education for disabilities often linked to maltreatment, many others qualify for special education, but are not placed into special education. Unfortunately, there is a lack of explanations for why their special education needs go unfulfilled; further, evidence of the effects of special education on maltreated children’s outcomes is limited. Thus, in my proposed quantitative investigation, I will examine (1) factors determining whether maltreated children with disabilities are placed into special education; and (2) whether special education improves educational outcomes for maltreated children with disabilities. I will analyze data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II (NSCAW-II) using hierarchical linear modeling and the quasi-experimental method of propensity score matching. My research can identify salient factors that our public education and child welfare systems can potentially leverage to improve maltreated children’s prospects of receiving special education services. Moreover, my work will contribute new knowledge critical in informing the debate over strategies to best meet the educational needs of maltreated students with disabilities.

Chloe Gibbs, University of Notre Dame

Chloe Gibbs is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame where she is also a faculty affiliate of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. She previously held an assistant professorship at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy with a joint appointment in the Curry School of Education. Dr. Gibbs is interested in measuring the effects, both intended and unintended, of policies and programs targeted at disadvantaged children and families. Her recent research includes analyzing the impact of full-day kindergarten on maternal employment, investigating patterns of fade out across studies of Head Start program effects, and exploring whether fade out of early childhood program effects varies with preschool and early school experiences. She also has works-in-progress looking at the effects of local college scholarship programs on non-academic outcomes and measuring the intergenerational transmission of Head Start effects. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Harris School.

Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Longer-term Impact of Full-day Kindergarten

Enrollment in full-day kindergarten in the United States has increased dramatically since 1970, eclipsing half-day kindergarten enrollment in 1995 and now constituting approximately three-quarters of all kindergarten students. Despite this growth and increasing policymaker focus on full-day kindergarten provision and expansions, there is little evidence on the impact and cost-effectiveness of such programs and policies, particularly as compared to other types of investments in early childhood. This study will investigate the longer-term effects of full-day kindergarten using rigorous randomized and regression-discontinuity designs. To date, we know little about how full-day kindergarten, and other early grades interventions more broadly, affect children’s cognitive and socio-emotional skills beyond the primary grades. Recent evidence on the re-emergent effects of small kindergarten class size, comprehensive pre-kindergarten programming, and Head Start well into adulthood suggests that there are potentially non-cognitive, or socio-emotional, pathways through which these positive effects are realized. In the existing evidence, we observe early cognitive effects, fairly rapid fade out of those effects, and improvements in overall wellbeing in adulthood. This study seeks to both (1) contribute to a gap in the literature on full-day kindergarten by exploring longer-term (and different) outcomes than have previously been assessed, and (2) inform the broader conversation about the ways in which interventions early in the life cycle may improve life chances for disadvantaged children. Employing data from school districts using lottery- and fixed cutpoint-based assignment to kindergarten settings, I test the causal impact of full- versus half-day assignment on identification for special services, on-time grade promotion and retention, attendance, behavioral infractions, and reading and mathematics standardized assessments from third through eighth grade. The work will also explore heterogeneity of effects and cost-effectiveness of full-day kindergarten provision.

Jon Hale, College of Charleston

Jon Hale is an assistant professor of educational history at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Jon completed his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research examines the role of education in contesting social, political and economic inequality during the Civil Rights Movement. Through archival research and an extensive oral history project, Jon has examined the history of student and teacher activism, grassroots educational programs, and segregated high schools as sites of political resistance since 1865. His research, generously funded by the Spencer Dissertation Fellowship in 2008-2009, has been published in history and education journals, including the Journal of African American History, the History of Education Quarterly, South Carolina Historical Magazine, and the Journal of Social Studies Research. Jon also has a forthcoming manuscript, The Freedom Schools: A History of Student Activists on the Frontlines of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, with Columbia University Press (2016). He is a co-editor, with William Sturkey, of The Freedom School Newspapers: Writings, Essays and Reports from Student Activists During the Civil Rights Movement (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). Jon commits his service to civil rights education initiatives such as the Quality Education as a Constitutional Right effort, the Freedom Schools, the Quality Education Project and the Southern Initiative of Algebra Project.

Learning to Protest: The Politics of Youth and the High School Education of the Civil Rights Generation, 1900-1970

High school student protests across the American South shaped the most important legal campaigns and protests of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1951, high school students at R.R. Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, walked out of their school in protest of unequal school facilities. They contacted the NAACP in Richmond and initiated one of the five court cases that constituted the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision. Four years later, Claudette Colvin, a fifteen year old student at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a segregated public bus. Colvin’s defiant stand followed weeks of studying the United States Constitution, but occurred nine months before Rosa Parks’ arrest that triggered the now famous Montgomery Bus Boycott. Segregated high schools were critical spaces of resistance throughout American history, but they have been overlooked in the historiography of the Civil Rights Movement. Young people today learn about the role of the NAACP and the Brown (1954) decision and Rosa Parks and the bus boycott, yet they rarely learn about the critical role of young people like Colvin, and the high schools they attended, in shaping the course of the Civil Rights Movement.

