Category Archives: Educational & Organizational Leadership

Shirazi writes Huffington Post op-ed article on proposed Muslim registry

ShiraziR-2012Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), wrote an op-ed article for The Huffington Post: Muslim Registry Would Be Hideous-And Thoroughly American. It examines the history of racialized surveillance in the U.S. and the possibilities of resisting and confronting this latest version.

“But taking a look at Trump’s proposals against a long history of racial and religious surveillance provides a larger, and even more disturbing landscape. Because, for one, it is shocking to find that this kind of program is nothing new. And, second, programs like the ones he’s suggesting have provided no discernible benefit for the shame of betraying the rights of our neighbors.”

Stebleton and Jehangir coauthor article about First-Year Inquiry Seminar

Michael Stebleton and Rashné Jehangir, associate professors in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), recently had a feature article published in the journal Learning Communities Research and Practice. “Creating Communities of Engaged Learners: An Analysis of a First-Year Inquiry Seminar” focuses on student engagement and the high-impact practices used in the First-Year Inquiry program in the college.

Project LEEP trains school psychology students for faculty careers

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs recently awarded associate professors Robin Codding and  Amanda Sullivan with a $1,192,606 leadership development grant (over five years from 2016-2021). The project, Leaders Enhancing Evidence-based Practices (Project LEEP), funds fellowships designed to prepare future faculty in school psychology with expertise in applying and sustaining evidence-based practices to schools. Five students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program were awarded LEEP fellowships: Jordan Thayer, Alaa Houri, Aria Fiat, Kourtney McNallan, and Madeline Larson.

Project LEEP fellows are trained in: data-based decision making; development and evaluation of evidence-based practices; prevention and intervention using evidence-based practices, and consultation and translation of interventions; as well as leadership competencies in instruction and mentoring in higher education, and research and dissemination. Students receiving the award must complete a variety of experiences—coursework in research methods and statistics, research related to multi tier systems of support (MTSS), and apprenticeships with faculty with related research interests.  

In addition, fellows attend monthly pro-seminars that provide professional development opportunities for pursuing a career as a faculty member. Past pro-seminar topics have included: finding your “fit” in a faculty position based on professional values and goals; types of faculty positions available in the field of school psychology; and what is tenure and how to successfully achieve it. Future Project LEEP pro-seminars will help fellows identify their professional goals and structure training plans to meet the benchmarks needed to obtain a faculty position upon graduation.

Learn more about the school psychology program.

Vavrus was invited speaker at University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work Dean’s Lecture Series

Dr. Frances VavrusFrances Vavrus, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development  (OLPD), was an invited speaker in the Faculty of Education and Social Work Dean’s Lecture Series, which is part of the University of Sydney Ideas program.  The lecture, entitled When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t: Comparative Pedagogies and Epistemological Diversity in Education, was presented on Wednesday, November 16th. Professor Vavrus was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Sydney for the month of November.

Shirazi co-authors Teaching Tolerance blog post regarding teaching about the Middle East and North Africa

ShiraziR-2012Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and Maria Hantzopoulos, associate professor at Vasser College, co-authored a blog post titled In a Time of Islamophobia, Teach with Complexity on the Teaching Tolerance website.

“When teaching about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), U.S. teachers are often confronted with a dearth of accurate and nuanced material about the history, politics and people of the region. This crisis of critical awareness mainly materializes through two recurring narratives that circulate in mainstream media, political discourse and popular culture: “Islam as anti-Western” and conflict fueled by “ancient hatreds.”

Chapman presents paper on training for disadvantaged youth at UNESCO-APEID education conference

David Chapman, professor in chapmand-2016the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), presented a paper, co-authored with Nancy Pellowski Wiger  and Joan DeJeaghere at the UNESCO-APEID education conference in Bangkok October 25-28.  The paper summarized key findings from their 5-year longitudinal study of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship training for economically disadvantaged youth in East Africa, funded by the MasterCard Foundation, Canada.

Rodriguez featured in University’s Driven to Discover campaign

Michael Rodriguez head shot
Dr. Michael Rodriguez

Opportunity gaps among children in our society are growing, and part of the problem is how we assess and educate them. Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development, co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center, and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, is being featured in this year’s Driven to Discover campaign for his work to close  these gaps by helping schools understand how to work with diverse students, families, and communities. View the campaign.

Khalifa featured in Equity Spotlight Podcast discussing supporting Muslim students

khalifam-2015Muhammad Khalifa, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), was interviewed in a podcast titled The Killing of Knowledge: A Brief History of Islam in the Western Society. The first in the three part series Centering Equity in Supporting Muslim Students.

