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Professor Rebecca Tsosie to speak on the future of Indian education

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the American Indian Leadership Program at Penn State, Professor Rebecca Tsosie will speak at Penn State Law on "Tribal self-determination and the future of Indian education." Her talk is scheduled for October 13.

By Crystal Stryker
September 2010

 

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the American Indian Leadership Program at Penn State, Professor Rebecca Tsosie will speak at Penn State Law on "Tribal self-determination and the future of Indian education." Her talk is scheduled for October 13.

“An important factor in the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate education is the preparation, recruitment and hiring of American Indian and Alaska Native teachers and school leaders. Unfortunately, across the nation, schools face an ongoing shortfall in the number of certified American Indian and Alaska Native school leaders,” said Dr. Susan Faircloth, associate professor of education at Penn State. "Professor Tsosie’s talk will help people understand the challenges inherent in Indian education and will appeal especially to those with an interest in educational leadership and issues related to the education of American Indian and Alaskan Native students."

Dr. Faircloth works with Penn State’s American Indian Leadership Program, the nation’s oldest continuously operating education leadership program for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Her research focuses on the overrepresentation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in special education programs and services.

"This event will challenge participants to think about the importance of tribal sovereignty to American Indian education," said Professor Carla Pratt of Penn State Law, who studies both Indian law and the experience of minority students in law school and the legal profession.

Professor Tsosie is the Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law of Arizona State University where she directs the Indian Legal Program, an organization established to provide legal education, scholarship, and public service to tribal governments. Professor Tsosie co-authored the 2007 casebook American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System. An associate justice of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Supreme Court, she frequently writes on sovereignty, cultural property, biotechnology, and cultural pluralism.

A graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Professor Tsosie is a former law clerk to the Hon. Stanley G. Feldman of the Arizona Supreme Court and has been elected to the American Law Institute.

The public is welcome to this event, hosted by Penn State Law and sponsored by Penn State’s American Indian Leadership Program, College of Education, Equal Opportunity Planning Committee, and the Penn State Alumni Association. The event will be held in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium in the Lewis Katz Building in University Park at 5:00 p.m. and simulcast to Penn State Law facilities at 333 W. South Street in Carlisle, PA.

Seven Students Receive Dean’s Graduate Assistantships in the College of Education

Seven graduate students have been named recipients of Dean’s Graduate Assistantships for Engaged Scholarship & Research in Education.

by Joe Savrock (November 2010)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Seven graduate students in Penn State’s College of Education have been named recipients of Dean’s Graduate Assistantships for Engaged Scholarship & Research in Education. Awardees are Christopher Anthony, Heather Atkinson, Julie Scott Beeney, Jessica Bennett, Emily Hodge, Ha Ram Jeon, and Janelle Sheridan.

Dean’s Graduate Assistantships are funded jointly by the College of Education and Penn State’s Graduate School. The assistantships are designed to support some of the most promising students who are applying for admission to the College’s doctoral programs.

“Competition is remarkably intense for the top graduate student talent in the field of education, and we know financial support is an important consideration for the students we are seeking to recruit,” said David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. “The Dean’s Graduate Assistantship program permits us to make highly competitive offers, and we are delighted with the first-year results.”

Regina Vasilatos-Younken, senior associate dean of the Graduate School, added that, “The diverse disciplinary backgrounds that students supported on the Dean's Graduate Assistantships bring to their doctoral work is a particular strength, and consistent with the emphasis on transdisciplinary research and graduate education for which Penn State is well known."

Candidates for assistantships are nominated by faculty members of the College’s academic programs. Each graduate assistant receives the first two years of funding through Penn State resources based on successful doctoral level study. Students are considered for subsequent support from externally funded research projects or other sources.

Christopher Anthony.jpg

Following are biographical sketches of the graduate assistants:


Christopher Anthony graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a dual degree in psychology and theology. As an undergraduate student, he engaged in research in developmental psychology, impressing his faculty mentors with his intellectual curiosity as well as his ability to think critically and engage in theoretical issues. Anthony wishes to have opportunities to explore relationships between family issues, socioemotional development, and academic outcomes in school psychology. He is currently working with James DiPerna, associate professor of school psychology, on a project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.

Heather Atkinson.jpg


Heather Atkinson completed a master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas. Previously, she completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in biology at Texas Lutheran University. Atkinson has a longstanding interest in working with children and college students who have special needs, specifically in relation to their adjustment. She wishes to gain experience as a researcher in order to better inform professionals who work with these students. Atkinson greatly impressed the faculty during her on-campus interview as someone who is quite focused on her professional goals and is capable of successfully engaging in doctoral-level work. She will be conducting research on a funded project with James Herbert, professor of counselor education & rehabilitation and human services.

Julie Scott Beeney.jpg


Julie Scott Beeney attended St. Lawrence University and Teachers College of Columbia University before applying to the doctoral program in counseling psychology at Penn State. Beeney is deeply committed to research on early childhood, with an emphasis on preventive interventions with very young children and their families. She has experience conducting research at a number of labs and has early-childhood teaching experience and case-management experience. Beeney will conduct research with Susan Woodhouse, assistant professor of counseling psychology.

Jessica Bennett.jpg

 

Jessica Bennett earned her undergraduate degree in cognitive science from the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University. She first became interested in faculty experiences during her master’s program, where she completed an institutional research project at Lancaster University in England and interned with the Office of Minority Affairs at Ohio State. Bennett has professional experience in higher education as a house advisor at Vassar College. Her research interests focus on considering faculty development in terms of changing demographics in higher education. She is currently conducting research related to black faculty and graduate students’ experiences in the academy, working with Kimberly Griffin, assistant professor of college student affairs.

Emily Hodge.jpg

 

Emily Hodge is pursuing a Ph.D. in education theory and policy. She completed an undergraduate degree in English literature, a master of arts in teaching (English education), and a master of arts in English literature, all at the University of Virginia. While teaching in Pittsburgh, she constructed a thematic eighth-grade language arts curriculum titled, "What does it mean to be American?" which she presented at a national conference. Hodge also traveled to Egypt through a Fulbright–Hayes grant to study the Muslim world. Her scholarly interests are the politics of curriculum and the history of American education. She will be working with David Gamson, associate professor of education theory & policy, assigned specifically to his historical study "The District Undone: Reorganizing, Reforming, and Reinventing the School District, 1925–2005."

Ha Ram Jeon.jpg

 

Ha Ram Jeon attended Korea University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the sociology of education. Jeon completed a number of social science courses and methodological training in Korea, and he conducted research on the determinants of educational aspirations of Korean high school students, which was published in the Korean Journal of Sociology of Education. David Baker, professor of educational theory & policy and sociology, will advise Jeon and include him in his research project studying the effects of formal education on health in developing nations.

Janelle Sheridan.jpg

 

Janelle Sheridan earned an undergraduate degree as a Schreyer Honor’s Scholar in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience at Penn State and a master’s degree in counseling and psychological services from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in numerous research labs as an undergraduate, and as a graduate student she has conducted research focused on understanding how at-risk middle- and high-school students were influenced by enrollment in second-chance charter schools. In her doctoral program, she hopes to explore how college students navigate issues of sexuality. She will be included on the research team of Kathleen Bieschke, professor of counseling psychology, at the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.
 

Terenzini Receives Distinguished Career Award from ASHE

AHSE names Pat Terenzini recipient of the Howard R. Bowen Distinguished Career Award

terenzini_sml.jpgby Joe Savrock (December 2010)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Patrick T. Terenzini, distinguished professor and senior scientist emeritus in Penn State’s College of Education, has received the Howard R. Bowen Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

The award, ASHE’s highest honor, is presented to an individual whose professional life has been devoted in substantial part to the study of higher education and whose career has significantly advanced the field through extraordinary scholarship, leadership, and service. Terenzini was honored during ASHE’s annual meeting in November in Indianapolis.

Throughout his career in Penn State’s Higher Education program and Center for the Study of Higher Education, Terenzini has focused his research on the effects of college on students. He co-authored, with Ernest Pascarella, How College Affects Students, a two-volume synthesis of 35 years of research. Terenzini published more than 130 refereed articles and made more than 250 national and international presentations. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Lumina, Spencer, and Sloan foundations have supported his research.

Terenzini served as editor-in-chief of New Directions for Institutional Research for 12 years, as an associate editor of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and as an editorial board member for the journals Review of Higher Education and Research in Higher Education. He has received research awards from ASHE, the Association for Institutional Research, the American College Personnel Association, and NASPA. He is a past president of ASHE.

The Howard R. Bowen Distinguished Career Award pays tribute to Howard Bowen, one of the association’s founders and an early president. Bowen (1908-1989) was R. Stanton Avery professor of economics and education at Stanford University, a scholar of economics, an authority on the economics of higher education, and a leader in American higher education. He served as president of Grinnell College, The University of Iowa, and Claremont Graduate University.

A Master's Program with Personality

Former and current students of the College Student Affairs graduate program discuss their experiences at Penn State, and how it will affect their careers.

by Marilyn Perez (December 2010)

Meeting the families of the faculty members in Penn State’s College Student Affairs program is merely a precursor to the consequential involvement and concern they take in students’ personal growth, career ambitions, and futures.

“It’s the faculty that really make it for me,” Jessica Harris, current CSA student, said. “They believe in me more than I believe in myself. It teaches me that I need to have more confidence in myself. It makes me want to return that to students that I work for.”

The 45-credit master’s of education is a collaborative program between the counselor education and higher education programs. It has been around, in this form, since 2004. It is the highest degree available in student affairs at Penn State.Reason_Robert.jpg

Robert Reason, professor-in-charge for the CSA program, said the program and its faculty prepare students to be active scholar-practitioners and “engrain in them the expectation of an active professional life.”

Many students come into college student affairs with a desire to make college students’ lives better, and sometimes that is transformed into a career in residence life in a college or university setting. Each student, however, discovers his or her true passion at a different point in life.

Harris knew she wanted to work as a student affairs professional after she saw firsthand the great impact similar professionals made on her own college experience. As a freshman at Occidental College, Harris had a hard time finding her place.

“I cried every day; I thought my mom was going to come and move in with me,” Harris said. “Student affairs professionals took an interest in me. I really grew and became a leader all over campus, had a great support system, and had great mentors. If it wasn't for them, I could’ve dropped out.”

Emil Cunningham, college student affairs alumnus, followed his love of residence life to a position in Nashville, Tennessee. But, after some time, he knew something was missing.

“I was working in an institution that did not align so much with my goals and what I saw myself doing as far as serving students,” Cunningham said. “I knew there was something wrong, I didn’t really know what it was.”Emil C.JPG

He decided to apply to positions in a number of institutions. He took a residence life job at Penn State, without the intentions of ever furthering his education. But, after meeting with some people in the field and trying out some classes, he was lured into the CSA program.

“I fell in love with just all of the information, all of the history behind it, all the theories behind the reasons why students develop in certain ways. I realized what was missing for me in Nashville was that I didn’t have that base.”

In addition to the information, Cunningham deeply appreciated the style of interaction between the program's students and its faculty members.

“The fact that they say, ‘Call me Bob. Call me Sue.’ That’s who they are to me. I take classes with other professors and, for me, they’re still doctor such and such,” he said. “It’s just that personal feeling.”

Cunningham said he has always been a die-hard residence life supporter; he was all about making the student experience more fun. But, after beginning the CSA program, he realized that there’s so much more to student affairs than that.

“College student affairs really focuses on the students, versus looking at the institution as a whole and managing policy and administration issues,” Cunningham said. “If you’re in it to get a degree and keep it moving, then you’re probably going to find a hard time. You’re going to need to sit down, be with yourself, and look yourself in the mirror, thinking, “Who am I?’ ”

Cunningham even said he remembers taking one class that involved emotionally deep self-reflection that transferred into his personal life. He said the program best prepares its students for life change. Cunningham is currently earning his doctoral degree in higher education at Penn State.

Dawn Snyder, an alumna of the CSA program at Penn State, said that to be successful in the program, one must think critically about students and constantly learn about him/herself.

“I look back on my two years at Penn State with such fondness and gratitude and with distinct memories of how hard it was at times—because growing and learning are often challenging processes that cause tension, internally and externally, and I was doing so much of it.”

It was the faculty that supported her and her cohort through the program’s challenges. Snyder is currently a resident director at Oregon State University, but has aspirations to become a full-time educator.

“Everything I learned about student learning and development, I see play out daily in the lives of the students in my hall or in the classes I teach,” Snyder said. “I know how to help students and my colleagues engage in dialogue about social justice and diversity because of what I learned and saw modeled at Penn State. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful that I'm a CSA graduate.”
 

Stefkovich and Colleague Named Authors of the Month by Routledge

Stefkovich earns Author of the Month honors for book

stefkovich_sml.jpgby Joe Savrock (December 2010)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Jacqueline A. Stefkovich, Penn State professor of educational leadership, and Joan Poliner Shapiro, professor of education at Temple University, were named Routledge Education Authors of the Month for July 2010. Stefkovich and Shapiro were honored by Routledge for their newly released book, Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education: Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Complex Dilemmas, 3rd edition.

The book reflects an increasing interest in ethics. Through discussion and analysis of real-life moral dilemmas that educational leaders face in their schools and communities, Shapiro and Stefkovich demonstrate the application of their four ethical paradigms—the ethics of justice, care, critique, and profession.

Stefkovich is former co-director of the D.J. Willower Center for the Study of Ethics and Leadership, a program center of the University Council for Educational Administration. She has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and in law reviews. She is author of a 2006 book titled Best Interests of the Student: Applying Ethical Constructs to Legal Cases in Education (Lawrence Erlbaum Associate). She has co-authored two other books with Lawrence Rossow: The Law and Education: Cases and Materials (Carolina Press, 2005) and Search and Seizure in the Public Schools, 3rd edition (Education Law Associates, 2006).

Faircloth Named Director of American Indian Leadership Program

Susan Faircloth has been appointed director of the American Indian Leadership Program in Penn State's College of Education.

by David Price (December 2010)

faircloth_sml.jpgUniversity Park, Pa. -- Penn State's highly regarded American Indian Leadership Program has a new leader itself. College of Education Dean David H. Monk has announced that he has appointed Susan C. Faircloth as the AILP's new director.

"Susan Faircloth has demonstrated her abilities in teaching, research, and outreach and has emerged as national leader for American Indian education," Monk says. "We are privileged to have her as a colleague at Penn State, and I am confident that she will provide excellent leadership for the AILP as we continue to build upon its proud history of developing influential leaders in Indian education."

Faircloth, associate professor of educational leadership at Penn State, is an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe. She joined the College of Education faculty in the fall of 2003.

"For more than 40 years, the American Indian Leadership Program has been at the forefront of leadership development and training," she says. "As a graduate of this program, I am both honored and humbled by the opportunity to assume the directorship of the AILP. As the new director, I am committed not only to the preparation of educational leaders, but to the production and dissemination of high-quality scholarly work around the topic of leadership in Indian education."

The AILP, housed in the College of Education's Department of Education Policy Studies, was established in 1970. To date more than 200 students from numerous tribes and geographic locations throughout North America have participated in the program.

LeTendre.jpgDepartment head Gerald K. LeTendre, professor of educational theory and policy, welcomes Faircloth's appointment: "I’m very pleased to see Susan taking over as director of the AILP. Her breadth of academic expertise and her international interests will open up many new opportunities for our students. Leaders in the NA/AI community are working with challenging but exciting issues such as the growth and expansion of tribal colleges, and I think Susan is well positioned to guide the program as it grows and adapts over the coming years."

Faircloth holds a Ph.D.in educational administration and an M.Ed. in special education, both from Penn State. For the past several years she worked closely with the former director of the AILP, John Tippeconnic III, who took a position at Arizona State University in June 2010.

"I'd like to recognize the accomplishments of the previous director, Dr. John Tippeconnic, who has been my mentor, colleague, and friend," Faircloth says. "I wish him well in his new endeavors. I'm sure that we will find ways in which to continue our collaborative efforts to improve the educational experiences and subsequent academic outcomes of American Indian and Alaska Native students across the nation."

Seventeen graduate students from throughout the United States graduated from the AILP's inaugural class. Now one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, Penn State's AILP is regarded as one of the nation's most successful American Indian educational leadership programs.

The training of qualified leaders for service to Indian nations is the central aim of the American Indian Leadership Program. The objectives are consistent with the goals of the Indian Education Act and the needs of American Indian communities nationwide. The strength of the program is confirmed by the many and varied roles past participants play in the quest for improvement of educational opportunities for American Indian school children.

Green Named Batschelet Chaired Professor of Educational Administration

Preston Green has been appointed the Batschelet Chaired Professor of Educational Administration in Penn State’s College of Education.

green_preston_side.jpgby Joe Savrock (February 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Preston C. Green III, professor of educational leadership and law, has been appointed the Batschelet chaired professor of educational administration in Penn State’s College of Education. His term begins March 1.

Green is professor-in-charge of the College’s Educational Leadership program. He has a joint appointment with Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. Green helped develop Penn State's joint degree programs in law and education. He also is the director of the annual Law and Education Institute at Penn State, which provides instruction on educational law to teachers, administrators, and attorneys.

Green's research focuses on the legal issues surrounding school choice and educational access. He has written three books and nearly fifty articles and book chapters on educational law issues.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as Batschelet Chair,” said Green. “I will use the chair as a forum for promoting research on educational law and policy issues. I will also continue my work in helping educators and attorneys understand how law impacts schools.”

Green holds an Ed.D. in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University and a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.

“Preston Green is an outstanding scholar whose work is situated at the cutting edge of his field,” said David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. “He has a remarkable ability to span boundaries and to frame important questions that prompt the creation of highly effective collaborative research teams. We are very pleased to recognize and support Dr. Green’s accomplishments with this appointment."

The Harry Lawrence Batschelet II Chair of Educational Administration is intended to continue and further scholarly excellence through contributions to instruction, research, and public service to support the field of educational administration. It was established in 2001 as the result of a gift from Batschelet ’53 Edu, former vice president for financial development at the American National Red Cross.

The Batschelet Chair is one of five faculty endowments in the College of Education. The others are the Kenneth B. Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education, held by Richard A. Duschl; the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professorship in Education, held by James F. Nolan; the Gilbert and Donna Kahn Professorship in Education in Recognition of David H. Monk and Graham B. Spanier, held by Carla M. Zembal-Saul; and the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education, held by P. Karen Murphy.

EPS Students Attend Washington Policy Seminar

Undergraduates as well as graduate students met with administrators in the nation's capital.

EPS in DCby Joe Savrock (March 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Undergraduate students and graduate students in Penn State’s Department of Education Policy Studies (EPS) recently attended a policy seminar in Washington, D.C. The group met with policy makers and administrators for discussions on a number of educational issues.

The March 2 event, dubbed the Washington Seminar, was organized by Penn State EPS faculty as a way of giving EPS students a taste of operational policy making. “It was very interesting to see things from a lens unlike those in the practicing world of education,” said EDLDR doctoral student Dustin Dalton.

Added EDLDR doctoral student Tammie Burnaford, “I truly enjoyed the day and learned so much about how our federal policies are formed and where our educational system could be going with educational reforms.”

In all, 10 undergraduate students in the Education and Public Policy program and 35 EPS graduate students participated, along with EPS faculty members Erica Frankenberg, Dana Mitra, and Bernard Badiali.

“The seminar revived a tradition that had been hosted by the late Dr. William Boyd of taking students to Washington to learn about the federal policy-making process and actors, as well as to focus on current educational policy issues,” said Mitra.

The Penn State group was hosted by the Urban Institute, an entity that conducts research, evaluates programs, and provides information on social and economic issues in an effort to foster sound public policy and effective government.

The group heard presentations from and asked questions of a range of policy makers and interest groups.

 

  • Elizabeth T. Boris, founding director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute.
  • Christina Baumgardner, aide to Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA).
  • Christopher Swanson, vice president of research and development for Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) and director of the EPE Research Center.
  • Michael Hansen, research associate from the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute.
  • Reginald Felton, National School Boards Association director of federal relations, and Naomi Gittins, National School Boards Association deputy general counsel.
  • Heidi Glidden, associate director of the American Federation of Teachers.
  • Adai Tefera, fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus in the office of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

 

EDTHP doctoral student Nnenna Amu commented that she liked hearing from people in the applied research sector to see “academic research, scientific-based research, and evidence-based practices” as it relates to educational politics and policies.

Another EDTHP doctoral student, Tiffanie Lewis, stated, “After attending the seminar, I believe the education policy process at the federal level is more complicated than I once considered. It seems like everyone has a vested interest in affecting change in policy and that there is very little room for accommodating everyone’s requests.”

Frankenberg believes the experience greatly improved her students’ understanding of policy issues. She stated, “The speakers at the seminar spoke about a number of current policy issues that we have studied or will be studying in our class. The speakers also discussed the policy process, such as the prospects for ESEA Reauthorization this year.” The ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) would ask states to adopt college- and career-ready standards and reward schools for producing dramatic gains in student achievement.

College Announces Ronald Ehrenberg as Commencement Speaker

Cornell University's Ronald G. Ehrenberg is the featured speaker at the College of Education's undergraduate commencement ceremonies. He also will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

ehrenberg_ronald.jpgby Joe Savrock (April 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Ronald G. Ehrenberg, the Irving M. Ives professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell University, will be the featured speaker at this spring’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies for the College of Education. Ehrenberg also will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College.

Ehrenberg has been a Cornell faculty member for 35 years. He is a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and is director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. From 1995 to 1998 he served as Cornell’s vice president for academic programs, planning, and budgeting.

Ehrenberg was an elected member of the Cornell Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2010. New York Gov. David Paterson nominated him for membership on the SUNY board of trustees in May 2009 for a term ending in June 2013, and the New York State Senate confirmed his appointment in March 2010.

Ehrenberg earned a B.A. in mathematics from Harpur College (SUNY Binghamton) and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University. He received an Honorary Doctor of Science from SUNY in 2008.

Commencement ceremonies for the College of Education will be held Sunday, May 15, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Bryce Jordan Center.

LeTendre Appointed to Second Term as EPS Department Head

Gerry has been reappointed as the department head of Education Policy Studies in the College, extending his leadership role through 2014.

LeTendre.jpgby Joe Savrock (April 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Gerald K. LeTendre, professor of educational theory and policy, has been reappointed as the department head of Education Policy Studies in the College of Education.

LeTendre begins his second term as department head on July 1. His reappointment extends his leadership role through July 1, 2014.

“Dr. LeTendre has been doing an outstanding job as the department head for Education Policy Studies, and I am delighted that he is willing to continue in the role,” said Dean David H. Monk. “Support for Dr. LeTendre’s reappointment within and beyond the department was broad and enthusiastic. We are very fortunate to have the benefit of his leadership.”

LeTendre has extensive experience with cross-national multi-methods studies of education. He worked on both The Third International Math-Science Study (TIMSS) and the Civic Education Project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, looking at issues of achievement and socialization among early adolescents. He has been a consultant to the Board on International and Comparative Education of the National Research Council.

Along with Motoko Akiba '01 Ph.D., now a faculty member at the University of Missouri–Columbia, LeTendre is co-author of the 2009 book Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. Teaching Force in Global Context, which uses data from 15 countries to examine teacher quality, work norms, and professional learning opportunities.

He serves as editor of the American Journal of Education. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Bremen in Germany. He has also been the recipient of a Japan Foundation Fellowship, a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Johann Jacobs Young Scholar Award.

CREC Announces Reynolds School District as 2011 Rural Award Winner

The Center on Rural Education and Communities and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools name Reynolds School District as rural award winner.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Reynolds School District, located in Mercer County, is winner of the seventh annual Building Community through Rural Education Award, sponsored by Penn State’s Center on Rural Education and Communities (CREC) and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS).

The award recognizes a rural school or school district in Pennsylvania that has distinguished itself through innovative practices contributing to the educational experiences for the students it serves, while reaching out to the broader community in which it is located.

Reynolds School District was recognized for multiple efforts linking school and community and building strong educational opportunities, including a yearlong celebration of the district’s 50th anniversary. The celebration, coordinated by more than a hundred volunteers from the school and community, linked current students, community members, and alumni. The efforts resulted in the creation of the Reynolds High School Academic Hall of Fame and Annual Nomination/Induction Ceremony, the Reynolds High School Athletic Hall of Fame and Annual Nomination/Induction Ceremony, and the Reynolds High School Alumni Association, which now annually contributes three $1,000 alumni association scholarships to Reynolds High School seniors. Reynolds School District complemented these efforts through the creation of student and parent advisory councils to discuss ways of providing ongoing improvement to education and school environment as well as a student internship program in collaboration with area businesses as a means of providing students with mentorship and professional internship experiences.

Clarion-Limestone Area School District in Clarion County won an honorable mention for the creation of its innovative “Amphibian Ark” research and education facility, a collaborative effort with Clarion University. Bangor Area School District, in Northampton County, also received an honorable mention for its dynamic farm-to-school efforts, including the running of farm stands and gardening to provide families and seniors in need with fresh fruits and vegetables. Each honorable mention winner receives a plaque and $250.

This year’s awards will be presented jointly by CREC and PARSS at the PARSS Annual Meeting April 29 in State College, Pa.

Roger Shouse to Speak at Global Forum in Korea

Roger Shouse has been invited to speak at the 2011 Global Human Resources Forum, to be held in Seoul, South Korea, in November. The conference brings together representatives of global businesses, universities, governments, and international organizations.

by Sara LaJeunesse (June 2011)

Shouse_sml.jpgUniversity Park, Pa.—Roger Shouse, an associate professor of education, has been invited to speak at the 2011 Global Human Resources Forum, which will be held in Seoul, South Korea, in November. The purpose of the conference is to bring together representatives of global businesses, universities, governments, and international organizations to discuss some of the pressing issues that the world faces, especially in education, human resources development, and talent management. Past speakers at the conference have included former President of the United States Bill Clinton and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for me to be invited to this global conference,” said Shouse. “We’ve had many College of Education faculty visit and speak in Korea and other East Asian nations over the past decade and I’m happy to carry on that tradition and strengthen Penn State’s relationship to that part of the world.”

Shouse was invited to give the talk because of his expertise on Korean and Taiwanese education. His talk will focus on creativity and how schools and societies can influence its development in young people. “I plan to touch on differences in the way the concept has been traditionally interpreted on both sides of the Pacific and how our different understandings lead to different patterns of schooling,” said Shouse.

In particular, Shouse studies how east-west cultural conflicts often impede school reform, both in the United States and in East Asia. He also studies “education fever” in South Korea and the factors accounting for parents’ intensive involvement in “shadow education,” the practice of setting aside money to pay for additional educational opportunities for children, in South Korea.

Shouse’s work has been published in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly and Sociology of Education and he now serves as book review editor of the American Journal of Education. He is a coauthor of a 2010 book, titled Principal Leadership in Taiwan Schools, that examines the status of Taiwan’s education system. He recently spent a year in Taiwan as a visiting professor at National Pingtung Teachers College.


CONTACTS
Roger Shouse: rcs8@psu.edu

William Hartman Named Distinguished Fellow

William Hartman, a professor in the Educational Leadership Program, has been awarded a Distinguished Fellow Award at the inaugural National Education Finance Conference held in Tampa, Florida, in May.
William Hartman Named Distinguished Fellow

William Hartman

by Sara LaJeunesse (June 2011)

University Park, Pa.--William Hartman, a professor in the Educational Leadership Program, has been awarded a Distinguished Fellow Award at the inaugural National Education Finance Conference held in Tampa, Fla., in May. The lifetime award is given to those individuals who have gained national visibility and who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary research and/or practice in the field of public education finance, both at the elementary and secondary level, as well as in higher education.

“We chose Bill to receive a Distinguished Fellow Award because he is extremely highly regarded in the field of education finance,” said Craig Wood, chair of the National Education Finance Center.

In addition to attending the conference to accept his award, Hartman also presented a paper, titled “Train Wreck Ahead: Financial Conditions Facing School Districts,” in which he gave an analysis of the critical fiscal crisis facing Pennsylvania’s school districts.

Hartman is a professor of education in the College of Education at Penn State and a co-founder and the executive director of the Penn State Center for Total Quality Schools. Prior to coming to Penn State in 1986, he was on the faculties at the University of Oregon and Stanford University. He was a visiting fellow in education at the University of Sussex in 1994 and a visiting scholar at Cambridge University in 2003.

Hartman’s present research focuses on investigating and understanding the impacts on school districts of the current economic crisis. Other areas of interest include school budgeting, resource allocation at school and district levels, decision-making models in educational finance, and special education finance. As the principal investigator, he recently completed a major federal project, titled “Linking School Level Resources with Student Outcomes,” in which he developed methodologies for creating school-level resource utilization and productivity reports from existing district and state data. He was previously the principal investigator of another project, titled “Links with Suppliers,” an IBM-funded grant to study the articulation of high-school and college curricula.

Hartman is a 1999 recipient of the Graduate Faculty Teaching Award at Penn State. He has served on the board of directors of the American Education Finance Association, and as a consultant to various government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as to research organizations, to private industry, and to special interest groups in education. In addition, he is a member of the ethics subcommittee for the Association of School Business Officials International, and he has been an expert testimony on school finance before Pennsylvania Senate and House Legislative committees. He is the author of the books School District Budgeting and Resource Allocation and Productivity in Education, and he is a consulting editor for the American Journal of Education and a member of the editorial board for the journal Education Finance and Policy.

Hartman earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Florida in 1965, an M.B.A. degree in management control and marketing at Harvard University in 1967, and a Ph.D. degree in administration and policy analysis at Stanford University in 1979.
 

 

Schafft Delivers Plenary Address at Conference in Greece

Kai Schafft is slated to give a plenary address at a prestigious international conference in Crete.

schafft.jpgby Joe Savrock (June 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kai A. Schafft, associate professor of education and rural sociology, was invited to present a plenary address at a prestigious international conference in Crete.

The 24th European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) Congress took place August 22-26 in Chania, Crete. The Congress theme this year was Inequality and Diversity in Rural Areas. Schafft presented a review of research on rural poverty and social exclusion in the United States.

“It was quite an honor to be asked to participate in this meeting,” said Schafft. “The ESRS Congress is a highly prestigious organization and I was very pleased to be asked to discuss my work to my international colleagues.”

Schafft is recognized for his scholarship in the relationship between social inequality, spatial inequality, and rural development. His current work examines the community and school impacts of unconventional natural gas development within the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, and how risk and opportunity associated with gas development is understood and managed by local and state-level stakeholders. He has also conducted research on housing insecurity and chronic residential mobility among poor households, the determinants of rural childhood obesity, youth aspirations and rural brain drain, and the role of schools in rural community development.

Schafft directs the Center for Rural Education and Communities in Penn State’s College of Education. He serves as editor of the Journal of Research in Rural Education. He co-authored a recently released book with David L. Brown, professor at Cornell University, titled Rural People and Communities in the 21st Century: Resilience and Transformation (Polity Press, 2011).

The ESRS, founded in 1957, is the leading European association for researchers, policy makers, and scientists interested in the study of rural issues.

Susan Faircloth Receives Fulbright Scholar Award to New Zealand

Susan Faircloth has won a Fulbright Senior Scholar award to New Zealand next spring.

by Hannah Chakan (July 2011)

University Park, Pa.—Susan C. Faircloth, associate professor of educational leadership and director of the American Indian Leadership Program, has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar award to conduct research in New Zealand in the spring of 2012.

faircloth_susan.jpg Faircloth will complete her Fulbright award with Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. Her research will focus on special education programs and services for students of New Zealand’s indigenous Māori population.

Faircloth says she is specifically interested in the extent to which these students are academically, socially, and physically included within the regular education environment. She is currently working with a national school leadership project, He Kākano, in New Zealand. This project evaluates the impact of cultural proficiency training on school leaders.

Faircloth is an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe. She received her Ph.D. in educational administration with a concentration in special education, as well as her M.Ed. in special education, from Penn State. She holds a B.S. in history. In addition to teaching and research, she serves as the director of a personnel preparation grant for aspiring school administrators, “Principals for Student Success,” which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education. Her research focuses on the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students with disabilities.

The Fulbright Scholarship Program was founded in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world.

 

Ailing Financial Conditions of School Districts Likely to Continue, Says Hartman

Expect financial hardships of school districts to continue, says Penn State's Bill Hartman.

by Joe Savrock (July 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - School districts nationwide are experiencing unprecedented financial hardships, and the situation is likely to worsen in the coming years, says a Penn State researcher.

William_Hartman.jpgWilliam T. Hartman, professor of education leadership at Penn State, gave an analysis of the critical fiscal crisis facing Pennsylvania’s school districts during a recent presentation at the National Education Finance Conference in Tampa, Fla. In his paper, titled “Train Wreck Ahead: Financial Conditions Facing School Districts,” Hartman provided an overview of key economic, political, and educational factors that impact school districts' financial operations.

On the revenue side, Hartman pointed out that all three major sources are limited or declining. “Local tax increases will be difficult due to tax limitation measures and local resistance from taxpayers,” he said. “State funding for education is now being driven by lack of state revenues from state deficits, a political ideology to cut spending, and a general hostility to public education from some politicians. Extra federal funding from the stimulus money is now gone and will not be replaced.”

Without adequate revenues to maintain or expand programs, districts are forced to turn to expenditure reductions to balance their budgets. While this would be difficult enough in normal economic times, many of the district costs are mandated by the state and federal government. “Costs of required pension increases alone will consume most of new district revenues in the coming years,” Hartman said. “This necessitates both educational program and staffing cuts, which can be painful and have serious implications for availability of adequate education for all students.”

All the while, there is no letup in the state and federal mandates for student achievement. No Child Left Behind requires districts to have all of their students at a proficiency level in basic subject areas by 2014.

“The rising and somewhat uncontrollable expenditures and the limited or reduced revenues have led to a serious structural fiscal imbalance for many districts,” said Hartman. “Continuing on the same path, annual deficits are inevitable and will increase beyond manageable levels in very short order. Any fiscal reserves the districts have will be quickly consumed. The result will be district bankruptcy.

“Administrators and school boards are faced with new realities, the likes of which they’ve never had to deal with,” continued Hartman. “It’s a whole new ball game—it’s no longer business as usual. The focus is on survival.”
What is needed, said Hartman, is a concept he calls RESET—that is, to reset a district’s expenditure level down to available revenues. “The concept is easy to understand, but it is extraordinarily difficult to achieve while maintaining the educational integrity of the district, reaching mandated student achievement levels, and meeting community expectations,” he said.

“Of necessity, the focus will be more on what is required under the school code, rather than what has been offered in the past,” said Hartman. “The list is both surprising and disheartening if even partially implemented.”

Among the academic areas that are not mandated are vocational education, business education, home economics, computer science, art, and music. The list for potential elimination goes on: elective courses not required for graduation, libraries, student services (guidance counselors, school psychologists, school nurses), extracurricular activities (athletics, band, chorus, student government), and any limits on class size.

“For each area,” said Hartman, “a series of questions can be asked: Do we want to offer the program at all? Can we offer a different amount—for example, less often or to fewer students? Can we provide it in a different, more efficient, less costly way? The first round of budget cuts and adjustments for the 2011-12 school year introduced this new reality to most school districts.”

In future years, the primary concern for school districts will be to determine their educational and fiscal future. “This means looking forward to what is possible, not backwards to what used to be,” explained Hartman. “On the fiscal side, this means finding efficiencies and cost savings to meet budget limitations and operate within available funds. On the operations side, it will encourage school administrators to look at restructuring instruction and support services. This is best achieved through a careful and inclusive process to establish district priorities and plan their resource allocation decisions.”

At the conference, Hartman was presented with a Distinguished Fellow Award. This lifetime award is given to individuals who have gained national visibility and who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary research and/or practice in the field of public education finance, both at the elementary and secondary level, as well as in higher education.

Two New Faculty Members at University Park

Ed Fuller joins the Educational Leadership program, while Roy Clariana moves from Penn State Great Valley to the Instructional Systems program at University Park.

by Joe Savrock (September 2011)

ed_sml.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ed Fuller has joined Penn State’s faculty as an associate professor of educational leadership.

Fuller obtained his B.S. in mathematics education from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) and then started his education career by teaching high school mathematics in urban and rural schools in and around Austin. He later returned to UT-Austin to obtain a master’s degree in educational administration and a Ph.D. in education policy and planning.

During his doctoral studies, Fuller worked as a senior researcher at the Charles A. Dana Center at UT-Austin. After obtaining his Ph.D., he worked as the director of research at the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. Later he returned to UT-Austin as an adjunct faculty and special research associate in the Educational Administration Department. He then served as a senior research associate at the Center for Teaching Quality. Since 2007, Fuller has been employed primarily as an education consultant while serving part time as the associate director of research at the University Council for Educational Administration.

Fuller has worked as a consultant for numerous organizations from around Texas and the nation while also providing assistance to local and state policy makers in Texas.

Fuller has numerous publications and more than a hundred national presentations. His areas of specialization include the supply, demand, and quality of teachers and school leaders; teacher and principal working conditions; teacher and principal preparation; program evaluation; and education policy.

 

Roy Clariana, professor of instructional systems, has transferred from Penn State Great Valley to the University Park campus. He had been serving as head of the Academic Division at Great Valley.

clariana_sml.jpgClariana holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Memphis State University. He earned both his M.S.Ed. in biology education and his B.S. in general biology from the University of Central Arkansas. His research interests are the feedback in computer-mediated learning, individual differences in learning and instruction, psychological and learning impact of electronically mediated culture, and the application of complexity theory to learning.

Clariana has been a member of the College faculty, but now joins us physically here at University Park. You can read a recent feature about his research here.
 

 

Zahorchak Named 2011 Alumni Fellow

Gerald Zahorchak, former secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has been named an alumni fellow at Penn State.

GeraldZahorchak_5X7-copy-excellent.jpgby Joe Savrock (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Gerald L. Zahorchak ‘94g Edu, former secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has been named an Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. Zahorchak was honored with other Fellows at a ceremony held October 5.

Zahorchak currently is director of strategic initiatives for Allentown School District, the third-largest district in Pennsylvania. He was the district’s superintendent during the 2010–11 academic year.

Zahorchak served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of education from 2006 to 2010. He was responsible for the education of nearly two million children across the Commonwealth and administered a budget of more than $9 billion annually. In this role, he had responsibility for the Office of Higher Education and the Commonwealth libraries, and he served as the CEO of the state Board of Education, which sets and directs policy for elementary and secondary education, career and technical education, and postsecondary/higher education in Pennsylvania.

Previously, Zahorchak was the Commonwealth’s deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education. In this capacity he worked on the development and implementation of support systems for public schools aiming to meet the high demands set by Pennsylvania and No Child Left Behind targets.

He also has served in the North Star, Shanksville–Stonycreek, and Greater Johnstown school districts.

Zahorchak is a member of more than 50 civic and professional councils, boards, and other organizations. He has received numerous honors and awards. Among these are the Distinguished Alumni Award at Indian University of Pennsylvania (IUP); Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees at both IUP and the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine; the President's Award for Distinguished Alumnus in Education at St. Francis University; and induction in the St. Francis Athletic Hall of Fame.

He recently established the Zahorchak Endowment, which provides funds for students to participate in dual-enrollment programs allowing them to earn college credits fulfilling their high school graduation.

A life member of the Penn State Alumni Association, Zahorchak lives in Johnstown, Pa.

The Alumni Fellow Award is the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association. Since 1973, the Alumni Fellow Award has been given to select alumni who, as leaders in their professional fields, are nominated by an academic college and accept an invitation from the president of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators.

Frankenberg Co-Edits New Book that Examines School Integration

"Integrating Schools in a Changing Society" is the title of a new book co-edited by Erica Frankenberg.

frankenberg_integrating_big.jpgby Joe Savrock (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Erica Frankenberg, faculty member in Penn State’s Department of Education Policy Studies, and Elizabeth DeBray of The University of Georgia are co-editors of a newly released book, Integrating Schools in a Changing Society: New Policies and Legal Options for a Multiracial Generation (UNC Press). The book explores the policy and legal options for school districts interesting in pursuing diverse schools.

“As the 2010 Census has shown—and what many educational leaders already see every day—we have tremendous demographic changes that are occurring, particularly among our school-aged population,” said Frankenberg. “At the same time that students of color are growing rapidly, so too is school segregation.”

Integrating Schools features a range of 18 chapters, contributed by leading scholars in educational policy and related fields who explore why racial integration remains an important education policy goal. The book examines different policy options for accomplishing integration, features case studies of a few districts’ efforts, and considers how to build public support for school districts’ pursuit of integration and equity.

Jeffrey Brooks, a noted expert in the field of educational leadership and faculty member at Iowa State University, said, "Erica Frankenberg and Elizabeth DeBray have assembled an impressive collection featuring the work of important scholars whose perspectives capture the diversity of approaches and perceptions on school integration. This timely and insightful work is a must-read for educators, legal scholars, political analysts, activists, and researchers.”

 

First-Grade Behavior Has Long-Term Effect on Reading and Mathematics in Later Years, Study Shows

The level of school readiness of first-grade students can have an effect on their educational outcomes as they approach middle school.

Bodovski.JPGby Joe Savrock (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - The level of school readiness of first-grade students can have an effect on their educational outcomes as they approach middle school, according to a recent study.

Two researchers in Penn State’s Educational Theory and Policy program—faculty member Katerina Bodovski and graduate student Min-Jong Youn—found a strong relationship between first-grade students’ behaviors and skills, and their achievement in reading and mathematics at the end of the fifth grade.

Bodovski and Youn used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), a large nationally representative dataset for elementary school students. Specifically, the researchers looked at several dimensions of first-grade behavior:
 

  • approaches to learning (e.g., eagerness to learn, attentiveness, and organization)
  • interpersonal skills (e,g., forming friendships, getting along with others)
  • externalizing problem behaviors (e.g., arguing and fighting)
  • internalizing problem behaviors (e.g., anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem).


Of these dimensions, it was the approaches to learning that appears to be the most substantial element in predicting later math and reading achievement. “Although other behaviors may be important for different outcomes, only approaches to learning—often referred to in educational literature as student engagement—had a significant association with later achievement,” noted Bodovski.

She added, “This finding should make sense to many teachers in the elementary schools: As long as children are engaged, interested, and focused on tasks, little disruptions or even arguments among them are less crucial.”

In addition, basic first-grade math and reading skills appeared to be substantial predictors of fifth-grade approaches to learning. This suggests that children with stronger academic skills are more likely to develop positive approaches to learning, including attentiveness, focus, and organization.

Bodovski and Youn reported their findings in the Journal of Early Childhood Research (vol. 9, no. 1, 2011).

In their current work, the researchers are finding that higher school readiness is strongly and positively associated with the likelihood that a student will take Algebra I or above in the eighth grade. The findings of this project suggest that, for minority students and low-income students, improved school readiness can increase the growth rate of math achievement over the elementary and middle school years.

"These findings are crucially important because they show that socio-economic disparities at the beginning of children’s school careers stay mostly the same over the course of the next nine years," said Bodovski. "However, the findings also show that low-income and minority students will benefit the most from boosting their school readiness."

School Safety Workshop to be Held

School administrators and partnering law enforcement are encouraged to attend the School Safety Workshop Nov. 17 at Penn State.

by Joe Savrock (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Pennsylvania School Study Council (PSSC) and Penn State’s College of Education are sponsoring a School Safety Workshop on Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

School district administrators and law enforcement personnel who partner with school districts are encouraged to attend.

The workshop brings together experts in the field of school safety, who will speak to groups of school district personnel about their experiences and suggestions to keep the schools safe. Among the scheduled speakers are:

  • John-Michael Keyes, executive director of the I Love U Guys Foundation. Keyes and his wife, Ellen Stoddard-Keyes, created the foundation after the death of their daughter, Emily, at the hands of a gunman at Platte Canyon High School in Colorado.
  • Timothy Brungard and John Leathers, creators of the video It Can Happen Here, a documentary designed to inform and compel audiences of school safety stakeholders to prepare for manmade and natural emergencies
  • Gerald LeTendre and Jacqueline Stefkovich, faculty members of Penn State’s Department of Education Policy Studies

The event will also feature a panel of school professionals who have experience implementing safety plans.

Founded in 1947, the Pennsylvania School Study Council is a partnership between Penn State and member school districts, intermediate units, and area vocational-technical schools. PSSC is dedicated to improving public education in Pennsylvania by providing up-to-date research information, professional development activities, and technical assistance that will enable its members to provide top quality educational services to students.

For more information on the School Safety Seminar or to register, please e-mail Sue Tighe at sjt11@psu.edu

Rankin Co-Authors Book on the Experiences of Transgender People

New book details the experiences of transgender people in today’s society.

rankin.jpgby Joe Savrock (November 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A new book co-authored by Sue Rankin, Penn State associate professor in Education Policy Studies (College Student Affairs), details the experiences of transgender people in today’s society.

Rankin and Genny Beemyn, director of Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, are co-authors of The Lives of Transgender People (Columbia University Press, 2011). The book is based on a survey of nearly 3,500 self-identified transgender individuals and follow-up interviews with more than 400 of the participants. The study is one of the largest involving transgender people in the United States.

In their book, Beemyn and Rankin consider how people who identify somewhere on the transgender spectrum—for example androgynous, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, transfeminine, transmaculine, and transgender—experienced their gender identities while growing up and how they came to see themselves as transgender.

“One of the findings that surprised us was the wide variety of ways that people identified,” states Beemyn, a transgender person herself. “When asked to describe their gender identities, the participants provided more than a hundred different responses.”

Given the lack of research on the climate for transgender people in the United States, the book breaks new ground by examining the participants’ concerns for their physical safety, their fear of being outed as transgender people, and their experiences with employment discrimination and harassment. Beemyn and Rankin find that despite greater societal recognition of transgender people and a growing transgender rights movement, individuals who are transgender or who are perceived as such commonly continue to face discrimination, harassment, and bias-motivated violence.

“The climate for transgender people is less than welcoming,” says Rankin, who also serves as a senior research associate in Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. “Our results parallel the findings of other recent studies indicating that transgender youth in particular are at risk for gender bias.”

The book’s release coincides with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, scheduled for November 20. This annual event recognizes individuals who have been murdered in the previous year because of their gender identity or expression.

Penn State College of Education to Co-Host CIES 2012 Conference in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico is the site of this April's Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, being planned by Penn State's David Baker.

by Joe Savrock (March 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Three Penn State entities—the College of Education, the University Office of Global Programs, and the Comparative and International Education program—are collaborating with the University of Puerto Rico School of Education to host the 56th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). The event will be held April 22–27, 2012 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth of the U.S.

David BakerAs the largest annual event of its kind, the CIES Annual Conference has established itself as an important forum for education scholars, policymakers, and students to gather and exchange ideas about the trends shaping education around the world.

Approximately 2,000 domestic and international participants are expected to attend this year’s conference. Through the theme of “The Worldwide Education Revolution,” the conference intends to highlight the social, cultural, and political consequences that the global expansion of the schooled society has had on human life.

David P. Baker, Penn State professor of education and sociology, is organizing the event. Baker is president elect of CIES.

“This is a great collaboration between Penn State and the University of Puerto Rico,” said Baker. “It promises a dynamic and exciting program for comparative scholars and policy analysts in education worldwide. Given the cultural diversity of Puerto Rico, its unique political and social relationship to the U.S., and its long history of education across multiple cultures, it is a fantastic site for this year’s conference.”

Several Penn State scholars are among the conference’s planning committee: associate professor Ladislaus Semali, and graduate students Samira Halabi, Adrienne Henck, Shannon Smythe Fleishman, and William Smith. Two Penn State faculty members—Michael Adewumi, vice provost for global programs and Solsiree Del Moral, assistant professor of history—will deliver keynote addresses.

The dean of University of Puerto Rico’s School of Education, Juanita Rodriguez Colon, is an alumna of Penn State’s College of Education.

Previous conferences have been held in Montreal; Charleston, S.C.; and New York.

More information can be found on the conference Web site.

Post Delivers Two Keynote Addresses at Conference in Ecuador

Professor David Post gave two keynote speeches in Ecuador at a conference on higher education reform.

Post_sml.jpgby Joe Savrock (March 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – David Post, professor of comparative and international education at Penn State and senior scientist in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, gave two keynote addresses recently in Cuenca, Ecuador, at a national conference on higher education reform.

The conference, titled New Trends of Higher Education in Ecuador, was held March 7 and 8 at the University of Cuenca. The dean of the university’s Hospitality School, Mateo Estrella Durán, is a former Fellow of the Hubert H. Humphrey program at Penn State.

Post’s two talks, delivered in Spanish, were titled “¿Cuál es el Rol del Gobierno en la Educación Superior? Una agenda para la investigación de la educación superior en Ecuador y el mundo” (meaning, "What is the Role of the Government in Higher Education? An Agenda for research on Higher Education in Ecuador and the World") and “Las Reformas Constitucionales en el Ecuador y las Oportunidades para el Acceso a la Educación Superior desde 1950" (meaning, "Constitutional reforms in Ecuador and opportunities for access to higher education after 1950").

The conference drew some 130 attendees, including the rectors of 20 Ecuadorian universities. The event addressed quality management, access, challenges, and opportunities of university administration regarding research, postgraduate programs, and instruction, as well as the role of government.

Post has done extensive research on Latin American education. He has evaluated higher education access by students across various national policy contexts and cultures. His research on poverty and social status in Mexico, Peru, and Chile has prompted a reassessment of government finance and lending programs, and has illuminated student political movements.

Monk to Chair AERA Government Relations Committee

Dean Monk has been picked to head the AERA's Government Relations Committee.

David H. Monkby Joe Savrock (March 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - David H. Monk, dean of Penn State’s College of Education, has been appointed by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) to serve as chair of the association’s Government Relations Committee.

Monk will begin his assignment as the committee’s chair-designate, beginning at the conclusion of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the AERA scheduled for next month in Vancouver, Canada. In 2013 Monk will become the committee’s chairperson and will serve in that capacity for two years, or until the conclusion of the 2015 AERA Annual Meeting.

The committee is primarily responsible for providing advice to the AERA’s council and executive board on policy issues related to the interface between governmental agencies and the funding and conduct of educational research. The AERA Government Relations Program has been active in Washington, D.C., for several decades and is the major vehicle through which AERA relates to congressional and Executive Branch policymakers and other educational and scientific societies.

The Government Relations Committee consists of six AERA members, as well as one representative of the Organization of Research Centers and one representative of the Organization of Institutional Affiliates.

According to Monk, “We are in a period with many emerging issues surrounding government oversight and financial support for research of all kinds, including educational research. I welcome the opportunity to build bridges between the educational research community and the government and look forward to making real progress.”

Prior to arriving at Penn State in 1999, Monk was a member of the Cornell University faculty. He is author of Educational Finance: An Economic Approach (1990); Raising Money for Education: A Guide to the Property Tax (1997) (with Brian O. Brent); and Cost Adjustments in Education (2001) (with William J. Fowler, Jr.), in addition to numerous articles in scholarly journals. He served as the inaugural co-editor (2005–10) and continues to serve as an editorial board member for Education Finance and Policy: The Journal of the Association for Education Finance and Policy.

Monk is an expert on educational finance and productivity and the organizational structuring of educational institutions. He is a past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, and he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Kornhaber Consults for Television Show in the Use of Multiple Intelligences

Mindy Kornhaber recently had a unique opportunity in television, serving as a consultant to "Canada’s Smartest Person."

Mindy Kornhaberby Joe Savrock (March 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Mindy Kornhaber, associate professor of educational theory and policy, recently had a unique opportunity in television.

Kornhaber served as a consultant to Canada’s Smartest Person, a two-hour prime-time television show on the Canadian national network CBC. The show aired nationally in Canada on March 18.

The show used the concept of multiple intelligences as a means of measuring the aptitude of four contestants. The contestants competed in activities that were based on the different kinds of intelligence.

Kornhaber’s expertise in multiple intelligences led to her involvement with the program. She was recommended to the show’s producers by Howard Gardner, a Harvard University professor who first identified the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. As Kornhaber explained, the theory states that intelligence is not a unitary ability—commonly referred to as “general intelligence”—which is used across all problem solving. Instead, she said, all human beings possess several “relatively autonomous” intelligences, which are used in varying combinations to solve problems.

“The show sought to draw on Gardner's theory and thereby provide the public with ideas about intelligence beyond IQ,” said Kornhaber. “The show's writers and producers sent me scripts and other materials over the course of a few months to see if these reasonably reflected Gardner's theory. I provided feedback on these things.”

Kornhaber has done extensive research in the area of multiple intelligences, including a comprehensive 41-school study across 18 states. That research showed an association between schools’ use of the theory and improvements in students’ behavior and learning and also in parent participation in school activities..

“Although I'd seen practical applications of Gardner's theory through my research in schools, the use of the theory in television was an entirely different experience for me,” Kornhaber noted. “Mass media generally do not operate under the same constraints as the academy or K–12 schooling.”

Kornhaber added that, “On the one hand, this new experience gave me a great appreciation for the freedom and creativity of those working on the show—their ability to run with ideas. I also saw that it takes a kind of wizardry to coordinate the many different activities and skills that go into making a show. At the same time, I came away with a renewed appreciation for the constraints and discipline of academic work and the opportunities it affords for deep thinking. The experience with the CBC has left me thinking about the relative reach and content of the two different spheres and the many possibilities for bridging these.”

Baker Heads Study to Examine Impact of Higher Education on Global Knowledge Society

David Baker is heading a two-year international study of higher education effects on science knowledge.

David Bakerby Joe Savrock (May 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Scientists working in many nations are contributing to the world’s store of scientific, technological, and engineering knowledge. Still, there are significant cross-national differences in the relative amount of contribution.

“Only a few nations are producing the overwhelming majority of new science, but many others are now entering the game of big science research with innovative strategies to jump-start their contribution,” noted David P. Baker, Penn State professor of education and sociology.

Baker is the primary investigator of a $610,000, two-year study, "Science Productivity, Higher Education Development and the Knowledge Society." The historical and futuristic study, funded by the Qatar National Research Foundation, will examine how the development of higher education has influenced the capacity for scientific knowledge production.

The study’s timeline, said Baker, starts with Germany’s invention of the “research university” early in the 20th century and continues through the unprecedented growth in American universities and their contribution to scientific knowledge production from mid-century on. Baker added, “A second part of the study will examine how the American model has spread globally, its future sustainability, and a number of innovations on the model that are under way in Asian nations that have the fastest growth in science productivity, such as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, plus in ascending nations such as China and Qatar.”

The cross-national collaboration reaches across six nations. Baker and his Penn State colleagues will be working with social scientists at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Halle University in Germany, Hiroshima University in Japan, and Beijing Normal University in China.

Other Penn State investigators are Liang Zhang and Roger Geiger, College of Education faculty members; Andy Fu, a College of Education graduate student; and Shannon Fleishman, a graduate student in the College of Liberal Arts.

The main goal of the study, said Baker, is to understand the factors that have historically led to highly productive research systems of higher education and to take the best ideas forward to continue to grow the knowledge society that is so vital to sustainable life and a health world environment. Findings from the study are intended to assist universities, national education and science policy makers, and multilateral scientific agencies in guiding future policies for higher education development and science capacity building.

Terenzini Receives Stecklein Award from Association for Institutional Research

Pat Terenzini, distinguished professor emeritus, has now won all three major awards from the Association for Institutional Research.

Pat Terenziniby Joe Savrock (June 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Patrick T. Terenzini, distinguished professor emeritus and senior scientist emeritus in Penn State’s College of Education, has been named recipient of the 2012 John E. Stecklein Distinguished Membership Award, given by the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). Terenzini was honored at this year’s AIR Forum, held June 2–6 in New Orleans.

The Stecklein Award is presented to an AIR member who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of institutional research.

Terenzini is the fifth AIR member in the association’s 50-year history to have won all three of AIR’s major awards. He won the organization’s Sydney Suslow Award in 1987 for significant, original contributions to research and scholarship in institutional research and administrative decision making, as well as AIR’s Outstanding Service Award in 1994.

In addition to his awards from AIR, Terenzini has received research awards from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the student affairs associations of the states of New York and Pennsylvania. He is a three-time winner of AIR’s Forum Best Paper Award and received the William Elgin Wickenden Award from the American Society for Engineering Education for the best paper published in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2001. More recently, Terenzini was named the first recipient of the Sphere of Influence Award, given jointly by ACPA and NASPA—an award to be given only once each decade.

Terenzini's research examines the effects of college on student learning and development, persistence, and educational attainment. He has led research teams that received grants totaling more than $13 million from such organizations as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Sloan Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. He is co-author (with Ernest T. Pascarella) of the two-volume How College Affects Students (Jossey-Bass, 1991 and 2005), an award-winning synthesis of 30 years of research on the impacts of the college experience on students.

Cheslock Heads the Center for the Study of Higher Education

John Cheslock has been named director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education

John Cheslockby Joe Savrock (June 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – John J. Cheslock, associate professor and senior research associate in Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), is the Center's next director. Cheslock’s three-year term began on July 1, 2012.

“I am looking forward to building on the rich history of the Center while taking advantage of new opportunities that are emerging within higher education,” stated Cheslock. “I want the Center to be a vibrant intellectual hub that enriches Penn State and the larger higher education community in numerous ways.”

Cheslock recently served Penn State as the director of the graduate certificate program in institutional research. His research focuses on how funding challenges affect public higher education institutions in a variety of areas. In recent research, he has examined how financial concerns influence institutional financial aid offerings, faculty compensation, intercollegiate athletics, and instructional productivity.

Cheslock obtained his Ph.D. in labor economics from Cornell University. From 2001 to 2009, he served on the faculty of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The University of Arizona.

"We are very fortunate to be able to turn to Dr. John Cheslock as the next director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education," said David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. "He is an accomplished scholar whose energy and vision will serve the Center, College, and University well. I look forward to working with him and his colleagues in the Center in the months and years to come."

Cheslock assumes the role most recently held by Robert Hendrickson, professor of higher education and senior scientist, who is retiring this year. Hendrickson had been serving as CSHE’s interim director since the departure of former director Donald Heller. Heller left in 2011 to become dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University.

CSHE is one of the nation’s first research centers established specifically to study postsecondary education policy issues. For more than 30 years, research teams composed of nationally recognized faculty, top graduate students, and effective professional staff have been devoted to examining the critical issues that influence the policies and practices of postsecondary institutions.

Academy to Address India's Higher Education Needs

Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education is involved with Rutgers University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai as an award recipient from the Obama-Singh Initiative.

by Elizabeth Brady (June 2012)

India's government wants 20 percent of its young people to have access to higher education by 2020. In order to accomplish this, India needs to train and recruit at least 1 million new faculty members and higher education leaders. To meet this goal and several others, U.S. President Barack Obama and India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, launched the 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.

Robert HendricksonPenn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) is involved with Rutgers University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai as an award recipient from the Obama-Singh Initiative. Penn State’s role will be through the CSHE, which will develop an Academic Leadership Academy in collaboration with Indian peers and host an India Higher Education Academy in 2013 at Penn State, designed to address the needs of higher education in India.“To meet America’s own higher education leadership needs, the CSHE launched an Academic Leadership Academy to prepare our future leaders,” said Robert Hendrickson, Penn State professor of education and senior scientist. “This summer we will convene the third annual academy with a full class of academic administrators from a variety of colleges and universities in the U.S.”

Hendrickson said this academy will serve as a model for the India academy. It is expected that three to four vice chancellors and five academic administrators from India will attend the 2012 academy at Penn State to participate and observe in preparation for India’s academy and serve as an advisory committee.

“Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education is uniquely well-suited to help India increase its capacity to meet the higher education needs of its people,” said David Monk, dean of the College of Education. “The center has existed for more than 40 years and welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with Indian colleagues.”

“The critical need to rapidly build human capacity is palpable amongst all the emerging economies, including India,” said Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs. “It is an area of strength for Penn State and I am delighted that our premier Center for Higher Education is participating in this exciting opportunity.”

Other future collaborations include the development of a master’s degree in higher education administration. Another special focus will be on educational policy analysis.

"Contributors from across Penn State including the Smeal College of Business are thrilled and honored to support the ongoing transformation of India's higher education enterprise," said Arvind Rangaswamy, senior associate dean for research and faculty at Smeal. "Penn State will be a key player in training the leaders of India's academic institutions to better prepare their talented students to serve the needs of the Indian and global economies."

M. Christopher Brown II Establishes Endowment for Higher Education

M. Christopher Brown II Establishes Endowment in the College of Education for Higher Education Program

Chris BrownIn an effort to give back to the program that has had immeasurable influence on his career, M. Christopher Brown II, ’97 Ph.D. HI ED , has pledged $25,000 to create the M. Christopher Brown II Endowment for Higher Education in the College of Education. The endowment supports graduate students with funds to enhance their learning and research opportunities.

“My hope is that this small gift can be used to improve the student experience in the nation’s leading higher education program,” he said.

Dr. Brown also has pledged his commitment by naming Penn State as a beneficiary in his estate plans.

“As the president of a university, Dr. Brown has first-hand knowledge of the power of private philanthropy to facilitate the pursuit of excellence,” says Dean David H. Monk of the College of Education. “We are very grateful for Dr. Brown’s loyal support of his alma mater and look forward to putting the resources he has entrusted to our care to work.”

Dr. Brown’s gift is helping further the goals set forth in our For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Dr. Brown received his doctorate degree in higher education from Penn State in 1997 and was very active during his time on campus. He was a member of several organizations, including the Commission on Undergraduate Education, the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), and the Forum on Black Affairs (FOBA). He also held the position of program coordinator for the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP).

In his professional career, Dr. Brown has served as a professor, researcher, and faculty member at several major universities across the country, including Penn State. He also held executive management positions in national professional associations and non-profits. He has worked on over 15 funded grant projects and given more than 200 academic lectures, addresses, and presentations at various schools, colleges, and assemblies. He also has contributed his writing to hundreds of scholarly publications including books, refereed journals, and encyclopedias. He currently serves as president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

The College of Education’s Alumni Society Board recognized Dr. Brown in 2000 with its Leadership and Service Award, and again in 2011 with the Excellence in Education Award. In addition, he was a member of the 2005 inaugural class of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award.

--By Kate Emmick (July 2012)

Former Trustee Rodney Hughes Seeks Ph.D. in Higher Education

“I’m really bad at predicting where I’ll end up,” says Rodney Hughes, a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at Penn State. Today he researches the effects of tuition pricing on admissions and its relation to the accessibility of higher education. However, this was not always the plan...

Rodney Hughes“I’m really bad at predicting where I’ll end up,” says Rodney Hughes, a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at Penn State. Today he researches the effects of tuition pricing on admissions and its relation to the accessibility of higher education. However, this was not always the plan.

“I didn’t expect that I would come to Penn State for my undergraduate studies. I didn’t think I would go right to grad school after undergrad, and I didn’t think that I’d leave economics to come into the doctoral program in higher education,” he explains. Still, all this has worked out well.

Hughes came from a high school graduating class of only 24 students, which would certainly make a student body of nearly 40,000 seem a little bit daunting. Yet, the experience was quite the opposite. “I actually related a lot of the experiences I had as an undergraduate to some of the good experiences of community that I had at a very small high school,” Hughes explains. He elaborates that in a small school you can participate in a wide variety of activities. “When I came to a much, much larger school, I never really lost that mindset. I just want to try things out and get involved.”