This project examines four sites of high school protest in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Montgomery, Alabama, Charleston, South Carolina, and Jackson, Mississippi. The historically black high schools in these locations illustrate the dynamic contextual interplay between students, teachers and the NAACP and demonstrate how the high school emerged as a critical site of protest during the Civil Rights Movement. The history of secondary education reveals how educators, the NAACP Youth Council, students, and shifting conceptions of youth intersected to transform the high school into a site of political resistance. Black teachers organized professionally to secure rights necessary to provide a quality education during the era of segregation and they instilled notions of participatory citizenship among their students. Concurrently, the NAACP formed Youth Councils to guide young people into joining the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Conceptions of youth and their ability to engage in activism underpinned a new approach to the organization of social and political dissent at the high school level. This both relied on, and was a product of, a shift in views about the role of youth in social protest. The view of young people in the 1930s as passive recipients of top-down and bureaucratic organization was supplanted by a notion of young people as autonomous actors in the Civil Rights Movement. By the 1950s, decades of organizing young people through the NAACP Youth Council and teaching high school courses in black history precipitated a wave of protests and demonstrations among high school students that influenced the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

This educational history deepens our understanding of the Civil Rights Movement to include segregated black high schools and affiliated professional organizations, such as the NAACP Youth Councils, that worked closely with high schools. It also revises a prevailing thesis that high school teachers and students were passive and indifferent. Moreover, this history provides a historical lens through which to understand recent high school demonstrations. Though contemporary coverage of these protests typically portray such demonstrations as ahistorical, this history reminds us that public high schools have been, and still can be, instrumental locations for perpetuating an active sense of civic engagement and political participation.

Peter Halpin, New York University

Peter Halpin is an Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics whose research focuses on educational measurement and psychometrics. He received a Ph.D. in Psychology from Simon Fraser University in 2010, and held a postdoctoral research position at the University of Amsterdam through 2012. His recent research projects include (a) the use of confirmatory factor analysis to address the influence of test anxiety on test performance, (b) time series methods for computer-mediated human interaction, and (c) measurement models for improving the reliability and diagnostic utility of in-classroom observations of teachers. His research on the latter topic has been supported by a Measures of Effective Teaching Early Career Grant (NAEd/Spencer) as well as an Early Career Grant from the Statistics and Research Methodology Program of the Institute of Education Sciences. His work has been published in outlets including Psychometrika, Structural Equation Modeling, Multivariate Behavioral Research, and Educational Researcher.

Using Educational Technology to Support Inferences About Collaborative Problem Solving

Traditional educational tests target a relatively narrow set of constructs compared to the range of competencies required for student success. It has been recognized that learning technology can help address this problem by providing a wider range of performance-based contexts that also have better fidelity to the situations in which students learn and are expected to demonstrate their knowledge. Additionally, learning technology enables the collection of fine-grained data on students’ task-related activities, and can also allow for the real-time statistical analysis of such data, which can be used to support inferences about student competencies in learning contexts. However, these new data sources are often difficult to interpret with respect to psychological and educational constructs, and are likely to violate assumptions of traditional psychometric models. This project has three interrelated research goals. The first is to develop reliable and robust measurement methods for difficult-to-measure competencies. The second is to explore the use of serially dependent data available from learning technology to provide contextualized, formative feedback to learners and educators. The third is to apply these methodological considerations to a specific target construct, namely collaborative problem solving.

This project has three interrelated research goals. The first is to develop reliable and robust measurement methods for difficult-to-measure competencies. The second is to explore the use of serially dependent data available from learning technology to provide contextualized, formative feedback to learners and educators. The third is to apply these methodological developments to a specific target construct, namely collaborative problem solving.

The focus on collaborative problems solving is motivated by the following considerations. First, collaboration, team work, and other interpersonal skills are increasingly being recognized as important domains of student competency. Second, educational measurement should be guided by research and theory that informs our understanding of student learning, not conducted in isolation. Third, the statistical procedures that I have developed for the time series analysis of dyadic interaction can be used to make substantial progress on this topic.

Megan Holland, University at Buffalo

Megan Holland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo. Dr. Holland received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University. Her research centers on understanding the processes within schools that contribute to systemic patterns of racial, gender and class inequality and the role of both culture and structure. Using interview and observational methods, her research examines students’ social and academic experiences and the connections between the two that contribute to educational and societal inequalities. In examining these broader social processes, Dr. Holland has focused on two lines of research. In one, she examines how students navigate the postsecondary transition and in another she studies the social dynamics of diverse high schools. Her work has appeared in Sociology of Education, Sociology Compass and Teacher’s College Record.

