Fall 2012 Newsletter

School of Education Celebrates Change in Name/Status

Dean Delivers 2012 State of the School Address
Deborah Lowe Vandell
Professor and Dean

On October 5, Dean Deborah Lowe Vandell delivered the 2012 State of the School address address to faculty, staff, and students. Highlights included the following:

* Contracts and grants funding for 2011-2012 totaled $11,100,000. Faculty members submitted 60 proposals for grant funding; 49 (82%) were awarded.

* 81% of Senate faculty have funded research. The amount of the average grant award per faculty member is $529,000.

* Academic Analytics ranked the School of Education 99.9% in citations per faculty member, 99.9% in articles per faculty member, and 98% in faculty with a grant.

* Assistant Professors Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez and Anne McDaniel joined the School of Education faculty, bringing the total number of Senate faculty members to 21. With the addition of 19 Affiliated Faculty, the School faculty ranks number 40.

* Faculty members continued to provide service to the profession: Gil Conchas is serving on the AERA Books Editorial Board, Greg Duncan is serving on the Governing Council of SRCD, George Farkas is serving on the IES Review Panel, and Thad Domina has been honored as Outstanding Reviewer by both the AERA Journal Publications Committee and the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Journal.

* Ph.D. in Education student research was published in 32 peer-reviewed journals.

* More than 90% of the 2012 Master of Arts in Teaching and Teach Credential graduates secured employment in the education field. Graduates gave high ratings (3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale) to the program on preparing them as teachers. Employers rated graduates’ preparation overall at 3.7 or greater.

* The UC Irvine Minor in Educational Studies graduated 350 minors in 2011-2012, maintaining its ranking as the most popular undergraduate minor on the UC Irvine campus.

Full Summation of 2012 State of the School Address


Professor and Associate Dean Mark Warschauer Awarded Two NSF Grants for Higher Education Research
Mark Warschauer

Professor of Education and Informatics Mark Warschauer has been awarded two new National Science Foundation Grants for higher education research.

Documenting Instructional Practices in STEM Lecture Courses will use observations, interviews, document analysis, and video analysis to examine instructional practices in large undergraduate lecture courses at UC Irvine in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The study will attempt to document the relative presence or absence in practices that are believed promising for promoting more active and engaged learning, such as enhanced faculty-student interaction; enhanced peer interaction; greater attention to problem-solving; more opportunities for personalized learning; opportunities to receive and communicate information across diverse channels and modalities; and more data-based instruction, in which faculty evaluate the effects of their own teaching by gathering and weighing evidence, with a long-term goal of improving undergraduate education and improving retention of diverse learners in STEM fields. Working with Professor Warschauer will be colleagues Thurston Domina, Anne McDaniel, Diane O'Dowd, and Sharon Salinger.

Multitasking as a Collaborative System: Examining the Millennial Generation will use a mixed-methods approach involving ethnographic techniques, sensors, and diaries to collect detailed activity on how “Millennial” college students, having grown up with the Internet, multitask with digital media in their daily lives. Whereas most investigations have approached multitasking as an individual activity, this research will instead take a new perspective on multitasking as a collaborative social system. We are examining whether connectivity leads to information overload and distraction; how online media experience affects learning, communication, and behavior offline; and the relationship between degree of connectivity and academic performance. The results can contribute to an understanding of how young adults use digital media, inform the design of requirements for future technologies, and be used for the design of media literacy programs in K-12 schools. Gloria Mark and Stephanie Reich will serve as co-investigators.


Research Findings Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: "Early Childhood Poverty, Immune-Mediated Disease Processes, and Adult Productivity"
Greg Duncan

Greg Duncan, Distinguished Professor of Education, and colleagues have released findings from their research on early poverty and later life health and productivity.

