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Washington State University

First Dominican-born PhD student in WSU history set to graduate

By: Trevor Havard – College of Education Intern

Abraham Barouch-Gilbert, a PhD student in the Educational Psychology program, is believed to become the first Dominican-born PhD graduate in WSU history.Gilbert

“Being the first known Dominican PhD graduate is a great accomplishment and the beginning of a new journey,” he said.

Barouch-Gilbert is not only excited about his current accomplishment, but also what it will allow him to do for the Dominican moving forward.

“It means I have the privilege of contributing directly to Dominican higher education and society at large,” he said. More specifically, Barouch-Gilbert will continue to research student experiences when on academic probation in the Dominican, along with teaching and mentoring processes in higher education.

At WSU, along with being a PhD student Barouch-Gilbert worked as a research assistant for University Recreation performing research and assessments. He received two research grants from his university back home in the Dominican Republic, the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo, with which he produced multiple poster presentations for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and WSU’s academic showcase, as well as a manuscript that is slated for publication this November, along with two research papers currently under review.

“Upon graduation I will contribute in full to higher education in the Dominican Republic.”

College of Education Graduate Assistant wins 2015 Wiley Research Exposition

By Trevor Havard – College of Education Intern

Doctoral candidate Andy Scheef won a $1,000 scholarship for his research presentation in WSU’s 2015 Wiley Research Exposition.4P7A6149cropped

Scheef is in the College of Education’s special education program.

The Wiley Research Expo is held every spring and gives graduate and professional students the opportunity to showcase their research through either oral or poster presentations, which are then judged by WSU alumni.

This year Scheef took first place in the International Research category for his oral presentation on his research endeavors in Singapore.

Scheef collected interview data last year in Singapore about the world-wide problem of the underemployment of people with disabilities, which Singapore has addressed in recent years by developing school programs to increase opportunities for youth with disabilities.

Scheef explained this problem in his presentation, along with data describing how Singapore schools develop and support relationships with businesses that provide these job training experiences for students.

“Any opportunity to share information is incredibly valuable and the potential to win an award through the process is an added bonus,” Scheef said. “The other presentations in my group were quite strong and I felt lucky to have received the 1st place award.”

A service for faculty: Help with grant writing, article submission

By Laura Girardeau
Faculty Research Development Coordinator

Laura Girardeau

I would like to extend a warm welcome to new College of Education faculty at all campuses of Washington State University. You — and even some not-so-newcomers — may be surprised to learn that our college offers support for all faculty members who are seeking and writing grants or submitting journal articles. I am fortunate to be able to provide this service, which is relatively rare at institutions like ours.

I’m here to help you find appropriate grants for your research interests, network with collaborators, coach you in the writing process, and offer suggestions on drafts and final submissions. Most faculty are excellent writers when it comes to academic writing style, but many don’t realize that grant writing style can differ significantly. Therefore, coaching during the grant writing process can make the difference between a winning proposal and the usual “practice” proposal.

In January, 2013, when Mike Trevisan took the position of interim dean, I offered to take over a service that he previously provided: journal manuscript review. I would like to use my experience co-authoring articles at the University of Hawaii and editing faculty and graduate manuscripts at WSU’s Graduate & Professional Writing Center to give you thoughtful, encouraging support on your drafts.

We can work together online, so you can save time by emailing me your article manuscripts and grant proposal drafts at any stage in the writing process.

The ball is in your court, and any changes are up to you. I look forward to hearing from you at, or 509- 335-6232. Happy writing!

My visit to Shanghai Normal University

Last week my wife Fran and I visited Shanghai Normal University. I provided a keynote address for the Family, Society, and Education Summit on the role of evaluation in preschool programs. Mike Trevisan, Associate Dean for Research and External FundingThe summit was sponsored by the university’s Early Childhood Education Department. My contact there is Washington State University alumna Dr. Huihua He (Ph.D. ’07). Some of you will remember Huihua from her time as an educational psychology doctoral student. She was a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral research associate for me.

In addition to the presentation, I had several meetings with students, faculty, and administrators to discuss the possibility of partnerships and research collaborations. Shanghai Normal is eager to collaborate with universities from the West as its leaders further develop its university system. International collaboration is a WSU priority, so a connection to Shanghai could play well for the College of Education.

According to our hosts, Shanghai has a population of 27 million people. Half of the people, referred to as immigrants, are from rural China and other provinces who have come to Shanghai to find work. Given the expense of living in the city, many have come without their children. These children are referred to as “left behinds.” they are raised by anyone in their previous community who is willing to provide care, a situation that poses a significant social challenge for China. China sees education as a key factor in addressing that challenge.

Mike Trevisan and Huihua He

Our hosts were gracious, the food delicious, and the city of Shanghai interesting. Should anyone be interested in establishing collaborative work with Shanghai Normal University or any other international university, particularly from a developing country, please contact me. I will try to find ways to support your work.