Two Paths Diverged: Race, Class and Inequality in the College-Going High School

My project examines how high schools structure pathways that lead to very different college destinations based on race and class. Drawing upon previously collected data, and new follow up data, I am currently writing a book manuscript that delves into the stories and experiences of 89 students who are navigating the college application process over their junior and senior years. I draw upon a racially and socioeconomically diverse sample to show how students within the same school have vastly different college application experiences. I track a sub-sample of students throughout their junior and senior years, and then follow up with them four years after high school to understand students’ full postsecondary trajectories. I supplement the students’ voices with over two hundreds hours of school observations, interviews with 40 school faculty and staff (including school counselors) as well as a sample of local college admissions officers, to examine how access to college information is structured at both schools. What I find is that racial and class inequalities are reproduced through unequal access to key sources of information, even among students in the same school and even in schools with well-established college-going cultures. In today’s competitive college application process, the social capital embedded within students’ networks are key, and the social capital students gain (or don’t) through their peers, counselors and college admissions officers influences their application to more and less selective colleges. School structure and organization facilitated students’ connections to different sources of social capital, funneling more advantaged students toward networks and ties with more information and less advantaged students toward information poor networks. Most striking, however, was how the schools acted as brokers – connecting more advantaged students with higher quality college information and with college admission officers at more selective schools, while encouraging less advantaged students to attend events populated with less selective schools. This left less advantaged students vulnerable to marketing tactics that that took advantage of their high hopes for college and lack of information.

Noelle Hurd, University of Virginia

Noelle Hurd is an assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Psychology. She earned both her doctorate in psychology and MPH from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on factors that promote more positive psychosocial outcomes among marginalized adolescents. She is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive relationships with non-parental adults. In addition to exploring the role of supportive relationships in contributing to youth development, she also investigates the role of broader contextual factors (e.g., neighborhood characteristics) in shaping youth outcomes. Her work has been published in a variety of outlets including the American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Child Development, The Journal of Early Adolescence, and Developmental Psychology.

The Role of Mentoring in Promoting Underrepresented Students’ Academic Success across 4 Years of College

The proposed project seeks to better understand how mentors may facilitate academic success among underrepresented students across four years of college. Employing a sample of first-generation college students, students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, the proposed project aims to examine whether relationships with natural mentors contribute to students’ academic success via increments in students’ sense of school belonging, academic identity, and self-regulated learning strategies across their first through fourth years of college. In addition, the proposed project will investigate whether the provision of specific types of support determines the level of influence these relationships have on students’ academic outcomes. Lastly, the proposed project will examine whether the role of the natural mentor in students’ lives moderates the associations between types of support provided and students’ academic outcomes. The information gleaned from this project will be used to inform institutional policies and practices aimed at fostering the academic success of underrepresented students. In particular, findings from this project will inform best practices of college-based mentoring programs targeting underrepresented students. In addition, findings of the proposed project may underscore the significance of informal mentoring relationships in promoting students’ academic success and suggest ways to capitalize on these relationships.

Joscha Legewie, Yale University

Joscha Legewie (Ph.D. Sociology 2013, Columbia University) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University. His research focuses on social inequality, education, racial/ethnic relations, gender, and research methods. His current research on education examines the role of student mobility for the influence of neighborhoods, schools and peers on education outcomes, and the effect of peers on the gender gap in education using two quasi-experimental case studies and detailed data on students’ friendship networks. Other projects include work on the effect of extreme violence against police officers on the use of police force against racial minorities, and research on the conditions under which New Yorker’s complain about their neighbors making noise, blocking the driveway, or drinking in public. Throughout his work, Joscha’s research combines natural or quasi-experimental research designs with a keen interest in “big data” as a promising source for future social science research – including administrative student records, millions of time and geo-coded NYPD stop-and-frisk operations or 311 service requests from New York City. His findings were published in the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Sociology of Education and other journals.

Disruptive Change: Student Mobility and the Influence of Neighborhoods, Schools and Peers on Educational Achievement