As an undergraduate he participated in two different internships to Washington, D.C. Following his freshman year, he worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in the Office of Service Industries where he learned about the World Trade Organization and international trade negotiations. Later, he returned to the Capitol as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

There were opportunities abroad as well. Hughes traveled to Greece to attend the International Institute for Political and Economic Studies. “If I had to name the coolest thing I did during my undergraduate studies it would probably be that,” he admits. In Greece, he interacted with students from the Middle East, Turkey, and the Balkans. “It was absolutely fascinating,” he says. He appreciated the opportunity to see so many controversial issues addressed in such an impressive and thoughtful way.

After receiving his bachelor of science degree in economics, he started his graduate studies, also in economics. Not even the busy life of a first-year graduate student could extinguish Hughes’ desire to participate, and he soon successfully applied for a seat as a student member on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Working on the board was a turning point. He noticed that his interests centered more on his work with the Board than in his academic program. He says, “I felt really strongly about the outside things I was doing around higher education. It’s what motivated me to focus on higher education specifically.” After his three-year term ended in 2011, Hughes was appointed in November 2011 to the special committee that selected former FBI director and federal judge Louis Freeh to investigate allegations of child abuse on campus.

Hughes’ advisor, Dr. John Cheslock, joined Penn State faculty the same semester Hughes switched to the higher education program. “It’s one of those funny, unpredictable things.” Hughes says, explaining the match. Dr. Cheslock also made a switch in his own background from studying economics to higher education,“so as an advisor he’s been able to do quite a bit for me in terms of helping me with that transition.”

All of Hughes’ experience has only added depth to his research. “My research is very much informed by the time I spent serving on the board,” he says. It is no surprise that President Erickson described Hughes’ research as “one of the hottest topics in higher education.” As a result, Hughes was recently awarded a dissertation grant from the Association for Institutional Research supported by the National Science Foundation.

Hughes is reluctant to make any direct predictions about the future. He says, “I’m just trying to keep the same mindset and think about the kinds of things I want to be involved in, but not try and predict too closely what I will end up doing and kind of just be open to things that happen.”

-- by Chris Whitehead (August 2012)

Principal and Doctoral Candidate’s School is Awarded National “Breakthrough” Schools Award

Doctoral candidate Tom Dodd is the principal at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. His school was recently recognized as a Breakthrough School by a partnership between the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the MetLife Foundation.

Tom Dodd Recieves 2012 MetLife-NASSP Breakthrough Schools AwardJust eight years ago, Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado had a declining enrollment and a bad reputation. Staff morale was low, student misbehavior was high, the facility needed improvements, and the way things were going, it was likely the school would be closed in a few years when the school district’s neighborhood boundaries were to be revisited. As an older school downtown it was difficult to compete with the newer, larger facilities being built around town. Then they hired Tom Dodd as their principal.

Under his leadership, enrollment has grown from projections in the low 400’s to 750 students and a waiting list. “Now we’re over capacity,” Dodd says. Lesher now has more teachers than classrooms and “nobody's even thinking about closing this school.” More importantly, Dodd points out, “Our students are happy, we’ve got high levels of diversity and high levels of student acceptance of each other. We’re a very different school then we were when I got here.”

Because of this transformation, Lesher Middle School was recently recognized as a Breakthrough School by a partnership between the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the MetLife Foundation.

The Breakthrough Schools program recognizes ten schools a year nationwide for breaking ranks in three areas of school reform (collaborative leadership, personalization, and curriculum/instruction/assessment). The schools receive a $5,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation, are featured in Principal Leadership magazine, and are invited to participate in dissemination activities at the NAASP national convention and other public policy forums throughout the year.

Dodd refuses to take the credit for the success of the school. “It’s all about our staff,” he insists. “We’ve got great teachers who work hard, and we’ve got awesome parents and some real curious and interesting kids who are fun to work with.”

Still after talking with him, you can’t help but feel that he is a big part of the change. You hear raw passion when he talks about his school. “I believe culture has to precede structure. You have got to change your school climate and culture to a place where you really believe every kid can succeed.” Otherwise, structural changes, like grade level teams and common planning for teachers, won’t be effective.

Tom Dodd with Students at Lesher Middle School

Effective change is becoming more and more important for educators like Dodd. New laws in several states are linking educator effectiveness to student growth and performance. In Colorado, fifty percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student achievement data beginning in 2013-14. Poor performance on these annual reviews will soon lead to loss of tenure.

As a doctoral student in the educational leadership program Dodd focuses on the consequences of such policies. “Tenure and that level of job security are being called into question. That’s a welcome change for a lot of folks, but how that works out and how you tie student results to which teachers, all the logistics that go into that, and the metrics around that kind of data analysis are complicated.”

Although he now works from Colorado to finish his dissertation, Principal Dodd has fond memories of his time on campus. “I have a lot of pride in Penn State, and I loved my two years on campus working in the certification office and for the American Journal of Education while having the opportunity to do coursework towards my doctorate.”

-- by Chris Whitehead (October 2012)

Alumna Receives Dissertation Award for Groundbreaking Research

Dr. Erin McHenry-Sorber '11 Ph.D. has received the Edward W. Chance Memorial Rural Education Dissertation Award from the National Rural Education Association for her groundbreaking research on the politics of teacher strikes in rural communities.

McHenry and little girlCollege of Education alumna Dr. Erin McHenry-Sorber ’11 Ph.D. has received the Edward W. Chance Memorial Rural Education Dissertation Award from the National Rural Education Association for her groundbreaking research on the politics of teacher strikes in rural communities.

Most studies on teacher strikes take place in large urban settings. However, “rural schools and rural communities operate much differently than large urban settings, because community identity is so closely linked to the rural school,” Dr. McHenry-Sorber explains. There’s a big gap in our knowledge of what happens when teacher strikes happen in rural communities.”

Dr. McHenry-Sorber conducted her research in a Pennsylvania community that has experienced several teacher strikes in the span of only four years. She discovered that the prolonged conflict had divided the community into opposing political factions.

“The majority thought of the school district as serving as a social hub of engagement. Things like basketball games and school plays brought the community together,” Dr. McHenry-Sorber says. As far as academics were concerned, she was told that, “the district should focus on the basics, on preparing students for life.”

The teachers on the other hand felt that because of the economic distress in the area, it was their job to help “educate promising youth out of the community.”

Dr. McHenry-Sorber found that, in rural areas, when conflicts aren’t resolved in the formal arena, the different factions develop what she calls competing narratives of community and the conflict moves to the streets.

“The school board really propagated the narrative that the teachers were the enemy of the district, and that they were an elitist group that was willing to bankrupt the district for their own gain,” Dr. McHenry-Sorber says.

With top teachers’ salaries at more than 200% the median household income for the majority of families in that district, it was no surprise that class conflict was at the root of the problem. The surprise is how far it went.

The conflict “really had long-lasting devastating effects on the community,” Dr. McHenry-Sorber says. Over the course of the conflict, the district had a 40% turnover rate, and the teachers who stayed felt they were being treated like second class citizens. “In fact at one point a sign was up in a community storefront in the town that said, ‘Make my Day…Shoot a Teacher.’”

Dr. McHenry-Sorber hopes to continue researching the educational politics of rural communities. “I grew up in a rural district, and I also taught for several years in a pretty isolated small, rural district. So often there’s the perception in the American mindset that rural communities are these harmonious places full of close knit relationships, but it had been my experience that rural communities were actually political communities full of factions and fragmentation.”

Dr. McHenry-Sorber was invited to present her research at the National Rural Education Association’s annual convention and research symposium in October 2012, in Cincinnati. “It was an amazing study to do. It was a very eye opening experience for me.”

Dr. McHenry-Sorber received her doctorate in educational leadership from Penn State in December 2011, and is currently teaching as an Assistant Professor of Education at Wilkes University.

-- by Chris Whitehead (November 2012)

College of Education to offer Master's in Higher Education and Student Affairs

Penn State's College of Education will collaborate with the Division of Student Affairs to offer a master's degree in higher education and student affairs.

UNIVERSITY PARK — David Monk, dean of the College of Education, and Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, have announced a new partnership between the College of Education and the Office of Student Affairs to provide a scholar-practitioner-focused higher education master’s degree program.

The two‐year program will stress the importance of research that engages problems of practice, as well as the analysis of evidence that is the basis of high‐quality professional work in student affairs. Graduates of this new program at Penn State will enjoy a comparative advantage in the job market given the program's emphasis on problem solving using evidence‐based practices and innovations.

The Higher Education Student Affairs program will follow the successful partnership model the college has developed with the State College Area School District to form the Professional Development School. In operation for 15 years, the PDS follows the premise that both Penn State faculty members and professionals in area schools bring useful and relevant perspective to the partnership. In this master’s degree program, personnel from the College of Education and Student Affairs will be full partners in the delivery of the program.

Two program coordinators will oversee the program — College of Education Associate Dean Jacqueline Edmondson and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Philip Burlingame. Members of the new program’s faculty will come from the College of Education, Student Affairs, and other related units. All these faculty members will have graduate faculty status.

-- by Andy Elder (January 2013)

Eleven Students Receive Research Grants

The Dean's Office has awarded RIG awards to 11 students.

 

Eleven doctoral students received Student Dissertation Research Initiation Grants this academic year. These grants are funded through the Dean’s Office to help fund research for student dissertations.

Student RIGs are given in amounts up to $600.

Fall 2012 Student Recipients:

  • Jessica Effrig, who is a student in the counseling psychology program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education, was awarded a grant for her proposal, “The Development of Attachment to the Therapist and Changes in Client Depressive Symptomology and Interpersonal Functioning: A Case-Based, Time-Series Approach.”
  • Rachel Frick Cardelle, who is a student in the higher education program in the Department of Education Policy Studies, received a grant for her proposal, “Community College Students and the Financial Aid Environment: How Can Community Colleges Improve Rates of Financial Aid Applications?”
  • Carmen Gass, who is a student in the adult education program in the Department of Learning & Performance Systems, was awarded a grant for her proposal, “Structure Strategy and Biblical Text.”
  • Edith Gnanadass, who is a student in the adult education program in the Department of Learning & Performance Systems, received a grant for her proposal, “The racial and cultural experience of South Americans in the United States of America.
  • Emily Hodge, who is a student in the educational theory and policy program in the Department of Education Policy Studies, received a grant for her proposal, “College and Career Readiness for All? How Teachers Make Sense of the Common Core State Standards Across Tracks.”
  • Dana Naughton, who is a student in the adult education program in the Department of Learning & Performance Systems, was awarded a grant for her proposal, “Learning Through Adoption: The Intercountry Adoption Experiences of Canadian and Dutch Adopters of US Children.”
  • Patrick Sullivan, who is a student in the mathematics education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was awarded a grant for his proposal, “Characterizing Understanding of Symbolic Feature-Noticing Across Different Levels of Algebra Experience.”

Spring 2013 Student Recipients:

  • Michael Hannon, who is a student in the counselor education program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, & Special Education, was awarded a grant for his proposal, “Fatherhood Under (Re)Construction: An Analysis of Narratives of African-American Fathers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”
  • Allison Lockard, who is a student in the counseling psychology program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, & Special Education, was awarded a grant for her proposal, “Helping Those Who Help Themselves: Does Counseling Enhance Retention?”
  • Peter Mhando, who is a student in the educational leadership program in the Department of Education Policy Studies, received a grant for his proposal, “Gaps in Opportunity: Intra-District Non-Monetary Resource Allocation Differentials in Pennsylvania.”
  • Samuel Sennott, who is a student in the special education program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, & Special Education, received a grant for his proposal, “The Effects of Empowering Children with Autism Use the iPad to Communicate During Shared Storybook Reading.”

 

-- by Andy Elder (March 2013)

School Choice Policies can Relieve or Exacerbate Segregation

College of Education Assistant Professor Erica Frankenberg co-authored a book that examines the effect that school choice and charter schools has on segregation.

Erica FrankenbergUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Erica Frankenberg, assistant professor of education policy studies in Penn State’s College of Education, has co-authored a new book that uses multiple research methods, including various case studies, to illustrate how various forms of school choice relieve or actually exacerbate segregation, depending on the design of the choice policy. The types of choice policies examined include magnet schools, charter schools, intradistrict choice (sometimes known as controlled choice), and between-district choice plans.

The book, “Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair,” is co-authored with Gary Orfield, a professor of education, law, political science and urban planning at UCLA.

The book brings civil rights back into the center of the school choice debate and tries to move from doctrine to empirical Education Delusions coverresearch in exploring the many forms of choice and their very different consequences for equity in U.S. schools. The authors assert that choice has secured a permanent and prominent position in school reform and policy, yet until now, research has not comprehensively examined the effects of choice policies on school segregation.

As the authors write in the acknowledgment, “We concluded that as all states faced growing federal pressure to implement choice programs it was time to bring together the latest research and to reflect on where the country is going and what issues a variety of experiences show need to be considered in making decisions about choice strategies.”

Other features of the book include:

  • a historical and theoretical overview of the development of school choice,
  • a perspective that considers how choice policies can be designed to encourage integration,
  • multiple, mixed methods of research that provide a comprehensive picture,
  • and, examples of different aspects of choice policies in different communities around the country.

Frankenberg formerly worked at the Civil Rights Project and, as a student, attended a magnet school that was designed to remedy desegregation in her local school district. She is the co-editor of several recent books on K-12 school integration.

-- by Andy Elder (March 2013)

College of Education Faculty Member Presents TEDx Talk on How Education Positively Impacts the World

David Baker, professor in the College of Education, presented at a recent TEDx Fulbright event and discussed how education is better than ever before.

David Baker speaking at TEDx Event
David Baker
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—David Baker, a professor in the College’s Education Policy Studies department, presented at a TEDx Fulbright event in Washington, D.C., in April. His talk, titled “New Minds, Gods, and Political Upheavals: Imagining a New World from the Education Revolution,” discussed how education has improved both people and society.

“We love to talk about education all the time,” said Baker, “but we love to talk about it in relatively negative ways. I call these negative myths.”

Baker refers to a famous TED Talk that shared that education kills creativity and is letting the world down. Baker argues nothing is further from the truth.

“People who did not have access to schools and universities, now do,” said Baker, who added that this is a major shift in the past 100 years.

But according to Baker, it is about more than knowledge. He said teaching actually changes neurological structures and cognitive skills in ways people never knew before.

“Even small amounts of education helped people to think in very different ways,” said Baker, citing his research that showed how education helped people to think more abstractly and use their cognitive skills to solve new problems.

Baker’s research also took him to Ghana where he and his team asked, “What are the effects of all of this cognitive enhancement?” They focused on the HIV epidemic in Africa. Often, Baker and his team discovered that people did not have the necessary education skills to understand the disease.

David Baker presenting at the TEDx Fulbright event in Washington, D.C.
David Baker presenting at the TEDx Fulbright event in Washington, D.C.
“Education, basic education, has saved millions of lives all around the world,” said Baker. “Education is the major social vaccine against all kinds of diseases.”

He said that not only does education provide cognitive skills, but it empowers them to think.

“One of the biggest things it does is change world politics,” said Baker who added that educated people are leading the way to change. “They have the skills, but more importantly, they have the willingness to dare to think about what a nation would look like if it were changed.”

Finally, Baker discussed the idea that education changes the world due to the improvements in the skills of the people.

“We need to start to understand what education actually does, how it has changed the world,” said Baker, who added that he believes education has been very positive for the most part.

“All of the kinds of TED Talks you can imagine, all the subjects, all the audience, is predicated on an educated world,” said Baker, “and that is where we have to start.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: After this story was released, Baker's book, "Schooled Society," was published. In his book, Baker shares his thoughts on how the education revolution has transformed our world.

--by (June 2014)

College of Education Faculty Member Performs Pa. Folk at International Rock Festival

Kai A. Schafft, associate professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, performed with indie rock band Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy at Azkena Rock Festival outside of Bilbao, Spain on June 20.
College of Education Faculty Member Performs Pa. Folk at International Rock Festival

Mountain Minstrelsy album cover

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Kai A. Schafft, associate professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, performed with indie rock band Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy at Azkena Rock Festival outside of Bilbao, Spain on June 20. The band played in front of more than 14,000 people at Azkena, one of the largest European rock music festivals, alongside legendary bands such as Scorpions, Blondie, Violent Femmes, and Wolfmother.

Mountain Minstrelsy’s show was hailed in the Spanish version of Rolling Stone magazine as one of the festival’s triumphs. The band followed Azkena with a second show in a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, hosted in part by an anarchist artists’ collective, konventpuntzero.

While Schafft has played music semiprofessionally for 15 years, the singer/guitarist/tenor guitarist/banjo player found his big break when a manager at Elk Creek Café + Aleworks in Millheim, Pa., introduced Schafft to Marah’s David Bielanko and Christine Smith about six years ago.

It may seem odd that a college professor would pursue a side career in music, but Schafft, trained as a rural sociologist, says that everything he does has to do with rural and folk culture. He has been interested in the subject ever since he attended a small state school in Maryland, the surrounding rural town of which was transformed with the construction of a naval base. His observations of the change in traditional life sparked his strong sociological curiosity about rural and folk culture.

“Folk culture is the connection of people to place, place to people, and people to people, both intergenerationally and in the moment,” Schafft said.

According to Schafft’s definition, Mountain Minstrelsy music project was created in true folk fashion. Band members David Bielanko and Christine Smith were inspired by the folklorist and “song catcher” Henry Shoemaker’s book, “Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania,” a collection of song lyrics gathered in the mountains of Pennsylvania more than a century ago.

Mountain Minstrelsy pose for a band photo
Mountain Minstrelsy band members pose for a group shot. From left to right: Christine Smith, Kai Schafft, Gus Tritch, Dave Bielanko, Chris Rattie, Jim Baughman
The band formed with old and new members, including ten-year-old fiddle player Gus Tritsch, to write new music and resurrect the old lyrics. The album itself was recorded live into a single microphone in an old local church in Millheim that the band had converted into an analog studio.

Schafft said the transformation of the church could have been profoundly alienating for the eclectic band since local churches used to be the key community institutions in rural Pennsylvania towns like Millheim. Many congregations lost their following over the decades, and local churches were subsequently closed and replaced by “mega churches,” which have now phased out most small churches.

“We have a profound respect and cognition of what we’re doing with this [music project] and how we are involved in some way with this space and the local people,” said Schafft.

It became clear to the band that bringing in elements from the community was the best way to make the album. Mountain Minstrelsy renewed the old church as a community center by leaving the church doors open during recording sessions, allowing neighbors, fans, and additional talent to enter and even participate in recording sessions.

“We got these little tap dancers, a tuba player, a chorus,” Schafft said. “There was no real recruiting involved.”

The band recorded and produced the album for about a year before releasing their vinyl album on February 25. The band used no digital interface.

When asked about the performance, Schafft said, “I’ve played in front of a lot of people before, but never in front of so many [people],” he said. “I’ve never played internationally. I’ve never had a rider,” referencing a document outlining the artist’s preferences for backstage and dressing rooms.

All of that has now changed. Mountain Minstrelsy will play at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August and the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn., in September. They are planning a second brief tour of Spain in the fall.

Schafft will travel overseas again in February 2015 when he goes to Hungary on his Fulbright fellowship at the Central European University Institute for Advanced Study. He will be revisiting his initial 1991 study of local development and political mobilization of Roma-Gypsy minority self-governments in post-socialist Hungary.

-- (June 2014)

Penn State’s Academic Leadership Academy Prepares Higher Education Administrators from India, US

The Academic Leadership Academy, hosted by the College of Education's Center for the Study of Higher Education, provided practical administrative knowledge and skills to participants from across the U.S. and around the world.

speaker addresses ALA roundtable
A session during the 2014 ALA at the Nittany Lion Inn.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— In June, The Center for the Study of Higher Education in Penn State’s College of Education hosted the Academic Leadership Academy (ALA). The ALA provides practical administrative knowledge and skills to academic administrators from across the United States, including program directors, academic deans, vice presidents and provosts. In addition, the fifth-annual ALA hosted international leaders to help solve a problem halfway around the world in India.

“India is a large country with 1.2 billion people, 500 million of whom are under the age of 18,” said Nirmal Pal, director for India initiatives in Penn State’s Office of Global Programs.

According to Pal, roughly 22 million people turn 18 every year, but only about 17 percent of them go into some sort of higher education, one of the lowest percentages worldwide.

Nirmal Pal
Nirmal Pal listening to a speaker at the ALA conference.

“So India has this vacuum,” said Pal. “They have all of these young people who need to develop skills. This is a big need for India.”

Another issue facing India, according to Pal, is that Indian higher-education institutions have a tremendous need for leadership.

“How do you take a faculty member or somebody who is teaching and suddenly have them become a dean? They are two very different jobs,” said Pal. 

Three years ago, Indian participants started coming to the ALA through the Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative of the 21st Century. Bob Hendrickson, founder of the ALA and co-principal investigator of the Obama-Singh initiative, said, “The concepts of leadership, management, faculty development, institutional research and planning and budgeting are universal concepts applicable to global higher education when another country's context is considered in implementation and practice.”

Bob Hendrickson
Bob Hendrickson addressing the ALA conference.

Tobias Linden, a lead education specialist for the World Bank, and participant in the ALA for the past two years, said he thought the structure of the event and the topics being discussed would be very important to help develop leadership in Indian higher education. He added that the goals of the ALA fits in nicely with the goals of his organization. 

“Higher education is a critical component of competitiveness and economic development,” said Linden. “And because the World Bank's mission is to eliminate poverty, it's a natural fit that we would be helping to improve their economic performance, bringing more people out of poverty. In order to do that, you need a robust higher-education system.”

Indian Participants at ALA
Indian Participants at ALA

This year, the World Bank provided 16 scholarships for Indians to attend the ALA conference. They primarily came from two of the largest and poorest states in India, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, according to Linden.

“We’re basically helping them revamp their whole higher-education system,” said Linden, who added that a key aspect of revamping is establishing institutional leadership.

Hendrickson said he worked with Linden and Pal to bring teams of Indian administrators to the ALA in 2014 to assess how the ALA could improve leadership skills. 

Another important and appealing feature for both Indian and American participants  is the ALA’s strong networking opportunities.

“We wanted to replicate that for this group of people in India,” said Linden. “They come to ALA as a group, and then when they're back in India, they can talk to each other and support each other. They can help each other overcome challenges.”

ALA Participants
ALA Participants

To help build this network, the ALA developed what Pal referred to as “India experts.” These are Indians who attended the ALA in previous years. They prepare briefing papers on all of the topics being presented so that the new attendees will understand in advance what is being presented and what the India context is.

“This is so they can keep their ears open for what applies to India,” said Pal.

Each evening the Indian participants and the India experts do a debriefing where they discuss the important aspects from that day.

“And that process has worked wonderfully so far,” said Pal. “We are hoping that we can continue this in perpetuity because India's needs are so humungous. I strongly believe that this is going to work, and India needs it. I talked to a few of the vice chancellors, and they are very positive.”

Individuals from US higher education institutions also attend the ALA each year to improve their practical administrative knowledge and skills. This year, some of the schools represented at the ALA were: West Texas A&M University, Lebanon Valley College, Champlain College, Albion College, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Future Generations Graduate School, Saint Francis University, National Intelligence University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Champlain College, The College of St. Scholastica, Kirtland Community College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Excelsior College and University of the Arts.

--by (July 2014)

Two Faculty Members Evaluating Penn State Pilot Program that Seeks to Increase Diversity in Science, Engineering

Leticia Oseguera and Jeanine Staples are evaluating the Penn State Millennium Scholars Program, which aims to increase the number of women, students of color, and low-income students in STEM fields.
Two Faculty Members Evaluating Penn State Pilot Program that Seeks to Increase Diversity in Science, Engineering

Penn State Millennium Scholars

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Two College of Education associate professors, Leticia Oseguera and Jeanine Staples, are helping to evaluate a pilot program at Penn State that could increase the number of women, students of color, and low-income students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Elements of the Penn State Millennium Scholars Program, which is modeled after the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), are being evaluated to determine if they can be adapted for students in the College of Engineering and the Eberly College of Science.

This Millennium Scholars Program is open to academically strong high school seniors who plan to pursue a doctoral degree in science or engineering and who are committed to increasing the diversity of researchers in science and engineering.

Leticia Oseguera
Leticia Oseguera
Oseguera is also a senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. She said that while her short-term research goal is to assess the program for Penn State, the long-term goal of the program itself is to try to double the number of women, students of color, and low-income students going on to pursue their doctorates in the sciences.

“A program like this might be able to affect institutional culture,” said Oseguera, “so that more campuses will see women, students of color and low-income students as capable scholars in the field of science.”

Oseguera said her team will measure students’ academic progress, such as their involvement in research and other activities that are known to ultimately lead to careers in the sciences.

“We will be looking at how students are experiencing the program,” said Oseguera. “We’ll be doing focus groups and interviewing the students so that we can get a sense of how the program is working for these students and how it can be improved, in the event that it becomes institutionalized here at Penn State.”

According to Oseguera, the program aims to bolster Penn State’s standing as a place where underrepresented minority undergraduates can pursue their studies at the highest levels and eventually go on to careers in the sciences.

Staples said her team is working to better understand better how these underrepresented minority students understand who they are from a race and gender perspective and how that understanding impacts them as STEM scholars.

“My hope is that the findings from this inquiry will inform the Millennium Scholars Program, and ultimately Penn State as a whole, in highly effective methods of recruiting and retaining underrepresented minorities, in addition to supporting their academic and social success in STEM professions,” said Staples.

She added that she believes that without this research, progress in the recruiting and retaining of underrepresented populations in the STEM fields will stall and perhaps even regress.

“One, among many, resulting effects of such a stall, is an inattention to scientific and health-related issues concerning the most marginalized members of society,” said Staples.

--by (July 2014)

Alumna Ronyelle Ricard Focuses Career on HBCUs

Alumna Ronyelle Ricard has spent her professional life advancing the cause of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).


Ronyelle Ricard (’06 Ph.D. Higher Education) is especially fond of Nelson Mandela’s memorable quotation about education. In fact it has inspired her so much, you could argue that she has come to embody it.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” the South African leader once said.

From her days as a graduate student at Penn State, Ricard has drawn on those words for inspiration and guidance.

“I have always been passionate about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and Penn State gave me the support and allowed me the opportunity to explore these institutions in an empirical and systematic manner,” she said.

Ronyelle Ricard portrait
Ronyelle Ricard

While Ricard was completing her dissertation, she worked as a graduate intern at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. After she graduated in 2006, she was offered full-time employment as a research associate. A year later she was hired by the president of Howard University to serve as the coordinator for the university-wide Reaffirmation of Accreditation Initiative.

“This was an absolute dream come true because throughout my graduate studies, I maintained a concentrated research focus on the role of HBCUs in higher education,” she said. “Upon completion of that project with the unqualified reaffirmation of the nation’s largest and most complex HBCU in 2009, I was reassigned as coordinator for the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR).”

PCAR was the structured process in which faculty, students, staff, and external scholars engaged in a thorough evaluation of the university’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional academic programs and made recommendations to the president for strategic adjustments — investment, realignment, and attrition.

Ricard remained at Howard until the PCAR initiative was completed. Then, in 2012, she and her family were able to relocate back home to Louisiana where she currently serves as special assistant to the chancellor of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. She said she plans to continue on the same path.

“I hope to build upon the research that I have done on HBCUs and address issues related to improving the production of high quality college graduates and in service to society. I am also interested in the internationalization of HBCU campuses. Ideally, my goal is to continue to highlight the significance of these institutions in my role as a university administrator,” she said.

“The academic rigor of my training equipped me with the tools to work in a number of areas in higher education—university and professional association settings. My degree gave me a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of how colleges and universities work. Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education has an impeccable reputation, and earning my degree from such a prestigious institutional unit has afforded me many opportunities and given me great credibility.”

Ricard, who was awarded the Bunton-Waller Fellowship and the Miriam E. Gray Scholarship while at Penn State, said she was inspired by her professors while she pursued her doctorate. She even wrote a book — “Ebony towers in higher education: The evolution, mission, and presidency of historically black colleges and universities” — with one, Penn State alum and former faculty member M. Christopher Brown II.

“HBCUs are often not invited to the discussion table when important decisions are being made concerning the future of educational access in this country, ” she said.

“These institutions have great value and serve a specific purpose, and I believe they are a critical piece to the larger higher education puzzle. I am a strong advocate for these colleges (as well as other minority serving institutions), and I will continue to highlight their mission and give a voice to their historic successes and untapped potential,” she said.

— by Andy Elder (July 2014)

New Faculty Members Join College of Education

The College of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of eight faculty members for this academic year.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The College of Education announced eight faculty member appointments in August. According to Dean David H. Monk, the addition of these faculty members will keep the College at the forefront of cutting-edge research and will strengthen the professional-preparation programs that the College offers at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The faculty members who are joining the College are Marcela Borge, Karly Ford, Jennifer Frank, Cristin Hall, Ron Musoleno, Peter Nelson, Deborah Schussler and Rachel Wolkenhauer.

Borge is an assistant professor in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems. She received her M.A. and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in the cognition and development program. Her current research focuses on the design and assessment of cognitive tools to support the development of effective collective cognitive processes at different levels of scale.

“I am very excited to be a part of a community of scholars that values both learning theory and the application of theory for the design and assessment of learning environments,” said Borge.

Ford is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies (EPS), and her research focuses on the relationship between education and social stratification. She received a M.Ed. in international education policy from Harvard University in 2007 and a doctorate in sociology of education from New York University in 2014.

Frank, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education (EPCSE), received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests focus on the application of innovative methods and school-based prevention strategies effective in modifying the ecology of risk from middle childhood to late adolescence.

“I look forward to expanding the College's current portfolio of work in school-based prevention practices, promoting innovative methods and finding creative ways to connect classroom learning to the cutting-edge research occurring here at Penn State,” said Frank.

Hall is an assistant professor in EPCSE. She received her M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and her doctorate in school psychology from Penn State. Her current research interests are modularizing evidence-based treatments for remote delivery and using technology to assist with more sustainable changes in practice in school and community settings.

“I chose to join the College because I am committed to mentoring, teaching and clinical training,” said Hall. “I think that the school psychology program at Penn State has done an excellent job of implementing the scientist-practitioner model of training, and I'm excited to be a part of that continued mission.”

Musoleno is an associate professor in EPS. He earned his M.Ed. from Penn State and his doctorate from the University of Kansas. Musoleno has been an educator and administrator in both private overseas schools in Italy and Greece and in U.S. public schools for more than 30 years. He is also the director of the online principal certification program available through Penn State World Campus and serves as the certification officer for both the principal certificate and the superintendent’s letter of eligibility.

“It's a joy to be able to teach at my alma mater,” said Musoleno. “Being able to contribute to the University and to the College that shaped my career is most rewarding."

Nelson is an assistant professor in EPCSE. He completed his doctoral training in school psychology at the University of Minnesota after obtaining his M.A. in education from the University of Mississippi. A former high school teacher, his primary research interests focus on prevention and intervention in the classroom setting.

“The people and mission of the school psychology program were a strong factor in my decision to join the College,” said Nelson. “The similarities between the values of the program and my own belief system gives me the opportunity to teach and engage in research freely, knowing that fellow faculty and staff are readily available for support and collaboration.”

Schussler is associate professor in EPS and an affiliate at the Prevention Research Center. She received her doctorate from Vanderbilt University in curriculum and instructional leadership and her M.Ed. from Middle Tennessee State University in curriculum and instruction. Her research interests include teacher education, moral development, and social-emotional learning.

“It is exciting to be a part of a faculty who are keenly interested in collaborating with a variety of stakeholders, across the University and outside of it, to more comprehensively understand and improve critical educational problems,” said Schussler.

Wolkenhauer is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She received her doctorate and M.Ed. from the University of Florida. Her research interests include school-university partnerships and practitioner inquiry as a form of professional learning for pre-service and in-service educators.

“Penn State’s College of Education lives in the connection of theory and practice,” said Wolkenhauer. “It has always been important to me that I stay closely connected to schools. As a faculty member in the College, I am a member of one of the most influential and successful professional development school (PDS) programs in the nation.”

--by (September 2014)

Eight Students Named as Recipients of Dean’s Graduate Assistantships

The College of Education announced the 2014–15 cohort for the Dean's Graduate Assistantships.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education named eight Penn State graduate students as the 2014–15 recipients of the Dean’s Graduate Assistantships for Engaged Scholarship and Research in Education. The recipients are Chrysta Ghent, Azalea Hulbert, HyoJung Jang, Hyungyung Joo, John Katunich, Ismael Munoz, Kendra Taylor and Qiong Zhu.

The College of Education partnered with Penn State’s Graduate School to fund the Dean’s Graduate Assistantships. The program was created to support doctoral students in the field of education and designed to support the highest quality students applying for admission to the College’s doctoral programs.

Each Dean’s Graduate Assistant will receive two years of funding with the opportunity to secure a third and fourth year of funding from externally funded research projects.

Biographies of this year’s recipients are below.

Chrysta Ghent is a first-year doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction graduate program for Science Education. She received a bachelor's degree in earth and space science secondary education from Towson University, while completing astronomy research with a Starlab planetarium and nearby city schools. She taught science for two years in Baltimore City Public Schools, during which she realized her wish for continuing her science education and research. She is now working on research dealing with astronomy teachers and their students' beliefs about how astronomers know what they know.

Azalea Hulbert is a first-year doctoral student in higher education. Her research interests center around ethics in higher education, at the intersection of student development and organizational theory/culture. Her current research projects relate to ethical and legal issues in higher education. Outside of her work at Penn State, she is also co-authoring a book on the ethics of ghostwriting.

HyoJung Jang is pursuing her doctorate in educational theory and policy. She received an M.A. in East Asian Studies with a disciplinary focus on sociology at Stanford University. She worked as an education consultant with the World Bank in Laos, where she conducted research on the state of basic education. Her research interests include sociology of education, global norms on gender equity, cross-national and comparative analysis of gender equity in education and the effect of teacher professional development on the quality of classroom teaching.

Hyungyung Joo is pursuing her doctorate in counselor education. She received her master’s degree in elementary counseling education from Seoul National University of Education, South Korea. She has spent past four years teaching elementary school students in Seoul. She has conducted research on academic motivation, self-directed learning and developed emotional regulation interventions for the children and youth, which were offered to every school in Seoul. Her current research interests include bullying, cyberbullying, wellness, school climate and multicultural counseling.

John Katunich is starting the language, culture and society doctoral program in curriculum and instruction where he plans to investigate ways to prepare teachers to work as ESL teachers for a student population that is increasingly diverse in their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. His research includes exploring how short-term immersive experiences can help develop intercultural and global competency. Prior to this work, he taught in various international settings, including teaching English abroad and teaching international students in the U.S.

Ismael G. Muñoz is a doctoral student in the educational theory and policy program. He received his master’s degree at the Economics School of Louvain at Namur University. He was a research assistant of the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE), which is a think tank developing applied research to stimulate the debate, design and implementation of public policy in Peru. His research interests include economics of education, impact evaluation, early childhood development, education policy and human development, particularly within a poverty context.

Kendra Taylor is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy Studies. Her research focuses on peace education with particular attention to peace education in varying sociopolitical contexts and the evaluation of peace education programs. She has worked on peace education projects in Morocco and Sri Lanka while completing her B.A. in international politics and her M.Ed. in applied youth, family and community education. While in the program she plans to focus on original scholarship on trends within peace education, including conflict resolution education, restorative justice programs and intergroup contact experiences.

Qiong Zhu is a first-year doctoral student in the higher education program. She received her master’s degree in school of education at Peking University. She was a research assistant of China Institute of Educational Finance Research, which is an academic think-tank for governmental policy decision. Her research interests include economics of education and educational finance.

--by (September 2014)

New York City Internship Confirms Student’s Desire to Help Disadvantaged Youth

Titus Chen's internship with New York City's Department of Education taught him the importance of staying true to his principles.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Imagine working for the largest public education school system in the U.S., which has a budget of $21 billion and the responsibility of overseeing 1,700 schools, at the age of 22.

Titus Chen, a senior in the College of Education’s Education and Public Policy (EPP) program, had that opportunity during his summer internship with New York City’s Department of Education.

Chen worked with the Office of Leadership (OOL), which seeks to prepare early-career educators to become principals. According to New York City’s Department of Education website, this initiative started in response to the falling standards of student achievement.

“The OOL staff is genuinely dedicated, creative and insightful in their pursuit of cultivating the future leaders of New York City’s education,” said Chen.

While he learned many lessons during his internship, Chen said the most important one came from Marina Cofield, the senior executive director of the OOL.

“She was known around the office for being an incredibly kind, soft-spoken woman of great integrity,” said Chen. “Through all of her years in the department, she always remembered why she was there. She taught me that remaining true to myself and the reasons I became involved in education would go a long way.”

Chen worked on a variety of projects, from internal communications to policy evaluation. One of his assignments for the OOL was to update their website, even though he had no previous coding experience.

“Coding could be extremely frustrating, but it was definitely one of the most useful skills I learned over the summer,” Chen said. “What surprised me most was the amount of free reign I was given over the design of the aesthetics of the website. I saw that the Department of Education places trust in all of its employees’ contributions and ideas, from entry- to senior-level.”

Chen said his experiences during the summer were vastly different than what he expected it to be through his academic studies.

“I saw that processes within any government department take time,” he said. “In class, you learn about the processes, but not about the red tape that goes along with it.”

Dana Mitra, associate professor of education who oversees the EPP internship program, said that the value of these internships is the real-world experience it provides.

“The internship component of EPP connects concepts that students explore in their coursework to working experiences,” Mitra said. “It provides students with valuable insight into various policy systems and helps them clarify career goals and interests.”

Mitra said that Chen’s internship experience would be invaluable to him.

“Titus experienced phenomenal growth during his internship,” Mitra said. “It has led him to become a more responsible, reflective and goal-centered person.”

If he could change anything about New York City’s Department of Education, Chen said he would try to open the decision-making to every level of the hierarchy.

“Everyone who comes to the Department of Education with the visions of advancing public education and helping children, holds creative ideas of merit that can contribute to the progress of schools,” said Chen. “Collaboration goes much further than competition when it comes to serving the children.”

While Chen is still unclear about his exact plan after graduation, he said his summer experience clarified one thing for him. 

“I want to be in a position that can positively lead to change,” Chen said. “It makes all the difference to me if I know that I helped disadvantaged children step toward their dreams and not stumble back into dismay.”

And Chen knows his ultimate goal.

“In the end, I want to be the founding principal, as well as a teacher, of an effective charter school.”

By (October 2014)

Latina Master’s Student Provides Crucial Support to University Cultural Centers

Roseilyn Guzman, a master’s student studying higher education (student affairs emphasis), sought out invaluable experiences with Latino/a cultural centers this summer during her student affairs and research internships at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).
Latina Master’s Student Provides Crucial Support to University Cultural Centers

Roseilyn Guzman

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Roseilyn Guzman, a master’s student studying higher education (student affairs emphasis), sought out invaluable experiences in programming, event planning, promotion and research this summer during her two internships at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).

Roseilyn Guzman
Roseilyn Guzman

Guzman started at Penn as a graduate student intern for the Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina, a cultural center that provides services to Latina students and promotes greater awareness of Latino and Latina issues, culture and identity with the Penn community.

Guzman helped to reconstruct the center’s mentoring program. She said the most important change she made was helping the students find a more suitable and inclusive name for the program: Undios, which means “united” in Spanish.

“The students realized the importance of being inclusive, even within their own ethnic group,” Guzman said.

Guzman also developed programming for Latin@ Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of Latino and Latina culture, customs and beliefs. Guzman helped plan and promote events to raise awareness to the Penn community.

Upon receiving an offer for an internship at La Casa Latina, Leticia Oseguera, Guzman’s academic adviser, connected Guzman with Marybeth Gasman, director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) at Penn. Guzman said their mutual interest in minority serving intuitions led Gasman to hire her as a graduate research intern at CMSI.

Guzman’s experience at CMSI was focused on understanding different types of minority-serving institutions within the system of higher education. She worked on a project regarding student success across the nation.

“I learned about the historical component that these institutions have in association to the shift our country has made,” Guzman said. “I was amazed to see how these institutions were established on the basis of changes that have occurred from the civil rights movement.”

Guzman even had the opportunity to meet Ivory Toldson, deputy director of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities White House initiative, who is also a Penn State alumnus.

“Being a first generation immigrant and first generation college student as a woman of color has made me realize the importance of building connections and networking with other professionals of color is crucially important for both my personal and professional development,” Guzman said.

Guzman is now completing the last year of her master’s program. She also interns at the BLUEprint Peer Mentoring Program, participates in the Student Conduct Board’s diversity review committee and works as a bookkeeper and area expansion officer for the Penn State chapter of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority. She intends to pursue full-time student affairs opportunities upon graduation in May 2015.

By (October 2014)

Mentor Ignites Student's Passion for Teaching, Mentoring, AIDS Education

Sakena Sampson started a mentoring program for young women and is heavily involved in HIV/AIDS education, a motivation stemming from her middle school assistant principal, who continues to mentor and advise Sampson.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sakena Sampson, a student in the College's Education and Public Policy (EPP) program, has a passion for teaching that drives her in her studies, her extracurricular involvement in AIDS and HIV education and the creation of a mentoring program she started in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

Sakena Sampson
Sakena Sampson
Her passion started when she met Linor Castro, her middle school assistant principal.

“When I was a student, I saw how committed and devoted Ms. Castro was to our success,” Sampson said. “I mirror that commitment with the girls I mentored.”

Sampson was able to see this commitment from the other side, when she interned with Castro this summer. Castro was heavily involved in the creation of Sampson’s mentoring program: the Girls Empowerment Circle.

“The purpose of the Girls Empowerment Circle is to equip young women with the skills and knowledge needed for them to become successful in finding their identity,” Sampson said.

According to Sampson, Castro stayed involved in the program to help Sampson realize the full potential of it.

“Ms. Castro taught me that, no matter what, I needed to stay dedicated to the girls I was mentoring,” Sampson said. “I realized that, when I started this program, I was doing more than just mentoring. I was lending a hand to these young women.”

Sampson said that her ability to understand the issues facing young women in her neighborhood has allowed her to better connect with those involved in Girls Empowerment Club.

“I was once in the shoes of these girls and know how it feels to be marginalized and objectified,” she said. “I want to show young girls that it doesn’t matter where you come from but where you are going. If children are the future, we have to empower them and show them what they can become.”

Sampson’s passion for HIV and AIDS education stems from knowing that education about the diseases is the first step to their prevention and treatment.

“There are so many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS,” she said. “Effective education can help prevent new infections by providing people with the proper information.”

Sampson also sees the influence that education has on lowering the stigmatization of HIV and AIDS.

“By sparking this conversation, we can help decrease the social embarrassment and discrimination associated with the diseases,” she said. “People are afraid of being tested and treated because of the associations of having HIV or AIDS, so they may not even be aware that they are positive.”

At Penn State, Sampson is the vice president of the University’s chapter of Keep a Child Alive, a global organization founded by Alicia Keys with the mission of supporting community-led responses to HIV and AIDS treatment and improving access to nutritious food for children in Africa.

The Student Global Aids Campaign has recognized Sampson for her commitment as a student leader. This summer, she was one of only 40 students invited to their annual conference in the District of Columbia.

Sampson’s internship this summer consisted of her working as a service learning coordinator for the New York City school system. As part of her internship, she completed a service project that analyzed hip-hop music with 14- and 15-year-old students.

“The project allowed participants to express themselves freely with the use of music,” she said. “We also were able to critically think about what message the artist is trying to get across in their songs.”

Sampson’s passion has influenced her career choices as well.

“I want to become a teacher in an alternative teaching program so I can connect with kids from lower income areas,” she said. “I’ve already started my applications.”

By Jack Small (October 2014)

College of Education Online Programs Highly Ranked by Online Resource

Two of the College of Education’s online master in education programs—Higher Education and Learning, Design, and Technology—delivered through Penn State World Campus, were recently recognized as some of the best online degree programs in the nation by TheBestSchools.org, a leading resource for campus and online education.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Two of the College of Education’s online master in education programs, delivered through Penn State World Campus, were recently recognized as some of the best online degree programs in the nation by TheBestSchools.org, a leading resource for campus and online education.

The College’s online M.Ed. in Higher Education was ranked number one among programs of its kind. The M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) was ranked number four in educational technology online master’s programs.

TheBestSchools.org selected Penn State’s programs based on several weighted factors, including academic excellence, course offerings, faculty strengths, and reputation, including reputation for online degree programs.

The M.Ed. in Higher Education is a 30-credit professional degree program designed to prepare students and professionals for a variety of careers in postsecondary education, including academic advising, career development, and university development.

John Cheslock, associate professor of education and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), said that the Higher Education Program is gratified by this ranking.

“We have worked to ensure that the traditional elements associated with our success—leading scholars, strong student culture and community, connections with CSHE—are also present in our online programs,” Cheslock said. “Furthermore, we have sought to add other elements—experienced and skilled online educators, the expertise of educational support professionals within World Campus, leaders in key professional areas—to ensure the degree program is well aligned with the online context.”

The M.Ed. in LDT is a 33-credit program that improves the use of Internet and technology in education professionals’ careers and equips them with the skills and confidence to apply sound technology practices in a way that positively impacts the learning process.

David Popp, program head of the online LDT master’s degree program, said, “The LDT ranking is an indication of the strong reputations of the program, College and World Campus.”

By  (November 2014)

Highlighting Veterans in the College

The College of Education recognizes the veterans within its community with snapshots of students, faculty, and staff.

Veterans Day

To celebrate veterans and to show gratitude for their service, we are sharing stories from men and women in the College's community who have served or are currently serving our country.

Ron Banerjee

MM2 - E5 in the Navy

I am a Penn State graduate student in the Organization Development and Change program in the College of Education. I am also the regional branch manager for VOYA Financial Advisors in State College and specialize in the health, education, and government markets for retirement services.

I am a decorated disabled veteran, serving in the Navy from 1985­–1989. I broke my back in several places and received a medal for heroism for it but was also medically discharged. This was at the tail end of a 12-month officer-training program. Penn State offered me admission after I was honorably discharged and encouraged me to overcome my disability and pursue my educational goals. There were many hardships during that process. It is based on my experiences and overcoming those obstacles that I continue to be an advocate not only for adult learners, but veteran adult learners who have many challenges similar to those I have experienced while pursuing and accomplishing my academic goals.

I chose to do my master’s of professional studies in Organization Development and Change as I believe that there are great applications to this program in my professional and private life. 

Jamie Irvin

E-5/SGT (Retired) in the Army and Army Reserve

I served in the Army and Army Reserve as an E-5/SGT (Retired) from 2000 until I was medically retired in 2009. I am a part-time student in the Counselor Education with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities. I am also a full-time employee at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness.

I enrolled in the Counselor Education program so that I can serve the military community with special interest in assisting veterans as they transition into the civilian world.

I enjoyed being a soldier and wanted to make a career of it. When the decision was made to medically retire me, I was devastated, but I understood the reasoning.  My transition out of the military was quite difficult for me. Thankfully, the VA hospital linked me up with a wonderful individual who was able to help me work through the transition. This experience, along with several others, are why I decided to return to college and pursue a master's degree in Counselor Education to help others struggling to deal with the transitions that come along with the military lifestyle. My work at the Clearinghouse has helped to broaden my perspective of the military community (beyond that of a soldier) and connect me with evidence-informed decision-making that will also contribute to my success as a counselor.

Matthew Raup

Specialist (E-4) in the Army National Guard

I enlisted last July, so I am almost a year and a half in. I am a technology manager for Penn State Outreach, and I am in my 3rd year of my doctorate in Workforce Education and Development. I joined the National Guard because my whole life revolved around my job and my school, so I felt very selfish and self-focused. The National Guard allowed me to do something to serve my country and community and was supported by my job and my education.

Carl Ohlson

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) in the Army

I enlisted in 1981, entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1983, was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1987, and began my career as an officer in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. I served continuously until my retirement on March 1, 2014. Throughout my career, I served in a variety of jobs and units in the Infantry, spent a year with the U.S. Air Force and three years in NATO, and completed some interesting educational opportunities.

In 1994, I was selected for a faculty position at West Point. I also attended the U.S. Air Force’s Air University and earned a master’s degree in military operational art and science. Subsequently, I was assigned to a NATO headquarters in The Netherlands. During that assignment, I had the opportunity to participate in operations in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Afghanistan before being selected to return to West Point as a center director and member of the senior faculty. In preparation for my return to West Point, I earned a doctorate in higher education with a minor in educational psychology from Penn State.

Education has been a big part of my Army career and something I wanted to continue upon retirement. My family and I enjoyed life in Happy Valley so much during grad school that we decided to move back here permanently. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a part-time faculty position in the Higher Education program – the same program that did a phenomenal job of preparing me for my work at West Point.

For me, working in the College of Education is a perfect fit. Just like soldiers, students in the College what to challenge themselves, continually develop as educators or administrators, and generally set high goals for themselves. Getting to spend time with them on that journey is both a privilege and an honor.

Maggie Kwok

Petty Officer 3rd Class in the Navy

I served as a Petty Officer 3rd Class in the Navy from August 2002 to December 2007. Currently, I am a part-time master's student in the College of Education’s Counselor Education program. I am also a full-time employee with Penn State World Campus as an academic adviser and disability specialist for the military/veteran student population. I decided to pursue counseling because there is a need for counselors with a military background to provide mental health services to the military and veteran population.

Logan DeMarcus

Corporal E-4 in the Marine Corps

I served as an infantry assultman in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2009 to 2013, where I was deployed to Marjah, Afghanistan twice between 2010 and 2012. My time in the service encouraged resourcefulness, patience, discipline, and initiative, all of which play a vital role in achieving success and independence.

When I enlisted in the Marines, getting my schooling paid for was the last of my concerns, but now it has allowed me the freedom to pursue opportunities in pursuing a career focused around helping others. I am now a rehabilitation & human services major and veteran outreach counselor for Penn State’s Office of Veterans Programs. I hope to work in veteran aid upon graduation.

Tim Hormsby

Technical Sergeant E-6 in the Air Force

I served in the Air Force from 1986 to 2008. I came to the College of Education to enhance my educational opportunities and have access to better opportunities in job searches. My military service built the discipline needed to accomplish the work in the timeframe required at the College of Education.

I am studying organization development and change through World Campus. I wish to get a job with a larger organization doing training and employee development.

Jeremy Moeller

Staff Sergeant E-6 in the Army

The work ethic that I acquired during my military service is the most important thing that has correlated to my success while I have been in college. I was put into an environment where I was able to learn, succeed, and mature as an adult when I served in the military from 1998 to 2007. It taught me how to structure my time in order to accomplish the mission and the discipline to follow through.

I came to the College of Education because I wanted to become a special education teacher after I got out of the Army. My wife’s family is from State College, so after completing my time in service in Fort Bliss, Texas, we moved to State College so my wife could work on her Ph.D in school psychology and I could get my undergraduate degree in special education.

After completing my B.S. in special education, I decided to complete my M.Ed. in special education since I still had some funds from my GI Bill. Upon graduating with my M.Ed. in 2010, I got a research assistant position at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State. Currently, I am a third year doctoral student in special education.

Richard Hazler

Specialist 5 in the Army

I had been a teacher before being drafted out of a master’s program in school counseling in 1971. Once drafted out of my master’s program, I signed up for a third year with the promise that my specialty would be enlisted counselor in the Army. I wound up as the enlisted man’s representative to Division of Army Training and Doctrine Command when we were developing drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs for the Army and helping Army posts institute the programs.

I am now a professor of counselor education and coordinator of counselor education programs. When I got out of the Army, I used the GI Bill to finish the degree, become a school counselor for three years and get my doctorate in counselor education. I worked as faculty at several universities until research opportunities brought me to Penn State in 2003. 

Nick Yingling

Senior Airman in the Air Force

I served as a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force from August 1999 through September 2003. I was a Korean language translator and intelligence analyst.

I’m getting my master’s degree to further my career, and my current work experience matches up quite well with the organization development and change (OD&C) MPS program.

Not only am I a grad student in the OD&C MPS program, I’m also the lead LMS/QA functional tester for ITS services and solutions.

Rick Kubina

E5 (Petty Officer Second Class) in the Navy

I served in the Navy in the Seabees. I left service as an E5 (Petty Officer Second Class). My designation was equipment operator. I served from 1988 to 1994. Some of that time was in the reserves.

Penn State is one of the premier institutions for conducting research and teaching students. I’m a special education professor at Penn State.

My service did not overlap. But the military taught me very important life lessons that have helped me to this day: show up on time, be respectful, understand and respect the chain of command, and keep your hair short. Well, that last one isn't a necessity, but it has its advantages in the summer.

Scott Specht

Captain in the Army

I enlisted in April 1991 to get the GI Bill so I could attend Penn State. I spent 23 years in the Army, 15 as an enlisted/non-commissioned officer and eight as a commissioned officer. I retired July 20, 2014, as a captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. I’m currently a graduate student in the College of Education. I am majoring in adult education. I came to the College of Education because I love to teach. I have taught trauma and intensive care modules to military nurses and medics.

I also have an interest in either an adviser role (which corresponds to my time in the Army as a leader, counselor and mentor) or as an outreach person for students (particularly fellow veterans) with disabilities, as I myself am a disabled vet who has benefitted from some of the services offered by the Office of Disability Services at Penn State.

By Andy Elder, Samantha Schwartz, Kevin Sliman, and Jack Small

Racial, Ethnic Diversity on Campus: Considering Legal, Public Policy Developments, Future Implications

Assistant Professor Liliana Garces provides an overview of how colleges and universities are becoming increasingly more diverse, but legal decisions are making it more difficult for institutions of higher learning to assemble a diverse student body.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Colleges and universities find themselves in a quandary. Administrators know that engendering a robust learning environment requires diversity in an increasingly multiracial and multiethnic society. However, legal decisions and state laws increasingly restrict the tools institutions of higher learning use to help assemble a diverse student body.

Liliana Garces
Liliana Garces
Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of education and research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), provides an overview of the legal and public policy developments and considers their implications for future policies aimed at achieving racial and ethnic diversity in graduate studies in her paper, “Aligning Diversity, Quality, and Equity: The Implications of Legal and Public Policy Developments for Promoting Racial Diversity in Graduate Studies.”

Garces emphasizes the need for institutions to reframe the ways concepts of diversity, equity, and quality are perceived and enacted through admissions policies.

“Legal decisions have contributed to a false dichotomy between our understandings of diversity and educational quality, as well as our understandings of efforts that promote diversity with those that address racial equity. I argue that institutions have the power, through their policies and practices, to reframe the ways these concepts are perceived and enacted, which is critical for postsecondary institutions to further their educational missions.

Early affirmative action efforts and the civil rights movement in the South culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That and various executive orders for affirmative action focused on ensuring access to higher education, and employment, for African Americans, Latinos, American Indians and white women in fields where they were underrepresented. 

Through the rest of the decade and into the 1970s, the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government reinforced the tenets of the Civil Rights Act. Then, in 1978, the Supreme Court heard Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which involved a challenge to the University of California at Davis School of Medicine’s consideration of race in its admissions decisions. In six separate opinions with no clear majority and a controlling opinion by Justice Lewis F. Powell, the court rejected all but the last of four justifications for the school’s policy.

This marked a noteworthy, practice-based shift in the Court’s stance on matters of race-conscious admissions practices. In essence, the Court transitioned from promoting access for racial minorities to protecting whites from alleged discrimination.

Several subsequent legal challenges to race-conscious practices in admissions followed. Those three decisions further solidified Justice Powell’s opinion in Bakke that endorsed the limited use of race in admissions policies to further an interest in the educational benefits of diversity.

“We’ve come to view racial diversity as coming at the expense of educational quality, when, in fact, educational quality can be built on a foundational goal of diversity. To do so, institutions need to re-examine conventional ideas of qualification and merit in their admissions decisions,” Garces said.

“Influenced by the outcome of legal cases, we’ve also come to view diversity policies as divorced from efforts that address race or racial inequities. To further the educational benefits of diversity, however, institutional policies need to consider the ways in which racial inequities shape students’ opportunities and the ways in which racial bias persists to shape the experiences of students.”

One of the legal roadblocks that has become central in litigation efforts related to affirmative action admissions policies that seek to further the educational benefits of diversity is the term “critical mass.”

“I understand my job under our precedents [is] to determine if your use of race is narrowly tailored to a compelling interest. The compelling interest you identify is attaining a critical mass of minority students at the University of Texas, but you won’t tell me what the critical mass is. How am I supposed to do the job that our precedents say I should do?” Chief Justice John Roberts said during the oral arguments of Fisher v. University of Texas.

Garces and co-author Uma M. Jayakumar advocate a more nuanced replacement for critical mass in their paper, “Dynamic Diversity: Toward a Contextual Understanding of Critical Mass.”

“When we talk about diversity in postsecondary education, we talk about it primarily in terms of the number, or percentage, of students of color on a college campus. Diversity, however, is a more dynamic concept,” Garces said. “Achieving the educational benefits of diversity depends on a symbiotic relationship between the environment and students. While the number of students of color plays a significant role in shaping a campus climate and culture, the campus climate and culture, in turn, influence whether students feel welcome to attend the institution and their experiences while on campus.”

The call to replace the term critical mass is not without precedent. Justice Antonin Scalia during oral arguments in Fisher said, “You should call it a cloud or something like that. Mass … assumes numbers, either in size or certain weight.”

Garces and Jayakumar engage Scalia’s suggestion for the use of a new term and advance the term dynamic diversity.

“The term dynamic diversity seeks to refocus our attention on this symbiotic relationship between the environment and students. That is, the interactions among students, the particular context in which these interactions take place, and the environmental conditions that are necessary for the educational benefits of diversity to take place,” Garces said.

“This more nuanced understanding of diversity can help us answer the question in the legal debate as to when an institution has achieved a “critical mass” of students of color and to move away from discussions of critical mass as a one-size-fits-all concept.”

The courts have affirmed the importance of diversity on college campuses. Research has shown that perceptions, attributions, and generalizations that promote stereotypes and bias can also be reduced through repeated interactions with peers from different groups and requires more than token numbers in classroom discussions. And the frequency of positive cross-racial interactions is more strongly related to student outcomes than is the overall frequency of cross-racial interactions.

“Our analysis is intended to help advance a more contextualized understanding of critical mass,” Garces said. “I’m hopeful that with increased communication and collaborations among researchers, administrators and legal counsel, this more contextualized understanding will help institutions generate the evidence necessary to assess whether the conditions that foster dynamic diversity are present at an institution; this evidence, in turn, should help better justify race-conscious policies in the legal arena and beyond.”

By Andy Elder (November 2014)

Student’s Drive to Improve Inner-City Education Standards Influences Career Path

Philip Chew, an undergraduate student in the College of Education studying Education and Public Policy, had his career aspirations confirmed after an internship under the New York City Department of Education.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Philip Chew, a undergraduate student in the College of Education studying Education and Public Policy, landed his dream internship this summer with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). Chew, spent his summer with the Office of Interschool Collaborative Learning (OICL) under the NYCDOE.

Philip Chew
Philip Chew
Chew said that he knew he wanted to work for an education system like the one in New York City before he had his internship.

“I always wanted to get involved with a local education system that served inner-city students, since they are usually disadvantaged in funding,” Chew said. “I want to drive systematic change in the system because I think that education is a public good that should be provided to all people.”

He spent much of his time with the OICL processing school’s applications for the Learning Partners Program (LPP).

The LPP is an initiative focused on supporting schools that desire growth in one or two of the 16 learning focus areas the NYCDOE distinguished. Some of the areas include supporting students with disabilities, developing teacher and principal growth and promoting family and community engagement.

Schools interested in furthering their school’s proficiency in one of these areas apply to join the LPP. The schools are chosen after considering their demographics, the areas they were interested and a site visit, according to Chew.

After being chosen for the LPP, three schools come together to form a Learning Partners Triad. The Triad is given a facilitator tasked with managing the collaboration of the three schools, each of which is provided $15,000 to help them reach their goals. 

“The goal of this facet of the program is to develop an open, sharing culture in New York City public schools,” Chew said. “The OICL believes that the answers to big problems in public school education is already in the classrooms, and everyone needs to come together to find the solution.” 

Chew strongly believes that LPP is something that could work in other education systems.

“The beauty of LPP is that it is not creating anything new. It is using the best practices that are already in our classrooms,” he said. “It creates a mentoring relationship between schools that want to be involved.”

Chew added that he would like to see a modification to the way the NYCDOE focuses their resources because he said there was a lot of emphasis on meeting the needs of teachers, under the belief that it will trickle down to students.

“Students should be given the chance to provide feedback on their teachers, schools and education system that will be given consideration during evaluation," he said.

Chew is currently focusing on research evaluating the quality and effectiveness of standards based reform policies in New York.

“These two opportunities have allowed me to bridge the gap between research and practice,” Chew said.

By Jack Small (November 2014)

American Journal of Education Receives Top Rankings

Research and information published in the American Journal of Education (AJE) is impacting education and educational research, as demonstrated by recent rankings by Thomson Reuters.
American Journal of Education Receives Top Rankings

American Journal of Education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Research and information published in the American Journal of Education (AJE) is impacting education and educational research in substantive ways.

American Journal of Education
American Journal of Education

The journal, housed in the Penn State College of Education, brings scientific information about a variety of topics in education to a broad public audience, and is cited by an increasing number of education researchers in other relevant scholarly journals.

AJE was recently reviewed by the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports and had a leap in impact factor from 0.711 to 1.590 and was ranked as 29 of 219 journals in the subject category “Education and Educational Research.”

Thomson Reuters’ impact factor is a mean count of citations by other academic publications per article per publication over a course of two years.

AJE, one of the oldest education journals in the country, serves the entire educational community from practitioners to scholars. AJE had previously been identified as one of 11 core journals in education by academic researchers, and is currently co-edited by Gerald LeTendre, department head of Educational Policy Studies and professor of education, and Dana Mitra, professor of education.

Gerald LeTendre
Gerald LeTendre
“[AJE] provides a blend of research and thinking about critical education issues,” LeTendre said. “The topics we cover are important not just for Americans, but for academics, policy makers and practitioners in the world over.”

More than a quarter of a million AJE articles were downloaded around the world so far in 2014.  According to LeTendre, this is the most accurate measure of the journal’s audience.

“Very few people get a hard copy of our journal, or any other scholarly journal, anymore. What’s important now is that journals are bundled and sold in databases to institutions such as libraries,” LeTendre said. “Anyone who has access to these giant institutional databases can now find our articles.”

LeTendre continued to explain how the academic audience has transformed into a broad readership.

“As scholarly publishing in this digital age is now linked to huge institutional contracts and networks, people around the world can access articles,” LeTendre said. “It opens the journal up to a global network of people, whether they are teachers, policy administrators or simply concerned parents.”

The University of Chicago Press, which owns the journal, has engaged in special programs to allow access to institutions in low-income countries.

The journal also hosts the AJE Forum for students and others to comment on issues that are related to the research published in the journal. It is led by a student board, mentored by the journal’s senior editorial staff and features blogs, discussions and videos with journal authors.

LeTendre said the AJE Forum contributed to raising awareness of articles to non-academics.

“The AJE Forum is our way of opening up discussion around the issues and trying to make it more accessible to teachers or parents or school boards who want to have real scientific evidence, but may have a hard time slogging through the technical details of the scholarly articles,” LeTendre said. “Our students are doing a great job of bringing up real hot button items in education and linking them to scholarly research.”

