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Audit by Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking has big impact on St. Paul police-community relations

When the St. Paul City Council voted to remove police officers from the city’s Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission last December, School of Social Work Professor Mark Umbreit was a little stunned, but also proud.

photo of Mark Umbreit
Mark Umbreit

Umbreit, who is the director of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, was a part an audit team from the center that recommended 18 changes to commission operations, the most controversial being that police officers should no longer serve as voting members of the commission.

photo of Jennifer Blevins
Jennifer Blevins

Police officers have been voting members since the commission was established in 1994, and, although a 2009 “Report of the Best Practices Assessment of the St. Paul Police Department” had recommended removing them, that recommendation was never implemented. So when the auditors started their work in the summer of 2015, Umbreit said, they believed “it was simply not realistic to talk about removing the police officers.”

photo of Raj Sethuraju
Raj Sethuraju

Two associates of the center, social work doctoral student Jennifer Blevins and Dr. Raj Sethuraju, assistant professor of criminology at Metropolitan State University, worked with Umbreit on the audit, with Blevins taking the lead.

The audit included interviews with 23 key stakeholders in the commission’s process, including seven current members, five previous members, two current and two former administrators, the police union president, the current police chief, a police former chief, the senior commander of the police Internal Affairs unit, and three community stakeholders.

They also reviewed 40 commission memos from 2011 through 2014, which included a total of approximately 310 cases of complaints about police conduct, to determine what the commission did once a complaint and the investigation files were presented to them.
The auditors also looked at literature on civilian review of police conduct from throughout the United States. In their search, they could not find one civilian review board that had police officers on it, Blevins said, although she noted that one could exist that they were unable to find.

As the audit progressed, Umbreit said, they were hearing from people who felt very strongly that police officers should not be members of the commission.

“We decided we could not make a recommendation based on what we thought was politically realistic, but on what we believed to be the best course of action based on our analysis of the data we gathered,” Blevins said.

After the audit report was released in October 2015, city officials announced plans for gathering public input. They asked the center to organize three feedback sessions to allow city officials to hear from community members in order to decide how to move forward with the audit recommendations. The sessions were held in November and December of 2015.

“It was through the community conversations that people started to see the possibility of real change,” Umbreit said.

After the sessions, grass-roots groups began organizing to push for an all-civilian review board. By the end of 2016, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “St. Paul residents and at least 18 community organizations have been calling on council members to make it an independent, all-civilian commission.”

On December 7, 2016, a diverse crowd of people filled the St. Paul City Council chambers and an overflow room as the council held a public hearing on the proposed changes. The Pioneer Press reported that more than 35 people addressed the council, with most of them speaking in favor of removing police officers from the panel. The council voted 5 to 2 in favor of the change; final adoption followed at the council’s December 14 meeting.

“Particularly with the current very troubling times our nation is facing, this provides a beacon of hope of people power, real and effective social change, and a true academic and community partnership,” Umbreit said.

“We put out the information and gave people what was needed to come to a conclusion and take action. It feels good that people paid attention and used it … I am proud of this work,” he said.

Davison recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education

Mark L. Davison

Mark Davison, John P. Yackel Professor in Educational Assessment and Measurement in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, was recently honored with an Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education Award from Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. This award recognizes excellent teachers who engage students in a community of intellectual inquiry, are significant mentors and role models, and develop and promote activities that help students understand the larger context of their intended professions.

One of a select group of University of Minnesota teachers chosen for this honor, Davison will receive a one-time $15,000 award and become a member of the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers, which serves the University through various activities that aim to improve teaching and learning.

“We all are very pleased to see Mark’s important contributions to graduate education recognized in such a meaningful way.  His highly accomplished former students made a persuasive case for him receiving the award,” said Geoffrey Maruyama, department chair.

Davision will receive his award in a ceremony at McNamara Alumni Center on April 27, and, along with his fellow recipients, will be introduced to the University’s Board of Regents meeting May 11-12.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Davison on this well-deserved honor!

Gunnar elected to membership in the National Academy of Education

Dr. Megan Gunnar

Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Child Development, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education (NAEd).

The NAEd aims to advance high-quality education research and its use in policy and practice. The academy consists of 209 U.S. members and 11 foreign associates who are elected on the basis of outstanding scholarship related to education. Gunnar was one of 14 new members elected to membership this year.

