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Speaker Series

Recent Education Department Speaker Series Events














Thursday, May 9 
12 p.m.

The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Education Policy and Director of the Brown University Urban Education Policy Program Kenneth Wong will present,

“Federalism and Education:  Cross National Lessons

Federalism as a system of decentralized governance has played a central role in charting educational progress in many countries. With an evolving balance between centralization and decentralization, federalism is designed to promote accountability standards without tempering regional and local preferences. Federalism facilitates negotiations both vertically between the central authority and local entities as well as horizontally among diverse interests. Innovative educational practices are often validated by a few local entities prior to scaling up to the national level. Federalism encourages a certain degree of competition at the local and regional level. 

Given these critical issues in federalism and education, this presentation examines ongoing challenges and policy strategies in ten countries, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. These case studies, recently published in an edited volume, aim to examine how countries with federal systems govern, finance, and assure quality in their educational systems spanning from early childhood to secondary school graduation.  Particular attention is given to functional division between governmental layers of the federal system as well as mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation both vertically and horizontally. The presentation aims to draw out education policy lessons across the ten federal systems.

164 Angell Street, Room 202


Thursday, May 2
12 p.m. 

Ruth Lopez Turley, Professor of Sociology at Rice University and Director of the Houston Education Research Consortium 

"Advancing Equity through Research-Practice Partnerships"

There is growing interest in producing research that directly informs policy and practice in order to advance equity in education. This talk will highlight current efforts, recurring challenges, and possible solutions.

Bio: Ruth Turley’s work aims to improve the connection between education research and policy/practice. In 2011, she founded the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), a research-practice partnership between Rice University and 10 Houston-area school districts, representing almost 750,000 students. HERC’s research agenda is jointly developed with district leaders, and research findings are shared directly with decision-makers, with the ultimate goal of improving educational equity. In 2015, Dr. Turley founded the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP), which supports, develops, and connects RPPs throughout the country. There are currently 30 member partnerships representing cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. To date, she has raised over $25M in research grants for this work. Dr. Turley has served in various elected and appointed positions in national associations such as the American Educational Research Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. She also served on the Texas State Board of Education’s Long-Range Plan for Public Education Steering Committee. She completed her undergraduate work at Stanford University (1996) and her graduate work at Harvard University (1999, 2001). She was a first-generation college student, originally from Laredo,  Texas.

164 Angell Street, Room 202




Thursday, Apr. 11
4 p.m. 

Kathleen Lynch, postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University

"Improving STEM Teacher Professional Development and Curriculum: A Meta-Analysis”

Professional development and curriculum materials constitute two major vehicles for instructional innovation and improving student outcomes. Following calls in the early 2000s by influential scholars for stronger research into the impact of educational interventions, research portfolios at the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) began to reflect a growing interest in research methods that allow causal inference, and in using student outcomes as an indicator of program success. Dollars’ and scholars’ turn in this direction has resulted in a wealth of new studies in the past 15 years that permit rigorous empirical analyses linking program characteristics to student outcomes. Lynch will present a meta-analysis of preK-12 STEM instructional improvement programs, seeking to understand what content, formats, and activities lead to stronger student outcomes. This work is particularly timely, as the Every Student Succeeds Act requires that districts receiving Title I funds must adopt “evidence-based interventions,” including programs and strategies proven to be effective in raising student achievement. 

Kathleen Lynch's research examines policies and practices aimed at reducing educational inequality, particularly in mathematics. She has published on topics such as classroom observations, mathematics instructional practice, summer math loss, and professional development and curriculum reform. Her research has been published in journals such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, AERA Open, Mathematical Thinking and Learning, American Journal of Education, and Journal of Mathematical Behavior. Her research has been supported by the American Educational Research Association. Lynch holds an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management and an Ed.D. in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice, both from Harvard University.

164 Angell Street, Room 202





Tuesday, Apr. 2
5:30 p.m.

Sociologist and Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard University Anthony Jack will present "The Privileged Poor"

85 Waterman Street, Room 130

Co-sponsored by the Undocumented-First Generation College and Low-Income Student (U-FLi) CenterPopulation Studies and Training CenterCenter for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), Undergraduate Student Event Fund, Office of Institutional Equality and Diversity, and American Studies

Through his research, Anthony Jack examines how class and culture shape how undergraduates navigate college by exploring the "experiential core of college life." Here, he sheds new light on how inequality is reproduced by contrasting the experiences of the privileged poor and the doubly disadvantaged.















Wednesday, Feb. 27
2:30 p.m.