By (December 2014)

Schools Pursuing Diversity Face Numerous Challenges

A report from Erica Frankenberg, assistant professor of education, and her colleagues reveals that schools that pursue diversity can face a number of challenges.
Schools Pursuing Diversity Face Numerous Challenges

Erica Frankenberg

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A report by Erica Frankenberg, assistant professor of education, and her colleagues shared insights about a federal program that aimed to help school districts increase diversity. The report, titled “The Changing Politics of Diversity: Lessons from a Federal Technical Assistance Grant,” revealed that a number of factors, including legal uncertainty and political pressure, affected how districts pursued that goal.

Erica Frankenberg
Erica Frankenberg
The group, which included Kathryn McDermott from the University of Massachusetts and Elizabeth DeBray and Ann Blankenship from the University of Georgia, was researching the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) 2009 program called Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans (TASAP). Through TASAP, the ED distributed $2.5 million awarded through a competitive grant process to 11 school districts to help them design student assignments that were both legal and racially diverse.

TASAP came after the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District (PICS) case. This decision struck down two districts’ voluntary integration policies. This was after earlier Court decisions that relaxed what was required of districts to remedy prior segregation.

“I knew that there was a lot of misunderstanding when it came to diversity,” said Frankenberg. “And it was really encouraging that we had new federal funding, really for the first time in 40 years, that tried to help districts make sense of how to pursue diversity. We wanted to understand whether TASAP was making a difference and, if so, how.”

Frankenberg said that the researchers also chose to study the TASAP schools because the districts, which varied demographically, could offer understanding about the local responses to the decision, policymaking and also how the federal role can have an influence around diversity.

“The Supreme Court said you can't consider an individual student's race to create diverse schools because such consideration would harm the student,” said Frankenberg. “You could, however, take into account the racial composition of neighborhoods.”

According to Frankenberg, officials in the 11 TASAP schools were looking to increase diversity in their districts, but many were uncertain as to how to go about it.

“There were a number of race-conscious ways that a majority of justices said that school officials could use race,” said Frankenberg. “In fact, when we looked at the proposals of what the districts in TASAP said they were going to do, a number of them said they were going to use race.”

But very few actually did use race.

According to Frankenberg, people in several districts indicated that they had been advised not to use race in their student assignment plans.

Besides legal ambiguity, political pressure was a key issue when it came to student assignments, said Frankenberg.

“We saw in a lot of these districts that local politics pushed diversity to the back burner.”

Frankenberg added that even though districts were redesigning student assignments that were supposed to be pursuing diversity, it was difficult to maintain that commitment when there were competing political goals. For example, during TASAP, districts were experiencing budget cuts due to the recession of 2008. In some districts, transportation for diversity goals was cast as an added expense at a time of austerity.

According to Frankenberg, it is too early to determine whether TASAP was a success or not.

“We still don’t have a lot of evidence about whether it's working out,” said Frankenberg. “I think that's the next logical follow-up now that there have been several years of students being assigned to schools under the new policies.”

Frankenberg added that society appears to be retreating from desegregation.

“Now it is more difficult to even voluntarily integrate,” said Frankenberg. “If we believe in local control and the locally elected school board leaders have decided this is a value of the community, then why are we not allowing them to pursue it?”

One positive to TASAP that Frankenberg said she saw is that districts were interested in diversity and that, even though this is a challenging time for integration, TASAP was an example of doing something to help diversity rather than nothing.

Frankenberg said she would like to see another round of more-focused technical-assistance funding, particularly given the federal government’s guidance in 2011 affirming how race-conscious policies could help districts pursue integration, which the government strongly endorsed as a goal for districts.

“I think education efforts for districts about what's legal and what's effective could be really helpful,” said Frankenberg, “not just for districts but for those working with districts like lawyers and other experts, too.”

By (December 2014)

Promise of Equality from Common Core Not so Easily Achieved

A research report from Associate Professor Mindy Kornhaber and her team revealed that there can be problems with the view of equity that most Common Core policy entrepreneurs hold.
Promise of Equality from Common Core Not so Easily Achieved

Mindy Kornhaber

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In 2012, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a report titled “Helping to Ensure Equal Access to Education.” Part of the report described how the OCR transformed its enforcement approach to better promote and advance educational equity for all students.

Mindy Kornhaber
Mindy Kornhaber at the 2014 Education and Civil Rights Conference.
Part of the argument in favor of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is that it would advance educational equity. The reform seeks to anchor primary and secondary education, across the more than 40 states and District of Columbia that have agreed to participate, in one set of demanding, internationally benchmarked standards. Supporters of the reform have maintained that standards will no longer vary across states or by ‘zip code.’

Equity is playing a central role in the national education discourse now, partly due to the introduction of common standards and because the Common Core seeks to enable all students to enter postsecondary education or training without need of remediation.

“States’ education clauses don't address preparing all students for college and career,” said Mindy Kornhaber, associate professor of education. “They more typically speak to efficient, effective, or basic education. However, it is possible to see the introduction of equal standards for students in disparate schools as a civil rights issue.” 

Kornhaber, and graduate student co-authors Kelly Griffith and Alison Tyler, explore various conceptions of educational equity in their paper, “It’s Not Education by Zip Code Anymore — But What is It? Conceptions of Equity under the Common Core.”

Using data from interviews with Common Core policy entrepreneurs and qualitative analysis of interview data, the article examines the role and meaning of equity within the Common Core at a level beyond “zip code.” Findings are considered against a conceptual framework of equal, equalizing and expansive views of equity.

“I thought it was important to explicate views of equity because the word is bandied about. People generally agree educational equity is important. However, they don't necessarily understand how the meanings of equity may differ. These differences have policy implications,” Kornhaber explained.

“With a clearer conceptualization, it may be possible to have clearer goals and clearer means of achieving them. Although many others over the years have sought to explain the concept (e.g., James Coleman and Christopher Jencks), I thought it might be useful to have a newer, and ideally clearer conceptual framework.” 

In the article, Kornhaber used “educational equity” for concerns about disparities in educational resources and achievement that are linked to demographic variables, particularly those emphasized under No Child Left Behind: socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, or disability. Through a review of the literature, she and her co-authors clustered conceptions of educational equity in the following three ways.

Under the equal conception of educational equity, policies and programs are designed to provide equal educational resources for all students. Given equal resources, differences in achievement across different student populations represent influences beyond the purview of the education system.

Under the equalizing conception, policies and programs are meant to afford compensatory educational resources to address different populations of learners. The equalizing conception seeks to foster more equal school outcomes.

The expansive conception of educational equity also seeks to create more equal school outcomes. However, it emphasizes the need for comprehensive resources both within and beyond schools to attain such outcomes.

The team’s research and interviews revealed that most Common Core policy entrepreneurs hold primarily an equal view of equity.  Kornhaber and her co-authors noted that this view is problematic basis for generating more equal school outcomes, because students’ and schools’ initial resources are highly variable. . 

“Given its equal conception, the Common Core cannot close achievement gaps, any more than the same icing will transform different cakes,” the authors wrote. “Policies and resources aligned to an expansive view of equity are needed to foster more equal chances of school and life success for children from disparate circumstances.” 

by Andy Elder (December 2014)

Faculty Member Coauthors Guide For Universities Managing Student Protests

Neal Hutchens, associate professor of education, helped write a resource for higher-education institutions to navigate difficult campus protests.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Colleges and universities now have an easy-to-understand resource to help them balance First Amendment rights with maintaining safety during on-campus protests.

Neal Hutchens
Neal Hutchens
Published by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) in partnership with the Education Law Association, the latest issue of Legal Links features articles outlining the key legal rules applicable to student protests, suggests policy for student codes of conduct, and highlights the differences in public and private institution rights, among other topics. It is available to NASPA members at http://www.naspa.org/publications/books/campus-protests online.

Neal Hutchens, associate professor of higher education, is a co-author of the publication.

“I contributed to this report because a significant amount of my research focuses on speech and expression in higher education,” Hutchens said.

Hutchens said that universities must balance between creating a safe environment for students who are both involved and not involved in protests.

“A fundamental purpose of higher education is to create and foster spaces for the free exchange of ideas,” he said. “As institutions respond to obligations to protect the safety of individuals on campus and to ensure that regular campus activities are not impeded, officials need to be mindful of preserving channels for open speech and expression, including student protest activities.

Universities need to be especially mindful of the actions they take to limit speech, Hutchens said.

“If institutions want students to be engaged citizens, then their policies and practices must align with that vision,” he said. “Squashing instances of student expression, including student protest, merely for purposes of control and concern over image and brand are not in alignment with that.”

Hutchens became involved with NASPA while working on the first issue of Legal Links, which was focused on the legal obligations of universities when sexual harassment accusations occur. He said that he hopes his work will help colleges and universities to design policies that follow both legal standards and their institutional values.

By Jack Small (January 2015)

Financial Aid Programs, Access to Higher Education

Two College of Education faculty members research how higher education access has changed over the years due to rising costs.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the early part of the 20th century, most Americans thought higher education was reserved for the wealthy elite. That all changed when the GI Bill of Rights was passed in 1944 and almost eight million veterans took advantage to attend college. 

The law created access for a whole group of people who never thought they could afford to attend college. The same thing happened 20 years later with the passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and its reauthorization in 1972. 

Since 1980, however, tuition rates have steadily climbed while financial aid programs have not kept pace. Need-based financial aid programs, which concentrate their dollars on students from low-income families, have often fared especially poorly.

Cheslock_sml.jpg
John Cheslock
The result has been a shrinking of the opportunity gap for low-income students to attend college. Studies have shown that the No. 1 concern for low-income students is the price, specifically how to pay for rising costs, of higher education.

Two professors in Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education have conducted research on the subject. John Cheslock, associate professor of education and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, and Liang Zhang, associate professor of education and senior research associate, have each written on the subject.

In his working paper “Filling the Gap: The Use of Intentional and Incidental Financial Aid to Meet Need in Higher Education”, Cheslock, and co-authors Rodney Hughes, Rachel Frick-Cardelle and Donald Heller, examine the grant awards provided to students by colleges and universities and develop a new typology for describing these awards. 

Their research highlights how incidental need-meeting aid (which is not designed to offset a student’s need but regularly does so in practice) helps meet a substantial share of the need that students face, but is much less effective than intentional need-meeting aid (which is designed with need in mind) at targeting funds on those students who have the highest levels of need.

“The financial aid provided by colleges and universities is extraordinarily complex as a range of motives drive these awards. Some grants are designed to promote access for low-income families, other grants are designed to attract students with specific skills (e.g. strong academic preparation) to campus, and a final set of grants are designed to increase revenue in the same way that coupons and early-bird prices do,” noted Cheslock. “Trying to sort out how these range of awards affect the prices that low-income students pay is a difficult task, and our new classification system seeks to make that task simpler.”

In a separate 2013 study — “The Effect of Florida’s Bright Futures Program on College Enrollment and Degree Production” — Zhang and co-authors Shouping Hu and Victor Sensenig examine the effects of Florida’s program that rewards high school graduates for high academic achievement.

Although the awards from these programs are not targeted on low-income students, they could still reduce the cost for some as the award criteria are relatively broad: Students with a 3.0 grade-point average and who score a 970 on the SAT qualify. Approximately 60 percent of all high school graduates within Florida who took the SAT meet those criteria.

Zhang and his co-authors find that program did alter the number of Floridians who remained in-state as it encouraged some to attend college and others to choose an in-state, rather than an out-of-state institutions. The enrollment of students from lower-income families appeared to be affected similarly as the enrollment of other students.

“The federal government, state governments, and colleges and universities are facing difficult financial futures, which could lead to less spending on financial aid,” Cheslock said. “An understanding of how well-targeted financial aid programs, as well as less-well-targeted but more politically popular programs, influence the prices and enrollment decisions of low-income students will help us identify the impact of any future cuts.”

by (January 2015)

Research suggests school accountability measure is inaccurate

Research by Ed Fuller, executive director of the Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy Analysis (CEEPA) in Penn State’s College of Education, suggests that Pennsylvania’s School Performance Profile (SPP) scores are inaccurate measures of school effectiveness.
Research suggests school accountability measure is inaccurate

Ed Fuller

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- There is near universal agreement among policymakers that schools should be held accountable for meeting high expectations. In fact, every state has adopted some form of a school accountability system. However, there are serious questions about what these accountability systems actually measure and whether the systems accurately identify school effectiveness.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller
Research by Ed Fuller, executive director of the Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy Analysis (CEEPA) in Penn State’s College of Education, suggests that Pennsylvania’s School Performance Profile (SPP) scores are inaccurate measures of school effectiveness.

“Researchers have consistently argued that accountability measures such as SPP scores must be adjusted for factors outside the control of educators in order to accurately identify school effectiveness,” Fuller said. “The Commonwealth’s SPP scores are strongly associated with student- and school-characteristics, and therefore may not be accurate in their assessments.”

Instead, Fuller said, “SPP scores are more accurate indicators of the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a school than of the effectiveness of a school.”

Fuller’s research suggests that the currently available SPP scores should not be used to make judgments about school effectiveness unless the scores from one school are compared to only the SPP scores from schools with similar student- and school- characteristics. Even then, he says the comparison should be used cautiously as other unmeasured factors may explain differences in scores.

“There are a number of options that the Commonwealth could employ to calculate SPP scores that are more accurate measures of school effectiveness. In doing so, the Commonwealth would be assisting educators to improve their practice while providing valid information to the public and policymakers about the effectiveness of their local schools,” Fuller said.

In addition, Fuller cautions that SPP scores should not be used as a component of educator evaluations because it will lead to inaccurate judgments about teacher and principal effectiveness and potentially exacerbate existing inequities in the distribution of teachers.

“Because the SPP scores are so strongly correlated with student characteristics, teachers and principals in schools serving high percentages of economically disadvantaged students will be identified as less effective than they really are while those serving in schools with low percentages of economically disadvantaged students will be identified as more effective than in actuality,” Fuller said. This could lead to the most qualified and effective teachers seeking jobs in schools with high SPP scores, magnifying the existing inequities in the distribution of educator quality across schools.

Fuller’s research includes several recommendations. They are:

-- Review the percentage weights assigned to the various SPP components. Specifically, the Commonwealth should carefully assess the weights assigned to the individual indicators and components and discuss increasing the weights of the indicators and components with the weakest relationships with student- and school- characteristics.

-- Create an online tool that identifies comparison schools for each school in the Commonwealth. The identification of comparison schools would be based on high-quality statistical efforts that accurately identify schools with similar student- and school- characteristics. The set of comparison schools would provide educators with an appropriate set of schools against which they could compare their own school effectiveness score. Such a system would also give local educators and policymakers a far more accurate view of local school effectiveness.

-- Construct an alternative rating system outside the system required by the USDoE. This alternative system would adjust the SPP scores for student- and school- characteristics outside the control of educators so these alternative SPP scores would more accurately capture school effectiveness. This would be beneficial in two ways. First, the public and policymakers would have more accurate information about schools, thus could make far more informed judgments and choices about the schools. Second, educators in lower performing schools could accurately identify high-performing comparison schools from which they could learn.

-- Recognize the flaws in the current system and work collaboratively to build a more accurate system. The Commonwealth should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the current SPP effort and engage educators, policymakers, and the public in a discussion about how to more accurately capture school effectiveness. Importantly, the Commonwealth should provide data to researchers so that those with experience in evaluating such systems could provide unbiased and useful information about creating more effective systems.

Fuller said that to assist educators in making more accurate judgments about their own effectiveness and in selecting appropriate comparison schools, CEEPA will create a new index that adjusts the existing scores based on available data related to student characteristics and other school contextual factors.

The mission of the CEEPA is to provide unbiased, high-quality evaluation and policy analysis services to education and other organizations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation.

For more information, visit http://www.ed.psu.edu/ceepa online.

By (February 2015)

Center president to discuss proposed state education budget

Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), will discuss Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 state education budget from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, 303 Rackley Building on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), will discuss Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 state education budget from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, 303 Rackley Building on Penn State’s University Park campus. His talk is part of a speaker series on fiscal policies in education organized by William Hartman, professor of educational leadership in the College of Education.

The governor’s proposed budget recommends significant changes in the amounts and priorities for education from recent state budgets. During his talk, Cowell will provide an overview of the state’s fiscal situation and key issues that will affect the year’s budget debate.

Cowell was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 24 years until 1998, serving as the majority or minority chair of the House Committee on Education for 12 years. He also served for 12 years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and for 20 years as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

EPLC is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization that encourages and supports the development and implementation of effective state-level education policies. For more information about the organization, visit http://www.eplc.org/ online.

The final talk of the semester will feature Arnold Hillman from the Pennsylvania Association for Rural and Small Schools, who will speak on “Legal Challenges to Pennsylvania Education Funding: The New Lawsuit” from 5 to 6 p.m. April 22 in 303 Rackley Building.

By Annemarie Mountz (April 2015)

Promotion and tenure

A listing of faculty who have been promoted and/or received tenure.

The College of Education is proud to announce that the following faculty members have received promotions and/or tenure:

Kathleen Collins, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was promoted to the rank of associate professor.

Soo-yong Byun, Department of Education Policy Studies, was promoted to the rank of associate professor.

James DiPerna, Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, was promoted to the rank of professor.

Erica Frankenberg, Department of Education Policy Studies, was promoted to the rank of associate professor.

Andrea McCloskey, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was promoted to the rank of associate professor.

Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was granted tenure.

Deirdre O’Sullivan, Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, was promoted to the rank of associate professor.

The promotion-and-tenure process is a rigorous review of the faculty members' scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society and the profession

Jessica Buterbaugh (May 2015)

Online Learning Consortium honors faculty members with Best-in-Track award

Boggess, Le Tendre, Musoleno produce webcast to facilitate online faculty development, cross-cultural awareness.
Online Learning Consortium honors faculty members with Best-in-Track award

Gerald Le Tendre

A joint effort between the World Campus and the College of Education has resulted in three faculty members earning the Online Learning Consortium’s Best-in-Track award for faculty development.

Gerald Le Tendre
Gerald Le Tendre
Laurence B. Boggess, Gerald K. Le Tendre and Ronald Musoleno produced a webcast titled “Going Global: Preparing Faculty To Teach International Students.’’ The presentation will be internationally webcast in October on creating OL 2500, an online training course familiarizing Penn State faculty with the issues of cross-cultural awareness and communication and protocols for instruction, advising and course adjustment.

Boggess is director of faculty development for World Campus; Le Tendre is department head for education policy studies and is a nationally known expert in comparative and international education; and Musoleno is associate professor of education policy studies.

“OLC has been making an effort to reach out internationally and become less North American-centric,’’ said Boggess, who is also a faculty member in the College of Education’s online master’s degree in educational leadership. “This particular session is about helping faculty learn how to teach online with the particular sensitivity to their international students.’’

College of Education dean David H. Monk said this type of training module is a critical element in expanding Penn State’s reach internationally. “This is terrific news,’’ Monk said. “The international audience is so vast and so central to the goal of bringing Penn State opportunities to global audiences.’’

The Orlando conference attracts thousands of faculty developers and instructional designers and different people who do online teaching in higher ed.

“As online learning expands around the world, faculty will need to be more aware of the diversity of students they will encounter,’’ Le Tendre said.

“We are working to draw on the considerable resources from around Penn State to create a course that will help faculty to become comfortable teaching international students, and help them learn what practices can benefit their students.’’

Le Tendre said the course is an opportunity to engage more faculty in dialogs, reflection and discussion of how best to create supportive and challenging online learning environments for a global community.

Boggess, who won an OLC award last year for a conceptual paper with graduate student Elizabeth Shakespeare, said the OLC “really responded to this as a timely idea and a necessary idea.’’

While he wasn’t certain, he said he believes that no one else in the country is doing this in the formal way of actually constructing a faculty-training module around this topic.

“The University’s making a very concerted effort to support faculty in very meaningful ways, one of them making possible our curriculum for online teaching,’’ Boggess said.

Jim Carlson (July 2015)

Penn State online graduate degree helps principal in Qatar improve her school

Kelsie Abduljawad, of Doha, Qatar, graduated in December 2014 with a master’s degree in educational leadership that she completed online through Penn State World Campus. She has been able to apply what she learned in her coursework to help with decision-making for her school’s accreditation, professional development programming and curriculum.

A Penn State graduate is putting the master’s degree she earned online to use at her job as an assistant school principal in Doha, Qatar.

Kelsie Abduljawad
Kelsie Abduljawad, left, is an assistant principal at Al-Arqam Academy in Doha, Qatar. She earned a master's degree in educational leadership online through Penn State World Campus in 2014, and she has been able to apply the knowledge from her degree to help improve her school. Image: Esra Abduljawad

Kelsie Abduljawad graduated in December 2014 with a master’s degree in educational leadership that she completed online through Penn State World Campus. While she was working toward her degree, she applied her coursework to a job at Al-Arqam Academy, an all-girls Islamic school in Qatar’s capital.

“I was able to apply everything I was learning to my work right away,” she said. “It made a huge impact on how I viewed my processes and my programs. Pairing my professional work with my coursework was absolutely amazing.”

Abduljawad began her studies with Penn State in January 2012 after spending more than half a year researching online master’s degrees in education.

“I wanted something that had the quality that I felt matched my goals,” she said. “Penn State offered something that really ticked all of the boxes for me.”

Around the time that Abduljawad began her studies, her school had started a national accreditation process. Abduljawad played an important role in her school’s work on accreditation, thanks to two of her classes.

She helped drive the school’s work on researching how students were meeting educational goals by applying what she learned from class.

As a result of her degree’s professional development course, she realized the teachers in her school should be able to learn at their own pace or in groups of people who are like-minded. She developed a manual for her school to outline information all teachers need to know, such as rules for sick time, vacation time or the mission of the school, instead of making teachers sit through long presentations. The class has led her to believe that teachers will benefit more working their way through material at their own pace.

“We’re asking the students to be motivated learners, and we’re doing all the wrong things when trying to teach teachers anything new,” she said.

“Penn State offered something that really ticked all of the boxes for me.”

Abduljawad also got from her coursework the concept of “flipping” the professional development program by putting content online. That plan is in the works.

One of her last courses at Penn State, curriculum design, helped her drive the school’s decision on its curriculum.

“We realized we need to adapt our curriculum more for our students, because they’re mostly Qatar nationals,” she said. “When you have a math example of Sally boarding the train at 7 a.m., and it’s a five-hour ride, what time does she arrive in Edinburgh – the students have no point of reference for a train ride to Edinburgh. So why can’t I use a flight on Qatar Airways from Doha to London?”

“I was really able to use the theories and methods of that course step by step as a framework,” she said.

Abduljawad plans to pursue a doctorate degree in education and work as a lecturer or professional development trainer.

For more information about the master’s degree in education leadership, visit the World Campus website.

By Mike Dawson, Penn State World Campus (July 2015)

Teaching vocab to kids early may lead to better academics, behavior later on

Two-year-old children with larger oral vocabularies enter U.S. kindergarten classrooms better at reading and mathematics as well as better behaved, according to a team of researchers lead by Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies at Penn State.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two-year-old children with larger oral vocabularies enter U.S. kindergarten classrooms better at reading and mathematics as well as better behaved, according to a team of researchers lead by Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies at Penn State.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan

Other research finds that children who are doing better academically in kindergarten are more likely to go to college, get married, own homes and live in higher-income households.

“Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary’s theorized importance as a multifaceted contributor to children’s early development,” Morgan said.

Morgan, who worked with researchers at Penn State, the University of California, Irvine, and Columbia University, examined data from parental surveys reporting on the size of their children’s vocabularies at 2 years of age. The researchers found that vocabulary gaps between groups of U.S. children were already evident by this early time period. Females, those from more economically advantaged families, and those receiving higher quality parenting had larger oral vocabularies. Children born with low birthweight or who were being raised by mothers with health problems had smaller vocabularies.

When Morgan and his colleagues looked at how the children were doing three years later in kindergarten, they found that children with larger vocabularies at two years of age were better readers, knew more about mathematics, were more attentive and task persistent, and were less likely to engage in acting out- or anxious-type behaviors. This was the case even after adjusting for the family’s economic resources, the children’s prior cognitive functioning and behavior, and many other factors. 

The research appears in latest edition of Child Development and supports prior studies showing that vocabulary differences emerge very early during children’s development and help to explain later differences in how children are doing in school. The study’s findings underscore the importance of early intervention.

“Our findings are also consistent with prior work suggesting that parents who are stressed, overburdened, less engaged and who experience less social support may talk, read, or otherwise interact with their children less frequently, resulting in their children acquiring smaller oral vocabularies,” Morgan explained.

“Interventions may need to be targeted to two-year-olds being raised in disadvantaged home environments,” Morgan’s colleague George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, said, adding that home visitation programs that provide assistance to disadvantaged, first-time mothers before and after childbirth may help the role of parents play by connecting them to varies social services and support systems.

Penn State colleagues Marianne Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography and Steve Maczuga, research programmer and analyst for Penn State’s Population Research Institute, as well as Carol Scheffner Hammer, professor of communication science at Columbia University, also contributed to this research. 

The National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institutes of Health supported this work.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (August 2015)

Partnerships with Penn State Law, Student Affairs provide varied degree options

Students receive clear understanding of the nature of the work that awaits them.

Law School
The Lewis Katz Building on the Penn State campus houses the University's Law School.
The college experience has undergone a lot of change for undergraduates in the last decade, and Student Affairs professionals have had to adapt in order to keep up and continue to serve students’ out-of-classroom needs. In this ever-changing world, colleges and universities are looking to hire individuals who not only have an understanding of the field of Student Affairs as it currently exists, but also have the skills to assess how it is likely to evolve.

In addition, the education environment has become more complex for administrators, teachers and counselors who increasingly need to navigate legal topics as well as the traditional issues. Educational professionals with an understanding of the law in addition to education have a distinct advantage over those without a legal background. That’s why the partnerships the Penn State College of Education has developed with both Penn State Law and the Division of Student Affairs are so valuable.

“Our partnerships with both the law school and the Division of Student Affairs bring an element of real-life work experience and a focus on practice,” said Gerald LeTendre, head of the College’s Department of Education Policy Studies. “These partnerships help keep us tied better to what our students will be doing with their advanced degrees in the workplace. The real nature of the work they’re going to be doing is made clear, and that’s important for our students.”

The subfield of education law is one of the fastest growing law specialties, according to the American Bar Association.

According to the Law and Education Alliance at Penn State, the field covers issues relating both to K-12 education and higher education, including charter school regulation, faculty employment, curricular policy, school reform and student rights. The partnership cultivates collaboration between the School of Law and College of Education by working with faculty and students in both departments to host speakers, hold seminars and conduct research in education law. It also fosters networking opportunities to help students launch careers in education law.

“Penn State Law and the College of Education offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.); and a Master of Education (M.Ed.), a Doctor of Education (D.Ed.), or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education,” said Keith Elkin, assistant dean for academic and student affairs and professor of legal skills at Penn State Law.

That allows students to complete their first year of coursework in the law school and then start taking courses in Education Policy Studies (EPS) in their second year, according to LeTendre. Programs could be Educational Leadership, the Higher Education Program or Educational Theory and Policy.

“The basis of the partnership is really the ability of students to share certain credit hours so they can work on their law degree while they’re also working on their degree in EPS,” LeTendre said. Students are able to earn two degrees in a shorter amount of time than if they were to do the law degree separately from the master’s or doctoral degrees.

There’s also the intellectual connection that happens, according to Neal Hutchens, associate professor of higher education and senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE).

“We’re really fortunate in that we have people that cross over between legal issues and other issues involving educational policy from K-12 to higher education, and so it really allows a richness of what we can offer students based on our strengths and the strengths that the law school has,’’ Hutchens said. “These intellectual bridges and connections that exist are very beneficial for our students.”

Hutchens has been working with fellow College of Education faculty members Liliana Garces, assistant professor of higher education and CSHE research associate; and Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education, to further the partnership. “We’ve been the liaisons of sorts at various points for the program,” Hutchens said.

Hutchens, who has degrees in law and higher education, understands firsthand the value of the partnership. “It really intersects nicely with what I do for my scholarship in a way that is not found in higher education programs or in ed policy departments in other places in the country. The partnership is a joint recognition and appreciation of the expertise and the overall excellence of what we have in terms of our department and the law school, and it also allows us to expand beyond that in terms of what our students can do,” he said.

Although structured very differently than the law school partnership, the College’s partnership with Student Affairs benefits students in similar ways. “Students work 20 hours a week in Student Affairs positions within the University, whether it’s with health services or Greek Life or some other University office. They get to have this intense practicum while they’re getting their degree,” said LeTendre.

Students who are enrolled in the master of science in higher education (Student Affairs emphasis) also have an opportunity to explore higher education and student affairs as fields of study, said Dave Guthrie, associate professor of education and co-coordinator of the partnership along with Philip Burlingame, associate vice president for Student Affairs.

“Substantial and significant research occurs while at the same time working in a particular position in which they not only develop and hone professional skills, but also come to understand the relevance and application of research for practice,” Guthrie said.

Burlingame noted that “Penn State’s College Student Affairs Program has had a very strong national reputation for decades and it’s still considered one of the top programs in the country.” He attributed its strength to the evolution in the program over the years.

“We have a more stringent research requirement than any other master’s program that prepares Student Affairs practitioners that I know of,’’ Burlingame said. “That really makes our program distinctive.

“Those of us who are practitioners know that people who go into the Student Affairs profession must now be prepared to make evidence-based decisions, so they have to be able to read and evaluate research articles. They need to be able to understand research methods. They need to be able to conduct their own basic research; to partner with others to conduct more intensive research; to understand the student experience from a more research-based view; and to move away from maybe what had been more traditionally anecdotal ways of making decisions,” he said.

Burlingame said the partnership also benefits Penn State’s Division of Student Affairs. “The opportunity to work with graduate students is invigorating. These students are engaged in learning the latest ideas in student identity theory and they bring those ideas back with them from the classroom into the workplace. Through them and their research, we gain insights that help us better serve our student population.”

Burlingame said a key component of the partnership is the relevance of the work done by the students. He said those involved in the partnership develop a list of pragmatic problems, from which the students select for their required research capstone project.

“This past year, one of the problems was how to provide a viable co-curricular experience in the World Campus environment. The research done by the students has led directly to the creation of a new position, director of student affairs in the World Campus,” Burlingame said.

Student Affairs professionals also serve as adjunct faculty in the program, which further integrates theory and practice in both the academic and professional environments. Among those who teach in the program in addition to Burlingame are Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs; Andrea Dowhower, assistant vice president for Student Affairs; Stan Latta, assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services and Residence Life; and Peggy Lorah, director of the Center for Women Students.

“The academic program and the administrative division both are significantly stronger because of the partnership,” Burlingame said. “We are connected to the Center for the Study of Higher Education, and benefit from the research done there. The program benefits from the experience of our staff. And the collaboration keeps both faculty and staff fresh and current, which ultimately is a benefit to everyone.”

Annemarie Mountz (September 2015)

College of Education students benefit from 'The Moth' storytelling production

Participants reveal something transformational that happened in their lives.

Taylor Manalo
College of Education student Taylor Manalo participates in the Sept. 23 production of The Moth.
Students with stories to tell learned how to captivate an audience and speak from the heart during a three-day workshop in conjunction with The Moth, a New York City-based organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.

 The event, sponsored by the Penn State College of Education, was capped by a Story Slam performance Sept. 23 at the State Theater in downtown State College and was preceded by classes with Moth instructors during the two days prior.

 Nearly 50 people took part and 10 randomly drawn speakers had five minutes to emotionally reveal something transformational that had happened to them.

 “One of the things that ends up happening that you don’t really expect is when someone tells you a story that’s from their life and it’s not really rehearsed that you get to feel like you’re part of their life for a moment,’’ said Micaela Blei, one of three instructors with The Moth. “You feel close to them, they feel close to you and you end up feeling a sense of community in the room.’’

 All of the stories told were entertaining and gripping in their own way; some offered a bit more impact than others. A few examples follow, but with brevity in mind:

 One young woman was simultaneously a swimmer and a youth swimming coach. She was coaching a boy attempting to secure a berth on a Junior Olympic team while at the same time competing herself. In one race, six swimmers advanced to the finals; she placed seventh. In another race of even more importance, 16 swimmers advanced; she was 17th. She watched the boy swim a personal-best time but he missed advancing by one place. He said he was fine because he had watched what happened to her. She said she was too, because she had been there for him.

 Another student had visited the September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. She saw a woman – a stranger – who was visibly distressed. She offered the woman a hug and the woman collapsed onto her shoulder and later looked at her, smiled and walked away. Meanwhile, an aunt who was very special to the student, had died. Some time later, while the student was working, her uncle texted her while using her aunt’s phone. The student saw the name and broke down, ultimately collapsing into the arms of a workmate she wasn’t particularly fond of. The student realized two things, she said, that she was human and that people are great.

 Yet another student grew up on the streets of Los Angeles. Hers was a family of fighters, she explained. She learned how to fight early on. She was confronted by a bully in fifth grade and got slammed against the wall. A brother said he’d take care of the miscreant. The young woman said, “No, I have to fight him.’’ An uncle showed up with boxing gloves to give her additional pointers. She fought the bully named Jesse and won … easily. Then her cousin got shot because of gang violence. Her mother wouldn’t let her see him in the hospital and he died soon after. She didn’t fight any more, she said, because she knows that there’s something behind anger.

 And, finally, another young woman wanted to end her relationship with her father at age 18. No texts, no calls, no conversation. A cousin told her that he wasn’t her father anyway; thus, the young woman searched for her real father. She found him, they each had DNA tests that proved to be a match. She also thought that piece of paper could end the relationship with the man she thought was her father, but it doesn’t happen that way, she explained. She visited her new father, who had another daughter who approached him and called him “daddy.’’ The young woman, who was in search of a storybook relationship with her father, was asked by him to call him something other than Mr. Davis. “I don’t think I know how,’’ she said.

 Those were abbreviated examples of learning how to tell stories in group fashion. “Practicing giving feedback to each other about your personal story ends up being a great way to get into how to give supportive feedback as a group,’’ Blei said about the educational component within The Moth. “It also helps with narrative structuring and starting to understand critical thinking, like ‘how do I choose the details that are going to get across the point I want to make?’’’

 The instructors do not have students write their stories; they have to tell it first. “We find that with a lot of people who may be natural writers, they are not as comfortable with it but this gets them thinking really critically. The see themselves as artists, they see themselves as successful when it might otherwise have been a really frustrating experience,’’ Blei said.

 Despite the instruction and success of the event – it was recorded and will be used on a podcast and some might be used on National Public Radio – Blei reminded the audience that life doesn’t happen in five-minute chunks.

 But let the lesson plan show that it can be revealed.

Professor of education named Batschelet Chair

Gerald LeTendre, professor of education and international affairs and head of the department of education policy studies for the College of Education, has been named the Harry Lawrence Batschelet II Chair of Educational Administration.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Gerald LeTendre, professor of education and international affairs and head of the department of education policy studies for the College of Education, has been named the Harry Lawrence Batschelet II Chair of Educational Administration.LeTendre_Gerald

LeTendre received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Harvard University where he was the recipient of the Rockefeller Fellowship, which allowed him to complete fieldwork with Tibetan refugees. He later went on to earn a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in education from Stanford University, where he earned three research awards from the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies for his research surrounding international issues.

“I am extremely honored to have been offered the Batschelet Chair, and look forward to working with my colleagues in educational leadership and across the college to support the growth and development of new areas within educational administration that will promote educational excellence and equity in schools around the world,” he said. “I am committed to advancing programs of research that emphasize instructional leadership, more diverse leadership roles for teachers, and understanding how institutional or organizational environments affect the range and quality of work that teachers undertake.”

During his tenure with the College of Education, LeTendre has received multiple awards for his research and service, including the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Outstanding Faculty Award and Outstanding Study of the Year Award. He held the title of Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow from 2001 to 2004, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Bermen in Germany in 2003.

His current research focuses on national and international education, including the exploration of changing work roles for teachers cross-nationally and the diffusion of prevention programs in schools worldwide. He also is associate editor of the American Journal of Education and is an editorial board member for the Comparative Education Review.

 The Harry Lawrence Batschelet II Chair of Educational Administration is intended to continue and further scholarly excellence through contributions to instruction, research and public service to support the field of educational administration. It was established in 2001 as the result of a gift from Batschelet, a 1953 graduate of the College of Education and former vice president for financial development at the American National Red Cross.

The Batschelet Chair is one of five faculty endowments in the College of Education. The others are the Kenneth B. Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education, held by Richard A. Duschl; the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professorship in Education, held by Gwendolyn Lloyd; the Gilbert and Donna Kahn Professorship in Education in Recognition of David H. Monk and Graham B. Spanier, held by Carla M. Zembal-Saul; and the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education, held by P. Karen Murphy.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (October 2015)

Assistant professor files another amicus brief

This will be Garces' fourth amicus curiae before the country's highest federal court.
Assistant professor files another amicus brief

Liliana Garces

The Supreme Court case of Fisher v. University of Texas is back in the news and, because of it, Penn State Assistant Professor of Higher Education Liliana M. Garces is back in the courts.

Liliana Garces
Liliana Garces
Garces, also a research associate in the Center for Study of Higher Education, will file her second amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief before the Supreme Court concerning that case. She first filed in 2012. She has filed two other amicus briefs on different topics as well.

The Supreme Court will examine the constitutionality of the University of Texas’ race-conscious admission policy for the second time in three years. “Back in 2012, it was somewhat surprising to many in the social science community that the court would agree to hear a case so soon after endorsing the constitutionality of the practice in 2003 with the Grutter v. Bollinger case,’’ Garces said.

“That led the social science community to come together to summarize the extensive research findings showing why Texas was justified in using race as one among many factors in admissions and the limited success of other policies it had in place, like the Top Ten Percent Plan.’’

All Texas high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class can be admitted to one of the state’s public colleges and universities. But UT Austin also uses a holistic admissions policy that considers race.

Abigail Fisher applied to UT-Austin in 2008 and was not in the top 10 percent of her class. Her application was thus considered under the race-sensitive holistic review. She was not admitted and she opted to attend Louisiana State University from which she has graduated, but she initiated a lawsuit against the university.

Fisher said she wasn’t admitted because of her race and that UT Austin’s race-sensitive holistic admissions policy violated the protection clause of the 14th amendment.

“Even if race had not been considered, her score wouldn’t have been high enough even to have gained admission, yet the Court still agreed to hear the case and still found standing, so we’ll see what happens in this next round,’’ Garces said.

“Part of my work is not just about conducting research for us to better understand the kinds of policies that can expand access and educational opportunity, but also to make sure that research is actually used and has some kind of influence in other areas, in particular the legal arena because legal decisions can have a lasting impact in educational policy.’’

This particular amicus brief, Garces said, introduces the latest research that supports UT Austin’s admissions policy and addresses the new legal issues in the case.

“As scholars who study race in education and experts in this area, we are trying to present to the court what the evidence has to say that informs the legal issues,’’ Garces said. “The Court may not necessarily read these briefs, but we hope that the justices will read our brief because it will be a strong voice from the social science community coming together to support UT-Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy.

 “It’s both challenging and stimulating to work on the brief because it involves working with hundreds of researchers from across the country -- experts on this issue -- and being the conduit who helps to communicate the work to a different audience. Legal decisions can have a very substantial impact on the work of educators and institutions and should be based on empirically grounded and scientifically tested research,’’ she said.

 

Life as an immigrant inspires book

From Russia to Israel to America, Katerina Bodovski has encountered many experiences in her lifetime. She is now sharing those experiences with others in her new book.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Growing up and attending school in Moscow before studying sociology in Israel and, eventually, the United States, Katerina Bodovski always knew she’s encountered some interesting life experiences. But she never imagined she’d be able to share those experiences with those outside of her classroom. 

Bodovski baby photo
Even as a toddler in Moscow, Katerina Bodovski says she always had something to say.

“I had this idea and thought about writing something but I thought that was crazy,” she said. “I’m not old enough to write a memoir and I’m not a celebrity. Who is going to read it? So I dismissed the idea.”

It wasn’t until her son told her she had “an interesting story” that she finally gave into the notion of writing a book. Years after initial thoughts about writing a book crossed her mind, “Across Three Continents: Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival” was published in October.

“When a 13-year-old kid tells you that, it means something,” she said.

Bodovski, an associate professor of educational theory and policy at Penn State, has had the opportunity to experience three different educational systems in three different languages in her lifetime. A Russian native, she grew up in the Communist Soviet Union, with Mikhail Gorbachev coming to power when she was 12. Back then, it was not uncommon for the extended families to live together in small apartments because renting or buying property was not permitted; it was given by the state, she said.

“You hear former Soviet citizens, both within and outside of Russia, say, ‘Yeah but we weren’t communist. We didn’t believe that so that didn’t affect us,’” Bodovski said. “I disagree. I strongly believe that the circumstances under which your life unfolds, defined by time and place, are crucial to what is going on in your home or in your classroom. It does matter a great deal.”

Time and place is what shapes biography, Bodovski said. “It shapes who we are.”

And so Bodovski began writing about her own life, applying the sociological perspective she knows as a researcher to her own experiences.

After graduating high school in Russia, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, where she lived for 10 years. During that time, the country attempted a peace process; however, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and violence between the Israelis and Palestinians resumed. Bodovski later moved to Pennsylvania to earn her doctorate at Penn State, University Park. While at Penn State, she witnessed America’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the aftermath that followed. Bodovski experienced it all as an immigrant and a student.

Bodovki t-shirt
A 10-year-old Katerina Bodovski sports an American t-shirt during a summer vacation to the Ukraine in 1982, nine years before she learned to speak English and could understand the meaning of "happy times."
“Here are these three countries and educational systems that I have first-hand experience in,” Bodovski said. “Each one is situated in very different cultural and political contexts.   And as a researcher who studies the sociology of education, I talk about my experiences in these countries through the lenses of a sociological perspective.”

“Across Three Continents: Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival” is a crossover of autobiographical narrative and sociological analysis. In the book, Bodovski connects the dots between the life she has led, the experiences she has had and the research she has conducted for more than 15 years.

“In my book, I talk about my experiences in these countries and use the sociological lens to explore how the social, cultural, historical, economical circumstances have shaped what went on in the classrooms and in the homes,” Bodovski said.

“Writing the book was very emotional,” she said, adding that Penn State plays a major role in the book because the University has been the pinnacle of all her experiences. Immediately after earning her doctorate from the College of the Liberal Arts, she was hired as an assistant professor of Educational Theory and Policy, a job that she said was a dream come true. In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of associate professor and in 2014 became professor-in-charge of the Comparative and International Education program.

“When I was writing my book, I thought of Edward Frenkel’s memoir called Love and Math,” Bodovski said, referring to another former Russian citizen. “He called his book a ‘platonic love letter to math’ because of his passion for math and wanting everybody to learn it. So, quite seriously, my book is a platonic love letter to Penn State. It is why I was able to write this book.”

By Jessica Buterbaugh (November 2015)

Early vocabulary delays suggest therapy needs later in life

A toddler’s vocabulary delays may indicate a future need for speech language therapy, but race and home language can play a role in obtaining these services, according to a recent Penn State study.
Early vocabulary delays suggest therapy needs later in life

Paul Morgan

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A toddler’s vocabulary delays may indicate a future need for speech language therapy, but race and home language can play a role in obtaining these services, according to a recent Penn State study.

The study, published last month in the American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, includes analysis led by a Penn State researcher Paul L. Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies. Morgan said there is an ongoing debate in the speech and language pathology field about whether being a late talker is a risk factor for later development.

“We analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 10,000 children born in the U.S. in 2001. The data included surveys of the size of the children’s oral vocabularies at two years of age, as well as untimed, individualized assessments of their reading and mathematics achievement at four and five years of age,” Morgan explained.

“Our research suggests that one way to reduce children’s need for costly services later in life, including special education services, may involve preventing or remediating vocabulary gaps as early as two years of age."

— Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies

Morgan and his research team found that vocabulary delays by two years of age were predictive of a child receiving speech and language services between two and five years. When comparing identification data by race and ethnicity, minority children were consistently less likely to receive those services compared to otherwise similar white children at the same ages.  

“Our analysis indicates that the likelihood of black children receiving speech or language therapy services was about 45 to 60 percent lower than white children who were otherwise similar across many other background characteristics, including in their oral vocabularies, academic achievement, behavior, and family income,” said Morgan.

The researchers observed sizeable disparities in services received, whether the children were two, four, or five years old. Hispanic children’s lower likelihood of receiving speech or language therapy services was statistically explained by a language other than English being used in the home.

“Our research suggests that one way to reduce children’s need for costly services later in life, including special education services, may involve preventing or remediating vocabulary gaps as early as two years of age,” said Morgan. “Our findings also suggest the need to increase culturally sensitive or language specific practices to ensure that minority children with speech or language impairments are being appropriately identified and remediated.”

Other research indicates children who receive services for speech and language impairments benefit from improved communications abilities, particularly if the therapy starts before school entry. “We’ve found that children are helped even further as they progress through the educational system if the therapy is ongoing,” Morgan explained.

Early screenings and intervention efforts can also reap other benefits. “We’ve shown that the size of two-year-old children’s oral vocabularies uniquely predicts their academic and behavioral preparation for kindergarten,” said Morgan. “Children with larger oral vocabularies at age two were better at both reading and math, and excelled in other areas such as self-regulation, attention span, and task persistence.”

Penn State colleagues Marianne Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography, and Steve Maczuga, research programmer and analyst for Penn State's Population Research Institute in the Social Science Research Institute, contributed to the project. Other researchers included George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, and Carol Scheffner Hammer, professor of communication science at Columbia University.

The National Center for Special Education Research's Institute of Education Sciences, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institutes of Health supported this work.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute

Penn State professor named among most influential in shaping education

Penn State Associate Professor of Education and Demography Erica Frankenberg was recently named to the 2016 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings list of the top 200 U.S.-based university scholars who influence education policy and practice.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Associate Professor of Education and Demography Erica Frankenberg was recently named to the 2016 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings list of the top 200 U.S.-based university scholars who influence education policy and practice.

Erica Frankenberg
Erica Frankenberg
The list, announced by American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and published on the Education Week website, attempts “to nudge universities, foundations, and professional associations to do more to cultivate, encourage, and recognize contributions to the public debate.” Frankenberg, also a Population Research Institute associate at Penn State, was also included on the list last year. 

Frankenberg’s research interests focus on racial and economic segregation and inequality in K-12 schools and examines how the design of school choice policy and other social policies affects racial and economic student stratification. She teaches classes on politics and policy and is the co-editor of several books and has authored numerous papers. Frankenberg is also in the process of helping to establish a civil rights and education center at Penn State.

According to the RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings website, there are over 20,000 university-based faculty who work in K-12 education in the U.S.  “I’m very honored to be recognized in the top 200 once again this year,” said Frankenberg. “It is my goal to make sure educational research findings are accessible and can be communicated to different audiences, especially those who help shape policies to be more equitable.”

AEI Education Policy Director Rick Hess, who produces the list based on nominations and metrics that include academic body of work and public impact, said that by recognizing and valuing scholars who engage in public discourse, the list can serve to encourage academics to “step into the fray and revisit academic norms.”

To see the complete list of 2016 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings and find out more about its methodology, visit this post on the blog Rick Hess Straight Up, which is published on the Education Week website.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute (January 2016)

Summer is a time for learning, enjoying Happy Valley

Summer sessions may just be the best-kept secret at Penn State. There’s a lot going on in Happy Valley over the summer, both in and out of the classroom.
Summer is a time for learning, enjoying Happy Valley

Lauren White climbed Mount Nittany while attending summer classes in the College of Education on the University Park campus.

Lauren White
Lauren White climbed Mount Nittany while attending summer classes in the College of Education on the University Park campus.
Summer sessions may just be the best-kept secret at Penn State. There’s a lot going on in Happy Valley over the summer, both in and out of the classroom.

In the College of Education, students can take a number of courses to get back on track, get ahead, explore possible minors or take hard-to-schedule classes. One of the most popular summer courses for students in the teaching majors is the Philadelphia Urban Seminar.

“I could go on and on about Urban Seminar,” said Olivia McMechen, a pre-K to 4 major. “Enrolling and participating in the Philadelphia Urban Seminar was one of the best decisions of my college career. I took this course to fulfill my C I 295 requirement and finish my observation hours. What I ended up gaining was so much more. We spent two weeks in Philadelphia during Maymester touring the city, doing community service, and observing/teaching in classrooms.”

McMechen was placed in a fourth-grade classroom full of diverse learners. She said going into the experience she thought she would like to teach in the inner-city, and the experience solidified that for her.

“One of my favorite memories from my time in the classroom was one of the little girls coming up to me on a day that I French-braided my hair and saying I ‘did it wrong.’ She touched her own perfectly cornrowed hair and said to come to her house after school and her mom could ‘fix’ my hair.”

While the Philadelphia Urban Seminar is held in Philadelphia, the College has many courses available during the summer at University Park.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers the entire Elementary and Early Childhood Education Literacy block – LL ED 400, LL ED 401, LL ED 402 and two companion courses – over the summer.

“Our majors focused on elementary and early childhood education can complete an entire semester of coursework this summer, and be ready to enter their own classrooms sooner than planned,” said Department Head Rose Mary Zbiek. “Summer at University Park is a wonderful time for our future teachers to think deeply about how to connect their students with literature and to do so within unique opportunities that involve the Penn State facilities such as the Arboretum.”

Christopher Fuller took courses last summer as part of his Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) program in curriculum and instruction, and special education.

“I took LL ED 595A and LL ED 550 which were both courses focused on working with elementary and middle school students about literacy and the various components associated with it. Rather than being set up like a traditional classroom, it was set up more as an interactive and centered these students as scientists as they learned about weather. The class really helped me to work with elementary and middle school students more effectively and feel more confident as a teacher,” he said.

The Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education offers several summer courses in counselor education, educational psychology, school psychology, special education, and rehabilitation and human services.

“I took EDPSY 502, Data Analysis, last May and I plan on taking another May class,” said special education doctoral student Andy Markelz. “I liked the continuity of having class everyday. It is easier to review and build on content from the previous day.”

Markelz also likes being in town over the summer. “The thing I enjoy most about being in State College over the summer is the chill vibe. Campus is a lot more open and quiet with most students on break. Classes seem to be more relaxed and collegial as well,” he said.

Recent graduate Lauren White took summer classes almost every year. “Summer classes felt more laid back to me and all of my classes were 25 people or less. I personally like taking smaller classes because I feel like I get more out of it,” she said.

White also found taking summer classes took some of the pressure off during the regular academic year. “I would say that taking summer classes definitely helped me with scheduling because I had some room to play around with,’’ she said. The pressure of scheduling right at midnight on my assigned night wasn't really an issue.”

White participated in LEAP (the Learning Edge Academic Program) during the summer leading into her freshman year. “I got to experience a lot of summer activities with new friends.  As a group we watched the fireworks, we tie-dyed t-shirts, we hung out in each other's dorms and we could lay outside and tan while studying. Other summers, I would take my studying materials and lay pool side with friends,’’ White said.

Students interested in Education Policy Studies have a variety of options both in person and online, including Education in American Society (EDTHP 115), Sociology of Education (EDTHP 416), College Teaching (HI ED 546), internships and field experiences.

In the Department of Learning and Performance Systems, students can take a number of courses over the summer, including LDT 100 World Technologies and Learning. This is a double-count GenEd course that also will fulfill geography and economics in a teacher preparation program. The course explores e-learning in international contexts and the impact of these new learning options on cultures world wide, and will be offered this summer over the MayMester (face-to-face) as well as during the Summer 1 session (online).

The College of Education offers numerous other courses over the summer. For information, visit http://ed.psu.edu/current-students/summer and to register visit http://schedule.psu.edu/ online.

(February 2016)

Science achievement gaps begin before kindergarten

Academic achievement gaps in the United State are well documented in the upper elementary and middle school grades, with minority and low-income children consistently underperforming their peers. New Penn State research indicates that science achievement gaps may begin earlier than previously thought, before children enter kindergarten.
Science achievement gaps begin before kindergarten

Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Academic achievement gaps in the United State are well documented in the upper elementary and middle school grades, with minority and low-income children consistently underperforming their peers. New Penn State research indicates that science achievement gaps may begin earlier than previously thought, before children enter kindergarten.

Paul Morgan, associate professor of education, and his colleagues analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Class of 1998-99, a cohort of over 7,500 children who entered kindergarten in 1998. It is the first large-scale, nationally representative, longitudinal cohort of children followed through their elementary and middle school years.

Morgan and his colleagues focused on identifying the factors underlying science achievement gaps in elementary and middle schools. “While they have been frequently observed, science achievement gaps have rarely been explained or examined over time,” he explained.

A joint 2010 report from the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering indicated that low levels of science achievement in the United States were no longer a “gathering storm,” but were now “rapidly approaching a Category 5” in their potential to derail the nation’s long-term global competitiveness and economic prosperity.

Morgan looked at children’s general knowledge about the natural, physical, and social sciences, their reading and mathematics achievement, and other factors such as socioeconomic status (SES), race and ethnicity, parenting, and school academic climate. He found large gaps in children’s general knowledge about the world already evident at kindergarten entry. “This is the first time we’ve found evidence of large science achievement gaps at such an early age,” Morgan said.

Some groups of children, including minorities and those of a lower SES, entered kindergarten with far less general knowledge than other groups of children. For example, almost 60 percent of black children began kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge, compared to only 15 percent of white children. About 65 percent of kindergarten children from low SES families displayed low levels of general knowledge, while only 10 percent of those from higher SES families did so.

“Our study found that there were already large gaps in children’s general knowledge as they began kindergarten, which resulted in large gaps at the end of first grade,” Morgan said. “These general knowledge gaps in first grade strongly predicted science achievement gaps from third to eighth grade.”

Morgan found 62 percent of children who began kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge were struggling in science by the end of third grade. He noted that while Asian children were largely able to close the science achievement gap with white children over time, the gap between black and white children actually grew. After third grade, science achievement gaps were largely stable.

According to Morgan, there are many factors that predict children’s science achievement gaps, and most are modifiable. These include children’s general knowledge, as well as their reading and mathematics achievement. “General knowledge gaps likely result from some groups of children having fewer informal opportunities to learn about science before they enter school, including those provided through attending high-quality childcare and preschools. Income inequality and racial segregation then exacerbate science achievement gaps as children continue through elementary and middle school.”

For the United States to retain its long-term scientific and economic competitiveness, policymakers need address these gaps. “Early and sustained intervention efforts should take place before or shortly after children begin kindergarten, and policies may also need to address the increasing income inequality and racial segregation in the U.S.,” said Morgan.

Other interventions may include parents regularly talking and interacting with young children about physical, natural, and social events and promoting their general knowledge about the world through play to take full advantage of the science instruction they receive in school. “If we want to ensure equal education opportunities, as well as the country’s competitiveness, then we need to support children who begin school already struggling. Too often, where you start is where you’ll end,” Morgan explained.

The results of the study were published in the February online edition of Educational Researcher published by the American Educational Research Association. Other researchers on the project include George Farkas, professor of education and sociology at the University of California at Irvine; Marianne Hillemeier, department head and professor of health policy and administration at Penn State; and Steve Maczuga, research programmer/analyst at the Population Research Institute at Penn State. It is the first in a series of studies being supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute (February 2016)

Mitra attends education conference at White House

Dana Mitra, associate professor of education policy studies, participated in a national education conference at the White House on March 17, at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Dana MitraDana Mitra, associate professor of education policy studies, participated in a national education conference at the White House on March 17, at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The conference, “Beating the Odds: Successful Strategies from Schools & Youth Agencies that Build Ladders of Opportunity,” is part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and features keynote speakers addressing education policy, research and reform. First Lady Obama will give the opening welcome.

The conference will highlight schools and youth initiatives with proven results in moving low-income, vulnerable youth from significant poverty, homelessness or institutional situations — such as foster care and juvenile justice — into successful adulthood. The day will focus on unusually effective youth organizations and schools with decades-long track records that have enabled young people who grew up in challenging neighborhoods and institutional contexts to imagine, reach for and achieve lives different from those around them when they were growing up. Sessions will explore successful approaches to Beating the Odds operating in diverse settings — schools, youth organizations, neighborhoods and communities.

Annemarie Mountz (March 2016)

Graduate student receives the 2016 W. Lamar Kopp International Achievement Award

Chao Su, a Penn State graduate student pursuing a master of arts degree in educational theory and policy with a dual title in comparative and international education, received the 2016 W. Lamar Kopp International Achievement Award during the inaugural Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held on April 27 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Chao Su, a Penn State graduate student pursuing a master of arts degree in educational theory and policy with a dual title in comparative and international education, received the 2016 W. Lamar Kopp International Achievement Award during the inaugural Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held on April 27 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

This annual award, sponsored by the University Office of Global Programs, recognizes one graduate student who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the international mission of the University through excellence in research; participation in international programs and/or field projects; teaching; and service to the international community. It is named in honor of the late deputy vice president for international programs.

Through leadership in various outreach and service-oriented programs, Su encourages her peers to be global citizens as she continues to form partnerships with academic and administrative departments across campus that will support the successful assimilation of international graduate students into campus life.

Su serves as graduate orientation student coordinator for the Global Student Engagement Team in the Office of Global Programs and has worked to identify resources that will enhance the educational experiences of international graduate students.

As an orientation leader during International Student Orientation, Su helps to inform new students about ways to successfully transition to life at Penn State. She also was actively involved with Foundations in Global Engagement, a program that fosters interaction and cross-cultural dialogue between first-year domestic and international students while advancing global leadership.

In addition, Su has used her role as an at-large assembly member of the Graduate and Professional Student Association to expand her efforts to advance the international mission of the University.

This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Summer interns in higher education graduate program span wide range of student affairs duties

Penn State students in the College of Education’s higher education graduate program are spanning out around the world this summer in search of three credits for now and experience that will prove invaluable later.

Penn State students in the College of Education’s higher education graduate program are spanning out around the world this summer in search of three credits for now and experience that will prove invaluable later.

ShannonHagedorn
Shannon Hagedorn will be involved in academic advising during her internship at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The program has a student affairs emphasis but the 17 students heading out on internships come from a variety of undergraduate degrees, according to Dave Guthrie, an associate professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies.

“They have a fabulous experience,’’ Guthrie said. “It’s part of their training; it’s part of their education in addition to coursework. Experience is a good teacher.’’

That experience will be acquired at educational institutions ranging from Brown to Berkeley and Arizona State to Australia (Monash). An internship is required between the students’ first and second year and Guthrie and other program administrators prefer they obtain that additional training somewhere other than Penn State.

“In the long run, the summer internship experience will help with other than just the diversification of (their) resume,’’ Guthrie said. “We also say, if your graduate assistantship here is in, say, student activities, maybe again in the interest of expanding your repertoire of skills, look for an internship in orientation for the summer, just to sort of spread yourself out in terms of versatility you bring to the table when you start looking for full-time jobs after you graduate. It’s an additional experience intended to broaden their expertise and their professional identity, in effect.’’

Guthrie said virtually all of the students bring some type of experience to the graduate program. “Their prior work experience spans admissions offices, activities offices, Greek life, student activities, orientation, residence life, student conduct … it’s a nice variety of experiences that they bring to the table when they come here for their master’s degree,’’ Guthrie said.

Russ Norris, of Anniston, Alabama, for example, earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. He completed a master of arts in teaching at Duke University and taught in the Durham, North Carolina, public school system before opting to pursue a master’s in higher education (student affairs) at Penn State.

Norris will work in residence life at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, this summer. “I sought an (Association of College and University Housing Officers-International) internship program because I want part of my student affairs career to be in housing,’’ Norris said. “One sees the good, the bad and the ugly in residence life; ResLife work is invaluable experience.’’

Norris said Brown is unique because he will be working in a building that will house primarily STEM students and that Brown hosts multiple ACUHO-I interns each year, allowing him to connect with student affairs professionals from around the country.

Shannon Hagedorn from Manhattan Beach, California, majored in management-consulting and psychology at the University of Notre Dame and will perform academic advising duties during her internship at Furman University in Greensville, South Carolina. Hagedorn will graduate in August after switching from the MS program to the M.Ed. program, she said.

“I deliberately selected The Pennsylvania State University for my graduate studies to gain exposure to a very different system and model of higher education,’’ Hagedorn said. “Being offered a graduate assistantship in career services sealed the deal for me.’’

She said she reviewed an academic plan of Furman’s general education requirements for her curriculum course during the spring semester at Penn State. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work one-on-one with students in an advising capacity to orient them toward their liberal education,’’ Hagedorn said.

“Another one of my responsibilities will be developing the online advising content, which I know will be a tremendous opportunity and very valuable in the future.’’

Megan Nyce of Towson, Maryland, earned a political science degree from York (Pennsylvania) College in 2013, with a minor in music. She will work this summer in Cornell University’s Office of Residential and New Student Program.

“I think this will be a unique experience in that the students involved in this program are high school students, so I’ll be working with undergraduate staff on creating programs relevant to high schoolers,’’ Nyce said.

“My supervisor for the summer mentioned possibly working on the overall assessment and evaluation of the Summer College Program, so I’m looking forward to that as well.’’

AnnaJantz
Anna Jantz will perform a number of residence life duties during her summer internship at the University of California-Berkeley.
Anna Jantz of Owego, New York, attended Elmira College in upstate New York and earned a dual degree in history and American Studies. She’ll work in residence life at the University of California at Berkeley and be a summer sessions assistant hall director.

“I hope to gain the personal and professional confidence to take more risks and transition into new environments,’’ said Jantz, who has never been to the West Coast. "This internship allowed me the opportunity to take a risk on myself while transitioning into a whole new place across the country.

“I hope this internship will help me develop a willingness to jump into new opportunities with both feet even when they make me nervous.’’

Christine Mosich is Australia-bound. She’ll be working at Monash University in Melbourne as an administration support officer but will maintain a Penn State connection.

One of two major projects on which she’ll work is mapping course units at Monash and Penn State in order to assist Penn State students in taking useful units with Monash to help their degree progression. The other is planning, coordinating and implementing an incoming orientation week for more than 500 international students.

If any of the students encounter problems, they know they can call Carl Ohlson, the professor of record for their three-credit course and an associate professor of higher education.

“Students’ primary efforts are on their job responsibilities, but we stay connected at least weekly throughout the internship via email, phone, Skype, etc.,’’ Ohlson said. “We do this so I can monitor how everything is going and so the students can accomplish their course requirements. This includes responding to several reflection prompts, researching articles that help illuminate aspects of their experiences and exploring through conversation different aspects of their growth along the way.

“So my role is part mentor, part teacher, part Sherpa guide, part sounding board. This is a ton of fun, and since I’ve gotten to know these students throughout the academic year, we already have a good jump on how best to work together,’’ he said.

"We have great students who pick excellent internships, and the feedback from on-site supervisors has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s really fun to see their growth throughout the experience.''--Carl Ohlson

Ohlson said his trouble-shooting duties are minimal. “Sometimes challenges can arise just because life happens,’’ he said. “I’ve seen a shift in supervisor, an elaboration of job expectations, a tense situation with a supervisor who really didn’t know how to supervise, but those were pretty easy to resolve.

“Otherwise, it’s all been very smooth. We have great students who pick excellent internships, and the feedback from on-site supervisors has been overwhelmingly positive,’’ Ohlson said. “It’s really fun to see their growth throughout the experience.’’

Guthrie said the summer experience allows the students to get a glimpse at their future. Some decide that working at smaller colleges and universities is preferable while others opt for the major-college variety.

