Assistant Professor Di Xu is being honored with triple awards this spring. The Spencer Foundation in conjunction with the National Academy of Education selected Dr. Xu as one of 30 scholars nationwide for the prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Xu will research the impacts of different types of college instructors on students’ academic and labor market outcomes. Results from her study of both two-year and four-year colleges will provide the first quasi-experimental evidence regarding the impact of different types of college instructors on student labor market outcomes, as well as a comprehensive exploration of possible mechanisms that may explain such impacts.
Di is also the recipient of a five-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation totaling $655,237 to research multidimensional support for improving distance learning experiences in community college STEM gateway courses. The National Science Foundation CAREER awards are the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Di will collaborate with two large state community college systems to document typical instructional approaches in online STEM gateway courses offered at community colleges as well as to identify promising intervention strategies that have the potential to better support student engagement and learning in fully online coursework.
In addition to receiving the above fellowship and grant, Di is also the 2018-2019 recipient of the UCI Academic Senate’s Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Research. The award is conferred yearly by the Senate to honor a faculty member who has made significant contributions to scholarship through sustained, distinguished research. It is among the most prestigious awards University of California faculty members can receive from their colleagues.