Brown University SealBrown University

Speaker Series

Upcoming Education Department Speaker Series Events

Join us for Education Department Speaker Series talks during the Spring 2018 semester! All Education Department Speaker Series events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 1, 2018
12 p.m.

Elizabeth Mann, Fellow, Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution

"Examining the Relationship between Institutional Design and State Education Policy with a New Measure of Centralization"

Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room (2nd fl), 340 Brook Street, Providence

Bio: Elizabeth Mann is a Fellow in the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. A political scientist by training, she studies how institutional constraints shape the policymaking process and policy design, with a focus on K-12 education policy. Her current research includes creating a new measure of state governance centralization and examining cross-state variation in education policy. She is also the principal investigator of a project examining participation and influence of education organizations in the federal rulemaking process in the context of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Additionally, she studies employer and community college partnerships in the context of workforce development programs. She has also examined how presidents pursue their policy goals through extra-legislative strategies at the subnational level, using an original dataset of waivers granted from federal laws in K-12 education, welfare, and Medicaid. Elizabeth earned her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in political science at the University of Michigan. Previously, she worked at the HighScope Center for Early Education Evaluation and as a middle school social studies teacher through Teach for America.


Past Education Department Speaker Series Events


















Thursday, February 1, 2018
4 p.m.

Travis Bristol, Peter Paul Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Education

"Policy Levers for Increasing the Ethnoracial Diversity of Teachers in Urban Public Schools"

Barus Building, Dewey Conference Room (2nd fl), 340 Brook Street, Providence

Bio: Dr. Travis Bristol, a former high school English teacher and clinical teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency program, is a Peter Paul Assistant Professor at Boston University. His research is situated at the intersection of policy and practice. In particular, Dr. Bristol explores national, state, and local education policies that enable and constrain the workplace experiences and retention for teachers of color.

His research has appeared in several journals, which include Gender and Education, Urban Education, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Journal for Multicultural Educationand Phi Delta Kappan. The National Academy/ Spencer Foundation, Ford Foundation, and American Educational Research Association awarded Dr. Bristol fellowships for his dissertation that explored U.S. Black male teachers’ school-based experiences and decisions to stay/leave teaching. In 2016, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education selected Dr. Bristol for its inaugural teacher diversity research award.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017
12 p.m.

Fernando Stein, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics

"Immigrant Children and Families in the First Person"

Watson Institute, Joukowsky Forum (Room 155), 111 Thayer Street

 co-sponsored with CLACS and Lifespan

Bio: Fernando Stein is a practicing pediatrician and critical care specialist delivering bedside care for the past 35 years in Houston. A native of Guatemala, he did his specialty and subspecialty training at Baylor College of Medicine-affiliated institutions.

He is a founding member of the AAP Section on Critical Care and past member of the Council on Sections Management Committee and Committee on Membership. He is one of the original members of the Task Force on Minorities.

Dr. Stein has been an advocate for children in impoverished environments at the global level as a member of the technical advisers for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses of the Pan American Health Organization.

He is a leader in the area of chronically ill children as survivors of intensive care. More than 1,300 residents have rotated through the Progressive Care Unit, which he has directed for the past 35 years. Residents learn the intricacies of caring for children with technological dependency and the complexities of chronic care, reimbursement, and social and educational reincorporation of this ever increasing group of patients. His areas of research have included patient and family communications in clinical environments and mechanisms of death in children with severe neurologic disabilities.

Dr. Stein is an honorary member of 12 international medical societies. He has received more than 30 honors and awards for his educational contributions, including the AAP Clifford G. Grulee Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the Academy beyond that required of the elected leadership.














Wednesday, October 25
5 p.m.
Adam Gamoran, president, William T. Grant Foundation 

"Boosting English Learner Success: How Lessons from Research on Tracking Can Change the Fate of Immigrant-Origin Youth in School"

Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106, 95 Cushing Street, Providence (to be followed by a reception in the adjacent lobby at 6 p.m.)

Bio: Adam Gamoran is president of the William T. Grant Foundation, a
charitable organization that supports research to improve the lives of
young people. Two main research priorities guide the Foundation’s
grantmaking: identifying ways to reduce inequality in youth outcomes,
and improving the use of evidence from research in decisions about
policy and practice that affect young people. Prior to assuming the
leadership of the Foundation, Gamoran held the John D. MacArthur Chair in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, where he spent three decades engaged in research on educational inequality and school reform. He is the author or editor
of numerous books and articles including, “The Future of Educational
Inequality: What went wrong and how can we fix it?” (William T. Grant
Foundation, 2015). He chaired the Independent Advisory Panel of the
National Assessment of Career and Technical Education for the U.S.
Department of Education, and currently chairs the Board on Science
Education of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine. He is an elected member of the National Academy of
Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was twice appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences. Gamoran earned his Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago in 1984.














