UCI’s School of Education has admitted its largest and most diverse group of doctoral students since the Ph.D. program’s initiation in 2007.
From an applicant pool of 207, 29 students -- 18 women and 11 men – were selected for and subsequently accepted admission to UCI’s Ph.D. in Education program.
Ten of the incoming students are the first in their family to pursue a college degree. Eight identify as URM (underrepresented minority). Eight are international students –from Pakistan, China, South Korea, Uruguay, and Bulgaria - joining the 18 other international students already in our PhD program in Education. Four students are from out of state.
The new doctoral students earned their bachelor's degree in a diversity of fields: American and British Literature, Art, Communications Studies, Community Health Education, East Asian Studies, Economics, Educational Science, Electrical Engineering, English, English Language and Literature, Environmental Science, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Human Biology, Human Development, Humanities, International Studies, Linguistics, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Public Health Science, Social Science, and Sociology.
Universities attended for undergraduate work were as diverse as the majors chosen: American College of Sofia; Arizona State University; Beijing Jaotong University; Beijing Language and Culture University; Boston University; Brigham Young University; California State University, Fullerton; California State University, Long Beach; Gonzaga University; Humboldt State University; Rutgers; University of Georgia; Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay; University of Hawaii at Manoa; Soka University; South China Normal University; Sun Yat-sen University; Tufts University; UC Berkeley; UC Davis, UC Irvine; UCLA; UC San Diego; UC Santa Cruz; University of Michigan; Wake Forest University; and Wellesley College .
Twenty-one of the students completed master's level work, earning degrees in Applied Linguistics, Communication Science and Disorders, Computer Science, Education, Educational Psychology, Educational Technology and Design, English Education, English Language Learners, Human Development and Family Studies, Human Development and Psychology, Interdisciplinary Education, Mathematics Education, Philosophy, Psychology, Public Administration, Public Policy, Sociology, Special Education, and Speech and Language Pathology.
For their master's degree, the 21 students also attended a variety of universities: Beijing Foreign studies University; Beijing Normal University; Brigham Young University; California State University, Northridge; Cambridge; Columbia University; National Chengchi University; Indiana University; Notre Dame University; Pepperdine; San Diego State University; Santa Clara University; Stanford University; UC Irvine; UCLA; University of Pennsylvania; University of Redlands; University of Virginia; USC; and Vanderbilt University.
The newly admitted Ph.D. students are bringing a diversity of language experience to enrich both their studies and classroom discussions, including American Sign Language, Bulgarian, Cantonese, French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Prior to beginning their doctoral studies, the students contributed their time and talents to variety of endeavors. Their experiential learning includes research; teaching and tutoring (pre-school through college levels); policy analysis; administration (arts programs, education, learning centers, non-profits, government, and technology and video production facilities); consulting (DeLoitte, WestEd); and employment in industry (Interstate Oil Company) and business (FoxxComm, Reading Candy Online Platform, McGraw Hill).
During their educational and professional journeys, the students created time for volunteer work with organizations such as AVID, Americorps, Turnaround Arts California, LA Opera Voices for Tolerance, Dreamers Club, Raven Project for At Risk Youth, Action Research Network of the Americas, Hillcrest Hospital in San Diego, Outward Bound, UN Development Program in Uruguay, Autism Soccer Stars, Think Together, LA SpaceMaker, Girls Who Code, Boys & Girls Clubs, Hogar Inner Chamber Orphanage in Ecuador, Loaves and Fishes, Navajo Summer Program, Louis Stoker Alliance for Minority Participation, YMCA, and others.
In reflecting on the new cohort, Ph.D. Program Director Stephanie Reich commented, “We are thrilled with this large, diverse, and highly impressive cohort. Each student brings unique experiences, interests, aspirations and strengths that, I am sure, will greatly enrich our School, UCI, and the field of Education.”
2019 Entering Students
Professor Gilberto Conchas is lead editor, with co-editors alumna Briana Hinga, current Ph.D. in Education student Miguel Abad, and UC Berkeley Professor Kris Gutierrez, of a new publication from Routledge Research in Education: The Complex Web of Inequality in North American Schools: Investigating Educational Policies for Social Justice.