Abstract from PNAS: This study seeks to understand whether poverty very early in life is associated with early-onset adult conditions related to immune-mediated chronic diseases. It also tests the role that these immune-mediated chronic diseases may play in accounting for the associations between early poverty and adult productivity. Data (n=1,070) come from US Panel Study of Income Dynamics and include economic conditions in utero and throughout childhood and adolescence coupled with adult (age 30-41 y) self-reports of health and economic productivity. Results show that low income, particularly in very early childhood (between the prenatal and second year of life), is associated with increases in early adult hypertension, arthritis, and limitations on activities of daily living. Moreover, these relationships and particularly arthritis partially account for the associations between early childhood poverty and adult productivity as measured by adult work hours and earnings. The results suggest that the associations between early childhood poverty and these adult disease states may be immune-mediated.

PNAS Article

School of Education Opens Southern California Career Academy Support Network (CASN)
Gilberto Q. Conchas

Associate Professor Gilberto Q. Conchas has been named Director of the new Southern California Career Academy Support Network (CASN) Center, housed in the UC Irvine School of Education. As described on the CASN website: "The Career Academy Support Network (CASN) was founded in 1998 in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley by a group of practitioners and researchers interested in career academies and their potential for improving high school education. In response to requests from schools and districts in several states, the group has supported development and improvement of career academies, while assembling information and resources to help schools and districts plan, implement, or enhance academies. This work resulted in a series of guides now available on the CASN website, along with other tools, templates, a curriculum database, videos, and more. CASN has been funded by private foundations, as well as through contracts with several states and numerous individual school districts. The team has worked in some twenty different states, across a broad range of efforts that join research findings with practical strategies to help educators and other stakeholders improve high schools."

Professor Conchas will be leading efforts in Southern California to increase student enrollment in high-quality Linked Learning (LL) pathways by directing the delivery of coaching and technical assistance and strengthening capacity among Linked Learning districts. He will be assisted by doctoral student/graduate student research Briana Hinga.

The opening of the Irvine-based Southern California CASN Center is being funded by a grant from the James-Irvine Foundation.

Professor Celebrates 40 Years of Conducting Research, Implementing Programs, Teaching Statistics, and Mentoring Future Scholars
George Farkas

George Farkas, Professor of Education, has crafted a distinguished career as a researcher, scholar, mentor, and program implementer. His trajectory has taken him from the East Coast to Texas, back to the East Coast, and then to Irvine. His more visible contributions include intervention programs in use at local, state, and national levels; engagement in cross-discipline, inter-campus research; and publication of numerous books, reports, and peer-reviewed articles. Of equal importance has been his contribution in preparing future scholars; over the years he has maintained his dedication to teaching, advising, and mentoring students and mentoring junior faculty, all of whom he has encouraged to join him in his efforts to increase opportunities for youth.

Since joining the UC Irvine faculty in 2008, Dr. Farkas has served as a long-term member of the Ph.D. program steering committee, as well as acting Director of the Ph.D. Program and acting Vice Chair of the Department (before it became a school on July 18, 2012). He has chaired a number of faculty search and promotion committees, and serves as a member of the university-wide Council on Planning and Budget. In 2009 Dr. Farkas was elected a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and in 2010 he served as elected president of the Sociological Research Association (in which membership is by invitation only). He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Sociology of Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Social Science Research and is serving a three year term on the Educational Systems and Broad Reform grant review panel of the Institute of Education Sciences. 

Since 2008 Dr. Farkas has co-authored 23 peer-reviewed articles with other faculty and students and currently advises 17 Ph.D. candidates.

Complete Article

2012 Ph.D. in Education Students Welcomed to School of Education
2012 Entering Ph.D. in Education Students

Eleven new Ph.D. in Education students have joined the 58 continuing doctoral students pursuing their Ph.D. in Education degree.

The nine women and two men in the 2012 class were selected from 125 applicants and represent a 70% acceptance rate for offers of admission and a selectivity rate of 9%. The 2012 students entered the program with mean GRE scores of 92% verbal and 70% mathematics. Their bachelor degrees were earned in anthropology, classics, creative writing, language and literature, mathematics, psychology, religious studies, sociology, and theater arts from institutions including Scripps, Santa Clara University, USC, Rutgers, University of Texas at Austin, University of Pennsylvania, SDSU, Miami University at Oxford, and two universities in Korea. Ten have graduate degrees, including education, law, TESOL, and public administration, from universities such as Harvard, University of Colorado, University of  Virginia, CSULA, CSULB, Boise State, and Columbia.