Dario Valles, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Race & Ethnicity at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs and Center for the Study of Race & Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

"Necesidades Especiales: Intimate Interventions, Early Education and the New Majority"

Early education for children plays a critical role in narrowing the US racial achievement gap according to mounting evidence. Central, Mexican-American migrant and Black family childcare providers labor at the front lines of preparing for success an emerging majority-minority generation. Drawing from more than three years of ethnography among early educators in California, Valles elucidates home-based caregivers’ everyday practices to mitigate intersecting inequalities that children with necesidades especiales (special needs) and Black and Latinx youth more broadly experience, drawing the analytic gaze towards providers’ cross-cultural intimate interventions as an inclusive early education model designated for the new racial majority.

Bio: Dario Valles is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Race and Ethnicity at Brown University. He holds a joint appointment at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA). He recently completed a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Northwestern University and has taught, lead research projects and published at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

He is currently completing his book manuscript, Raising California Together, through which he bridges anthropology with Education and Chicanx/Latinx studies. The book examines the political economy of early education through the lens of immigration, childhood, and feminist theory and household ethnography. His article on race and California administrative court hearings received the 2018 Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) Paper Prize, and will be published in the Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR).

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
12-1 p.m. 

Emily Rosenzweig, adjunct lecturer, Brown University Department of Education

"Harnessing the Power of Motivation to Promote Math and Science Learning"


It is critical to help students develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), yet many students do not take advantage of STEM learning opportunities or struggle in STEM courses. These issues are often motivational, such as when students experience boredom, frustration, or lack of confidence. Motivation refers to students' beliefs, values, goals, and energy that drive them towards or away from learning. This talk will discuss the role of motivation in students' learning of STEM subjects, focusing on two particular motivational beliefs: Beliefs that learning is valuable and beliefs about the negative aspects of learning (called cost). The talk will first discuss research demonstrating that value and cost beliefs are critical factors affecting students' math and science engagement and achievement. The talk then discusses intervention work aimed at increasing students' perceptions of value and reducing their perceptions of cost in order to promote their engagement and achievement in STEM courses.


Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street



Tuesday, November 13, 2018
12-1 p.m. 

Leigh Wedenoja, postdoctoral research associate in education, Brown University

"Second Time's the Charm? How Repeated Student-Teacher Matches Contribute to Cognitive and Non-cognitive Achievement"

There is increasing research on the importance of the student-teacher relationship to student achievement. Recent work has found that elementary students who have the same teacher two years in a row perform better on math exams and surveys of parents and teachers support these types of "looping" classrooms. However, the mechanisms through which a repeat teacher improves performance, especially in middle and high school, is less understood. This talk expands the literature in two ways. First, it estimates the effect of teachers on non-cognitive outcomes: attendance, truancy, and disciplinary incidents. Second, it estimates the effect of having a repeat teacher in middle and high school. We find that having a repeat teacher improves both reading and math scores across all grades and that it decreases absences and truancy in high school. The results are robust to controlling for quality and experience of the repeat teacher. We believe this is evidence that repeat student-teacher matches in middle and high school contribute to students' engagement in school as even a single repeat teacher improves attendance for all classes.

Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street















Thursday, October 18, 2018
12-1 p.m.

 Lindsey Jones, postdoctoral research associate in education, Brown University

"Education and Incarceration in the Lives of Marginalized Black Girls: A Historical Perspective"

 In recent years, scholarship, activism and popular discourse on the criminalization of black youth, including their experiences within the “school-to-prison pipeline,” has expanded beyond a male-centric narrative and started to account for the gendered nature of black adolescents’ encounters with school discipline, police, courts, and incarceration. Examining the case of one early-twentieth-century juvenile reformatory for delinquent African American girls, this talk argues that a historical perspective can both enrich our understanding of black girls’ experiences of criminalization and enable more effective advocacy on behalf of this vulnerable population. 

Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street


Thursday, October 11, 2018
2:30-4 p.m. 
Dana Mitra, 
Professor of Education Policy Studies, Pennsylvania State University

"Youth Participation and Activism in Educational Change" (co-sponsored with Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy and Annenberg Institute)

McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

This talk compares the broad mission for youth participation that exists in most nations with the restrictive view of young people that is the de facto policy in the United States. It then examines the possibilities for student voice and youth activism that do exist in the United States, from working inside the system through reform efforts to challenging the system itself through activism. Conditions that can enable and sustain such strategies are explored and possibilities for future youth involvement in change will be explored.

Dana L. Mitra is Professor of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She is founding editor of the International Journal of Student Voice and Co-Editor of The American Journal of Education. Dana also works with professionals as a leadership and personal coach and with academics as a writing coach.















Thursday, September 20, 2018
12-1 p.m.

