CEHD News Feature Stories

CEHD News Feature Stories

OLPD student’s remarkable return to hockey after brain surgery and autoimmune disease diagnosis

Taylor Williamson, a junior double majoring in Human Resource Development and Business and Marketing Education in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), scored a goal in the 3-1 win against Wisconsin to claim the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff championship. A triumphant comeback after she underwent brain surgery and was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis (MG), in the last year.

Her story is highlighted in the following news articles:

After Autoimmune Disease, Taylor Williamson Battles Back into NCAA Tournament
Minnesota Miracle, Part II: Gophers Forward Taylor Williamson Returns to Ice Following Brain Surgery
Taylor Williamson ‘Overcame the Impossible’ to Get Back to the Gophers
For the Gophers’ Williamson, It’s Not Over Yet
Gophers Women’s Hockey Forward Taylor Williamson Battled Health Issues to Play Again

Video from Channel 5 News – KSTP.com

Jang receives AERA-REAPA’s 2018 outstanding dissertation award

Sung Tae Jang has been selected to receive the 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Special Interest Group: Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans (REAPA) for his dissertation, Student Experiences and Educational Outcomes of Southeast Asian Female Secondary School Students in the United States: A Critical Quantitative Intersectionality Analysis.

This award recognizes a scholar whose dissertation has had a significant impact on our understanding of Asian American and/or Pacific Islanders in education and will be presented in April at the annual business meeting in New York City.

Sung Tae is a doctoral student in the educational policy and leadership track in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD).



Family Social Science professor named editor of national journal

Family Social Science Professor Steven Harris. Photo by Julie Michener.

Family Social Science Professor Steven M. Harris assumed a new role as editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy for a four year term.

Published by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy is dedicated to both reflect and foster the best scholarship in the MFP field  that makes a difference, moves our field forward, crosses borders, is sensitive to diversity and social justice, and is relevant to both researchers and clinicians.

Dr. Harris received his master’s and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University. Prior to Minnesota, he was an MFT faculty member at Texas Tech University for 13 years. He has been practicing as an MFT for over 27 years. His history with JMFT includes serving as the reviews editor from 2000-2005, and he has been on the Editorial Board since 2000. Dr. Harris is the author of over 65 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, has written four books, and has contributed a variety of other publications to the field throughout his career. He also serves as the associate director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project. He and his co-author, Dr. William J. Doherty, also a professor in the FSoS Department, released the first textbook on discernment counseling last year.

JMFT, published quarterly, is the flagship scholarly journal of AAMFT and the field of family therapy. The goal of the journal is to ensure the continued development of the science, theory, and practice of marriage and family therapy. JMFT disseminates relevant, current scholarship and research that moves the field forward.

Kim and Yoo win Cutting Edge Awards at the Academy of Human Resource Development annual conference

Sehoon Kim, assistant professor (pictured), and Sangok Yoo, a 3rd year doctoral student studying human resource development, both received Cutting Edge awards from the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) for their outstanding papers at the 2018 annual conference held February 14-17 in Richmond, VA.

Workaholics, Addiction, and Motivation: A Critical Review and Implications for HRD by Sehoon Kim

Knowledge Creation Practices of Teachers in South Korea and the United States: A Multigroup Structural Equation Modeling Analysis by Sangok Yoo (University of Minnesota), Shinhee Jeong (Texas A&M University), Ji Hoon Song (Hanyang University), and Sanghoon Bae (Sungkyunkwon University)


DEXALYTICS™ partners with Hologic to offer body composition analysis software for athletes

Massachusetts based Hologic, Inc. announced it has signed an agreement with the University of Minnesota to be the exclusive provider of Dexalytics:TEAMS™ in North America. Dexalytics is a cloud-based software developed by Educational Technology Innovations (ETI) in the College of Education and Human Development.

Dexalytics leverages best-in-class body composition data and more than 30 years of DXA research to provide critical measurements that extend beyond the traditional metrics of body fat percentage, total lean mass, and total fat mass used in the past. DXA—short for dual x-ray absorptiometry—is the most accurate way to determine body composition.