Student mobility is pervasive across school districts in the United States and has important implications for low-income and minority students. The negative consequences for students, teachers, and schools have been a persistent concern among educators and researchers alike. At the same time, student mobility is at the center of many policy initiatives such as school choice, voucher programs, the closing of under-performing schools, and others. It provides students with the opportunity to move to better schools and neighborhoods with the prospect of a fertile learning environment. This project integrates research on residential and school mobility with work on neighborhood, school and peer effects. The purpose is three-fold. First, the study examines the effect of residential and school mobility on student performance. The central argument is that student mobility not only has a temporary negative effect on test-score growth, but that it also alters the influence of neighborhoods, schools, and peers in the years after students move to a new context. Second, the empirical support for the success of policy interventions that aim to place families in low-poverty neighborhoods or move students to better schools is mixed despite evidence for neighborhood, school, and peer effects. One possible explanation is that previous research largely ignores the role of changes in family residence and related school transitions. Indeed, most theories of context effects attribute a critical role to the social integration of students and the influence of their peer networks. This project focuses on the adjustment process of mobile students, which helps us to understand the mixed results about the success of policy interventions that aim to place families in low-poverty neighborhoods or move students to better. Third, integrating research on residential and school mobility with work on context effects is important for a number of concrete policy interventions that rely on the relocation of students such as school choice, school closures, and desegregation or voucher programs. To address these questions, this project uses large-scale administrative data that tracks students as they progress through school. The analyses are based on a difference-in-difference matching approach that compares the test-score growth of students who change schools or move to a different neighborhood with the growth of similar students who remain in the original school or neighborhood. The project contributes to research on neighborhood, school and peer effects. It helps us to understand the lack of positive effects for many residential relocation or school desegregation programs, and speaks to educational policy that relies on school transfers.

Katherine Lewis, University of Washington

Katherine Lewis is an assistant professor at the University of Washington’s College of Education. Her research lies at the intersection of math education and special education and is concerned with understanding the nature of mathematical learning disabilities. Dr. Lewis’s work centers on an understanding of disability in terms of cognitive difference rather than deficit. This theoretical orientation – informed by a Vygotskian perspective of disability and Disability Studies – involves identifying differences in student’s understanding as they occur in authentic learning environments, evaluating the accessibility of instruction, and considering ways in which students may compensate. Dr. Lewis holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of California, Berkeley and completed post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins and University of Minnesota.

Beyond the basics: Understanding MLD in algebra

Algebra is a gatekeeper. For the 6-8% of students with mathematical learning disabilities, an inability to pass algebra may significantly limit academic and career opportunities. Unfortunately, little is known about mathematical learning disabilities beyond basic arithmetic. Prior research on mathematical learning disabilities has predominantly focused on elementary-aged students’ deficits in speed and accuracy on written assessments of arithmetic calculation. This study aims to expand our understanding of mathematical learning disabilities by documenting differences – rather than deficits – and exploring the mathematical topic of algebra. In this study I will recruit students with mathematical learning disabilities and collect videotaped data of one-on-one algebraic problem-solving sessions with each student. Detailed case studies of these students will be conducted with the purpose of uncovering their atypical understanding of algebraic concepts. The operationally defined atypical understandings along with a comparison across cases will provide new insights into the nature of mathematical learning disabilities. These findings will inform the design of innovative diagnostic and remediation approaches and will make theoretical contributions by illustrating the utility of conceptualizing mathematical learning disabilities in terms of cognitive difference rather than cognitive deficit.

Pinky Makoe, University of South Africa

Pinky Makoe is an Associate Professor in the English Studies Department at the University of South Africa (UNISA). She holds of a Ph.D. from the Institute of Education, University of London. She is interested in how children, particularly English language learners, are socialized into the dominant cultural and linguistic practices in the early years of formal schooling. Through her research, Pinky aims to contribute to our understanding of how institutional language policies and practices affect children’s opportunities to learn. Pinky’s research has appeared in Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, English Academy Review, English Teaching: Practice and Critique, and Journal of African Children’s and Youth Development, among others. Her current research interests include the politics of English, language ideologies, issues of class and identity; hybrid and heteroglossic discourse practices in culturally and linguistically diverse school settings.

Language Practices and Identity Construction in Racially Desegregated Urban Multilingual South African Classroom Settings

Existing research on language policy, ideologies and practices in a variety of educational contexts, shows an increasing hegemony of English and monolingual ideologies amid cultural and linguistic super-diversity. Diversity and difference are often seen as problematic in education contexts around the world, even though research continues to show that multilingualism/multiculturalism is the norm. This study will focus on language practices and identity construction in multilingual educational contexts in South Africa, investigating the extent to which day-to-day school practices (i.e. in and outside of classroom settings) reflect the diversity of learners. The enquiry will be situated in the context of early education (i.e. Grade 1-3) in post-apartheid South Africa (SA), with a specific focus on the changing environment of previously racially segregated suburban classrooms which now cater for predominantly black population of children. In particular, the project seeks to investigate the various linguistic resources (repertories, registers, varieties, styles) which multilingual learners use to negotiate selves in the classrooms and school contexts. Due to historical and political inequalities experienced during the apartheid era in the SA society, education continues to be an ideological context in which hegemonic practices including knowledge, language, values are produced and reproduced. Thus the proposed study also aims to explore the kinds of relationships between language and identity that are embedded in both discourses and practices. More specifically, what assumptions/discourses about diversity exist in schools as social institutions and structures, how are those reflected or inculcated in everyday activities, and how do they determine or construct the kinds identity options that are made available to learners at particular times and places? I will answer these questions by collecting a body of data, including field notes, non-participant observation notes, notes of discussions with the teachers and video data of communicative events and practices within the school context.