As an NAEd member, Gunnar will play a role in NAEd’s professional development programs and serve on expert study panels that address pressing issues in education.

Gunnar will be inducted during a ceremony for new members at the 2017 NAEd Annual Meeting in November.

Five OLPD alumni win dissertation awards

Five alumni from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development have recently won dissertation awards.

Matt Schuelka (EDPA PhD-comparative and international development education, 2014) has received the 2017 South Asia SIG Best Dissertation Award from the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). His dissertation, entitled Constructing Disability in Bhutan: Schools, Structures, Policies, and Global Discourses, used a vertical (comparative) case study approach to explore the multiple levels of policy-making that have shaped inclusive education discourse and practice in Bhutan. This year-long ethnographic study, which involved participant-observation, interviewing, and critical policy analysis, has served as the basis for an edited book about education in Bhutan and numerous journal articles published by Dr. Schuelka during the past few years.

Anna Farrell (EDPA PhD-comparative and international development education, 2017) has received the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Language Issues Special Interest Group from the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). Her dissertation, entitled There Is No Nation without a Language (Ní tír gan teanga): Language Policy and the Irish Dancing Commission, raises important questions about how language policy affects cultural and political identity, particularly in post-colonial contexts like Ireland.  Dr. Farrell will be honored at the CIES meeting in March in Atlanta.

Leonard Taylor (EDPA PhD-higher education, 2016) is the First Place 2017 Doctoral Student Awardee bestowed by the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) for his dissertation entitled Organizational Learning for Student Success: Exploring the Roles of Institutional Actors.

Corbyn Smyth (EdD-higher education, 2016) has received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) for his dissertation entitled Where All May Meet on Common Ground: Elements of College Unions Evident in Campus Community. Dr. Smyth will be honored at the awards ceremony during the 2017 annual conference in Philadelphia held March 21st.

Molly Wickam (WHRE PhD, higher education, 2015) has received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation award from the Association for Research in Business Education (ARBE) for her dissertation entitled Enhancing Employability Skills in Graduate Business Programs: Service-Learning in Capstone Courses. Dr. Wickam will present at the 2017 Business Education Conference on April 12th.

 

Stebleton and Jehangir make first-year experience presentation at UMN’s Focusing on Student Success Conference

Michael Stebleton and Rashne Jehangir, associate professors in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), presented recently at the University of Minnesota’s Focusing on Student Success Conference.  Their presentation, Empowering Students through High Impact Practices, focused on the highlights of the College of Education and Human Development’s first-year experience program.  Specifically, they showcased examples of students’ work including documentary short films.

OLPD graduate student receives Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence

Takehito Kamata, a Ph.D. student (higher education track) in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), is a recipient of the Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization recognizing outstanding student contributions to international education. Kamata will receive his award at a ceremony held on March 3, 2017.

 

Read more and RSVP.

Rec Admin students develop report for Three Rivers Park District on barriers to underrepresented groups

Sara Hansen and Tyler Tegtmeier, both Recreation Administration students in the School of Kinesiology, have developed a report for the Three Rivers Park District to research recreation opportunities for underrepresented populations in the district’s public parks. The 27-page report of their findings provides recommendations to reduce barriers to parks and recreation facilities by underrepresented groups. The report was presented to the organizations involved in the study for their consideration and determination of next steps.

Hansen and Tegtmeier proceeded with the report under the guidance of Recreation Administration Director Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., along with Alex McKinney, Recreation Supervisor at Three Rivers Park District.

C&I’s Blanca Caldas Wins Outstanding Dissertation Award

The American Educational Research Association’s (AERA’s) Bilingual Education Research SIG selects the top three dissertations in the field of bilingual education research each year as outstanding dissertations. Assistant professor in Curriculum & Instruction, Blanca Caldas was honored with the second place Outstanding Dissertation Award for her doctoral thesis, “Performing the Advocate Bilingual Teacher: Drama-based Interventions for Future Story Making.”

Caldas’s doctoral dissertation focused on exploring how critical drama-based pedagogical techniques in the development of future bilingual teachers can prepare them to become leaders and advocates inside and outside the classroom. In this yearlong study, the participants—a cohort of pre-service bilingual teachers—engaged in the re-imagining of the oral narratives of experienced bilingual teachers by physically reenacting their stories and providing alternative endings.

“My research aims to study the outcomes of pedagogical practices for the preparation of future bilingual teachers that have the potential to empower themselves to not only think critically about the issues that surround bilingual education, but also to engage in leadership and advocacy inside and outside the classroom,” says Caldas.