“A lot of time and resources are spent understanding what an athlete’s body can do, without a good understanding of what an athlete’s body is made of,” said Tyler Bosch, Ph.D., co-founder and head of research and development for Dexalytics.

The software reinvents the way data is reported, using a proprietary system to look at the measurements in new ways. As a result, pages of clinical data are transformed into a manageable athlete score that can be directly connected to sport performance.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Hologic to ensure this brand new software we’ve worked so hard to develop will reach as many athletes as possible,” said Don Dengel, professor and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology in the School of Kinesiology.

Read full press release.

Read more about DEXALYTICS in the Spring 2017 issue of CEHD Connect magazine.

See the story in Twin Cities Business.


Tucker Center releases 2017-18 NCAA Division-I Women Coaches Report

The Tucker Center, in collaboration with the Alliance of Women Coaches, is proud to announce the release of the 2017-18 Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams: A Report on Seven Select NCAA Division-I Conferences report and infographic. 40+ years after the passage of Title IX, female sport participation is at an all-time high but the percentage of women coaching women at the collegiate level is stagnant. While the number of collegiate coaching opportunities is also at a record high, only 20% of all college coaching positions for men’s and women’s teams are filled by women. One goal of this report is to change that trend. View the report and infographic here…

CEHD collaborates with Harvard Graduate School of Education

Reflection Sciences founders Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., and Philip Zelazo, Ph.D., are professors in CEHD’s Institute of Child Development

Reflection Sciences, a Minnesota start-up founded by two CEHD professors, is teaming up with researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to understand how children develop in both formal and informal child care settings through measures of early learning.

Founded in 2014 by Institute of Child Development professors Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., and Phil Zelazo, Ph.D., Reflection Sciences provides professional development, training, and tools for assessing and improving executive function skills. Executive function is the set of neurocognitive functions that help the brain organize and act on information. These functions help us pay attention, control behavior, and think flexibly – skills that are key for school readiness.

Through the new collaboration, researchers will be able to track the development of executive function skills over the course of childhood and beyond using Reflection Sciences’ Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS™) App. The MEFS App is a scientifically valid and reliable game-like tablet measure of executive function for ages 2 and up.

“The research literature clearly points to the critical role that early executive function plays in children’s academic and social success, so we need to make sure the study effectively captures children’s skills in this area,” said co-principal investigator Stephanie Jones, Ph.D., a professor of education at Harvard. “MEFS combines the strength of a trusted measure of executive function with the power of big data, allowing us to view the findings from our study within the context of the thousands of other children who have used the app.”

For the Early Learning Study at Harvard, which is supported by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative and led by Jones and Nonie Lesaux, Ph.D., researchers will follow a sample of 5,000 randomly selected families with children ages 3 and 4 years from more than 100 communities throughout Massachusetts. An estimated 40 percent of the children are in an informal childcare setting, such as family care; the other 60 percent are enrolled in a formal setting, such as an early childhood education center. Across four years, researchers will document each child’s early learning experiences and measure outcomes including language, executive function, and academic and social-emotional skills.

This study aims to address important questions about how formal and informal early learning environments impact learning outcomes and developmental gains. The researchers hope to achieve a better understanding of which early education features have the greatest benefits for children, which models of Pre-K work best, why they work, for whom they work, and under what conditions. The team hopes their findings will inform public policy efforts and decisions regarding opportunities and challenges facing early childhood education.

“The Early Learning Study at Harvard is setting the standard for research on early childhood education practices and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve results using our measure,” Carlson said.

ICD researchers find early childhood program linked to degree completion

Arthur Reynolds, Ph.D.
Arthur Reynolds, Ph.D.

Participating in an intensive early childhood education program from preschool to third grade is linked to higher educational attainment in mid-life, according to a new study by researchers in CEHD’s Institute of Child Development (ICD).

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, tracked the progress of more than 1,500 children from low-income neighborhoods in Chicago, from the time they entered preschool in 1983 and 1984 in Child-Parent Centers (CPC) until roughly 30 years later. The children were part of the Chicago Longitudinal Study, one of the longest-running follow-ups of early childhood intervention.