The study will contribute both empirically and theoretically to current debates in applied linguistics, and sociolinguistics, on language ideologies especially with reference to the complexities of the language practices of late-modern urban speakers in cosmopolitan settings who employ a wide range of linguistic and semiotic resources, in sophisticated and seamless ways (e.g. Bailey 2012; Otsuji and Pennycook 2010; Moll, Neffe and González 1992; Gutièrrez, Baquedano-López, Alvarez and Chiu 1999). Through this research I hope to show that the kinds of resources that learners use in and out of formal classrooms not only serve to redefine the cultural practices of suburban schooling, but also show agency. Ultimately, the outcomes of the project will be used to make recommendation on how to create educational spaces where multiple meaning-making resources and multilingual identities can be valorised and used in contexts of cultural and linguistic superdiversity.

Joseph Nelson, Swarthmore College

Joseph Derrick Nelson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at Swarthmore College, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania. A sociologist of education, school ethnographer, and teacher educator, his scholarship to date has examined how school culture influences boys’ identities; fostered their resistance to rigid gender norms; and employed interdisciplinary frameworks to address how schools limit boys’ engagement in early-childhood and elementary school settings. These empirical projects led to publications with Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Press, the Psychology of Men and Masculinity, and guest co-editing a special issue on boys’ education with the Journal of Boyhood Studies He is currently on the executive committee for the MacArthur-funded Center for the Study of Men and Masculinity at Stony Brook University, and the Education Liaison for the NoVo-funded Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity (PACH) at New York University. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the International Boys’ School Coalition. In his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Nelson taught first-grade for two years in a single-sex classroom for Black and Latino boys.

Never Give Up: Portraits of Academically Successful Black Boys at a 4th-8th Grade Middle School for Boys of Color

This critical ethnography will examine Black boys’ identity at a single-sex middle school for boys of color in New York City. Research on Black males has mainly focused on distressing social and academic outcomes of adolescents and young adults. Largely absent from this scholarship are empirical inquiries of Black boys’ schooling during childhood and early-adolescence. Single-sex schools for boys of color have been established throughout the United States to ameliorate these outcomes rooted in identity. Professionals at these schools, however, lack clarity with how race and gender contribute to boys’ struggles (Fergus, Noguera, & Martin, 2014). For 10 months (academic year), and from the boys’ perspectives, observations, focus groups, and interviews will be conducted at the school-site to interpret the interplay of school culture, academic engagement, and identity. Targeted school dimensions include: school values and beliefs; peer and teacher-student relationships; specialized programming; curriculum and instruction; and discipline policy. The 4th through 8th grade school enrolls 130 boys from low-income, immigrant, and ethnically diverse backgrounds. This ethnography aims to contribute to a reimagining of Black boyhood, and foreground how school professional can cultivate learning environments where Black boys self-determine their own worldviews and identities.

Julie Posselt, University of Southern California

Julie Posselt is an Assistant Professor of higher education in the USC Rossier School of Education and a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation postdoctoral research fellow. Rooted in sociological and organizational theory, her research program examines institutionalized inequalities in higher education and organizational efforts aimed at reducing racial and gender inequities and encouraging diversity. She focuses on selective sectors of higher education— graduate education, STEM fields, and elite undergraduate institutions—where faculty and administrators are negotiating longstanding practices and cultural norms to better identify talent and educate students in a changing society. Posselt is author of the book Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (2015, Harvard University Press), which is based on an award-winning ethnographic study of faculty judgment in 10 highly ranked doctoral programs in three universities. This research has led to partnerships with departments, graduate schools, and other associations that are re-examining graduate admissions practices, including the University of California, American Physics Society, and Council of Graduate Schools. Other research is published or forthcoming in the American Educational Research Journal, Annual Review of Sociology, Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. She is a member of the Journal of Higher Education’s editorial review board.

Competitiveness, Equity, and Mental Health in Graduate Education

Today’s college students identify anxiety and depression among the top factors impairing their learning and academic performance (ACHA, 2013), and a recent Council of Graduate Schools survey found that 62% of Black and Latino graduate students report worries about their mental or physical health (Jaschik, 2014). Among the factors shaping student mental health, intense competitiveness exacerbates social comparisons and may lead students, especially from marginalized identities, to question their potential and belonging (Baldwin, 2009). These issues have implications for the future professoriate. In a sample of 5000 graduate student respondents to a survey published in Nature, the #1 reason cited for abandoning faculty career plans was a perception that academia has become too competitive (Russo, 2011).