Caldas brings her research and pedagogical expertise to the Second Language Education program area in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, working to advance the field of bilingual education and bilingual teacher preparation.

Learn more about the programs offered in second language education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

 

 

UMN researchers assist in identifying autism biomarkers in infancy

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants with older siblings with autism, researchers from around the country, including the University of Minnesota (UMN), were able to predict which infants would later meet criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at two years of age, with 80 percent accuracy.

Jed Elison, Ph.D. and Jason Wolff, Ph.D.

“The findings lay the foundation for the field to move toward attempting to implement interventions before the symptoms that define autism consolidate into a diagnosis,” said study co-author Jed Elison, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UMN Institute of Child Development.

“Typically, the earliest an autism diagnosis can be made is between ages two and three. But for babies with older autistic siblings, our imaging approach may help predict during the first year of life which babies are most likely to receive an autism diagnosis at 24 months,” said senior author Joseph Piven, M.D., the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

This research project included hundreds of children from across the country and was led by researchers at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina (UNC). The project’s other clinical sites included the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition to the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, other key collaborators are McGill University, the University of Alberta, the College of Charleston, and New York University (see ibisnetwork.org for more information.)

For this study, published today in Nature, the team of researchers conducted MRI scans of infants at six, 12 and 24 months of age. They found that the babies who developed autism experienced a hyper-expansion of brain surface area from six to 12 months, as compared to babies who had an older sibling with autism but did not themselves show evidence of the condition at 24 months of age. Increased growth rate of surface area in the first year of life was linked to increased growth rate of overall brain volume in the second year of life. Brain overgrowth was tied to the emergence of autistic social deficits in the second year.

The researchers then took these data – MRIs of brain volume, surface area, cortical thickness at 6 and 12 months of age, and sex of the infants – and used a computer program to identify a way to classify babies most likely to meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age. The computer program developed the best algorithm to accomplish this, and the researchers applied the algorithm to a separate set of study participants.

The researchers found that brain differences at 6 and 12 months of age in infants with older siblings with autism correctly predicted eight out of 10 infants who would later meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age in comparison to those infants with older ASD siblings who did not meet criteria for autism at 24 months.

According to the researchers, the findings may have implications for early detection and intervention in children who have older siblings with autism before a diagnosis is typically established. Diagnosis of ASD typically occurs after 24 months of age, the earliest time when behavioral characteristics of ASD can be observed. Intervening early could lead to improved outcomes, as the brain is more malleable in the first years of life compared with later in childhood.

“This area of research is incredibly exciting because it provides an opportunity to understand how autism unfolds early in life,” said Jason Wolff, Ph.D., an assistant professor in educational psychology at UMN and a study co-author. “It provides new clues about the timing and specific mechanisms of brain development that precede a diagnosis. It also offers the unprecedented possibility of predicting whether or not a child will develop autism based on neurobiological data.”

“These findings not only are significant for the field of autism, but they also could inform the broader field of psychiatry and prevention science as it relates to various psychiatric conditions,” Elison said. “This research highlights the best of contemporary science. It’s collaborative, and informed by technology and multiple areas of expertise, with the common goal of helping families.”

The National Institutes of Health funded this study.

See media coverage of this story in the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, KARE TV, WCCO TV, and KMSP TV.

Learning Technologies “Changing Earth” team tackles second Arctic expedition

The mission: Tackle an ancient path across 137 miles of Arctic wilderness from the north of Iceland to the south. Document stories en route focused on how we find strength and purpose in an increasingly fragile, interconnected, and stressed world. A team of four explorers will travel by ski and snowshoe, pulling all gear, food, and technology in large sleds called pulks. They will visit schools and talk with residents in several Icelandic communities en route, learning about the social, economic, and environmental innovations spawned on this island of fire and ice, and how people adapt and find purpose even amidst constant change.

Modern technologies, including drones and virtual reality, will enable the team to capture the expedition, land, communities, and stories in extraordinary ways, and share their journey online in real time with students, teachers, and the general public. Schools around the world have access to the Changing Earth’s free online learning environment (http://thechangingearth.com) with activities and resources focused on science, technology, geography, and culture. The site includes free collaboration and interaction tools for students, a learning zone for the general public, and a student management system for teachers.