“Children from low-income families are less likely to attend college than their higher-income peers,” said lead author Arthur J. Reynolds, Ph.D., a professor in ICD and director of the Chicago Longitudinal Study. “A strong system of educational and family supports in a child’s first decade is an innovative way to improve educational outcomes leading to greater economic well-being. The CPC program provides this.”

The JAMA Pediatrics study is the first of a large-scale public program to assess impacts on mid-life educational attainment and the contributions of continuing services in elementary school. The study’s co-authors include Suh-Ruu Ou and Judy A. Temple of the University of Minnesota’s Human Capital Research Collaborative.

For the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the researchers followed the progress of 989 graduates of the Chicago Public School District’s CPC program, which provided intensive instruction in reading and math from preschool through third grade as part of a school reform model.

The program provides small classes, intensive learning experiences, menu-based parent involvement, and professional development. The children’s parents received job skills training, parenting skills training, educational classes and social services. They also volunteered in their children’s classrooms, assisted with field trips, and attended parenting support groups.

The authors compared the educational outcomes of those children to the outcomes of 550 children from low-income families who attended other early childhood intervention programs in the Chicago area. The researchers collected information on the children from administrative records, schools and families, from birth through 35 years of age. More than 90 percent of the original sample had available data on educational attainment.

On average, CPC graduates—whether they participated in preschool only, or through second or third grade—completed more years of education than those who participated in other programs.

For children who received an intervention in preschool, those in the CPC group were more likely to achieve an associate’s degree or higher (15.7 percent vs. 10.7 percent), a bachelor’s degree (11.0 percent vs. 7.8 percent), or a master’s degree (4.2 percent vs. 1.5 percent). These differences translate to a 47 percent increase in an earned associate’s degree and a 41 percent increase in an earned bachelor’s degree.

CPC graduates through second or third grade showed even greater gains: a 48 percent increase in associate’s degree or higher and a 74 percent increase for bachelor’s degree or higher.

“Every child deserves a strong foundation for a successful future, and this report provides more concrete, compelling evidence that investments in early childhood education pay dividends for decades,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago is expanding access to early childhood education so every child, regardless of their zip code or parents’ income, can have the building blocks for a lifetime of success.”

According to the study’s authors, successful early childhood programs not only may lead to higher adult educational achievement, but also to improved health. The authors note that adults with less education are more likely to adopt unhealthy habits like smoking and to experience high blood pressure, obesity, and mental health problems than those who complete more schooling.

“This study shows that a well run early childhood intervention program can have benefits well into adult life,” said James Griffin, Ph.D., Deputy Chief of the Child Development Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

In previous studies, the researchers showed that CPC program participants have attained higher incomes, and experienced lower rates of serious crime, incarceration, and depression than participants of other programs. CPC has also shown a return on investment: cost-benefit analyses have shown economic returns of 7 to 10 dollars per dollar invested.

The CPC program expanded beyond Chicago beginning in 2012. The program is now also in parts of Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Funding for the study is from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. To read the full research paper titled, “A Multicomponent, Preschool to Third Grade Preventive Intervention and Educational Attainment at 35 Years of Age,” visit the JAMA Pediatrics website.

LT Media Lab teams up with Weisman Art Museum for “Vanishing Ice” exhibit

changing earth
C&I’s Aaron Doering leads LTML team members Jeni Henrickson and Chris Ripken across the Arctic to document climate change.

The upcoming Weisman Art museum exhibit Vanishing Ice opens Saturday, January 27 and features contributions from the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML), a research center in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I). The exhibit showcases the “beauty, significance, and vulnerability of Earth’s frozen lands, and visualizes the environmental and social impact that climate change has had on alpine and polar regions,” according to the Weisman website.

The LTML team created an interactive platform for the exhibit where visitors at the museum and around the world can share their thoughts on climate change and the Arctic to create a participatory forum on the effects of global warming.

