Spring 2012 Curry Research Lectureship Series

'Maximizing the Graduate Student Experience'

Don DeschlerDon Deshler & Lynn Fuchs
Friday, January 27 at 9am*
Holloway Hall, First Floor, Bavaro Hall

Audio from Panel

*Please notice the time change.  This lecture will begin at 9am.

Don Deshler is the Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education and the director of the Center for Research on Learning (CRL) at the University of Kansas. Deshler serves as an advisor on adolescent achievement to several organizations including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Governor’s Association, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Council on Families and Literacy, and the U. S. State Department. Through the Aspen Institute, he has worked with members of Congress to shape policies addressing the challenges of high school reform. Deshler was the first editor of the Learning Disability Quarterly. Among the awards he has received are the J.E. Wallace Wallin Award from CEC, the Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award, Lynn Fuchsthe Higuchi Research Achievement Award, the Distinguished Education Achievement Award from National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Educator of the Year Award from the Learning Disabilities Association, and the 2010 AERA Special Education Distinguished Researcher Award.

Lynn Fuchs is the Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She has conducted programmatic research on assessment methods for enhancing instructional planning and on instructional methods for improving reading and mathematics outcomes for students at risk for and with learning disabilities. Dr. Fuchs has published more than 350 empirical studies in peer-review journals and sits on the editorial boards of a variety of journals including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Scientific Studies of Reading, Reading Research Quarterly, Elementary School Journal, Journal of Learning Disabilities, and Exceptional Children. She been identified by Thompson ISI as one of 350 'most highly cited' researchers in the social sciences and has received a variety of awards to acknowledge her research accomplishments that have enhanced reading and math outcomes for children with and without disabilities.


'Boys and the Crisis of Connection'

Niobe WayNiobe Way
Friday, February 3 at 11am
The CLIC, 3rd Floor, Ruffner Hall


In an empirically grounded challenge to our stereotypes about boys and men, Way’s longitudinal research over the past twenty years reveals the intense intimacy among teenage boys especially during early and middle adolescence. Boys from diverse ethnic and racial groups not only share their deepest secrets and feelings with their closest male friends, they claim that without them they would go “wacko.” Yet as boys grow older, they become distrustful, lose their friendships, and feel isolated and alone. This loss is evident at the same time in development that the suicide rate, according to national data, goes up dramatically for boys and becomes five times the rate of girls.
Drawing from hundreds of interviews conducted throughout adolescence with Black, Latino, White, and Asian American boys, Way’s research suggests that we have been telling ourselves a false story about boys, friendships, and human nature. Boys’ descriptions of their male friendships sound more like “something out of Love Story than The Lord of the Flies.” Yet in late adolescence, boys believe they have to “man up” and “mature” by becoming stoic and independent. Vulnerable emotions, intimate friendships, and expressing feelings are, according to the boys, for girls and gay boys. “No homo” becomes their mantra.
These findings are troublesome, given what we know from decades of social science research about the links between friendships and health, and even longevity. Rather than a “boy crisis,” Way finds that boys are experiencing a “crisis of connection” due to the fact that they live in a culture where basic human needs and capacities are given a sex (female) and a sexuality (gay) and thus discouraged for those who are neither. Way argues that the solution to this crisis lies with exposing the inaccuracies of our gender and racial stereotypes and fostering intimate friendships and fundamental human skills.

Niobe Way is Professor of Applied Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University. She is also the co-Director of the Center for Research on Culture, Development, and Education at NYU and the President for the Society for Research on Adolescence. She received her doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and was an NIMH postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department at Yale University. Way's research focuses on the intersections of culture, context, and human development, with a particular focus on the social and emotional development of adolescents. She is interested in how schools, families, and peers as well as larger political and economic contexts influence developmental trajectories. Her work also focuses on social identities, including gender and racial/ethnic identities, and the effects of gender and racial/ethnic stereotypes on adjustment and on friendships. Way is a nationally recognized leader in the field of adolescent development and in the use of mixed methods; she has been studying the social and emotional development of girls and boys for over two decades.

Way is the author of numerous books and journal articles. Her sole authored books include: Everyday Courage: The Lives and Stories of Urban Teenagers (NYU Press, 1998); and Deep Secrets: Boys' Friendships and the Crisis of Connection (Harvard University Press, 2011). Her co-edited or co-authored books include: Urban Girls: Resisting Stereotypes, Creating Identities (NYU press, 1996); Adolescent Boys: Exploring Diverse Cultures of Boyhood (NYU Press, 2004). and Growing up Fast: Transitions to Adulthood among Inner City Adolescent Mothers (Erlbaum Press, 2001). The latter co-authored book (with Bonnie Leadbeater) received the Best Book Award from the Society of Research on Adolescence (2002). Her current research projects focus on the influence of families, peers, and schools on the trajectories of social and emotional development among adolescents in New York City and in Nanjing, China. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, The National Science Foundation, The William T. Grant Foundation, The Spencer Foundation, and by numerous other smaller foundations.  This talk is sponsored by Youth-Nex.