Professional experience of the incoming students includes college teaching, charter schools management, curriculum materials design, health care employment, U.S. Embassy media and communications assistance, and K-12 and foreign teaching. They have volunteered for community education, rehabilitation services, music instruction, afterschool programs, tutoring/mentoring, and immigrant support programs.

The 2012 class was formally welcomed on September 24 during a day-long orientation to the school and the university.

Ph.D. Student Anamarie Auger Receives Child Care Research Scholars Grant to Complete Dissertation
Anamarie Auger

Ph.D. in Education student Anamarie Auger has received a one-year $28,300 renewable dissertation scholarship award from the Child Care Research Scholars grant program of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE). The title of her research proposal is "Child Care and Community Services: Characteristics of Service Use and Effects on Parenting and the Home Environment."

As part of her doctoral research Ms. Auger will be examining three national data sets – Head Start Impact Study, National Evaluation of Early Head Start, and NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development – to identify the pathways through which family processes are positively altered through early child care and education programs, and how programs meet the needs of low-income families.

Ms. Auger is a fourth year doctoral student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context.

Education Delegation from Nacka, Sweden Visits School
Educators from Nacka, Sweden

On October 9, the fourth group of educators in four years from Nacka Municipality, Sweden, visited the School of Education to share experiences and exchange information about the integration of technology in educational settings. The day-long program at UC Irvine included a presentation by Professor and Associate Dean Mark Warschauer, presentations by the Swedish guests, and presentations by technology specialists from St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano and St. Paul's Lutheran School in Orange.

Following Professor Mark Warschauer's overview of technology usage research currently being conducted by faculty and doctoral students in the School of Education, Principal Leif Högstrom from Bjorknas School, Assistant Principal Olof Anderson and Teacher Lina Hawerfors from Samskolan, and Sofia Liljegren from Igelboda Skola shared some of the technology-related instructional activities currently underway in Sweden.

The morning closed with presentations by Lynn Ozonian and Tait Lihme from St. Margaret's and Alan Lutz and Deryl Maxwell from St. Paul's describing the reasoning, procedures, and family engagement practices underlying iPad integration at their schools.

Complete Article


Ph.D. Graduate James Leak Shares Experiences as Education Program Manager for Nuru Kenya
Classroom in Kenya Project

James Leak, Ph.D., a 2012 graduate of the UC Irvine Ph.D. in Education program, specialized in Educational Policy and Social Context, completed his dissertation - Effects of Teacher Educational Background and Experience on Student Achievement in the Early Grades - and left for Africa to share his expertise. In September he sent the following report of his activities to date with Nuru International.

Nuru, Kenya
September 14, 2012

Having been in Kenya for just over four months, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my life. Nuru Kenya is located in the Kuria district, very close to the Tanzanian border. Nuru is an NGO [non-governmental organization] with the mission to end extreme poverty by giving people choices. The model is both integrated and holistic including program areas in healthcare, agriculture, community economic development, and education. Additionally Nuru has an income generating activities department, provides leadership training to its staff members, monitors and evaluates each of its programs, and continues to research and design new products and methods to create a self-sustaining organization.

I am the Education Program Manager for Nuru Kenya. My daily activities include coordinating our outreach program, managing 23 local Kenyan staff members, providing professional development, training staff in facilitation techniques, planning and budgeting, meeting with local school officials, developing new methods to measure our impact, and researching ways to improve our programs. We currently work with nine schools with over 3,000 students and will be expanding to three more schools in January of 2013. 

Dr. James Leak's Report

Ph.D. Students Showcase First Year Research in 2012 Poster Presentation Event


The School of Education seeks to promote educational success and achievement
of ethnically and economically diverse learners of all ages
through our collective research, teaching, and service activities that foster learning and development
in and out of school.