Monday, October 2, 2017
12 p.m.
 Amelia Tseng, scholar in residence in the American University School of Education, adjunct lecturer in the Georgetown University Department of Linguistics, and research associate at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

"Spanish in the Global City: Intergenerational Insights into Language, Diversity, and Social Justice from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area"

Watson Institute, McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street, Providence

co-sponsored with CLACS

Bio: Dr. Amelia Tseng holds her Ph.D and M.S. in sociolinguistics from Georgetown University, her M.A. in Spanish linguistics from Arizona State University, and her B.A. in English Honors and Spanish Magna Cum Laude from Wellesley College. Dr. Tseng directed the American University Bilingual Education program from 2014-2016 and is Scholar in Residence in the American University School of Education, Adjunct Lecturer in the Georgetown University Department of Linguistics, and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Dr. Tseng’s research and teaching interests center on multilingualism, migration, and identity. She has published on bilingualism and migration and taught languages, linguistics, and education at the university and K-12 levels. Her university teaching and research have been recognized through awards from American University, Georgetown University, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the National Science Foundation. At American University she is co-Principal Investigator on the project Bilingualism and Latin@s in D.C.: Exploring Language Use and Cultural Identity, Resource Access, and Metropolitan Mobility, funded by the American University Metropolitan Policy Center and Center for Latin American and Latinos Studies. This project examines language practices, access to resources, and their impact on multiple generations of Latino immigrants’ social experience and is the first to specifically address language access and attitudes across immigrant generations in the changing D.C. metropolitan area, which is characterized by transnationalism, mobility, and superdiversity.

Thursday, September 14, 2017
4 p.m.
Rajashri Chakrabarti, senior economist, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

“Getting Ahead by Spending More? Local Community Response to State Merit Aid Programs”

Barus Building, Dewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street, Providence

Bio: Rajashri Chakrabarti is a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Her primary areas of interest include labor economics, economics of education, and public economics. Her research focuses on credit access and effects on educational investment decisions and future financial and economic outcomes, costs and returns to for-profit education, consumer debt, accountability and school choice, education finance, and econometric approaches to program evaluation. Prior to joining the NY Fed, Raji was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Program on Education Policy and Governance. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017
4 p.m. 
Jayanti Owens, 
assistant professor of sociology and public policy at Brown University and affiliate of the Population Studies and Training Center

"The Childhood Origins of the Racial Gap in School Suspension and Expulsion"
Barus Building, Dewey Conference Room

Bio: Jayanti Owens completed a postdoctoral fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography at Princeton University. Broadly, Owens’ research focuses on the causes of gender, racial/ethnic, and immigrant educational and labor market inequality. Her current research addresses three puzzles: (1) How females’ advantage in early behavioral skills helps explain their growing advantage in educational attainment in the United States but why these skills do not translate into similar gains in the labor market; (2) Why African-American males and males from low-income backgrounds, especially those from families without a stably present father, are disproportionately suspended/expelled from school even controlling for their problem behaviors, and; (3) Why an ADHD diagnosis is associated with a large, negative effect on later academic performance for children with relatively mild levels of ADHD-related behaviors, but not those with more severe levels of ADHD-related behaviors. Owens’ work has appeared in journals including Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017
12 p.m.
Kirabo Jackson, associate professor of human development and social policy, Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research

"Reducing Inequality through Dynamic Complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and Public School Spending"
Barus Building, Dewey Conference Room

Bio: Kirabo Jackson is a labor economist who studies education and social policy issues. He has analyzed several important aspects of education policy such as the importance of public school funding on student outcomes through adulthood, the effects of college-preparatory programs on students’ college and labor market outcomes, the effects of educational tracking on students’ academic achievement, and the effects of single-sex education on students’ academic performance. The bulk of Jackson’s work, however, has focused on better understanding teacher labor markets: His extensive work on teachers analyzes the role of peer learning in teacher effectiveness, how student demographics directly affect the distribution of teacher quality across schools, how a teacher’s effectiveness depends on the schooling context within which they operate, how best to measure teacher quality, and other related topics. Jackson’s scholarly articles have appeared in leading economics journals such as the Quarterly Journal of EconomicsAmerican Economic JournalJournal of Labor Economics, The Review of Economics and Statistics, and The Journal of Human Resources. His research has been featured in a number of mainstream media outlets, including the New York TimesWall Street JournalWashington Post, and others. In 2016, Education Week listed him among the top university-based scholars who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice.

Jackson earned his bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University in 1998 and his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 2007. He was assistant professor of labor economics at Cornell University between 2007 and 2010, and then moved to Northwestern University where he subsequently earned tenure in 2012.