In previous studies, I examined the consequences of organizational status competition for equitable access to undergraduate and graduate education. With this project, I turn my attention to the consequences of status competition for the wellbeing of students who do enroll. I will conduct a concurrent mixed methods project that investigates the distribution of mental health risks in higher education, the roles and measurement of competitiveness and peer support in those risks, and efforts of exemplary graduate programs to balance aims of prestige and student support. Study 1 uses multiple measures of competitiveness and a diverse, national sample from the Healthy Minds Study to assess the distributions of risk for anxiety and depression across institutional and student characteristics. Study 2 is a multi-institutional comparative case study of high-diversity graduate programs, focusing on programmatic and evaluative structures that students and faculty interpret as indicative of competitiveness and support. The results have broad significance, including theoretical advancements in multiple disciplines and hypotheses suitable for experimental or quasi-experimental studies. They will offer recommendations for institutional policy and practice about what faculty can do to design inclusive, rigorous learning environments as well as what students can do to thrive amid the competition that academic performance sometimes entails.

Abby Reisman, University of Pennsylvania

Abby Reisman is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division. Prior to her arrival at Penn GSE, Reisman was a visiting professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, where she directed the “Reading Like a Historian” Project in San Francisco, the first extended history curriculum intervention in urban high schools. Her 2011 dissertation won the Larry Metcalf Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. An article that emerged from her dissertation won the 2013 William Gilbert Award from the American Historical Association. Dr. Reisman began her career in education as a classroom teacher in a small, progressive high school in New York City. Her work has appeared in Cognition and Instruction (2012), Journal of Curriculum Studies (2012), and Teachers College Record (2015).

Practice-Based Coaching and Professional Development: Supporting Teacher Facilitation of Whole-Class Text-Based History Discussion

Teacher educators have long recognized the instructional potential of classroom video. The emergence of new online video coaching platforms—with user-friendly upload and tagging features—holds great promise, especially for in-service professional development. This study explores how eight secondary social studies teachers, who first participated in four days of professional development on document-based history instruction, engaged in a follow-up online video-based coaching intervention focused on whole-class, text-based historical discussion. Teachers were assigned to one of two groups: peer feedback (Group A) or expert feedback (Group B), and using the online platform, participated in five weeks or “rounds” of video-based analysis and feedback, alternating between personal and case videos. The study answers three calls in the literature: the first is to ground teacher professional preparation in instructional practice; the second is to better understand the role of instructional coaching in professional development; and the third is to focus professional development research on key design features during early stages of program development. The findings will contribute to our understanding of how to support teacher facilitation of text-based discussion, a practice widely lauded and rarely seen.

Todd Ruecker, University of New Mexico

Todd Ruecker is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He has also taught English in the Czech Republic and Chile and completed doctoral studies on the U.S.-Mexico border. He recently served as the chair of the Second Language Writing (SLW) Standing Group at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and as chair of the SLW Interest Section at TESOL International and regularly gives presentations and workshops at CCCC, the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL), TESOL International, and at other conferences. His work continually crosses disciplinary boundaries and focuses on researching the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity of secondary and postsecondary educational institutions and supporting student success through technologically-supported curricular innovation and by advocating for broader structural changes. He has published articles in a variety of journals including TESOL Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies and Writing Program Administration. His book, Transiciones: Latina and Latino Students Writing in High School and College, was published by Utah State University Press in early 2015.

Linguistic Minority Students and Literacy Education in Rural and Small Town High Schools

Though much attention to language diversity has concentrated on urban populations, many rural and small town communities across the country are rapidly diversifying. The percentage of minority students in rural schools rose from 16.4% in 2000 to 26.7% in 2013 and rural schools now serve more than 2.6 million minority students and over 300,000 students classified as ELL (Johnson et al., 2013). Despite the doubling of ELL students in rural and small town schools in recent years, these schools and their communities are still perceived as homogeneous and continue to be largely overlooked in the research, especially research focused on linguistic minority students. An analysis of university enrollment data in New Mexico, a state where a quarter of rural students are ELL and disproportionally Native American and Hispanic, shows that rural students are withdrawing from college at higher levels than their urban counterparts.

This project aims to understand how linguistic minority students are being prepared for college-level literacy at rural high schools. Building on an analysis of enrollment data and two pilot site visits, the researcher will spend 12-16 weeks at four additional rural schools in order to develop a deep understanding regarding how linguistic minority students, including immigrant students, are served in these schools. He will interview students, teachers, and administrators while conducting classroom observations, collecting teaching and other materials, and keeping a daily journal of his experiences in the communities. In particular, he will focus on exploring the following questions: What does literacy instruction look like in English language arts (ELA) and English as a second language (ESL) classrooms in different rural and small town high schools and how is this instruction shaped by context? How are these classrooms preparing linguistic minority students for college literacy work? The findings will help teacher education and educational leadership programs better prepare future teachers and administrators to serve the literacy needs of increasingly diverse students in rural and small town schools. They will also help college writing program administrators better prepare their instructors to facilitate these students’ transitions to college literacy work.

