EALR launches new Measurement, Evaluation, and Research certificate

This year WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research has launched a new, 18-credit hour graduate program leading to a certificate in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research (MER). The MER program is geared toward graduate students, including those in education, who may eventually be interested in doctoral studies or who want to become better qualified to conduct applied research and carry out data analysis and evaluation in industry or educational settings.

According to EALR professor Dr. Kimberlee Everson, who coordinates the program, “The MER coursework can focus entirely on quantitative methods or focus jointly on quantitative and qualitative approaches.” Program requirements “intentionally overlap with the Education Doctoral program at WKU so that it can serve either as a beginning point for future EDD students, or a s means of adding qualifications for current of former students.”

While not appropriate for students in the hard sciences, the MER certificate may be of interest to graduate students in the social sciences, business, organizational leadership, or similar fields.

Contact Dr. Everson at kimberlee.everson@wku.edu or visit the MER website for additional information.

EALR professors, students present at CREATE Conference

Dr. Tom Stewart presenting at CREATE 2016
Dr. Tom Stewart presenting at CREATE 2016

Several professors and students from WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research participated in the Consortium for Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness annual conference held September 29-October 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. The CREATE Conference was marking its 25th anniversary and featured researchers and graduate students from around the nation sharing their work and ideas about school improvement.

Presenters from EALR included the following:

  • Dr. Kimberlee Everson shared her research on value-added measures of teaching effectiveness.
  • EALR Department Chair Dr. Marguerita DeSander co-presented with a colleague from George Washington University on their preliminary work on teaching effectiveness and leadership development in Puerto Rico.
  • Dr. Gary Houchens and Dr. Steve Miller shared their research on developing a new teacher perception survey called the School Improvement Scholastic Review (SISR). Dr. Everson and WKU EdD program director Dr. Tony Norman are also participating in this research.
  • Dr. Houchens moderated a panel discussion featuring superintendents and other district leaders from GRREC/OVEC Race to the Top district grant schools that have made strides with personalized learning.
  • Dr. Tom Stewart and Dr. Houchens presented their research on using executive coaching to help school principals develop as instructional leaders.
  • Dr. Stacy Leggett presented her research on North Carolina’s teacher evaluation system.
  • WKU doctoral student Josh Howard shared research on personalized learning self-evaluations and site visits conducted as a part of the Race to the Top grant. His collaborators included doctoral students Komako Suzuki and Trudy-Ann Crossbourne and was supervised by Dr. Norman and former EALR professor Dr. Jie Zhang.
  • Dr. Houchens presented additional results from Race to the Top schools’ personalized learning self-assessment on behalf of Dr. Norman and the Rock Solid Race to the Top evaluation team.
  • Dr. DeSander and Dr. Janet Hurt shared research on how principals and teachers co-construct theories of practice.
  • On behalf of doctoral student Trudy-Ann Crossbourne, Dr. Houchens shared additional research on how schools in the Race to Top grant developed their personalized learning plans.
  • Dr. Stewart co-presented with EALR aspiring principal student Linda Caudle and her principal Vicki Gough from the Ballard County Schools, sharing their work on professional learning communities.

Additionally, several WKU doctoral students delivered poster presentations, including the following:

  • EALR alumna and EdD student Savannah Denning shared her proposed dissertation research, a case study of leadership in one of Kentucky’s Districts of Innovation.
  • Robert King presented his proposed dissertation research on behavior modification programs for at-risk students.
  • Candida Murphy presented her proposed program evaluation dissertation assessing implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports on her school.
  • Christy Spurlock and Jia Pei shared their research on doctoral student persistence at WKU.
  • Derick Strode presented his dissertation research on study abroad at WKU’s Gatton Academy. Derick received the CREATE Emerging Researcher Award for his presentation.

Next year’s CREATE Conference will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia where EALR professors and students expect to again share their on-going research interests and accomplishments.

EALR hosts visiting scholars from Turkey, China

The Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research has recently advanced WKU’s mission of being “an American university with international reach” by hosting visiting scholars from Turkey and China.

Nuray Kisa
Nuray Kisa

Nuray Kisa, a doctoral student in Educational Sciences from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, visited WKU from December 2015 until June 2016.  Nuray was a guest of EALR associate professor Dr. Gary Houchens.  With Dr. Houchens’ guidance, Nuray completed a draft of her doctoral dissertation, which focuses on the gap between theory and practice as perceived by principals, school administrators, and university professors in Turkey.  She presented the results of her research at a Brown Bag research luncheon in April.  Nuray will soon defend her dissertation and commence her own professorial duties at Hacettepe.

 

Huan Zhang
Huan Zhang

Huan Zhang, assistant lecturer in the Foreign Language Department in Anhui University of Science and Technology in Ma’anshan, China, arrived at WKU in March 2016 as a guest of EALR associate professor Dr. Jie Zhang.  Huan will remain until September 2016 advancing her research agenda on bilingualism, language teaching, and second language acquisition (an interest she shares with Dr. Jie Zhang).

