Marc Sager, PhD candidate at SMU/Simmons, and Leslie Epke, PhD candidate at TCU, developed a 1-day conference (Sept. 30) in which their respective Schools’ PhD students explored the demands and pleasures of the doctoral journey. Presentations included developing a research agenda, presenting and publishing, the faulty search process, stress management, and community involvement in research. Speakers and presenters from Simmons included Dean Knight, Marc Sager, Damion Davis, and Elizabeth Adams.
Dean Knight (SMU) and Dean Hernandez (TCU)
Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen (TCU)
Developing a Research Agenda as an Emerging Scholar
Creating a research agenda, regardless of theoretical interests, methodological preferences, or career goals.
Marc Sager (SMU)
Publishing and Presenting at Conferences
The processes of presenting at conferences and publishing.
Dr. Pablo Montes (TCU)
On the Market: Life Outside of Graduate School
Becoming a professor: job search strategies and making yourself marketable.
Leslie Epke (TCU)
Reflect and process what was covered at the conference.
Dr. Damion Davis (SMU)
Mental Health Practices for Graduate Students
A counseling professional discusses stress management skills
Dr. Elizabeth Adams (SMU)
Community Involvement: Bringing Theory to Practice
Learn about the West Dallas STEM School RPP and how research is bridged into practice.
This summer, I had the opportunity to be an intern for Clinical Assistant Professor Sarah Brown in her West Dallas pilot program, Pony Connect. Pony Connect is a research initiative that involves using STEM concepts in youth sports. The aim is to engage SMU students with the community. It was a mutually beneficial program because as much as the students are looked up to I have always wanted to get involved with the Dallas community and Pony Connect was the perfect opportunity for me. I was also learning so much from them. They taught me the importance of friendship, trust, and how the smallest details can make the biggest difference. It was incredible to form relationships with these students and watch their personalities shine. I loved seeing their excitement when different activities and projects were introduced.
We would give the students a test before the lesson was taught and then give them the exact same test at the end of the unit. Watching the students’ academic success improve was so rewarding. The fact that we were able to incorporate math or engineering lessons into fun activities and sports drills, showed them that learning can be fun and enjoyable. Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and so proud of the work Dr. Brown has accomplished. I am excited to watch the program grow!
Essay by Elizabeth Klevana, Sport Performance Leadership major
Pictured below (left) is Iyasu Shaka, who writes his acceptance speech for winning the top prize at the camp, and Isaac Shaka (right), who presents a basketball shoe he made from cardboard, bubble wrap, and foam.
Education Week published a commentary by Candace Walkington, Simmons associate professor of mathematics education and learning sciences, and co-author, Ph.D. student, Tiffini Pruitt-Britton, who show that math textbooks are not about indoctrination, but fall short in promoting diversity and inclusion.
Their commentary comes at a time when political accusations inflame education discussions at the local and national levels. Some politicians are declaring what books schools should carry and what subjects should not be taught, such as critical race theory.
“We found no references to race or social justice let alone critical race theory, a framework for understanding how racism has been persistently embedded in policy. But our analysis did show a lack of substantial attention to differences linked to race, culture, gender norms, and sexual orientation in math-story content, they say. Read their commentary here.
The Indicator, NPR’s Planet Money podcast, delves into the issue that Black students are more likely to default on student loans than white students. To examine this, reporters count on the expertise of SMU’s Associate Professor Dominique Baker, who teaches in the Simmons School’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership.
As they report, “We explore why Black borrowers are three times more likely to default on their student loans than white borrowers. From the intergenerational wealth gap to discrimination in the labor market to the type of majors and colleges they choose, find out how Black students are often disadvantaged even before college starts.”
Baker has been examining Black student loan debt and the for-profit schools that market heavily to people of color, who may later default because of the cost and lack of scholarships. Baker believes the government should conduct fuller investigations of the for-profit school practices that often lead to students defaulting.
In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, expresses his concern over training the workforce to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century. His article stresses the importance education has in ushering change. Toyoda also delineated the partnership his company has in North Texas with Dallas ISD, SMU Simmons and the community of West Dallas to create a significant PreK to 8 STEM school near L.G. Pinkston, the neighborhood high school.