“They end up going to all kinds of different places after they graduate; in the student affairs area there’s variety but there’s still a constellation of things there are to do,’’ Guthrie said. “My guess is that some of them will consider going on for doctoral work, which is great, but I think that in the moment they’re interested in professional careers in a particular arena within student affairs.

“Our students become pretty nice hires because they already have a year of grad school under their belt and a year of being a graduate assistant under their belt. Most of them have previous experience before they came here; they’re very attractive candidates for summer work. They’re hired pretty quickly,’’ Guthrie said.

STUDENTS’ SUMMER INTERNSHIPS SITES AND DUTIES

ANNA JANTZ—UC-Berkeley, Residence Life, Summer Sessions Assistant Hall Director: In my position as the Assistant Hall Director at Berkeley, I will supervise and train a staff of Resident Assistants as well as oversee a residence hall. Also I will have the opportunity to handle conduct concerns, participate in campus duty rotations and develop connections with other offices within Student Affairs. In addition to my experience at Berkeley, through my internship I will also have the chance to visit other institutions in the Bay Area.

VICTORIA YU—Brown University, Office of Residential Life: I will be working with the Brown University Pre-College Summer Program which enrolls over 5,000 high school students from all over the world to explore academic enrichment and intellectual growth. Students attend courses ranging from one to seven weeks with hundreds of courses to choose from. As the activities director, I will assist in coordinating over 800 programs and activities for the Pre-College Summer Program, supervising undergraduate staff and fostering a welcoming and inclusive community at Brown.

MEG NYCE—Cornell University, Office of Residential and New Student Programs: I will be working for the Summer College Program. The program is an opportunity for about 200 high school students to live on campus and take classes for the summer. I will be supervising a staff of community advisors, working on programming and working on some of the administrative aspects of the program.

PAIGE CUDDIHY—Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Office of Orientation: I will be working with the director and assistant director of orientation to supervise student orientation coordinators and student orientation leaders. I will be executing one-day transfer orientation sessions, two-day, first-year orientation sessions and online orientation sessions. During the first-year and transfer sessions, I will be playing a role in all things from check-in, parent presentations, student presentations, small student-group discussions and the Shark Cup Challenge, which is a fun tournament of various activities that new students participate in on their first night at orientation.

PAM GIGLIOTTI—Arizona State University, Guest and Conference Services (University Housing): I will be on a team of six interns to help coordinate about 85 conferences that will be housed at Arizona State this summer. There is a large diversity and variety in the conferences that will be coming to ASU this summer and I will serve as a point-of-contact for some of the conference organizers. I will help supervise, train and schedule the 38 summer conference assistants who are current ASU students. I will also gain experience in building management as I will do pre and post conference building walk-throughs to assess any building damage, oversee keys and access cards inventory and assist with billing.

DEVIN CARPENTER—SUNY Purchase College, Office of Community Engagement: As the NODA orientation intern I will work with numerous offices on campus to plan and implement components of the summer orientation program. I will work primarily in supervising the student orientation coordinators and assisting them with planning and carrying out summer orientation leader training.

CHRISTINE MOSICH—Monash Abroad, Global Engagement Office at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia: I will be working full time as an administration support officer for two months. The two main projects I will be assisting with are to help plan, coordinate and implement an incoming orientation week for more than 500 international students and start planning and coordinating a project that maps course-units at both universities to assist Penn State students in taking useful units with us to help their degree progression.

KERRI MUSICK—SUNY-Brockport, Undergraduate Admissions: Review applications, serve as advisor on duty, develop new staff training, assist in communication plan for target populations.

SARAH MONTELEONE—Clarkson University, Student Life graduate intern working in the Office of Student Life and Engagement: I will be helping with the planning of their fall orientation, fall volunteer fair and family weekend. I will be moderating some of the social media pages and answering question from incoming students and managing logistics for pre-orientation trips.

RUSS NORRIS—Brown University, residence life: My task is to manage a staff of undergraduate RAs and a residential building for pre-summer college program participants. The exceptionally fun part is that these are STEM middle and high school folks, so I’ll be indirectly working with students perhaps similar to those whom I taught in my teaching career.

JESSICA BARTKO—Arizona State University, Guest and Conference Services Office: I will be working with five other interns to help the university with conference management (check-in, supervising undergrad conference assistants, supporting customers) and doing some guest housing operations as well as being an on-duty staff member for housing.

SHANNON HAGEDORN—Academic advising at Furman University: Collaborate with the Assistant Academic Dean for Advising and the Director of New Student Orientation to develop and coordinate a new Virtual Summer Advising Program for incoming first-year and change-of-campus students; train summer advisors and orientation staff in the new systems prior to orientation to ensure consistency; provide one-on-one academic advising to first-year students, reviewing General Education Requirements and course selection processes to enthusiastically welcome them and prepare them for success in their careers at Furman University; observe schedule Academic Affairs meetings, including the Academic Intervention Team and Behavioral Intervention Team.

MADDIE WEISS—Philadelphia University, Office of Student Engagement: I will be co-supervising 20 orientation leaders, which includes their training program. I will be the team lead for all Family and Explore Philadelphia Programs, but will assist the other intern with the First Year and Transfer sessions, too. These roles include some duty rotation for overnight sessions, working with Residence Life for housing assignments, planning Welcome Week and an assessment and evaluation of the programs I will be leading.

MADDIE ROSSMAN—St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, Housing and Campus Life: I will be the Campus Life intern at St. John’s. I will be doing facility management, conduct, RA supervision and RA training. I will also help with Welcome Week planning and aid with move-in.

MICHAEL MORESI—Northwestern University, Residential Services: I will be working with both Conference Services and Residential Life to provide a variety of services for the guests and students.

ANAY POPE—Penn State University, Office of Multicultural Programs/Summer College Opportunity Program in Education: I will be an instructional support assistant and be responsible for teaching academic content, providing study skills and fostering an environment for learning while students are in study halls. I am currently studying engaged scholarship and how programming can be used to teach academic content and how academic content can be used to guide programming we assess learning across both areas.

SARA PIERCEPenn State University, Academic Adviser and Consultant for New Student Orientation program: My role will have me conducting one-on-one and group conversations with students enrolled at University Park about their educational plan. The focus is to engage students in reflecting on their academic goals and identifying the most appropriate enrollment unit. This include working with students in the Division of Undergraduate Studies to help them identify their goals, interests and strengths. Advisers then assist students in selecting and registering for appropriate courses.

Jim Carlson (May 2016)

Faculty members publish book on school integration

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography, and Liliana Garces, assistant professor of higher education, recently published "School Integration Matters: Research-Based Strategies to Advance Equity." The book sheds light on how and why U.S. schools are experiencing increasing segregation more than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education declared segregated schooling inherently unequal.

Erica Frankenberg
Erica Frankenberg
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the wake of a federal court recently ordering a town in Mississippi to desegregate its schools after a five-decade legal battle, a new book about civil rights and education is now available.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State, and her colleagues recently published "School Integration Matters: Research-Based Strategies to Advance Equity."

According to Frankenberg, the book sheds light on how and why U.S. schools are experiencing increasing segregation more than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education declared segregated schooling inherently unequal. “It offers policy and programmatic alternatives for advancing equity from pre-kindergarten to higher education and describes the implications for students and more broadly for the nation,” she said.

Liliana Garces
Liliana Garces
A main argument of the book is that race has to be central in school reform conversations if we are to promote equity and access for all students, which runs counter to the prevailing colorblind argument – the belief that racial classifications by the government are prohibited.

The publication addresses topics such as the need to increase school integration to advance equity, the roots of persisting inequity in U.S. schools, current practices that adversely affect integration, the challenges and opportunities to advancing integration within higher education, and future directions and policy recommendations for pursuing integration for equity.

Other co-editors are Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of higher education, co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, and research associate for the Center of the Study of Higher Education at Penn State; and Megan Hopkins, assistant professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

This work was supported in part by Penn State’s Population Research Institute, part of the Social Science Research Institute.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute

Education alumna - and her students - adapt to new language in Beijing

As Chelsea Peak develops curriculum for an English language school in Beijing, China, she is simultaneously developing her path of life.
Education alumna - and her students - adapt to new language in Beijing

chelsea-2

As Chelsea Peak develops curriculum for an English language school in Beijing, China, she is simultaneously developing her path of life.

chelsea-1
Chelsea Peak has adapted to the culture of the Far East and wants no walls between her and her students.
Life already has proven rather interesting for the Central Bucks West (Doylestown) and Penn State (2015) College of Education graduate. She started at Penn State Altoona before moving to University Park. She participated in the short-term teaching abroad (STTA) program and landed in Pavia, Italy, to begin her international teaching experience, something that is slowly increasing in popularity as a career possibility for students.

Suddenly, Asia didn’t seem so far away to Peak. She researched the best cities in which to teach, and the technology of Skype allowed her to interview in Beijing while sitting some 6,700 miles away in Italy. She took with her to China an Understanding by Design education strategy of developing and organizing curriculum and lessons plans created by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.

The authors’ methods flip the organization of the development, Peak said. Teachers can plan in reverse as to what will be taught in order to achieve specific learning outcomes. This identifies what teachers want their students to know and be able to do and helps tailor the lessons to better benefit students, said Peak, who creates and develops curriculum for the entire sixth-grade class (ages 12-14) at her Beijing school. Students who attend the many English language schools in China often plan on attending colleges in the United States, she said.

Next year, Peak said she’ll be teaching at Beijing Haidan International School, a boarding school at which she’ll also be asked to help shape the students into contributing, well-mannered, open-minded members of society. She’ll teach all subjects to a fifth-grade class.

“Chelsea demonstrated early her maturity, ability to relate to students and faculty and her willingness to try new teaching and assessment strategies – all in the best interest of her students’ learning,’’ said Diane Goluboff, who was Peak’s student teaching supervisor for the CI 495E 15-week practicum. “She took risks and quickly learned from them.’’

Peak’s students at the Haidan International School will be asked to learn two sports, two art subjects, piano and swimming by graduation at which they will receive a Chinese and an American diploma. “My job will cultivate internationalized talents and global citizens with broad perspectives, knowledge and morals to the predominantly Chinese, American, Canadian, Australian, English and German students,’’ Peak said.

Interestingly, Peak does not have an English as a Second Language (ESL) certificate and she took no Chinese courses while at Penn State. “The Chinese language is very challenging,’’ Peak said. “I attend class once a week for two hours and have a minimal conversation grasp on the language. Studying and learning the characters is a whole different animal I have not quite begun to conquer. The beauty of living in China while studying is that I have unlimited access to practice using my Chinese and infinite exposure to seeing and hearing it.’’

It’s experiencing the city and its lifestyle that is an education in itself. “Living in Beijing is wonderful,’’ Peak said. “There are Western restaurants, shops and bars, and entertainment is plentiful as well as a large expat community. The beauty is having all of the comforts of home with Chinese culture and tradition around every corner.’’ She said the food is delicious because of a plethora of different cooking styles, spices and tastes.

chelsea-2
Chelsea Peak also managed to do her fair share of sightseeing while in Italy prior to moving to Beijing.
Beijing, she said, is the perfect mix of old and new, Western and Eastern. “There is awe-striking new architecture, and chic modern restaurants and shops as well as the traditional hutongs, or traditional narrow streets and alleyways throughout the city that gives the city its character,’’ Peak said. “Students and Chinese friends and coworkers constantly pick my brain about America and I do the same about the Chinese culture.’’

That includes her daily breakfast sandwich, a juanbing which is a flour wrap with potato shreds, lettuce and egg mixed with sauces. It’s a trip on the subway, or a Thursday night trivia night, or pick-up soccer or basketball games, or dinner with friends, or even karaoke.

And that’s just in the city. “There is so much to see,’’ Peak said. “In my seven short months I have been to two parts of the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and many other Beijing attractions. I have traveled to Xi’an twice and Shanghai once in mainland China. Outside of China, I have traveled to Hong Kong and Manila, Puetro Princesa, and El Nido in the Philippines. (Soon) I will be traveling to Taiwan.

“I truly love life out in the Far East,’’ she said. “I am challenged daily with learning the language, experiencing a completely different culture and lifestyle, and have numerous comforts from home.’’

She credits Penn State for readying her for the many challenges. “When I reached the end of my student teaching practicum my senior year I felt very prepared,’’ Peak said. “Penn State does a fantastic job preparing future educators to enter the field under the sole reason of the experience of in-class time,’’ Peak said. “Penn State provides and requires multiple experiences in the classroom throughout an undergraduate program.

“In addition to student teaching the full class schedule, Penn State requires students to become involved in an extra-curricular, attend any and all meetings their mentor teacher attends and supplemental assignments to complete for the University,” Peak continued. "Penn State excels in its student teaching practicum on every level because reading and studying education is one part of teaching, but live-action practice is needed. During student teaching you learn what works in your classroom and what doesn’t … your teaching style and how to change lesson plans on the fly,’’ she said.

“This whole journey began with my education and experiences with Penn State and for that I am forever grateful. My education has qualified me to work in one of the top international schools in Beijing, travel the world often, and learn more about the person I am now and the person I want to be.''--Chelsea Peak

Career plans can change on the fly, too. “My career goal is to live and work all over the world to gain international teaching experience,’’ Peak said. “I am easily adaptable and love a challenge, which led me to my decision to move across the world to a country where I didn’t speak the language or know anyone.

“I am interested in applying to work for the Department of Defense Education Abroad (DoDEA) after gaining experience to teach abroad through the U.S. Government. I plan on getting my masters after my next year of teaching here at a West Coast university in educational policy. I hope to work for the DoDEA in a different country, preferably somewhere in South America to live and see a different part of the world.

“I hope that cultivating experience teaching at international schools and various schools around the world, curriculum developing, and my future masters in educational policy will eventually lead me to working in (Washington) D.C. on educational reform,’’ Peak said.

But it’s the life lessons that – understandably – stand out. “This experience has indeed been life-changing,’’ Peak said. “I have learned so much about myself and feel that I know myself more each and every day. Student teaching in Italy opened my eyes to all of the opportunities this world has for educators and I knew I wanted to continue to live and grow to be a more cultured individual.

“I set my sights on the world spectrum and found my current job in Beijing, and I know I would have never been in the position I am now – teaching at the prestigious international school next year, or living in China in general -- if I never left home. This experience living and working in Beijing has guided me to my career plan and path with goals I never knew were possible or would ever dream of.

“This whole journey began with my education and experiences with Penn State and for that I am forever grateful,’’ Peak said. “My education has qualified me to work in one of the top international schools in Beijing, travel the world often, and learn more about the person I am now and the person I want to be.’’

Jim Carlson (June 2016)

College of Education faculty member to co-host international seminar

Dana Mitra, associate professor of educational theory and policy in the Penn State College of Education, will represent the University as co-host for an international seminar on “Amplifying Student Voice and Partnership,” which will be held July 6-8 at the University of Vermont (UVM).

Dana Mitra
Dana Mitra
Dana Mitra, associate professor of educational theory and policy in the Penn State College of Education, will represent the University as co-host for an international seminar on “Amplifying Student Voice and Partnership,” which will be held July 6-8 at the University of Vermont (UVM). Other co-hosts for the first U.S.-based international seminar on this topic are Vermont’s UP for Learning organization and the University of Vermont.

How can youth and adults work as partners? Educators bring a wealth of professional expertise in both teaching and school redesign efforts; they have a systems-level perspective and a wide array of skills accrued over time. Less understood is the fact that young people hold a perspective on the learning experience adults cannot fully fathom. They are highly invested in shaping the world where their lives will unfold, and they possess a deep desire to make a difference now. Young people have the wisdom, creativity, and proven capacity to partner in both their learning and in school remodeling efforts.

This seminar is designed to identify means to elevate student voice and youth-adult partnership further in learning and school change internationally by exploring themes of implementation, evaluation, and sustainability; mobilizing collective resources; and increasing participants’ roles as advocates in their unique realms.

Over the course of three days at the UVM Seminar in July, researchers, leaders in teacher training programs, field-based organizations and practitioners will explore core dilemmas and research-based solutions to the challenges of elevating student voice. Participants are traveling to Vermont from six countries; 15 colleges and universities spanning 10 states; eight community-based organizations serving youth in six states; and high schools — including both youth and adult representatives — from three states. A number of Vermont Agency of Education policy leaders also will attend.

This group will be committed to strengthening the bridge between the research and practitioner realms, in order to advance the work they recognize as fundamental to the integrity of school redesign here and abroad.

Jobs for the Future names nine Distinguished Fellows

Dana L. Mitra, associate professor of Education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, is among those chosen for the inaugural cohort of Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows by Jobs for the Future’s Students at the Center initiative.

Distinguished Fellows to advance student-centered learning in New England

Dana Mitra
Dana Mitra
Dana L. Mitra, associate professor of Education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, is among those chosen for the inaugural cohort of Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows by Jobs for the Future’s Students at the Center initiative. The fellows are a diverse group of nine leaders in policy, practice and research from around New England, each selected for their vision, contributions and impact in the student-centered learning movement in the region.

Mitra is one of three research fellows in the cohort.

"It is an honor to work with the Jobs with the Future (JFF) team,’’ Mitra said. “I'm looking forward to meshing my research on student voice with JFF's expertise in student-centered learning. I will be working in Vermont to study the creation of state policy aimed at school-driven change aimed at personalization.”

Along with four research teams to be announced this fall and a group of prominent national advisers, the Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows comprise core members of the newly formed Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative. With thought leadership and anchor funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative is a new effort to investigate and evaluate what is known about student-centered learning within and beyond school walls, and then leverage that knowledge to affect meaningful change at scale.

The nine Distinguished Fellows were selected from a highly competitive field of close to 40 applicants from across New England.

“As this is the first time we’ve offered a fellowship, we were blown away by what we heard from so many of the candidates, any one of whom would have made a fabulous fellow,” said Rebecca E. Wolfe, senior director of Students at the Center. “I was so energized by the quality and passion of individuals working in every corner of New England to make student-centered learning a reality for all students. Leaders in this field are clearly hungry for this kind of professional development and connections to other innovators.”

The fellows also were chosen because of their passion and desire to learn, grow and share knowledge. “These fellows are uniquely qualified to leverage research findings toward the creation of student-centered learning at scale,” said Eve Goldberg, Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s director of research. “They were chosen not only based on their impressive qualifications but their drive for moving this field forward across New England and beyond.”

As core members of the newly formed Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative, the fellows’ overarching goals are:

  1. to investigate, use, and promote effective renditions of student-centered learning (i.e., personalized, competency-based, student-owned, and anytime-anywhere) in the New England region and beyond; and
  2. to communicate research findings in ways that makes them actionable and accessible for policymakers and practitioners to maximize students’ academic achievement, particularly for those students who have been historically underserved.

In return, the fellows receive a $10,000 annual stipend, two years of personalized competency coaching, support for their own student-centered approach projects, and exposure to a national network of luminaries in academia, policy and schooling focused on student-centered learning.

The group of nine comprises professionals from across the research, practice and policy worlds. The research fellows are experts in multiple areas of inquiry related to student-centered learning, and they each possess an impressive track record of collaboration and application across university and K-12 settings.

Publishing widely and leading consistently, the research fellows in addition to Mitra are:

  • Jennifer Fredricks, professor, Department of Human Development at Connecticut College; and
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director, CIRCLE, at Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.

The practitioner fellows have proven expertise in achieving positive and equitable academic outcomes using student-centered learning approaches in multiple settings. Hailing from urban, rural and suburban contexts, they know well what it takes to implement and innovate practices that keep all students, particularly our most underserved, at the center of our teaching and learning activities. The practitioner fellows are:

  • Arthur Baraf, principal of Liberty School, THE MET (Metropolitan Regional Career & Technical Center);
  • Mary Bellavance, instructional coach at Biddeford Middle School, Biddeford School Department; and
  • Frank LaBanca, principal of Westside Middle School Academy Magnet, Danbury Public Schools.

The policy fellows are highly regarded district and state officials who have instituted student-centered reforms that have produced clear indicators of success for all students, particularly the underserved. Well-positioned to characterize and shape how educational systems should best access, interpret and apply findings from research, the policy fellows are:

  • Kim Carter, founder/executive director at Q.E.D. Foundation;
  • Lori Batista McEwen, outgoing chief of instruction, leadership and equity at Providence Public School Department; and
  • Michelle L. Puhlick, executive director of planning & partnerships at Hartford Public Schools.

The Distinguished Fellows will gather in Boston in November along with other core members and a parallel funders collaborative to begin their important work as part of the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative. For more information and to sign-up to receive updates about the fellows’ accomplishments and the work of the Research Collaborative, visit http://studentsatthecenterhub.org/researchcollaborative online.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. They develop innovative career and educational programs and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce. With more than 30 years of experience, JFF is a national leader in bridging education and work to increase economic mobility and strengthen the economy.

New center supports researchers investigating educational inequities

The Center for Educational Disparities Research is being jointly established by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education to provide a support system for education-focused research.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Large academic achievement and other opportunity gaps are widespread in the U.S., with minority and low-income children consistently at greater risk than their peers.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan

To address these educational inequities, the Center for Educational Disparities Research (CEDR) is being jointly established by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education.

According to Paul Morgan, center director and professor of education, the goal of the CEDR is to provide a support system for education-focused research. It is an extension of the Educational Risk Initiative (ERI), which Morgan helped to establish at Penn State four years ago.

The CEDR will build the educational field’s knowledge base by identifying risk factors for educational disparities and by evaluating programs or policies that can help decrease these risks. Educational disparities can result from children having untreated disabilities, being raised in less advantaged homes and communities, and receiving lower quality schooling. These disparities can extend over the life course, affecting adult employment outcomes, health and well-being. “Educational inequities can result in societal inequities. Our collective aim is to even the playing field and provide equal opportunities for children,” said Morgan.

The new center will provide additional support for researchers addressing educational inequities by increasing their external funding opportunities. The center will support researchers of varied backgrounds, including sociology, developmental psychology, demography, educational and school psychology, and educational policy.

“Researchers will benefit from the expertise of a community of colleagues whose skills can assist them in advancing their planned investigations as well as submitting proposals to external funding organizations,” Morgan explained. “Faculty will also help establish multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and support their activities and project development.”

The CEDR will also provide a number of services including assistance with proposal writing as well as advice and feedback from a variety of perspectives, course releases for selected faculty, mentoring, panel reviews, and hosting events and speakers.

Multiple successes can already be attributed to the center’s predecessor, the ERI. According to Morgan, the ERI was critical in helping a number of faculty obtain external funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

Penn State faculty affiliated with the CEDR include Chrissy Hall, Deborah Schussler, Jenny Frank, Peter Nelson, Julia Bryant, Ashley Patterson, Amy Crosson, Karly Ford, Katerina Bodovski, and Soo-yong Byun (Education); David Ramey and Jeremy Staff (Criminology); Kevin Thomas and Michelle Frisco (Sociology); and Scot Gest (Human Development).

The center is being jointly funded by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute in the Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Education.

By Kristi Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Instituate (July 2016)

Dooris recognized for distinguished service

Mike Dooris, former executive director of the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment (OPIA) at Penn State and retired affiliate faculty in Education Policy Studies, is the 2016 recipient of the North East Association for Institutional Research’s (NEAIR) Distinguished Service Award.

Mike Dooris
Mike Dooris
Mike Dooris, former executive director of the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment (OPIA) at Penn State and retired affiliate faculty in Education Policy Studies, is the 2016 recipient of the North East Association for Institutional Research’s (NEAIR) Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of institutional research, the professional development of NEAIR colleagues and the vitality and success of NEAIR as an organization.

“Mike’s nomination specifically highlights his mentoring and in particular, the fact that every one of his scholarly contributions to the profession included another colleague, frequently a junior colleague or student,” said Mark Palladino, director of institutional research at Philadelphia University and NEAIR president. “He was a frequent volunteer in NEAIR’s mentoring program and mentored countless colleagues in the profession over nearly two decades as an active NEAIR member.”

Dooris spent 34 years with Penn State before retiring in March 2015. Prior to being named executive director of OPIA in 2011, he was the director of planning research and assessment and held positions in the University Budget Office and Academic Affairs. Dooris also served as an affiliate associate professor of education in the College of Education’s Higher Education Program, the same program from which he received his doctoral degree in 1992.

“Mike is the embodiment of the ‘professional citizenship’ ethic that the Distinguished Service Award was created to recognize,” said his colleague Patrick Terenzini, distinguished professor emeritus of education.

The award will be presented to Dooris at the Annual NEAIR Conference on Nov. 14 in Baltimore.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (July 2016)

Education researcher partners with PDE to support rights of transgender students

Maria Lewis, assistant professor of education, is working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office for Safe Schools on issues of how to better accommodate transgender youth within the state’s school districts.
Education researcher partners with PDE to support rights of transgender students

Maria Lewis, assistant professor of education

Maria Lewis is working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office for Safe Schools on issues of how to better accommodate transgender youth within the state’s school districts, issues that Lewis believes can be solved not only through research but by revisiting the purpose of an educator.

Lewis_Maria
Maria Lewis, assistant professor of education

More specifically, she said, reflecting upon the commitment to provide a safe environment that fosters the emotional and intellectual growth of all students. 

Research interests by Lewis, an assistant professor of education in Penn State’s College of Education, have fallen under the umbrella of equity and diversity. By combining her doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis with her juris doctorate, she uses the law to examine policies and practices in school districts to determine whether they hinder or promote equity in the educational context.

“As someone whose work is really about diversity and equity and social justice, I’m really interested in the ways educational leaders overcome some of the resistance they’re facing in trying to promote inclusion for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) students and transgender students particularly,’’ Lewis said. 

In response to a number of federal civil rights complaints and inquiries from school districts nationally, the United States Department of Education and the Department of Justice recently issued a Dear Colleague Letter on transgender students. The guidance identifies school districts’ obligations under Title IX. 

An accompanying document provides examples of best practices of school districts across the country. “Shortly thereafter,’’ Lewis said, “a lawsuit was filed in which a number of states are making the claim that they don’t have an obligation to accommodate transgender students.” 

Conversely, in April, a federal court of appeals ruled in favor of a transgender student and granted deference to the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX.

“It’s very confusing if you’re in a school district and you’re not sure how to proceed,’’ Lewis said. “The federal government is saying that I have to do this but then there are these lawsuits going on. I’m currently conducting legal research and closely tracking the status of the law as a way to inform and empower leaders to promote LGBT inclusion in their own settings.’’

Lewis said she’s aware people are often times driven by what the law requires but argues that shouldn’t always be the case.

“In the face of legal uncertainty, we should think about what’s right in our hearts and do the right thing,’’ she said. “The law answers the questions about what you have to do and about what you can do; the harder question to answer is ‘should you?’ This question is best answered through an examination of ethics.” 

Lewis said state agencies are receiving inquiries from school districts about what to do and how to approach the topic. “In response to those inquiries, they’d like someone school districts can reach out to and talk to, so I would be working with those school districts and simultaneously conducting related research,’’ she said. 

The collaboration with the state’s Department of Education (PDE) will allow her to provide technical assistance, research, presentations and resources to support school districts’ efforts to ensure LGBT inclusion.

"In the face of legal uncertainty, we should think about what’s right in our hearts and do the right thing. The law answers the questions about what you have to do and about what you can do; the harder question to answer is ‘should you?’ This question is best answered through an examination of ethics."

— Maria Lewis, assistant professor of education

Many organizations and researchers, both nationally and locally, are doing important work in this area. She said that her work will include helping to connect school districts with relevant resources related to LGBT issues, providing research and support to PDE, working collaboratively with the Office for Safe Schools to address the intersection of bullying and harassment and collecting data in the field. 

“I hope to collect data in the field for my own research and translate those findings into a meaningful guidance for school districts to promote LGBT inclusion,’’ she said. “What are the lessons learned from the field? What’s effective? What resistance are school districts still facing? How are school district leaders overcoming resistance?’’

She said many school districts nationally already have been addressing transgender students’ issues and accommodations in their everyday work but sometimes without an official policy in place. 

“Given kind of all the attention now it’s becoming very politicized and it’s a little bit more complicated,’’ Lewis said. “Many schools were providing individualized accommodations for students all the time. School districts are looking for resources and that’s one of the things I’ll be doing with the state.’’

Some states have issued voluntary guidance, some states have set out mandatory requirements and other states are waiting for the courts to weigh in before taking a formal position. Given the legal uncertainty, school districts are seeking guidance. 

“It’s important to us as researchers to be responsive to the needs of the field,’’ Lewis said. “It’s an area of need in school districts and it’s something I deeply care about and am passionate about.

“I’m just letting the needs dictate the direction my work goes in, which I think is really wonderful, and I’m happy to be part of it. It’s based on needs in the field and that’s the most rewarding thing as a researcher, that what you’re doing is meaningful to people in the field. 

“Seeing that bridging of the gap between research and practice is extremely important. For me this experience does exactly that and I’m really proud to be a part of it.’’

“When you take a step back and you think about what are we really here to do as school districts, we’re here to provide an education for kids in a safe environment. When you think about it that way and remove the politics and everything else that has become part of it, you want kids to feel safe and secure at school and you want kids to feel included and not isolated … that they can be themselves.”

By Jim Carlson (August 2016)

Working play into early childhood education bolsters students' learning experience

Research by Jim Johnson, Viana Wu shows play is necessary for development of preschool and primary children.

Incorporating play into early childhood education can lead to better schoolwork among preschool and primary-level students, research by a pair of Penn State professors has shown, and instructing prospective teaching candidates to follow that path should be a constant.

JimJohnson
Jim Johnson
Play has been an important part of teacher preparation in early childhood education because preschool and primary children learn through play and it is necessary for their development, according to Jim Johnson, professor of education in curriculum and instruction and program director for early childhood education in the College of Education.

Johnson and recent doctoral graduate Viana Wu presented “Teacher Education for Using Play with Children: What is Valued and Learned by Teacher Candidates’’ at a recent American Educational Research Association conference. Wu also conducted research in Taiwan.

Johnson also has done professional development nationally and internationally with Karen McChesney Johnson, a College of Education assistant professor of education.

Teacher education must cultivate the minds, hearts and hands of new early childhood education practitioners so that their theories and practices will develop and be complex to match the realities they will face, Johnson’s research cited. Research in this area must try to learn more about the what, the why and the how concerning teaching new teachers about the importance of play in education and how to use play in the classroom.

That process is slow but steady. Johnson said only about a quarter of research universities such as Penn State have a course on play, about seven-eighths embed the topic in another early childhood education course, and about half of them are linked to field work. 

“When the word play does not show up in college course listings, this does not mean it is not covered,’’ Johnson said. “Often other related words appear such as project-based learning, activity-based, investigative engagements, exploratory learning and the like. 

“Whatever the term, teachers need to know how to use play as a medium of learning and a context for healthy growth for young students.’’

According to newly enacted curriculum outlines in East Asia, Wu said, teachers are instructed to place a high value on children’s fundamental nature, which includes children’s potential to imagine and create.

 “The outlines point out that children innately love to explore, operate and discover through play, and they learn how to interact with others and pick up cues in their surrounding environment through different play experiences,’’ Wu said.

“The outlines suggest that early childhood teachers should pay significant attention to and take advantage of children’s instinctual love of play, and provide limitless opportunities and environments for children to play and explore.’’

The word play can be multi-faceted. “The middle range of recreational play can be described as active and passive entertainment, and I think a good line of demarcation is when kids become active participants – physically or mentally or socially – because this is when they are doing something meaningful and not merely being a passive recipient of scripted fun and titillation,’’ Johnson said.

Johnson noted that play moderated by the teacher as educational play that is connected in some way to the aims of the curriculum is different from pure or everyday play kids do on their own. Teachers must be able to monitor when play strays off course, Johnson said, such as when kids no longer wish to engage because work is disguised as play or kids’ play becomes too much driven by impulses and not enough from their brains’ executive functions.

Veteran teachers also must be able to adapt to new philosophies concerning play, Johnson said, citing publications, conferences and workshops but with informal methods. 

“An idea I recently heard from a teacher is that play pedagogy can occur in 10 seconds,’’ Johnson said. “For example, when handing out materials a teacher can crack a joke and playfully set the objects out and reveal to the students her sense of humor.’’

Wu’s research cited 2006 research by Yanjuan Yang who said coursework on play had a positive influence on pre-service teachers’ knowledge development and established and strengthened their belief. Yang also suggested that the procedure of asking pre-service teachers to recognize and reflect on their beliefs, views and theoretical orientations can be considered to be an effective instrument in the facilitation of their professional knowledge development.

The play philosophy is spreading, Johnson said, but he noted that it will be challenging to convince some educational professionals who may think combining play and education is like mixing water and oil. “We want to educate today for what’s happening horizontally and vertically in children’s lives, and play is a major occupation of childhood and essential to children’s mental health and their overall development,’’ Johnson said.

“Professional educators, ignore the children’s play worlds at your risk. Even worse, you will be putting them at risk of not being able to reap the most out of their educational encounters. The opposite of play is not work; it is psychological depression. Play allows them to create their own learning experiences, and participants come to feel this, relish this and see the value in it.’’

Wu’s research clearly points to the necessity of supportive courses and some professional learning opportunities provided by teacher education.

“In order to help teachers successfully implement children’s play, it requires teacher education that provides a practical, beneficial and robust teacher preparation system that provides prospective teachers with a play-based curriculum and professional educators experienced in the field of children’s play, able to pass on their professional experiences to future teachers,’’ Wu said.

Jim Carlson (August 2016)

Diverse school-district administration beneficial to students, research shows

Associate professor Ed Fuller's Texas-based research also reveals assistant principals of color take 'much longer' to be named principals.

Hiring leaders of color within K-12 educational systems has beneficial outcomes for teachers and students of color, according to research by Penn State College of Education Associate Professor Ed Fuller. 

EDFULLER
Ed Fuller
Fuller, a former special research associate and instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, presented “Considering Race, Ethnicity and Gender in Leadership Preparation and Placement” at the American Educational Research Association conference on his research based solely in Texas.

His research, based on an analysis of Texas data, revealed five salient points: 

-- There has been a dramatic reduction in the percentage of white males obtaining principal certification and a steady increase of Hispanic females obtaining certification.

-- There is increasingly an under-representation of males in leadership positions with respect to Hispanic males. 

-- There remains a preference for hiring of white males as school principals despite the rapid and widespread diversification of students across Texas. 

-- Black and Hispanic males have greater odds of being named assistant principals than their white peers but significantly lower odds of becoming a principal within five years.

-- Personal characteristics of graduates play a far more important role in the placement process than program characteristics.

“There are a lot of benefits to students and teachers when you have more diverse leaders,’’ Fuller said. “Not only for kids [of color] but [for] all kids to see more diverse leaders is beneficial because when you grow up in a segregated system where you only see whites as leaders, then it gives you a skewed perception of what society looks like.

“That feeds into discrimination; if all your leaders are white, then you expect all your leaders to be white when you get into the position you are as an adult. That expectation perpetuates itself; one way to decrease that perpetuation of expectation is to hire leaders of color. There are really tangible benefits to students of color and teachers of color, but it’s also really important for white students and white teachers to see leaders of color. They are less tangible but nonetheless very important benefits as well,’’ Fuller said.

Hiring processes are still partially based on discrimination on who people expect to be a school principal, according to Fuller. “And they still don’t expect women at the high school or middle school to be leaders, nor do they expect people of color to be leaders, so they’re not getting hired as principals,’’ he said.

Fuller said some earlier research, also in Texas, revealed that assistant principals of color “take much, much, much longer” to get into a principal role than if you’re looking at white assistant principals. “There’s a barrier still for people of color trying to become a principal,’’ he said.

Fuller said students of color became a majority in Texas nearly a decade ago. He cited that there’s been a push in Texas to hire educators who look like the kids, and there’s been a big increase in leaders of color. “Which is good; that’s what they should be doing,’’ Fuller said. “The downside is that they are not getting hired as principals. When you break it down, assistant principal vs. principal, most of that is occurring at the assistant principal level and not the principal level.’’

The principle methods to better serve students, Fuller said, are, to pay attention to who you’re hiring and “focus on your teachers of color and your assistant principals of color and mentor them and support them and make sure they’re experiencing positive working conditions so they continue to stay in your system and move up throughout the system.

“It takes a concerted effort of the district leadership to really focus on helping them have positive experiences and nurture them and push them into more leadership roles,’’ Fuller said. 

“You’d think more people would do that because it has ultimately more benefits for kids but we don’t see that a lot. Part of it might be that district leaders don’t know about the research about the positive benefits of having leaders of color, so they don’t make a concerted effort to go and recruit leaders of color and support leaders of color.

“All of that is easier said than done, of course,’’ Fuller said, “but just focusing on the issue and being aware of the issue and working with people to address the issue in that community is the most important takeaway. We are an increasingly diverse society so making sure our schools reflect that diversity is important.’’

That responsibility falls on school boards and superintendents, Fuller said, and changing their perceptions about school leadership and who can be a leader. 

“People sometimes forget to think about that and when you don’t think about it, it’s less likely to happen,’’ he said. “We see the same thing with females as we do with people of color.

“I think there’s a perception that they are not well qualified as leaders.  [People may perceive women] can be assistant principals and assistant superintendents but [may still believe women] are not qualified to be principals and superintendents. 

“Most of the superintendents are still white males in Texas, although that’s slowly changing toward people of color, particularly Hispanic females are starting to make in-roads.’’

An additional element or consideration in order to ultimately have a high-quality effect on students is to better evaluate administrators. “Current school accountability systems don’t evaluate [school leaders] very well; they essentially evaluate [them] based on the characteristics of your kids, particularly poverty,’’ Fuller said.

 “And principals of color tend to lead schools with lots of poverty. If you just look at the percentage of kids passing a test, those schools are always going to be near the bottom because the kids grew up in poverty and poverty is strongly related to achievement test scores.” 

“What you have to do is adopt a system that focuses on how the kids in that school are progressing, so look at growth in scores and growth in achievement, and when you adopt that kind of perspective then those schools tend to look a lot better. 

“That’s one of the biggest issues that districts can easily fix if they’re just aware of the problem that’s going on. Which they should be but [often] are not,’’ Fuller said.

Jim Carlson (August 2016)

Kevin Kinser embraces leadership role in Education Policy Studies

New department head impressed by overall academic program in College of Education.

Kevin Kinser is the new Education Policy Studies (EPS) department head in the College of Education, and he’d like to see the programs continue to advance on their current, successful path.

KevinKinser
Kevin Kinser is the new department head of the Education Policy Studies program in the College of Education.
Maintaining and accelerating the excellence and achievement of the programs is his top priority, he said. “It’s a kind of place that’s had a lot of success. I don’t want to do anything to get in the way of that success, but I also want to make sure we’re not resting on our laurels. I want to continue to move forward and be the best program, best option for students seeking education and training in education policy,’’ Kinser said.

Kinser, a professor of education who most recently held a similar position at the University of Albany, is replacing Gerald LeTendre, who is resuming faculty responsibilities.

The college’s overall academic program attracted Kinser, and he was not at all unfamiliar with it. “My area is higher education, higher education policy, and I know several other people in higher education here and have been familiar with its status for a while,’’ he said. “I’ve known people who have worked here.

“I know the rankings of the programs that were here, particularly the higher education policy programs. One of my good colleague writing partners, someone I’ve been doing a lot of writing with over the past seven or eight years, is a graduate of this program, so I knew it (Penn State) through him as a place that produced good people doing good work.’’

Kinser earned his doctoral degree in higher education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Two master’s degrees in student personnel administration also were achieved at Columbia; he received his bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Dayton.

“We welcome Kevin into his new role as head of Education Policy Studies,’’ College of Education Dean David H. Monk said. “Kevin has proven himself to be an outstanding scholar and academic administrator, and we are very fortunate to have succeeded in recruiting him to the College. His leadership will play a key role in helping the department continue to thrive.’’

Kinser’s vision of EPS growth is worldwide, and he’s delighted to have Penn State World Campus at his disposal to promote the programs. “Penn State as an institution has a very good reputation globally and to be able to take advantage of that reputation, to extend the reach of this department and its programs internationally, connects to the comparative and international education program, or dual degree, that we have here,’’ he said.

“One of my main interests is in internationalization of higher education. It’s a pretty interesting opportunity to be able to take a program like that and focus and think about how the international connections of faculty and students that we have here can be used to benefit us more broadly around the world.

“It’s not growth for growth’s sake, obviously, it’s really thinking about what makes the most sense,’’ Kinser said, citing and complimenting “face-to-face teaching” on which the college has developed its reputation. “So I’m thinking about what the balance is between these different areas,’’ he said.

Previous undertakings, Kinser said, included thinking about what it meant to prepare principals and superintendents for the 21st-century education system. “And being able to come into a place like this that has that kind of program in a different state with a different policy environment, different connections to the school districts, it’s kind of exciting to see what we might be able to do with curriculum,’’ he said.

“But also I think about it in terms of the innovation of education that’s occurring, the different models of education, different structures that we have, the impact of technology and other kinds of forms of communication and the way we talk about education, the way we provide resources to students. “Thinking about different ways of organizing education has always been an interest of mine.’’

Jim Carlson (September 2016)

New grant examines early academic difficulties of children with disabilities

Children with disabilities often struggle in mathematics and science, but a new Penn State project led by Paul Morgan, professor of education, will investigate whether executive functions help explain these children’s academic difficulties.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Children with disabilities often struggle in mathematics and science, which can limit their educational and career opportunities. In a new Penn State project, researchers will investigate whether executive functions help explain these children’s academic difficulties.

Paul Morgan-According to Paul Morgan, principle investigator on the project and professor in the department of education policy studies at Penn State, the National Science Foundation-funded project will help inform efforts to boost the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, learning of children with disabilities.

“We will investigate whether and to what extent deficits in executive functions are related to lower mathematics and science achievement of children with or at risk for disabilities, which should help clarify whether these deficits are potential targets for early interventions,” said Morgan.

Executive functions (EF) are a set of cognitive processes that help you accomplish tasks. “It’s like the air traffic controller for your brain, helping to organize and regulate your goal-oriented behaviors,” Morgan explained.

Children with disabilities often have deficits in EF, which may be interfering with their classroom learning and behavior. Yet not much is known about whether these EF deficits should be included in early STEM interventions. “Prior EF research mostly focused on preschool-aged children without disabilities. This project advances knowledge by examining whether EF are related to early difficulties in STEM learning during elementary school, particularly by children with or at risk for disabilities” Morgan said.

The researchers will use newly available data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 2011. The study follows about 10,000 US schoolchildren from kindergarten entry in 2010 until the end of fifth grade. Morgan and his team will look at individual-level data that includes measures of children’s mathematics and science achievement, classroom behaviors, family economic resources, and many other factors.

His research team will be especially focused on examining how three specific types of EF—working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control—are related to children’s STEM learning.

Working memory is how well children can hold and manipulate information during a brief time. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift attention, follow new procedures, and adapt responses using new information. Inhibitory control is how well children can delay an initial behavioral response while remaining goal-oriented. "These cognitive processes develop over time, but are also thought to be influenced by children’s early environments, including exposure to poverty, chaotic or chronically stressful home environments, and other neurological risk factors,” said Morgan.

In preliminary analyses, Morgan and his team found that EF deficits by kindergarten increase children’s risk for reading and mathematics difficulties by first grade, even with controls for many other factors including prior achievement, behavior, and economic background. By extending these analyses to mathematics and science achievement more generally, as well as how EF deficits may be contributing to disabled children’s academic difficulties specifically, the project should provide important new information for helping increase early STEM learning. “If we can discover how EF deficits, disabilities, and STEM learning inter-relate, particularly early on in school, we may be able to better help children with disabilities by improving the effectiveness of our intervention efforts,” Morgan said. 

Morgan also directs the Center for Educational Disparities Research (CEDR), which was jointly established by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education this year. CEDR provides a support system for education-focused research, and was instrumental in obtaining funding for this project.

Other researchers on the project are Marianne Hillemeier, professor and department head of health policy and administration at Penn State, and George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute (September 2016)

Kinser on webinar panel

Kevin Kinser, head of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the College of Education, is a speaker for a free webinar, “Embracing Technology for Global Engagement: A Leadership Challenge and Opportunity,” scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Kevin Kinser photoKevin Kinser, head of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the College of Education, is a speaker for a free webinar, “Embracing Technology for Global Engagement: A Leadership Challenge and Opportunity,” scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The webinar is being presented by University World News in partnership with DrEducation

Online education and internationalization have been rising as strategic priorities for many university leaders around the world. While online experiments like MOOCs, badging and blended learning are still early in their evolution, few institutions have taken an innovative approach to finding a synergy between technological innovations and their application in global engagement strategies. And, of those who attempted to engage globally through technology have experienced several barriers related to cost, quality, recognition and outcomes. This online discussion will examine how university leaders are leveraging technology for advancing internationalization; how technology fits in the overall global engagement strategy; and the challenges and opportunities that exist.

Kinser will address trends in global online learning, including the development of micro-credentials, and changing national policies toward the acceptance on online degrees from foreign providers.

For more information or to register, visit http://interedge.dreducation.com/university-world-news-global-tech/ online.

Lecture to focus on identity, higher ed and social activism

The Center for Education and Civil Rights presents Susana Muñoz, assistant professor of higher education at Colorado State University, who will speak on “Undocumented and Unafraid: Identity, Higher Education & Social Activism” from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in 112 Chambers Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

CECR logoSusana MuñozThe Center for Education and Civil Rights presents Susana Muñoz, assistant professor of higher education at Colorado State University, who will speak on “Undocumented and Unafraid: Identity, Higher Education & Social Activism” from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in 112 Chambers Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Muñoz’s presentation will address the process of how undocumented students “come out” and make meaning of their legal status within the context of higher education and social activism. Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of underserved populations in higher education with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices. She focuses her research on issues of access, equity and college persistence for undocumented Latina/o students.

The presentation is co-sponsored by the Penn State College of Education Center for the Study of Higher Education.

New report finds substantial racial and linguistic segregation among preschoolers

'Segregation at an Early Age' report urges formation of policy to help preschools draw a more diverse enrollment.

Paying closer attention to preschool diversity could help to lay the foundation for students from all backgrounds to play and learn together across racial and economic lines, yet a new study released today (Oct. 13) reveals that many children in school-based preschool programs do not have the opportunity for such cross-racial learning experiences.

EricaF
Erica Frankenberg
Expanding access to quality early childhood education has drawn bipartisan agreement among the public. Further, the Obama administration and members of Congress continue to talk about the importance of school diversity for children and their communities, according to Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography at The Pennsylvania State University. Yet while both topics have received renewed interest, the two are rarely considered together even though early childhood is one of the most important developmental windows regarding understanding difference and preventing the formation of prejudice.

Frankenberg shared findings about the extent to which preschool students are in racially diverse educational settings in a research report titled “Segregation at an Early Age,’’ released through Penn State’s Center for Education and Civil Rights (CECR) in conjunction with The National Coalition on School Diversity. The report drew on Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) from 2013-14, analyzing 27,957 public schools that enrolled 1.43 million preschool students. The report includes information about the extent of segregation nationally along with an appendix containing state-level analysis.

The preschool enrollment has considerable racial diversity: more than 40 percent of children are white while 30 percent are Latino and nearly 20 percent are black. Yet, the report found that many preschool students do not experience this diversity. More than one-fifth of white students attend preschool programs that are almost entirely white. The typical black or Hispanic preschool student, meanwhile, attends a school where over half of the students are from his or her same race. Students who are English Learners are also less likely to attend preschools with native English speakers.

“We cannot protect our children from race,’’ said Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-director at EmbraceRace in Amherst, Massachusetts, and author of the foreword on Frankenberg’s paper. “As parents, teachers and other caring adults in the lives of children, our challenge is to nurture children who have the language, discernment and inclusive sensibilities they will need to envision and create the institutions of authentic racial inclusion and belonging that remain among our most pressing works in progress.’’

The study pointed out that many white children in school-based preschools are missing out on intergroup exposure that could be an important foundation to enhance their social development by helping reduce stereotype information. Policies must be designed in a multiracial society to support educational settings that welcome students from many racial/ethnic groups on an equitable, inclusive basis to provide all children with the opportunity to learn from one another, the study concluded.

“Professor Frankenberg’s report, the first I have seen to document the stark lack of diversity in our preschools, suggests that in too many communities we continue to fail our children – all our children,’’ Grant-Thomas said. “As long as we fail to create the integrative conditions that support children to see each other as fully human across lines of race and class, the cost of our failure will continue to be etched in newspaper headlines, segregated social networks and polarized politics.”

The report suggests that policy should be intentionally designed to help support preschools drawing a more diverse enrollment, including educating parents about the importance of diverse settings, providing transportation, attending to the design of programs so that they will attract families from all backgrounds, and supporting the professional development for teachers and staff about creating inclusive, diverse classrooms.

“We hope for the findings from this inaugural report released by the CECR to generate needed attention to integration policy efforts at the early stages of the educational pipeline, which we believe is critical for promoting greater racial equity and meeting the democratic goals of our society,” said Liliana M. Garces, associate professor and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State.

The Center for Education and Civil Rights seeks to be a hub for the generation of knowledge and coalition-building among the education and civil rights communities to promote research-based actions that address the complicated nature of racial and ethnic inequality in the 21st century. The center’s collective work is intended to promote equity across the educational pipeline by supporting efforts that facilitate integration through an inter-disciplinary approach. The center is co-directed by Erica Frankenberg and Liliana M. Garces. For more information, visit https://cecr.ed.psu.edu or follow @psu_civilrights on Twitter.

Jim Carlson (October 2016)

Study cites inequities in access to advanced courses in Pennsylvania high schools

Students enrolled in many schools in Pennsylvania – and in the Philadelphia School District in particular – have less access to advanced courses in English language arts, social studies, mathematics and science than their counterparts in other schools, according to a study by Ed Fuller, associate professor of educational leadership in the College of Education.

Students enrolled in many schools in Pennsylvania – and in the Philadelphia School District in particular – have less access to advanced courses in English language arts, social studies, mathematics and science than their counterparts in other schools, according to a study by Ed Fuller, associate professor of educational leadership in the College of Education.

“Because not all schools offer advanced courses, many students do not have the opportunity to enroll in courses that will prepare them well for the rigors of college,” Fuller said. “Given that the current and future economic well-being of states is largely dependent on the brain power available in a state, the Commonwealth should ensure greater access to advanced courses to all students. Failure to do so is not only an injustice to many students around the Commonwealth, but also will unnecessarily constrain the economy of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Fuller’s research shows less access to advanced courses in schools that enroll fewer than 300 students in the 11th and 12th grades; enroll large proportions of students living in poverty; enroll large proportions of students of color; are located in large cities, especially Philadelphia; and are identified as charter schools.

Fuller’s study uses data from the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile to examine which Pennsylvania schools provide their students with access to at least one advanced course in English language arts, social studies, mathematics and science.

The most consistent finding in prior research and in this analysis is that smaller schools were less likely to offer advanced courses, particularly in mathematics and science. The impact of the number of 11th and 12th grade students was, by far, the school characteristic most strongly associated with offering an advanced course.

Other findings include:

  • A lower percentage of 11th- and 12th-grade African-American and Hispanic students were enrolled in schools that offer advanced courses.
  • A lower percentage of brick-and-mortar charter schools offered advanced courses as compared to traditional public schools.
  • Without adjusting the results by any other school characteristics, schools that enrolled greater than 50 percent students of color were much less likely to offer advanced courses. Once the analysis was adjusted for student enrollment and school characteristics, schools serving at least 60 percent students of color had lower odds of offering at least one advanced course in mathematics and science. Regardless of the effects of other factors, the results made very clear that students in schools with high concentrations of students of color were less likely to offer advanced courses.
  • A lower percentage of high-poverty schools than low-poverty schools offered advanced courses. This finding was particularly true with respect to science and mathematics. However, when adjusted for school enrollment and school characteristics, the odds of a high-poverty school offering advanced courses were significantly lower only for the English language arts and social studies subject areas.
  • Schools in the Philadelphia School District generally have lower odds of offering advanced courses than schools across the state. The percentage of Philadelphia School District schools offering advanced courses was substantially lower than the average for other urban districts and the average for all schools in the Commonwealth. Even after adjusting the results for student enrollment and the student characteristics of schools, the Philadelphia School Districts schools still had lower odds of offering advanced courses across all four subject areas.
  • Schools in districts with greater actual instructional expenses per student had greater odds of offering advanced courses. This was true with respect to offering at least one advanced course in each of the four subject areas as well as across all four subject areas combined.

“In short, money matters with respect to the ability of schools to offer advanced courses, because offering advanced courses can incur additional costs to schools. Moreover, because advanced courses often have smaller class sizes, they can be more costly to staff,” Fuller said.

To read the full study, visit Fuller's blog.

Annemarie Mountz (October 2016)

Doctoral candidate to present at international conference

Thanks to support from The Donald J. Willower Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics, doctoral student Andrew Pendola will present his research at the Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education conference in Ontario.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the past 20 years, The Donald J. Willower Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics (CSLE) has supported students interested in values and leadership in education. This year, the center will continue its support by giving a student the opportunity to present research at the Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education (CSLEE) conference.

Held in London, Ontario, the conference spans two days and will focus on research related to “Leadership in Uncertain Times.” Andrew Pendola, a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Theory and Policy, will present his research which explores the ways rational decision-making frameworks in educational leadership and administration may contribute to suboptimal ethical behaviors.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to meet and collaborate with others in the field who can challenge and broaden my perspective,” said Pendola, who is one of nearly 100 international professionals and researchers who will present at the conference.

The center, which is directed by faculty members Dana Mitra and Erica Frankenberg,  funds educational leadership students who have been selected to make ethics and values-related presentations at major academic conferences. Previous funding has supported participation in the Values and Ethics in Leadership Conference, The American Educational Research Association annual meeting, the Education Law Association conference and the University Council for Educational Administration Annual meeting.

 “CSLEE is a consortium of faculty and research associates that represent eight international, university-based center and institutes, including our center here at Penn State,” Mitra said, adding that CSLE aims to provide yearly support for a student researcher to attend the annual conference.

“Since he came to Penn State, Andrew has demonstrated his dedication to ethics and now the center can help support his conference trip and give him the opportunity to meet with and learn from others interested in this same area,” she said.

The CSLEE conference will be held Oct. 20-21 at Western University in London, Ontario, and will feature presentations that address issues in ethical leadership, ethics and education across local and global contexts.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (October 2016)

S.C.O.P.E. program helps prospective students put Penn State in focus

The success of Penn State’s Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (S.C.O.P.E.) is tied directly to the program’s organizers within the College of Education’s Office of Multicultural Programs, along with donors, instructors, tutors and counselors.

If, as it is often said, everybody has a story, then the people profoundly devoted to Penn State’s Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (S.C.O.P.E.) are the ones who enjoy first discovering and ultimately helping students turn their stories into ones with happy endings.

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Jevon Corpening, a College of Education student majoring in Spanish education, learned about Penn State through the S.C.O.P.E. program.
Those key people aren’t just the program’s organizers within the College of Education’s Office of Multicultural Programs — Maria Schmidt, Gary Abdullah and Brenda Martinez — they include donors, instructors, tutors and counselors. Each of them shares the common goals of informing high school students about what to expect in college, being there for them if and when they enroll and, in many instances, keeping in touch long after they leave.

S.C.O.P.E. is a four-week summer academic program primarily for rising high school juniors from multicultural backgrounds who are interested in the field of education. They take college courses, write a research paper, prepare for SATs and learn study and time-management skills. They also learn teamwork by navigating ropes courses, such as the one shown on the previous page.

But it’s a daily emotional investment for those who first meet them as teenagers who may not have initially considered college and, if they choose to attend Penn State, lend plenty of hands in helping to shape them into confident, young adults who leave the University with not only degrees but also high hopes and dynamic plans.

“It would be hard to not get invested emotionally,’’ said Abdullah, a multicultural programs coordinator. “I feel in order to be effective in this role and roles we have in this office, you have to be emotionally invested. It has to be more than just work. It has to be belief in what you’re doing; you believe in these individuals in order for them to feel it.

“That’s why the program can be tiring,’’ he said. “Aside from the fact we have high-schoolers up here for four weeks and have to make sure they stay in line, it is the amount of emotional investment you put into it that can really be tiring. It’s 112 percent worth it.’’

Program support

The program, despite its success and tangible results for students, wouldn’t be what it is without philanthropy. S.C.O.P.E. is supported financially by three methods: donors, an allocation of funds from the College of Education and the Office of Educational Equity.

Boston resident John Gilmartin, who for years has been a major contributor to Penn State and the College of Education -- in particular the S.C.O.P.E. program -- takes pleasure in keeping abreast of the success stories.

“I think the best thing that can happen is that by the time they’re done they can look down and see that it’s their own two feet that they’re standing on.''
--John Gilmartin

“I think it’s important we be creative in building bridges that kids who come from the inner city can walk on to find their way to the type of rich educational experience that is offered by Penn State,’’ Gilmartin said.

“I think S.C.O.P.E. is one of those creative bridges that early on in their high school career a student has the possibility to open their minds to the chance to go on to higher education.’’

Maria Schmidt, assistant dean for multicultural programs, said Gilmartin has been a permanent, long-term supporter of the program from the very first summer in 2002.

Gilmartin also supports current undergraduate students through the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship. This funding has supported S.C.O.P.E. alumni including Jevon Corpening, a 2013 participant and now a junior studying Spanish education.

“This man I’ve never met before has had such an impact on my academic journey; I’d really like to meet him, actually,’’ Corpening said.

Kaela Fuentes currently serves on the College of Education’s Alumni Society Board. She participated in S.C.O.P.E. in 2004, just two years after its inception, and after enrolling at Penn State was one of the first to navigate the College of Education’s Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) program. That is a five-year progression in which students receive a bachelor’s degree in special education and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

 Fuentes graduated in 2011 and worked for three years at the Grove School in Madison, Connecticut, a therapeutic, college-preparatory boarding school, before returning to Penn State in August to begin pursuit of a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction.

 And, she, too, is a donor. “I mean a little bit. At the end of the day I was still a teacher and it was never going to be millions,’’ she said.

“I was so lucky in receiving the scholarships I received and when I went to donate I tried to split my money between the scholarship funds and S.C.O.P.E. because those two things were what made my experience here possible. S.C.O.P.E. showing me how amazing Penn State is and once I got here those scholarships made it possible for me to go here.’’

Schmidt said a number of S.C.O.P.E. alumni, and those who were instructors when they were earning their doctoral degrees, donate small amounts that add up to sizable support. (To read more about Maria Schmidt's impact on the program, click here.)

“Many times we think that unless we are able to donate large amounts of money that we are not going to be able to make a difference,’’ Schmidt said. “And I tell the students, ‘no, think about it. You take 20 people giving $10 every month and that can make a difference at the end of the year. You can help students purchase books.’ So I’m trying to help educate students to see that makes a difference.’’

Schmidt also lauded the behind-the-scenes assistance and the “good will” of the people who work in the program.

 “Most of the people who work every summer, they have a commitment that is not about having a summer job, they have a commitment to the goals of the program,’’ she said. “They also have that passion to try to influence and facilitate change.’’

An early look at college

Fuentes, a graduate of Easton Area High School, always had planned to attend college. The S.C.O.P.E. program turned the question of ‘where’ into an easy answer.

Kaela-3
Kaela Fuentes participated in the S.C.O.P.E. program in 2004, earned a pair of degrees in the College of Education, worked for three years in Connecticut and returned to Penn State to pursue her doctoral degree.
“For so many students coming to S.C.O.P.E., it’s, ‘oh my God, I can go to college and I can have a career and I can change my situation,’’’ she said.

“For me, I feel like S.C.O.P.E. put Penn State on my radar, not necessarily college, but for so many other students, it did put college on their radar,’’ Fuentes said.

“They probably wouldn’t have gotten in through their families or through the support systems that they had in their hometowns.’’

Corpening learned about the program from his guidance counselor at Pennwood High School.

“Being away from home on a college campus was enticing, I guess. Enjoyed it was an understatement; I loved it,’’ he said.

“It was one of the best experiences I ever had. It was one of the most productive and formative experiences I had other than the experience I’ve had here in college already, just because I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with other people. It solidified this idea of me wanting to go into education,’’ Corpening said.

Appreciation shown ... and appreciated

The program’s participants are called “S.C.O.P.E.rs” and they routinely write thank-you notes to an appreciative Gilmartin. “It’s absolutely amazing,’’ he said.

“It really grabs your attention and they are wonderfully creative and colorful expressions of the way that this program moves them and their thanks for being part of it … of which I’m only a piece of why they’re there; it’s certainly not all me.

“The S.C.O.P.E.rs in total seem to be such a positive force reinforcing each other’s needs and desires and dreams, it’s something that can energize all of us. Collectively they make a wonderful impact that overwhelms any individual sense that I wind up with,’’ Gilmartin said.

S.C.O.P.E. had a significant impact on Loretta Lowman. A high school junior who wasn’t certain the program was right for her in 2007, Lowman returned this past July to be a S.C.O.P.E. counselor.

She grew up in a three-bedroom, East Orange, New Jersey, bungalow that – including extended family – housed 12 people. At times, the family had little to no food, water or electricity.

“My mother told me that God blessed me with a chance that not many people like me get,’’ Lowman said in July prior to her S.C.O.P.E. commitment. “Going to Penn State meant breaking down a wall that my family thought was impossible to do.’’

She, too, received the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship and the University Student Way Pavers Award. Now a special education teacher with the Charles County Public School System in Maryland, Lowman graduated in 2015 from the five-year IUG program. “My summer in S.C.O.P.E. is something I will never forget,’’ she said. “It is where I became a new person.’’

Making the most of the opportunity

While S.C.O.P.E. does provide an opportunity, it’s what those who participate do with that opportunity that lends credence to the program. Fuentes returning to begin her doctorate, for example, or Lowman teaching special education students.

Abdullah_Gary_2071
Gary Abdullah, a multicultural programs coordinator in the College of Education, helps coordinate the S.C.O.P.E. program.
Corpening has an elongated list of aspirations that begins with study-abroad trips and applying for the McNair Scholarship Program. He’s also applying for head innovation consultant in the Krause Innovation Studio, he’s an ESL tutor for prospective Penn State students and he’s a mentor for a freshman student.

There’s more. “I have a bucket list of languages I want to learn,’’ he said. “I know English and Spanish. I want to learn Arabic, Korean, French and maybe Farsi because that’s related to Arabic. I’m still interested in going into the FBI, which is a different spectrum of education but education is really what is the most interesting thing to me right now.

“I want to work in the intersection of education, race, culture, politics, class … kind of in that realm. I want to become a counselor for minority youth. I want to obtain my Ph.D. someday and become a college professor. I don’t like to overwhelm myself but I’m interested in so many things that it can kind of become overwhelming,’’ Corpening said.

He says there’s power in the ability to communicate one-on-one with someone. “I think being a social justice activist is kind of my end goal in terms of education and race,’’ he said.

Corpening said his schedule actually prevents him from going off the rails of stress and anxiety. Daily stops into the Office of Multicultural programs in Chambers Building also are therapeutic, as are chats with Schmidt.

“Maria… we always talk, we talk almost every day,’’ Corpening said. “I’m in the College of Ed every day anyway because it’s my major, but downstairs is like my home away from home in many ways. And Maria’s like, ‘it’s much better to be stressed about navigating so many opportunities instead of not having any opportunities.’

“There’s definitely been some tears shed in that office, and many hugs and many laughs,’’ he said.

Keeping in touch

Leaders keeping an eye – and ear – on S.C.O.P.E. students is what pleases Gilmartin about S.C.O.P.E.

