Winter 2014 Newsletter

New Undergraduate Major - "B.A. in Educational Sciences" - Approved by UC Irvine Academic Senate: First Education-Related Undergraduate Major in University of California System
School of Education Building
School of Education
UC Irvine

The School of Education at the University of California, Irvine has been approved by the UC Irvine Academic Senate to offer an undergraduate major. Titled “Bachelor of Arts in Educational Sciences,” the new four-year degree, the first education-centered bachelor’s degree offered within the University of California system, will focus on a broad intellectual understanding of the field of education.

As explained by Dean Deborah Lowe Vandell, “The time is ripe to strengthen the field of education as an academic pursuit not only at the doctoral level but also at the undergraduate level. The name ‘education sciences’ parallels that of a federal agency, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), that was created with broad bipartisan support in 2002 to advance the field of education research, making it more rigorous in support of evidence-based education.”

The new degree reflects the vision of the School of Education, which is at the forefront of efforts to strengthen the field of education by placing it on solid disciplinary and interdisciplinary foundations and basing it on rigorous research standards. School faculty currently include internationally known scholars in areas such as economics and public policy, learning and cognition, human development, applied linguistics, informatics and media studies, and social science research methodology, all working together to shed light on issues of teaching, learning, and development inside and outside of schools.

The new program is scheduled to begin offering classes in Fall 2014, with transfer students targeted as the first admissions. Once committed to an educational sciences major, students will be able to choose among six specializations:

  • Early Childhood Learning and Development
  • Afterschool Learning and Development
  • Children’s Learning and Development
  • Digital Media and Learning
  • English Language Learning
  • Educational Research and Evaluation


Receives 4-Year USDE Innovation Grant to Improve Analytic Writing Teaching Skills Among 7-12 Grade Teachers and Their English-Learning Students 
Carol Booth Olson
Carol Booth Olson
Associate Professor

Carol Booth Olson has been awarded an $11,122,902 U.S. Department of Education Innovation Grant: "The Pathway to Academic Success: A Cognitive Strategies Approach to Text-Based Analytic Writing to Improve Academic Outcomes for Secondary English Learners." With this grant, Dr. Olson and her research team will implement the cognitive strategies approach among 240 Grades 7-12 teachers and their English-Learning (EL) students in four school districts across the Southern California region. 

The project aims to close the achievement gap for EL students by providing high-quality professional development to teachers following the Pathway Intervention approach, thereby improving teaching quality to help secondary ELs successfully complete courses in core academic subjects and become college-bound. Over four years, the project will include randomized field trial with 46 hours of professional development (PD) in Years 1-2; 46 hours PD for control-turned-treatment teachers in Year 3; and district institutionalization in Year 4. A total of 105,000 student are targeted to be served during the grant's duration. Analyses of student outcomes will include improvements in writing as measured by an on-demand pre/post assessment of analytical essay writing and State and district assessments, ELA standardized test scores, and high school graduation rates. 

Dr. Olson, Director of the UCI/National Writing Project and author of The Reading/Writing Connection, researches academic writing and adolescent learning. She has published over thirty journal articles on interactive strategies for teaching writing, fostering critical thinking through writing, applying multiple intelligences theory to language arts instruction, using multicultural literature with students of culturally diverse backgrounds  

Honored by Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) "For Important and Lasting Contributions to the Sciences of Mind, Brain, and Behavior"
Jacquelynne Eccles
Jacquelynne Eccles
Distinguished Professor

Distinguished Professor of Education Jacquelynne Eccles has been honored by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) as the 2014 "eminent scientist who has made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior."  

FABBS is a coalition of scientific societies that share an interest in advancing the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. The organization’s goal is to promote human potential and well-being through research knowledge gained from these sciences.

In selecting Professor Eccles for the 2014 honor, FABBS cited her 30 years of research in gender-role socialization, teacher expectancies, classroom influences on student motivation, and social development in the family land school context, and her leadership and service in her profession. 

