Curry Education Research Lectureship Series Spring 2018

For the current Curry Education Research Lectureship Series, please visit our website.


Spring 2018

A Developmental Perspective on Undocumented and Mixed-Family Status Children and Youth 

Carola Suárez-Orozco, Professor of Human Development and Psychology at UCLA
Friday January 26th 2018
This talk is co-sponsored by Youth-Nex, and UVA Department of Psychology
This talk is available online

Bio: Carola Suárez-Orozco is a Professor of Human Development and Psychology at UCLA and is the co-founder of Re-Imagining Migration. She publishes widely in the areas of immigrant families and youth, educational achievement among immigrant origin youth, immigrant family separations, the role of the "social mirror" in identity formation, the role of mentors in facilitating youth development, gendered experiences of immigrant youth, civic engagement among emerging adults of immigrant origin, and immigrant origin youth in community college settings.  Using mixed-methods research strategies, she recently completed a study, to examine the effects of unauthorized status on college students. Currently, she is a Principle Investigator on the Spencer Foundation Grant ("Making the Invisible Visible: Systematically Examining Classroom Bias with MET Data) and the Ford Grant ("Bridging the Compassion Gap: Addressing Social Inclusion for Immigrant Origin Children & Youth").

Her books include: Learning a New Land: Immigrant Children in American Society (Harvard Press), Children of Immigration (Harvard Press), Transformations: Migration, Family Life, and Achievement Motivation Among Latino Adolescents (Stanford Press) among others.  Her recent book Transitions: The Development of the Children of Immigrants received the SRA Best Edited Policy Book Award for 2016. She has been awarded an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for her contributions to the understanding of cultural psychology of immigration and served as Chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration. She has also served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Adolescent Research as well as is a Senior Program Associate for the William T. Grant Foundation. Professor Suárez-Orozco was inaugurated as a member of the National Academy of Education in 2016.

Abstract: In the United States, 5.3 million children and adolescents are growing up either with unauthorized status or with at least one parent who has that status. Until recently, little research has provided a developmental lens on the implications of these statuses for youth development. I will provide an overview of research evidence on multiple domains of development that may be affected by the child or parent’s unauthorized status. Further, I will describe the contextual and psychological mechanisms that may link these statuses to developmental outcomes. I will conclude with recommendations for policy, practice, and research that are based on the evidence reviewed.

Educational Marketplace, Race, & Opportunity Hoarding

Amanda Lewis, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Director of Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Friday February 23rd 2018
This talk is co-sponsored by Center for Race and Public Education in the South
This talk is available online

Bio: Amanda E. Lewis is the Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and on how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life. She has published several award winning books including (with co-author John Diamond) Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools (Oxford University Press) and Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the color-line in classrooms and communities (Rutgers University Press ). Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, and Anthropology and Education Quarterly, The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and The Du Bois Review. She lectures and consults regularly on issues of educational equity and contemporary forms of racism.

Lessons Learned in Fostering Faculty Development and Diversity

Judith Singer, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity and James Bryant Conant Professor of Education at Harvard University
Friday March 23rd 2018
This talk is co-sponsored by Center for Race and Public Education in the South and the Cooper Lectureship Series (named in honor of former Curry Dean Jim Cooper)
This talk is available online

Bio: Judith D. Singer is Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity and James Bryant Conant Professor of Education at Harvard University. An internationally renowned statistician, Singer’s scholarship focuses on improving the quantitative methods used in social, educational, and behavioral research. Her contributions on multilevel modeling, survival analysis, and individual growth modeling have made these and related methods accessible to empirical researchers. She has published numerous papers and chapters as well as three co-authored books: By Design: Planning Better Research in Higher Education, Who Will Teach: Policies that Matter, and Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change and Event Occurrence.  Singer was the first woman to be both elected a member of the National Academy of Education and as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.  She is also a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. In 2012, her nomination by President Obama to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Board of Education Sciences was confirmed by the US Senate. In 2014, she received the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences. After receiving her Ph.D in Statistics from Harvard in 1983, she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in 1984. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 and Professor in 1993. From 1999 to 2004 Singer served as academic dean of HGSE and acting dean from 2001 to 2002.

Abstract: For Harvard’s first 300+ years, there were no tenured women on the faculty.  Zero.  Nada. Today women represent 27% of our tenured faculty, a percentage that is higher than that for the US Senate (21%), US House of Representatives (19%) and US Governorships (12%).  I’ll begin my talk with an historical overview of the forces that led to these changes and a quick survey of the many reasons we give today for not doing things the way we’ve historically done them.  I’ll then turn to the major thrust of my talk by describing our six concrete strategies for making institutional change, with a special emphasis on how we use data and research.  Throughout the talk, I’ll emphasize both positive changes but also continuing obstacles as I explain how much further Harvard—and all other Universities—have to go to achieve gender equity.