Dr. Khalifa offers a critical historical analysis of the religious oppression of Muslim peoples. He surfaces how, with a greater understanding of historical oppression and religious persecution of Islam, educators can better understand and disrupt school practices that create unsafe learning environments for Muslim students. Further, Dr. Khalifa discusses how educators can use this information to reflect upon their own assumptions and biases about religious stereotyping and discrimination.

Vavrus and Demerath led sessions for PhD Days in Norway

Dr. Frances VavrusDemerathP-2007Frances Vavrus, professor, and Peter Demerath, associate professor, from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), participated in PhD Days on September 12-13th at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Oslo, Norway.  The two-day event, organized by the Faculty of Education and International Studies, included seminars for PhD advisors and sessions for PhD students on a range of issues relevant to doctoral education.

Dr. Demerath led a session for advisors on the internationalization of teacher education and a workshop for students on qualitative data analysis.  Dr. Vavrus’ session for advisors addressed academic writing and identity formation, and her workshop for students dealt with the intersection of epistemology, methodology, and methods in the design of a dissertation.

Weerts writes article regarding state-university relationships in AAUP Academe

weertsd-2014David Weerts, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), and the Faculty Director of the jCENTER for Innovative Higher Education, has written an article regarding state-university relationships titled Covenant, Contract, and the Politics of the Wisconsin Idea included in the American Association of University Professors’ publication Academe.

“Political, demographic, and economic influences have fundamentally changed the state-university relationship since the “golden age” of higher education in the 1960s: a large segment of the public today views higher education primarily as a private good instead of a public good, and competing state priorities such as health care and corrections crowd out financial support for higher education.”

Dr. Weerts also has a post in the Academe blog titled Pursuing Virtue in State-University Relations.

DeJaeghere and Glewwe led RISE workshop in Vietnam

1DeJaeghereJoan-2013GlewweJoan DeJaeghere, Co-PI and associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), along with Paul Glewwe, PI and professor in the Department of Applied Economics, and other Vietnamese and international researchers led a workshop on the new Research for the Improvement of Education Systems (RISE) in Hanoi, Vietnam in August. The RISE program was discussed in the national newspaper, Dan Tri.

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

DeJaeghere presents paper at youth and gender conference at University of Oxford

DeJaeghereJoan-2013Joan DeJaeghere, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), presented a paper co-authored with Aditi Arur (OLPD-CIDE alum) titled, Girls’ education and early marriage in Rajasthan, India:  A longitudinal capability approach, at the Young Lives Adolescents, Youth and Gender conference held at Oxford September. 8-9th. The paper is based on qualitative research that Dr. DeJaeghere leads as part of a 3-year research study funded by the Department of Labor to a research team at Williams College.

Goh provided testimony to MN Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health

Goh-Michael-2011Michael Goh, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), provided testimony on August 15 to the Minnesota Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health regarding issues of access barriers and challenges and culturally competent clinical services for ethnically diverse, new immigrant, and refugee populations.

Vavrus presented at World Congress of Comparative Education Societies

Dr. Frances VavrusFrances Vavrus, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), attended the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies in Beijing in August and presented a paper entitled Critical Historical Geography of Educational Inequality. There were also three OLPD alumni who presented their research at the conference: Drs. Taro Komatsu, Xinyi Wu, and Ya Liu.

Goh invited speaker at APLU-CADE Summer Meeting

Goh-Michael-2011Michael Goh, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD),  was an invited speaker at the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (APLU-CADE) Summer Meeting in New York City. The title of his presentation on July 29 was Inclusive Excellence and Institutional Transformation.



Chapman was guest-leader for education staff in World Bank office in Bangladesh

ChapmanDavid-2013David Chapman, professor in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD),  was the guest-leader for a workshop on strategies for improving education quality in Bangladesh for the education staff in the World Bank office in Bangladesh. He also presented a paper at the Bulgaria Comparative Education Society in Sofia, Bulgaria. The paper was based on his Fulbright research in Malaysia on the response of university faculty to the intensifying pressure for research and publication in Malaysian universities.

Rodriguez talks with MPR, Pioneer Press about state math, reading scores

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 interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and quoted in the Pioneer Press on the 2016 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). Students’ performance on these statewide tests— which measure progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards in reading and math— remained largely unchanged over last year. More specifically, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students’ test scores continued to be roughly one-third that of their white counterparts.

Dr. Rodriguez told the Pioneer Press, although the state has made smart policy decisions to try to close achievement gaps, the MCA results don’t reflect that. “We haven’t seen it in the outcomes, and that’s really frustrating,” he said. “This is not just the Minnesota story. We see this nationally.”

“It’s really unfortunate that we expect so much from this single event test score,” Rodriguez said in his interview with MPR. “It’s telling us there’s not much movement. But I’m not convinced that single measure is going to be sensitive enough to pick of the kinds of movements that are occurring.”

