New Faculty

by John Conroy

The School of Education hired four new faculty members who are starting during the fall 2013 semester.

Michael Lovorn is an assistant professor in social studies at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. He earned a PhD in social studies education at the University of Tennessee in 2003, and comes to Pitt with nearly 20 years of experience in education. Lovorn spent more than a decade in public middle and high school classrooms and nearly the same amount of time in university-level teacher development programs. His research currently is focused on best instructional practices in social studies, teaching and learning culture and social studies around the world, and humor in the classroom. He enjoys teaching at the high school level, and his recent work has involved engaging high school students in activities that develop their historical thinking and historiographical analysis skills. Lovorn also is an avid world traveler, and has visited more than 75 countries/regions.

Rachel E. Robertson has joined the Department of Instruction and Learning as an assistant professor in special education. Robertson graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with a PhD in special education and behavior disorders. Her doctoral experience included a research fellowship at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center where she provided training and consultation in classwide behavior interventions. Robertson moved to Pittsburgh after receiving a postdoctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute in Sewickley. There, she conducted an evaluation study of the Watson Institute School-based Cyber Academy (WISCA), a special education academic and behavioral program for children with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Robertson also served as a certified behavior analyst for Allegheny County and as an assistant professor in special education at Duquesne University. Robertson’s current research focuses on parent- and teacher-implemented behavioral interventions for children with autism.

Ashley N. Woodson has been named an assistant professor in social studies in the Department of Instruction and Learning. Woodson is a 2013 graduate of Michigan State University with a PhD in curriculum instruction and teacher education, with focal areas in history and social studies education; race, culture, and equity in education; and critical studies. She also completed an MA in African American and African studies (AAAS) at Michigan State University, with a specialization in counseling, educational psychology, and special education. Woodson was the first student to graduate from Saginaw Valley State University with a minor in Black studies, paving the way for the continued development of the Black studies program at her undergraduate alma mater. Her groundbreaking path continued at Michigan State, where she helped to build the undergraduate program in AAAS. Woodson’s research interests and professional interests include critical race pedagogy, urban teacher preparation, student empowerment, and teaching about the African diaspora. She grew up in Toledo, Ohio.

Amber Jean-Marie Pabon has joined the Department of Instruction and Learning as an assistant professor in English education. Pabon graduated from The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) with a PhD in urban education and a certificate in Africana studies. She also has master’s degrees in English education and urban education. Her doctoral experience included an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship and a MAGNET Dissertation Fellowship for her research on the educational life histories and pedagogical practices of African American male teachers in urban schools. She has worked as a literacy staff developer for the New York City Department of Education, served as a visiting professor and interim coordinator of the Adolescence Urban Education Program while completing her doctorate at CUNY, and also was a core contributor to the Teacher Development Literacy Workshop series.

Her areas of research interest include literacy practices of adolescents in urban communities; critical literacy curriculum development; and urban English teacher preparation, philosophy, and pedagogy. Pabon has strong ties to New York, N.Y., and began her career teaching in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. She enjoys spending time with her 6-year-old daughter, Chloe; fitness training; and pursuing interests in music and dance.