Herbert Sosa, Visiting Research Fellow, Civil Rights Project/Projecto Derechos Civiles, University of California, Los Angeles

Herbert Sosa received a PhD in United States history from the University of Michigan in 2013. His research interests include civil rights, comparative race and ethnicity, urban and suburban history, social and political history, race and class inequality, identity formation, law, immigration, and education. In his dissertation, he examines how important legal and political institutions influence identity formation and political ideologies within the context of school desegregation efforts.

Fragmented Diversity: School Desegregation, Student Activism, and Busing in Los Angeles, 1962-1983

In the important but understudied, civil rights and equal educational opportunity case of Mary Crawford vs. Los Angeles City Board of Education, I demonstrated how political and legal institutions shaped debates over the meaning of de jure/de facto segregation, equal educational opportunity, compensatory education, and bilingual/bicultural education. Examining racial inequality in education affecting African Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, and various immigrant groups in Los Angeles, I argued that what began as a school desegregation lawsuit under the framework of a straightforward black-white binary in 1963 transformed dramatically over nearly two decades due to drastic demographic and economic shifts, as well as the decision-making processes within two powerful institutional contexts at the Los Angeles City Board of Education (LACBE) and the courts. These contexts, in turn, generated new political identities, ideologies, and actors through various forms of decision-making during the struggle over school desegregation.

Los Angeles’ racial politics had changed markedly by 1982 as racial and ethnic minority groups managed to carve out political spaces and concessions from these two institutions, even as these institutions had delineated who could participate in the political and legal arenas over education policy generally, and Crawford specifically. Moreover, political coalitions in the city were characterized by a condition of fragmented diversity, marked by unpredictable racial and ethnic coalitions that emanated out of political fissures among and within racial and ethnic communities. Given a choice of implementing school desegregation or race- and ethnicity-based educational policies, many powerful self-described “colorblind” legal and political institutions favored the latter, which sustained school and residential segregation and reinforced racial and ethnic identities and cohesion.

Sara Tolbert, University of Arizona

Sara Tolbert, University of Arizona Sara Tolbert is Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Teaching, Learning, & Sociocultural Studies Department at the University of Arizona’s College of Education. Dr. Tolbert received a Ph.D. in Education (Focus Areas: Social & Cultural Contexts of Education/Science Education/Teacher Education) from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2011. Dr. Tolbert draws from critical and feminist theories to create and investigate contextually authentic and justice-oriented approaches to science education. She partners with secondary science teachers to investigate the impact of leveraging local and global justice issues in science education on students’ experiences in school science and their sense of sociopolitical control in socioscientific problems and challenges. She has also collaborated on the design of new transformative models for science teacher education that are responsive to the needs, hopes, and dreams of marginalized students and communities. Before pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Tolbert taught science and sheltered science in formal and informal settings in the South Bronx, NY, Atlanta, GA, South Auckland (Papatoetoe), New Zealand, and Latin America.

What is social justice in science education? Expanding possibilities for school science

There is a growing literature base on how researchers can facilitate socially just science learning experiences for/with minoritized students and their teachers. Yet, this work demonstrates that due to rigid institutional constraints, teachers are rarely able to sustain the reforms after the research has been completed. Few studies reveal how science teachers, and their students, are agents not only constituted by institutional constraints but also capable of acting upon and within them. To address this underexplored avenue, I conduct multiple case studies of science teaching with social-justice minded teachers across four different classroom and community contexts.

Drawing from research in social justice and feminist science education, I investigate how these teachers work within interstitial spaces (Hussenius et al., 2016), acting as carriers who “loosen boundaries” to teach science for social justice, despite prevailing material and discursive conditions that position them and their students as failing in science and science education. Findings from these case studies reveal how teachers leverage multi-dimensional aspects of justice, pedagogy, caring, ethics, science, and community to create opportunities for socially transformative science education from marginalized social, political, and economic locations—highlighting the nuanced ways that “agency emerges from the margins of power” (Butler, 1997).

Kate Vieira, University of Wisconsin, Madison

I am an associate professor of English in the Composition and Rhetoric program and a faculty affiliate in the Second Language Acquisition program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and have also served on the writing studies faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My research agenda is to develop new theories of literacy that reflect pressing 21st century trends: namely, the cross-border movement of people, global economic inequality, and rapidly changing technologies of communication.

I meet these goals in two ways: 1) through grounded ethnographies of ordinary immigrants’ literacy practices; and 2) through engagement with scholarship across disciplines, including literacy studies, migration studies, education, socio-linguistics, anthropology, and writing studies.

My interests in literacy and migration stem from my teaching background: elementary school English as a Second Language in Dallas, Texas and high school English as a Foreign Language with the Peace Corps in Daugavpils, Latvia. From these diverse teaching experiences, I learned that for literacy education to be successful, particularly in marginalized communities, it is essential for educators to understand students’ out-of-school literacy practices and the larger political and economic contexts that shape them.