In addition, on February 23 C&I Professor and Co-Director of LTML Aaron Doering will present the documentary “The Changing Earth: Crossing the Arctic” that follows Doering and team members Jeni Henrickson and Chris Ripken as they use live technology to introduce viewers to the challenges of the Arctic and the impact of climate change on its indigenous people.

Visitors can get a sneak preview of the exhibit on Friday, January 26 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Vanishing Ice preview party where the LTML team will be on hand to answer questions about their work to document climate change in the Arctic and let visitors interact with gear from their Arctic expeditions.

For those that can’t make it to the preview party, the LTML team will be back to talk with visitors, answer questions, and exhibit their gear on Weisman’s community day on April 7.

The exhibit runs through May 13. Admission is free.

Learn more about LTML’s research and academic degrees and certificate programs in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.



Institute on Community Integration welcomes visit by Russian partners on Peer-to-Peer Project

Anna Chistokhina (left) and Zoya Berdnikova (center) from the Social Innovation Fund in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, traveled to ICI in January for a scouting trip as part of the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Project, a collaborative project with ICI’s Global Resource Center on Inclusive Education (GRC). The project, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, is developing systems to support the community inclusion and employment of young adults with disabilities.

Chistokhina and Berdinkova, along with GRC co-directors Renáta Tichá (far right) and Brian Abery, visited sites focused on transition from secondary school to community living and employment by young adults with disabilities, and discussed similarities and differences between service and support approaches in the U.S. and the Russian Federation. Among the sites were the Success Beyond program in St. Paul (pictured), Lionsgate Academy, and The Arc of Minnesota; they also shadowed professionals who support young adults with disabilities in community-based settings. This was part of the preparation and planning for a larger Russian delegation coming to ICI in April.

The Peer-to-Peer project is a continuation of a long-standing partnership between Krasnoyarsk State University and ICI. “What I really enjoy about this continued collaboration between Krasnoyarsk and Minnesota is how sincere and dedicated our Russian partners are to making a difference in the lives of children and young adults with disabilities back home,” says Tichá.

Kinesiology’s Morgan Betker nominated for Midwest Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award

Morgan Betker

Morgan Betker, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology, was nominated by the U of M Graduate School for the prestigious Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award. As the only doctoral student nominated, Betker will represent the U of M at MAGS’ 2018 regional competition. The award will be presented at the MAGS 74rd Annual Meeting, April 4-6, 2018, in Grand Rapids, MI.

MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes and encourages graduate students for future service as college and university faculty. It supports the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) efforts to promote Preparing Future Faculty to meet needs in academia.

Betker is pursuing her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology, advised by Dr. Beth Lewis.



Learning Technologies Media Lab collaborates with Weisman Art Museum on interactive videos for Prince exhibit

Prince Minneapolis exhibitThe Learning Technologies (LT) Media Lab has teamed up with the Weisman Art Museum to give visitors the chance to record and share their favorite Prince moments as part of the exhibit, “Prince from Minneapolis” running through June 17, 2018.

“You don’t have to be at the exhibit to contribute,” says LT creative director Jeni Henrickson about the interactive software that lets the visitors record and share their memories of the performer. “Visitors can view the recordings and make their own from their homes. People around the world can go to this site and add a Prince moment,” she adds.

Visitors can pin themselves on an interactive map and view stories on the video wall, either at the touch screen monitor in the museum or from their home computers equipped with video cameras. The entire interactive wall was custom-developed by the LT team.

The LT Media Lab has a track record of leveraging their technological skills to allow the public to share their stories around educational topics. In the past, they used video documentation and online learning environments to allow students to follow their expeditions into the arctic to evaluate climate change as part of the Changing Earth project and, most recently, into South America to capture stories about the science and future of agriculture as part of the AgCultures project led by Professor Aaron Doering.

The Weisman and the LT Media lab will continue their collaboration on the upcoming exhibit, “Vanishing Ice” which opens January 27, 2018 and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers.

Learn more about the LT Media Lab and the academic programs offered in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.


