Faculty and Staff News

by John Conroy

Christina Groark, a senior research fellow at the School of Education, and Robert McCall, a professor of psychology, along with Niels Rygaard, edited a special issue of the Infant Mental Health Journal that was published this month. Groark and McCall, who are also co-directors of the Pitt Office of Child Development, focused the issue on research reports, case studies of improving the quality of care within institutions, and attempts to change the child welfare system in a state or entire country from a reliance on institutionalization to a preference for family-based care.

Sean Kelly, assistant professor of Administrative and Policy Studies, is one of the 2014 recipients of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division K Award for Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education. AERA selected the paper “English Teacher Candidates Developing Dialogically Organized Instructional Practices,” published in February 2013 in Research in the Teaching of English for this year’s award. The Division K Award committee noted the "unique and rigorous research design employed in this study of preservice teachers’ field experiences." This work is part of Kelly’s ongoing research on engaging instructional practices in English and language arts. The award was presented at the Division K Business Meeting at the AERA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in April.

Laura Roop was hired by the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project (WPWP), a teacher-centered professional development program hosted in the School of Education, as its new director. In her position, Roop will develop and promote core Writing Project programs; offer outreach and professional learning opportunities to Writing Project Teacher Fellows and other educators; raise funds on behalf of the Writing Project; and develop and promote partnerships with local, state, and national organizations.

Jennifer Russell, an assistant professor in LSAP, has been chosen as an Outstanding Reviewer for 2013 by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

M. Najeeb Shafiq, an associate professor of education, economics & international affairs, was honored by the Journal of Education Finance with an outstanding article award. His article, "Accounting for Risk of Non-Completion in Private and Social Rates of Return to Higher Education," is the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Journal of Education Finance Award of the National Education Finance Conference (NEFC). This award is given annually to authors whose Journal of Education Finance article embodies extraordinary rigor and relevance to the field of education finance. Recipients are selected by a committee of senior scholars. Shafiq wrote the article with Robert Toutkoushian and Michael Trivette.

Susan Sherlock, an administrative associate in the Dean’s Office, and Jennifer Russell, were given the Extra Mile Award at the School of Education Alumni Awards on behalf of the Council of Graduate Students in Education (CGSE). The award “honors faculty, administrators or staff members who exemplify the CGSE mission statement and take it the extra mile.”

LSAP Department Chair Mary Kay Stein has been named a Fellow of the American Education Research Association (AERA).

Assistant Professor Shannon Wanless, who runs the SEED Lab at the School of Education, is working with the Harvard Family Research Project on a newly created online discussion board. The board is titled, Let's Talk Transition! Family Engagement During the Transition to School. The board will provide educators and administrators who serve children of transition age (ages 4-6) a platform through which they can locate, react to, and share relevant resources as they work to improve the transition to school for children and their families.

Various faculty members within the Administrative and Policy Studies Department, including John Weidman, John Yeager, Linda DeAngelo, Michael Gunzenhauser, James Jacob, Maureen McClure, and Stewart Sutin, worked on editing a book titled Economics and Finance in Higher Education. The book is slated to be published in fall 2014.