Associated Press Includes SMU Simmons in List of Teacher Prep Programs Managing Changes Due to COVID-19

In a survey of teacher preparation programs around the country, the Associated Press asked how COVID-19 is impacting the way new teachers are being trained. SMU Simmons responded by saying professors are training students to use Google Classroom and also to evaluate education technology. Read the article here.

 

KRLD Radio Interviews Les Black on Impact of COVID in Holding Back Students

On KRLD Radio, Clinical Professor Les Black, Department of Education Policy and Leadership, talked about COVID’s impact on parents and taking steps to hold children back. Professor Black’s specialty is education policy and law.

He said holding back students would not be advisable, but ultimately it would be up to the parents. In most cases, parents and school administrators work together to determine what would be best for the student. The new Texas law, HB4545, which allows for accelerated instruction, would be important to consider. To hear his interview, click here.

How To Replace College Admissions Tests? WSJ Looks at Baker’s Research on Admissions Lotteries

Dominique Baker, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Education Policy and Leadership, SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Assistant Professor Dominique Baker, Dept. of Education Policy and Leadership, provided her expertise on admissions lotteries for a Wall Street Journal story on ways to replace admissions tests for colleges and universities.

Baker, who has run lottery simulations with Michael Bastedo at the University of Michigan, says lotteries don’t necessarily create more diverse classes. Read the article here.

 

 

The American Society of Biomechanics Honors Peter Weyand with Hay Award

Simmons Professor Peter Weyand will receive the Jim Hay Memorial Award for Research in Sports and Exercise from the American Society of Biomechanics during its annual conference in August. The award recognizes “originality, quality, and depth of biomechanics research that addresses fundamental research questions relevant to extraordinary demands imposed in sport and exercise.”

His scholarly work focuses on mechanics, metabolism, and performance at the whole-body level. His work is well-known to academics and professionals in various fields. Because of his expertise,  he has served as a lead investigator in several high-profile projects. These include “Michael Johnson, Wired Athlete,” “Physics of Basketball Flopping,” and the Olympic eligibility cases of amputee sprinters Oscar Pistorius and Blake Leeper considered by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Weyand holds the Glenn Simmons Endowed Professorship of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness.

To see the Hay Award symposium, watch the YouTube video below.

Gándara Becomes a William T. Grant Scholar and Pursues Five-year Research on Free-college Programs

Denisa Gándara, assistant professor of higher education, is a faculty member in the Dept. of Education Policy and Leadership, Simmons School.

Assistant Profesor of Higher Education Denisa Gándara is one of  five early-career researchers selected by the William T. Grant Foundation to receive $350,000 “to execute rigorous five-year research plans that stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines, content areas, or methods.”

Gándara will examine how the administrative burdens of free-college programs, such as eligibility criteria and application processes, impact college enrollment and degree completion for racially or ethnically minoritized students. She aims to provide a more complete understanding of how administrative burdens affect students from different racial or ethnic groups, and, ultimately, to inform program design in ways that help reduce gaps in program take-up and degree attainment.

“By supporting their research agendas and professional development, the William T. Grant Scholars Program seeks to contribute to a bright new generation of scholars who will bring rigorous research to youth policies, programs, and practices in the U.S.,” said the Grant Foundation’s Senior Vice President Vivian Tseng.

Ed.D. Student Valerio Parrot Publishes Washington Post Op-ed on Reforming College Athletics

Teresa Valerio Parrot, a higher education doctoral student in Simmons, offers a good historical perspective in a Washington Post Op-ed on efforts to reform college athletics for a century. Despite these, nothing has really happened, she says. “Real change and reform will occur only when leaders are willing to rethink this prioritization of profits and turn down the endorsement and media dollars associated with competition.”  Read the article here.

Michael Harris Weighs In on Legislature’s Proposed Bills to Restrict Faculty Tenure

Professor Michael Harris, Dept. of Education Policy and Leadership, Simmons School.

The Texas Tribune cited Professor Michael Harris’s observations on a bill proposing to revoke faculty tenure should professors file a civil lawsuit against students. Harris, whose primary research centers on the organization and governance of higher education, is interim chair of the Department of Education Policy and Leadership in Simmons and directs the Center for Teaching Excellence at SMU.

At issue is a UT Austin professor who sued some students for libel after they accused him of promoting pedophilia in his research. “This is legislative micromanagement that will have little impact on improving faculty work, teaching, research, service, the student experience,” Harris said.“This is more about scoring political points than anything having to do with what’s actually happening in the classroom.” Read the full article here.

Baker Testifies Before US Senate on Student Debt Burden and Effect on Borrowers, Racial Justice, and Economy

 

Dr. Dominique Baker, Dept. of Education Policy and Leadership, Simmons School

Dominique Baker, assistant professor of education policy, was asked to testify about student debt before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, chaired by Elizabeth Warren, April 13. Baker’s statements illustrated the burden of student debt upon the economy and its impact on racial justice.

COVID-19 may have made inequities clearer, she said, but the federal financial aid system has for a long time disproportionately impacted students of color, low-income students, and students from other underrepresented communities in higher education.

She also addressed student loan cancellation. “Large-scale debt forgiveness could not only avert a potential wave of student loan defaults and allow for greater participation in the consumer market but also could encourage students who have left college to re-enroll, a current goal sought by many education experts,” she added.

The implicit promise of finding good jobs based on borrowing money and working hard in college doesn’t often deliver, she said.

To watch her testimony, click here and forward to 2:14:00 and 2:28:00 marks in the video.

Click here for printed testimony.

Baker Recognized with Early Career Award for Outstanding Research in Ed Policy

Dominique Baker received the 2021 Early Career Award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP). Baker is an assistant professor of education policy in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Each year, AEFP, a non-profit academic and professional organization, gives its Early Career Award to a junior scholar who shows an exemplary early career trajectory and whose research substantially contributes to the field of education finance and policy.

Baker received the award in March at the association’s annual conference. She also received a $1,000 award for the promise and contributions she’s shown to the field.

Baker joined SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2016. Her research focuses on how education policy affects and shapes the access and success of minoritized students in higher education. She primarily investigates student financial aid, affirmative action and admissions policies, as well as policies that influence the ability to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate.

Her research has been published in a variety of journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Teachers College Record. Her work and expertise have also been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed, among others.

“I’m delighted to have my work recognized by AEFP,” Baker says. “Education policy has the ability to transform lives, but only if thoughtfully constructed based on evidence that includes the experiences of the folks directly impacted. I look forward to continuing to promote justice by focusing on the ways that policies distribute power and resources.”

 

 

AERA/UCEA Names Ph.D. Candidate Mark Pierce a Clark Scholar

Mark Pierce, a Ph.D. student in Education Policy and Leadership, was named a Clark Scholar by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), Divisions A and L of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and SAGE Publications.

During two days of presentations, emerging educational administration and policy scholars and noted researchers come together for generative discussion and professional growth. The majority of Clark Scholars go on to become professors at major research institutions around the world. This year’s seminar will be held at the beginning of the 2021 AERA virtual meeting.

Pierce’s Ph.D. advisor is Assistant Professor Alexandra Pavlakis.