Kendra Bischoff, assistant professor of sociology and director of undergraduate studies, Cornell University

"The Racial Composition of Neighborhoods and Local Schools: The Role of Diversity, Inequality, and School Choice"

Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street

In an education system that draws students from residentially-based attendance zones, schools are local institutions that reflect the racial composition of their surrounding communities. However, with opportunities to opt-out of the zoned public school system, the social and economic contexts of neighborhoods may affect the demographic link between neighborhoods and their public neighborhood schools. Using spatial data on school attendance zones, Dr. Bischoff estimates the associations between the racial composition of elementary schools and their local neighborhoods, investigating how neighborhood factors shape the loose or tight demographic coupling of these parallel social contexts.

Kendra Bischoff is an assistant professor of sociology, and a member of the graduate school fields of Sociology, Demography, and Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. She received her PhD in sociology from Stanford University, was a post-doctoral fellow in equality of opportunity and education at Stanford University’s Center for Ethics in Society, and recently completed a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowship. Her research focuses on social stratification and inequality, education, and urban sociology. In current and past projects, she investigates the causes and consequences of racial and economic residential segregation, the changing demographic relationship between schools and their local neighborhoods, and the civic mission of K-12 schools.



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

4 p.m.

Allan Collins, Professor Emeritus of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University

"What’s Worth Teaching: Rethinking Curriculum in the Age of Technology"

Barus BuildingDewey Conference Room, 340 Brook Street

Bio: Dr. Allan Collins is Professor Emeritus of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education, a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the Cognitive Science Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Educational Research Association. He served as a founding editor of the journalCognitive Scienceand as first chair of the Cognitive Science Society. He is best known in psychology for his work on semantic memory and mental models, in artificial intelligence for his work on plausible reasoning and intelligent tutoring systems, and in education for his work on inquiry teaching, cognitive apprenticeship, situated learning, design research, epistemic games, and systemic validity in educational testing. From 1991 to 1994 he was Co-Director of the US Department of Education’s Center for Technology in Education. His book with Richard Halverson, entitled Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America, was published by Teachers College Press in 2009. His latest book What’s Worth Teaching: Rethinking Curriculum in the Age of Technology was published by Teachers College Press in April 2017.
















Tuesday, April 17, 2018
4:15 p.m.

Enrique Alemán, Jr., Professor and Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio

"Stolen Education" film screening

co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the Center for the Study of Race + Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

85 Waterman Street, Room 130, Providence

As a 9-year-old second grader, Lupe had been forced to remain in the first grade for three years, not because of her academic performance but solely because she was Mexican American. She was one of eight young students who testified in a federal court case, one of the first post-Brown desegregation court cases to be litigated, in 1956. More than 60 years later, the scope and impact of their story is finally being revealed.

"Stolen Education" documents the untold story of Mexican-American school children who challenged discrimination in Texas schools in the 1950’s, providing important context to understand our current educational system’s enduring legacy of segregation, discrimination and racism. The screening will include a Q&A with Dr. Alemán, followed by an informal reception at 5:30, and is free and open to the public. 

Bio:  Dr. Enrique Alemán, Jr., is Professor and Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. A native of Kingsville in South Texas and a first-generation college student, Dr. Alemán melds his personal and professional interests with research that has the potential to address the racialized and institutionalized inequities that have historically underserved students and communities of color. His research agenda includes studying the impact of educational policies on Latina/o and Chicana/o students and communities, the utilization of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/ Critical Theory (LatCrit) frameworks in educational research, and the application of community-based research methods as a way of informing the creation of pathways to higher education.

Dr. Alemán has published articles in Harvard Educational ReviewRace Ethnicity and EducationEducational Administration Quarterly, and Equity, Excellence and Education, as well as numerous chapters in edited books. His most recent collaborative project is a special issue he co-edited in the Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) Journal titled, “The utility of affirmative action for Latina/os: Toward a new model of policy and accíon.” During 2010-2011, Dr. Alemán served as Ford Foundation/National Academy of Sciences Fellow, conducting a research project titled, “Hernandez and Its Enduring Legacy of Racism: Developing and Applying a Critical Race Policy Framework and Methodology.”  His scholarship has been recognized with his awarding of the University of Utah, College of Education, Faculty Research Award in 2010, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Junior Faculty Fellowship in 2007, and American Education Research Association, Research on the Superintendency Special Interest Group, Dissertation of the Year award in 2005.

Between 2012-2014, Dr. Alemán served as an Assistant Vice President for Student Equity and Diversity where he continued creating pathways to higher education and designed and implemented more equitable institutional policies. In late 2014, he executive produced and co-wrote Stolen Education, a documentary about the forgotten history of a little-known federal desegregation court case from the 1950s, Hernandez et al. v. Driscoll Consolidated School District (1957). Stolen Education has been screened at universities and colleges, public libraries and in public schools and was selected for screening at the Ruby Mountain Film Festival in Nevada and the CineSol Film Festival in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Past Education Department Speaker Series Events















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.















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 [email protected] 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.