The Changing Earth is an adventure learning series of eight expeditions over four years to remote regions of the Arctic and the Tropics. The Arctic and Tropics are facing some of the most rapid and widespread environmental and sociocultural changes on Earth.

The first Changing Earth expedition, in April 2016, took the team across the far northern end of the Baffin Island in Canada (http://thechangingearth.com/expedition1/). This second expedition will begin in late February 2017 in Akureyri, a small city in northern Iceland. From there, the team will travel out by ski and snowshoe, crossing the island from north to south. In the heart of Iceland, they’ll traverse Sprengisandur, an ancient route between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers – to Landmannalaugar, an area rife with geothermal activity. This journey will take the team across challenging terrain, not easily accessible in winter. Their final destination is the capital city of Reykjavik.

Team leader Aaron Doering (see http://chasingseals.com) is an adventure learning pioneer, professor, and worldwide explorer who has dogsledded and pulked throughout the circumpolar Arctic, ranging from Chukotka, Russia, to Fennoscandia, and around the globe to Greenland, Canada, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. He holds a close connection to the land, having grown up on a farm in southern Minnesota, and has a passion for educating others about our planet. Doering is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the UMN Institute on the Environment. He has been honored with multiple awards and recognitions, including being a laureate of the Tech Awards (http://www.thetech.org/tech-awards-presented-applied-materials ), which pay tribute to individuals using technology to benefit humanity.

Doering will be accompanied on this journey by three fellow adventurers and education professionals: Chris Ripken, a high school geography teacher recognized for his innovative uses of technology in the classroom; Jeni Henrickson, a creative professional and researcher passionate about getting folks outdoors; and Matthew Whalen, a professional videographer and seasoned outdoorsman.

Doering notes, “In sharing adventures, educational activities, and stories of innovation from real communities around the world, we hope to engage others in discussions about the importance of these fragile regions of the planet, and inspire people to take action and choose to care about their own communities, cultures, and the environment.”

The ultimate mission of the Changing Earth is to help create an environmentally literate and socially engaged generation of learners worldwide who are able to blend traditional and 21st century scientific and cultural knowledge to generate innovative solutions to guide the Earth and its diverse inhabitants into the future.

Join in online at http://thechangingearth.com and follow on Twitter and Instagram using #choose2care. The challenge begins February 24, 2017.

The Changing Earth is a project of the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML). LTML is an innovative design and research center located in the College of Education and Human Development’s Centers for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Minnesota. LTML’s mission is to inspire and create opportunities for global collaboration in addressing humanity’s most pressing educational, social, and environmental issues by designing and evaluating innovative technology-mediated solutions for learners, educators, researchers, and organizations worldwide. We are a nonprofit focused on education, educational technology, and education research, and have to date designed and developed more than two dozen free online and mobile tools and learning environments in use by over 15 million learners worldwide.

See Aaron Doering interviewed about this expedition on The Weather Channel and on a Minnesota television news program.

Learn more about the educational opportunities offered in the Learning Technologies program area in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Family Social Science launches new M.A. in prevention science

Family Social Science (FSOS) has launched a new master’s degree program in prevention science that will help prepare family science practitioners to prevent or moderate major human dysfunctions before they occur.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Prevention Science will equip students to confront many of the daunting challenges facing today’s families and communities, including trauma and drug addiction. The M.A. in Prevention Science will also help students develop strategies to promote the health and well-being of families.

Core coursework for the M.A. in Prevention Science gives students a solid foundation in statistics and research methodology, family conceptual frameworks, and ethics. Students can choose the Plan A which includes a thesis, or the Plan B which includes a project and a paper.

The M.A. in Prevention Science is intended for individuals who would like to build a career that supports families and works to redirect maladaptive behaviors.

The program is currently accepting applications for Fall 2017. The application deadline is March 1, 2017.

OLPD alumna wins CIES outstanding dissertation award

Laura Willemsen, alumna (Ph.D. 2016) and lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), has won the 2016-17 Gail P. Kelly Award for her dissertation, Embodying Empowerment: Gender, Schooling, Relationships and Life History in Tanzania.

This award of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) is conferred on an outstanding Ph.D. or Ed.D. dissertation that manifests academic excellence; originality; methodological, theoretical, and empirical rigor; and that deals with issues of social justice and equity in international settings. These issues may include—but are not limited to—gender, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality.