With successful partnerships and the creation of a STEM school, Toyota decided to replicate the STEM school model in 14 other U.S. cities and work with communities to bring in educational change. As Toyoda writes, “Toyota’s U.S.-Japan partnership has flourished thanks to the shared values and mutual respect forged by the people of both countries at all levels. At its heart lies education and developing people. And as a company that calls both America and Japan home, Toyota will continue working to support students and all citizens of these great countries to help ensure we can, and will, provide mobility and happiness for all.” Click here to read his article.
Assistant Professor Jeanna Wieselmann, Ph.D., heads up a collaborative research team investigating how elementary teachers integrate their instruction of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project, Research on Integrated STEM Self-Efficacy (RISE), will examine the STEM integration of 700 elementary teachers who experienced ten different teacher preparation programs across the U.S.
According to Wieselmann, quality integrated STEM instruction requires teachers to attend to the unique aspects of each discipline while also bringing them together in authentic learning opportunities for students, and this can be challenging. The aim is to support the national need to develop and retain highly effective elementary school teachers.
“Elementary teachers are often expected to teach integrated STEM, but teacher preparation programs have been slow to incorporate experiences that prepare teachers for this type of instruction, instead of focusing on mathematics and science as completely separate disciplines. ” she says. “Our project will explore how we can better support early-career elementary teachers to build their confidence and effectiveness in teaching integrated STEM lessons, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of instruction students experience.”
Wieselmann, a faculty member in Simmons’ Department of Teaching and Learning, is the principal investigator of the project’s National Science Foundation Noyce Track 4 research grant (DUE-2151045) totaling $1.3 million. Additional principal investigators include Deepika Menon, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), Sarah Haines, Ph.D. (Towson University), and Sumreen Asim. Ph.D. (Indiana University Southeast).
Josue Romero, a doctoral student in Education Leadership, is featured in a Q&A profile by the Carrolton Leader. He also serves as principal at McLaughlin Strickland Elementary School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District.
Romero is a first-generation college graduate. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from The University of Texas Arlington.
DALLAS (SMU) –Dominique J. Baker, a nationally recognized expert on education policy in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, was one of the recipients of the 2022 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowships.
Baker and 24 other pre-tenure scholars will receive a $70,000 award to further their research in areas addressing critical national and international issues in education. The award provides funding for fellows to focus on research and attend professional development retreats.
With this award, Baker will explore the links between race, racism, and how student loan policies are covered in the media. She will be analyzing more than 90,000 newspaper articles from eight outlets to determine how often, if at all, news media outlets use words or phrases that convey ideas about race and racism when writing about student loans.
Earlier this year, the Russell Sage Foundation, in partnership with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also awarded Baker a $30,000 grant to look into the same issue.
Her research focuses on the way that 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, and policies that influence the ability to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate. Baker is the 2021 recipient of the Association for Education Finance & Policy’s Early Career Award and the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Excellence in Public Policy Award.
Professor Akihito Kamata, director of Simmons’ PhD program and a faculty member in Educational Policy and Leadership, was named to the Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Endowed Professorship in Simmons. The nominating committee commended him for his responsiveness to students and his top-notch research.
Comments submitted by faculty in support of his professorship include, “He has been compassionate and responsive to the doctoral students and has encouraged their participation.” And as for his research, the following is noted: “He has three currently funded grants from the Institute for Education Sciences- two are related to assessment of oral reading fluency and another relates to English Language learners. He is well-known as a psychometrician and statistician in Education. He has also served on many grant review panels and even has a statistical procedure named after him.”
The Simmons School congratulates Professor Kamata for this honor and his contributions to SMU.
CORE is engaged with the Walton Family Foundation to launch The Advancing Evaluation in Philanthropy Fellowship program to help support the next generation of evaluators working in philanthropy. The two-year-long fellowships will focus on developing professionals of color and utilizing more culturally responsive evaluation designs. With the support of the Walton Family Foundation, CORE will be able to help Fellows gain rigorous and real-world experience in research and evaluation in philanthropy. Read more here.