CARE for Teachers: A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Cultivating Emotionally Supportive Environments and Student Learning

Patricia (Tish) Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Virginia
Friday March 30th 2018

Bio: Associate Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of social and emotional learning and mindfulness in education with a specific emphasis on teacher stress and how it impacts the social and emotional context of the classroom. Dr. Jennings led the team that developed CARE for Teachers, a mindfulness-based professional development program shown to significantly improve teacher well-being, emotional supportiveness and sensitivity and classroom productivity in the largest randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based intervention designed specifically to address teacher occupational stress. Dr. Jennings is leading the development of the Compassionate Schools Project curriculum, an integrated health education program designed to align with state and national health and physical education standards. She is Co-Principal Investigator on a large randomized controlled trial being conducted in Louisville, KY to evaluate the curriculum’s efficacy. Dr. Jennings is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development among Children and Youth. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jennings spent over 22 years as a teacher, school director and teacher educator. She is the author of Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom part of the Norton Series on the Social Neuroscience of Education.

Abstract: Dr. Jennings will introduce Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE for Teachers), a professional development program for teachers that combines mindful awareness and compassion practices with emotion skills instruction to specifically address the challenges and demands teachers face in the classroom context. CARE for Teachers aims to help teachers bring greater calm, mindfulness and awareness into the classroom to enhance their relationships with their students, their classroom management, and curricular implementation. In the context of a randomized controlled trial, this talk will focus on CARE’s direct impacts on teachers’ stress and well-being (i.e., adaptive emotional regulation, mindfulness, psychological distress, time urgency) and the quality of classroom interactions, with follow-up models that examine long-term effects and the mediational role of teacher stress and well-being on student outcomes such as engagement, motivation and reading competence.

Social Psychological Approaches to Reducing Socioeconomic Disparities in Education

Mesmin Destin, Associate Professor, Northwestern University
Friday April 6th 2018
This talk is also the keynote address for the Curry Research Conference

Bio: Mesmin Destin is an associate professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Psychology and in the School of Education & Social Policy. He is also a fellow of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Destin directs a multidisciplinary lab group and engages in research that investigates social psychological mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities in educational outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. He uses laboratory and field experiments to identify factors that influence how young people perceive themselves and pursue their futures. At the university level, Destin examines how subtle social experiences and institutional messaging shape the motivation and educational trajectories of low socioeconomic status and first-generation college students.

Abstract: A growing number of social psychological studies provide new insight into understanding how a student’s socioeconomic status (SES) of origin influences educational experiences and outcomes. These studies also yield implications for subtle, research-based strategies to reframe how students experience their socioeconomic contexts in order to increase academic motivation and engagement. Destin's talk will describe a series of studies that illustrates how information and messages about opportunity in society and overcoming challenges can be utilized to increase student motivation during adolescence. He will also describe studies that examine the effectiveness of leveraging other social agents in students’ lives, like parents and near peers, to convey motivating identity-based messages. Finally, the research extends into higher education and reveals potential implications for broader notions of health, well-being, and public policy.

Rethinking the Problem of Teacher Quality

Susan Moore Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Friday April 27th 2018
This talk is co-sponsored by the Education Policy Seminar Series

Bio: Susan Moore Johnson studies, teaches, and consults about teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. A former high school teacher and administrator, Johnson has a continuing interest in the work of teachers and the reform of schools. She has studied the leadership of superintendents and organization of school districts; the effects of collective bargaining on schools; the priorities of local teacher union leaders; teacher evaluation; the use of incentive pay plans for teachers; and the school as a context for adult work. Currently, Johnson directs the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, which examines how best to recruit, develop, and retain a strong teaching force. She is the author or co-author of six books and many articles. She served as academic dean of the Ed School from 1993 to 1999. Between 2007 and 2015, Johnson was co-chair of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) a collaboration between Harvard’s Education and Business Schools.

Abstract: Based on research documenting wide variation in teachers’ performance, policymakers began in 2000 to explain the shortcomings of US schools by pointing to problems of “teacher quality,”. Relying on strategies that would improve schools by increasing human capital one teacher at a time, they adopted new rules and regulations that reduced barriers to teaching for the “best and brightest;” ranked and rewarded teachers based on their students’ standardized test performance; and accelerated dismissal for sub-par teachers.  The logic was that schools staffed entirely with effective teachers would succeed.  However, these policies did not deliver the results many had hoped, especially in schools serving high-poverty communities.  In this talk, I will recommend a different perspective and response, arguing that schools cannot increase their capacity and success by focusing solely on the quality of individual teachers, but must simultaneously develop the school organizations in which those teachers work.  Based on school-based studies conducted with my colleagues at the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers over the past 20 years, I will explain how successful schools approach several key practices—hiring, teacher collaboration, and teacher evaluation—as organizational processes, which can contribute steadily to the school’s capacity and all teachers’ effectiveness.


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