Externally Funded Research

 Dr. Xia Chao Receives National Geographic Grant

Dr. Xia ChaoDr. Xia Chao, Professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership in Education, has been awarded a sizable grant from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration to support her project, "The Refugee Bilingual Digital Picture Storybook Project: Research for Translocal Action." Her project will depict the unique educational, cultural, social, and linguistic challenges of refugee students in the U.S. Refugees' lives and experiences will be documented through digital storytelling in their mother tongue and English. This ethnographic study aims to create a translocal space for constructing inclusive and inviting communities. 

Dr. Chao's research focuses on the complex relationship among language, literacy, pedagogy, ideology, and identity in the settings of home, school, and community. Dr. Chao is the recipient of the J. Michael Parker Award of Literacy Research Association and the Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award of American Educational Research Association's Adult Literacy and Adult Education Special Interest Group. Her work has been published in multiple selective peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Literacy Research, Teacher Education Quarterly, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Linguistics and Education, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Urban Education.

Dr. Jason Margolis Awarded Large Grants to Explore Teacher Education

Dr. Jason MargolisDr. Jason Margolis, Professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership in Education, has been awarded two large grants funding projects exploring teacher education. The Nellie Mae Foundation has named Dr. Margolis as Co-Primary Investigator with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He will be researching teacher leadership by studying the most promising leadership models in the country through a unique mixed methods design.

Dr. Margolis is also the Co-Primary Investigator on a project entitled "An Impact Evaluation to Inform the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program." This project is funded through the Department of Education through 2020 with extensions through 2023. Dr. Margolis is working with Allison Wellington of Mathematica on this project. The grant is in amount of $2 million and has potential to reach over $7 million, which is one of the largest federally funded contracts any faculty member has received in the School of Education.

Dr. Amy Olson Secure Grant with Colleagues to Improve Curricular Coherence in Mathematics Education

Dr. Amy Olson

In working with student teachers, School of Education's Dr. Amy Olson and her colleagues noticed that teachers' access to math curricular resources was changing and preservice teachers needed to navigate this new terrain. The days of every teacher being provided with publisher-prepared mathematics textbooks seem to be dwindling. With limited funding for curriculum in low-income schools and the smorgasbord of lesson ideas on the internet and social media (e.g. Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers), teachers can struggle to make sense of curriculum planning and a hodgepodge of lesson ideas. This can lead to young students acquiring disjointed math skills without the ability to relate concepts, understand context, and develop a complete picture of mathematics so that they can operate in their studies and in the world. Upon this realization, Dr. Amy Olson and her colleagues from the Schools of Education of Michigan State University, Purdue University, and University of Arizona came together. They secured a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to tackle this problem and help preservice teachers build curricular coherence in today's mathematics classrooms.

In order for young learners to develop math skills and reasoning, lessons need to be sequenced and connected in a way so that, like building blocks, one lesson builds upon the next and incrementally a comprehensive and deep understanding of mathematics is developed. This is known as developing curricular coherence or building a coherent mathematical story. Dr. Amy Olson (Duquesne University), Dr. Corey Drake (Michigan State), Dr. Jill Newton (Purdue), and Dr. Marcy Wood (University of Arizona) are determined find a better way to prepare student teachers for today's world so they can navigate the wide range of resources and improve curricular coherence for their future students.

Currently, Dr. Olson and her team are conducting a large-scale national survey to examine patterns of use of curricular resources in Grade 3-5 teachers. Afterward, they will develop in-depth case studies of teacher curricular resource use and then co-develop a toolkit with teachers to help teachers navigate the curricular landscape and enact curricular coherence for students. Learn more about their work through the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE).

Dr. Tammy Hughes & Pittsburgh Research Team Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform

Dr. Tammy Hughes

School of Education's School Psychology professor Dr. Tammy Hughes is part of a nation-wide leadership program, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL), which is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. IRL uses teams across the U.S. to apply research to advance health and equity. The Pittsburgh team that Dr. Hughes' is a part of is working to advocate for youth who are incarcerated and in need of just representation and equitable services. Very simply, they seek to "keep children in school and out of jail."
Dr. Tammy Hughes (Ph.D.), Ms. Tiffany Sizemore (J.D.) of Duquesne University's School of Law, and Dr. Jeffrey Shook (Ph.D., J.D.) of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work are using a Holistic Representation Model to help these youths. This considers involving an interdisciplinary team of professionals such as psychologists and social workers, who use their expertise alongside the child's attorney to address all the needs of the child, including and extending beyond legal counsel. This can result in better assessment of, advocacy for, and growth for the individual child and their integration into society.
In addition to her work at Duquesne and on this in-depth and actionable research collaborative, Dr. Hughes is a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist with expertise in assessment, counseling, & consultation services in alternative education and juvenile justice settings focusing on parent-school-interagency treatment planning and monitoring.

Read more about Dr. Hughes' work with IRL and her feature in Duquesne Magazine (pp. 41-42).