“I think the best thing that can happen is that by the time they’re done they can look down and see that it’s their own two feet that they’re standing on,’’ Gilmartin said.

“That they have managed to make it through all of the different kinds of out-of-body experiences that happened in the classroom, in the dorm, with the other kids – everything from lectures to laundry.

“Everything represents a challenge, everything is something that is new and different and something they’ll have to think about if they choose again to go away from home and undertake an educational experience, be it at Penn State or somewhere else. I think they come to realize that ‘I can do this,’ and that’s a magic moment,’’ he said.

And that’s mission accomplished for Gilmartin, who is thankful for the efforts of the Office of Multicultural Programs and the efforts of Schmidt and her legion of devoted people who make the program what it is.

“You can’t help everybody but you can help somebody and that happens with S.C.O.P.E.,’’ Gilmartin  said.

“I think that’s the way Maria looks at it and she has over the years done a ton of good work that many, many people are grateful to her for.’’

Jim Carlson (November 2016)

College dream becomes reality through Penn State program

Maria Schmidt builds Summer College Opportunity Program in Education from the ground up.

Maria Schmidt developed her vision for S.C.O.P.E. before she ever worked in the College of Education.

Schmidt_Maria_2619
Maria Schmidt, assistant dean and Director of Multicultural Student Services in the College of Education, enjoys helping high school students become familiar with college life through the S.C.O.P.E. program
“I had been the director of HAP, Hispanics in Academic Progress, in the University’s Multicultural Resource Center, but this University-wide program was not focused on any particular major,” Schmidt said. 

As an alumna of the College of Education, Schmidt recognized that there was a need to diversify the teaching and counseling professions. “I always had this idea about designing a program that was more focused toward education,” Schmidt said.

When she had the opportunity to interview for her current position of assistant dean for multicultural programs in the College, she decided to turn her vision into reality. “I proposed I would create S.C.O.P.E. during my interview process for the job, and the dean liked the idea,” she said.

Schmidt started working in the College in the summer of 2000, and started laying the foundation for S.C.O.P.E. (To read more about S.C.O.P.E., click here.)

“I told the dean I could not start the program right away. I needed some time to design it, to settle myself in the College, to put the pieces together. This type of program is very difficult to sustain. So I needed to put the pieces together in a way that had more probability of sustaining the program long-term than the natural life that this type of program tends to have,” she said.

Schmidt partnered with the Registrar’s Office, Admissions Office, Housing and Food Services, Conference Services and others to develop the program. Once those pieces were in place, she contacted every high school in Pennsylvania to market S.C.O.P.E., which admitted its first cohort in 2002.

For Schmidt, S.C.O.P.E. is more than just a program; it’s a passion. “It allows me to influence somebody’s life. When I see the students that come from a background where nobody was believing in them and that actually had people tell them ‘you’re not college material,’ come here, work hard and graduate, and go on to do wonderful things, that inspires me. I know it’s cliché, but that’s why I’m still here. That’s the truth. It inspires me when I see people not give up. I’ve been lucky to witness that in a lot of students,” she said.

Schmidt always has been very passionate about issues of equity and social justice. “I’ve always believed that we are all privileged in one way or another. I came from a working-class family with a single mom, but I was raised with the idea that education was extremely important and I’m very thankful for that,” she said. 

“While in many ways there were hard times along the way, I find myself to be a very privileged person and right now I enjoy the privilege of working for a truly No. 1 research institution, having a comfortable life. But with privilege comes responsibility. Some way, somehow, you have to provide back to your community and you have to try to effect change. S.C.O.P.E. and my job with the College gives me the opportunity of earning a living while doing what I’m passionate about. That’s the best you can have in your life, right?”

Annemarie Mountz (November 2016)


Report breaks down increase in international branch campuses

The number of collegiate international branch campuses (IBCs) has risen 26 percent between 2011 and 2016, with China overtaking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the top host country, according to a report authored by the world's two leading authorities on the subject.

The number of collegiate international branch campuses (IBCs) has risen 26 percent between 2011 and 2016, with China overtaking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the top host country, according to a report authored by the world's two leading authorities on the subject.

The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) in conjunction with the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT) today (Nov. 9) released the report, “International Branch Campuses, Trends and Developments, 2016,” which reveals there are presently 249 IBCs around the world enrolling at least 180,000 students. The number of countries hosting IBCs has increased to 76, up 10 percent since 2011, with the top five host countries as China (32), UAE (31), Singapore (12), Malaysia (12) and Qatar (11), which together host 98 IBCs, or 39 percent of the world’s total.

“Quality assurance is adapting as the IBC phenomenon expands into more countries. We are seeing the emergence of new systems for managing and regulating truly multinational universities,” said Kevin Kinser, co-director of C-BERT, and professor and head of the Department of Education Policy Studies in Penn State’s College of Education.

Rachael Merola, senior researcher at the OBHE, highlights the importance of the report’s findings, stating “International branch campuses may be the most ambitious kind of cross-border higher education, redefining institutional identities and national systems. Our ongoing work marks the most comprehensive research to date on the IBC phenomenon, combining the resources of the OBHE and C-BERT to come to a new understanding of the past, present, and future of IBCs.”

The report shows that China has overtaken UAE as the top host country driven by government incentives and strong student demand. Meanwhile, the UAE has experienced a modest decline in the number of IBCs. This shift is part of a wider trend of growth concentrated in Asia, particularly China, Malaysia and South Korea from 2011-2015.

“While there is increasing pushback against globalization efforts, these trends suggest that many countries and students still see cross-border education as a way to build capacity within their country,” said Jason Lane, a co-director of CBERT and chair of the Educational Policy and Leadership department at State University of New York at Albany.

The number of home, or “source,” countries also has increased in the past five years: IBCs now come from 33 different home countries, an 18 percent increase since 2011. The top five home countries, in terms of the number of IBCs, are the United States (78), the United Kingdom (39), France (28), Russia (21), and Australia (15), which together account for 181 branch campuses, or 73 percent of total IBCs.

While the growth in IBCs is undeniable — 66 were founded from 2011-2015, amounting to a 26 percent increase in that time period — the distribution has been uneven: only four new IBCs were developed in Africa outside of the MENA region and just one in South America from 2011-2015. In addition, future growth continues to be largely driven by providers based in the United States and Europe. Of the IBCs currently under development worldwide, around half are planned by institutions based in the United States and United Kingdom.

International Branch Campuses, Trends and Developments, 2016, follows on four previous editions of the report, published in in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2012 by the OBHE and many C-BERT publications. The report release date is timed to coincide with the OBHE’s Global Forum, titled Brain Gain: charting the impact and future of TNE, which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 9-11. A second part to the report, to be released in 2017, will focus on interviews with institutional leaders at a sample of IBCs in operation for at least a decade. This report will investigate motivations and operations of mature IBCs, judge impact from different perspectives and explore what combination of conditions breeds success.

Annemarie Mountz (November 2016)

Gift creates unique endowed professorship

The College of Education has a new endowed professorship that will benefit two departments within the college, thanks to a generous gift from Wayne K. and Anita Woolfolk Hoy.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education has a new endowed professorship that will benefit two departments within the college, thanks to a generous gift from Wayne K. and Anita Woolfolk Hoy.

The first holder of the Wayne K. and Anita Woolfolk Hoy Professorship in Education will be in the Educational Leadership program. Upon retirement or departure of that individual, the next holder will be in the Educational Psychology program.

Upon retirement/departure of that professorship holder, the professorship will revert back to Educational Leadership. The professorship will continue to alternate in this manner.

Through Wayne’s tenure as an endowed chair at Ohio State University, he experienced the value of an endowment for recruiting and supporting talented faculty. “We wanted to provide such an opportunity for Penn State to maintain and enhance their exceptional programs in our two favorite fields,” he said.

“We are grateful to Wayne and Anita for endowing the professorship,” said Dean David Monk. “This endowed professorship will help us to recruit an experienced scholar of the highest caliber, which ultimately benefits our students.”

Wayne is a graduate of the educational administration doctoral program at Penn State, and although Anita received her doctorate from the University of Texas, she always has admired the Penn State Educational Psychology Program.

The unique alternating homes of the endowment reflect their academic careers. Both are professors, Wayne of educational administration and Anita of educational psychology. “Over our careers we have worked together integrating knowledge from the two fields in our research and textbooks, for example, our book on Instructional Leadership with Pearson. Our joint research on teacher and collective efficacy and on academic optimism is grounded in administrative theory and educational psychology. We value both fields and wanted to support them equally,” they said.

“Over the years we have enjoyed working with Dean David Monk; we respect his leadership and value his vision for education as well as his friendship,” Anita added.

Both Wayne and Anita are Life Members of the Penn State Alumni Association. Wayne also received the Penn State Meritorious Research Award in 1991 and the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award in 1996.

By Annemarie Mountz (November 2014)

Promoting diversity brings things ‘full circle’ for student

Vanessa Miller, a second-year joint J.D./Ph.D. student in Higher Education and vice president of the Penn State Latino/a Law Student Association, had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Latino and Latina attorneys at the Second Annual National Hispanic Prelaw Conference held at New York University on Nov. 11.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three years ago, Penn State Law student Vanessa Miller was considering going to law school, wondering about the barriers she would face as a Latina woman in the legal profession.

Vanessa Miller
Penn State Law student Vanessa Miller at the Second Annual National Hispanic Prelaw Conference.
When considering her options and the challenges she might face in the historically non-diverse field of law, Miller would attend conferences and panels on diversity and inclusion, where she would listen to attorneys who had gone down the same path she was considering and overcome the same obstacles she might face.

Now, as a flourishing second year joint J.D./Ph.D. student in Higher Education and vice president of the Penn State Latino/a Law Student Association, Miller had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Latino and Latina attorneys at the Second Annual National Hispanic Prelaw Conference held at New York University on Nov. 11.

“I feel as if I’ve really come full circle,” Miller said. “It felt great to go from sitting in the audience to standing on stage as a moderator, and to be able to continue the efforts I started three years ago.”

Miller led a panel of six Latino and Latina attorneys practicing law in a range of industries through a 90-minute discussion of Latino/a representation in the legal profession, how each attorney overcame the barriers they faced in their personal journeys, and what aspiring minority law students should know when making their decision to pursue a career in law. She helped maintain the momentum of the discussion and, drawing on her own experience, helped students articulate their concerns and questions, and steered the conversation so it would be of the most benefit to the audience.

One remark from one of the panelists in particular struck a chord with Miller: Every great civil rights movement in America started with an attorney, and if “we want that progression in American society to continue, we have to be the attorneys that will fight the good fight."

“The conference affirmed to me that great things are very possible, even with the barriers that Latino/a people face," said Miller. "The work we’re doing is so important and we can’t forget why we started in the first place.

"You’re never going to have a room full of people who look or speak like you, and that’s OK. We simply need the Latino community to sit at the proverbial 'table,' and this experience has affirmed for me that I, too, will someday have a place at that table.”

This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Study examines evidence of racial disparities in special education

A best-evidence synthesis lead by Paul Morgan, professor in the department of education policy studies at Penn State, recently found evidence that black children may not be receiving special education services they are entitled to, even when displaying the same clinical needs as white children.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Special education programs are designed to meet the needs of all students with cognitive, behavioral or physical disabilities, regardless of their race or ethnicity. However, a best-evidence synthesis lead by Paul Morgan, professor in the department of education policy studies at Penn State, recently found evidence that black children may not be receiving special education services they are entitled to, even when displaying the same clinical needs as white children.  

“We discovered that more rigorous studies, including those that controlled for poverty exposure as well as individual-level academic achievement, consistently showed that black children were less likely to receive special education services than otherwise similar white children."

— Paul Morgan, professor of education

The synthesis was published recently in the Sage journal Exceptional Children. Morgan also recently presented the findings to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, the President’s Domestic Policy Council, and the U.S. Department of Education.

The team’s findings run counter to federal legislation as well as policies currently being considered to address minority over-representation in special education. “We found very little evidence in prior studies that minority children are over-represented in special education as a result of their race or ethnicity,” Morgan said. “On the contrary, our synthesis of the best-available studies indicates that white children are more likely to be identified as having disabilities and to receive special education services than black children. These disparities are evident even when black children were displaying the same disability-related symptoms as well as being otherwise similar on other background characteristics.”

The research team identified 22 studies meeting the review’s inclusion criteria that reported on black children’s disproportionate representation in special education. The team found that studies with weaker designs were more likely to report that black children were over-represented in special education. According to Morgan, these studies have been used to direct federal legislation and policymaking, even though they often didn’t adequately control for potential confounding factors including greater exposure to poverty.

“We discovered that more rigorous studies, including those that controlled for poverty exposure as well as individual-level academic achievement, consistently showed that black children were less likely to receive special education services than otherwise similar white children," said Morgan.

Morgan says that federal policies currently being considered by the U.S. Department of Education do not seem to be taking into account the best-available empirical evidence. “The policies are being designed to address minority over-representation in special education, but our findings show a clear pattern in which minority children are not being appropriately identified and helped. These disparities in care and treatment may be contributing to racial achievement gaps.”

The team’s findings are similar to reports in public health of racial and ethnic disparities in disability identification, including for conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities and other conditions.

The results also have important implications for special education practice, research, and policy. “The review indicates that methodological limitations in existing studies help explain conflicting findings as to whether minority children are over- or under-represented in special education,” Morgan explained. “Methodologically stronger studies find that black children are under-represented in special education. This suggests the need for federal legislation and policies that result in more equitable service delivery, possibly through universal screening efforts.

“Black children, because of many societal inequities, often experience lower quality health care and are at greater risk for disabilities. Not providing care and treatment to children with disabilities on the basis of their race or ethnicity is discriminatory, and may be exacerbating educational inequalities, including achievement gaps and school dropout.”

The project was funded by a Spencer Midcareer Grant to Morgan. Morgan also directs the Center for Educational Disparities Research (CEDR), which was jointly established by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education earlier this year.

Other members of the research team were George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California; Natasha M. Strassfeld, assistant professor of special education at New York University; and Penn State researchers Marianne M. Hillemeier, department head and professor of health policy and administration; Deborah L. Schussler, associate professor of education; and Michael Cook and Wik Hung Pun, graduate assistants.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Penn State Social Science Research Institute (December 2016)

Frankenberg again named among most influential in shaping education

For the third year in a row, Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography, and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, is on the Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings list of the top 200 U.S.-based university scholars who influence education policy and practice.

Frankenberg Erica 72For the third year in a row, Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography, and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, is on the Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings list of the top 200 U.S.-based university scholars who influence education policy and practice.

The list, announced by American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., reflects the influence of a scholar's academic scholarship and his or her influence on public debate as reflected in old and new media.

“One small way to encourage academics to step into the fray and revisit academic norms is, I think, by doing more to recognize and value those scholars who engage in public discourse,” explained Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy at American Enterprise Institute. “These results offer insight into how scholars in a field of public concern are influencing thinking and the national discourse.”

Frankenberg conducts research primarily related to racial and economic segregation, and teaches classes about politics and policy.

“One of my priorities as a scholar has been to make sure to disseminate my research findings about segregation and inequality in K-12 schools to a variety of different audiences in the hope that the research will help make educational policies and practices more equitable and inclusive for all students,” Frankenberg said. “Therefore, I write for a variety of different types of outlets to make my findings accessible beyond academic audiences and in the last year, have attended several meetings in Washington, D.C., to help further understanding about successful integration policies. This was also a primary motivation in establishing the Center for Education and Civil Rights.”

Most recently, Frankenberg has been quoted in the media on topics including an Alabama town that wants to segregate its schools (here and here); and why the racist history of school vouchers matters today. She also recently reviewed Segregation, Race, and Charter Schools: What Do We Know?  for the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed in the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education. The mission of NEPC is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Frankenberg was named as a fellow of NEPC this year for her efforts in that area.

Additionally, the Center for Education and Civil Rights, for which she is a founding co-director, released a report in October 2016 on “Segregation at an Early Age.”

For more information, including the 2017 rankings, click here.

By Annemarie Mountz (January 2017)

American Journal of Education takes extraordinary jump within international rankings

That the American Journal of Education rose to fourth in the most recent SCImago Journal & Country Rank is impressive enough. The pace of its meteoric advancement from not being ranked among the top 50 in 2012 to where it is today is what caught the collective eye of its co-editors.

That the American Journal of Education (AJE) rose to fourth in the most recent SCImago Journal & Country Rank is impressive enough. The pace of its meteoric advancement is what caught the collective eye of its co-editors.

AJE is an independent journal, owned by the University of Chicago Press but published through Penn State's College of Education. It was identified as one of 11 core journals in education in a previous empirical study.

GLETENDRE
Gerry LeTendre
Several universities placed bids to take it over about 10 years ago, according to co-editor Gerry LeTendre, professor of education policy studies, who said the journal had been neglected and missed some issues.

The late Bill Boyd, Batschelet Chair professor of educational leadership in Penn State’s College of Education, led the effort to bring the Journal to Penn State from the University of Chicago. LeTendre, and later Dana Mitra, professor of educational theory and policy, assumed lead editorial roles after Boyd’s death in September 2008.

The publication was not ranked among the top 50 in 2012. It entered at No. 26 in 2013, dropped to 32nd in 2014 and skyrocketed to No. 4 in 2015.

LeTendre believes that AJE’s rise in the rankings is linked to the decision to organize a student editorial board and launch a website: AJEForum. “As with all rankings you have to take them with a little grain of salt,’’ he said. “I think the trajectory is what really caught my eye. You will see that impact factors fluctuate year to year. The longer, upward trend is what really excites me.

“Given that it happened at the same time that the forum was being activated and getting content up suggests there is some correlation. LeTendre said. “A number of journals have a website that’s just the contents online; it’s an electronic version of the print journal. AJE forum is really different.  It’s actually a website that’s open to student-created content. We have interviews with authors from the journal and related pieces, but a lot of the content is not related to the specific articles in the journal. It’s about general topics of interest. And we really think that that the more fluid framework has brought in a much larger readership,’’ LeTendre said.

AJE has been around since the early 1900s, according to Mitra, who said some of its most accessed pieces stem all the way back to those times because they are historically important pieces in education reform. “When we look at the pieces most accessed, obviously our most recent ones are at the top, but there’s also a history of classics that continue to have cache with historians,’’ she said.

DMITRA
Dana Mitra
AJE is a peer-reviewed journal, and all manuscripts under consideration are highly vetted, according to Mitra. The journal caters to a general education and policy audience. “There needs to be something in the article that connects beyond the subfield,’’ Mitra said. “If you’re writing about tracking or if you’re writing about middle school math, there needs to be something in the manuscript’s implications or in other parts of the piece that speaks to broader issues of reform and policy. Otherwise, we typically suggest that such a piece is more suited toward a specialty journal.

“So, we aim to publish excellent research that can speak to a broad audience.  Manuscripts must have implications beyond the immediate issue under study.’’

LeTendre said AJE received 289 manuscript submissions from authors in more than 30 countries in 2016, and 5 percent were accepted or are under revise-and-resubmit status. He added that 209 scholars from around the world reviewed articles for the journal.

Gaining entry in AJE is challenging. “In a journal like this, we have a high rejection rate … about 90 percent,’’ Mitra said. “We reject articles that are just not a good fit; the peer-review process further reduces the number of pieces that we publish.

“There’s a lot of pruning down to find the pieces that are high quality, and even then, we depend heavily on what our peer reviewers say in terms of whether it’s a fit for our journal, whether the quality of the research is good enough and then it could be great research and a fit for our journal but it doesn’t say anything new. So, there needs to be contribution. Those are the main three things – fit, quality and contribution – that we look for,’’ she said.

“So, we aim to publish excellent research that can speak to a broad audience.  Manuscripts must have implications beyond the immediate issue under study.’’--Dana Mitra

Noting that AJE is a “peer review journal with great rigor,’’ Mitra added, “We have fantastic peer reviewers from around the world. There’s a minimum of three peer reviewers in addition to our editors which is typical for any top journal of educational research.’’

LeTendre stressed that AJE’s success is because of teamwork. “Academic journals have become very, very complex organizations with the advent of modern digital communications,’’ he said. “Editors have to think about vast new fields, some that weren’t around 10 years ago, are now very dominant in the field. You need to really think about assembling a very strong team and the decision supported by our senior editors to create a student editorial board was an excellent one.”

“The senior editors understand the history of the field, they’re well-respected scholars but they are not always at the cutting edge of research. Graduate students are trying to get their doctoral dissertations finished; they’re right at the edge of what is being studied in the field. It’s going to be their research that is published next year in a journal or in a book somewhere. That dynamic has really helped AJE take off by getting an active student board and having them interact with a senior editorial board.’’

Overall, LeTendre said AJE is “understood to maintain a level of academic integrity and a sophistication of knowledge production that is consistent with other journals in its field.’’

“The problem for academic journals has always been that knowledge simply circulated among other academics,’’ LeTendre said. “What I would really like to see is that the work these scholars are producing … is recognized and used outside of academia, for example, in public policy debates, or in debates about where local schools should go.

“I think that in this day and age that fact, and not alternative facts, continue to be the mainstay of what we talk about. I hope we can continue with the trend to increase our readership and the citation of our authors.’’

Jim Carlson (February 2017)

Center for Education and Civil Rights to host forum Feb. 21

The Center for Education and Civil Rights will host a forum from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in 236 Chambers Building, to discuss policy continuity and change in civil rights in post-secondary and professional education in the Trump Administration.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for Education and Civil Rights (CECR) will host a forum from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in 236 Chambers Building, to discuss policy continuity and change in civil rights in post-secondary and professional education in the Trump Administration.

The forum will be followed by a Q & A featuring:

  • Alicia Dowd, professor of education and senior scientist, Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE)
  • Leticia Oseguera, associate professor of education and senior research associate, CSHE
  • Liliana M. Garces, associate professor of education, senior research associate, CSHE; and co-director, Center for Education and Civil Rights

Doctoral student earns $20,000 dissertation grant

Understanding demographic patterns with a school district a useful part of integration methods, Taylor says.

Education Policy Studies doctoral student Kendra Taylor has earned a dissertation grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for her study aimed at providing a new lens for developing school-district integration strategies guided by insights on the geographic scale of racial and income segregation.

Kendra Taylor
KENDRA TAYLOR
The student from Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania, was awarded $20,000 by the AERA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics and a master’s in applied youth, family and community education, both from Penn State. Her dissertation topic is “New Directions for Integration Policy: Exploring the Geographic Scale of Racial and Income Segregation in Large U.S. School Districts.’’

Taylor said a master’s-level qualitative methods course that was part of the educational leadership program sparked her interest to pursue a doctorate in that field. “For my master’s I had to conduct original research, and I think it was really in large part being exposed to research by faculty members and through going into the field myself during my master’s that I knew I wanted to continue doing my own research,’’ Taylor said.

Taylor is hopeful that findings from her dissertation will be useful for school districts and policymakers already working on -- or interested in starting to work on -- school racial and income integration strategies. “There are a number of school districts across the country that are undertaking integration voluntarily, in addition to districts that are under court order to integrate,’’ Taylor said.

“I believe that understanding demographic patterns within the school district, in particular the geographic scale of racial and income segregation, can be very useful when districts are planning methods of integration.’’

Her integration policy topic decision was a culmination of bringing together training she received at Penn State and various professors’ work that she admired, she said.

“The methods I use in this study build off of a course I took at Penn State on spatial demography, and the work of a number of professors at Penn State and other institutions,’’ Taylor said. “But ultimately, beyond describing patterns of segregation within school districts, it was really important to me to be able to connect these patterns to historical and policy contexts of the school districts I’m studying.’’

Taylor’s adviser, Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography, said one of the strengths of Taylor’s study is illuminating the role of boundaries in shaping students’ access to opportunity.

“Too often, boundaries are invisible or seen as sacrosanct, but they are used in every medium to large district to assign students to school,’’ Frankenberg said. “This also assigns students to varying levels of opportunity through schools’ student demographics and other educational resources. Thus, there are wide-reaching implications to Kendra’s work.

“I believe that understanding demographic patterns within the school district, in particular the geographic scale of racial and income segregation, can be very useful when districts are planning methods of integration.’’--Kendra Taylor

Taylor will include in her analysis how school districts are considering segregation within their district at different scales when designing integration plans and to consider policy implications for districts given segregation at different scales.

“I also hope that my findings can contribute to the growing body of research on the connections between school and residential segregation, which I think is important in moving toward addressing segregation from many different policy perspectives,’’ she said.

Frankenberg agreed. “I appreciate her application of demographic techniques used in the study of residential segregation to studying the segregation of public school students, as I think it will result in important advances in what we know about school segregation,’’ she said.

Taylor will attend the AERA spring conference in San Antonio as well as its upcoming fall conference for professional development purposes and to network with other graduate students and scholars who work with large-scale datasets in the field of education.

“You are paired with a faculty member who also works with large-scale datasets and can be another source of support beyond those at your home institution to help you with your dissertation,’’ Taylor said. “I am also participating in the AERA annual conference as a Clark Scholar where there are additional opportunities for development of your dissertation research.’’

Grant money can be used for cost-of-living expenses as well as a pursuit of other external funding to work with large-scale datasets, she said. “After receiving the grant, I considered how I could put more time into my dissertation and strengthen it,’’ Taylor said. “I decided to add two additional decades into my research to study changes in the geographic scale of racial and income segregation over time.’’

Taylor, whose first two years of doctoral studies were funded by the Dean’s Graduate Assistantships program, said that receiving the grant meant that people other than her and those she works most closely with at Penn State believed that the study was worthwhile.

“Being connected to a broader group of people through your dissertation work seems really important, and I think that receiving this grant will give me an opportunity to be connected and engaged with a larger group of colleagues,’’ she said.

Jim Carlson (February 2017)

Student group endows award

Students involved in the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association are used to helping others. Now, their efforts will benefit one of their own, as the group has raised enough money to endow its own award.

Students involved in the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) are used to helping others. Now, their efforts will benefit one of their own, as the group has raised enough money to endow its own award.

EMILYGIBBS2
Emily Gibbs is president of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association on the Penn State campus.
The group over the years has methodically collected enough money to finally endow a modest award that will be awarded annually to one of its own.

"We’ve done Homecoming, we do a lot of merchandise for our club and we’ve been handing out T-shirts to advertise for our club," said club president Emily Gibbs, a graduate of Northeastern High School in York County who will do her student teaching next fall in the Bald Eagle Area School District.

"Our biggest fund-raiser has been through merchandise. We design shirts for our club members and they pay an amount and we raise money that way and it comes back into our club. That’s been our biggest fundraiser and we have some more plans for the spring."

Contributions and donations since 2010 reached $20,000, which meets the standard of endowing an award. "We were short, there was a gap we had to fill," Gibbs said. "It turns out in our account we had enough to cover the gap."

Gibbs and associate professor of education (mathematics) Andrea McCloskey, the club’s adviser, said the plan is to award one SPSEA student with an award of about $800, and eventually raise enough money to give two awards worth $500 each.

McCloskey said the group is leaning toward an application process for active members, which SPSEA officers would review to select a winner. "I really trust them to decide who has been an active and contributing member each year," she said.

"There are already a group of committed students every year who get a lot of things done. They’re grateful for the opportunity to reward them with a little bit of money which will be useful, but also with this recognition which probably will be more useful to the students.

"We’re really excited to start this scholarship. It will be really great to know that students coming in to the Penn State College of Education will have that opportunity to get rewarded for the effort they put in."--Emily Gibbs

"They’ll have an award they can name on their CVs (curriculum vitae) and just kind of a public way to recognize the way that these students will be continuing to contribute to the College and organization," McCloskey said. "Students have been doing it anyway without this award in place. In many ways, this is just kind of a way to recognize what’s already been happening."

Gibbs said the application process will be based on involvement in the club as well as leadership positions. "That can be volunteering for the club or stepping up to just help in some way. It’s going to be based around those fundamentals," she said.

"We’re really excited to start this (award). It will be really great to know that students coming in to the Penn State College of Education will have that opportunity to get rewarded for the effort they put in," Gibbs said.

That’s what the SPSEA is about at Penn State – volunteering, raising not only some money but some educational awareness and helping each other become better teachers within the College of Education.

Many club members log volunteer hours at Schlow Library in State College. Some head to cities such as Memphis or Houston over their spring break to learn what different schools value and what challenges they face, as well as perform manual labor that can include organizing a library to beautifying a playground.

"I’m developing a real appreciation for the professionalization that happens through this organization. They learn from each other," McCloskey said. "They do a great job bringing in current teachers, alumni who maybe have won awards or were active in the group when they were here as students at Penn State, to come in and talk to them about very practical ways you can deal with classroom management problems you might have in your first year. I really appreciate the way they complement the academic preparation we provide here. I think it’s great."

Gibbs said various professionals speak to the group on a weekly basis, from College of Education alumni to career services representatives and even last year’s Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, Cindy Olendyke. "It’s a whole different array of speakers but they all provide insight that’s really helpful to us education majors," Gibbs said.

Overall, McCloskey said, the SPSEA is an organization that people want to deal with.

"They are one of the groups the Dean’s Office will call upon for kid activities if we know there’s going to be something where we want to be able to invite families and have some meaningful interaction," McCloskey said.

"Quite a few organizations in town are aware of that group and will reach out to them directly to ask them to come and help us for a few hours. They’ve done a good job of building a reputation around town as a good, reliable organization."

Jim Carlson (March 2017)

College of Education students to perform in President’s Concert

Nearly 60 Penn State students, including three from the College of Education, will take to the stage for the 11th annual Penn State President’s Concert, to be held March 16 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 60 Penn State students will take to the stage for the 11th annual Penn State President’s Concert, to be held March 16 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Not all of those performing are School of Music students, however. Three members of Essence of Joy (EOJ) are enrolled in the College of Education: bass John Allegro, a 10th semester student enrolled in the integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) program in education and public policy, and education theory and policy; tenor Sean Connelly, a senior education and public policy major; and soprano Sarah Pfaff, a senior studying world languages education – Spanish.

All three are performing in their first President’s Concert.

Essence of Joy
John Allegro, back left, and Sean Connelly, front right, are two of three College of Education students performing with Essence of Joy in this year’s Penn State President’s Concert, scheduled for March 16 at the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.
"I’ve known about the event for as long as I’ve been around the School of Music, so it’s exciting to have the opportunity to experience it as part of my final moments at Penn State and in Essence of Joy," said Allegro, who performed with the University Choir as a freshman. "The venue is absolutely gorgeous and what better place to be than in our nation’s capital," he said.

Connelly said he is looking forward to the group’s performance. "After having spent last summer in Washington, D.C., I can't wait to return and perform there with my best friends," he said. "The National Presbyterian Cathedral is a beautiful venue that I know the members of EOJ will love performing in. I expect the performance to be full of energy because EOJ will be really excited to have the opportunity to be there."

The ensemble has been preparing all semester for this concert, along with all of the other concerts on its very busy performance schedule.

"Essence is preparing the same as we would for any other performance," Pfaff said. "We always strive toward a very high standard of musicianship and this concert is no different. We make a conscious effort to memorize our music so we can really respond to what we see in the gestures from our conductor, Dr. Tony Leach, and we aim to be present throughout the performance and not take any moment for granted."

Added Allegro, "I am most curious, as I am with most of our engagements, to see the audience that day. The audience is who and what brings life to performances. A combination of the line-up of performers and the venue location will bring a wide array of individuals to National Presbyterian that day, so it will be a wonderful collection there for everyone’s musical offering."

Pursing a major in the College of Education is a challenging undertaking, because of the heavy courseload and, for those in teaching majors, the commitments to field experiences such as student-teaching. That’s a challenge Pfaff is facing this semester.

"I am currently student teaching at State College Area High School, which involves me being at the school from 8:10 a.m. to 3:16 p.m. at minimum every single day. Rehearsal for EOJ is 3:30-4:30 p.m., so I can almost never make it on time and attend a full rehearsal. I have to use my personal days to take off from school in order to attend the President's Concert," she said.

"Everything really just comes down to priorities and making sure you choose what is important to you, and while teaching is extremely important to me and will be my chosen career, this group has impacted my life so greatly and this performance is very special, so I was willing to sacrifice my personal days for it," Pfaff said.

Connelly said time management is an important component of being in Essence of Joy. "We often have performances in the middle of the day that require us to leave class early or miss class altogether, although these are University-approved absences," he said. "As long as members get their work ahead of time and take responsibility for what they are missing, then there should be no true challenge of balancing coursework while participating in EOJ. Dr. Leach also is extremely understanding if students can't make a performance for a legitimate reason."

Allegro always has had to be creative in balancing his academic commitments with the time required by Essence of Joy and his other activities. "After taking on graduate coursework, I had to become even more creative in balancing my calendar and accomplishing all of the tasks at hand. Everyone has their outlet, something they do to take their mind off of school, work, or other demands. I have always viewed my time in Essence of Joy as my outlet," he said.

"Every semester, it has been the first course on my schedule and life gets planned around choir. Essence of Joy is truly my joy and my refuge in so many ways," Allegro continued. "I know that even though travel weekends and long concerts squeeze my time for assignments and class preparation, I would not be heading to graduation this May and August if it were not for those moments in choir."

Whether in a classroom teaching, or in an office creating education policy, College of Education students will impact lives when they graduate. Because they could end up working anywhere, it’s important for them to understand the larger world around them, and be exposed to diverse people, places and life experiences, to help them succeed in their careers. Allegro, Connelly and Pfaff all said being in Essence of Joy has helped them to grow in this way.

"Growing up in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, I wasn't exactly around a diverse group of people,’’ Connelly said. "EOJ is diverse in almost every aspect, from race to religion to sexual orientation to the major they are pursuing. On top of singing great music, the friends I've made through EOJ are some of the best people I've ever met. The diversity in the group has helped me grow as a student and helped me become a more informed person overall," he said.

"I have friends form various religions, backgrounds, and overall walks of life, and we all come together to make wonderful music together and all truly care about each other. We always refer to EOJ as our family, and I firmly believe this is how we treat each other," Pfaff said.

Allegro said EOJ has given him the time to continue his experiences with a musical ensemble, while also challenging him to grow and experience life in ways that he hadn’t before, both as a vocalist/performer and as an individual. "I have traveled to places, met people, and been a part of musical moments that I will cherish and remember forever,’’ he said. "My time in EOJ has without a doubt been the highlight of my Penn State involvement."

In addition to Essence of Joy, the President's Concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., will include performances by the chamber orchestra Strings and the Graduate Brass Quintet with organist and Alumni Fellow William Neil (Class of 1966). Admission to the concert is complimentary and no ticket is required. The President’s Concert is a collaboration among the President’s Office, the Penn State School of Music and the Penn State Alumni Association.

Prior to the concert, the Alumni Association and Penn State President Eric Barron will host a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. in Stone Hall, located in the lower level of the National Presbyterian Church. Admission to the reception is $25 for Alumni Association members; $40 for non-members; $15 for college students; $10 for children between the ages of 6 and 17; and free for children age 5 and under. Those attending the reception will be escorted to reserved seating for the President's Concert. 

Register for the pre-concert reception by March 9. Business attire is recommended.

By Annemarie Mountz (March 2017)

Heard on Campus: Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-director of EmbraceRace

"We still have a way to go to have a truly inclusive democracy and race is probably the most important piece of that. ..."

Andrew Grant-Thomas
Photo by Annemarie Mountz
"We still have a way to go to have a truly inclusive democracy and race is probably the most important piece of that. Race, or the way we deal with race, the way we negotiate race, which is too often poorly, is the single biggest reason we fall short of that promise. ... We are still very much a nation of individual groups or separate and distinct groups of people who are living very different realities and who interpret those realities in very different ways. That poses a serious obstacle to an inclusive and thriving multiracial democracy."

-- Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-director of EmbraceRace, speaking about "Making 'America' Possible: A Conversation About Building Community and Embracing Race," March 8 in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The Center for Education and Civil Rights presentation was co-sponsored by the Child Care Center at Hort Woods, the Bennett Family Center, and the Law and Education Alliance at Penn State.

Study explores impacts of school choice on segregation

Associate Professor of Education Erica Frankenberg is leading a study that explores how school choice is affecting racial composition and segregation in Pennsylvania schools.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Diversity in schools is important for students’ experiences and outcomes in schools and beyond, reducing prejudices and ensuring the likelihood of living and working in integrated environments as adults. Penn State researchers are exploring how school choice is affecting racial composition and segregation in Pennsylvania schools.

According to lead researcher Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and Population Research Institute associate at Penn State, this is one of the first studies to explore how charter schools could be affecting the racial composition of public schools.

“It is critical to assess how student movement from charter schools affects school segregation during this time of persisting neighborhood segregation, and to see what choices students and parents make when or if more integrative options exist," said Frankenberg.

“Minority students in more diverse school settings have higher short-term and long-term academic outcomes than those who attend racially isolated minority schools. Meanwhile, benefits to white students as well as students of color include reduced prejudice and a higher likelihood of living and working in diverse environments as adults.”

— Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education

Using student data from Pennsylvania, the researchers focused on approximately 8,000 students transferring from public schools to charter schools in ten metropolitan areas where there was more than one potential brick-and-mortar charter school option, to see how access to more racially diverse schools affected school choice.

“Although other studies have used individual data to examine charter school racial composition and segregation," Frankenberg explained, "this project considered student enrollment decisions when presented with schools of differing racial composition,”

They also assessed the racial composition of charter schools that students enrolled in and compared them to the racial composition of public schools from which the students transferred. “We found that black and Latino students tended to move into charter schools that were more racially isolated than the public schools they left,” said Frankenberg.

The researchers found that factors such as distance to the chosen school was a factor but was not the determining factor of school choice. In fact, they found that the average distance to a chosen charter school was at least twice as far as the nearest charter school for black and Latino students, regardless of their age group.

While Frankenberg and her team weren’t surprised by this discovery, as previous research points to higher segregation in charter schools than traditional public schools, especially among black students, they were surprised by other findings.

“We found that white students in Philadelphia metropolitan areas more often transferred to charter schools that had a higher percentage of white students, while white students in non-Philadelphia metropolitan areas moved to slightly more diverse charter schools than the public schools they left,” said Frankenberg.

The findings raise critical questions regarding educational equity, and the effects of educational reform and school-choice policy on fostering racially diverse schools. It is important, said Frankenberg, because research confirms the importance of attending diverse schools for students of all racial groups.

“Minority students in more diverse school settings have higher short-term and long-term academic outcomes than those who attend racially isolated minority schools,” she said. “Meanwhile, benefits to white students as well as students of color include reduced prejudice and a higher likelihood of living and working in diverse environments as adults.”

This research illuminates the rapidly growing number of students transferring to charters in Pennsylvania who are making choices that are more segregative. “In the future, I would like to research the factors that influence school choice, as well as the impacts of other types of school choice, such as cyber schools, on traditional public school racial composition, and look at other states to see how they differ from Pennsylvania.”

Other researchers on the project were Stephen Kotok, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies, University of Texas at El Paso; Kai Schafft, associate professor of education, Penn State; and Bryan Mann, assistant professor of educational leadership, policy, and technology studies, University of Alabama.


The research was published in the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives, with initial work supported by a Center for Rural Pennsylvania grant. Technical support was provided by the Population Research Institute, part of the Social Sciences Research Institute.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Penn State Social Science Research Institute (March 2017)

Presentation to explain how immigration orders impact K-12 education

Educators, counselors, school administrators and preservice educators can get a crash course on how the recent executive orders on immigration affect their work at "Immigration in a New Administration: What Educators Need to Know."

CECR logoEducators, counselors, school administrators and preservice educators can get a crash course on how the recent executive orders on immigration affect their work at "Immigration in a New Administration: What Educators Need to Know." The program, co-sponsored by the Center for Education and Civil Rights in the College of Education and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, will run from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in Panorama Village Building, Room A, 240 Villa Crest Drive, State College.

Speakers will provide an “Immigration 101 for Educators” description of the recent executive orders on immigration, and also draw connections between immigration enforcement and schools. The program will focus on K-12 educators’ rights and responsibilities regarding immigration, existing federal guidance for children from immigrant families, and offer ideas for communicating with families affected by these policies and achieving a safe learning environment for all children.

Space is limited, so those interested in attending should RSVP to centerforimmigrantsr@pennstatelaw.psu.edu by April 3. For resources about immigration, visit https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/immigration-after-election online.

College doctoral alumni among those honored during reunion weekend

Penn State doctoral alumni, including five from the College of Education, celebrated the 10th, 25th and 50th anniversary of receiving their doctorate on March 25 at the Graduate School’s annual Doctoral Alumni Recognition Luncheon.

50th anniverary alumni
College of Education alumni Ruby L. Meis (seated, second from left) and David H. Spahr (seated, fourth from left) celebrated the 50th anniversary of receiving their doctoral degrees on March 25.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State doctoral alumni celebrating the 10th, 25th, and 50th anniversary of receiving their doctorate returned to University Park on March 25 for the Graduate School’s annual Doctoral Alumni Recognition Luncheon in Kern Graduate Building. The 18 honorees included five doctoral alumni observing their 10-year anniversary, nine commemorating their 25-year anniversary, and four who merited special distinction by joining more than 3,000 doctoral alumni who have been recognized over the years as 50th anniversary celebrants.

Speakers at the ceremony included Krishna C. Nadella, president, Graduate School Alumni Society; Paul Clifford, chief executive officer, Penn State Alumni Association; Kevin Steele, president, Penn State Alumni Association; and Regina Vasilatos-Younken, vice provost for Graduate Education and dean of the Graduate School.

“The achievements of our alumni are sources of inspiration and pride for our current graduate scholars and the entire Penn State community. Their successes are an enduring testament to the powerful role graduate education plays in preparing individuals who have contributed many of the innovations and discoveries that have fueled the nation’s economic, cultural and civic success for decades,” said Vasilatos-Younken.

The doctoral alumni honored at the recognition luncheon were:

10th-year anniversary

Sherrie Myers Bartell, public administration

Aline Gomez Maqueo Chew, biochemistry, microbiology and molecular Biology 

Julia Maresca, biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology

Brian M. Saltsman, biobehavioral health

Marcus A. Whitehurst, educational theory and policy

25th-year anniversary

Joseph H. Clapper, curriculum and instruction

Patrick Cusatis,  business administration

Stephen C. Grado,  forest resources

Delmar R. Hart, educational administration

Raul E. Macchiavelli, statistics

Cathy A. Rusinko, business administration

James M. Trout, physiology

Jonathan M. Weiss,  mechanical engineering

Dah-Wei Yuan, metallurgy

50th-year anniversary

James L. Knestrick, psychology

Ruby L. Meis, home economics education

Kenneth C. Oosterhout, chemical engineering

David H. Spahr, educational administration

This article originally appeared on Penn State News (March 2017)

Research first of its kind to study attendance patterns of rural students

While increasing college enrollment and graduate rates is a national priority, targeting the college behaviors of rural students is particularly important, according to Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of educational theory and policy and Social Sciences Research Institute co-funded faculty.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The benefits of obtaining a college degree are higher than ever in the current economy, as researchers estimate that by the year 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education.

“Our findings point to the importance of two-year colleges and highlight the influence of family on students’ postsecondary education choices.”

— Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of educational theory and policy

While increasing college enrollment and graduate rates is a national priority, targeting the college behaviors of rural students is particularly important, according to Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of educational theory and policy and Social Sciences Research Institute co-funded faculty. “Almost 10 million students in America go to public schools in rural areas, but rural students are vastly underrepresented in education research. Few studies have examined the college trajectories of rural youth at a time when the country has witnessed a heightened emphasis on increasing college graduation rates.”

With a growing number of rural students attending two- and four-year colleges, Byun and his team investigated the college attendance of over 2,000 students from rural high schools across the United States using data from the Rural High School Aspirations Study and its follow-up study, administered by the National Research Center on Rural Education Support at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Using this unique data set, the research team’s analysis, published in the journal Research in Higher Education, is the first to explore postsecondary attendance patterns among contemporary rural youth.

“We found that more than half of rural youth attended two-year institutions during their college career, and about a fourth initially enrolled in a two-year college before enrolling in a four-year college,” Byun said. “We also found that students who enrolled in a two-year college only, were far less likely to be enrolled in a college preparation program in high school and had the lowest educational aspirations.”

The researchers further identified factors that affect these college choices, revealing that parental education, college preparatory track and preparation experiences, and teacher expectations predicted students’ college attendance patterns.

“Our findings point to the importance of two-year colleges and highlight the influence of family on students’ postsecondary education choices,” said Byun. “Additionally, there are more community colleges now than there were a few decades ago, and their proximity creates a greater number of entry points to a four-year college.”

In the future, Byun would like to examine if students who first enrolled in a two-year college differed from 4-year attendees in terms of degree completion, and how other factors, such as academic, social and financial, affect four-year college attendance and completion. “In addition, incidences of students taking time off from college, transferring between colleges, starting at two-year colleges, delaying college, attending school as a part-time student, and attending multiple four-year institutions are more common than they were a few decades ago and can all affect college attendance and completion,” Byun said.

Other researchers on the project were Judith Meece, professor of educational psychology, and Charlotte Agger, doctoral student in education, both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The project was funded by the Spencer Foundation and the Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, with additional support from Population Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute (March 2017)

Preview Days matches higher education master's students with graduate assistantships

New graduate students say College of Education program is most helpful in their decision-making process.

A recruiting process geared to convince master's-degree candidates in higher education to attend Penn State, earn an assistantship and learn about town and gown isn't nearly as difficult as it might sound, according to a student who helps navigate the program.

"Truthfully, I do not think we need to 'convince them' to do anything,'' said Kerri Musick, a second-year master's student who helped conduct the College of Education's Preview Days program in early March. "The program was designed to speak for itself. All we have to do is get out of its way and let it do its job.

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Coleman Keith, Russ Norris and Kari Jo Freudigmann helped staff the Preview Days program.
"The academic experience in Penn State's program is top notch. As such, it attracts high-caliber students who are also looking at other impressive programs. What sets this program apart is the authentic, thoughtful and kind-hearted people who give it life,'' she said.

David Guthrie, associate professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, is in charge of Preview Days. He invited about 30 students who had been admitted to the program but had yet to officially commit. There were 18 graduate assistantship positions available and prospective students participated in nearly a half-dozen interviews prior to a matching process.

"It goes fast and it's very stressful for the candidates, but it's a great experience,'' Guthrie said. "Other places do it too and we have great students who come in. We're glad we can offer them jobs and the offices that hire them are really glad to get great people while they come here and do the two-year master's program. It's sort of a win-win-win for everybody, it seems to us.''

GA positions that students sought were in student activities, the Presidential Leadership Academy, admissions, the BLUEprint program (a peer mentoring program), Career Services, fraternity and sorority life, student conduct, LGBTQA and service leadership within Student Affairs, Guthrie explained.

Julia Muscato, who earned a Penn State degree in human development and family studies, was one of the participants who earned an assistantship with Career Services in programming.

"I think it was extremely helpful to be able to meet and speak with the current graduate assistants who are attending Penn State in this program,'' Muscato said. "To hear their own accounts and talk to them about why they chose this specific program was what made me feel the most connected to the higher education program here.''

Guthrie said the candidates are looking for a way to get a master's degree in higher education in a way that they'll have tuition paid for and a stipend.

"That's what these positions are,'' Guthrie said. "That's why they come, that's why the offices who offer these assistantships are very interested to participate because they are looking to find somebody to work in their office for the next two years.''

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Kristen Wong, Victoria Yu and Shameika Friasand took part in Preview Days with the higher education program.
Also provided is information about Penn State, more details about the program, an opportunity to meet faculty and current student and a "full-orbed sense" of what the whole program and institution is about, Guthrie said. Students rank the positions for which they'd like to be considered, the various office personnel rank the students they'd like to interview and the matching process continues.

Jake Edmunds, who will graduate in May from Messiah College with a degree in accounting and minor in English literature, said Penn State's Preview Days were a "highly influential factor" in him choosing a graduate program. "The welcoming atmosphere of this program, including such events as a Google Hangout for accepted students, all helped me to feel as if I was already considered to be a part of the community,'' he said.

"The chance to meet face-to-face with each of the GA providers was also incredibly helpful and encouraging. There were many factors that drew me to the College of Education. Ultimately, though, my experience at the Preview Days event, the testimonies of the current students, the emphasis on the cohort model and the availability of the graduate assistantship and research opportunities all convinced me that Penn State is the place for me,'' Edmunds said.

Muscato said her alumni mentor told her it would be beneficial to apply to Penn State because a lot of the research and scholarly writing that she would be studying would be written by many of the faculty at Penn State. "I always kept this in the back of my mind that by attending this university, and more specifically studying in this program, I would have my professors and faculty as an in-person resource,'' she said. "This is what ultimately led me to apply to Penn State.''

Current graduate students also enlightened candidates about the general State College area, such as where to live, affordability, bus services, local recreational opportunities and much more. "You're going to be living here for a couple of years, you need to know what it's going to feel like to live here for a couple of years,'' Guthrie said.

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Abigail Cottrell, Michael Moresi and Danelle Del Corso participate in the higher education Preview Days program.
He also said that Stephanie Knight, associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies, spoke at a human level about the pressures involved. "She said, 'yeah, I know this is kind of stressful, and you have interviews tomorrow but it will be OK,''' Guthrie said. Knight added that students should be themselves and relax "because we want to see who you are,'' according to Guthrie.

Not all students decide on Penn State; they opt for other institutions. "Our guess is you're not going to come here and pay full freight and work for nothing or not do any work,'' Guthrie said. "We know that part of the sell is to connect them with an office that in addition to the coursework that they'll get up here, they'll get two years of great experience and get good mentoring from the offices that they're in.

"They'll meet current students and many of the faculty and they'll say, 'ah, that seems like a pretty good place to go, and if I get an offer there, I'm gonna go,' because they liked what they saw in that day and a half/two-day event.''

That's the chord that resonated with Musick, who is from Southgate, Michigan, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in public administration and social studies. "My time as a GA has exposed me to incredibly talented colleagues who are now my friends and who helped me discern my professional pedagogy,'' she said. "This experience has made me not only a better professional but a better person.''

Musick, who experienced Preview Days as a prospective graduate student in 2015, knows Penn State's program isn't for everyone, and that's OK, she said. "Sure, in part, (this) can be a recruiting tactic. That is not the reason we do it. This approach is honest and what is in the best interest of the candidates,'' Musick said.

The pitches typically are on target, according to Guthrie. "The good news is this: People want to come to Penn State,'' he said.

"Almost all of these folks are easy, fast yesses. They got the word from me, then they got the terms of the contract from the office where they'll be working and it's a yes. They want to come. It's a good program and they have a great experience here.''

Jim Carlson (April 2017)

Doctoral candidate earns American Bar Foundation fellowship

Rachel Montgomery awarded $35,000 to assist emerging scholars studying a variety of higher education topics.

Rachel Montgomery was seeking opportunities to engage with other scholars dedicated to a range of legal and higher education topics; she found that and more, thanks to a fellowship from the American Bar Foundation (ABF) in partnership with the AccessLex Institute (ALI).

RACHELM
Doctoral candidate Rachel Montgomery was awarded a $35,000 fellowship from the American Bar Foundation and AccessLex Institute.
The Penn State College of Education doctoral candidate in higher education has been awarded a $35,000 fellowship from the ABF/ALI organizations. The purpose of the fellowship is to assist emerging scholars who are studying issues of access, affordability or value in legal and higher education.

"The fellowship will allow me the chance to more deeply delve into my research on law school leadership, and the specific context of law schools,'' Montgomery said. "With the interdisciplinary focus of my work, I look forward to presenting the findings of my research to multiple audiences in the coming year.''

Montgomery, who is expected to complete her doctorate in spring 2018, will be based at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. Her dissertation, according to David Guthrie, the chair of Montgomery's committee, is on a unique administrative strategy that particular law schools are using where there are two deans who are viewed simultaneously as holding the same title and potentially sharing aspects of certain roles. 

"Utilizing qualitative methods, I aim to present the experiences of my co-dean participants as I seek a clearer understanding of what 'administrative co-leadership' means and looks like within the U.S. law school context,'' Montgomery said.

Her dissertation on co-deans of law schools explores intersections between the education, industrial/organizational psychology and strategic management bodies of literature. "There is incredibly sparse literature on this topic, even with considering what is available across these fields,'' she said.

"Needless to say, she's absolutely delighted because it's a great award … stipend, moving expenses, and travel expenses for conferences,'' said Guthrie, who is joined on Montgomery's committee by Karly Ford, Neal Hutchens (University of Mississippi), Susan Mohammed and Karen Paulson.

"I am honored by the fellowship and found it very affirming,'' said Montgomery, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina, and a Master of Education from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She worked several years in student affairs at a number of liberal arts institutions before entering the higher education doctoral program, housed in the Department of Education Policy Studies, at Penn State.

“My overarching goal with undertaking these different projects is to conduct research that emphasizes not only the actions of leaders, but also their perspectives on the pressures under which they operate. With my research, I often seek to adopt a multi-level approach to exploring and understanding the experiences of different stakeholder groups.”--Rachel Montgomery

Her primary research interests in leadership and governance initially stemmed from an extensive internship experience at Lynchburg, and she explored this interest—narrowing her focus to law schools and legal education—in classes taught by the higher education and industrial/organizational psychology graduate programs at Penn State, she said.

Montgomery's recent research projects look more closely at select student subpopulations, or leadership and governance strategies employed during change processes occurring in varied higher education contexts. She has presented on possible dimensions of institutional image and institutional identity found the official and unofficial mission statements of liberal arts institutions at the annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts, hosted by the Gaede Institute at Westmont College.

She also has presented preliminary results of her national survey on homeschooler graduates as college students at the recent Student Research Conference hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“My overarching goal with undertaking these different projects is to conduct research that emphasizes not only the actions of leaders, but also their perspectives on the pressures under which they operate,'' Montgomery said. "With my research, I often seek to adopt a multi-level approach to exploring and understanding the experiences of different stakeholder groups.”

Montgomery said the connection she's developed with Penn State faculty and students in the higher education program has been beneficial.

"Both inside and outside the classroom, over the past three years I have engaged in meaningful discussions with faculty members and peers as I have developed my research projects and set my primary research agenda,'' she said. "I have grown much as a scholar and professional through this experience.''

Jim Carlson (April 2017)

College of Education well-represented at national conference

A large number of faculty and students are authors or co-authors of papers being presented in symposia, paper sessions or poster sessions at the American Education Research Association (AERA) meeting April 27 through May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.

**Editor's note: Contributors are not listed in authorship order. This list does not include session discussants, chairs or moderators.

AERA logoThe following faculty and students are authors or co-authors of papers being presented in symposia, paper sessions or poster sessions at the American Education Research Association (AERA) meeting April 27 through May 1 in San Antonio, Texas:

-- Bernard Badiali, associate professor of education and program coordinator, curriculum and supervision: symposium, "Authentic co-generative engagement: Reclaiming the pedagogy of supervision in clinical practice," in "Thinking about the Field: Supervision Scholars Think about its Past, Present and Future."

-- Bernard Badiali, associate professor of education and program coordinator, curriculum and supervision, with Nicole Titus, State College Area School District: paper session, "A Mentor's Perspective on a Co-Teaching Relationship Within a Professional Development School," in "Examinations of Partnership: Approaches for Teaching, Learning, and Leading Together in Professional Development Schools"; and paper session, "A Layered Approach to Critical Friendships in Self-Study for Investigating Coteaching in Field Experiences," in "Using Self-Study to Navigate School/University Partnerships."

-- David Baker, professor of educational theory and policy, and sociology, with graduate student Andrew Pendola: paper session, "Fortified, Not Secularized: Longitudinal Influence of Higher Education on Religious Beliefs and Behaviors," in "Education and Religious Identities."

-- David P. Baker, professor of educational theory and policy, and sociology, and Karly Ford, assistant professor of higher education, with graduate students Frank Fernandez, Yuan Chih Fu and Ismael Guillermo Munoz: roundtable session, "The Secret of American Science Capacity: Mass Higher Education and STEM Ph.D. Production," in "Looking Back to Move Forward: Publishing, Production and Pedagogy."

-- David Baker, professor of educational theory and policy, and sociology, with graduate students Bryan Arthur Mann and Renata Horvatek: paper session, "Who Loses Students to Low-quality Schools? Relationships between Cyber Charters and Educational Disadvantage Over Time," in "School Choice: Politics of Opportunity and Identity."

-- Gail M. Boldt, professor of language and literacy education, with Joseph Michael Valente, assistant professor of early childhood education: symposium, "Disabled Childhoods: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Inclusion Policies," in "The Child in Question: Exploring Social Constructions of Childhood."

-- Gail Boldt, professor of language and literacy education, with Kevin M. Leander, Vanderbilt University: symposium, "' Thinking the assemblage: Immanence in the movements of narratives, LEGO, and a child," in "Assembling the Assemblage in Literacy Studies."

-- Marcela Borge, assistant professor of education in Learning and Performance Systems, with graduate students Dhvani Ashok Toprani and Shulong Yan: paper session, "Exploring the Expression of Curiosity in Design Learning Environment," in "Design of Innovative and Active Learning Environments."

-- Julia Bryan, associate professor of counselor education, with Ji Hyun Kim, GoodFriends USA; Jungnam Kim, Ball State University; and Younyoung Choi, University of Maryland: roundtable session, "Asian Immigrant Parents' Personal and Community Empowerment, Parent Networks, and Children's Academic Performance in Schools," in "Exploring Various Perspectives within the Asian Pacific American Educational Experience."

-- Julia Bryan, associate professor of counselor education, with Jungnam Kim, Ball State University: poster session, Intersectionality and Parent Empowerment: Intersections of Parents’ Race/ethnicity SES and Language on Parent Empowerment," in "Using Quantitative Methodologies in the Study of Counseling Psychology."

-- Julia Bryan, associate professor of counselor education, with Jungnam Kim, Ball State University; Renae Mayes, Ball State University; and Erik M. Hines, University of Connecticut: paper session, "The Relationship Between School Counselors and Parents for College Going," in "Family Engagement during Transitions to Secondary and Postsecondary Educational Settings."

-- Julia Bryan, associate professor of counselor education, with Gitima Sharma, California State University-Fresno, and Jungnam Kim, Ball State University: poster session, "The Effects of Purpose Orientations on Recent High School Graduates' College Application Decisions," in "Factors Influencing High School and Postsecondary Vocational and Career Choices."

-- Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of educational theory and policy, with Charlotte Agger, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Judith L. Meece, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: poster session, "Fleeing the Nest or Staying Close? How Family and Place Shape Rural Adolescents' Postsecondary Outcomes," in "College Student Adjustment: Health, Well-Being, and Achievement Outcomes."

-- Roy Clariana, department head, Learning and Performance Systems, and professor of learning, design and technology, with graduate student Kyung Kim: paper session, "Automatic representation of knowledge structure: The effect of reflection on knowledge structure for expository text comprehension," in "Evaluating Multimedia Learning and Instructional Design Principles."

-- Amy Crosson, assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, with Margaret McKeown, University of Pittsburgh: paper session, "Development of an Academic Vocabulary and Morphology Intervention to Enhance Literacy Outcomes for Adolescent English Learners," in "Interventions to Support Literacy Development."

-- Karen Eppley, associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction: invited roundtable, "The Journal of Research in Rural Education," in "Meet Journal Editors: Journal Talks 4"; and paper session, "Reading Rural Place in the Four Corners of Picture Books," in "Considering Place in Rural Teaching and Learning."

-- Dorothy H. Evensen, professor of higher education and senior scientist: roundtable session, "Getting it right from the beginning: Locating a praxis-based pedagogy for educating the professional novice," in "From Challenges to Opportunities: Pedagogical Principles for the Next Generation of Educating Professionals."

-- Karly Ford, assistant professor of higher education, with Jason Thompson, New York University: paper session, "Inherited Prestige: Intergenerational Access to Selective Universities," in "The Role of Social and Cultural Capital in Postsecondary School Transitions."

-- Jennifer Frank, assistant professor in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, with Sebrina Doyle, senior research assistant in Health and Human Development; Yoonkyung Oh, research associate in Health and Human Development; Mark Greenberg, professor of human development and family studies, and psychology; Patricia Jennings, University of Virginia; Joshua L. Brown, Fordham University; Regin Tanler, Fordham University; Anna DeWeese, Fordham University; and Anthony DeMauro, University of Virginia: symposium, "The Long-Term Effects of the CARE for Teachers Program on Teachers' Well-Being and Classroom Quality: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial of CARE," in "Teacher, Classroom and Student Impacts of Teacher Mindfulness Programs in Elementary and Middle School Settings."

-- Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of educational leadership: invited speaker session, "Back to the Future: Reconsidering Resegregation of American Schools and Education Opportunity."

-- Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of educational leadership, with Genevieve Parker Siegel-Hawley, Virginia Commonwealth University; Gary A. Orfield, University of California-Los Angeles; Jenn Ayscue, University of California-Los Angeles; Rachel Anne Levy, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Tara Vahdani, University of California-San Diego: paper session, "New Flexibility, New Challenges? Federally Funded Magnet Schools Post–Parents Involved," in "School Choice and Segregation: Evidence on Equity, Achievement, and Diversity."

-- Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of educational leadership, with graduate student Kendra Taylor: paper session, "Concentrated Affluence, Segregation, and Boundaries in the Metropolitan South," in "Boundaries and Borders: The political and social context of segregation and special inequality."

-- Ed Fuller, associate professor of educational leadership: working group roundtable, "Transitioning from Assistant Principal to Principal: Differences by Personal, School, and Labor Market Characteristics," in "Exploring the K–12 Leadership Labor Market in Different Contexts"; and paper session, "Examining State Plans to Improve Access to Effective Educators and New Opportunities Under ESSA," in "School Leaders' Roles and Actions Toward Improvement."

-- Liliana Garces, associate professor of higher education, senior research associate and affiliate Penn State Law faculty: invited speaker session, "Scholarly Conversations: Considering Pressing Issues in Higher Education Research."

-- Liliana Garces, associate professor of higher education, senior research associate and affiliate Penn State Law faculty; with Patricia Marin, Michigan State University; Karen L. Miksch, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; and Catherine L. Horn, University of Houston: paper session, "The Application of Scholarly Knowledge: Amici Use of Research in Fisher I," in "Race and Gender Diversity in Education Law and Policy."

-- Allison Henward, assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, with Mene Tauaa, University of Hawaii-Manoa, and Ronald Turituri: symposium, "Equity through Dialogue: American Samoan Community Based Perspectives of Head Start," in session "Examining Head Start: The Role of Curriculum, Nutrition, Assessment, and Research Engagements."

-- Ty Hollett, assistant professor in Learning and Performance Systems: roundtable session, "Symbiotic Learning Partnerships in Youth Action Sports," in "Exploring Time, Place and Space with Digital Media."

-- Ty Hollett, assistant professor in Learning and Performance Systems, with Jeremiah Holden Kalir, University of Colorado-Denver: roundtable session, "Playgrids as New Media Configurations for Learning Across Space, Time, and Scale," in "Exploring Time, Place and Space with Digital Media."

-- Ravinder Koul, associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction, with John Joseph Sosik, professor in management and organization; and Jae Uk Chun, Korea University: roundtable session, "Examining Psychological Wellbeing of Thai College Students Through a Self-Presentational and Impression Management Lens," in "Stress, Coping, and Resilience among College Students."

-- Susan Land, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with graduate student Jessica Briskin and Gary Chinn, IT manager in the E-Learning Institute: roundtable session, "Multidisciplinary Methods for Virtual Studio Development," in "Opportunities and Challenges for Technology in the Arts."