Fleury receives grant to develop reading intervention for preschoolers with autism

Veronica Fleury

Veronica Fleury, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). The project, Students and Teachers Actively Reading Together (START), will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an adaptive shared reading intervention for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

START’s first-stage intervention will be traditional dialogic reading—which encourages adults to prompt children with questions and engage them in discussions while reading to them—delivered in small groups of three to four students. Children who respond well to dialogic reading will continue with the group intervention. Those who are slower to respond will be randomized to one of two intensified instruction conditions.

This proposal is related to an application submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences for a larger four year development project that is currently under consideration.

ICI supports cross-cultural identification, screening, and intervention for autism

Hall-Lande at CDC headquarters in Atlanta where she trained in 2016.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) renewed the appointment of ICI’s Jennifer Hall-Lande as the Minnesota Act Early Ambassador, extending it through October 2018 to spread the CDC’s “Learn the Signs, Act Early” message throughout the state.

CDC trained her to develop and expand on ICI’s Act Early work of promoting early identification, screening, and intervention for autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities in culturally- and linguistically-diverse communities across Minnesota. That work expanded this fall when the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), through a subcontract from CDC, awarded her $137,000 for a new nine-month project, “Learn the Signs, Act Early” Formative Research Evaluation of Developmental Books. ”

This project helps the Minnesota Act Early team to evaluate the effectiveness of our materials in promoting parent-led developmental monitoring, and it’s also a great opportunity for building a strong professional partnership with the AUCD team and UCEDDs in New York and Indiana,” she says. UCEDDs (University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) are a federally-designated network of programs similar to ICI that are housed in major universities and teaching hospitals across the country to promote a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities.

“This grant adds to ICI’s growing portfolio of ‘Learn the Signs, Act Early’ projects, including our Outreach Work and State Systems Grant: Minnesota Act Early,” says Hall-Lande. Also, in September, ICI’s Minnesota Act Early team partnered with Minnesota Help Me Grow to train another group of cultural delegates to conduct Learn the Signs outreach in their communities. The newly-trained delegates join the ranks of an existing “Minnesota Learn the Signs, Act Early” statewide network of approximately 100 trained delegates who use the Act Early materials and resources to help parents monitor child development. In this way, delegates connect with families in their communities to support early identification.

America Reads helps students make an impact in local communities

literacy mentor america reads“I really like the idea of doing work that is important and impactful and being able to get outside of the college bubble, to see and be a part of the surrounding community,” explains sophomore marketing major Mackenzie Kerry, who found a job that let her do just that as a literacy mentor with CEHD America Reads. The program trains college students of any major in reading and literacy skills to equip them to tutor K-8 students in schools and after-school programs. The CEHD America Reads program, housed in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Minnesota Center for Reading Research, partners with local schools and community organizations to improve literacy. The program employs 100 university students as literacy mentors during the school year.

“It’s an amazing job,” says Logan Haen, a sophomore biology major who has been a literacy mentor since coming to the U last year. Haen appreciates the different perspectives he has gained working with students of diverse backgrounds. “I’ve gained tons of knowledge about other cultures and the program has allowed me to explore different parts of Minneapolis.”

M.Ed. and Initial License in Elementary Education candidate, Jessica Rifley, agrees that working with America Reads was eye-opening. Coming from a small town, Rifley was eager to find a job that “allowed me to leave campus and really immerse myself in various Minneapolis communities and begin networking with nonprofit and community organizations.”  Rifley, like many other literacy mentors, found a calling through the program. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I wanted to do when I graduated (I believe the total major count was five before settling on elementary education) but I knew that I wanted to work with young people in whatever capacity allowed me to make the most positive impact possible.”

“Elementary education students talk about how this is a double dose of teaching practicum. It builds on teaching experience,” says program coordinator, Megan Pieters. The program offers literacy mentors the chance to work with students in multiple settings for 6-10 hours per week and find out if education or youth work might be their career path.

For any student with a work-study award, this program has the potential to be transformative—not just for the mentees, but the mentors, as well.  “America Reads has definitely impacted my understanding of what the true definition of service is,” Rifley explains. “[I learned that] it is necessary to build connections with a community and understand the resources they have to offer, rather than focus on what needs to be “fixed” or changed.”

