Category Archives: Alumni

UEP Professors and Alumna Rank #1 in Best Quality Teacher Research of 2016

nctq-trophy-award-icon_bestof2016_654432Brown University Department of Education professors John Papay and John Tyler teamed up with Brown UEP alumna Mary Laski, along with Harvard Graduate School of Education Assistant Professor of Economics and Education Eric Taylor, on their publication, “Learning Job Skills from Colleagues at Work: Evidence from a Field Experiment Using Teacher Performance Data.”

The publication has topped the National Council on Teacher Quality‘s 2016 list of outstanding papers by teacher education researchers. Congratulations to Mary, John and John!

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UEP Alumna Branta Lockett ’16 in BEST Program

Branta Lockett

Branta Lockett

The Brown Education Department would like to share an interview given to the Brown Graduate School by Branta Lockett, AM ’16, about her experience in the Brown Executive Scholars Training (BEST) program. BEST, established in 2010, is designed to expose doctoral and advanced master’s degree students to careers in higher education administration. Every fall, eight to 10 graduate students are chosen to participate in this 12-week mentored, education and training program, which is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of Institutional Diversity.

 

How did you hear about the BEST program? What made you want to apply?
I initially heard about the BEST program while attending Admit Day in March 2016. During this event Dr. Wong, Chair of the Education department, mentioned that several of the Urban Education Policy students participated in the BEST program and had great experiences. I decided to apply to the BEST program because I wanted to learn more about higher education administration. In particular, I wanted to learn how administrators can use their positions to help create environments that support the success of marginalized students at a university.

How has or how will this program help you in your career or studies after Brown?
This program will help me in my career because it exposed me to different leadership styles. I learned practical skills that I can use in professional settings.

Did you already have a career plan in mind? Has this program influenced you in any way to change/alter it?
Before participating in the BEST program, I considered a career in higher education administration. The BEST program convinced me to continue pursuing my interests in higher education administration and to even start looking for jobs that combine higher education administration with education policy, which is what I studied at Brown.

Who was your administrative sponsor and what did you learn or enjoy about working with him or her?
Dr. Gail Cohee was my administrative sponsor. I enjoyed speaking with her about her position [as Director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and Associate Dean of the College] and how she uses her administrative role to help improve the experiences of students at Brown University. I also enjoyed learning about her career path to becoming a senior administrator.

What piece of advice provided by the speakers resonated most with you?
Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo, Vice President for Academic Development, Diversity and Inclusion, gave us great advice for how to manage encounters with students and faculty who are upset or distressed about a given situation. She explained to us that the person is most likely upset because they are really passionate about the situation. Therefore, it is important to not only listen to their concerns but to really try to understand their perspectives and consider those perspectives as you try to help them resolve their concerns. Administrative work is demanding but it is important to honor how others feel and let them know that you care while also remembering not to take their criticisms personally. This is practical advice that is useful for working with people in any setting. 

The Brown Education Department Speaker Series Presents Dana Goldstein

Last week the Brown Education Department Speaker Series concluded for the semester with its fourth and final speaker of the year. The department welcomed Dana Goldstein, a 2006 Brown graduate, journalist, and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession.

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In her book, Dana Goldstein asks, “Why is teaching the most controversial profession in America?” Historically, American public school teaching developed as an explicitly working class job. Yet at the same time that we pay public school teachers poorly, police their political activity, and prevent them from influencing the curriculum, we have come to expect teachers to play a key role in the eradication of poverty and inequality.

Goldstein outlined in her presentation how many attitudes about the school reform debate are old and cyclical rather than new conversations.  Moral panic, for example, has frequently caused us to focus on who is teaching rather than addressing structural issues. The concept of data-based reform is also not new, with the idea of pay tied to performance being almost a century old. Goldstein further outlined how valuable data that is not test scores is historically ignored, even if it yields important insights, such as how school funding correlates to teacher effectiveness. The media further exacerbates issues with this conversation by incentivizing focusing on extremes rather than on how to improve the average teacher.

Ultimately, Goldstein concluded by noting the underlying issue that education reform is usually done to teachers, not with teachers, and that if we are truly going to increase the prestige and effectiveness of American public school teaching, we need to use a new strategy: conceiving of teachers as intellectuals, and allowing them to collaborate to exercise real professional discretion and leadership.

The Brown Education Department Speaker Series Presents Dr. Ansley Erickson

The Brown Department of Education hosted another installment of its Speaker Series last week, and was proud to feature Dr. Ansley T. Erickson, Assistant Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Erickson co­-directs the collaborative and digital historical research project Educating Harlem.​ Dr. Erickson is a graduate of Brown University, class of 1995, with a B.A. in Education Studies and Political Science.

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As Dr. Erickson began her talk, she remarked how the classroom where we were assembled coincidentally held special significance for her. The lecture hall was the ​location of her first Brown University Education class, taught by the legendary education reform leader Ted Sizer, the Founding Director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. We were further honored to have the late Sizer’s wife, Nancy Faust Sizer, present in the audience for Dr. Erickson’s presentation.

American schools today are starkly segregated by race and class. After a few decades of limited attention to this problem, advocates are calling for a new era of desegregation. Dr. Erickson walked the group through her research on the history of desegregation in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the longest-­running, broadest, and most statistically successful school desegregation plans in the country, and indicated how her case study could offer important lessons, and at times cautions, for desegregation efforts going forward.