One of the leading developmental scientists of her generation, she has made seminal contributions to the study of achievement-related decisions and development. Most notably, her expectancy-value theory of motivation and her concept of stage-environment have served as perhaps the most dominant models of achievement during the school years, contributing to extensive research and reform efforts to improve the nature of secondary school transitions. Prof. Eccles also has been a major figure in the study of after-school activities, authoring a seminal National Research Council report that outlined the most effective ways for such activities to meet the developmental needs of adolescents.
(FABBS Foundation Website)

Dean Deborah Lowe Vandell Elected to National Academy of Education
Deborah Lowe Vandell
Deborah Lowe Vandell
Professor & Dean

Professor and Dean Deborah Lowe Vandell has been elected to the National Academy of Education. The Academy, founded in 1965, advances high-quality education research and its use in policy formation and practice. 

Professor Vandell is an internationally recognized scholar on the effects of early child care, K-12 education, after-school programs, and families on children’s social, behavioral, and academic functioning. She has authored more than 150 articles and three books and is a member of the governing council of the Society for Research in Child Development and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.

In March, Professor Vandell will be honored by Orange Country Metro magazine as one of the "Top 10 Women to Watch" in Orange County.

Publishes New Book: Restoring Opportunity
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
Distinguished Professor 

Greg Duncan, Distinguished Professor of Education at UC Irvine and recipient of the 2013 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize, and Richard Murnane of Harvard University have published a new book: Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education (Harvard Educational Press). 


In this landmark volume, Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane lay out a meticulously researched case showing how in a time of spiraling inequality strategically targeted interventions and supports can help schools significantly improve the life chances of low-income children. The authors offer a brilliant synthesis of recent research on inequality and its effects on families, children, and schools. They describe the interplay of social and economic factors that has made it increasingly hard for schools to counteract the effects of inequality and that has created a widening wedge between low- and high-income students.
Restoring Opportunity provides detailed portraits of proven initiatives that are transforming the lives of low-income children from prekindergarten through high school. All of these programs are research-tested and have demonstrated sustained effectiveness over time and at significant scale. Together, they offer a powerful vision of what good instruction in effective schools can look like. The authors conclude by outlining the elements of a new agenda for education reform. Restoring Opportunity is a crowning contribution from these two leading economists in the field of education and a passionate call to action on behalf of the young people on whom our nation's future depends. (

Press Release

Publishes with Keiko Hirata: Japan: The Paradox of Harmony
Mark Warchauer
Mark Warschauer
Professor, Associate Dean

Professor of Education and Informatics and Associate Dean in the School of Education Mark Warschauer has published a new book with Keiko Hirata, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Northridge: Japan: The Paradox of Harmony. Available in May from Yale University Press, the book draws upon the authors' detailed research and lived experiences.

Description: For centuries, people in the West have been fascinated, enchanted and perplexed in equal measure by Japan and its culture. Following a crushing defeat in the Second World War, this small, proud country rose like a phoenix from the literal ashes to become a model of modernity and success, for decades Asia's premier economic giant. Yet it remains a nation hobbled by rigid gender roles, protectionist policies, and a defensive, inflexible corporate system that has helped bring about political and economic stagnation. The unique social cohesion that enabled Japan to cope with adversity and develop swiftly has also encouraged isolationism, given rise to an arrogant and inflexible bureaucracy, and prevented the country from addressing difficult issues. Its culture of hard work - in fact, overwork - is legendary but a declining population and restrictions on opportunity threaten the nation's future. Authors Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer have combined thoroughly researched deep analysis with engaging anecdotal material in this vivid and enlightening portrait of modern-day Japan, creating an honest and accessible critique that addresses issues crucial to the nation's future, from the economy and politics to immigration, education, and the increasing alienation of Japanese youth. (Yale University Press


UCI Alumna Susan Groff, Receipient of the 2014 Carlston Family
Outstanding Teacher of America Award, Inspires Next Generation Educator

Faculty and Students Present at Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness



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.