Junior youth studies major, Choua Lee, feels the program has helped her understand the complicated factors that can affect a child’s ability to be successful in the classroom. “I have learned that every individual is going through something, and that may impact their learning.” She adds that the program has helped her to be “more patient and understanding” when working with youth.

Partner site coordinator, Sister Sharon White of the East Side Learning Center notes that the “America Reads mentors are passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference. Staff often comment on the poise of the mentors and how seriously they take the responsibility. We appreciate our ten-year partnership with America Reads!”

For students who are interested in becoming a literacy mentor, America Reads is accepting applications. Students must have a work-study award, but do not need their own transportation. Starting rates are $10.50/hour.

Contact Jennifer Kohler with questions, or send a resume to Megan Pieters.





Study on pre-kindergarten program shows strategies for reducing the achievement gap

A new study shows that successful implementation of preschool-to-third-grade programs yields benefits in increasing school readiness, improving attendance, and strengthening parental involvement in school education—strategies that can close the achievement gap for children at risk.

“Scaling and sustaining effective early childhood programs through school–family–university collaboration” was published in the September/October 2017 issue of Child Development by Arthur Reynolds, professor of child development, and colleagues in the Human Capital Research Collaborative (HCRC).

The Child–Parent Center Preschool to Third Grade program (CPC P–3) is a collaborative school reform model designed to improve school achievement and family engagement from ages three to nine. The program provides small classes, intensive learning experiences, menu-based parent involvement, and professional development in co-located sites. In the study, investigators evaluated evidence from two longitudinal studies, the Chicago Longitudinal Study, begun in the 1980s, and Midwest CPC, which started in Minnesota and Illinois in 2012.

“We found that organizing preschool to third grade services through partnerships with schools and families creates a strong learning environment for ensuring that early childhood gains are sustained, thus reducing the achievement gap,” said Reynolds, HCRC co-director.

Implementation in five Saint Paul Public Schools serving high proportions of dual language learners led to gains in literacy of nearly a half a year at the end of preschool. The gains were sustained in kindergarten with further evidence of increased parent involvement and attendance. Small classes and engaged instruction contributed to these gains.

“Thanks to the support of the CPC P-3 program, family rooms at the five Saint Paul Public School sites are vibrant and welcoming environments,” said Kathleen Wilcox-Harris, chief academic officer of the Saint Paul Public School District. “It is not uncommon to see a hub of activity in these spaces promoting the bridge between the home, community, and school environments. The program with guidance from HCRC has led to a menu of family engagement opportunities known as the Families First Menu of Opportunities that is being implemented at other sites. The small classes and preschool to third grade alignment of instruction has also been of substantial benefit.”

In collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools and other implementation sites, guiding principles of the effectiveness of program expansion are shared ownership, committed resources, and progress monitoring for improvement. The addition of Pay for Success financing in the Chicago Public School District shows the feasibility of scaling CPC P-3 while continuing to improve effectiveness. Each dollar invested in the CPC P-3 program has demonstrated a return of $10 in reduced need for remedial services and improved well-being.

Findings from the study support increased investment during the early grades. As Reynolds documented in a recent Education Week commentary, spending on early childhood development in the first decade of life is a smart investment.

“Since only about half of young children are enrolled in public preK programs, and less than 10 percent participate in P–3 programs that follow the key principles of CPC, increased access to high-quality education and family support services can make a big difference in reducing the achievement gap,” Reynolds said. “Nationally, only one third of fourth graders read proficiently on national assessments, and preschool or school-age programs alone are not enough to raise these rates to acceptable levels, especially for the most vulnerable children. CPC not only helps children be school ready, but improves reading and math proficiency over the school grades, which led to higher rates of graduation and ultimately greater economic well-being.”

Human Capital Research Collaborative, an interdisciplinary research institute in the Institute of Child Development, College of Education and Human Development, offers a multitude of resources for CPC P-3 implementation, including monitoring tools, manuals, and extensive resources on the website CPCP3.org.