COE’s first-ever writing retreat – a success by any measure!

Writing workshop participants

Last weekend, nine newer assistant professors from the college met on the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus to work on their writing and learn about ways to increase scholarly productivity, enhance their writing skill, seek grant opportunities, and make connections with colleagues. While writing retreats as a concept are not new, pulling together assistant professors in a college of education for a writing retreat could be unique.

The workshop was facilitated by college Research Development Coordinator Laura Girardeau, myself, and Dean A.G. Rud. Those in attendance were:

Olusola Adesope, Educational Psychology
Chad Lochmiller, Educational leadership
Kristin Huggins, Educational leadership
Eric Johnson, Bilingual education
Kristin Leissig, Mathematics Education
Sarah Newcomber, Literacy
Kelly Puzio, Literacy
Yong-chae Rhee, Sport Management
Sara Ullrich-French, Kinesiology

Faculty were asked to bring one or more writing projects to work on. Book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, a grant proposal to NSF, and a dissertation were some of the projects people brought. Some reported entire sections of a manuscript were completed during this time. Yong-chae Rhee completed, submitted, and had accepted an expert column on the U.S. Open tennis tournament in the top Korean portal site, “Daum.” The column is titled “The U.S. Open, the festival for tennis-crazed fans.” The daily traffic for this portal is approximately 3,650,000 people. This  column could have quite an impact.

We spent time discussing challenges to writing, ways to overcome them, and each offered to the group, something they would work on or incorporate into their writing routine.

Time was also spent on seeking grant opportunities, strategies for developing ideas, building collaborations, and ways to promote projects.

We also had some fun in the evening. Assistant Vice Chancellor Liza Nagel had us over to her place for a wonderful dinner and social gathering.

As we broke on Sunday afternoon, one faculty member mentioned to me that while it was understood that improvement of writing was the main outcome for the retreat, getting to know colleagues and making connections that might not be easily done without the retreat, was also a key outcome.

We obtained feedback on what worked well and what could be improved. Planning is already under way for another retreat next year with a different group of faculty.


How news from D.C. affects the College of Education here at home

By Mike Trevisan

Last weekend I attended the annual meeting of the Organization of Institutional Affiliates (OIA) in Washington DC, sponsored by AERA. This educational research and policy meeting is attended by deans and associate deans in order to connect research-oriented colleges of education to current national and legislative issues.

Presenters included prominent researchers such as Andy Porter, now Dean of the College of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Presenting work on the Common Core Curriculum Standards, he made the case that despite national investment and involvement by many states, these standards are only marginally better than most state standards. Sure to cause a stir, a recent article in Educational Researcher provides the data, analysis, and story behind his claims.

Michael Feuer, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at George Washington University and former Director of the National Research Council’s Center for Education was another lively speaker. To demonstrate how research universities can become engaged in education policy and politics, he described a unique collaboration between his school and the Washington, D.C. public school system to conduct ongoing system evaluation and research. He noted that the Washington, D.C. school system is widely known to be fraught with cronyism, and is seen as an embarrassing example of some U.S. school systems’ history of poorly serving underrepresented groups, particularly the African-American community.

Fortunately, the Education Reform Amendment Act was passed in 2007, which greatly assisted the Washington, D.C. school system and community in addressing these problems. This bold move shifted control from an elected school board to the mayor. The provisions of this act call for transparency and accountability in the school system. The act calls for independent evaluation, which provides a unique opportunity for the Graduate School of Education at George Washington University. Michael Feuer articulately suggested that colleges of education throughout the nation can become involved in this type of powerful work. However, this requires a tolerance for ambiguity, a thick skin, and a sense of humor. There will surely be more for our own College of Education to learn from this work.

More attention-grabbing presentations were led by congressional staffers from the House and Senate education subcommittees, including “majority” and “minority” staffers. To say that the atmosphere in the room could be “cut with a knife” is an understatement!

Republicans and Democrats differ significantly in regard to the role of the federal government in education, which was clearly reflected in their presentations. These talks also provoked controversy by suggesting that colleges of education at research universities produce research that is inaccessible to most stakeholders, potentially irrelevant to “people on the ground,” as one staffer put it, and not very useful to staffers who need “bulleted items that can be quickly read and digested.”

Budget gridlock, the possibility of sequestration, and the conjectures of what might happen if one or the other presidential candidate is elected were major conversational themes throughout the meeting, particularly among the staffers in attendance. This part of the meeting was both interesting and sobering.

Whatever the outcome of the November elections, WSU’s College of Education appears to be on a roll. We have approval to hire several new tenure-track faculty. Our new science educator, Andy Cavagnetto, is a co-PI on an Institute of Education Sciences grant and brought some of that money with him when he arrived this summer in Pullman. Within the last few months our faculty have submitted several large grant proposals, produced a variety of scholarly works, and is teaching some innovative new classes this semester. In short, the College of Education is well-positioned to compete and do good work for Washington State and beyond.