 

EALR faculty, staff, and students have enjoyed the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural sharing with our guests and deepen our understanding of education issues from an international perspective.  We look forward to hosting more scholars in the future.

EALR professors Houchens and Zhang win Faculty Excellence Awards

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research was honored to have two professors earn Faculty Excellence Awards for the 2016 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

Drs. Houchens and Zhang with CEBS Dean Dr. Sam Evans
Drs. Houchens and Zhang with CEBS Dean Dr. Sam Evans

Dr. Gary Houchens won the CEBS award for Student Advising, while Dr. Jie Zhang earned the award for Research.  They were recognized with a university-wide reception and awards ceremony in April.

Each year students, faculty, and administrators nominate faculty members for awards in Teaching, Research, Student Advisement, and Public Service.  This year awards were also given for outstanding part-time faculty members.  A faculty committee reviews a portfolio of materials from nominees and each college selects an award winner for each category.  Drs. Houchens and Zhang will now be considered for the university-wide faculty awards, which will be announced at the faculty/staff Convocation in August.

Drs. Houchens and Zhang were also awarded tenure in 2016.  Both joined the faculty of WKU in 2010.  Dr. Houchens works primarily with students in the principal certification program while Dr. Zhang teaches research methods in the WKU Doctorate of Educational Leadership program where she also serves on numerous dissertation committees.

Doctoral students share research during brown bag lunch series

Doctoral student Trudy Crossbourne presents her research
Doctoral student Trudy Crossbourne presents her research

Students in WKU’s Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD) program have been showcasing their research this semester, and in April visiting scholar Nuray Kisa, a doctoral student from Turkey, will present on the results of her dissertation study.

These monthly events feature brief presentations from doctoral students describing their completed research, or projects that are currently in progress, and give an opportunity for faculty and other students to discuss.  Hosted by the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, in collaboration with the EdD program, the brown bags are facilitated and organized by EALR assistant professor Dr. Jie Zhang and take place in Gary Ransdell Hall 3073.  A light lunch is provided to attendees.

In February, Trudy Crossbourne shared research she has conducted under the supervision of Dr. Kimberlee Everson exploring the reasons why African American families choose homeschooling.  Trudy shared the challenges of conducting research on homeschoolers and the limitations in current literature, plus pointed toward opportunities for future study in this area.

Faculty and students listen and discuss
Faculty and students listen and discuss

In March, Louis Zabaneh provided background on the educational landscape in his home country of Belize, especially teacher training. He discussed a Sustainable Development Human Capabilities model, based in part on the work of Indiana economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, that he plans to use in carrying out his dissertation research.  Louis is working closely with EALR associate professor Dr. Tom Stewart to facilitate a potential partnership between WKU and the University of Belize to support teacher training in that country.

This semester EALR is hosting a visiting scholar from Ankara, Turkey.  Nuray Kisa is a doctoral student at Hacettepe University in educational sciences, visiting WKU under the sponsorship of EALR associate professor Dr. Gary Houchens.  Nuray has been conducting survey research exploring the perceptions of Turkish school principals, university professors, and district-level education officials on the gap between theory and practice in educational research.  She will share results of her study at the April 5 brown bag.

Finally, Dr. Zhang and doctoral students will present May 3 on the topic of conducting program evaluations.  To attend the April 5 brown bag with Nuray or the May 3 session with Dr. Zhang, please RSVP to EALR Office Associate Missy Pardue at Melissa.pardue@wku.edu.  All brown bag lunches are at noon in GRH Room 3073.

Dr. Wilson presents on qualitative dissertations

Dr. Kristin Wilson, associate professor of post-secondary education in WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research will present on qualitative research approaches on October 20, 2015, 12:00 noon Central time, in Gary Ransdell Hall 3073.

Part of EALR’s “Brown Bag” research luncheon series, Dr. Wilson’s talk will address common misunderstandings or classical misconceptions about the qualitative tradition.  The basic steps of writing a qualitative doctoral dissertation will be outlined and ways to develop qualitative research designs will be suggested.

A light lunch will be served so if you plan to attend please email EALR Office Associate Missy Pardue at Melissa.pardue@wku.edu by Friday, October 16.

Leadership expert Peter Northouse to speak at WKU

northouseDr. Peter G. Northouse, professor emeritus in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University, will deliver the 2015 Boyd-Lubker Visiting Scholar Lecture on Tuesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. Central time in Gary Ransdell Auditorium on WKU’s Bowling Green campus.

Northouse is author of the book, Leadership: Theory and Practice, now it its sixth edition and considered a foundational textbook in the field.  The book is a centerpiece of WKU’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership program and provides a historic overview of leadership theory and research.

Dr. Northouse will speak on “Leadership in the 21st Century: Theories and Trends.”  The lecture is free and open to the public.  Doctoral students and practicing and aspiring leaders in schools, post-secondary institutions, and other organizations are encouraged to attend.

EALR Professor Jim Berger to speak at first Research Brown Bag event

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research will host the first in a series of presentations on current research being carried out by EALR professors on Tuesday, March 17.  Dr. Jim Berger, professor of adult education, will present on “Cultural Markers Within the Classroom and Potential Impacts on Learning.”  See details below.