Funding for the study is from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U. S. Department of Education, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

New graduate program trains students to analyze behavior, improve lives of people with disabilities

The new master’s degree will help meet the state and national need for Board Certified Behavior Analysts.

Approximately one in every ten people or 11.2% of people in Minnesota and 13.1% of people in the United States are living with some kind of disability according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

It’s with that in mind that Jennifer McComas, associate chair and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, developed the new master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis (A.B.A).

Jennifer McComas

“The new program is designed to teach students about the principles of behavior,” explains McComas, “how to recognize the influence of social interactions and other environmental variables and recommend changes to improve the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities.”

Now approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the A.B.A. program is designed prepare students to sit for their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam and to work with people with disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities.

“The M.A. is a good fit for psychology and education majors and those interested in applied research who want to make a difference in the world around them,” McComas says.

A full-time, on campus program, the M.A. in special education with an emphasis in A.B.A. is currently accepting applications for fall 2018. Students who enroll in the program will be required to complete 36 total credits (nine credits in four semesters), including three semesters of practical experience working alongside a BCBA. They’ll also complete a final research project, guided by University of Minnesota faculty and staff, like McComas, who are experts in the area of applied behavior analysis.

“We’ll approach applied behavior analysis from a scientific perspective,” McComas says. “Students will be challenged to become consumers of research and prepared for the real world through supportive supervisory experience, which is essential when working with people with disabilities.”

Amy Hewitt

Amy Hewitt is a senior research associate with the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Minnesota and has worked for over 30 years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“This new program is timely and responds to a critical need in Minnesota. With newly implemented policies that fund early intensive behavioral intervention for people with autism and the focus on positive behavioral support in the MN Olmstead Plan there is a high need for qualified professionals,” Hewitt says. “This program will help to ease the high demand to grow this workforce.”

Graduates of the program will help meet the state and national need for BCBAs who work with people with disabilities to identify opportunities to make positive behavior changes leading to more fulfilling lives.

Cook, colleagues receive $2.8 million in grants to support teachers

Clayton Cook head shot
Clayton Cook

Clayton Cook, John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, and his colleagues from the University of Washington have recently been awarded two grants by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

The first, led by Cook, is a three-year, $1.4 million project entitled Development and Evaluation of the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools for Teachers (BASIS-T). The goal of BASIS-T is to revise and refine a feasible and effective implementation enhancement intervention that helps motivate elementary school teachers to adopt and deliver evidence-based classroom practices (EBPs) with fidelity to better meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

The second, Cook is a co-project investigator on with a colleague from the University of Washington. The four-year, $1.4 million project, Development of RELATE (Relationships to Enhance Learners’ Adjustment to Transitions and Engagement), focuses on developing and testing an intervention that builds off Cook’s research on the Establish-Maintain-Restore approach to promote teacher-student relationships. Specifically, RELATE will be developed and pilot tested as a dropout prevention strategy for 9th grade students as they transition into high school—a critical transitional period that is associated with the greatest amount of students dropping out of school.

Congratulations to Dr. Cook and his colleagues on the recognition and support of this important work!

Rodriguez appointed chair of Department of Defense Advisory Committee for Military Personnel Testing

Michael Rodriguez head shot
Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, was recently appointed chair of the Department of Defense’s Advisory Committee for Military Personnel Testing. Rodriguez has been a member of the committee since 2012.

The Advisory Committee for Military Personnel Testing exists within the Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness. The committee’s duties vary over time, but the primary focus is on the design, development, and validation research of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and related tests, including non-cognitive assessments addressing readiness for military life.

According to Rodriguez, “These assessments serve important roles in the identification, selection, and placement of individuals interested in serving in any of the six branches of the military or seeking military careers.”

In addition to its work developing and evaluating tests for the armed services, the committee reviews the efforts of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program used by many high schools across the nation. The program provides free access to many resources for students, parents, and educators—including the aptitude test, interest assessment, and career exploration tools.