The Complex Web of Inequality in North American Schools analyzes and challenges the critical gaps and inequalities that persist in the American school system. Showing how historical biases have been inherited in current polices relating to non-dominant youth, the text calls for educational reforms that perform in the name of social justice.
This edited collection carefully interrogates how technocratic educational policies and reforms are often unequipped to address the interplay of political, social, economic, ideological factors that are at the roots of educational injustice. Considering the most vulnerable student populations, original case studies explore how inadequate structures, practices, and beliefs have increased marginalization, and highlight those instances in which policy has proved effective in reducing opportunity gaps between economically rich and poor students; between white, Asian, Black and Latino youth; between native English speakers and second language learners; highlighting racial integration and unequal American Indian education; and for students with special educational needs. The insights into such policies shed light on the complex web of historically embedded inequities that continue to shape the construction, roll-out, and consequences of education policy for the most marginalized youth populations today.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Ambitious Imaginations and Education Policy: Swimming Upstream and Unsettling Neoliberal Enclosures
PART I: "False Choices"
PART II: Technical Solutions for Justice Issues
PART III: The Legacy and Futures of Special Education
Professor Elizabeth Peña has been appointed to the newly created position of Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity in the School of Education. Associate Dean Peña will provide administrative leadership for coordinating systematically the School’s ongoing efforts to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
In this new position, Peña's responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, (a) creating or administering programs to support an inclusive and supportive environment for faculty and doctoral students; (b) co-chairing the School Climate Council with our Equity Advisor; (c) developing, implementing, and evaluating faculty development and mentoring programs; and (d) coordinating the School's efforts with other offices and colleagues on campus, including the Office of Inclusive Excellence.
In commenting on Peña's appointment, Dean Richard Arum commented, "I am very grateful for Professor Peña’s willingness to take on this new role and look forward to working closely with her to strengthen our School’s efforts in this area next year."
PhD alumna Priyanka Agarwal is joining the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Psychology as a postdoctoral scholar.
Dr. Agarwal will lead a research study of a college-level remedial mathematics program as a principal investigator while working with Professor James Stigler. Additionally, Agarwal has been awarded an Early Career Fellowship funded by a grant to Mindset Scholars Network from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a part of this fellowship she will synthesize interdisciplinary research on inclusive mathematics learning environment for girls and sexual minoritized youth in middle schools.
Using aspects of research-practice partnership, Agarwal’s research focuses on designing and examining inclusive learning environments in the context of K-16 mathematics education. For her dissertation she studied the practice of mathematical problem posing, processes of student participation and agency in mathematical inquiry, and its implications for redressing epistemic injustice for minoritized learners in schools. Her research was funded by a California Education Research Association Research Partnership Grant, a University of California President’s Dissertation Fellowship, and a College Preparatory Mathematics Fellowship. She has also conducted research on equitable teacher noticing practices and curriculum differentiation policies in mathematics education.
Agarwal specialized in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development. She was advised by Associate Professor Rossella Santagata and Assistant Professor Tesha Sengupta-Irving (UC Berkeley).
Recent publication: Agarwal, P. & Sengupta-Irving, T. (2019). Integrating power to advance the study of connective and productive disciplinary engagement in mathematics and science. Cognition and Instruction, 37(3), 349-366. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2019.1624544
"Understanding Equitable Mathematics Education through the Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement Framework"
Event: UCI Summer Research Symposium
Date: August 15, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Title: Understanding Equitable Mathematics Education through the Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement Framework
Author: Jocelyn Ornelas-Muñoz
Mentor: Elizabeth van Es
While scholars have studied mathematics education for several decades, there exists a dichotomy between findings from social scientists and mathematicians. To bridge the gap, this study focuses on understanding how teachers who expressed commitment to equitable mathematics teaching create learning environments for students where they can engage in high quality mathematical tasks and participate in mathematics in a holistic way. We used a longitudinal data set comprised of videos of classroom lessons to analyze selected segments using the Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement framework (Agarwal and Segupta-Irving, 2019). This analysis reveals that there is a wide range of variation in teacher practices that position students as authors of their own ideas and allow for them to engage in mathematics in a way that generates self-curiosity. The analysis also shows that teachers who are committed to advancing equity in the mathematics classroom ensure their students have the necessary resources to engage in the discipline. The findings suggest that the emphasis in equitable mathematics education lies densely in validating students’ identities and histories and less in engaging them in meaningful and rigorous mathematics. We conclude by discussing future steps to promote equitable mathematics education.