The committee wrote the following assessment of Dr. Willemsen’s dissertation:

“This is a solid piece of academic work engaging with ethnographic realities which clearly paints a scenario of gender disparity and the fundamental role that education should play in ameliorating the current status quo. It examines the role schooling has played in empowering young women from vulnerability toward increasing security and well-being. The study illustrates how school needs to include an element of care to be successful, particularly in marginalized women’s lives, underscoring how quality education moves beyond what can be measured through traditional indicators such as academic performance. Through her study, Willemsen critically engages with prominent discourses in the field of comparative and international education, for example the role of education in empowering of marginalized groups (here young women in a low-income country), yet also underscoring how the school is not necessarily the decisive factor in this empowerment, how additional forces, such as family, community and religion can play more prominent roles than education. Additionally, she put forward a critical perspective on the content of schooling, promoting a more holistic notion of education for the institution to at all be able to function as a factor for empowerment of marginalized groups. In this dissertation, the notion of empowerment as understood by researchers and development experts, and the role of education within it, is challenged through this dissertation and the young women populating it. The role of social justice is a cross-cutting issue in the dissertation by Willemsen. She also engages with central CIES discourses in a critical manner, something rather bold in a Ph.D. dissertation and in such a way contributing to academic excellence and originality.”

DeJaeghere conducted RISE-Vietnam research interviews with national policymakers

Joan DeJaeghere, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) and co-principal investigator of the Research for Improving Education Systems in Vietnam (RISE), conducted interviews with national policymakers in January.  The research will be analyzed to understand the political-economic changes that affected Vietnamese educational successes and challenges.  One of the unique features the research aims to understand is how policies were implemented throughout the country and at local levels during a process of decentralization and “democratization” that allowed for a large expansion of educational participation and learning, while also maintaining a strong socialist ethos and commitment to equality.

Read more about RISE, a 6-year, $5.2 million research project about children’s learning throughout the world.

Ysseldyke recognized for outstanding contributions to school psychology training

James E. Ysseldyke

Jim Ysseldyke, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, received the 2017 award for Outstanding Contributions to School Psychology Training from the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs. Ysseldyke was recognized for his contributions to graduate preparation and leadership in numerous centers, professional organizations, task forces, and other local, regional, and national organizations that shaped school psychology since he entered the field 45 years ago.

Amanda Sullivan, coordinator of the school psychology program, and Janet Graden, coordinator of the University of Cincinnati school psychology program and Ysseldyke’s former advisee, presented the award at the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs’ recent meeting in Hollywood, FL. Educational Psychology professor emerita Sandra Christenson received the award in 2009.

ICD unveils new online M.A. in applied child and adolescent development

The Institute of Child Development (ICD) has launched an online master’s degree program that will help prepare a new generation of professionals to meet the developmental needs of children in practice and through policy.

The Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Child and Adolescent Development program aims to equip students with a foundation in development science that can be applied in advocacy, community, and health care settings. Through the program, students will gain knowledge in cognitive and biological development, social and emotional development, research methods and ethics. The program is entirely online, allowing students to learn from where they are.

Students can apply to one of three specialized tracks: infant and early childhood mental health, child life, and individualized studies. Each track incorporates coursework specific to the specialization and requires a field experience internship or fellowship for graduation.  

“Children are our future — the nation’s future. At this critical time, we must ensure that children and adolescents receive the support they need to develop and grow into healthy, thriving adults,” says Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of ICD. “Our new master’s degree seeks to do just that by helping students build a foundation in development science that they can use in real-world situations.”

The M.A. is intended for individuals who would like to build a career working with children or adolescents or creating and implementing practices and policies that support their well-being and development. The M.A. also is ideal for professionals working in fields that serve children who are seeking to advance their career. The program currently is accepting applications for Fall 2017.

Large CEHD delegation travels to Cuba for conference and educational exchange

College of Education and Human Development faculty, staff, alumni, and school-based colleagues will be in Havana, Cuba, January 25 to February 4, to meet with Cuban educators and present research papers at the Pedagogía 2017 International Conference for the “Unity of Educators.” The delegation, the largest U.S. academic group to date to travel to Cuba and present at a conference, includes 17 experts in reading and literacy, second languages and culture, dual language and immersion, bilingual education, special education, access and inclusion, multicultural education, immigrant youth, and pathways to diversifying the teaching force.