Thursday, February 16, 2017
4 p.m.
Stanton Wortham
, Inaugural Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean
Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education at Boston College

"Multimedia Representations of a New Latino Diaspora Town"
Mencoff Hall Seminar Room

Presented by the Center for Latin American and Carribbean Studies; co-sponsored by the Departments of Education and Anthropology

Bio: A linguistic anthropologist and educational ethnographer with a particular expertise in how identities develop in human interactions, Wortham has conducted research spanning education, anthropology, linguistics, psychology, sociology, and philosophy. He is the author or editor of nine books and more than 80 articles and chapters that cover a range of topics including linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, “learning identity” (how social identification and academic learning interconnect), and education in the new Latino diaspora. He spent 18 years as a professor and administrator at Penn, where he served twice as interim dean of the Graduate School of Education and won multiple awards for teaching excellence, including the University of Pennsylvania Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.

For the last 10 years, Wortham has studied the experiences of Mexican immigrant students both in and outside of school as they adjusted to lives in communities with largely non-Latino populations. As part of that project, he was the executive producer of the award-winning 2014 documentary Adelante, which chronicles how a Mexican-immigrant and Irish-American community are revitalizing a once-struggling parish. Wortham is currently writing a book based on his research in the small town.


"Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture"

Thursday, Nov. 10 at noon (lunch served)

Dewey Conference Room, Barus Building

Hilary Levey Friedman, visiting assistant professor in American Studies at Brown University

Bio: Hilary Levey Friedman, PhD, is the author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture. She teaches courses on sports and pageantry in the Department of American Studies at Brown University. Levey Friedman is an active book reviewer (former Book Review Editor at Brain, Child Magazine) and an advisor with the National Council on Youth Sports Safety. She is also a civic leader, serving as an Affordable Housing Commissioner in the town of East Greenwich, RI, an active volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the United Way of Rhode Island and the East Greenwich Democratic Town Committee. After graduating with highest honors from Harvard and then earning an M. Phil from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences as a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge, Levey Friedman earned a PhD in Sociology from Princeton University as both a Spencer Dissertation Fellow and as a Harold W. Dodds fellow. During graduate school her research focused on competitive after-school activities (chess, dance, Kumon enrichment classes, and soccer). Levey Friedman recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University quantitatively studying youth sports injuries, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is currently working on her second book, about beauty pageants and American society.



"A Night with Clint Smith: Art and Critical Pedagogy - Using Poetry to Challenge Dominant Narratives"

featuring readings from, and signing copies of, his new collection of poems, Counting Descent


Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. - doors open at 5:30 p.m. (refreshments served)
Barus and Holley, Rm. 168

Clint Smith, writer, teacher, Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, and 2014 National Poetry Slam champion

Bio: Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, a Cave Canem Fellow, and his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Guardian,and Boston Review. His TED Talks, The Danger of Silence& How to Raise a Black Son in America have been collectively viewed more than 5 million times. His first full-length collection of poems, Counting Descent, was published in September 2016 by Write Bloody Publishing.


"When Bias and Threat Persistently Interact: A Holistic Approach to Understand the Lingering Effects of Stereotypes"

Tuesday, Oct.18 at 4 p.m. (refreshments served)
Dewey Conference Room, Barus Building

Jason Okonofua, assistant professor in Psychology at Stanford University

Bio:Dr. Jason Okonofua is a social psychologist in the Psychology Department at Stanford University. Dr. Okonofua is interested in how the effects of one person’s stereotyping and another person’s threat reverberate and escalate over time. He currently researches this interest in the context of education and criminal justice. He asks how stereotypes about stigmatized children can shape how they interact with teachers, administrators, and police officers. He also develops theory-based psychological interventions that affect motivation on a large scale to improve upon societal issues (e.g., the school-to-prison pipeline). Dr. Okonofua's work is situated to inform psychological theory, field experimentation, and public policy.

His research interests include stereotyping, threat, scalable psychological intervention, bias, behavioral science, education, and criminal justice.

"Medicaid, Special Education, and Children's Access to Health Services"

Thursday, Sept. 22 at noon(lunch served)
Dewey Conference Room, Barus Building

Nora Gordon, associate professor in Public Policy at Georgetown University

Bio: Nora Gordon is Associate Professor at Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Education Research. Her research focuses on fiscal federalism in American education policy and especially the current and historical federal role in elementary and secondary education. She has studied the causes and consequences of school desegregation, state school finance reforms, and school district consolidation.

Professor Gordon is an expert on Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. She testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on implementation of its 2015 reauthorization, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She is a member of the Expert Panel to the U.S. Department of Education on its “Study on the Title I Formula” as mandated by ESSA. She is also a member of the District of Columbia’s state Title I Committee of Practitioners. Her current research projects include a study of school-based Medicaid billing for special education, and one of historical trends in how states use categorical versus general aid for education.