-- Susan Land, associate professor of learning, design and technology, and Heather Toomey Zimmerman, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with graduate student Gi Woong Choi: structured poster session, "Scaffolding Problem Solving with Mobile Devices in an Outdoor Environment," in "Fostering Deep Learning in Problem-Solving Contexts through Effective Design of Learning Environments with Technology Support."

-- Pui-Wa Lei, professor of educational psychology; James DiPerna, professor of school psychology; and graduate students Weiyi Cheng and Susan Crandall Hart: paper session, "Intervention Effect on Social Skill Improvement Using a Latent Transition Analysis," in "Methods for Identifying and Supporting At-risk Students."

-- Maria Lewis, assistant professor in Education Policy Studies: paper session, "Using Education Law as a Tool to Empower Social Justice Leaders to Promote LGBTQ Inclusion," in "Fostering Educational Equity and Social Justice."

-- Scott McDonald, associate professor of science education and director of the Krause Innovation Studio, with graduate students Phil Tietjen, Koun Choi and Saliha Ozken-Bekiroglu: paper session, "A Sociomaterial Investigation of an Active Learning Space," in "New Approaches to Assessing Learning Environments."

-- Bonnie J.F. Meyer, professor of educational psychology, and Pui-Wa Lei, professor of educational psychology, with Kausalai K. Wijekumar, Texas A&M University-College Station; Anita C. Hernandez, New Mexico State University; and Andrea Beerwinkle, Texas A&M University-College Station: paper session, "Elementary Spanish Speaking English Learners Improve in Comprehension with Text Structure Instruction on the Web," in "Research in Reading and Literacy II."

-- Marsha E. Modeste, assistant professor in Education Policy Studies: roundtable session, "Translation, Interpretation and Implementation in Cross-Border Policy Contexts: The Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning," in "Policy Effects on Leaders in International Contexts."

-- Marsha E. Modeste, assistant professor in Education Policy Studies, with Alexandra E. Pavlakis, Southern Methodist University: paper session, "Theory amid Policy and Practice: A Typology of Theory Use in Educational Leadership Scholarship," in "Research Methods in Educational Leadership."

-- Paul Morgan, professor of education, with Yoonkyung Oh, research associate in Health and Human Development; Marianne Hillemeier, department head and professor of health policy and administration, and demography; Steven Maczuga, systems analyst and programmer; and George Farkas, University of California-Irvine: paper session, Persistently Low Science Achievement in U.S. Schools: Multiyear Longitudinal Trajectories and Early Risk Factors, in "Academic Engagement, Achievement and Risk in Adolescence: School, Family and Peer Predictors."

-- Leticia Oseguera, associate professor of higher education and senior research associate, with graduate students Maria Javiera de los Rios, Hyun Ju Park and Elyzza Aparicio: roundtable session, "Mental Health and High Achieving STEM Scholars," in "Student resiliency and agency in STEM."

-- P. Karen Murphy, professor of educational psychology and the Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow, with Carla Marie Firetto, postdoctoral scholar, and graduate students Liwei Wei, Mengyi Li and Rachel Miriam Vriend Croninger: poster, "The Effect of Using a Graphic Organizer on Fourth Graders' Argumentative Writing," in "Understanding Instruction, Learning, and Motivation in Literacy."

-- Ashley N. Patterson, assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction: roundtable session, "Diverse Learners in Diverse Spaces: International Study Abroad Experiences of Historically Underrepresented College Students," in "Boundary Crossings" and Critical Community Engagements: Learning Environments as Promisors of Equitable Educational Opportunity"; and invited speaker session, "Writing for Publication and Enjoying It: Advice From Emerging Scholars on the Writing Process."

-- Julia Plummer, associate professor of science education, and graduate student Amy Rene Ricketts: structured poster session, "Scientific Phenomena in Museum Programs: Using Video to Observe Young Children's Explanations," in "Observational Methodologies across Informal Learning Spaces."

-- Diandra Prescod, assistant professor in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, with Christopher Belser, University of Central Florida, and Andrew Patrick Daire, Virginia Commonwealth University: poster session, "Reducing Negative Career Thoughts in STEM-Interested Undergraduates," in "Factors Influencing High School and Postsecondary Vocational and Career Choices."

-- Gabriela Richard, assistant professor in Learning and Performance Systems: structured poster session, "Making Innovators: Youth Collaboratively Designing Wearable, Bidirectionally Responsive Games as a Model of Epistemic Agency," in "From Making to Agentic Participation: Perspectives on and Approaches to Fostering Epistemic Engagement in Making."

-- Gabriela Richard, assistant professor in Learning and Performance Systems, with graduate student Sagun Giri: paper session, "Youth Collaborative Making of Bidrectionally Responsive Wearable Games as Extending Computational Thinking and Diverse Interests," in "Emerging Computer Science Research From K–12 Contexts."

-- Maryellen Schaub, assistant professor of educational theory and policy, and professor-in-charge of Education and Public Policy, with graduate students Andrew Pendola, Ismael Munoz and Mayli Zapata: paper session, "Early Opportunities and 4th Grade Success," in "School Readiness: Indicators, Predictors, and Effects."

-- Deborah Schussler, associate professor in Education Policy Studies: symposium, "Teacher dispositions as a means to moral practice and the cultivation of practical wisdom," in "Dispositions for Teaching and Learning: Conceptualization and enactment across teacher education contexts."

-- Deborah Schussler, associate professor in Education Policy Studies, with Jennifer Frank, assistant professor in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education; Michelle Wright, research associate in psychology; and graduate students Julia Mahfouz and Junxiu Yu: poster session, "Virtual Role-Play Modules: Improving Teacher Candidate Communication Skills to Curtail Bullying," in "Division K: Section 9, Poster Session."

-- Pria Sharma, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with Mahir Akgun, instructor of IST: roundtable session, "Exploration of shared epistemic agency in the context of knowledge-building activities of middle school students," in "Understanding Science Learning."

-- Priya Sharma, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with Pui-Wa Lei, professor of educational psychology; and Mahir Akgun, instructor of IST: poster session, "The role of self-regulation and personal epistemological beliefs in predicting students’ performance in idea improvement," in "Examining Synergistic Relationships Among Self-Regulated Learning and Motivational Variables."

-- Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education: invited speaker session, "Impacting the Life and Research of Others: A Tribute to Gregg Schraw."

-- Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, with graduate student D. Jake Follmer: poster session, Executive function and reading comprehension: A meta-analytic review," in "Poster Session 3 - Cognitive Processes."

-- Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, with graduate students D. Jake Follmer and Huiqing (Helen) Hu: paper session, "Measures of self-regulated learning: Examining convergence and contributions to comprehension of expository text," in "Measuring and Facilitating Self-Regulated Learning"; and poster session, "A test of the predictive relations among self-regulated learning constructs," in "Poster Session 3 - Cognitive Processes."

-- Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, with Philip M. Reeves, Yale University: poster session, "Development of the Pragmatic Executive Help-Seeking Scale," in "Poster Session 3 - Cognitive Processes."

-- Jeanine Staples, associate professor of language and literacy education and African-American studies: roundtable session, "t/Terror Narratives of Black Girls and Women: An Intersectionality Study," in "Critical Examinations of Black Girls and Women in Education."

-- Dana L. Stuchul, associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction, with Madhu Suri Suri Prakash, professor of educational theory and policy: paper session, "Joys of Teaching Genius: Walking On Water with Ivan Illich," in "To Hell With Good Intentions: Illich and AERA."

-- Peggy N. Van Meter, associate professor and professor in charge of educational psychology, and Robert J. Stevens, professor of educational psychology, with graduate student Huiqing (Helen) Hu: poster session, "The Development and Validation of the Writing and Self-Regulation Strategies Instrument for Biology Lab Reports," in "Science Teaching and Learning SIG Poster Session."

-- Liang Zhang, associate professor of educational theory and policy and senior research associate, with graduate student Qiong Zhu: paper session, "Major-occupation Match and Return to Double Major," in "Tracing the Labyrinth: Exploring the Interaction Between Campus Governance and Public Policy."

-- Heather Toomey Zimmerman, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with Phillip Galinsky and Koraly Perez-Edgar from the Department of Psychology, and graduate student Yong Ju Jung: poster session, "Using Video and Eye-Tracking Methods to Investigate Children's Situational Interest in a Science Museum," in "Learning and Teaching in Social and Cultural Contexts: Methodological Insights."

-- Heather Toomey Zimmerman, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with graduate student Yong Ju Jung: structured poster session, "Exploring Children's Interest by Using Video Data in a Science Museum," in "Observational Methodologies across Informal Learning Spaces."

-- Heather Toomey Zimmerman, associate professor of learning, design and technology, with graduate students Soo Hyeon Kim and Mona AlQahtani: structured poster session, "Engineering Argumentation during a Making and Tinkering Afterschool Program with Squishy Circuits," in "From Making to Agentic Participation: Perspectives on and Approaches to Fostering Epistemic Engagement in Making."

Graduate students

-- Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck, with Joseph Merlin Bayeck, Goucher College; and Stella O. Onyeagbako, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria: roundtable session, "African-immigrant students in the US: Making meaning of video game play in their lives," in "Messages from the Diaspora: Exploring the Lived Experiences of Immigrant Youth."

-- Kyung Sun Chung and Ismael Guillermo Munoz: poster session, "Assessing the Effect of Teacher Efficacy on Students' Math Achievement Using Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling," in "Mathematics in Teacher Education and Professional Development."

-- R. Tyler Derreth: roundtable session, "Community Engagement in Curricula: Partnerships of Learning Beyond the Classroom," in "Understanding Local and Community Partnerships."

-- Adam Hocker, with Stormy Stark: poster session, "Too Short a Cord, Too Long a Distance: Phase II," in "School Leadership and Principals' Management Practices."

-- Renata Horvatek, with Armend Tahirsylaj, Linnaeus University: poster session, 'Small' States Acting 'Big:' How Minority Education Models in Croatia and Kosovo Perpetuate Segregated Societies," in Poster Session 16.

-- Kayla Marie Johnson: roundtable session, "Using Photo-Cued Reflection to Examine Incidental Learning in Short-Term Study Abroad," in "A Global Perspective."

-- Kayla Marie Johnson and Joseph Levitan: roundtable session, "'We Had to Check Our Dignity at the Door:' Social-Emotional Learning in For-Profit International Travel," in "Fresh Insights in Social and Emotional Learning: Qualitative Investigations of Toddlers, Teachers, and Travel."

-- Kayla Marie Johnson, with Constantin Schreiber, Arizona State University: roundtable session, "Exploring Graduate Student-Run Education Journals: A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding Characteristics and Challenges," in "Examining Mechanisms for Educational Delivery."

-- Chang Liu and Chiau-Wen Jang: paper session, "Teachers' Perceptions of Instructional Supervision: Lessons Learned from Chinese Teachers' Authentic Voices," in "Developing Instructional Leadership Across a Continuum: Voices from the Field."

-- Soo Hyeon Kim and Gi Woong Choi: paper session, "Methodological Implications for Using Head-mounted Action Cameras in Video Research," in "Methodological Complexities of Understanding Learning."

-- Huacong Liu: paper session, "Affirmative Action Bans and Student Body Compositions," in "Tracing the Labyrinth: Exploring the Interaction Between Campus Governance and Public Policy."

-- Jing Liu, with Samara Wolf Fetner of AERA: paper session, "A Multidimensional Measure of Teacher Empowerment," in "Empowering Teachers Through Professional Learning."

-- Hilario Junior Lomeli: paper session, "Alternative Schools as Dumping Grounds: Latinx Experiences of Disposability in Houston, Texas," in "Public Policy and Educational Practices for Latinx Students."

-- Julia Mahfouz: roundtable session: "Exploring the Influence of CARE on Principals' Leadership and Well-Being," in "School Leaders Ready to Lead: Developing the Social and Emotional Skills of School Administrators."

-- Bryan Arthur Mann and Heather Bennett: symposium, "Integration without Integrating? Differences in Charter and Traditional Public Schooling Demographics in Gentrified Areas of Washington DC and Los Angeles," in "Policy, Politics, Choice and Geography: How Place Matters Across the P-20 Spectrum."

-- Natasha Mansur, with Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Teachers College, Columbia University: symposium, "Favor Reciprocation Theory in Education: A New Corruption Typology," in "Systemic Academic Corruption in Higher Education: A Global Perspective."

-- Ismael Guillermo Munoz: paper session, "Understanding the Role of Education in Breaking the Occurrence of Domestic Violence in Peru," in "Social Consequences of Educational Inequality: International Perspectives."

-- Vernelle A.A. Noel: roundtable session, "Wire-Bending as Inquiry and Computation," in "Mixed Methods Research in the Lived Experiences of Artists and Arts Educators."

-- Amy Rene Ricketts: paper session, "Positioning and Teacher Learning in Professional Development," in "Positionality, Agency, and Emotion in Professional Development."

-- Shi Pu: paper session, "Peer Effects and College Students Engagement," in "Importance of social ties in student engagement."

-- Fariha Hayat Salman: poster session, "CLAD: Expanding Youth Learning Opportunities for Sustainable Engineering Design Education," in "Immersive Environments for Learning: Student Engagement and Learning in Games and Augmented Reality."

-- Hengtao Tang: paper session, "Students' Perceptions of Interactions in a MOOC: Completing Students' Perspective," in "Technology as a Mechanism for Supporting Learning, Motivation, Identity, and Social Interaction."

-- Joseph Tise, with Elizabeth Farley-Ripple, University of Delaware, and Katherine Tilley, University of Delaware: paper session, "Brokerage and the Research-Practice Gap: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," in "Organizational Theory: Changes and Challenges."

-- Joseph Tise, with Henry May, University of Delaware; Kalyn McDonough, University of Delaware; Katherine Tilley, University of Delaware; Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple, University of Delaware; and Rebecca A. Maynard, University of Pennsylvania: roundtable session, "Multilevel Measurement of Organizational Use of Research in Schools," in "Research Use: Perspectives on Conceptualizing and Measuring Issues Surrounding Use."

-- Yao Xiong, with Hongli Li, Georgia State University: roundtable session, "What Factors Influence Test Preparation in the K-12 Context? Evidence from the MET Project," in "Educator Responses to Accountability Policies."

Alumna dedicates career to American Indian education

Alumna Jane Harstad credits the College of Education for preparing her for her new position as Director of Indian Education for the State of Minnesota.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Talk to any teacher about the education profession, and they'll likely say that it is about more than just teaching. It's about inspiring kids and giving them opportunities to be successful in all aspects of life, regardless of economic status or the color of their skin.

Jane Harstad
Jane Harstad, a member of the Red Cliff band of the Ojibwe tribe, has dedicated her career to the education of American Indian students.

Penn State alumna Jane Harstad, a member of the Red Cliff band of the Ojibwe tribe, loved her time in the classroom teaching elementary students in Minnesota. But as an American Indian educator, she knew she needed to do more for her American Indian students, who often fall below the academic curve. Before she could better help them, she needed to get more education for herself. That's when she came to Penn State.

"If it wasn't for the American Indian Leadership Program, I wouldn't have been able to get my master's and Ph.D.," she said.

The American Indian Leadership Program (AILP) was established using Federal government funding in 1970 to train native educators to be leadership to American Indian nations.  More than 200 students from various tribes throughout North America have participated in the program.

"As a single parent of four on a teacher's salary, I definitely didn't have the money to go back to school by myself," Harstad said. "My thinking at the time was that I knew I could do more than what I was doing as a teacher for American Indian students and also that I could do more to help my own family. The AILP provided that scholarship for me to be able to do that."

When she arrived at Penn State in 2005, Harstad met her AILP cohort, a group that would support each other through their graduate program and later in their careers and lives.

"Without my friends, seriously lifelong friends from all over the country, I don't think any of us would have made it through by ourselves because Pennsylvania and State College was so far removed from what we had known," she said.

Although she graduated from AILP with her master's in educational leadership in 2006, Harstad and her children stayed in State College for an additional six years while she worked toward her doctorate in educational leadership.

"Once I was there, I realized I had so much more to learn so I just stayed and did my doctorate as well," she said.

During that time, she took advantage of every opportunity to advance American Indian education, including working with the State College Area School District to update its curriculum.

"I was surprised to learn that the State College Area School District even had an American Indian curriculum because, well, why would they have one, right?" she said.

Although the district was a step ahead of many other districts in regard to offering lessons on American Indians, Harstad immediately found issues with the curriculum that she said are indicative of a lot of curricula around the country.

"A lot of their lessons were outdated and it was all in the past tense," she said.  "So, we worked together to revise the entire curriculum to reflect present and some future tense. We also revised the literature because there are new books being written all the time by native authors."

When it comes to native students, it's important for educators to realize that they're not much different from other students, Harstad said. It is the education system that treats them differently, she said, and, often times misrepresents American Indian history and heritage.

"Many times, when these students open history books to read about Native American history, they're inferred to be gone or they don't exist or they are just omitted from the books, or American Indians are discussed in a destructive way or there are untruths about them," she said.

"When students go to school, they should be able to look at their surroundings and the resources and say, 'I see people just like me,'" Harstad said. "So when an American Indian student comes into a school and sees that there is no reflection, it's telling them that they're not as important as other students."

This is a common issue that many minority students experience, Harstad said, but specifically native students, who make up just 1 percent to 2 percent of the population. The lack of reflection they see in schools, coupled with a cultural characteristic of being shy, can lead to academic setbacks, something Harstad experienced firsthand.

"My learning at Penn State was so much more than just going to classes and passing them, and it wasn't just a place to be for a little while. Penn State was an experience."

— Jane Harstad

"I did not learn how to read until I was in third grade," she said. "That was because I was always trying to be quiet and not catch the attention of the teacher or the other students. I just wanted to follow the rules and not get in trouble. So by the third grade, I literally did not know how to read."

Harstad said she was fortunate that her teacher did notice her and her inability to read, and provided her with intensive reading intervention that year.

"Since then, I have been an avid reader," she said. "I just needed somebody to notice me and help me."

After she graduated with her doctorate in 2012, Harstad moved back to Minnesota to serve the population that inspired her to continue her own education. When she returned, she was met with a failing economy and started working at a native-owned bookstore while also serving as an educational consultant for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. In 2016, she was named principal of Nay Ah Shing Tribal School, and as of March 1, she is the Director of Indian Education for the State of Minnesota.

"When I heard about this job opening at the Minnesota American Indian Education Association conference last year, I knew that this would be the job that would allow me to use all of my skills I learned at Penn State," she said. "Because of my time at Penn State, coming into this job, I'm not as frightened of the system as I probably would have been otherwise."

While she still is learning the many duties associated with her new role, Harstad said one of her primary responsibilities is to act as a liaison between tribal communities and public school districts.

"Ninety-six percent of native students in Minnesota actually attend public school," she said. "Under ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), schools must now talk with tribes about what's going on with their native schools and the native students that are in their schools."

Harstad also is working on a new children's literature initiative that aims to include in schools books that positively and accurately reflect American Indian culture, something she said her time at Penn State has prepared her to do.

"One of the things that proverbially comes up is that people don't understand American Indian children's literature as they should," she said. "The native students attending schools are constantly telling us that their books are biased, stereotypical, outdated, inaccurate, etc. So one of the things I'm working on right now is trying to put together a statewide training for librarians to look at American Indian children's literature in a different way."

"My learning at Penn State was so much more than just going to classes and passing them, and it wasn't just a place to be for a little while," Harstad said. "Penn State was an experience."

*Editor's note: The absence of Federal government funding for the AILP in recent years has prompted the faculty to redesign the program.  The planning process is currently in progress.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (April 2017)

Research project changes lives in remote communities in Peru

For Joe Levitan and Kayla Johnson, their research quite literally has become their life’s work. What started as Levitan’s research has expanded to include Johnson’s area of expertise, and it has been life-changing for both of them, as well as for the indigenous people in rural communities in Peru with whom they are working.

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Joe Levitan and Kayla Johnson spend about three months a year living and working in rural communities in Peru. (Photo: Joe Levitan and Kayla Johnson)
For Joe Levitan and Kayla Johnson, their research quite literally has become their life’s work. What started as Levitan’s research has expanded to include Johnson’s area of expertise, and it has been life-changing for both of them, as well as for the indigenous people in rural communities in Peru with whom they are working.

The two graduate students, who earned their doctorates this past semester and will marry this summer, are part of a larger group that is making an education available to residents of rural regions of Peru, which in turn is making a real difference in their lives and the lives of their families.

The Sacred Valley Project (SVP), founded in 2009, provides access to secondary school for Quechua or indigenous girls, in the Peruvian Andes. While Levitan and his colleagues initially thought that the main issue preventing these girls from receiving an education was the distance between these rural communities and the nearest school, they quickly discovered there were bigger issues to overcome.

“Students coming from the rural communities have linguistic differences from the kids in the town because students from rural communities are bilingual but primarily speak Quechua, and students in towns primarily speak Spanish, although many town students understand Quechua,” Levitan said. “Secondary school (in the larger towns) is taught only in Spanish, but primary school in the local communities is mostly taught in Quechua, so students from rural communities are developing second-language learners, even within their same region.

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The Peru project is named for where it got its start — in the Sacred Valley of the Peruvian Andes. (Photo: Kayla Johnson)
There also are academic differences because the rural students go to school for only two or three hours a day. “They need to herd animals and help on their family farms,” Levitan said. “The town kids usually go to school for four, five or six hours a day in elementary school. So, we learned that we needed to offer a lot more academic and linguistic support for the students.”

Girls have additional barriers to overcome. If parents must choose to educate only one child, which is a common dilemma in the area because of material poverty, boys are much more likely to be chosen, because they are seen as having greater economic opportunity. Also, it is common for boys to stay with families in town who have businesses, and work while they go to school. “However, parents see this practice as more dangerous for girls, so it is not a common option for them,” Levitan said.

In response, they created a comprehensive, culturally grounded educational approach, which included on-site living, to cater to the developmental challenges facing each student. The Sacred Valley Project was designed to facilitate students’ healthy growth cognitively, socially-emotionally and phsycially, to provide young women the opportunity to grow into powerful leaders in their communities, better their academic success, and engage them in a stimulating educational environment.

“Research shows that educated girls have a more profound and positive influence on the well-being of communities in terms of health, economics and social justice,” Levitan said, citing another reason the project’s primary focus is on educating girls.

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The village of Pallata, in the region of Cusco, is roughly 334 miles east of the capital city of Lima. Because Pallata is a remote village in the mountains and Lima is on the coast, a trip between the two places can take between 19 and 20 hours by car. (Photo: Joe Levitan)
The project expanded in 2015, with a new dormitory opening in another region. “The new dormitory is doing great,” Levitan said. “The 16 new students in Calca have been working hard, and are learning a lot. They have been doing well in school, and Gladys, the dorm director, says that the girls are wonderful to work with — diligent in their chores and homework.”

They also opened a new learning center for any Quechua student. This new project — Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu (CEPA), or Pallata Community Education Center — is located in the small community of Pallata, about two hours (walking) from the original SVP dorm, in Ollantaytambo.

“CEPA has about 30 regulars and about 45 students signed up. The ages range from 4 to 30, and we teach computer skills as well as health, literacy and English classes,” Levitan said. “The community elders also lead lessons on plant identification and traditional farming practices. This project has been a real partnership with the community as we have worked collaboratively with Quechua teachers.”

It was through CEPA that Johnson became involved with the project. She visited Peru with Levitan in 2015, as CEPA was being launched. “We were talking about their desire to build a new education center that would be open to the general public. I taught English as a Foreign Language in France and have worked with kindergarten through adult learners, so Joe and his friends asked for my help in creating the curriculum and assisting with pedagogy for this new project,” Johnson said. “Now I am directing the curriculum for the Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu and building up the educational repertoire of the project.”

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Graduate student Kayla Johnson teaches at Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu (CEPA), or Pallata Community Education Center. (Photo: Joe Levitan)
Johnson, who with Levitan spends about three months a year in Peru, also teaches English as a foreign language to the students, and has held conversation classes where she teaches the students English and they teach her Spanish.

Since 2010, Levitan has taught a wide variety of courses as well, from experiential science classes such as physics and astronomy to leadership skills, geography, English and computer science.

“Early secondary school science is probably my favorite subject to teach because learning can be best facilitated with low-cost or no-cost, easy-to-run experiments that show really exciting and cool properties of the physical world,” Levitan said.

He also regularly facilitates Socratic seminars that foster philosophical reflection based on students’ current questions or issues that they want to discuss, including friends, school, their aspirations, life in general or culture.

“My pedagogy while in Peru is mostly based on an idea of a teaching exchange, in which the students teach me something, and I teach them something,” Levitan said. He also usually tries to make teaching experiential and grounded in students’ background knowledge. This way he can help foster students’ recognition and appreciation of their own knowledge.

The work Johnson is doing with CEPA is not part of her dissertation, which is focused on what college students learn in study abroad programs. However, her experiences in Peru have driven home to her that outcomes should be reciprocal.

“Educators should not only concern themselves with the ways in which students are impacted by their experiences abroad, but also how locals are impacted by the students who live and learn with them,” Johnson said. “I have learned so much from the SVP and CEPA students, their parents, and local project staff, but as a researcher, I need to remember that I am impacting them as well, in one way or another, for better or for worse. It is my responsibility as a researcher to investigate the ways in which my presence and the presence of students studying abroad are impacting the host culture and the people who inhabit it.”

The schools in Peru are a living laboratory for Levitan. “I have learned that my research benefits from continued interaction with the community and vice-versa; that my reflexivity is one of the most important aspects of learning what information is important and useful for sharing with the larger population of education scholars,” he said. “I have begun to examine how to incorporate minority opinions within the community so that all are heard and can contribute to educational decision-making,” he said.

Levitan said being involved so deeply in a project of this magnitude both personally and as a researcher has enabled him to gain a more nuanced understanding of the strengths and struggles within the community, among other issues.

“The new education center also allowed me to expand the group of people I work with, and to gain new perspectives on culture and education, as well, which has added significant depth to my dissertation topic, which is about democratic leadership, identity and social justice,” he said. “The dissertation writing process has allowed me to reflect upon what my colleagues and friends say in a deep way, as well as my own position within the community and the work we do.”

For Johnson, her experience in Peru has underscored for her the importance of recognizing and respecting different cultures and ways of life. “I cannot travel to Peru every summer and expect to live life my way,” she said. “The Quechua-speaking people I have come to know and love do things differently than I do, and I must always remember that my culture – and all the comforts it affords me when I’m home – is not their culture. And that’s OK.”

Levitan and Johnson both have jobs lined up at McGill University, an English-language university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Levitan will be an assistant professor of international leadership, and Johnson has a post-doctoral appointment.

“We both also will continue to work with the Sacred Valley Project and Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu indefinitely,” Levitan said. “It’s important work.”

By Annemarie Mountz (May 2017)

School choice policies may impact segregation and diversity of public schools

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State, is looking at how student assignment policies may be impacting the diversity of public schools.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Despite decades of educational reform and legal efforts, many U.S. schools are experiencing increasing segregation, with 16 percent of public schools serving both minority and high poverty students. A Supreme Court decision a decade ago eliminated the use of certain types of district policies that had been voluntarily adopted by some school districts to address rising segregation. Now, a Penn State researcher is looking at how student assignment policies may be impacting the diversity of public schools.

According to Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State, the new generation of school choice policies adopted in response to legal decisions may actually be increasing school inequalities, despite their goals of maintaining integrated schools.

“Maintaining and improving school integration is important, as previous research has shown that students of all races who attend diverse schools demonstrate higher academic achievement in reading, language, mathematics and science."

— Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography

“The current student choice policies do not take race into consideration, but it is unclear whether or not they are creating diverse schools,” Frankenberg explained. “In order to avoid many of the perceived legal risks in adopting policies based on race, many school districts now use socioeconomic status in assigning students, which may not be as effective for racial integration.”

Historically, student assignment policies were meant to reduce segregation and enhance diversity; however, current student choice policies and how they affect diversity in an era of increasing segregation haven’t been analyzed.

“Maintaining and improving school integration is important, as previous research has shown that students of all races who attend diverse schools demonstrate higher academic achievement in reading, language, mathematics and science,” reported Frankenberg.

In order to assist some districts in pursuing integration, in 2009 the federal government funded 11 school districts to restructure their student assignment policies, including Jefferson County, Kentucky. In her study, Frankenberg analyzed the use of a new race-conscious, student-assignment policy being used in Jefferson County.

The 100,000-student school district was previously comprised of mostly black and white students, but in the last decade, Jefferson County doubled in Latino student enrollments. The district also includes students from both low-income and wealthy households and also is one of the nation’s most desegregated systems, a product of a 1970s court-order merging of city and suburban districts to further desegregation.

At the same time, analysis of Census data demonstrates relatively high segregation of black, white and Latino populations in the district. “Because of their racial and socio-economic composition and strong policy design, the school district is the best-case scenario for this type of analysis. If we found that Jefferson County was failing to create racially and economically diverse schools, chances are these types of policies wouldn’t be able to achieve diversity goals in any school in the country,” Frankenberg said.

Frankenberg evaluated data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data from 2006 to 2013, which provides annual school-level information about student’s race and ethnicity, as well as free- and reduced-lunch data. Frankenberg supplemented this information with data from the school district for the years 2013 to 2015, along with information provided by the students’ kindergarten applications.

She found that Jefferson County’s newer approach to school assignment has resulted in steady enrollment growth with no evidence of flight by white or affluent students to private schools or neighboring school districts. The schools in the district remain considerably diverse, and while there is evidence of a slight growth in racial segregation, Jefferson County’s policy is more effective than most, with segregation levels remaining considerably lower than most large school districts.

“I found that white and Latino student integration in the district was increasing, while black student integration fell. Integration of low-income and middle-class students remained stable as well,” Frankenberg explained.

Frankenberg suggested that along with Jefferson County’s student assignment policies, the history of the school district may have also played a role in her findings. “Jefferson County has a long history of integration. It is part of the Supreme Court’s legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education and the implementation of school desegregation. Although Jefferson County fiercely fought school desegregation in the 1970s, they voluntarily continued their integration plan once court oversight ended in 2000.”

Using student application data from 2014, Frankenberg also compared the segregation of students under the existing policy, along with several other common methods of assigning students that are not necessarily focused on diversity. She found that students were less segregated in the district’s managed-choice policy than under alternative assignment scenarios such as neighborhood schools or granting every child’s first choice of school.

“Such a simulation provides real-time evidence about how district policy design relates to student composition, and was especially valuable this past school year when the state of Kentucky was threatening to pass a neighborhood schools bill that would have required the district to go back to neighborhood schools,” noted Frankenberg.

According to current population projections, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the U.S. in a few decades, so it is important to that the new student assignment policies lead to improved student outcomes in the midst of this diversity. “Educators will need to understand how to attend to the development of children and youth in a multiracial setting,” Frankenberg said. “If schools cannot facilitate such development, young people are likely to have increased prejudice and higher dropout rates, with significant implications for the United States’ social and economic health.”

In the future, Frankenberg plans to analyze student assignment policies in other school districts, and compare school histories and how they might be affecting policies. She is helping to organize the Center for Education and Civil Rights’ "Furthering Diversity in K-12 Schools Through Student Assignment" conference, taking place June 1st at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. This meeting will include new research about what diversity efforts districts are undertaking and what is known about the effectiveness of these models.

Frankenberg’s research was published recently in the American Educational Research Journal and was supported in part by the William T. Grant Foundation and Penn State’s Population Research Institute, part of the Social Science Research Institute.

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Social Science Research Institute (May 2017).
This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Free event to examine diversity in K-12 schools

The Penn State College of Education's Center for Education and Civil Rights will hold a free event focused on "Furthering Diversity in K-12 Schools through Student Assignment," scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at the Georgetown Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave. NW, 1st Floor, in Washington, D.C.

CECR logoStudents of color now are a majority in U.S. public schools, yet are increasingly segregated by race and class, as are many of the communities around the country. School integration is an important evidence-based strategy that can improve academic and social outcomes for students from all racial and economic backgrounds. In this new era, however, it can be difficult to know what type of diversity policies are both effective and permissible.

The Penn State College of Education's Center for Education and Civil Rights will address this issue at a free event focused on "Furthering Diversity in K-12 Schools through Student Assignment," scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at the Georgetown Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave. NW, 1st Floor, in Washington, D.C.

School leaders will work alongside one another, advocates, and researchers on learning more about various aspects of designing, implementing and sustaining student assignment plans that promote racial and socioeconomic diversity. This meeting will include new research about what diversity efforts districts are undertaking and what is known about the effectiveness of these models.
 
More information, including the full agenda, can be found at http://bit.ly/2rMD4HD online. To register for this free event, complete the registration form at http://bit.ly/2qgKcKs and indicate which breakout session you plan to attend.

The event is co-sponsored by Georgetown Law; National Coalition on School Diversity; and Poverty and Race Research Action Council.

New research shows reversal of Civil Rights era gains

A report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State finds intense school segregation of black and Latino students in the south.

CECR logoBlack and Latino students in the south are increasingly isolated in intensely segregated schools and are doubly segregated in schools serving low-income students, according to new research released today by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA and the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State.

"While significant gains in integration were made during the Civil Rights era, we are unfortunately seeing a troubling reversal of those trends," said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project.

Building on the gains of the Civil Rights era, from 1968 to 1980, the percentage of black students in intensely segregated schools (schools where 90 percent or more are students of color) fell from almost 80 percent to a low of about 23 percent. But since then, the percentage of black students in intensely segregated schools has risen to more than one in three (35.8 percent).

Meanwhile, enrollment in southern schools by Latino students, who make up 27 percent of students in the south, surpasses that of black students who make up about one quarter of all students. But Latino students are even more likely to be segregated with more than 40 percent of Latino students in the south attending intensely segregated schools as of 2014. White students make up just two in five students in the south, a stark decline since 1970.

"While Latino enrollment has surged, the isolation of Latino students in intensely segregated schools has been even more severe," said Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography at Penn State, and co-director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights. "Latino students have become steadily more segregated since data was first collected in 1968 — and are more segregated than black students along some measures."

Segregation in the south is double segregation for blacks and Latinos, meaning that they are in schools segregated both by race and by poverty in a region where the share of students poor enough to receive free or subsidized lunches has soared to nearly 60 percent of all students. Both segregation by race and poverty, research shows, are systematically linked to weaker opportunities and student outcomes.

The report also shows the south is overwhelmingly a public school region with private school students accounting for 7 percent of the enrollment. But the south has recently seen substantial growth of charter schools, which are publicly financed, privately operated schools. The study includes a region-wide look at the racial impact of charter schools, which account for about 4.5 percent of the south's public school enrollment. The growth of charter schools in the south is outpacing the nation as a whole in terms of the number of students enrolled in charters. The brief shows that charters are more segregated for black and Latino students than the increasingly segregated public schools. Private schools, which receive heavy subsidies through the tax system in Florida and some other states, still enroll more students than charter schools. As a whole, though, southern private schools report shrinking enrollment though they remain disproportionately white.

"Approximately 2 million students in the region are choosing non-district schools — either charter schools, which have higher segregation for black and Latino students, or private schools, which historically in the south have enrolled white students living in more diverse districts," said Frankenberg. "The substantial share of southern students in various sectors have concerning implications for overall racial and economic integration."

The report calls on the educators and leaders of the south to recognize the costs of the return to segregation and unequal schooling. The authors say they should commit to school choices that can help promote integration, including a renewed focus on magnet schools and voluntary programs to ameliorate segregation and to prevent its rapid spread into the suburbs. The report calls for serious work on training teachers and staff to more effectively teach students of all three major racial groups and help them to work productively together in schools so that they can work productively together in society. Housing integration work also is critically needed to create racially diverse neighborhoods and communities from which public schools draw their students, according to the report.

"Our lost progress on segregation for southern black students, and our failure to ever confront segregation for southern Latino students, has to be a wake-up call for the region's leaders," said Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a co-author of the report. "The good news is that we have historical examples of successful policies and practices here that can help us build a better, more integrated future.

"Sadly, the south has been leading the way backward toward a failed system of segregation. Adding civil rights policies to its schools of choice would be an excellent first step," she said.

The new report, Southern Schools More Than a Half Century After the Civil Rights Revolution, reviews segregation trends from 1970 to 2014, using the most recent federal data.

Student Elijah Armstrong takes a stand for educational equity

Dealing with epilepsy and overcoming adversity has empowered Education and Public Policy student Elijah Armstrong with an all-in sense of advocacy dynamic enough to stand up for the rights of others and even the courage and tenacity to do a little stand-up on his own.

Dealing with epilepsy and overcoming adversity has empowered Education and Public Policy student Elijah Armstrong with an all-in sense of advocacy dynamic enough to stand up for the rights of others and even the courage and tenacity to do a little stand-up on his own.

ELIJAHARMSTRONG
Elijah Armstrong, right, has a candid moment with former Secretary of Education John King.
The Penn State College of Education junior from Jacksonville, Florida, has done much more of the serious former than the comedic latter, but both have landed him in front of attentive audiences – something he seems to enjoy but perhaps didn't think would materialize just a few short years ago.

Something as simple as flashing lights in a Jacksonville prep school classroom triggered seizures accompanied by severe nausea and headaches when Armstrong, now 20, was 16.

The diagnosis of epilepsy wasn't immediate, and cooperation from the school wasn't either – Armstrong recently was the victor in a disability discrimination lawsuit against the institution. His grades plummeted at the time but his spirit remained reasonably resolute.

"I saw my situation and realized it was happening to others around me and decided to speak out about it so people would know this was a problem and know what to do about it in those situations," Armstrong said.

And so began what has been nearly a five-year odyssey of advocacy that has facilitated Armstrong to establish relationships with principal political personalities such as Maria Town, the disability adviser to President Barack Obama, and John King, the education secretary during Obama's final year of office.

When he's not busy helping others by blogging and producing a series of videos at http://www.equalopportunitiesforstudents.org/, he takes time for a little comic relief with appearances at Second Floor Stand-Up, a campus comedy group formed in 2011 that meets every Tuesday night. "It's a really supportive, really progressive group of people and just a great way for creative expression and practicing public speaking … it's a really great group," Armstrong said.

But taking a stand is more his style and Armstrong will present at the Disability Studies in Education Conference June 10 at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with Terry Watson, a representative of Disability Services at Penn State. The presentation ties in to Penn State's All In Campaign, which is a long-term, community-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion.

"It was Terry's idea to have this presentation be about how equal opportunities helps see what the University can do better, it helps students know more about resources they have both inside and outside of Penn State and about how it's applicable to other universities as well," Armstrong said.

"It's a very good fit. Most of the goals of All In, if not all the goals, are aligned with equal opportunities for students, just letting students know what their options are and having a way for students to voice concerns and voice issues in a way that people at the University who have the power to change these things can go forward and do them."

"Really, the biggest thing to me is making sure that people receive the help that they need to receive -- as long as I'm benefiting people as a whole.'' -- Elijah Armstrong

Watson said his role in accompanying Armstrong in Minneapolis is to put on display how the Disability Services Office can use student advocacy and stories to better train staff and help faculty pedagogy become more inclusive for students with disabilities.

"I had the chance to meet Elijah when he interviewed me regarding advocating for your child with a disability," Watson said. "I value my relationship with Elijah because he's a reminder of why we (Disability Services) do what we do and how important it is to our students.

"Elijah's presentation is important because it encompasses what inclusiveness looks like. This conference looks toward the future of disability studies and having a student like Elijah who advocates for himself present will help him understand what is possible and allow individuals in this field to be mindful of what is important."

Watson said the All In initiative trumpets the importance of student participation and advocacy. "All In is not about what the University can do for you, but what can the individual do to contribute to the inclusive environment at Penn State. For Elijah, it's sharing stories and advocacy," he said.

Armstrong describes himself as doing whatever he does to the biggest degree possible. He thoroughly researched Penn State to learn that its education program was one of the nation's best and that its disability services were of high quality as well. He pointed out the assistance he received from assistant professors Maryellen Schaub and Maria Lewis in the Department of Education Public Policy, among others across the University.

"I've been very blessed and I'm so thankful for knowing all of these people who are interested in initiatives like this," Armstrong said.

While he has ample time to decide on a career path, the thought process is underway. Law school for civil rights activism is on the list, as is working for education-specific publications and education lobbying groups. "The biggest thing is to make sure that what I do is beneficial not just to myself and not just to people who believe what I believe and to people who happen to be around me, but people who are in troubled situations and need to find ways out and need access to information that they don't have," Armstrong said.

"Really, the biggest thing to me is making sure that people receive the help that they need to receive -- as long as I'm benefiting people as a whole.''

This summer, Armstrong will benefit from a Washington, D.C., internship with Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter, who will run for governor in 2018. He said Perlmutter has a history of a vested interest in the Department of Education (DoE) and the future of students with disabilities, and that their views aligned during their interview.

Through his advocacy, Armstrong also became friends with Perlmutter's daughter, Alexis, who has helped him structure his website and at one time had a blog and video on the DoE website that featured Armstrong.

"While my story was still going on, she thought it was important to run it to show that students with disabilities are capable of doing things that other students are also capable of," Armstrong said.

"Like I am capable of being a successful Penn State student, and doing stand-up comedy and working with the Positive Change Coalition and speaking at this conference. The fact that I have epilepsy doesn't mean that I can't do these things, it just means than when I do any of these things it would be better for there to not be flashing lights in the room.

"I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunity and I'm very excited to start interning for Congressman Perlmutter," Armstrong said. "I've been very blessed to have the support of so many wonderful people … and from many sources who are very passionate about educational equity."

Jim Carlson (June 2017)

Evensen-Lions in Recovery Scholarship Award supports students in recovery

A new endowed scholarship will focus on supporting Penn State’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC). The Evensen-Lions in Recovery Scholarship Award was established by Dorie Evensen, professor emerita of education and 25-year member of the Penn State College of Education faculty, who retired June 30.

Dorothy EvensenUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new endowed scholarship will focus on supporting Penn State’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC). The Evensen-Lions in Recovery Scholarship Award was established by Dorie Evensen, professor emerita of education and 25-year member of the Penn State College of Education faculty, who retired June 30.

Evensen’s initial gift of $25,000 to establish the scholarship was bolstered by contributions from family, friends and colleagues as well as members of the Penn State Alumni Interest Group, Lions in Recovery, in honor of Dorie’s retirement. Through the University’s new fundraising campaign, A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence, Penn State is partnering with donors by offering a University match. Thus, establishing the first $100,000 scholarship for the CRC. The First-Time Endowed Scholarship Donor Matching Program provides a 1:1 match for donors who create their first endowed scholarship at Penn State during the Greater Penn State campaign. To qualify, scholarships must support undergraduate students who demonstrate need, meeting the definition below. The purpose of this program is to attract new scholarship endowment donors to create need-based scholarships at the University.

The Evensen-Lions in Recovery scholarship will be awarded annually to students who are active members of the CRC and demonstrate academic, participation and service achievements. 

The CRC, a program in Student Affairs, was founded in 2011 to help students in recovery from alcohol and other addictions. The program supports students through fellowship and programming designed to promote a sober lifestyle within a collegiate setting. 

“My work with the CRC began with its inception and I have witnessed extraordinary academic gains made by students taking advantage of the gift of a second chance,” said Evensen. “CRC students understand that reaching out for help and building peer support is not a weakness but a strength. This scholarship recognizes that financial help can simultaneously reward past accomplishments and contribute to future security and success.”

Since 2011, the CRC has grown to a thriving community of 26 active members. Members are highly successful, with very low relapse rates and higher GPAs and graduation rates than the University Park averages. The students in the program remain completely free of alcohol and other drugs. They attend weekly peer-support meetings and other CRC activities and are expected to work a recovery program in addition to their involvement in the CRC. The CRC also has dedicated on-campus recovery housing with the ROAR (Residence of Addiction Recovery) House.

To learn more about the CRC or to contact the program, visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/familyservices/crc/. To contribute to the endowment, visit www.GiveTo.psu.edu/EvensenRecoveryScholarship or contact Andrea Pagano-Reyes at amp244@psu.edu

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence, a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit www.giveto.psu.edu.

Center for Education and Civil Rights examines integration among K-12 schools

Penn State's Center for Education and Civil Rights' ongoing quest to eliminate educational inequities and advance school integration efforts moved forward in Washington, D.C., recently during a "Furthering Diversity in K-12 Schools through Student Assignment" conference.

Penn State's Center for Education and Civil Rights' (CECR) ongoing quest to eliminate educational inequities and advance school integration efforts moved forward in Washington, D.C., recently during a "Furthering Diversity in K-12 Schools through Student Assignment" conference.

EricaF
Erica Frankenberg
CECR co-director Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and demography in the College of Education, managed the all-day event that brought together school leaders from across the country. They addressed recent federal funding cuts and worked together to learn more about aspects of designing, implementing and sustaining student assignment plans that promote racial and socioeconomic diversity.

The CECR is in its neophyte stage at Penn State. Building from the ground up with small gatherings such as community brown-bag luncheon encounters and campus lectures to larger-scale, city-based diversity conferences such as the one in Washington, D.C., has established groundwork to achieve nationwide acclaim for the organization.

Conference attendees – the maximum 150 enrolled – helped establish ongoing support networks for districts and charter schools; provided school leaders with research to assist them wherever they are in the process of considering or implementing racial and socioeconomic diversity efforts; and learned about other resources that can assist with integration efforts.

From Penn State, Greg Kelly, associate dean for research in the College of Education, gave opening remarks, and Liliana Garces, associate professor of education, facilitated the day's final panel. Graduate students Kendra Taylor, Jeremy Anderson, Andrew Pendola and Dwayne Wright also participated.

"This event was designed to support and network districts, bring research-based evidence about strategies (what was likely to further integration, what might set back integration) and also to bring different possible resources in terms of people or different products to help them move forward," Frankenberg said.

"We thought as a center this was a critical moment in time to help continue support for districts maybe who had applied for grant funding but didn't get it, were part of some efforts last fall or weren't part of it, and also to infuse some research in some districts."

School representatives from Texas to Massachusetts and many in between attended and discussed a range of topics from voluntary integration to building schools that by design would be more diverse. One of the panelists had attended New York City schools and is part of a group trying to push New York City to support more integration.

"Her being able to talk powerfully about why integrated schools matter was really incredible and a relatively new voice to bring to such discussions," Frankenberg said.

Frankenberg said every school district has a student assignment plan, but some are more explicit than others. For that panel, she said, Anderson and Taylor presented on their current project – Voluntary Integration in U.S. School Districts, 2000-2015: District Approaches and Segregation Outcomes.

That revealed preliminary findings that dozens of districts today implement voluntary integration policies using a range of methods and factors to define diversity (by race and/or income) in addition to about 200 districts implementing desegregation under court oversight. Future research will examine in what contexts voluntary integration policies are associated with declines in racial segregation – particularly whether this is more likely with plans that also incorporate race-conscious factors.

"CECR provides a unique focus for education policy research at Penn State, and Erica’s leadership in this field has already had national impact. The next generation of educational leaders, policymakers and scholars needs to understand both the history and current context of civil rights in the United States in order to be effective advocates for all learners."--Kevin Kinser

"There are a number of people in our department and across the University who do work around education equality," said Frankenberg, who believes that conclusive change can someday be a reality.

Education Policy Studies Department Head Kevin Kinser believes that CECR provides a strong steppingstone toward that goal as well.

"CECR provides a unique focus for education policy research at Penn State, and Erica’s leadership in this field has already had national impact," Kinser said. "The next generation of educational leaders, policymakers and scholars needs to understand both the history and current context of civil rights in the United States in order to be effective advocates for all learners.

"The research from CECR will help people working in schools, state capitals and federal agencies be agents for change.”

Frankenberg also believes that Penn State can be a national leader in the field.

"There are a number of efforts that our center has built upon and it's nice not to feel that you're starting from scratch," Frankenberg said. "I think it's made an effect on people in the field who are excited to see the energy.

"It helps create an important identity for Penn State to help among the change that is going on among our nation's schools and the help that is desperately needed," she said.

The genesis of Frankenberg's passion began in her birthplace of Mobile, Alabama. She said her middle school was a magnet school created intentionally to further integration as a result of a consent decree in a desegregation that began in 1963. The school consisted of diverse faculty and students with a college prep focus and was an "incredible experience" with no stratification within the school.

Her high school days differed in that while her school was an even mix of black and white students, her International Baccalaureate classes had no black students in them, and she doesn't think she had a black teacher in high school. As a senior, she took part in an exchange program that sent her to another district school that was predominantly black and with inferior educational options than her own.

"You don't really know how to make sense of all this as a 16- or 17-year-old," she said. "You do have this moral righteousness as a teenager of fairness and it didn't seem fair that just because of where I lived, I got all these opportunities that other kids didn't.

"At the end of my senior year, a judge declared that schools were integrated and dismissed the court desegregation case. That set off this lifelong quest … how could that be? I had seen this other school. How could a school district be declared to have meet its constitutional obligation when there were such disparities in what was a completely black school and my own?"

Off she went to Dartmouth College, a world away from Alabama, but still consumed by trying to understand educational inequality and segregation. She said she designed her own major in education policy and wrote a thesis researching the history of school desegregation in her school district.

"I learned that the person my middle school had been named for was a former superintendent who was racist and had tried to prevent school desegregation from happening, according to memos that I uncovered during my research process," Frankenberg said. "It was an incredible experience to be able to use the district that I'd grown up in and to learn about it and then to get this growing insight of understanding that this was a struggle that was still ongoing in many districts around the country.

She wanted to learn more and ended up on The Civil Rights Project while attending graduate school at Harvard; she worked with Gary Orfield, now co-director of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

"I admired the way in which he (Orfield) combined his research to try to improve integration and racial equality," Frankenberg said. "To me, the model of being a public scholar is not just trying to write journal articles but also to really take seriously the responsibility of using knowledge to try to make schools better. These experiences inform the CECR."

Jim Carlson (July 2017)

Morgan named Eberly Faculty Fellow

Paul L. Morgan, professor of education and demography, has been named recipient of the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education in Penn State's College of Education. His six-year term began July 1.

Paul Morgan-Paul L. Morgan, professor of education and demography, has been named recipient of the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education in Penn State's College of Education. His six-year term began July 1.

The Eberly Faculty Fellowship provides supplementary funds to an outstanding member of the College of Education to assist the holder in teaching, research and public service.

"Dr. Morgan richly deserves recognition as the Eberly Faculty Fellow," said David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. "The purpose of the Fellowship is to support the academic work of its holder, and Dr. Morgan's work on early risk factors for learning difficulties and interventions that may help young children experience greater academic success in the classroom certainly merits that level of support."

Morgan joined the College of Education faculty in 2004. He earned his bachelor of arts in philosophy and history at the University of Oregon; his master's in teaching in special and elementary education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and his doctorate in education and human development (special education) from the George Peabody College of Vanderblit University. He directs Penn State’s Center for Educational Disparities Research.

“I’m thrilled to be awarded the Eberly Faculty Fellowship," Morgan said. "The fellowship will provide valuable support to a number of research projects that should help policymakers better understand why some children are especially likely to struggle academically as they attend U.S. elementary and middle schools."

The Eberly Faculty Fellowship is made possible thanks to the generosity of Harry and Marion Eberly. Harry served as the chair of the College's Grand Destiny Campaign Dean's Development Council and provided invaluable leadership for the College's fundraising efforts. 

The couple established three endowments to benefit both the students and faculty of the College of Education at Penn State: The Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education; The Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Scholars, a merit-based award for the most talented students planning careers in education; and The Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Endowed Professorship in Education. These gifts have enabled the College of Education to further its important contributions to the study of educational policy, civic education and student achievement.

By Annemarie Mountz (July 2017)

Graduate students author journal article

Chi Nguyen and Maraki Kebede, graduate students in Education Policy Studies, authored "Immigrant Students in the Trump Era: What We Know and Do Not Know," which appears in the September issue of the journal Educational Policy.

Chi Nguyen and Maraki Kebede, graduate students in Education Policy Studies, authored "Immigrant Students in the Trump Era: What We Know and Do Not Know," which appears in the September issue of the journal Educational Policy.

According to the article abstract, "The 2016 U.S. presidential election marked a time of deep political divide for the nation and resulted in an administrative transition that represented a drastic shift in values and opinions on several matters, including immigration. This article explores the implications of this political transition for immigrants’ K-16 educational experiences during President Trump’s administration. We revisit literature on school choice and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — two policy areas where the most significant changes are expected to occur — as it pertains to immigrant students in the United States. We identify areas where there is limited scholarship, such as the unique educational experiences of various minority immigrant subgroups, the interplay between race and immigration status, and immigrant students in rural areas. Recommendations are made for policy and research."

The article can be found at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0895904817723740 online.

Speaker to discuss 'The Color of Law'

Author Richard Rothstein will speak on "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in 116 Lewis Katz Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Author Richard Rothstein will speak on "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in 116 Lewis Katz Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

The title of his talk also is the title of his new book, which details how local, state and federal policies led to a segregated America that continues to the present day.

Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. His appearance is sponsored by the Center for Education and Civil Rights in the College of Education and co-sponsored by the Law and Education Alliance at Penn State.

Copies of Rothstein's book will be available to purchase.

Tracing trends could lead to better public health education

New research conducted by David Baker, professor of educational theory and policy, and sociology, shows that educated members of society are the trailblazers of risky behaviors.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The educated members of a population are the trailblazers of risky behavior, but they are quicker to change their habits once they better understand the consequences of that behavior, according to new research from Penn State, which also could have implications on how public health education is approached.

David Baker
David Baker

Using a Population Education Transition (PET) curve, which illustrates the process of education and behavior change, could lead to a better way to identify and plan public health responses to new health risks in a population, said researchers in an article published in the journal Demography.

“Many don’t realize it was the more educated portion of populations that spread the popularity of cigarettes in the United States in the 1940s to 1960s and sometime later in China; and the virus at the beginning of the terrible HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa," said David Baker, professor of sociology, education, and demography at Penn State. "The more educated populations in Latin America were early major consumers of fast food and high sugar diets as these products became available.

“This early adoption process served to popularize the new health risks in these populations, but as more information was discovered and shared with the public, educated individuals were much more likely to respond by changing their behavior for the better," he said.

Using a PET curve, researchers were able to establish that risky products and lifestyles were being used in a population and eventually would lead to devastating health consequences for less educated people. The researchers looked at studies in markets around the world and found the same pattern: It was the more educated who were most likely to engage in these behaviors and suffer health consequences when these “risks” were relatively new in populations.

“The well-educated became early adopters of the risky behaviors and set the trend which others followed, but when more information — such as impact on health — became available, they were also the ones to rapidly re-adjust their lifestyles or eliminate these behaviors,” Baker said. “This makes them risk prevention trendsetters, too.”

The researchers suggest that using the data learned from the PET curve may turn approaches to future public health messages on their head. Right now the usual strategy is to get very simple messages out, usually only after the dangers are clear. Once the educated are armed with accurate information, they can start the change to less risky use, which means the best approach may be to start informing the public about new dangers early, even if the message is more complicated.

“Our results suggest that it may be best to get more comprehensive information out first to the more educated,” said Baker. “The faster public health educators can reach the tipping point where risky trendsetters become preventions trendsetters, we find it takes less time to fix the problem.”

This journal article is available online.

This research was partially funded by a National Research Foundation of Korea Grant (NRF-2016S1A3A2924944) to H. Jeon.

By Joslyn Neiderer, Penn State News and Media Relations (September 2017)
This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Meet Lee Juarez, Academic and Enrollment Services Graduate Assistant

Lee Juarez recently joined Penn State World Campus as a graduate assistant in Academic and Enrollment Services. She shares some insight in this blog post about her role in helping students with tutoring and other academic resources. Check out her story on the Penn State World Campus Blog.

EPS Holiday Charity Fundraiser

Education Policy Studies Department
Invite you to participate in this year’s charity fundraiser

All donations will go to support

Lion's Pantry

A food bank for Penn State students

If you would like to participate, please see the instructions below:

1)  Pick a card (you can take more than one) from the Giving Tree found on the 3rd floor of Rackley;

2)  Buy all the items on the card and place in a gift bag; then

3)  Bring the gift bag and card and place in the box underneath the Giving Tree by December 8.

 Please note: all items must be unopened so if the recipe calls for a cup of something, just buy the size that would work best for that recipe.

 We appreciate your donation!

CIES 2018 Presentations by Penn State Faculty & Students

Penn State Students and faculty are welcome to join the joint reception, cosponsored with SUNY-Albany, Tuesday evening at 8:30 in the Dona Adelita room of the Hilton. Come to one of the following sessions to learn what your colleagues have been researching!

Alotaibi, Bader - Penn State University
Actions and landscapes of youth: Exploring avenues of civic education in Latin America
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room E

Apostolescu, Ruxandra - Penn State University
School climate effects on student well-being in eastern Europe
Tue Mar 27 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 2

Baker, David P. - Penn State University
Teacher quality and eighth-grade math achievement: Evidence from TIMSS
Scheduled Time: Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Bayeck, Rebecca Y. - Penn State University
Stereotypes and microaggressions against Black African international students in U.S. higher education institutions
Thu Mar 29 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 1

Identity construction in the Oware board gameplay in the United States
Tue Mar 27 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room D

Video game choice and play of three African immigrant students in the United States
Wed Mar 28 2018, 8:30 to 11:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 4

Byun, Soo-Yong - Penn State University
A comparative study of factors associated with students’ expectations of becoming a teacher between South Korea and Turkey
Mon Mar 26 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Genaro

A portrait of Shanghai: School inequality underneath the beauty of average achievement
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Manitas 1

Choi, Jinhee - Penn State University
Religion and higher education: The experiences of Christian Chinese international students in an American university
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 6

Fatima, Syeda Farwa - Penn State University
Measuring socioemotional well-being of students through self-reports: A critique on the validity of indicators in PISA 2015
Wed Mar 28 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Hampton, Grace - Penn State University
CIES 2018 Honorary Fellows Session: Beverly Lindsay and Francisco (Chiqui) Ramirez (Discussant)
Wed Mar 28 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 1

Hsiao, Wen-Hsia - Penn State University
Re-thinking cultural differences in applying user centered approach to educational settings
Tue Mar 27 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 4

Jang, HyoJung - Penn State University
The role of academic perseverance on achievement: A cross-national analysis
Wed Mar 28 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Do non-cognitive skills matter? The role of academic perseverance on achievement from a cross-national perspective
Wed Mar 28 2018, 8:30 to 11:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 4

Johnson, Kayla M. - Penn State University
Understanding social-emotional learning in a traveling high school through self- and peer-assessment strategies
Wed Mar 28 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room E

Social-emotional learning in international travel for high schoolers: A 2-year study
Wed Mar 28 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Diego 1 Section B

Kim, Ji Hye - Penn State University
A comparative study of factors associated with students’ expectations of becoming a teacher between South Korea and Turkey
Mon Mar 26 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Genaro

Kinser, Kevin - Penn State University
Team functioning and individual impact of a cross-border interdisciplinary NSF PIRE project (Presenter & Chair)
Wed Mar 28 2018, 6:45 to 8:15pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 1

Lee, Pei-Wei - Penn State University
Re-thinking cultural differences in applying user centered approach to educational settings
Tue Mar 27 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 4

Li, Anke - Penn State University
Religion and higher education: The experiences of Christian Chinese international students in an American university
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 6

Liu, Chang - Penn State University
School bullying and academic achievement: Evidence from China
Tue Mar 27 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 1

Teacher quality and eighth-grade math achievement: Evidence from TIMS
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Professional Development of Teachers in East Asia and the United States (Chair)
Wed Mar 28 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 5

Mansur, Natasha - Penn State University
A multi-vocal investigation of child labor and schooling in Bangladesh
Wed Mar 28 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 2

Masters, Katherine - Penn State University
Coupling Freire’s critical pedagogy with potentially oppressive language learning: Two cases of English teaching-learning from Nicaragua
Mon Mar 26 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Diego 2

McDermott, Paul Austin - Penn State University
Measuring socioemotional well-being of students through self-reports: A critique on the validity of indicators in PISA 2015
Wed Mar 28 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3  

McGinnis, G. Eric - Penn State University
Nonformal civic and moral education: The world Scouting movement’s influence on government stability
Thu Mar 29 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 4

Meng, Yi - Penn State University
Does schooling foster environmental values and action? A cross-national study of priorities and behaviors
Wed Mar 28 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Diego 2

Experiences of staff and administrators in engaging international students in a large public US institution
Mon Mar 26 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Auditorium

Muñoz, Ismael G. - Penn State University
Teacher quality and eighth-grade math achievement: Evidence from TIMSS
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Muntaka, Mohammed Nadhir Ibn - Penn State University
Expansion of Global and Transnational Campuses in Higher Education (Chair)
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 2

African Diaspora Identities (Chair)
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Manitas 2

Nafziger-Mayegun, Rhoda Nanre - Penn State University
Educating every child: Global policy and the elusive goal of Education for All in Nigeria
Thu Mar 29 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Emiliano

Re-imagining civic education and engagement for African diaspora youth
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Manitas 2

Nguyen, Chi Phuong - Penn State University
Religion and higher education: The experiences of Christian Chinese international students in an American university
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 6

Peck, Kyle - Penn State University
Comparison between American and Indian’s perception on learning management system (LMS)
Tue Mar 27 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Auditorium

Exploring the democratizing power of massive open online courses: A cross-national study
Tue Mar 27 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Julián

Pendola, Andrew - Penn State University
Nonformal civic and moral education: The world Scouting movement’s influence on government stability
Thu Mar 29 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 4

Post, David - Penn State University
Does schooling foster environmental values and action? A cross-national study of priorities and behaviors
Wed Mar 28 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Diego 2

Trends in Educational Policy in Latin America (Discussant)
Thu Mar 29 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room C

Sausner, Erica B. - Penn State University
Choose your own oppressor: Multiple colonizing forces over Afro-descendant Nicaraguans
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Manitas 2

Actions and landscapes of youth: Exploring avenues of civic education in Latin America
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room E

Schaub, Maryellen - Penn State University
Teacher quality and eighth-grade math achievement: Evidence from TIMSS
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Semali, Ladislaus M. - Penn State University
New ways to revitalize Africa-China relations or a move to recolonize?
Thu Mar 29 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Alberto 4

Su, Chao - Penn State University
Experiences of staff and administrators in engaging international students in a large public US institution
Mon Mar 26 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Auditorium

Tang, Hengtao - Penn State University
Exploring the democratizing power of massive open online courses: A cross-national study
Tue Mar 27 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Julián

Tarlau, Rebecca - Penn State University
Panel Cluster on Social Movements, Unions, and Youth Resistance: Social Movements, Education, and Learning (Chair)
Tue Mar 27 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room A

Teachers unions, educational change, and political strategy in Brazil
Wed Mar 28 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room E

Panel Cluster on Social Movements, Unions, and Youth Resistance: Youth Political Identities and Activism in Latin America’s Shifting Political Landscape (Discussant)
Tue Mar 27 2018, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Doña Adelita

Wang, Nicole - Penn State University
Exploring the democratizing power of massive open online courses: A cross-national study
Tue Mar 27 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Julián

Comparison between American and Indian’s perception on learning management system (LMS)
Tue Mar 27 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Auditorium

Webster, Nicole - Penn State University
Re-imagining civic education and engagement for African diaspora youth
Mon Mar 26 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Museo de Arte Popular / Manitas 2

Actions and landscapes of youth: Exploring avenues of civic education in Latin America
Wed Mar 28 2018, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Building/Room: Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico / Room E      

Woo, Hansol - Penn State University
A comparative study of factors associated with students’ expectations of becoming a teacher between South Korea and Turkey
Mon Mar 26 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Genaro

Xiong, Yuhan - Penn State University
School bullying and academic achievement: Evidence from China
Tue Mar 27 2018, 11:30 to 1:00pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 1

Yu, Wan - Penn State University
The influence of English and financial factors on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Thu Mar 29 2018, 8:00 to 9:30am, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Business Center Room 7

Zapata, Mayli - Penn State University
Problematizing the understanding of literacy in intercultural bilingual education: The case of Peru
Mon Mar 26 2018, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Don Diego 2

Zhu, Qiong - Penn State University
The impact of international students on local housing market: A spatial econometric approach
Wed Mar 28 2018, 6:45 to 8:15pm, Building/Room: Hilton Reforma / Suite 3

Minority students' disabilities less likely to be identified in U.S. schools

Professor Paul Morgan and four colleagues replicated an earlier but provocative study that found that minority children are less likely to be identified as having disabilities as they attend U.S. schools.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three Penn State researchers and their colleague replicated an earlier but provocative study that found that minority children are less likely to be identified as having disabilities as they attend U.S. schools.