Dr. Erickson pointed out various systemic roadblocks to true integration. For example, despite the new illegality of school segregation in the 1960s, it continued to be unofficially enforced by the state due to federal suburban home financing only being available to white families. Once busing was introduced, a more genuine integration began, however this still raised the moral question of if a black student’s education was “equal” if they were systemically being told that in order to receive a quality education they must be removed from their communities.

Dr. Erickson argued that fostering equality today depends on reckoning with segregation’s deep roots, desegregation’s complex history, and considering these intricate questions.

UEP Alumni Speak at GradCON ’15

GradCON

UEP Alumni Nikki Churchwell and Lindsey Cosgrove pose for a photo with current UEP students at GradCON.

This Saturday, November 14, 2015, the Graduate School held their annual Graduate Student Career Options Conference (GradCON); among the 42 Brown alumni invited to share their stories were two UEP Program alumni, Nikki Churchwell (UEP ’11) and Lindsey Cosgrove (UEP ’11).

Both shared how the knowledge and skills they gained from the UEP Program and Brown University prepared them to work in their current positions. Churchwell participated in the “Education” Alumni Panel, speaking of her experience working at Providence Plan and now as a Fellow at the U.S. Dept of Education. Cosgrove spearheaded the “Non-Profit” Alumni Panel, where she spoke of her role as Director of Institutional Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships at Girl Scouts of Greater NY.

Current UEP students attending GradCON remarked that Churchwell and Cosgrove gave great advice on graduate school, interview prepping, and career choices, and appreciated the insight on how the skills and knowledge they gained during their UEP year were essential in moving forward into a career that fit their needs and interests.

Alumni Alert: UEP ’13 Mike Katz In the News!

Mike KatzThe Urban Education Policy program works to provide each student with valuable technical skills and enhanced perspectives to help advance future careers. As a tight-knit program, we remain closely connected with our alumni and enjoy celebrating their successes! We recently heard from a graduate who is working to accelerate the dialogue around early childhood absenteeism in Washington D.C.:

Mike Katz, UEP ’13, now works for the Urban Institute and helped lead recent research with D.C. Public Schools on pre-kindergarten absenteeism. The study involved two components, both focusing on the Head Start program. Mike’s work explored contributing factors to absenteeism and potential solutions, and culminated with the report Insights into Absenteeism in DCPS Early Childhood Programs: Contributing Factors and Promising Strategies. The work also analyzed attendance data, patterns, and trends for Head Start students in a separate report Title I schools, Absenteeism in DC Public Schools Early Education Program.

The two reports have received considerable media attention, including an NPR radio interview with Mike. The Washington Post and Education Week also ran stories on the work, (one of which was tweeted out by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan)!

Please join us in celebrating the work Mike Katz and his colleagues have accomplished by reading up on this interesting and important topic!

Q&A with UEP Alum Havala Hanson, Senior Research Advisor at Education Northwest

Q: How did your experience in the UEP program prepare you for the work you are doing now?

 A: The UEP program did a really nice job of repurposing my skills for this type of work. I was a teacher prior to that which gave me a lot of really good perspective of what was happening on the ground. So UEP took those skills and added on top of it all of the research and quantitative analysis. I was research assistant for Ken Wong and that was really helpful going through, getting more experience with STATA. It’s a really useful skill to have on your resume.

Q: What advice would you give current UEP students?

 A. Quantitative methods are really important to get hired for a lot of jobs even if the job isn’t totally quantitative. It’s a skill that not a lot of people have. It’s difficult to find people who can do the quantitative analysis that can also talk to people and present things in a way that people who aren’t familiar with that type of analysis can understand and help them interpret and make decisions.  Also, my hope would be that everyone invest themselves in the UEP program and take what they can because the year goes by fast.

Q: What is one of your biggest takeaways from the UEP program?

 A: The strong cohort focus, it’s a small program and you get that high intensity focus with your classmates and professors, that’s all really important. We all continue to connect and the networks just keep going and going, so I felt really privileged being a part of that family and it’s just a really rich experience, it changed my life, it changed my brain.

UEP Alum Havala Hanson (right) and colleague

UEP Alum Havala Hanson (right) and colleague Sarah Frazelle

 

UEP Alum Cindy Lung wins the Luce Scholarship!

UEP Alum Cindy Lung wins the Luce Scholarship! The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Check out the link below to read more about Cindy and this great honor!
http://www.brown.edu/academics/college/fellowships/news/2014-02/cindy-lung-12-wins-luce-scholarship

UEP Alum to Present on the Effects of Poverty on Musical Achievement at 2013 AERA Conference

Billy Buchanan (’10) – a member of UEP IV – will present a paper titled “Effect of Instrument Ownership on Musical Achievement: Results from NAEP 2008” at the 2013 AERA conference. The paper will be presented at the session called “Arts for All: Expanding Access and Quality for Poor and Underserved Youth” as part of the special interest group in Arts and Learning. Jacob Mishook, Senior Research Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, chairs the Arts and Learning SIG.

UEP Alum to Present on the Effects of Poverty on Musical Achievement at 2013 AERA Conference

Billy Buchanan (’10) – a member of UEP IV – will present a paper titled “Effect of Instrument Ownership on Musical Achievement: Results from NAEP 2008” at the 2013 AERA conference. The paper will be presented at the session called “Arts for All: Expanding Access and Quality for Poor and Underserved Youth” as part of the special interest group in Arts and Learning. Jacob Mishook, Senior Research Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, chairs the Arts and Learning SIG.