Goals for the visit include sharing research and practical knowledge, and engaging with colleagues on Cuban initiatives presented by local advocates, educators, and policy makers; presenting research at the conference; and making visits to educational spaces such as the National Literacy Museum.

“When we return, we will be sharing our insights from this trip with educators across Minnesota,” said Deborah Dillon, delegation leader and associate dean for graduate and professional programs in the college.

Other members of the delegation include Laura Coffin Koch (conference organizer), Stephanie Owen-Lyons (assistant to the delegation leader), Alexander Giraldo (graduate student), Julio Cabrera Morales (graduate student), Michelle Benegas (alumna), Amy Hewitt-Olatunde (St. Paul Public Schools), Karina Elze (Minneapolis Public Schools), and the following faculty and staff from CEHD: Heidi Barajas, Martha Bigelow, Blanca Caldas Chumbes, Panayiota Kendeou, Keitha-Gail Martin-Kerr, J.B. Mayo, David O’Brien, Karla Stone, and Rose Vukovic.

The impetus for the trip came from State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, who contacted CEHD dean Jean Quam and Dillon requesting that they secure a group of diverse scholars and practitioners from the college and community for the trip. Senator Torres Ray planned to join the delegation but was unable to leave her work at the statehouse to travel during the legislative session.

View photos and read more about the trip in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Connect.

Vavrus and colleague publish book “Rethinking Case Study Research: A Comparative Approach”

Dr. Frances VavrusFrances Vavrus, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and colleague Lesley Bartlett (University of Wisconsin-Madison) have recently published the book Rethinking Case Study Research: A Comparative Approach with relevance across the fields of education and human development. The book is designed as a textbook for graduate students and other researchers seeking a more holistic approach to case study research, especially research with a focus on policy, and it has exercises in every chapter that guide readers through the research process.

The book is available at www.routledge.com (use the following promo code for a 20% discount: IRK69) or at www.amazon.com. Professor Vavrus will also be available in the fall term to speak in classes that might want to use the book.

Presidential partners study by Hendel and colleagues featured in Inside Higher Education article

Darwin Hendel, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and his collaborators, Karen Kaler and Gwendolyn Freed, presented the results of their study “The lives of Presidential Partners in Higher Education Institutions” at The Presidents Institute at a meeting of the Council of Independent Colleges in Orlando Florida.  Their study was featured in the Inside Higher Education article “Gender Roles and Presidential Spouses.”

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman share research on how subsidy system impacts children with special needs

Amy Susman-Stillman
Amy Susman-Stillman
Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., research associate at the Center for Early Education and Development, recently hosted a research-to-policy briefing to discuss whether the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) equally benefits children with and without special needs.

The CCDBG is a $5.3 billion block grant program that provides funding to states, territories, and tribes in an effort to increase access to quality care for low-income families with young children. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG and identified low-income children with special needs as a priority target population.

The briefing shared findings from a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research, Planning and Evaluation. For the project, Sullivan and Susman-Stillman analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of young children with and without special needs to determine whether children with special needs equally access child care subsidies and how child care subsidies affect use of various care types and quality.

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman’s analysis found that throughout early childhood, children with special needs are less likely to access subsidized child care and that subsidy use increased the likelihood that a family would use home- or center-based care. The analysis also found that subsidized children with special needs spend more hours in care than non-subsidized children with special needs, and that subsidy use does not ensure access to quality care.

According to Sullivan and Susman-Stillman, based on the study’s findings, stakeholders should address inequities in accessing subsidized care for children with special needs and reduce barriers parents and providers face in finding and supplying high-quality care.

Kendeou presents at symposium on reducing impact of misinformation, fake news

Dr. Panayiota Kendeou

Panayiota Kendeou, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s Psychological Foundations of Education program, recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, to present her work on the 12th biennial meeting of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC). Kendeou was part of a featured symposium–organized by two world-renowned experts on misinformation,  Ullrich Ecker (The University of Western Australia) and Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol)–on research advances that reduce the impact of misinformation and fake news. At the event, Kendeou presented her work on the conditions that promote successful change of pre-existing beliefs in the context of her Knowledge Revision Components framework (KReC; Kendeou & O’Brien, 2014).

Dedicated to encouraging and promoting quality scientific research in applied domains, the SARMAC’s purpose is to enhance collaboration and co-operation between basic and applied researchers in memory and cognition.

Learn more about this and other work conducted in Kendeou’s Reading & Language lab.