Event: UCI Summer Research Symposium
Date: August 15, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Title: Language Impairment in Bilinguals: A Longitudinal Study of Grammatical Performance
Author: Megan Walsh
Mentors: Elizabeth Peña, Amy Pratt
With bilinguals, it is difficult to tease apart whether errors in English are the result of underlying impairment (DLD: Developmental Language Disorder) or the result of limited English. Bilinguals are often misdiagnosed due to variations in equipment. In addition, although the gold standard is to diagnose a child in both of his or her languages, only 6% of speech language pathologists (SLPs) in the U.S. speak a second language. In a longitudinal study of grammatical performance in bilinguals, we found that bilinguals with DLD show similar rates of growth overall as bilinguals with typical development (TD) though some grammatical forms are acquired more slowly. These forms may be candidates for clinical markers that can help identify bilinguals with DVD. There is evidence that although bilinguals with DLD grow at a similar rate to their TD counterparts in English grammatical composition, they do not appear to close the gap by 5th grade.
The Digital Learning Lab in the UC Irvine School of Education, led by Professor and Principal Investigator Mark Warschauer, has received a new research grant from the National Science Foundation to continue its cutting-edge research and development on uses of digital media to help diverse children learn.
The project, called “Collaborative Network of Grades 3-5 Educators for Computational Thinking for English Learners,” involves a research-practice partnership between UCI and the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), which includes among the highest percentage of Hispanic students and English language learners in the country. The partnership is developing, implementing, and evaluating new curriculum to teach computational thinking and coding to upper elementary school students from linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The three year $1,000,000 grant begins on September 1, 2019 and extends to August 30, 2022. Principal Investigators include Professor Mark Warschauer of the School of Education, Professor Emeritus Debra Richardson of the School of Information & Computer Sciences, and Bianca Barquin, Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction in SAUSD.
Warschauer explains, "The project is one of the first in the country to develop computer science curriculum for English language learners. Three graduate students with a background in STEM Education and applied linguistics are contributing to the research. The project matches well with the goals of the School of Education to form partnerships with diverse local school districts to foster research that can lead to diverse learners' academic achievement."
This is the second phase of this grant. Information on the original grant is available here.
Mark Warschauer is a Professor of Education and Informatics at the University of California, Irvine and director of the Digital Learning Lab at UC Irvine. Together with colleagues and students, he works on a range of research projects related to digital media in education. Current major projects include a study of online learning in higher education, a randomized-control trial of a promising new literacy software for middle school students, and the use of conversational agents to create interactive science videos for young children. The DLL team is also exploring new approaches to data mining, machine learning, and learning analytics to analyze the learning and educational data that result from use of new digital tools.
School of Education's Welcome Week to Feature Inaugural Dean's Equity and Inclusion Lecture from Award-Winning Author and UCI Alumnus, Annual Ph.D Poster Presentations
The UCI School of Education's Welcome Week will feature a multitude of events, including the inaugural Dean's Equity and Inclusion Lecture by award-winning author, UCI alumnus and Harvard Professor Roberto G. Gonzales. In his lecture - "Lives Still in Limbo: (Un)DACAmented and Navigating Uncertain Futures" - Gonzales will explore how schooling has both the capacity to contribute to a sense of belonging for undocumented youth and foster profound alienation. The lecture will take place on September 25, and is open to UCI faculty, students, supporters and alumni. More info, RSVP.
On September 27, doctoral students entering their second year of study will present findings from their first year of research at the School's annual Ph.D. Poster Presentations. The event is an opportunity to celebrate and share research that, collectively, studies the entire lifespan of human development and learning. The event is open to the campus and the public.
The School of Education is welcoming 29 new Ph.D. in Education students, the largest first-year cohort in the School's history. They join 65 current doctoral students for a program total of 94. Master of Arts in Teaching students, 126 in total, have been enrolled in summer courses since June, and will soon begin the credential portion of their MAT curriculum. Nearly 100 freshmen and 45 transfer students who have selected Education Sciences as a major will be joining 701 returning students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Education Sciences program.