These intellectual and social concerns drove my doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin and are wedded in my first book, American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). An ethnography of documented and undocumented migrants, the book shows how legal status impinges on migrants’ access to and experiences of literacy. It moves scholarship on immigrant literacy beyond concerns with language to call attention to literacy’s material artifacts, such as Green Cards and passports, that link migrants to the larger governmental institutions that regulate their mobility. Research associated with this book has been published in Written Communication, College English, and Literacy in Composition Studies.

I am currently working to extend these insights about literacy’s materiality and its imbrication in larger political and economic currents–what I am calling its “socio-materiality”– in a second book project that asks how emigration shapes literacy learning in migrants’ homelands, among left-behind family members. I’m honored to have received a Spencer Foundation small grant, a Vilas Associates Award from the University of Wisconsin, a Department of Education research grant from the University of Illinois, and now the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral fellowship for work on this second book project, described below.

Literacy Learning in Migrants’ Homelands: How Emigration Benefits Those Left Behind

Literacy Learning in Migrants’ Homelands: How Emigration Benefits Those Left Behind How do people use literacy to remain close when they are far? And what new kinds of literacy learning result from long-distance separation? Literacy Learning in Migrants’ Homelands answers these questions through a tri-continental study of transnational families and their use of letters, phones, and computers to communicate across borders. While much research addresses migrant literacy in host countries, this project asks how mass migration shapes writing in migrants’ homelands. Based on ethnographic and qualitative research in Brazil, Latvia, and the U.S., early results show that emigration can actually promote informal literacy learning among separated families, as they develop new literacy skills to sustain relationships. Specifically, homeland residents often receive what I am calling “writing remittances”—the letters, emails, chats, and laptops that migrants send home to their loved ones. I compare writing remittances’ use among migrants’ family members in two home communities—one marked by mass out-migration (in Latvia) and the other with modest out-migration (in Brazil). In a third field site, this time in a community of Latin American and Eastern European migrants in the Midwest, I examine how migrants view their engagement in this kind of homeland literacy education. Using this comparative and transnational design, the project traces the material paths through which migration drives new kinds of literacy learning, as people take up, exchange, and invest writing remittances in local and global circuits of exchange. In doing so, it seeks to make both a theoretical and a pedagogical contribution to our understanding of literacy education: Theoretically, by detailing the local consequences of the global circulation of literacy, this project rethinks key literacy concepts, such as literacy’s ability to travel, from a transnational, digital, and materialist perspective. Pedagogically, this study offers educators a community-based model of global digital literacy practice from which to develop curricula. An examination of this widespread but overlooked phenomenon–migration-driven literacy learning–is vital at a moment of rapid technological innovation and globalization, both of which intensify demands on contemporary literacies. For more information on the project and participating communities, please visit http://www.literacyandimmigration.com

Katherine Zinsser, University of Illinois at Chicago

Kate Zinsser is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also consults with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois Institute for Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). Kate strives to support the social-emotional well-being and development of young children and their caregivers by conducting applied research that can benefit practice and policy. As the director of the Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning (SETL) Lab at UIC, Kate and her research team are studying a wide range of topics including: developing research-based tools to foster social and emotional teaching practices including child assessments, classroom observation, and professional learning strategies; exploring the ways that high-quality teachers are able to positively affect children’s social and emotional learning; and examining how organizational and ecological characteristics of educational settings – such as state education policies, quality rating improvement systems, workplace climate, and administrator practices – affect social and emotional teaching. Kate earned her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and her B.A. from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Contexts of Discipline: Understanding How Social-Emotional Supports Impact Preschool Suspension and Expulsion Practices

More than 8,000 public preschoolers were suspended or expelled in 2014 and a disproportionate number of these young learners were boys and African American children. The rates of expulsion and suspension have been estimated to be up to four times higher in private center-based preschool programs. Known interventions to reduce the overall rate of, and racial and gender disparities in, preschool suspensions and expulsions are costly and scarce. The present study will provide a richer understanding of the contextual and intrapersonal factors contributing to the use of preschool discipline, and explore the impact of universal social-emotional supports on disciplinary practices. This investigation will employ a mixed-method approach, combining surveys with selective in-depth interviews to address two research goals: to understand the prevalence of, and associations between discipline and social-emotional supports in private preschool centers across diverse Chicago neighborhoods; and to understand the associations between centers’ rates of severe discipline and teachers’ experience with, and beliefs about social-emotional learning. Teachers and administrators working in private centers in 10 diverse Chicago ZIP Codes will be surveyed and follow-up interviews will provide rich detail of teachers’ experiences with, and decision making around suspension and expulsion. Findings will expand our understanding of the social-emotional and disciplinary experiences of children served by the private childcare industry and will enable future interventions to be tailored to the needs of specific types of communities.

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