When asked (by the Pioneer Press) what schools can do to improve outcomes for low-performing student groups, Dr. Rodriguez suggested communities be brought into the schools, making the instruction more culturally relevant to the students and demonstrating that education leads to greater opportunities.

Read the Pioneer Press article.

Listen to the MPR interview.

Dr. Christ to keynote MDE Back to School Conference

Theodore J. Christ headshot
Dr. Theodore J. Christ

Theodore J. Christ, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, will give a keynote speech at this year’s Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Back to School Conference.

Dr. Christ’s talk will focus on the importance of using research, assessment, and evaluation to guide decision-making and educational practice. During the speech, Dr. Christ will discuss ideas on how evaluation data may be used for system improvement to accelerate student outcomes. Finally, he will share the results of a recent statewide needs assessment in the areas of research, evaluation, and assessment with an opportunity to provide input on ways to respond to statewide needs.

The MDE Back to School Conference hosts education leaders and takes place August 9 -10 at the Minneapolis Marriot Northwest. This year’s theme is Minnesota’s commitment to the drivers of effective education leadership.

Theodore J. Christ’s leadership supports CAREI’s mission of improving the quality of education for all learners, and thereby society as a whole, through four service offerings: 1) evaluation, 2) research, 3) assessment, and 4) innovation and outreach. As applied researchers and evaluators, CAREI strives to have an immediate impact on communities, listening to and working with clients and partners to understand their experiences. CAREI seeks to impact 80% of Minnesota students within five years.

New project to improve learning on a large scale launches research in Vietnam

Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) — a new initiative aimed at conducting high-quality research to build evidence to enhance children’s learning throughout the world — announced today that it will begin work in Vietnam. University of  Minnesota and CEHD researchers are leading this effort.

The £4.2 million, six-year undertaking will seek to understand how Vietnam “got it right” in creating an education system that has led its students to achieve learning levels exceeding those of their peers in far wealthier nations.

The project in Vietnam is one of four research endeavors being launched in countries throughout the world  to shed light on ways to address a global learning crisis. Countries around the world have been remarkably successful in making progress toward universal primary (elementary) schooling, but in many places, learning levels are poor, or have declined. As a result, even when children finish many years of schooling, they still lack basic math and literacy skills. The RISE agenda emphasizes the need to make changes that can provide children with the education they need to be successful adults in their local, national, and global communities.

Research about the experiences of Vietnam offers the potential to inform policies that can help other countries enhance students’ education.

Vietnam’s achievements in elementary and secondary education over the last two decades are extraordinary. Out of 65 countries, Vietnam ranked 17th in math and 19th in reading — surpassing both the United States and the United Kingdom — in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the worldwide scholastic performance measure of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Vietnam’s primary school completion rate is 97 percent, and its lower secondary enrollment rate is 92 percent.

Paul Glewwe

“Vietnam’s success raises key questions about how it reached such levels of learning, and whether its achievements can provide insights that help other nations,” said Paul Glewwe, one of the research team’s principal investigators (PIs). He has been engaged in research in Vietnam for 25 years and is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. “The project is very ambitious in scope, and it takes advantage of an incredible success story in education in developing countries.”

Joan DeJaeghere

Co-PI Joan DeJaeghere, associate professor in CEHD’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, is part of a team of nine experts from institutions within and outside of Vietnam that will undertake a systematic evaluation of Vietnam’s education system by analyzing the status and impacts of past, current, and upcoming educational reforms. The aim is to understand how policy levers made Vietnam’s exceptional achievements possible, and whether and how new reforms are able to build on its achievements.  DeJaeghere is a Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist to Vietnam, having worked on education projects there for over 10 years.

RISE is managed and implemented through a partnership based in Oxford, UK, between leading international development consultancy Oxford Policy Management and the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Research is led by the Center for Global Development, a non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Read more on the RISE website.

PsyF student awarded the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle award

Kelsey-WillPsychological foundations student, Kelsey Will, has been awarded the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle Award (WPLC) for graduate students.

The WPLC award is for women graduate students to recognize their achievements and successes in their field of interest. The criteria for the award includes academic achievements, community involvement, leadership, and passion for the academic and professional career of choice.

Kelsey worked as a literacy tutor through the YMCA and St. Paul Public Libraries during her undergraduate career. She credits those experiences to what sparked her interest in supporting students’ learning and development related to reading. During the past couple of years, Kelsey has worked with preschool and elementary-age children who have been diagnosed with autism, which has furthered Kelsey’s interests in reading and comprehension skills in children.

As Kelsey explores career paths, she is interested in supporting children in reading and comprehension skills. She would like to not only support children at an individual level, but would also like to offer resources to teachers to understand the best methods to support students in the classrooms.  As a result in receiving this award, Kelsey will be able to present her research at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Society of Text and Discourse in Kassel, Germany in July 2016.