Doctoral students begin Welcome Week on September 17 with a two-day academic research and writing workshop. Led by fourth-year doctoral student Nestor Tulagan, students will receive personalized attention in their application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Ford Foundation Pre-Dissertation Fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program has awarded a fellowship to seven doctoral students from the School of Education in the past three years.
On September 23, new doctoral students will attend orientation. The daylong event is packed with School-specific events featuring new and current students and faculty. Students will be welcomed by Associate Dean Elizabeth van Es and Program Director Stephanie Reich, and enjoy lunch with Dean Richard Arum. Information sessions will detail student organizations and financial, technical services and facilities support. Students will then attend meetings specific to one of the the three areas of study available to doctoral students - Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC); Teaching, Learning, & Educational Improvement (TLEI); and Human Development in Context (HDiC). The day will conclude with an ice cream social.
Teaching Assistant training will take place September 24-25.
Undergraduate activities begin on September 23 with New Student Convocation. Following greetings from Chancellor Howard Gillman and other vice chancellors, deans, student body representatives, the UCI pep band, and Peter the Anteater, new School of Education undergraduates will meet with Dean Arum and the School's Student Affairs staff for a welcome event. The remainder of undergraduate orientation activities on September 24-25 will occur at the campus level and include sports and recreation events, ASUCI Open House, the Anteater Involvement Fair, Part-Time and Campus Job Fair, and Aldrich After Dark. More information is available here.
"Promoting Youths’ Motivational Beliefs in Math: A Mixed Methods Examination of the Role of Afterschool Program Activities and Mentoring Practices"
Event: UCI Summer Research Symposium
Date: August 15, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Title: Promoting Youths’ Motivational Beliefs in Math: A Mixed Methods Examination of the Role of Afterschool Program Activities and Mentoring Practices
Author: Alexis Castro
Mentor: Sandra Simpkins, Mark Yu
Mathematical proficiency is the foundation of youths’ STEM pursuits. Yet today, far too many youth do not pursue STEM based on the perception that they are “not good” at math. According to the expectancy-value theory, individuals who are most likely to pursue STEM are those who believe they are good at it (ability self-concept) and believe it is valuable (subjective task value) (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). Afterschool programs (ASPs) are powerful settings for engaging students’ interests and continued mastery and growth in math. The data for this study comes from a larger research study of a math ASP for Latinx youth in Santa Ana, CA. As part of the study, 100 middle school Latinx participants completed pre- and post-surveys. A subsample of 28 youth were recruited to participate in in-depth interviews. Over the course of one academic year, findings show that youths’ math ability self-concept significantly increased while their math subjective task value remained relatively stable. Thematic analysis of interviews identified specific aspects of ASP activities that may promote youths’ motivational beliefs in math including high quality math curriculum and positive mentor-mentee interactions. This study highlights key implications for math ASP practice and research.
Mark Yu and Alexis Castro
Professor Gilberto Q. Conchas has been selected to serve as a member of the Sociology of Education journal editorial board. His term will begin January 2020 and extend for three years.
Sociology of Education is a peer-reviewed academic journal that provides a forum for studies in the sociology of education and human social development. Articles examine how social institutions and individuals' experiences within these institutions affect educational processes and social development.
Conchas is well-suited for his editorial position, given his academic focus in the sociology of education and comparative race and ethnicity. His research has been dedicated to unearthing the triumphs of urban high school youth of color—African American, Vietnamese, and Mexican American— despite unequal public school processes, and he challenges the stereotypes of students of color as under-performers and highlights successes. His collective work over the years has sought not to be reactive when dealing with efforts to attend to social inequality impacting communities of color, but, in partnership with community entities, to addresses the challenges of low-income communities and the populations they serve. He seeks solutions within various social contexts—in and out of the school setting.
In addition to journal articles, Conchas' publications include The Color of Success: Race and High- Achieving Urban Youth; Small Schools and Urban Youth: Using the Power of Culture to Engage Students; Streetsmart Schoolsmart: Urban Poverty and the Education of Adolescent Boys; Inequality, Power, and School Success: Case Studies on Racial Disparity and Opportunity in Education; Cracks in the Schoolyard: Narratives of Inequality, Power, and School Success; and When School Policies Backfire.
“I am thrilled to join the editorial board of Sociology of Education to continue the great tradition and success of an ASA sponsored journal with broad appeal to sociologists and specific appeal to those studying educational issues,” states Professor Conchas.