Compensation Theory: How Schools Reduce Inequality

Doug Downey
Friday, February 10 at 11am
Holloway Hall, First Floor, Bavaro Hall

Lecture Audio

Substantial theoretical work has considered the question “How do schools reproduce inequality?” yet persuasive empirical studies demonstrate that the starting assumption is likely wrong. While there may be some features of schools that exacerbate existing differences between advantaged and disadvantaged children (e.g., disparate funding, ability grouping, tracking), the overall effect of schools is neutral or perhaps even compensatory.  This current state of knowledge results in a conundrum—the best theoretical work describes how schools reproduce inequality while the best empirical work shows that they do not.  As a result, Reproductionist arguments continue to influence academic and policy debates in ways that are unmerited.  I attempt to fill this theoretical gap by introducing Compensation Theory, a description of the processes by which schools equalize children’s cognitive skills.  Compensation Theory’s primary contribution is that it provides a more balanced view of schools by acknowledging both compensatory and reproductive processes.  Finally, I generate corresponding hypotheses that represent new and unchartered territory for understanding the relationship between schools and inequality.

In the early part of his career Professor Downey was like most of his colleagues in Sociology-- he studied how schools reproduce inequality.  But after reading an article by Entwisle and Alexander where the authors compared achievement gaps during the school year versus summer, Downey changed his mind.  His subsequent work has typically employed seasonally-collected data, a powerful technique for separating school from non-school effects, and questions the view that schools are an engine of inequality.   Two of his studies received the James Coleman Award from the Education Section of the American Sociological Association and his research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the American Educational Research Association.   He is a member of the Sociological Research Association.


“Who Enters and Exits the Sciences? Exploring Trends over Time by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Social Class”

Catherine Riegle-CrumbCatherine Riegle-Crumb
Friday, March 23 at 11am
Holloway Hall, First Floor, Bavaro Hall

Lecture Audio

Scientific fields enjoy a preeminent status in modern society due to their vital role in promoting and sustaining economic prosperity. In recent years we have witnessed a re-invigorated national emphasis on education in these fields, driven in large part by concerns that there will be a shortage of individuals qualified to meet the projected growth of science-related occupations.  Conversations about inequality in these fields often center on the need to increase the number of females and disadvantaged minorities entering and completing postsecondary programs in STEM as a solution to future national workforce needs. This presentation will highlight Dr. Riegle-Crumb’s work exploring equality in scientific fields over time, utilizing survey and transcript data collected by IES/NCES for three nationally representative cohorts of college matriculates. The presentation will focus on gender disparities as well as less-studied gaps by race/ethnicity and social class, and will discuss competing theories for understanding inequality in scientific fields.

Dr. Catherine Riegle-Crumb is an Assistant Professor of Science and Math Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and a Faculty Research Associate in the Population Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.  She received her PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on gender and racial/ethnic inequality in educational opportunities and achievement, with a particular focus on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She is particularly interested in the role of social contexts, including friendships, schools, and communities, in increasing or ameliorating educational disparities. Dr. Riegle-Crumb is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a multi-year National Science Foundation grant to study how various dimensions of academic preparation in high school predict students’ entry into different fields of study in college.


Family-based Interventions with Young Children with Conduct Problems: Lessons Learned and Future Directions

Robert McMahonRobert McMahon
Friday, April 6 at 11am
Holloway Hall, First Floor, Bavaro Hall

Children who begin to engage in high levels of conduct problem behaviors during the preschool and early school-age periods are at significant risk for a variety of  negative outcomes in adolescence and adulthood (e.g., delinquency, antisocial behavior, substance abuse). There is increasing evidence that family-based intervention can serve a preventive function in altering the life-course trajectories of young, at-risk youth.  The focus of this presentation will be on the most widely used type of evidence-based family intervention for young children with conduct problems: Parent Management Training (PMT).  I will first describe the link between developmental pathways and effective family-based intervention; describe selected examples of different types of PMT and their evidence base; and conclude with a summary of “next steps” for advancing knowledge concerning family-based interventions for young children with conduct problems.

Robert J. McMahon, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, where he is the LEEF B.C. Leadership Chair in Proactive Approaches to Reducing Risk for Violence Among Children and Youth.  He is also a Scientist Level 3 in the Developmental Neurosciences and Child Health cluster of the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) at B.C. Children’s Hospital.  To carry out the work of the Chair, Dr. McMahon will direct a new Institute for the Reduction of Youth Violence, which will be based at both SFU and CFRI.  Dr. McMahon’s primary research and clinical interests concern the assessment, treatment, and prevention of conduct problems and other problem behavior in youth, especially in the context of the family.  He is a principal investigator on the Fast Track project, which is a large, multisite collaborative study on the prevention of antisocial behavior in school-aged children that began in 1990 and continues today.  It is the largest prevention trial of its type ever funded by the U.S. Federal government.  Dr. McMahon is a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia.  This talk is sponsored by Youth-Nex. Contact for this talk: Crystal Haislip, [email protected].

Resource Documents: Parenting Skills; Fast Track

Lecture Audio