Penn State’s Paul Morgan, director of the Center for Educational Disabilities Research, Population Research Institute (PRI) affiliate, and professor of education and demography; Marianne Hillemeier, associate director of PRI and professor of health policy and administration and demography; and Steve Maczuga, PRI research programmer/analyst; along with George Farkas, a professor of education at the University of California, replicated an earlier finding that minority children are under-identified as disabled, despite being otherwise similar including in regards to academic and behavioral functioning. Their new results were published in Educational Researcher, one of the educational research field’s highest-impact journals.

“These findings suggest that students with disabilities who are minorities may not be receiving the help to which they have a civil right.”

— Paul Morgan, professor of education and demography

This new study replicates the earlier study by analyzing much larger nationally representative datasets. The study, which includes individual-level data from about 400,000 recently surveyed U.S. students, also extends the earlier work by showing that racial disparities in disability identification are occurring in high school as well as elementary and middle school, and for a wider range of disability conditions than previously reported. Children who are language minorities were also found to be less likely to be identified as having disabilities.

In most prior studies, researchers concluded that minority children were being over-identified as disabled and suggested that schools may be using discriminatory identification practices. Concerns that minority children were being misidentified as disabled subsequently led to federal legislation and policies requiring U.S. schools to monitor the extent to which minority children are over-represented in special education.

However, the prior empirical work used to justify federal legislation and policies had largely not accounted for alternative explanations, including minority children’s well-known greater exposure to the risk factors for disability (e.g., poverty, low birthweight, lead exposure) that in turn would result in elevated likelihood of experiencing cognitive and behavioral impairments and attending academic and behavioral difficulties in school.

New work by Morgan and his colleagues, which better accounts for minority children’s greater risk factor exposure and experience of academic difficulties, repeatedly finds that minority children are less likely to be receiving special education services for identified disabilities. The researchers find this to be the case among otherwise similar white, English-speaking children, including those displaying the same severity of academic difficulties in school. 

In this study, Morgan and his team analyzed data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), nationally representative data often considered to be the “Nation’s Report Card.” The NAEP contains student-level academic achievement scores in various subjects, including in reading, mathematics and science. The researchers adjusted for student-level academic achievement, exposure to poverty, gender and English Language Learner status, as well as variability in access to school-level resources. These analyses allowed for contrasts among students who differed in their race or ethnicity but who were observationally similar, including in their academic achievement.

Their results replicate and extend the team’s prior findings. For example, analyses of the NAEP indicated that racial disparities in disability identification were evident throughout the achievement distribution, among otherwise similarly achievement males; across elementary, middle, and high school; and for low-incident conditions (e.g., autism, intellectual disabilities) as well as high-incidence conditions (e.g., speech or language impairments, learning disabilities). These disparities have been occurring since at least 2003, and are both longstanding and widespread in the U.S.

“Our results repeatedly showed that when we accounted for student-level academic achievement, as well as other factors, white and/or English-speaking students were identified as disabled more often than similar peers who were racial, ethnic or language minorities,” said Morgan. “These findings suggest that students with disabilities who are minorities may not be receiving the help to which they have a civil right.”

The new study’s findings have been reported by the Brookings Institution, National Affairs, U.S. News and World Report, and Education Week, as well as other national media. 

This study was supported by the Spencer Foundation; the Population Research Institute, part of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute; the National Institute for Child and Human Health and Development; and the National Institutes of Health.

By Brooke McCord, Social Science Research Institute (November 2017)
This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Researchers' brief provides important context for landmark school district secession case

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th circuit hears the case of Stout v. Jefferson next week, it will be deciding more than the fate of one small community in Jefferson County, Alabama. The court's ruling, which likely will be the definitive opinion in this case, could set precedent for other cases in the three southern states comprising the 11th circuit.

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th circuit hears the case of Stout v. Jefferson next week, it will be deciding more than the fate of one small community in Jefferson County, Alabama. The court's ruling, which likely will be the definitive opinion in this case, could set precedent for other cases in the three southern states comprising the 11th circuit.

A recent national study illustrated the rising number of district secessions, in which typically homogeneous white communities seek to leave larger, more diverse school districts. "The case of Jefferson County is a complex one for a variety of reasons," said Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and demography, and co-founder and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights in the Penn State College of Education.

"The case stems from the town of Gardendale, which is 88 percent white, attempting to secede from Jefferson County, in which whites are now less than 50 percent of students, in part due to earlier community secessions from the countywide district. If Gardendale is able to create its own school district, it would make desegregation more difficult in the county."

Frankenberg said Jefferson County remains under a desegregation court order that came in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, so the community may not leave the district without the approval of the courts. In a lower court ruling, Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, acknowledged that "race was a motivating factor" behind the secession effort, and yet still permitted Gardendale to establish to operate two elementary schools under close supervision from the court. That ruling was appealed and put on hold, and now will be considered by the 11th circuit.

Frankenberg and graduate student Kendra Taylor have written a research brief that serves as a comprehensive primer for this case and provides context for understanding the demographic implications of the current legal case over the Gardendale school district secession in Jefferson County.

"In the brief, we show both historical and contemporary patterns of enrollment and segregation for students and residents," Frankenberg said. "School district secession is related to changing population patterns within Jefferson County, Alabama, and have important implications for racial diversity in school districts. Students rarely cross district boundary lines; therefore, the existence of what is now a dozen districts, many of which are largely white or non-white, means that district boundary lines are creating little possibility for meaningful desegregation."

Frankenberg and Taylor describe patterns of school and residential segregation in Jefferson County over a nearly 50-year period as school districts have seceded from the county school district.

"We find that white students and the white population of Jefferson County, Alabama, are increasingly concentrated in the school districts that have seceded from the Jefferson County school district. Moreover, when considering the enrollment of districts that have seceded from Jefferson County since the district’s desegregation order began in the 1960s, the percentage of white students is substantially higher than Jefferson County schools are today post-secession,” Frankenberg said.

Taylor noted that school districts and home values are closely linked in Jefferson County.

"The school districts that seceded in the mid-20th century have higher home values compared to Jefferson County School District," she said. Their research shows that some splinter districts' populations become more advantaged relative to the county in the immediate aftermath of the district formation.

To read the full brief, visit https://cecr.ed.psu.edu/research/school-district-secessions online.

Recent Education Policy Studies graduate wins a master's research award

Kerri Musick earned her master's degree from Penn State's Department of Education Policy Studies in May 2017 and is gainfully employed in Virginia, but the investment she made in her capstone project about first-generation students is still paying off.

Kerri Musick earned her master's degree from Penn State's Department of Education Policy Studies in May 2017 and is gainfully employed in Virginia, but the investment she made in her capstone project is still paying off.

KERRIMUSICK
May 2017 Education Policy Studies graduate Kerri Musick was honored recently with the Gerald Saddlemire Master's Research Award for her capstone project on first generation students at Penn State.
Musick, who was a first-generation college student, researched that topic until she was able to eloquently tell the narratives of other first-gen students at Penn State. Urged to enter that project in a national contest – despite having to trim it to 3,500 words – Musick recently won the Gerald Saddlemire Master's Research Award and the $400 that goes with it.

"Kerri proposed a study of first-generation college students for the capstone project, and I knew that, as a first-generation college student herself, it was an important and visceral undertaking for her -- far more than the final assignment of her master's student career," said Associate Professor of Education David Guthrie.

"That's also likely why it was such an exceptional piece of work; she was 'in' the story to be sure, though the voices heard in the paper were those of the students she interviewed. My sense is that, as she wrote the paper, she was somehow aware that their voices were hers as well," Guthrie said.

Musick was hired as the coordinator for experiential learning with the President's Leadership Program at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. In this role, she conducts some life-coaching sessions, advises the Raising Educational Awareness Through Compassion and Humanity project (REACH) and supports one-day service initiatives, internship reporting, leadership programming and more.

The ability to handle that particular workload emanated from her master's program, she said.

"I think there will always be the dark part of my brain that whispers, 'Are you sure you can do this?''' Musick said. "A lot of my time in Penn State's program was about learning to challenge that impostor syndrome. The rigor of the program, the incredible intellect of my cohort, and constant, unwavering support from our faculty made me take a hard look in the mirror before hitting 'submit' on a job application.

"Penn State's program made me get honest about the things I needed from a workplace, colleagues, and supervisor. It also made me take credit for my own talents and articulate that in a way that communicates passion and purpose. It undeniably helped during my job search, and I attribute that to part of the reason I'm finding a lot of meaning in the work I'm doing now."

But the work then on the first-generation students opened her eyes – and her heart – and allowed her to make her way into other people's lives … people just like her. "I am a first-generation college student and an important part of working in student affairs is showing up in your own truth, and as I did that, I ended up building relationships with undergraduates at Penn State who were also first-gen," Musick said.

"Once I heard more of their stories, my heart ached for their narratives to be shared. One interview led to another, and by the end of it, I was up to my eyeballs in transcriptions and literature reviews for my master's capstone project.''

"When she informed me that she had won the award, I was thrilled indeed. In fact, I quickly got the word out to our faculty about it, because these are the kinds of things that all of us share in, and for which we are proud."
--David Guthrie

She said she once facilitated a focus group and one of the participants expressed surprise that other people were going through what he was a first-gen student. "The biggest finding I made was that research is advocacy, catharsis and truth-telling," Musick said. "It helps make people's stories legitimate and not something they made up. That was my personal, most revealing finding from the study.''

From the academic angle, she said the most revealing finding from the study is how little work would need to be done in order for first generation college students to gain more collegiate cultural capital upon entering Penn State.

"The infrastructure already exists, it's just a matter of tweaking things," Musick said. "For example, many parents of first-gen students don't have the ability to go to orientation because they can't take time off from work, lacking transportation, the cost of getting a hotel, etc. Instead of missing out on critical information that could help support their student, the parent session could be live streamed, posted on YouTube, and distributed to parents that weren't able to make it.''

She hopes to continue doing research on first-generation college students. "There is so much still left to learn about this population of students," Musick said. "It was hard to narrow the scope of my capstone so that it would be a manageable workload for a semester-long project. I opened up a can of worms that, one day, will look more like a dissertation."

Overall, it looked like a winner in the eyes of the Saddlemire award committee. "I am honored, humbled and so grateful; I have had several mentors who took me under their wing and invested in me," Musick said. "This award is the first step of demonstrating how I can invest in students for my tenure in student affairs."

It was Guthrie who stepped forward to encourage Musick to enter the research award competition.

"When she informed me that she had won the award, I was thrilled indeed," Guthrie said. "In fact, I quickly got the word out to our faculty about it, because these are the kinds of things that all of us share in, and for which we are proud."

Jim Carlson (December 2017)

C.A.R.E. Fair offers job opportunities that make a difference

Penn State students have the opportunity to find a career path that makes a difference at the Penn State C.A.R.E. Fair, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, in the Alumni Hall at the HUB–Robeson Center.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State students have the opportunity to find a career path that makes a difference at the Penn State C.A.R.E. Fair, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, in the Alumni Hall at the HUB–Robeson Center. Over 100 recruiters will be offering both full-time and internship opportunities.

“The C.A.R.E Fair — which stands for Community, Agency, Recreation and Education — is unique from other fairs,” said Elizabeth Fegert, career fairs coordinator at Penn State Career Services. “It is open to any student of any academic year or major who is seeking experience in fields related to the well-being of others. There truly is something for everyone.”

Organizations in attendance will be seeking students in health and human services, park and recreation management, hospitality, public service, non-profit and volunteering realms. Check out the employers attending on the event website.

Students can prepare by having their resume reviewed at Career Services. Drop-in counseling is held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday-Friday at the Bank of America Career Services Center and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Students should also research employers before the fair.

This event is cosponsored by Career Services and the Colleges of Education, Health and Human Development and the Liberal Arts. For students looking to identify and achieve their career goals, career counselors and Career Services programs are helpful resources. Career Services is a unit of Penn State Student Affairs. More information about upcoming programs and events can be found online at studentaffairs.psu.edu/career

This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Dean's Graduate Assistantship program attracts the best students to the College of Education

The Dean's Graduate Assistantship (DGA) for Engaged Scholarship and Research in Education in the College of Education was established in 2010 to support exceptional students working toward a doctoral degree. As of January 2017, DGAs guarantee four years of funding for recipients.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a child growing up in Nepal, Sagun Giri didn't know exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. He just knew that whatever career he chose, he wanted to make an impact on the lives of others.

"I've always, always wanted to help people, contribute in some way to make someone's life better," he said, adding that it is fitting that he found his way to the field of education. Now, thanks to a unique research opportunity in the College of Education, Giri is closer to his goal of helping others.

The Dean's Graduate Assistantship (DGA) for Engaged Scholarship and Research in Education in the College of Education was established in 2010 to support exceptional students working toward a doctoral degree. DGAs allow students to complete their assistantship within their academic department and work with their adviser to complete research related to their professional goals and interests. As of January 2017, DGAs guarantee four years of funding for recipients. The up-front commitment to multiple years of funding makes a DGA a particularly attractive form of graduate student support.

Giri is one of 33 DGAs across the College of Education. Currently in his third year in the Learning, Design and Technology doctoral program, his research focuses on education in informal spaces and children's computational thinking when working with digital and physical fabrication toolkits and apps.

Sagun Giri
Sagun Giri, a third-year doctoral student and DGA recipient studying learning, design and technology, models two prototypes related to maker spaces research he works on with his adviser Gabriela Richard, assistant professor of education (learning, design and technology). The glove is a wearable game controller that lights up, vibrates or makes a sound when the user performs an action. The project integrates diverse skills such as coding, crafting, game design and physical computing. The necklace is a unidirectional project, which combines the Lilypad Arduino, LEDs, crafting and coding.

"I come from a country where in remote areas, children have to walk 2 1/2 hours just to go to school," Giri said, explaining that access to education is a national issue in Nepal. "But I thought that if all of those infrastructures such as computer labs are built, access to education is something that technology could solve."

Fellow DGA recipient Marlon Fernandez-Castro also understands the importance of an education and wants to make it an opportunity for others like him. Born the oldest of three children to Mexican-immigrant parents, he is a first-generation student who has earned bachelor and master degrees, and currently is completing his second year in the higher education doctoral program. He has a strong support system, he said, and his parents have always pushed the importance of education.

"My parents have an atypical story in terms of what is considered normal in the public discourse of immigration," Fernandez-Castro said. "Both of my parents have higher education degrees in Mexico — bachelor degrees. But because they came to the United States as undocumented, their degrees weren't recognized by employers. So even though they had degrees and the education to pass on to me and my siblings, they could not get the jobs that they were qualified for."

He and his brothers had certain privileges that come from having an educated family, but they did not have the financial resources that typically accompany education. For Chicano men in southern California, he said, it's not easy picturing yourself as a college student.

"As an undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara, I was involved in a student organization that specifically focused on Latino men in higher education and there was a lot of overlap between being a Latino man in college and being a first-generation student," Fernandez-Castro said.

It was through that organization that he started developing an interest in higher education diversity initiatives and accessibility to higher education for students of color and from low-income families.

"We did a lot of outreach work. We would bring high school students from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara for a weekend and we showed them the school," he said "We wanted them to see students who looked like them, that there's students like them in college and college is an option for them. And we would work to give them the tools and connections that they may need to be in a better position to reach higher education."

After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Fernandez-Castro enrolled in the University of Southern California's student affairs graduate program, where he worked with the Center for Urban Education. He worked closely with the center's then-co-director, Alicia Dowd, on research aimed at increasing higher education accessibility for minoritized and underrepresented students.

"The center focused on research that looked at the responsibilities of institutions instead of placing all that responsibility on the students," he said. "So rather than saying that these students aren’t seeking out the services that they need to be successful, it's about teaching practitioners to question what they are doing as institutional agents that is preventing these students from not using services."

As he continued to work with Dowd, Fernandez-Castro's research interests and academic goals became clearer — he wanted help create change to make higher education more racially equitable and accessible. He also knew that he wanted to continue working with Dowd, a top researcher in her field. But when it came time to apply for doctoral programs, Dowd announced that she was leaving USC to join the faculty at Penn State.

Fernandez-Castro said he was at a loss and wasn't sure what to do. He wanted to work with Dowd but, if accepted to a doctoral program, he wasn't sure he could afford it.

Guaranteed funding

"I applied at Penn State and two other schools, but Penn State had the best program," Fernandez-Castro said. "I also really loved the work that Alicia was doing and wanted to continue working with her. She is the main reason I applied to Penn State. Being from California, I really didn't know much about Penn State."

Marlon Fernandez-Castro
Marlon Fernandez-Castro is a first-generation student who came to the College of Education because he wanted to continue working with his master's adviser, Alicia Dowd, professor of education (higher education). Until he found out he was awarded a DGA, he did not think attending Penn State was an option.

Fernandez-Castro was accepted to three other schools and the primary determining factor, he said, was based on which school could offer the best financial aid package. Although he loved working with Dowd and wanted to continue that work, he knew he had to enroll in a program that was financially feasible.

"I didn't even know about DGA," he said. Many students don't. That's because students can't apply for the DGA program. Instead, program faculty and advisers must nominate students whom they believe meet the qualifications. Advisers must complete a nomination packet that includes a letter of support that distinguishes the nominee from other applicants and explains the match of skills and interests with the adviser. The nomination packet is then evaluated along with the student's Graduate School admissions application.

"When I received the offer letter with the DGA information, it solidified my decision to come to Penn State," Fernandez-Castro said. "It let me know that I would be well situated, at least financially, as well as allow me to do the research I was interested in."

Being offered the DGA was also a determining factor for Giri, who was considering offers from three other universities.

"Penn State's LDT program is highly recommended and after interviewing with all four universities, I thought Penn State had a genuine match of research interest and the program was very appealing. Then I learned I was offered a DGA," he said.

"Ultimately, as a graduate student, an international graduate student, education is very expensive," Giri said. "The guaranteed funding allows student to complete their comprehensive exams and work on data collection and analysis for their dissertation without having the added constant pressure of 'I need to find a job' or 'where is my summer funding coming from.'"

The four-year guaranteed funding also is the reason first-year doctoral student Jonathan McCausland returned to his alma mater.

"I was accepted to the University of Colorado and Michigan State and both offered financial packages," McCausland said. "But because of the DGA offer, the money was more stable and it was more than I was offered at the other schools. It was a pretty big part of my decision, especially since I moved with my girlfriend and I needed to have money that was secure because we weren't sure how difficult it would be for her to find employment."

McCausland, who graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences in 2015, comes from a family of Penn State alumni and said being able to return to the University Park campus is something that means a lot to him.

"To imagine myself at a different school was very difficult," he said. "The DGA and the mentorship that I'm receiving from Penn State stands out above any other school I applied to."

The 'best and brightest'

According to College of Education Dean David H. Monk, the fundamental goal of the DGA program is to recruit top-tier doctoral students who have a research focus.

"By recruiting the best and brightest students, we can pair them with our faculty and really showcase the research talent that exists in the college," Monk said.

That talent is demonstrated through the strong matches between faculty researchers and student researchers.

"We look for common interests and eagerness to work together that can lead to additional external funding around high priority research projects and interests," Monk said when explaining his goals and visions for the program.

Giri and Fernandez-Castro both cited a match in research interests and a desire to work with top faculty as key factors in attending Penn State. That was no different for McCausland.

McCausland, who is obtaining a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, works with Scott McDonald, associate professor of education (science education) and director of the Krause Studios for Innovation. As a Penn State alumnus, he knew of McDonald's academic reputation and the two had the opportunity to work together when McCausland was an undergraduate student.

"I had the pleasure of advising Jonathan when he was working on his Schreyer Honors thesis and even at that point, it was clear that he was a serious thinker and someone who really pursued intellectual challenges with a lot of energy," McDonald said.

McDonald was impressed with McCausland's ambition, he said. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in environmental resource management, he went on to earn his teaching credentials at Brooklyn College in New York City and worked as a teacher in a high-needs school in the city.

Jonathan McCausland
Penn State alumna Jonathan McCausland was excited to return to Penn State for his doctoral studies and after learning he was awarded a DGA, he knew that he would not have to worry about the financial stress that accompanies most graduate programs.

"Working in a high-needs school can be one of the most challenging contexts to do innovation teaching," McDonald said. "But yet, he was able to thrive. And on top of that, while he was doing that teaching, he was already thinking about how to become a better teacher and develop research that would help teachers become better. That is the sort of practical scholar that I think we need more of in academia."

So when McClausland applied to the doctoral program with a focus on science education, McDonald knew he would be a perfect addition to his research team.

Since joining the college in August, McCausland is part of a team of students who are working with McDonald to redesign the teacher education program in secondary science education. As part of the redesign, the team is working with mentor teachers and field supervisors to build stronger collaborations and are refocusing courses on more ambitious and effective forms of science teaching and the Next Generation Science Standards.

"We also are collecting data on how preservice teachers learn to teach by examining the development of their professional vision in science teaching," McDonald said.

More research, more possibilities

Completing a doctoral program is a full-time commitment. It involves a heavy course load as well as the pursuit of an intensive research agenda. Students also are expected to present at conferences, publish research and find a way to conduct their dissertation research. Many students struggle with these demands because of outside obligations related to full or part-time work. Yet, that work is typically necessary in order for students to stay enrolled in their programs.

"As someone who began my own doctoral studies working full time, I quickly recognized that the cognitive and time demands of my full-time position were not commensurate to my academic goals," said Gabriela Richard, assistant professor of education (learning, design and technology), who also serves as the faculty adviser to Giri.

"While I was able to apply for and successfully obtain a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in order to pursue full-time doctoral study, the program is highly competitive," she said. "The DGA allows us to attract a diverse pool of both national and international students who are dedicated to rigorous academic scholarship and trajectories in the academy."

McDonald agreed, and he said he appreciates the academic freedom the program affords.

"I think the DGAs provide both students and faculty a wonderful academic freedom so that they can together pursue areas of scholarship that are emergent and initially less fundable from external sources. This allows students to avoid supporting their research with other work such as with a teaching assistantship or working on a funded project unrelated to their research interests," McDonald said.

Richard, who began her career at Penn State at the same time Giri enrolled in the doctoral program, believes the DGA program is extremely important for the college, its doctoral students and its faculty. For junior faculty members like Richard, securing external funding for research can be a difficult task. Working with a DGA not only helps the faculty member complete research, it also provides the student with more hands-on research experience.

"While I recognize funding is limited by many very real constraints, I would encourage that we increase these kinds of opportunities for promising graduate students matched with new or junior faculty who may be getting their research agendas up and running," she said.

Her vision is shared by Dean Monk, who envisions strong, continued growth for the DGA program.

"We've been committed to raising the salary grade level of the stipends and expanding the size of the cohorts and plan to continue growing the size of the cohort," he said.

"It's been wonderful to see the successes of the students who entered the program in its early years and who have now gone on to pursue exciting careers as scholars in the field. The program is allowing the College of Education to achieve some of its most important goals as it seeks to deepen and extend knowledge about the formations and utilization of human capabilities."

By Jessica Buterbaugh (April 2018)

Around the College: April 11, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

Seria Chatters, assistant professor of education (counselor education), was quoted in an article in the Centre Daily Times. The article, "When is too young to start preparing children for active shooter situations?" recaps a panel discussion about how to prepare young students for potential active shooter situations in schools.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership), had an op-ed published on Al.com. Her piece, "District secession proposal may further segregation," touches upon segregation and desegregation in Alabama schools and her personal experience with the matter.

Royel M. Johnson, assistant professor of education (higher education), Uju Anya, assistant professor of education (second language education), and Liliana Garces from University of Texas at Austin, had their conference grant proposal "Envisioning Racial Equity on College Campuses: Bridging Research-to-Practice Gaps for Institutional Transformation" selected for funding by the Spencer Foundation.

Maria Lewis, assistant professor of education (educational leadership), published "Using Educational Law as a Tool to Empower Social Justice Leaders to Promote LGBTQ Inclusion" in SAGE Journals. The article focuses on LGBTQ research on the experiences of students and employees and explores the relationship between sources of legal authority and the role of law in policy implementation.

Scott Metzger, associate professor of education (social studies education), is the lead editor of The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning, which has just been published. The project took three years to produce and is now available for purchase.

Bonnie J. F. Meyer,professor of education (educational psychology), was recently selected as fellow of the Society for Text & Discourse. The Fellows program recognizes and honors individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the study of text and discourse.

— Research on racial disparities in disability identification conducted by Paul Morgan, professor of education, and George Farkas of University of California, Irvine, was cited in an analysis by the Brookings Institution. The article by Nora Gordon, author at the Brookings Institution, "Who is in special education and who has access to related services? New evidence from the National Survey of Children's Health," compares how student characteristics are related to participation in special education and access to speech, occupational and physical therapy. Additionally, Morgan and Farkas' research on "Executive Function Deficits in Kindergarten Predict Repeated Academic Difficulties Across Elementary School," a NSF-funded study which will be presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2018 Annual Meeting on April 13, is one of nine studies selected to be highlighted at the annual conference. 

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

College of Education well-represented at annual AERA conference

Many University Park faculty and graduate students are authors or co-authors of papers being presented in symposia, paper sessions, roundtable sessions or poster sessions at the American Education Research Association (AERA) meeting April 13 to 17 in New York City.

AERA conference logo**Editor's note: Contributors are listed by date, in the order they appear in the AERA program. This list does not include session discussants, chairs or moderators.

The following University Park faculty and graduate students are authors or co-authors of papers being presented in symposia, paper sessions, roundtable sessions or poster sessions at the American Education Research Association (AERA) meeting April 13 to 17 in New York City:

Friday, April 13:

Executive Function Deficits in Kindergarten Predict Repeated Academic Difficulties Across Elementary School. Paul L. Morgan, The Pennsylvania State University; George Farkas, University of California - Irvine; Yangyang Wang, The Pennsylvania State University; Marianne Hillemeier, The Pennsylvania State University; Yoonkyung Oh, The Pennsylvania State University; Steven Maczuga, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Reciprocal Longitudinal Relations Between Externalizing and Internalizing Problems in Childhood. Yoonkyung Oh, The Pennsylvania State University; Mark T. Greenberg, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Failed Connections Between Psychological Principles and Use of Classroom Management Strategies. Huiqing (Helen) Hu, The Pennsylvania State University; Rayne A. Sperling, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

The Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning as a Predictor of Performance on Accountability Measures. Jason Salisbury, University of Illinois at Chicago; Marsha E. Modeste, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Characterizing Super-Posters in a MOOC for Teachers' Professional Development. Fernanda Cesar Bonafini, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

The Rural Turn: Principal Stability Across Geographic Locale. Andrew Pendola, The Pennsylvania State University; Ed Fuller, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Teaching in the Time of Testing and Technology: An Ethnographic Approach. Kathryn M. Bateman, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

The Picturebook Project: Addressing Tensions in a Micro/Ethnographically Informed Case Study. Laura Anne Hudock, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Preferences, Proximity, and Controlled Choice: Examining Families' School Choices and Enrollment Decisions in Louisville, Kentucky. Erica Frankenberg, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

"We're the Kids Nobody Wants": Navigating Discourses of Failure in an Alternative High School. Hilario Junior Lomeli, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Using Educational Data Mining to Explore Time Dimensions of Participation in Online Learning. Hengtao Tang, The Pennsylvania State University; Wanli Xing, Texas Tech University, paper session.

From Students to Democratic Citizens: Embedding Student Voice in Education Decision Making. Samantha Elizabeth Holquist, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; Dana L. Mitra, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Look Who's Talking: Factors for Considering the Facilitation of Very Young Children's Voices. Kate Wall, University of Strathclyde; Claire Cassidy, University of Strathclyde; Lorna Jane Arnott, University of Strathclyde; Mhairi Beaton, Leeds Beckett University (nee Leeds Metropolitan University); Caralyn Blaisdell, University of Strathclyde; Elaine Hall, Legal Education and Professional Skills; Gerard McKernan, Glasgow City Council; Dana L. Mitra, The Pennsylvania State University; Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, Goteborg University; Carol Robinson, University of Sussex, roundtable session.

"Sometimes It's Cute but Sometimes It's Annoying": Children's Emotional Experiences of Disability and Inclusion. Alex Collopy, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Student Learning in an Introductory Physics Course Using an Online Learning Courseware for Assignments. Christine Leow, Pearson Education, Inc.; Kenneth Tae Han Lee, University of California-Irvine; Louis Leblond, The Pennsylvania State University; Eric Hudson, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

The Early Erosion of Teacher Autonomy. Sarah Anne Eckert, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Educational Accountability, Historically Considered. David A. Gamson, The Pennsylvania State University; Sarah Anne Eckert, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Saturday, April 14:

Toward a Schizoanalytic Approach to Educating the Disabled Inhuman. Gail M. Boldt, The Pennsylvania State University; Joseph Michael Valente, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Beginning Teacher Attrition in Texas by Route to Certification. Ed Fuller, The Pennsylvania State University; Hajime Mitani, Rowan University; Liz Hollingworth, University of Iowa, paper session.

Writing for Your Life in Academia: A Publishing Workshop. Jeanine M. Staples, The Pennsylvania State University, workshop.

The American Journal of Distance Education. Adnan Quayyam, The Pennsylvania State University, in Meet Journal Editors: invited roundtable session.

Journal of Research in Rural Education. Karen Eppley, The Pennsylvania State University, in Meet Journal Editors: invited roundtable session.

Review of Educational Research. P. Karen Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University, in Meet Journal Editors: invited roundtable session.

The Ambassador Program: An Emerging Strategy for Community-Driven Educational Justice Organizing. Kristen P. Goessling, The Pennsylvania State University - Brandywine; Shivaani Aruna Selvaraj, The Pennsylvania State University; Kendra Brooks; Caitlin Elizabeth Fritz, The University of Pennsylvania; Zakia Royster-Morris, symposium.

Augmenting Learning About Local Geoscience in a Children's Garden With Mobile Technologies. Susan M. Land, The Pennsylvania State University; Heather Toomey Zimmerman, The Pennsylvania State University; Chrystal Maggiore, The Pennsylvania State University; Soo Hyeon Kim, The Pennsylvania State University; Jessica Briskin, paper session.

School Inequality in Shanghai's Secondary Education: Evidence From PISA 2009 and 2012. Yifan Bai, American Institutes for Research; Huacong Liu; Soo-yong Byun, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Mobile Media: A Review of Opportunities to Learn and Emerging Participation Gaps. Christian Ehret, McGill University; Ty Hollett, The Pennsylvania State University; Luka Ciklovan, McGill University, symposium.

Spot-Hunting and Street Riding: Reading, "Riding," and Making Place on the Move. Ty Hollett, The Pennsylvania State University; Robert Hein, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Are Students With Disabilities Disproportionately Suspended From U.S. Schools? Paul L. Morgan, The Pennsylvania State University; George Farkas, University of California - Irvine; Marianne Hillemeier, The Pennsylvania State University; Steven Maczuga, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Hidden Behind the Model Minority Stereotype: Disparities in Asian Parent Empowerment and Their Children's College Enrollment. Jungnam Kim, Ball State University; Julia Bryan, The Pennsylvania State University; Gitima Sharma, California State University – Fresno, paper session.

Making Science and Gender in Kindergarten. Alicia M. McDyre, The Pennsylvania State University, structured poster session.

Applying Multimodal Analysis Tools for STEM Education Research: Example From an Elementary Engineering Design Challenge. Carmen Vanderhoof, The Pennsylvania State University, structured poster session.

Discourse of Professional Pedagogical Vision in Preservice Teacher Education. Arzu Tanis Ozcelik, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University; Scott McDonald, The Pennsylvania State University, structured poster session.

In the Middle: Exploring the Challenges of Research Brokers in Education. Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple, University of Delaware; Joseph C Tise, The Pennsylvania State University; Karen Seashore Louis, University of Minnesota, symposium.

Superintendent Tenure and Turnover in Texas: 1990–2015. Ed Fuller, The Pennsylvania State University; Liz Hollingworth, University of Iowa; Andrew Pendola, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Workplace Learning Measures in Human Resource Development: Review and Summary. Sunyoung Park, Louisiana State University; Jae Young Lee, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Teachers' Understandings and Actions Toward China's New Curriculum Reforms in the Context of Examination-Oriented Education. Jinyan Bai, The Pennsylvania State University; Roger C. Shouse, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Time Really Matters: Revisiting Forum Participation Patterns in MOOCs. Hengtao Tang, The Pennsylvania State University; Wanli Xing, Texas Tech University, poster session.

Sculpting Social Justice Concepts to Uncover Implicit Meanings. Joe Norris, Brock University; Kimberly Anne Powell, The Pennsylvania State University, off-site visit.

American Journal of Education. Eric McGinnis, The Pennsylvania State University; Dana L. Mitra, The Pennsylvania State University; Gerald K. LeTendre, The Pennsylvania State University; Andrew Pendola, The Pennsylvania State University; Rachel Lynn Montgomery, The Pennsylvania State University, invited roundtable.

Navigating the Quicksand: Understanding the Influence of Affirmative Action Developments on Racial Diversity Work. Liliana M. Garces, University of Texas at Austin; Darkhan Bilyalov, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Collaborative Learning Through Collegiate E-Sports: Investigating Communication, Reflection, and Mastery During Competitive Gaming. Gabriela T. Richard, The Pennsylvania State University; Robert William Ashley, The Pennsylvania State University; Zachary McKinley, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

School Choice and Fragmentation in Two Communities: The Ideal School. Karen Eppley, The Pennsylvania State University; Michael J. Corbett, Acadia University, paper session.

The Effects of the Science Writing Heuristic on Student Engagement for Students With Disabilities. Jonte' C. Taylor (JT), The Pennsylvania State University; James Stocker, University of North Carolina - Wilmington; Brian Hand, University of Iowa; William J. Therrien, University of Virginia, roundtable session.

Causal Directionality of Longitudinal Relations Between Parent School Involvement and Children's Social-Behavioral and Academic Performance. Yoonkyung Oh, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

School Context and the Gender Gap in Math Achievement, Self-Efficacy, and STEM Majors. HyoJung Jang, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Fostering High School Students' Scientific Argumentation and Conceptual Understanding Through Quality Talk Discussions. P. Karen Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University; Jeff A. Greene, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Ana Butler, The Pennsylvania State University; Elizabeth Marie Allen, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Sara Baszczewski, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; Amanda Swearingen, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Liwei Wei, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Sunday, April 15:

Effects of Immigrants' Age at Arrival on Academic Performance: From a Cross-National Perspective. Kyung Sun Chung, The Pennsylvania State University; Youngsik Seo, University at Buffalo – SUNY, paper session.

Dismantling the White Supremacist Patriarchy Working Against Black Boys and Men, One Teacher at a Time. Jeanine M. Staples, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Toward a Thick Description of a Controversial Local Land Issue and Its Curricular Possibilities. Mark T Kissling, The Pennsylvania State University; Jonathan Bell, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Preservice Teachers' Scientific Information Search: Implications for Instruction. Alexandra List, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Promoting Students' Multifaceted Literacy Competence Through Quality Talk: A Quasi-Experimental Study. P. Karen Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University; Jeff A. Greene, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Carla Marie Firetto, The Pennsylvania State University; Mengyi Li, American Institutes for Research; Rebekah F Duke, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Rachel Miriam Vriend Croninger, The Pennsylvania State University; Nikki G. Lobczowski, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, poster session.

School and Residential Segregation in Districts With Voluntary Integration Policies. Jeremy Anderson, The Pennsylvania State University; Kendra Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University; Erica Frankenberg, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

"This Is Research, Boy!" Emerging and Be(com)ing With Objects in an Early Childhood Literacy Workshop. Kortney B. Sherbine, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Mapping Political Coalitions and the Advancement of Ideas in the Reform of Special Education Policy. Laura E. Bray, The Pennsylvania State University; Joshua Childs, The University of Texas – Austin, roundtable session.

The Role of Peers and Instructional Quality in Preschool Children's School-Readiness Skills. Bridget E Hatfield, Oregon State University; Rebecca Madill, Pennsylvania State University; Stephanie Margaret Jones, Harvard University; Tamara Gail Halle, Early Childhood Research Child Trends; Bridget Kathleen Hamre, University of Virginia; Catherine Worrell; Erika Blackburn; Katina Kearney-Edwards, District of Columbia Public Schools, poster session.

"Ditch Your ASL Interpreters and Read Our Lips!" How the Civil Rights Model of Inclusion Fails Us. Joseph Michael Valente, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Story Walks. Kimberly Anne Powell, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Closed for Business, Open for Critique: For-Profit Closures in Higher Education. Kevin Kinser, Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Rural Space, Place, and Education: A Critical Pedagogy of Rural Place. Ian Burfoot-Rochford, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Violent Domesticity: The Symbolic, Linguistic, and Physical Violence of South African Domestic Workers. Anna Kaiper, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

The Relationship Between Principals' Distributed Leadership and Teacher Turnover. Maria Jose Barros, The Pennsylvania State University; Michael Cook, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, poster session.

Monday, April 16:

Understanding How Youths and Adults Are Positioned as Intellectual Leaders Within Family Inventing Activities. Heather Toomey Zimmerman, The Pennsylvania State University; Soo Hyeon Kim, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Furthering Inclusivity in Making: A Framework for Accessible Design of Makerspaces for Learners With Disabilities. Jooyoung Seo, The Pennsylvania State University; Gabriela T. Richard, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Multimodal Making: A Framework for Understanding the Implicit Learning Affordances of Different Digital and Physical Maker Tool Kits. Gabriela T. Richard, The Pennsylvania State University; Sagun Giri, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Changing Conceptions of Equal Educational Opportunity: Poverty and Achievement in the Progressive Era. David A. Gamson, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Dynamic Identities: Exploring the Development of Dually Certified Preservice Teachers' Professional Identities. Laura E. Bray, The Pennsylvania State University; Sheila Conway, University of Pittsburgh, paper session.

Meta-Analysis of Video-Based Instruction to Teach Mathematics to Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Elizabeth M. Hughes, The Pennsylvania State University; Gulnoza Yakubova, University of Maryland, paper session.

Investigating the Relationship of Enacted Assessments in the English Language Arts Classroom With Learners and Their Learning. Xenia Hadjioannou, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

The Femur Is the Biggest One: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Science. Carla K Meyer, Duquesne University; Elizabeth M Hughes, The Pennsylvania State University; Laura M. Jimenez, Boston University; Dawnmarie Ezzo, Duquesne University, poster session.

More Than Cookies and Crayons: Head Start's Importance in Mississippi's Black Freedom Struggle. Crystal R. Sanders, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Healing in Social Studies: Reflections on Learning, Then Confronting, Our Columbus Replacement Narratives. Ana Carolina Diaz Beltran, The Pennsylvania State University; Mark T Kissling, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Wage Dispersion, Salary Referents, and Principal Turnover Behavior. Andrew Pendola, The Pennsylvania State University; Yifan Bai, American Institutes for Research, roundtable session.

Racial and Income Segregation at Multiple Geographic Scales in Large U.S. School Districts. Kendra Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

(Re)Constructing Identities: South African Domestic Workers, English Language Learning, and Power. Anna Kaiper, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Fostering Connections Between Science and Everyday Life: The Role of Narratives in Library Programs. Heather Toomey Zimmerman, The Pennsylvania State University; Lucy R. McClain, The Pennsylvania State University; Michele Crowl, Discovery Space of Central PA; Soo Hyeon Kim, The Pennsylvania State University; Torri H. Withrow, The Pennsylvania State University; Emily Daigle; Xinyun Peng, Pennsylvania State University; Susan M. Land, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

The São Paulo Teachers Union, Educational Change, and Political Strategy in Brazil. Rebecca Tarlau, Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

An Occasion of Two Governments: MAPS for Kids and the Fate of Urban School Renewal. William C. Frick, University of Oklahoma; Dana L. Mitra, The Pennsylvania State University; Angela Urick, The University of Oklahoma; Sara Doolittle, University of Oklahoma; Gregg A. Garn, University of Oklahoma, roundtable session.

The Benefits of Question Generation to Support Multiple Document Learning. Chelsea Cameron, The Pennsylvania State University; Ian S. Cameron; Peggy N. Van Meter, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Writing With Purpose: Navigating Writing Spaces From Unconventional Platforms to Traditional Venues. Graduate Student Council. Ashley N. Patterson, The Pennsylvania State University; Erica K. Dotson, Clayton State University; Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University; Stephanie Behm Cross, Georgia State University; Nadia Behizadeh, Georgia State University, invited speaker session.

Commoning, Sovereignty, Resilience: Learning With Wendell Berry, Ivan Illich, and Gandhi. Dana L. Stuchul, The Pennsylvania State University; Madhu Suri Prakash, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Revitalizing the Linguistic Commons: The Integration of a Commons-Based Pedagogy Into English Language Teacher Education. John Katunich, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Personal, Community Parent Empowerment and Postsecondary Enrollment: Racial and Socioeconomic Differences in College Enrollment. Jungnam Kim, Ball State University; Julia Bryan, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Eisner's Understanding of Knowledge: 1967 Through Today. Sarah Anne Eckert, The Pennsylvania State University; David A. Gamson, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Interactions Between Reader and Text: Contributions of Executive Function, Strategy Use, and Text Cohesion to Comprehension of Expository Science Text. D. Jake Follmer, Salisbury University; Rayne A. Sperling, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

iSTART: Moderating Effects of Prior Knowledge and Metacognitive Awareness on Self-Explanation Training. Peggy N. Van Meter, The Pennsylvania State University; Danielle Waters, Pennsylvania State University; Alexa Marie Kottmeyer, The Pennsylvania State University; Jacqueline Maguire, The Pennsylvania State University; Michelle Hepfer; John R Waters, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

The Model of Domain Learning: Construct Interplays in Academic Development. Michelle Hepfer; Jonna M. Kulikowich, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Knowledge and the Model of Domain Learning: What We Knew, What We Know, and What Remains Unknown. P. Karen Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University; Carla Marie Firetto, The Pennsylvania State University; Mengyi Li, American Institutes for Research, poster session.

A Meta-Analysis of Strategy Use and Performance in the Model of Domain Learning. Daniel Dinsmore, University of North Florida; Courtney Hattan, University of Maryland - College Park; Alexandra List, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Knowledge and Belief Change in Academic Development. Yuting Sun, University of Maryland - College Park; Patricia A. Alexander, University of Maryland - College Park; P. Karen Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University, poster session.

Student Voices About Teaching in Higher Education: An Italian Perspective. Monica Fedeli, University of Padova; Edward Woodbury Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Teachers' Strikes Against the Coup in Brazil: How Educators Engage in Political Mobilization. Dalila Andrade Oliveira, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; Rebecca Tarlau, Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Public Versus Private School Students' Performance in Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. Chi Nguyen, The Pennsylvania State University; Chao Su, Pennsylvania State Education Association, roundtable session.

Research-to-Policy Gap: A Systemic Review of the Special Education Research. Meghan Burke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Maria Lewis, The Pennsylvania State University; Janet R. Decker, Indiana University – Bloomington, roundtable session.

— Does the Length and Timing of Special Education Service Receipt Predict Children's Social-Emotional Adjustment? Adrienne D. Woods, University of Michigan; Paul L. Morgan, The Pennsylvania State University; George Farkas, University of California – Irvine, roundtable session.

Instigating Change in Preservice Teacher Cognition About English Learners in Content-Area Classrooms Through Virtual Interactions. Laura J. Mahalingappa, Duquesne University; Nihat Polat, Duquesne University; Elizabeth M. Hughes, The Pennsylvania State University; Cebrail Karayigit, Pittsburg State University, roundtable session.

Tuesday, April 17:

Suburban Jurisdictional Boundaries: How Policies Contribute to Racial and Economic Segregation Between School Districts. Heather Bennett, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

The Contribution of Attendance Boundary Segregation to School District Segregation in Large U.S. School Districts. Kendra Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

School Segregation and School Enrollment Patterns Amid Neighborhood Gentrification. Erica Frankenberg, The Pennsylvania State University; Kendra Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University; Bryan Mann, University of Alabama, paper session.

Can Artificial Intelligence Teach Preservice Teachers to Respond More Effectively to Bullying? Deborah L. Schussler, The Pennsylvania State University; Jennifer L Frank, The Pennsylvania State University; Tsan-Kuang Lee, The Pennsylvania State University; Michelle Wright, The Pennsylvania State University; Julia Mahfouz, University of Idaho; Ko Un Choi, The Pennsylvania State University; Emily Sturtz, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Characterizing Prospective Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Experience of Creating Video Lessons Using iPad. Fernanda Cesar Bonafini, The Pennsylvania State University; Younhee Lee, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Trying to Excel in the Golden State: Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and Achievement of Immigrants in California. Volha Chykina, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Effects of College Selectivity and Major on Highbrow Cultural Participation. SuYeong Shin, The University of Iowa; Soo-yong Byun, The Pennsylvania State University, paper session.

Affective Flows in the Clinic and the Classroom. Gail M. Boldt, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

The Relative Contribution of School Districts and Places to Metropolitan Racial Segregation. Kendra Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University; Erica Frankenberg, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Racial Formation U: How University Websites Routinize, (Re)Present, and Transform Race Categories. Karly Ford, The Pennsylvania State University; Ashley N. Patterson, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Cops, Robbers, and Jail Reimagined: African American Head Start Teachers' Perspectives on Dramatic Play. Allison Sterling Henward, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Examining the Dimensionality of School Counseling College-Going Culture: New or Old Construct. Alberto F. Cabrera, University of Maryland; Julia Bryan, The Pennsylvania State University; Elizabeth Kurban, University of Maryland - College Park, paper session.

Rural School Closure and Consolidation. Karen Eppley, The Pennsylvania State University, symposium.

Transversing Spiderman and the Hulk via DeafCrit: From a Politics of Identity Toward a Politics of Affirmation. Joseph Michael Valente, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

Development of a Morphology Intervention to Enhance Literacy Outcomes for Adolescent English Learners. Amy C. Crosson, The Pennsylvania State University; Margaret G. McKeown, University of Pittsburgh; Pui-Wa Lei, The Pennsylvania State University; Weiyi Cheng, The Pennsylvania State University; Kathleen J. Brown, University of Utah; Kelly P. Robbins, roundtable session.

An Alternative Learning Space: The Case of Mancala Board Game Players. Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck, The Pennsylvania State University, roundtable session.

The Rise of Measurement: Assessing Science and the Implications for Students With Special Needs. Jonte' C. Taylor (JT), The Pennsylvania State University; Karen Rizzo, Pennsylvania State University-Behrend, roundtable session.

No Hate Penn State: Student-group promotes inclusivity and awareness in community

In the midst of a controversy involving prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer and the University of Florida, Jacksonville native Elijah Armstrong decided enough was enough — it was time for him to take action.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the midst of a controversy involving prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer and the University of Florida, Jacksonville native Elijah Armstrong decided enough was enough — it was time for him to take action.

Elijah Armstrong
In an effort to promote diversity and inclusivity at Penn State, Elijah Armstrong worked with fellow students to create No Hate Penn State.
In August 2017, Armstrong and three friends teamed up to create No Hate Penn State, an organization with the goal of creating a Penn State experience that is safe and inclusive for all students.

Armstrong, a junior studying education and public policy, became an activist after experiencing harsh backlash from administration during his junior year at a college prep school in Jacksonville.

Armstrong experienced seizures at school and asked for accommodations as simple as changing the type of light bulbs used in a classroom, but ultimately was told that no accommodations could be made.

Very little was done for Armstrong while at school in Jacksonville but a legal settlement in which he received $80,000 was reached in the case during his sophomore year at Penn State.

No Hate Penn State organized a concert at Webster's Cafe on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to raise awareness and gather support.

"The first event we had was incredibly successful," Armstrong said about the MLK Day concert. "Even the people that couldn't make it saw the video and were very impressed and wanted to be a part of the next one."

The concert, which consisted of multiple performers as well as a collaborative art installation, was a way to unite the State College and Penn State communities and show all the good things being done by No Hate Penn State and Equal Opportunities for Students.

Equal Opportunities for Students, a blog Armstrong created as a result of the discrimination he faced in high school, is a place where people can share educational resources and tell their own stories.

As far as involvement goes, there seem to be many supporters of the cause and even more who want to get further involved.

"I get, every so often, people asking me how they can help, how they can be involved and when the next thing that we're planning is," Armstrong said.

Support has thus far been strong for Armstrong, his friends and their ideas. They've faced very little backlash from the community, other than tiny bumps in the road, such as difficulties with event venues.

"Someone disagrees with everything that you can do," Armstrong said, acknowledging that it is surprising that his group has yet to face very much hate.

"There have been bureaucratic roadblocks along the way, like we wanted to host [events] in various places and we couldn't get permits and sometimes we needed insurance," Armstrong said.

The student activist said that there has yet to be a situation in which a person or group outwardly disagreed with what No Hate Penn State stands for.

"Creative advocacy is a very useful tool against many forms of hate and violence. Hate and violence can come in many ways, but finding meaningful ways to combat them is something I intend on continuing in the future."
— Elijah Armstrong, education and public policy student

"It's been very positive," Armstrong said. "I know that a lot of other people have tried to do, not necessarily similar things, but similar in the outlet of forwarding acceptance and peaceful protesting, and received much more vitriol than I have."

In a divisive time when schools have begun to turn away certain types of speakers and events, No Hate Penn State aims to unite people against those who want to spread non-inclusive, hateful ideas.

The group, which began almost immediately after Richard Spencer spoke at University of Florida early last fall, was created in response to that event. Although Penn State has prohibited the white supremacist from speaking at the University, there still are other, similar threats that could be posed in the community.

Armstrong and his fellow advocates participate in activities and spread awareness because they want to make sure that, while there is a possibility of someone like Richard Spencer speaking at Penn State, "that there was a constructive way to resist if something were to happen." 

One way Armstrong and his friends were able to spread their message was by putting on a play. The play, written by Ellis Stump, is called "Sacred Trauma" and aimed to spread awareness of the issue of sexual assault.

Armstrong helped as assistant director of the play and made a brief documentary showcasing play attendees giving words of encouragement to sexual assault survivors.

"Creative advocacy is a very useful tool against many forms of hate and violence," Armstrong said. "Hate and violence can come in many ways, but finding meaningful ways to combat them is something I intend on continuing in the future."

 Looking forward, Armstrong shared that the coordination of a town hall discussion is in the works.

The focus of the discussion will be on the history of student activism and is set to take place in early fall. Topics to be discussed include how to get involved with activism both on campus and in the surrounding community.

By Abby Fortin (April 2018)

Around the College: April 25, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— Talat Azhar, recently retired associate director of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program, has been appointed vice president of institutional effectiveness and dean of student affairs at Habib University in Pakistan. In this position, she will be responsible for leading the Office of Academic Performance, Office of Institutional Research, Center for Pedagogical Excellence, Office of Career Services, Office of Student Life and the University Library. Azhar also is an alumna of the college, earning a dual doctorate degree in education theory and policy and comparative and international education.

David Baker, professor of education (educational theory and policy) and sociology, has been invited to address the Leopoldina, Germany's National Academy of Science in Berlin, in July. He will speak about "Education, World Health and Brain Power," and will discuss his research on the impact of the education revolution on cognition and world health and societal development.

— Christopher DeJarnett, a doctoral student studying educational leadership, has been awarded the William H. Hastie Creative and Research Fellowship by the Second District of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. The award recognizes scholars and creative artists and provides $2,500 for assistance in completing work, publications or studies.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership), and Kendra Taylor, a doctoral student studying educational leadership, co-authored "Resistance to school integration in the name of 'local control': 5 questions answered," which was published in The Conversation.

Jeff Hayes, professor of education (counselor education), is the recipient of the 2018 Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA) Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology. According to the PPA website, the award is "given to a Pennsylvania psychologist for outstanding scientific and/or professional achievement in the areas of expertise related to psychology, including teaching, research, clinical work and publications." Hayes will receive the award at the PPA Annual Convention on June 14.

— Jessie Jenkins, a junior majoring in rehabilitation and human services, is the recipient of the 2018 Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award. The award recognizes a junior, senior or graduate student for outstanding efforts to enhance the understanding of diverse cultures and create a community where all individuals are accepted and valued equally.

— Shannon Lee, a doctoral candidate in the Workforce Education and Development program, has been awarded a Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship from the Mercatus Center of George Mason University. The one-year, competitive fellowship introduces graduate students to the Austrian, Virginia and Bloomington schools of political economy as academic foundations for pursuing contemporary policy analysis.  

— Research led by Paul Morgan, professor of education (education policy studies), was the focus of the article "Does a lack of executive function explain why some kids fall way behind in school?" published by The Hechinger Report. The research also was reported on by EducationDive and The 74.

— Undergraduate Rachel E. Shriver and Seth Wilcox each have been awarded a $3,500 Erickson Discovery Grant to fund summer research. Shriver's research will focus on "Más Que Mojitos: Reciprocity within Global Conversations Course." Wilcox's research will focus on "Large Scale Keyphrase Evaluation via Crowdsourcing."

— G. Brian Toth, a faculty member in the Penn State World Campus educational leadership program and superintendent of the Saint Marys Area School District, was elected as one of five Pennsylvania superintendents to serve on the American Association of School Administrators Governing Board. He also has been nominated for the 2018 John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award.

 — Anne Whitney, professor of education in the College of Education, is the recipient of the 2018 Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award. The award honors and recognizes outstanding achievement by a faculty member with at least five years of service who effectively guides junior faculty. 

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

College of Education faculty, staff serve students across the University

At any university, it is common to see faculty and staff working with students. After all, it is part of most job descriptions. But oftentimes, faculty and staff go above and beyond their job descriptions in what they do for students.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At any university, it is common to see faculty and staff working with students. After all, it is part of most job descriptions. But oftentimes, faculty and staff go above and beyond their job descriptions in what they do for students.

In the College of Education, more than a dozen faculty and staff serve as advisers for various University-recognized student organizations that are not connected to the college. Some have served for decades while others are newcomers who want to get involved and work with students outside of the classroom. Regardless of their length of tenure, all serve for their own distinct reasons. For James Johnson, advising allows him to focus on two of his favorite things — playing chess and helping students.

A number of staff and faculty in the College of Education dedicate their time to serving as advisers for various Penn State student organizations outside of the student organizations tied to the college. Among those in the college who currently serve are:

Cori Donaghy
Happy Valley Music Label
Jennifer FrankCB's Rookies
Jerry HenryPenn State Thespians
Katie HoffmanHarmony and CB's Rookies
James Johnson — Penn State Chess Club
Efrain MarimonMock Trial Association
Ashely PattersonBahá'í Campus Association
Kimberly Powell — Penn State Taiko
Gabriella RichardPenn State Esports Club
María Schmidt — Boricua Grads
Roger Shouse — Turning Point USA at Penn State University
Amanda Smith — College Diabetes Network Chapter at Penn State
Jason WhitneyLions for Recovery

Johnson, professor of education (early childhood education), has been playing chess Thursday nights in the HUB since he came to Penn State in 1983. In fact, a few weeks before teaching his first class, he competed in the Pennsylvania state chess championships. During his college years, he was a Michigan Junior Champion and represented Wayne State University twice in the Pan-American Inter-Collegiate tournament. When the opportunity presented itself for him to serve as faculty adviser for the Penn State Chess Club, it was only natural for Johnson to get involved.

"We all need a break from usual academic routines and our students obviously do too," said Johnson, who served as adviser in the 1990s and recently resumed responsibilities again in 2016. "I love sharing the love of the game, which lasts a lifetime, and partaking in the chess culture, which is very welcoming and draws you deeply in."

Jerry Henry, human resource strategic partner for the College of Arts and Architecture and College of Education, works behind the scenes with college administration as well as working on special projects for Penn State Human Resources. His typical, day-to-day duties do not involve much interaction with students. However, outside of the office, Henry can be spotted working with the Penn State Thespians.

Founded in 1897, Penn State Thespians has seen many changes in its 120-year existence, according to Henry. "At its start, the organization was an all-male club. During World War I, women began performing because the draft left the club without some of its male talent, but it was not until 1953 when women were officially allowed membership," he said.

In 1999, Henry began his role as adviser and has been with the organization ever since. He works with the students, most of whom are not theatre majors, to produce two full-production musicals each year. The group also gives back to the community by producing two children's shows a year and MasquerAIDs, a production that benefits the AIDS Project of Centre County. The group also participates annually in THON.

"It is not only professors who can impact a student's life," said Henry, who has been involved with community theatre most of his life. "Many times, it is the staff member sitting behind a desk who offered a student a smile on a particular day. When I think back to my college days, I think often of the staff member who assisted me in registering for a course or who lent me enough money for bus fare to get back to my apartment."

"I like being able to work with students who are extremely creative and smart, who thought they would need to leave drama behind them after they left high school," he said. "When they find Penn State Thespians, they have found their family away from their family."

Helping students find that kind of emotional support also is what drives Jason Whitney to continue to serve as faculty adviser for Lions for Recovery (LFR), a support group for students recovering from alcohol and other substance use disorders.

Whitney, an instructor of education (secondary English education), understands firsthand how alcohol and substance use disorders can affect one's college career.

"During my sophomore year [of college], I began to work a recovery program and I am still working at it 26 years later, and it continues to be a powerfully transformative process," he said. "College can be a tough environment for students with substance use disorders. When unsupported, these students have difficulty sustaining their recovery and often foreclose on their educations and their futures. It has been a major reason for school failure and attrition here at Penn State for years."

The mission of LFR is to provide mutual support, service and outreach to encourage students struggling with substance use disorders to seek help. Current members regularly serve on various panels where they share their experiences and personal stories. They also speak regularly as part of the curriculum for Centre County's Youthful Offender's Program (YOP).

"On surveys, the YOP participants consistently rate the LFR speakers as the most impactful part of that program," Whitney said.

Whitney, who has seen firsthand how beneficial groups like LFR are for college students and personally understands the need for support networks, is part of an interdisciplinary group at Penn State working to establish an Addiction and Recovery minor. He also recently developed a new course called Education and the Student in Recovery, the first course of its kind in the United States.

"I am glad that the collegiate recovery movement came about and that I was able to help Penn State establish this incredible program and use my personal experience to help students in recovery since I've been there myself," he said.

Amanda Smith's struggles also are what led her to lend a helping hand to Penn State students. Smith, who is the STEM outreach and engagement liaison for the Center for Science and the Schools (CSATS), was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 when she was just a teenager. She now uses her experiences and knowledge of the disease to help students by advising the College Diabetes Network at Penn State (CDN@PSU).

"I remember being told I would have a decreased quality of life, would likely not have children and would struggle as I got older," Smith said. "However, diabetes management has come a long way in 20 years and as a type 1, you can do anything you put your mind to."

"I think it is crucial that in any capacity, whether you have a special talent, provide leadership or lend a helping hand, that faculty and staff provide a means to serve Penn State and its students. It makes us a stronger, more connected community."

— Amanda Smith, STEM outreach and engagement liaison for CSATS

CDN@PSU is the local chapter of the national organization that provides resources, support, funding and other opportunities for college students nationwide. At Penn State, members provide support for their peers and help those diagnosed with the disease.

"College life can be difficult enough, so having this support group for students with type 1 diabetes can be quite helpful," Smith said, adding that there are many misconceptions about the disease and CDN@PSU helps students better understand their diagnosis.

"I am proud to be part of CDN@PSU and to help the group grow as an organization," she said. "I think it is crucial that in any capacity, whether you have a special talent, provide leadership or lend a helping hand, that faculty and staff provide a means to serve Penn State and its students. It makes us a stronger, more connected community."

Aside from its academic and research accolades, Penn State is known for its many community outreach endeavors. One of those endeavors involves the efforts of CB's Rookies, a student organization that connects students with disabilities in the local community with Penn State students via a shared interest in athletic events.

The group was established in 2016 with the help of Jennifer Frank, assistant professor of education (special education), who serves as a co-adviser along with colleague Katie Hoffman, associate professor of education (special education).

"Our mission is to give children with disabilities and their parents an opportunity to become a part the Penn State community through involvement in our athletic programs," Frank said. "We visit students at their school and assist them in learning more about Penn State sports and 'CBeating' game day 'CBaft' (creating game day crafts). Then, children are offered tickets and invited to tailgate and attend a Penn State athletic event with their parent or guardian."

CB's Rookies hosts three events each year — one in the fall, spring and winter. Children are greeted by club members who watch the event with them and afterward, take them to meet the athletes for autographs and pictures.

"Our hope is to give these students the opportunity to experience not only a Penn State sporting event, but also the tight-knit community that is found on campus. By doing so, we hope to provide them an experience that will have a positive and lasting impact on their lives," Frank said.

"Seeing our students' compassion turned into action is inspiring," she added.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (April 2018)

Around the College: May 9, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

Erica Frankenberg's work with Jeremy Anderson and Kendra Taylor was featured by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in a "study snapshot." The snapshot, 'School and Residential Segregation in Districts with Voluntary Integration Policies' was featured at the 2018 AERA annual meeting on April 15.

— An article citing research done by Erica Frankenberg has been published in the Washington Post. The article, 'Back to the future: A new school district secession movement is gaining steam' discusses the growing school secession movement and looks at the impact it is making across the country.

— Latoya Haynes-Thoby, a College of Education alumna and current doctoral student in the counselor education and supervision program, was selected for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP). As an NBCC MFP Fellow, she will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.

— An article featuring research done by Paul Morgan was published in The Washington Post. The article 'Are too many minority students identified as disabled? Or are some who need services overlooked?' is an opinion piece about his findings and their implications for federal special education policy.

— An article on a study done by Paul Morgan was the "most read" Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Smart Brief last week. The article featured in the Smart Brief 'Does a lack of executive function explain why some kids fall way behind in school' was shared among approximately 125,000 ASCD members and 220,000 Twitter followers.

Leticia Oseguera has been selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Athlete Award at University of California, Irvine (UCI). This award recognizes a former student-athlete who has achieved great professional prominence in their industry or sport and is engaged in their community. The annual recognition ceremony, the Lauds & Laurels ceremony, acknowledges more than 800 members of the UCI community each year and will be held on May 31 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California.

Kai Schafft has been elected president-elect of the Rural Sociology Society (RSS) for the upcoming year. The RSS is a professional social science association that promotes the generation, application and dissemination of sociological knowledge. It seeks to enhance the quality of rural life, communities and the environment.

— Next year's leadership team for the Higher Education Student Association has been announced. Leandra Cate will serve as president alongside Bridget Parler, who has been elected vice president. Alex Towle will be treasurer and Ali Watts will be secretary.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing .

Penn State doctoral student selected for prestigious California academic program

Fourth-year College of Education doctoral student Elyzza Aparicio has been selected to participate in the California State University Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) that will allow her to complete her Penn State degree while simultaneously being a part of the CSU process that prepares its scholars for the professoriate.

Fourth-year College of Education doctoral student Elyzza Aparicio has been selected to participate in the California State University Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) that will allow her to complete her Penn State degree while simultaneously being a part of the CSU process that prepares its scholars for the professoriate.

ELYZZA-A
Elyzza Aparicio, a fourth-year doctoral student in the College of Education, has been selected to participate in the California State University Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program.
The Long Beach, California, resident is expected to complete her studies in the College of Education's Center for the Study of Higher Education in May 2019. In between, her acceptance into the prestigious CDIP will offer not only financial support but the opportunity for Aparicio to have additional mentorship and teaching experience as well as presentations at conferences.

The program's intent is to increase the number of doctoral students applying for future California State University faculty positions by offering not only mentorship but financial assistance as well. Aparicio is also a Bunton Waller Scholar at Penn State and that is a fellowship that is designed to enhance diversity while covering tuition costs.

Aparicio earned her bachelor of arts degree in literatures and English from the University of California-San Diego and her master's degree in science in student development and higher education from California State University-Long Beach. What drew her to Penn State for a doctoral degree, she said, was the faculty.

"I'm working with (associate professor and senior research associate) Leticia Oseguera. I had been following her work and I had the opportunity to meet her at a few conferences; that was really one of the reasons why I wanted to come out to Penn State," Aparicio said.

"When I had the opportunity to visit, I got to meet all the other faculty, and that was also a big draw in terms of who was there when I joined the program. Dave Guthrie is one of my professors and one of my committee members for my dissertation, and Leticia is my adviser and she is my chair."

Aparicio said she is looking within her research for factors that contribute to underrepresented racial ethnic group students and those that participate and enter graduate research; she also is reviewing whether students in non-STEM fields participating in undergraduate research leads to higher degree aspirations or higher degree outcomes.

"Specifically, I want to look at these students at state comprehensive universities," Aparicio said. "State comprehensive universities are not like your R-1s, so I'm focusing on an institution like the California State University system. That's where I did my master's and that's where I was doing some work with some undergraduate research as a program coordinator and my interest lies with that type of institution."

"It's just been really great working with them and just learning … the ability to really take from the faculty as I move forward with my methods and being exposed to the teaching and what I hope to take on and implement when I move on."
-- Elyzza Aparicio

CDIP-related responsibilities in addition to those within the College of Education program include teaching some lessons in a Cal State-Long Beach classroom, submitting papers to conferences, developing courses and beginning the basics of grant-writing.

"As I have seen her work and her passions firsthand in the classroom, in association and collaboration with faculty and student colleagues, in her extant research and in her nascent dissertation efforts, one thing is clear: Elyzza is a gifted professional and scholar with a heart for and competency in numerous areas of higher education," Guthrie said. 

Aparicio said another reason she chose to pursue higher education at Penn State was the environment. "I don't get support from just my adviser, it's from other faculty," she said. "It's not even from my cohort, it's from cohorts who are after me, and who have been there before me who really help in terms that they can answer questions, help you with your research and connect you with colleagues who are doing research in your area. It's been a really great community to be a part of."

The varying backgrounds of her Penn State colleagues was yet another tipping point for moving east for four years. "My colleagues come from very different backgrounds," Aparicio said. "Not everybody necessarily is in education or has an education background, but because their career paths have taken them into this trajectory they have moved on into higher education. 

"It's just been really great working with them and just learning … the ability to really take from the faculty as I move forward with my methods and being exposed to the teaching and what I hope to take on and implement when I move on."

She survived three Pennsylvania winters with "a good coat and lots of layers" and enjoys the seasonal changes, but the eventual objective would be to return to the Golden State.

"Ideally, I'm open," Aparicio said. "Faculty positions are tough to come by. I'm definitely open but the goal is to go back to California and I would particularly like to be at the CSU, if at all possible."

And there's the personal stake as well.

"I'd be the first in my family to complete a doctoral degree," she said. "Everything that my parents have done for me and my siblings. Even this move, to leave your family to go away. It's hard but they realize why I'm doing it and what it means to me. And with the end goal to come back to the institution at CSU that did a lot for me … as a researcher, as a scholar and hopefully as a future faculty."

Jim Carlson (June 2018)

Around the College: June 6, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— Penn State alumna and College of Education graduate student Elyzza Aparicio has been selected to the 2018-2019 California State University Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP). For details, visit https://ed.psu.edu/news/2018-04-06-news/penn-state-doctoral online.

Seria Chatters, assistant professor of education (counselor education), will serve as the director of diversity and inclusivity in the State College Area School District beginning in August. Chatters, also coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities at Penn State, will oversee the district's efforts to meet the goals of its school climate/inclusive excellence policy.

— Research by Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) was featured in The Christian Science Monitor. The article, "Desegregation stalls, but voluntary efforts to boost it show promise," discusses findings from Frankenberg's research surrounding segregation in schools and districts. A report co-written by Frankenberg was cited in an article published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Diverse field in Gwinnett school board race could bring a first." The report also was released by the Center for Education and Civil Rights. Frankenberg also was referenced in an article, "Congress Still Won't Pay for Busing to Desegregate Schools". The article talks about desegregation in schools and the benefits of racial and socioeconomic integration.

David Gamson, associate professor of education (education theory and policy), co-edited a book that was recently published called "The Shifting Landscape of the American School District: Race, Class, Geography, and the Perpetual Reform of Local Control, 1935–2015 (History of Schools and Schooling)." The book builds upon work he did with his former doctoral student and co-editor, Emily Hodge, who also is a former Dean's Graduate Assistantship (DGA) recipient. The book is in collaboration with historians of education and scholars who study education policy, all of whom Gamson and Hodge presented with at several academic conferences. Katharine Dulaney, a new DGA student, will be working with Gamson on the next phase of the project.

— Megan Runion, a doctoral student in the School Psychology program, recently had a blog post published through the American Psychological Association. The post, "The Infrastructure Of Trauma-Informed Schools Requires A Human Scaffold," discusses challenges in today's schooling systems regarding school safety and crisis response.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Partnership to help South Africa universities redress apartheid legacy

Penn State's College of Education is helping to support and prepare South Africa's next generation of university leadership, funded by the republic's Department of Higher Education and Training.

Penn State's College of Education has recently begun a partnership to help support and prepare South Africa’s next generation of university leadership.  The project is the result of a successful proposal submitted by three South African universities, and now funded by South Africa's Department of Higher Education and Training.

SOUTHAFRICA-1
David Guthrie, associate professor of education, goes over the College of Education Higher Education Program benchmarks with South African doctoral students during a visit to the University of Zululand in South Africa. Guthrie and Kevin Kinser (seated at left) spent time in South Africa this summer to launch a new partnership that will restructure, or 'lift up,' doctoral education at three universities in the republic.
A project named Phakamisa – meaning to grow or lift up – will enable 10 doctoral students from three South African universities – nine of whom are women – to use Penn State as a resource while attaining their degrees.

South Africa has been infamously known for apartheid, or a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination that existed from 1948 until the early 1990s. Phakamisa is an effort to support doctoral education for women and blacks in particular, as a way to redress the legacy of apartheid because women and blacks were historically significantly underrepresented,  according to David Guthrie, associate professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies at Penn State.

"It was easy to say yes to be part of something that is interested in cultivating a more just society; that was a really compelling part of it for us," Guthrie said.

The 10 South African doctoral candidates will come from three universities: Rhodes University, Durban University of Technology and the University of Zululand. The project is fully funded by the South African government.

"South Africa's higher education system reflects the legacy of apartheid; this shows up in the culture of the three institutions we are working with – an historically black institution (Zululand), a former Technikon, or technical institute (Durban) and a privileged historical white institution (Rhodes)," said Kevin Kinser, head of the Department of Education Policy Studies and professor of education (higher education).

"This gives us the opportunity to see how history continues to influence current educational structures even after the policies that started them have long been overturned. To me, this is an example of how our own legacy of racism in higher education continues to be relevant in higher education structures today," Kinser said.

The grant calls for the students as well as some faculty and staff to come to Penn State the next two summers (2019 and 2020), according to Guthrie. "We will provide the kinds of input that we can, and that they believe will be helpful to their preparation as doctoral candidates. That's the point; they are earning doctoral degrees. We're helping them prepare their doctoral students," Guthrie said.

Doctoral programs in South Africa differ from those in the United States in that there is no formal coursework; it's simply the candidate and a faculty member (or more) and they read and write independently, Guthrie explained. "It's very much of an independent learning project that culminates in a defensible dissertation," he said.

SOUTHAFRICA-2
A new partnership among the Penn State College of Education and three universities in South Africa will support doctoral education for women and blacks as a way to redress the country's legacy of apartheid. Two of the mentors to the doctoral students, Sioux McKenna and Lynn Quinn, are from Rhodes University and are seated upper left.
Guthrie said that South African colleagues were particularly interested in exploring different ways to do doctoral education. "Just by being connected to an American university helps to uncover that," Guthrie said. "This idea framed the presentation that Kevin and I gave during our recent visit to the University of Zululand to commence the project … how do we structure doctoral education in higher education over here?"

"They said, 'wow, you have to take all those courses,' and we said, 'yeah, we believe that's how you develop mastery that, in turn, prepares students to complete a dissertation of some topic of their choosing.'"

Sioux McKenna, a professor and director of postgraduate studies at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, said Penn State's expertise is ideal for the upcoming collaboration.

"Our project was focused on higher education studies and in particular on staff development, so we knew we wanted an American partner with expertise in (that) field," McKenna said. "We also wanted to work with an institution with a strong reputation for doctoral education. The model of doctoral education in South Africa is fairly traditional with a predominance of one-on-one supervision and very little by way of programs, project teams or coursework. The Pennsylvania State University stood out in all of these areas."

"And as an example of building collegial relationships, we have no idea how what we do here will resonate in the years to come. But it is exciting to be a part of the project as it is developing, and the new colleagues that invited us to participate" -- Kevin Kinser

The reputation of Penn State's College of Education and its education specialties, such as Education Policy Studies, "aligned well to the interests of the project," according to McKenna.

"We knew there was much we could learn from such a collaboration," she said. "It helped that Kevin Kinser was very warm in his response to our approach and has shown an interest in us and our students' projects, which indicated the possibility for a very fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship."

McKenna said while Phakamisa means "to grow or lift up," it can also work as an acronym – Ph.D. Academics Mentoring in South Africa. "We believe this name to be apt as over the next few years we are sure to develop and grow together," McKenna said.

Kinser believes that the new agreement not only enhances the College of Education's reputation but also is an indication of the strong global reputation Penn State has both as a program and as a university. "The important point is that Penn State's reputation opens doors for us to engage with communities around the world," Kinser said.

"More broadly, it is also important from a comparative perspective to learn how higher education works in other countries in order to reveal our own assumptions about what is normal or natural in the way we do things here.

"And as an example of building collegial relationships, we have no idea how what we do here will resonate in the years to come. But it is exciting to be a part of the project as it is developing, and the new colleagues that invited us to participate," Kinser said.

Jim Carlson (June 2018)

Research examines how criminal justice contact can affect college enrollment

Early contact with the criminal justice system through arrest could have long-term negative consequences for black male college enrollment, research shows.

Early contact with the criminal justice system through arrest could have long-term negative consequences for black male college enrollment, research shows.

RoyelJ
Royel Johnson
Royel Johnson, assistant professor of education (higher education) and African-American studies (by courtesy) within the Penn State College of Education's Department of Education Policy Studies, said he analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of black males and found that that the odds of a young, black male enrolling at a four-year institution who reported ever being arrested as a youth were virtually zero. 

There are a number of possible explanations for this finding including education policies and practices that systematically disenfranchise those with criminal records, especially black males, he noted.

His work also led to a collaboration with Kelly Rosinger, also an assistant professor in Education Policy Studies. They are tracking and analyzing state legislation that places limitations on what colleges and universities can do in asking about an applicants' criminal justice record … whether they have been arrested or convicted of a crime, essentially, Johnson explained.

Maryland and Louisiana, according to Johnson, have passed statewide legislation banning colleges and universities from inquiring about an applicant's criminal record on college applications at public institutions, as well as private institutions that receive public funding. "We know that there are 70 million people with criminal records … many who aim to pursue higher education as a viable pathway for upward social mobility," Johnson said.

"Unfortunately, we know from a recent study of the State University of New York (SUNY) system that about two-thirds of individuals with a felony criminal record discontinued their application after being asked about their criminal past. What this suggests is that there is likely a chilling effect that happens when one gets to that question, perhaps because of the stigma associated with having a record and the fear that they might not be given a fair chance at admissions."

"So, why wouldn't we extend the benefits of higher education to those who have been involved in the criminal justice system? Access to higher education for justice-involved individuals is not just good economic policy, it is the morally right thing to do. We have a social justice imperative. Those who have gone to jail and served their time should have the opportunity for a new life and access to the same kinds of opportunities and benefits that others are afforded."
-- Royel Johnson

He said they are critically examining how these policies came about, what discourse is used in framing or defining the "problem," and what unintended consequences might occur as a result of what actually gets included in them. Findings from this work could help inform other states across the country that are considering adopting similar policy, while ensuring that it is done in ways that preserve its original intent during implementation, he noted.

A follow-up study is examining how institutional actors at colleges and universities in Maryland and Louisiana are responding to these decisions.

"Policy is generally written vague, leaving those who are responsible for interpreting and making sense of it with a degree of autonomy in its enactment. I'm worried that some institutions might be engaged in practices that could circumvent the intended outcome the bans were designed to address,” Johnson said. 

"It's clear not all institutions are excited about this policy. And interestingly Maryland's Governor, Larry Hogan, vetoed the initial bill but it was overturned. Many of those who are in opposition with these kinds of policies cite concerns about campus safety and liability, which to some extent are legitimate concerns to have," Johnson said.

"While there is not a whole lot of research in this area, there is no evidence which suggests that asking about one's criminal justice history on a college application reduces crime on campus. What we do know, however, from a long line of research is that access to higher education powerfully reduces one's likelihood for future criminal involvement — that evidence is clear," he said.

Johnson wondered aloud about the power of higher education and its benefits for both the individual and society, noting that those who earn college degrees are more likely to earn higher salaries, have a higher occupational status, pay more taxes, but also more likely to be engaged civically and less likely to re-offend.

"So, why wouldn't we extend the benefits of higher education to those who have been involved in the criminal justice system?" he said. "Access to higher education for justice-involved individuals is not just good economic policy, it is the morally right thing to do. We have a social justice imperative.”

"Those who have gone to jail and served their time should have the opportunity for a new life and access to the same kinds of opportunities and benefits that others are afforded," Johnson said.

This work is critically important and personal for Johnson who said, "As a social scientist I am committed to engaging in consequential research that can improve the material conditions and lives of our most vulnerable populations. We've created policies and practices in this country that further disenfranchise individuals who need the most help. I think researchers can play a role in dismantling them."

Jim Carlson (July 2018)

Frankenberg to participate on national panel in D.C.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, is one of four panelists who will present "School Integration 2018," a briefing on past progress, present threats and future opportunities, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, in the House Visitor Center of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Frankenberg Erica 72Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, is one of four panelists who will present "School Integration 2018," a briefing on past progress, present threats and future opportunities, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, in the House Visitor Center of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

"Events such as this are important because people need to be informed about this situation. Understanding is a necessary precursor to action. Without action, there is no change," Frankenberg said.

Frankenberg and her fellow panelists will provide their insights on innovative solutions to remedy rising resegregation, according to the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD), which is sponsoring the event. Frankenberg will describe research about the benefits of integrated K-12 schools as well as her research about the federal government’s role pertaining to integrating the nation’s schools.

The panel also includes James Ford, independent consultant with Filling the Gap Educational Consultants LLC; Cara McClellan, Skadden Fellow with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Zahava Stadler, director of policy and research at EdBuild. The conversation will be moderated by Damon Hewitt, senior adviser with Open Society Foundations. U.S. Rep Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) also has been invited to speak.

The presentation is intended to share a greater understanding of threats to integration and opportunities to combat those threats with Capitol Hill staff and advocates.

NCSD is national network supporting a diverse group of constituents to advocate for and create experiences, practices, models, and policies that promote school diversity/integration and reduce racial and economic isolation in K-12 education. The work is guided by a vision of an inclusive, multiracial society that maintains itself through just social structures. For more information about NCSD and its work, visit http://school-diversity.org/ online. For more information about the event, visit http://school-diversity.org/integration2018/ online.

Around the College: August 1, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— Elijah Armstrong, an undergraduate student majoring in education and public policy spoke with Lizzie O'Leary of Marketplace Weekend to discuss education of students with disabilities.

— Elizabeth Daly, a graduating senior majoring in childhood and early adolescent education (pre-K to 4) with a minor in special education, has been selected as the College's student marshal for summer 2018 commencement.

— Jessica Dirsmith, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of School Psychology, presented "Keeping Students and Schools Safe through Legally Compliant Emotional and Behavioral Intervention, Prevention, and Assessment Practices" with special education attorney Rebecca Heaton Hall at the 40th annual International School Psychology Association Conference in Tokyo. The presentation focused on prevention, intervention, school safety and laws that support and protect youth in schools who struggle with emotional and behavioral needs both in the United States and internationally.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership and demography), was quoted by Chalkbeat in the article "How school desegregation efforts could change, or not, after DeVos's move to scrap Obama-era guidance on race."

— Joe Luther, a current master's student in the workforce education program who also earned his bachelor's degree in the program, was invited to give testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce on July 25, which is expected to be televised sometime on C-SPAN. Luther teaches at the Central Pennsylvania Institute for Science and Technology in Pleasant Gap, Pa.

Carlos Zalaquett, professor of education (counselor education), has co-authored Essential Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Everyday Practice in Our Diverse World (First Edition), an undergraduate textbook that provides an integrated presentation of relational competencies, microskills and theories. The text can be used for foundational courses in human services, behavioral healthcare, counseling, marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling, psychology programs, rehabilitation services programs, social services, substance use and addiction programs, and social work programs.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Schreyer Honors College awards grant to College of Education to craft an assessment plan

Associate professors David Guthrie and Karen Paulson have received allocations to develop a comprehensive assessment plan for Penn State's Schreyer Honors College.

College of Education associate professors David Guthrie and Karen Paulson have received a grant to develop a comprehensive assessment plan for Penn State's Schreyer Honors College.

DaveGuthrie
David Guthrie
"They fundamentally want to understand the impact of the Honors College on its students," Guthrie said. "To do so, they want a plan that will provide them with some evidence that what they're doing is working pretty well or could be improved and, if so, how. They want a systematic plan for collecting, analyzing and utilizing data about student learning and particular processes of the whole College's efforts."

Goals of the plans include creating an inventory of all data that are currently collected by Schreyer Honors College; generating a conceptual map of all aspects of Honors College students' experiences, from admissions through career placement; communicating regularly with Schreyer Honors College leadership and meeting regularly with the College's newly hired data analyst, Tom Enderlein, who will be the point person for implementing the plan. Also, investigating strategies and methods for assessing other aspects of Schreyer's operations to include admissions offers/yields (including efforts to increase diversity), the investment of resources on underperforming students, and markers of overall organizational performance.

"The end game of the project is an assessment plan for student learning for the Schreyer Honors College," Guthrie said. “They may not need to reinvent the wheel; they just might need to organize it a bit better."

What can make this particular assessment slightly more difficult is the multiple methods of admission into Schreyer Honors College.

KarenPaulson
Karen Paulson
"Students can come in as freshmen and stay all four years, they can come in as sophomores and stay for three, or students can come in as juniors and stay for two," Guthrie said.

Because of that, Guthrie said Schreyer administrators want to know if there is a differential impact. "Doesn't it stand to reason that someone who is in it for four years might make more progress toward the College’s hoped-for outcomes?" Guthrie said. "They're (administrators) trying to get a feel as to how to get their arms around that and assess student learning given their differentiated system."

The basic plan, Guthrie said, is to follow the structure of the Schreyer program and speak with 15 to 20 administrative and staff personnel to "get the lay of the land from their perspective" about how everything works. "We have a number of folks to talk to, representing a variety of programs in the College," Guthrie said. "There are admissions and orientation programs, academic programs and ongoing co-academic programs.  There is a residential dimension, plus career services and academic advising.”

"Then there's an alumni arena and there's a separate budget office and we want to talk about how they spend their money in accomplishing their goals. There are a lot of different areas and people in each of those areas."

A working advisory group will convene in the fall to take all of the information gathered over the summer and work with the College of Education to develop an assessment plan that will be presented in May 2019, Guthrie said.

Jim Carlson (August 2018)

Around the College: Aug. 22, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

Gail Boldt, professor of education (language and literacy education), is the new editor-in-chief of the Bank Street Occasional Papers. Mark Kissling, assistant professor of education (social studies education), is the guest editor of the upcoming edition, which contains an interview with Bruce Springsteen.

 — Jana Clinton, a doctoral student in the Higher Education and Comparative International Education program, presented at the NAFSA Annual Conference in Philadelphia in May. Her presentation was titled, "Building Bridges Between International Students and Academic Integrity." In July, Clinton gave a similar presentation at the NACADA International Conference in Dublin, where she was awarded a Graduate Student Global Travel Grant through Global Programs.

Ed Fuller, associate professor of education (educational leadership), was quoted in the article "How did low-income Texas fare under state's A-F rating system?" on myStatesman.com, a newspaper based in Austin, Texas.

Matt Kelly, assistant professor of education (education policy studies), won the 2018 History of Education Society Prize for the best article published in the last two years with his article, "Schoolmaster’s Empire: Race, Conquest and the Centralization of Common Schooling, 1848-1879." The committee was impressed by the way the article challenges existing historiography on the founding of the California school system, and contributes to the "westward turn" in the history of education.

Kevin Kinser, professor of education (higher education), was quoted in an article on Morningstar.com. The article, "20,000 preschool teachers just got offered a free education," talks about the child-care provider Bright Horizons, which pays for its workers to get a degree through four specific colleges. Kinser also was quoted in an article published by Inside Higher Ed. The article, "More Pressure on Accreditors in Changing Higher Ed Landscape," discusses how the role of college oversight bodies is in the spotlight as more large for-profit institutions look to reclassify as nonprofits.

David L. Passmore, distinguished professor of education (workforce education and development), was appointed to the International Scientific Committee for the sixth International Scientific Conference on "Integration, Partnership and Innovation in Construction Science and Education." The conference will be held at Moscow State University in Moscow in November. Passmore also was invited to speak at the 2018 Global Human Resources Forum in Seoul, South Korea, in November. He was invited by Korean Economic Daily, a Korean newspaper covering finances and economics, and the Korean Ministry of Education. The theme of this year's forum is "Global Talent, Global Prosperity." The forum is anticipated to include 5,000 participants from 60 countries. He also recently authored "Application of failure mode and effects analysis in ecology in Russia," in the book Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference Environmental Science for Construction Industry.

Kelly Rosinger, assistant professor of education (education policy studies), spoke with The Chronicle of Higher Education about NYU School of Medicine's new tuition-free policy and how the new changes won't necessarily increase socioeconomic diversity among students.

Samantha Walker, administrative assistant in the department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, has been named secretary-elect for the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) for the 2018-19 academic year. Visit https://news.psu.edu/story/530578/2018/08/08/administration/university-staff-advisory-council-elects-leaders-sets-goals to learn more about USAC and the other newly elected leaders.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Around the College: Sept. 5, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership), was quoted in "Dual school system, need for better option led to Sumter County's charter school," an article about Sumter County, Alabama's first charter school, published on AL.com.

Ed Fuller, associate professor of education (educational leadership), was quoted in the article "What Follows Five Years of Failure at Mendez Middle School?" an article published in The Austin Chronicle about Texas' A-F school accountability system.

— Jennifer Miller, a doctoral student in the Lifelong Learning and Adult Education program, has published "The Transformative and Healing Power of Theatre of Witness," in the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education.

Paul Morgan, professor of education (education policy studies) presented information about his findings related to educational disparities among minority students at a policy briefing on Aug. 27 in Washington, D.C. The briefing was attended by the assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services as well as the acting director of the Office of Special Education. Three research articles led by Morgan are among the most read articles published in Educational Researcher. Research that he conducted with Deborah Schussler, associate professor of education (education policy studies), is among the most read articles published in Exceptional Children.

Kelly Ochs Rosinger, assistant professor of education (education policy studies), was quoted in the article "College Admissions Minus the Tests Does Not Add Up to Diversity," published by OZY.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Researcher seeks to increase college enrollment, success among foster youth

Large percentages of foster youth have college aspirations but estimates from research suggest that no more than 20 percent of that population are known to enroll and fewer than half of them actually graduate.

Large percentages of foster youth have college aspirations but estimates from research suggest that no more than 20 percent of that population are known to enroll and fewer than half of them actually graduate.

RoyelJ
Royel Johnson
Royel Johnson, assistant professor of education (higher education) and research associate in the College of Education’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, is hopeful that cross-sector collaboration among higher education institutions, child and family service agencies and other community stakeholders can enhance those numbers.

Johnson, in his second year at Penn State, was a part of research team at Ohio State examining the educational experiences of emancipating foster youth. “In Ohio there are about 13,000 youth in the foster care system who have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. And each year more 1,200 emancipate or ‘age-out’ from the system with few, if any, resources to successfully transition to adulthood,” Johnson said. 

Youth who emancipate from the foster care system often do not have access to support and resources from family and friends, such as many other students benefit from. As a result, they experience difficulties meeting their basic needs such as food, shelter and money, according to Johnson. “Our research focused on identifying those factors that place foster youth at risk but also protective factors that help facilitate their success,” Johnson said.

He said students in the Ohio foster care system shared stories about how being in the system impacted the availability of resources and educational preparation. That ranged from frequent and abrupt changes in school placements as a result of being moved from home to home, low educational expectations and lack of exposure to high-quality teachers and curriculum, according to Johnson. “These challenges, among many others, create sizable opportunity gaps that significantly reduce the likelihood that foster youth can prepare for college,” Johnson said.

“I was really fortunate to be a part of a team committed to engaging in translational research ... applying what we learn through our work to policy and practice, especially within our local context. This led us to collaborate with various stakeholders at Ohio State and across the city of Columbus.

“Complex problems defy singular approaches. The same is true with broadening college access for foster youth. Their educational challenges are so intricate … and interconnected to other systems and policies that no single institution, sector or field of study alone can successfully respond to all of their needs. It requires all of us working together toward a common goal,” he said.

“Their lack of interest or pursuit of higher education should not be for lack of information, resources, and support. And far too often that is the case for foster youth. Even if the students who decided by the end of the day that college is really not for me, that’s OK, but it shouldn’t be for lack of exposure or resources. All students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education.”--Royel Johnson

Recognizing the importance of collaboration, he said his research team convened a working group consisting of emancipated foster youth; university faculty, including representatives from the colleges of education, social work and public policy; community leaders; and representatives of city agencies such as child and family services, among others. 

One outcome of this group was the development of a pre-college access program to provide foster youth with an opportunity to experience college for a day, while exposing them to information and resources critical for navigating college-going decisions.

“Drawing on insights from our research, we designed a day-long program that we hosted twice a year for three years. The program consisted of presentations from university representatives, including those who work in academic admissions and financial aid and offered tailored information about preparing college applications and applying for financial aid,” Johnson said. 

“What we learned in our work is that some foster youth experience stigma and as a result don’t disclose that identify in the college admissions process, thus not benefiting from programs and resources designed for them … so we wanted to demystify that process.”

Students also met with counseling support services, representatives from child and family services who discussed transitional programs and resources they qualified for, and also heard from other community groups who offered local services, according to Johnson.

“Many of the offices and representatives within the program typically operate in isolation, with little knowledge of what others are doing,” he said. “This program provided us an opportunity to work together, taking stock of all our resources and integrating them in a digestible way for participants.” 

To assess and measure program outcomes, surveys were administered at the start and conclusion of the day and students also participated in focus groups, Johnson said. “We wanted to see if we could detect any changes in students’ knowledge of resources, interest in higher education and confidence in applying the information they learned through the program,” he said.

On average, about 40 foster youth who were juniors or seniors in high school participated in the program each semester. They explicitly focused on youth expected to age out of the foster care system, as they are the most at risk. 

“These are youth whom the agency was never able to identify permanent home placements for through adoption. Many have been shuffled around through various group homes and have stayed with various relatives or friends. They lack stable adult support that’s necessary for college preparation,” he said.

While the program was designed to promote access to higher education “as a valuable pathway for achieving their goals and dreams,” Johnson said the committee also recognized that not everyone will go to college. 

“Their lack of interest or pursuit of higher education should not be for lack of information, resources, and support,” he said. “And far too often that is the case for foster youth. Even if the students who decided by the end of the day that college is really not for me, that’s OK, but it shouldn’t be for lack of exposure or resources. All students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education.”

Johnson said his team concluded its research knowing that the students walked away from the program feeling more prepared, having an awareness of the financial aid and college admissions process and being more knowledgeable about local and federal resources and supports available to them. Having an interdisciplinary cross-sector team not only helped reveal some of the challenges foster youth who are aging out continue to experience but allowed them to work collaboratively tailoring and integrating their efforts, Johnson added.

He stressed the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to the kind of work where groups such as foster care cut across so many different areas. To that end, Johnson has received a Research Initiation Grant from Penn State’s College of Education for a case study of statewide initiatives across the country to learn the ways in which states are collaborating and working cross-sectors to deal with the challenge of how to increase access for foster youth.

“Cross-sector collaboration has become an increasingly common approach among education leaders to addressing the postsecondary education challenges facing foster youth,” Johnson said. “This study will deepen our understanding of these initiatives while identifying factors that contribute to their viability. 

“There is a science to collaboration, especially across sectors. If these initiatives aren’t working together in efficient and sustainable ways their impact will be marginal, at best. 

"Through this study, I’m hoping to help inform future state efforts,” he said.

Jim Carlson (September 2018)

Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research to be streamed live

The Center for Education and Civil Rights (CECR) will be host for a livestream viewing of the 15th annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) Brown Lecture in Education Research at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in 123 Chambers Building on the University Park campus. A discussion will follow the lecture.

CECR logoThe Center for Education and Civil Rights (CECR) will be host for a livestream viewing of the 15th annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) Brown Lecture in Education Research at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in 123 Chambers Building on the University Park campus. A discussion will follow the lecture.

This year's speaker, H. Richard Milner IV, will speak on "Disrupting Punitive Practices and Policies: Rac(e)ing Back to Teaching, Teacher Preparation and Brown."

The Brown Lecture is designed to feature the important role of research in advancing understanding of equality and equity in education, and commemorate the anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Milner is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education and professor of education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He examines practices and policies at all levels that are implicitly or overtly designed to punish rather than support academic, social, cultural, and psychological development of black, brown and low-­‐income students.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Learn about the Brown Lecture and Milner by visiting http://bit.ly/brown-lecture or following the conversation at #AERABrownLecture.

Around the College: Oct. 17, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— Marlon Fernandez Castro, a doctoral student in the higher education program, co-authored the article, "Achieving Racial Equity From the Bottom-Up? The Student Equity Policy in the California Community Colleges," which was published in Educational Policy.

Maithreyi Gopalan, an assistant professor of education (education policy studies), is one of 13 scholars to receive a National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The fellowship, awarded by the Mindset Scholars Network and the University of Texas at Austin's Population Research Center, supports research that utilizes data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets to advance science in education

— Faculty and current and past doctoral students from the special education program contributed to a recent book published by the International Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Routledge Publishing. The book, "High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for Inclusive Classrooms," is organized around 22 instructional practices identified by CEC's Teacher Education Division. The book includes chapters by Charles Hughes, professor of education (special education); Paul Riccomini, associate professor of education (special education); Mary Catherine Scheeler, associate professor of education (special education); David Lee, head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education (EPCSE) and professor of education (special education); current doctoral candidate Jared Morris; and College of Education alumni Shannon Gormley Budin and Andy Marklez.

— An essay written by Mark Kissling, assistant professor of education (social studies education), has been published by Phi Delta Kappan, a professional journal for educators. The essay, "Patriotism and perspective: Teaching 'Born in the U.S.A.'" discusses Kissling's use of the famous Bruce Springsteen song as a tool to teach about patriotism.

— Members of the Penn State Student Council for Exceptional Children (PSU-CEC), along with their faculty adviser Jonte Taylor, on Oct. 4 and 5 attended the annual state meeting of the Pennsylvania CEC (PACEC) in Harrisburg. While there, five of the nine members of PSU-CEC were elected to positions in the student PACEC. They are: Tess Fukuyama, president elect; Tyler Kemp, chair; Addisyn McGregor, Children and Youth Action Network; Julia Prokopik, state representative to national CEC; and Sydney Trimmer, convention chair.

— Paul Riccomini, associate professor of education (special education), was part of an expert team who presented at the Seventh Biennial Education Conference on Oct. 11 and 12 in Kingston, Jamaica. The conference focused on diversity in education and was hosted by the Mico University College Child Assessment and Research in Education Centre.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

David Monk to step down as dean of Penn State College of Education

David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education, today (Oct. 26) announced his plans to step down as dean on June 30, 2019. The University will immediately launch a national search for the next dean of the College.

Monk David 72UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education, today (Oct. 26) announced his plans to step down as dean on June 30, 2019. The University will immediately launch a national search for the next dean of the College.

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 “The College of Education has seen tremendous success under the leadership of David Monk, and enjoys an extremely strong reputation as being one of the best education colleges in the nation because of his hard work and commitment to excellence,” said Nick Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost. “David has cultivated an environment where teamwork and collaboration are valued and encouraged, which has contributed to attracting top faculty, staff and students to the University.”

While Monk will step down as dean, he plans to return to his home department of Education Policy Studies within the College to pursue a phased retirement as a faculty member.

“I have been delighted to be part of the Penn State College of Education, and to see the wonderful things our faculty, staff and students have accomplished here over the past 20 years. I’m very proud of the advances we’ve made in teaching, research and service, and also in the areas of diversity and inclusion, in the College,” Monk said.

 “In the last two decades, there has been a deep and growing curiosity about what we can do as a college to improve the learning experiences of a wide range of students. Our faculty members are leading cutting-edge research efforts that are transforming the entire field of education. Their groundbreaking work is relevant and applicable in educational environments in our own backyard, around the world and everywhere in between. I am honored and proud to be associated with so many outstanding colleagues,” he said.

Monk came to Penn State as dean of the College of Education in 1999, after spending 20 years on the faculty at Cornell University. 

During Monk’s tenure as dean, the College of Education has made a concerted effort to upgrade its teaching and learning spaces to better serve its students.

Under his leadership, the College has transformed the second floor of Chambers Building, with the creation of multiple flexible classrooms that have expanded the scale and scope of the work being done in the original Krause Innovation Studio. The College now is continuing that work on the first floor of Chambers, with the Science Education wing under construction. The College also renovated the CEDAR Clinic, creating upgraded instructional space for graduate students with observation rooms and high-quality digital recording capacity.

The College’s faculty members also have raised the bar for both research and teaching under Monk’s leadership as well, including a focus on what has become known as the Learning Sciences. The Learning Sciences constitute a wide-ranging modern effort within the field of education to build bridges among various related but often distinct areas of scholarship. The work going on both in the classroom and through research directly related to the Learning Sciences is changing the understanding of how students learn, and subsequently, how teachers need to teach.

Monk also has broadened the College’s efforts to engage in interdisciplinary research, and faculty now are collaborating with colleagues throughout the University and beyond to do groundbreaking research that is relevant and applicable nationwide.

Monk received his bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in education from Dartmouth College in 1972 and his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Chicago in 1979. 

He has taught in a visiting capacity at the University of Rochester, the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, and National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. He also has been a third-grade teacher.

Monk is the author of “Educational Finance: An Economic Approach” (1990); “Raising Money for Education: A Guide to the Property Tax” (1997, with Brian O. Brent); and “Cost Adjustments in Education” (2001, with William J. Fowler Jr.), in addition to numerous articles in scholarly journals.

He was the inaugural co-editor of “Education Finance and Policy,” the Journal of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (MIT Press) and serves on the editorial board of that journal in addition to serving on the editorial boards of the “Journal of Education Finance, Educational Policy,” and the “Journal of Research in Rural Education.” 

Monk consults widely on matters related to educational productivity and the organizational structuring of schools and school districts and is a past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy.

By Annemarie Mountz (October 2018)

Recent graduate honors those who helped him by giving back to causes dear to his heart

As a recent College of Education graduate and new member of the Golden Lion Society, Ramon Guzman describes giving as the next chapter in his love story with Penn State

In May of 2016, Ramon Guzman had an epiphany.

It was just days before his friends were going to walk across the stage at graduation. As outgoing Senior Class Gift president, Guzman was still celebrating one of the most successful Class Gift fundraising projects, the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Endowment.

Ramon Guzman
Ramon Guzman, 2016 Penn State Class Gift director, spoke at the dedication of the 2016 class gift, the CAPS Endowment, held this spring at the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus.
Everyone around him was preparing to close the books on their courses and Penn State education. But with an extra semester in his major of education and public policy still ahead for Guzman, the weight of not joining his friends, and the subtle disappointment that came with it, settled heavy on his shoulders.

Professor of Education David Post noticed. “Professor Post took me aside and said, ‘Ramon, it’s all OK, you’re doing just fine, just one more semester.’”

In this simple moment of reassurance, everything came together.

“I realized that Penn State is about more than just sunburnt days cheering for the football team or the long, electrifying nights caring for the THON dancers,” he said. “It is also about a warm moment between a student and a professor.”

This is a moment he returns to every time he makes a gift to Penn State.

Guzman’s relationship with Penn State as an alumnus and new donor is driven by the mantra, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

He says, “I give to causes dear to me, like All In and the College of Education, and I give to centers and programs that helped me get to graduation day — CAPS and the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.”

Today, Guzman is a finance assistant for Governor Tom Wolf’s campaign office. As a recent graduate and new member of the Golden Lion Society, Guzman describes giving as the next chapter in his love story with Penn State.

He still daydreams about life in Happy Valley — cold Coconut Chip ice cream dripping down his hands while he waited for the Blue loop, indulgent dinners at the Nittany Lion Inn with friends, the reassurance of thoughtful professors, counselors and friends when the pressure of school was getting to him.

And he honors these memories through giving. “Someone did it when I was a student. Now, I can be that someone.”

Grateful alumnus uses estate gift to help struggling doctoral students

Richard Dorman remembers his days as a financially frugal graduate student and he’d like future doctoral candidates at Penn State to have memories a bit more pleasant.

Richard Dorman
Richard Dorman, who graduated from Penn State in 1980 with his master’s degree and in 1990 with a doctorate in higher education, has pledged a percentage of his estate to the College of Education.
Richard Dorman remembers his days as a financially frugal graduate student and he’d like future doctoral candidates at Penn State to have memories a bit more pleasant.

Because of that, Dorman has pledged an estate gift to the College of Education. That gift, he said, is structured so that the College will receive a percentage of his estate.

“Therefore, I hope that the stock market remains favorable,” said Dorman, a retired college president currently active as a consultant. “Specifically, my planned gift will endow a research fund for doctoral students in higher education to assist them with collecting and processing data for their dissertation.”

He said when he was a doctoral student at Penn State in the late 1980s, he gathered his own data, which allowed him the flexibility to choose a research topic of strong interest to him (boards of trustees) rather than use a professor’s data.

“I was a starving graduate student and the expenses were a burden,” Dorman said. “In discussing my ideas with leaders in the higher education program, they felt that an endowed fund to help doctoral students would be highly prized, so that’s what I have done.”

Donations to one’s alma mater typically are based on good experiences. Dorman, who earned his master’s degree in counselor education in 1980 and his doctorate in higher education in 1990, is grateful toward Penn State.

“I have had a great career in higher education, and I owe so much of it to Penn State,” he said. “Penn State nurtured me as a student, provided internship opportunities during my coursework, gave me employment later on, provided both theoretical and practical knowledge to help me be successful in the various roles I assumed since graduating, and was the place where deep friendships were made.

“My two best friends, both in higher education, were at Penn State when I was a student, and they also have thrived as a result of their alma mater. It is a cliché, but I wanted to give back what Penn State has given me. An estate gift was the most generous way which I could do this,” Dorman said.

Dorman’s degrees provided him with the versatility to dot his resume with a number of positions: teacher at Red Lion High School near York; director of marketing for Prestige Expositions in Ridgewood, New Jersey; executive with the Penn State Alumni Association; assistant vice president for development at the University of Louisville; vice president for institutional advancement at Otterbein College; and president of Westminster College.

He and his wife, Beverly, retired to the Columbus suburb of Westerville, Ohio, and he is a consultant for various colleges and universities on advancement and strategic planning.

“Penn State’s higher education doctoral program is arguably among the most rigorous in the nation, and it prepared me very well for my career in college administration,” Dorman said. “That, plus a variety of exceptional experiences at Penn State, the University of Louisville, Otterbein University and Westminster, provided a rich reservoir of experiences from which I access when called to offer perspectives and direction by other schools.”

Dorman, a native New Yorker who grew up in northern New Jersey, earned a bachelor of music degree from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. The challenges of secondary education, he said, coupled with the low pay, prompted him to work in education at a different level.

“My counseling degree in student personnel services (at Penn State) was viewed as a viable doorway to achieving that career goal,” he said. “After getting my master’s, I was hired as a research assistant in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State in an assistantship capacity, which required continuing my education in their doctoral program in higher education.

“I loved the higher education milieu, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I had finally found my niche.”

He then became assistant director of special programs with the Penn State Alumni Association and ascended to associate executive director (from 1984-90). “Working for Penn State in Old Main permitted me to truly understand first-hand the challenges of higher education in one of the most complex universities in the nation,” Dorman said.

Dorman served as president at Westminster College, a small, liberal arts college in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, for eight years beginning in 2008, or the same time as the Great Recession, a two-year span of general economic depression.

“Colleges around America began to experience marked enrollment declines and financial pressures unlike anything previously experienced,” Dorman said. “Though blessed to be given the opportunity to lead Westminster, it was the most difficult and stressful job in my 40-year career.

“Being responsible for a $40 million budget, 400 employees, and positioning the college to adjust to the new economic realities brought about by the Great Recession at a very rural school in a depressed region of the Commonwealth was both challenging and exhausting. I had to make many difficult decisions, which is always dangerous in a field (higher education) that doesn’t like change,” he said.

The decision for Dorman to give back to Penn State and attempt to help doctoral students move forward was much simpler. “Educators, by their very nature working in the nonprofit world, aren’t usually in the proverbial top 1 percent of earners,” Dorman said. “Outright gifts to charity by educators will generally not be of the magnitude one sees in other fields.

“So, looking at planned gifts makes enormous sense for educators, as there are a variety of methods and gift instruments from which to choose that can conform to one’s specific circumstances.”

By Jim Carlson (November 2018)

Around the College: Oct. 31, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— Faculty and current and past doctoral students from the Educational Theory and Policy program contributed to translating a book in Korean. The book, "The Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture" by David Baker, professor of education (educational theory and policy) and sociology, includes chapters translated by Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of education (educational theory and policy); Hyerim Kim, a doctoral student in the program; and Haram Jeon, a recent graduate of the program.

Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of education (educational theory and policy); Hee Jin Chung, a recent graduate from the Educational Theory and Policy program; and David Baker, professor of education (educational theory and policy) and sociology, co-authored "Global Patterns of the Use of Shadow Education: Student, Family, and National Influences," which was published in Research in the Sociology of Education.

Soo-yong Byun, associate professor of education (educational theory and policy), was selected as the winner of the 2018 Outstanding Journal Article published in the International Review of Educational Technology Research and Development for an article he co-authored, "A Comparative Study of Factors Associated with Technology-Enabled Learning between the United States and South Korea."

— Lauren Cozad, a doctoral candidate in special education, was awarded a College of Education Dissertation Research Initiation Grant to support her research exploring the effects of a digital mathematics fluency program on the fluency and generalization of learners.

David Gamson, associate professor of education (education theory and policy), and 2015 Education Policy Studies graduate Emily Hodge published an edited volume on school district history. The article, "The Shifting Landscape of the American School District," was published as part of Peter Lang's History of Schools and Schooling.

— Roger Geiger, distinguished professor of education emeritus, is a visiting researcher at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Tokyo. He will serve in this position for two months.

Scott Metzger, associate professor of education (social studies education), was quoted in the article "Based On A True Story: How Hollywood Mixes Fact and Fiction To Reimagine History," published on Urbo.com.

Paul Morgan, professor of education (educational theory and policy), published "Executive function deficits in kindergarten predict repeated academic difficulties across elementary school" in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Matthew E. Poehner, associate professor of education (world languages), has been elected to the office of president-elect of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology (IACEP). Poehner will serve one year as president-elect, and then one year as president of the association.

Kelly Rosinger, assistant professor of education (higher education), was quoted in the article "Public Flagships Are Offering More Middle-Income Scholarships. What Gives?" published by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

— Starlette Sharp, a nondegree student currently pursuing course work in the college in anticipation of becoming a full-time doctoral student in science education, won an award for a presentation she delivered at 2018 SACNAS: The National Diversity in STEM Conference, in San Antonio, Texas. The judges recognized Sharp’s communication skills and command of the research topic as exemplary among the student presentations.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Kindergarten difficulties may predict academic achievement across primary grades

New Penn State research suggests that children’s academic difficulties in kindergarten may be able to predict continued difficulties throughout elementary school.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Identifying factors that predict academic difficulties during elementary school should help inform efforts to help children who may be at risk. New Penn State research suggests that children’s executive functions may be a particularly important risk factor for such difficulties.

Paul Morgan-Preliminary findings from a three-year National Science Foundation-funded project, recently published in Child Development, show that executive functions in kindergarten predict children’s mathematics, reading and science achievement, as well as their classroom behavior, in second grade. A second study from the project, recently published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, finds that deficits in executive functions increase the risk for experiencing repeated academic difficulties in mathematics, reading and science from first to third grade. The NSF is also highlighting the findings in their Discovery News.

According to principal investigator Paul Morgan, Harry and Marion Eberly Fellow, professor of education and demography, and director of the Center for Educational Disparities, executive functions (EF) are a set of cognitive processes that facilitate children’s abilities to plan, problem-solve, and control impulses. “Our research shows that deficits in EF increase the risk for repeated academic difficulties over time, suggesting these deficits may be an especially promising target of early intervention efforts.”

This research is important because few previous studies have examined risk factors for repeated academic difficulties during elementary school.

“Of the few available longitudinal studies, most have focused on identifying risk factors for repeated difficulties in mathematics," said Morgan. "Risk factors for repeated difficulties in reading and science have been less clear, as has which specific types of EF are the strongest risk factors for such difficulties." Also unclear is whether the risks attributable to deficits in EF can be explained by other factors.

For the first study, Morgan and his research team analyzed a nationally representative and longitudinal cohort of about 9,000 kindergarten children who were followed until the end of second grade.

The investigators found that kindergarten children with better EF displayed greater reading, mathematics and science achievement, as well as fewer externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors by second grade, even after controlling for prior achievement and behavior as well as socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, disability status and family economic status.

In the second study, researchers once again analyzed data from about 11,000 children who were followed from kindergarten to third grade.

“The first study looked at the relation between children’s EF and academics and behavior more generally, while the second study focused more on children at risk,” Morgan explained. “Specifically, in the second study we examined whether deficits in EF functioned as a type of ‘bottleneck’ for learning, as suggested by the increased risk for repeated academic difficulties for children with EF deficits and based on these observational data.”

Despite controls for prior achievement, including across several domains as well as socio-demographic characteristics, having deficits in EF by kindergarten consistently increased the risk that children will experience repeated academic difficulties across elementary school.

The risks for working-memory deficits, or difficulties using and manipulating new information, were especially strong. The researchers found that the odds that kindergarten children with working-memory deficits experienced repeated academic difficulties were about three to five times greater than children without working-memory deficits, controlling for whether children had other types of deficits in EF, prior achievement and oral language ability, and socio-demographic characteristics, including the family’s economic resources.

“Our study also provides suggestive evidence that repeated academic difficulties may be the result of underlying cognitive impairments, not just a lack of basic skills acquisition,” said Morgan.

The findings could help inform the design and delivery of experimentally evaluated interventions, particularly for those who are at risk for academic difficulties during elementary school.

“Children who are already experiencing repeated academic difficulties during elementary school are likely to continue to struggle in school as they age. We should be doing all we can to assist these children early on in their school careers,” Morgan said.

Other researchers on the project include George Farkas, distinguished professor of education at the University of California, Irvine; Yoonkyung Oh, University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston; and from Penn State, Marianne Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography; Wik Hung Pun; Yangyang Wang; and Steve Maczuga.

The Center for Educational Disparities Research was jointly established by Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education in order to close the opportunity gaps faced by at-risk children, including those with or at risk for disabilities; racial, ethnic or language minorities; and/or those who are from low-income families. 

By Kristie Auman-Bauer, Penn State Social Science Research Institute (November 2018)

Rosinger awarded William T. Grant Foundation funding

Kelly Rosinger, assistant professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, is a recipient of one of five research grants awarded by the William T. Grant Foundation for research on reducing inequality in youth outcomes.

rosinger-kellyKelly Rosinger, assistant professor of education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, is a recipient of one of five research grants awarded by the William T. Grant Foundation for research on reducing inequality in youth outcomes.

Rosinger and her co-investigators Justin Ortagus in the Department of Higher Education Administration and Policy at the University of Florida, and Robert Kelchen in the Department of Higher Education at Seton Hall University, were awarded a $204,528 grant for their research, Examining the Impact of Variations in Performance-Based Funding Policies on Reducing Inequality in Student Outcomes. Their research examines how performance-based funding policies have varied across states and institutions over the past 20 years.

Black and Latino students are less likely to attend or graduate from college than their white peers. Gaps also exist between low-income and high-income college students in their persistence and graduation outcomes. In response, a growing number of states are prioritizing racial minority and low-income students when developing funding models to improve performance and reduce inequality in educational attainment.

Research to date offers conflicting conclusions about whether these performance-based funding (PBF) policies align with some states' efforts to reduce inequality in educational attainment or actually reduce access for historically under-represented students.

In their research, Rosinger and colleagues will create a comprehensive state- and institution-level policy dataset that represents variation in 20 years of performance-based funding policies across 35 states.

Using procedures already in place to construct a dataset from publicly available records, the team will construct two datasets on PBF policies since 1997. One will contain state-level information on PBF policies, such as the dosage or intensity of a PBF policy (e.g., share of funding tied to performance) and the share of funds allocated toward equity bonuses. The second will break down PBF details to the institution level and will contain data on institutional characteristics, their reliance on public funding, and student outcomes.

This effort will provide detailed data that will allow researchers to more accurately analyze the degree to which PBF policies, which tie a portion of state appropriations for public colleges and universities to student outcomes, exacerbate or reduce income and racial/ethnic disparities in college persistence and graduation outcomes.

Ultimately the investigators aim to examine the impact of variations in PBF policies on college access, graduation, and post-college outcomes over time, particularly for historically underrepresented student populations.

The William T. Grant Foundation invests in high-quality research focused on reducing inequality in youth outcomes and improving the use of research evidence in decisions that affect young people in the United States. For more information, visit http://wtgrantfoundation.org/ online.

Around the College: Nov. 28, 2018

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

Ed Fuller, associate professor of education (educational leadership), was quoted in the article, "Women are more likely to work in Pa. public schools, but less likely to lead them," published on WITF.org.

Kevin Kinser, professor of education (higher education), was quoted in the article "Is Kean Giving Control of Its Overseas Faculty to Chinese Government?," published on Inside Higher Ed.

— Jennifer Miller, a doctoral student studying comparative and international education, recently published “The Transformative and Healing Power of Theatre of Witness” in The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education.

Deborah Schussler, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and Jennifer Frank, assistant professor of education (special education) presented "From 'Doing' to 'Being': A Longitudinal Investigation of Classroom Teachers’ Implementation of a Mindfulness Based Intervention" at the International Symposium of Contemplative Researcher in Phoenix. College of Education alumna Julia Mahfouz, Mark Greenberg, professor of human development and psychology, and Trish Broderick of the Penn State Prevention Research Center also collaborated on the research and presentation. This research was funded by a US Department of Education Goal 2 grant to promote health and well-being with adolescents through the Learning to BREATHE program, a mindfulness-based curriculum authored by Trish Broderick.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Around the College: Jan. 16, 2019

Students, staff and faculty members from Penn State's College of Education share recent research and career achievements.

— An article by Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership), and other collaborators titled "Never too early to learn: Antibias education for young children," ranked No. 7 on the Phi Delta Kappa's list of top stories for 2018.

Gregory Kelly, distinguished professor of science education and senior associate dean for Research, Outreach and Technology, and eight current and former Penn State doctoral students recently wrote and published, "Theory and Methods for Sociocultural Research in Science and Engineering Education." The book was published in December 2018 and provides a research approach to science and engineering classrooms. In addition to Kelly, chapter authors include Alicia McDyre, assistant professor of education; Matt Johnson, assistant professor of education (science education); and Scott McDonald, associate professor of education (science education).

Kevin Kinser, professor of education (higher education), was quoted in the article, "Global Higher Ed in Changing Times" on Inside Higher Ed online.

William Diehl, assistant professor of lifelong learning and adult education, and Michael Moore, distinguished professor emeritus, are editors of the fourth edition of the Handbook of Distance Education.

"Around the College" highlights accomplishments by faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, including publications; research presentations at conferences and workshops; and awards, grants and fellowships. Please share your news with us and your colleagues by emailing edrelations@psu.edu.

Online education programs rank in the top 10

For the third straight year, Penn State is the most recognized among hundreds of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of the country’s top online degree programs, including online education programs.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the third straight year, Penn State is the most recognized among hundreds of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of the country’s top online degree programs.

U.S. News’ 2019 Best Online Programs, released today (Jan. 15) ranked Penn State World Campus in the top 10 of six categories, the most of any institution in the country. The rankings are in the following categories: 

  • No. 4, online graduate engineering 
  • No. 5 (tie), online bachelor’s programs
  • No. 7, online graduate computer information technology
  • No. 8 (tie), online graduate business (non-MBA)
  • No. 9 (tie), online MBA
  • No. 9 (tie), online programs in education

Penn State World Campus also had the most top-10 placements in the 2017 and 2018 rankings. 

“Being recognized among the best in the country is something our faculty, staff and academic leaders from across our University strive to achieve,” said Renata Engel, vice provost for online education at Penn State. “It reflects our commitment to provide learners the high-quality, engaged educational experiences they need to fulfill their lives and advance their careers.”

U.S. News developed the rankings based on statistical surveys submitted by colleges and universities as well as data collected in a separate peer reputation survey.

The survey for the bachelor’s programs rankings weighed four categories: faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, student engagement and expert opinion. Surveys for graduate degree programs also measured student excellence.

U.S. News also ranked Penn State World Campus in six categories of its Best Online Programs for Veterans lists. Those rankings are based on the same factors as its Best Online Programs rankings in addition to an institution’s ability to make college more affordable through the GI Bill or other grant-in-aid programs designed for military students.  

The rankings for Best Online Programs for Veterans are:

  • No. 2, online programs in education
  • No. 4 (tie), online bachelor’s degrees 
  • No. 4, online graduate business (non-MBA)
  • No. 4, online graduate computer information technology
  • No. 4, online graduate engineering 
  • No. 5 (tie), online MBA 

Penn State was one of the pioneers in online higher education when it launched Penn State World Campus in 1998. Now, more than 20 years later, Penn State World Campus offers more than 150 degree and certificate programs online and has more than 14,000 students around the globe.

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about the bachelor’s and graduate degrees offered online.

This article originally appeared on Penn State News.

Frankenberg again among RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influencers

Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and demography, and an associate in the University's Population Research Institute, once again is included among the 2019 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.

Frankenberg Erica 72Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education (educational leadership) and demography, and an associate in the University's Population Research Institute, once again is included among the 2019 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. Frankenberg has been on the list every year since 2015.

The rankings, published in Education Week, list the university-based scholars in the United States who are identified as doing the most to shape educational practice and policy. With tens of thousands of faculty members who might qualify, simply being included in this list of 200 scholars is an accomplishment. The list includes the top finishers from last year, augmented by "at-large" nominees chosen by the 29-member selection committee. Information about the scoring process can be found on the Education Week website.

Class on sustainability sparked major interest for education and public policy student

A junior from Austin, Texas, Claire Talley took a course on sustainability in education course in spring 2017 with Peter Buckland, the academic programs manager for Penn State's Sustainability Institute, and her interest in the subject escalated from there.

One sustainability class taken two years ago just might lead to a sustainable career for education and public policy major Claire Talley.

CTALLEY
Education and public policy major Claire Talley presented a paper and poster on sustainability at a recent Campus and Community Sustainability Expo.
A junior from Austin, Texas, Talley took a course on sustainability in education course in spring 2017 with Peter Buckland, the academic programs manager for Penn State's Sustainability Institute, and her interest in the subject escalated from there.

"I went into it not knowing what the concept of sustainability was but I liked eco-friendly things and I thought it might be interesting to see how that translates into a classroom and what connections there are with education," Talley said.

She said the course was centered on a remodeling project that the Corl Street Elementary School in the State College Area School District was undergoing at the time. "The goal of the course was to provide recommendations to the State College School Board to connect the physical features of the new building with the curriculum in order to meet a certain credit under the Leadership and Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification," Talley said.

Recommendations were made and some were followed -- such as the installation of solar panels -- but when the course ended, Talley's interest in the subject material didn't. "I decided I wanted to keep learning about it. I applied for and accepted an internship position working under Peter (Buckland) at the Sustainability Institute," she said. "The Sustainability Institute works with the Penn State community, different colleges and students and faculty to make sure the campus is a sustainable campus."

The sustainability topics soon became a passion for Talley. "I'm an education policy major so I love learning about the school system and the classroom and working with teachers and faculty and school administrators. It's so interesting how many intersections there are," she said.

"What you teach a student in the classroom is how they grow up to be as a person and how they impact society. In this time, it's really important for us to face the ecological crises that are imminent, and one way to ensure a more sustainable society is to teach students how to do that in formal education."

Her dedication to ongoing sustainability left an impression on Buckland. "Claire is a remarkable young woman. She has developed a whole set of skills that we want in an education and public policy student as well as knowledge about topics that make her stand out," Buckland said. 

Going green was OK with Talley, although it was a bit surprising. "That's why the course was kind of revolutionary almost because I had no idea," she said. I'm from Austin, Texas, so coming here to Penn State was a huge transition.

"Penn State is an incredibly big school and there's so much to do and so much to learn about that I just didn't know anything. I took this course and I was like, that's interesting, that's cool, I want to learn more and so I kind of continued on it. I had never even heard of sustainability education or environmental education before this."

Talley has mastered the skills that classes teach well, according to Buckland. "She researches thoroughly and communicates clearly and succinctly. She asks policy-relevant questions," he said. 

"But as she has worked on the social part of this project, she has learned how to plan, to coordinate with professionals, to figure out her role and build trust, and how to learn about new things, especially green building, renewable energy, and infrastructure. Now, she can put all those things together to show a compelling case for why and how a green building is more than just a building. It's the context for deep learning," he said.

Talley presented a short speech and poster at the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo at the State College Borough Building last fall and said it was interesting to see the variety on display, such as water quality issues and sustainable business management practices. She can also see her future in that type of curriculum.

"I want to advocate for it and promote and communicate sustainability and educating for sustainability in all spaces of school," Talley said. "I want to be involved in research somehow and keep learning and growing and expanding the field, whether that takes me to a university professor or doing nonprofit work or doing administrative work on a state level – curriculum development or professional development for teachers. Both of those areas are pretty high interest to me. There are a lot of options, I've learned."

She also learned, she said, that one of the best things you can do is educate.

"Everyone can bond over their education. Everybody goes through elementary school, middle school, high school; it's a common ground and that's why it's so engrained into our system and it's so personal to each person," Talley said. "Everyone has a favorite teacher they can tell you right off the bat who and what grade it was, what their name was, why they loved it so much. It's just a very personal thing but it's also a common experience. 

"But I think that I love it so much because it's people…those relationships between the teacher and the student, between teachers and other teachers, it's very social and learning is an amazing thing. Everybody wants to keep learning about something they're interested in.

"It just offers so much opportunity for the world and you can really shape a society and a community through your local school. It's a community hub; so much socializing happens at a school and it impacts families and it impacts children. I love the community aspect to it because you can shape it and make it a better place," she said.

Which is something Buckland likes to hear. "The engaged experience through that first class made all the difference and it has changed Claire's life," he said. "As her former teacher and current boss, this is music to my ears. I'm so proud of her."

Jim Carlson (January 2019)

Children’s race, not disability status, may predict more frequent suspension

New research, led by Paul L. Morgan, Harry and Marion Eberly Fellow, professor of education and demography, and director of Penn State’s Center for Educational Disparities Research, has found that, among students in kindergarten through eighth grade, students who are black are more frequently suspended than white students of similar behavioral, academic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Suspension is one way schools discipline students, but the high number of and disparities in suspensions in the U.S. has sparked controversy and policy debate.

New research, led by Paul L. Morgan, Harry and Marion Eberly Fellow, professor of education and demography, and director of Penn State’s Center for Educational Disparities Research, has found that, among students in kindergarten through eighth grade, students who are black are more frequently suspended than white students of similar behavioral, academic and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, students with disabilities, including those of color, were not more frequently suspended after accounting for the study’s other explanatory factors. The findings were recently published in the Journal of School Psychology.

Being suspended has been reported to increase the risk for later life-course adversities. Students who are suspended frequently are at especially high risk. For example, other work finds that students who are suspended two, three or four times are much more likely to later be arrested than students who are suspended only once.

“Students who are suspended are at increased risk for lower academic achievement, school dropout, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse and adult criminality,” said Morgan.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides legal protections to students with disabilities and requires U.S. states monitor for disparities in discipline.

“The purpose of these protections is to make sure that students are not missing out on services that they need. The protections also make sure that students with disabilities are not being inappropriately disciplined due to a lack of effective support,” Morgan explained.

Morgan and his research team took a new approach examining disparities in school suspension by investigating how frequently students were suspended, rather than whether or not they were suspended.

The investigators analyzed 6,740 students who were participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort 1998-1999, a data set collected and administered by U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Data collection started with the 1998-1999 kindergarten class and followed them through eighth grade.

The investigators found that by the end of eighth grade, students who are black received almost twice as many suspensions as otherwise similar students who are white. Prior behavior, family socioeconomic status and school economic composition did not explain these racial disparities, although these factors themselves increased the risk for more frequent suspension.

Students with disabilities were initially at greater risk for more frequent suspension, but their risk was subsequently explained by the study’s other factors. Neither students of color with disabilities nor those with specific disability conditioners were at greater risk. 

“It’s a complex issue, because schools need to maintain a safe learning environment for all students, but at the same time schools should not be using suspension in ways that are discriminatory,” Morgan said. “The results provide suggestive evidence of bias in how students of color are being suspended, at least as indicated by their more frequent suspension not being explained by many other factors including behavior at school entry, growing up in poverty, or attending schools in more economically distressed communities.” 

Funding for the project was provided by a Spencer Foundation Career grant and a grant from Penn State’s