These Research Brown Bag events will give professors a chance to share their current research and solicit feedback from colleagues and students.  Doctoral students, aspiring leaders, and practitioners are invited to attend and participate in the discussion.  Please email Dr. Jie Zhang to RSVP by  March 16 if you can attend: jie.zhang@wku.edu.

You can read about Dr. Berger’s recent awards for service to the field of adult education here and here.

Berger brown bag

Dr. Jie Zhang presents Spencer Fellowship project to National Academy of Education

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research is pleased to congratulate and celebrate Dr. Jie Zhang, Assistant Professor, Research Methods, for presenting her postdoctoral fellowship research at the National Academy of Education (NAEd) Annual Meeting and Fellows Retreat, November 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Dr. Zhang was one of only twenty postdoctoral fellows selected nationally by NAEd for the 2013-2015 award cycle, receiving grant funding in the amount of $55,000 to support her research focused on English Language Learners (ELL) titled, “Morphological Awareness and Word Learning in First and Second Language.”

“I am extremely honored to be part of the NAEd/Spencer postdoc fellow 2013 cohort,” said Dr. Zhang.  “The research project and professional development activities throughout the fellow retreats have significantly enhanced my capacity and passion in being an educational researcher.”

Dr. Zhang’s research examined how children use morphology (word parts) to infer the meanings of new words while reading or in isolation, and whether morphological awareness facilitates word learning ability, which in turn, contributes to reading comprehension in both their first and second languages.

“Struggling ELLs seem to read texts as fluently and accurately as their native English speaking peers, but they don’t know what the text is all about,” explained Dr. Zhang.  “A big obstacle of reading comprehension difficulties for ELLs is their limited English vocabulary and background knowledge. Given the increasing text complexity in the common core reading era, helping struggling readers to achieve the goal of reading for understanding is important yet challenging.”

About 400 fourth- and fifth- \graders from two school districts in Bowling Green, KY participated in the study.  Major findings from the study include:   1) native English (NE) speaking students and fluent English proficient (FEP) ELLs are better able to use morphological analysis to derive new word meaning than the limited English proficient students; and, 2) word reading fluency mediates the relationship between morphological awareness and reading comprehension for the LEP group, but word meaning inference ability mediates the relationship for the NE and FEP groups.

The findings deepen understanding of how morphological awareness supports reading comprehension in first and second languages and call for attention to the role of English proficiency in investigating the underlying mechanism between morphological awareness and reading comprehension. An educational implication is that instructional programs that link instruction in decoding to word meaning inference strategies while reading are critical for LEP students.

Dr. Zhang’s presentation on her research was well-received by the Fellows during the retreat.  Her research presentation was facilitated by noted scholar Dr. Kenji Hakuta, Lee J. Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University and expert in the implementation of the common core standards with ELL.  Over the past year while working on her research, Dr. Zhang has been mentored by two of the most prestigious scholars in language and literacy education, Dr. Catherine Snow from Harvard, and Dr. Annemarie Palincsar from the University of Michigan.

“Dr. Zhang is a bright star and emerging scholar in educational research,” said EALR department head Dr. Marguerita DeSander. “The Educational Administration, Leadership and Research department is proud of her accomplishments.”

EALR professors, doctoral students, make presentations at MSERA

Next week’s annual conference of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, held in Knoxville, Tennessee, will feature research presentations co-authored by several professors associated with the WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research, and every paper represents a collaborative project with doctoral students from the WKU doctorate in educational leadership program or graduate research assistants affiliated with the WKU Rock Solid evaluation project.

Paper presentations include the following:

  • “Catholic School Faculty Meetings: A Case Study Linking Catholic Identity, School Improvement, and Teacher Engagement” by WKU EDD alumnus Dr. Daryl C. Hagan (superintendent of schools for the Evansville, IN, Catholic diocese)  and EALR professor Dr. Gary Houchens (advisor).
  • “Enhancing Instructional Leadership Through Collaborative Coaching: A Multi-Case Study,” by Gary Houchens, WKU EDD alumnus Dr. Tom Stewart (Kentucky Department of Education), and current WKU doctoral candidate Sara Jennings (teacher, Bowling Green Independent Schools).
  • “Risk Factors for High School Drop-outs in Kentucky,” presented by WKU EDD program director Dr. Tony Norman.  Co-authors include WKU EDD alumna Dr. Chunling Niu, graduate research assistants Candace Elliot and J.P. Clark, and EALR professors Drs. Jie Zhang, Steve Miller, and Gary Houchens.
  • “Personalized Learning: A Theoretical Review and Implications for Assessing kid-FRIENDLy Student Outcomes,” presented by Dr. Gary Houchens and WKU EDD doctoral student Trudy-Ann Crossbourne.  Co-authors include professors Jie Zhang and Tony Norman and graduate research assistants Laura Fisher and Morgan Schraeder.
  • “A Synthesis of Competency-Based Instruction: Implications for Developing Classroom Observation Protocols for Race to the Top-District kid-FRIENDLy Schools,” presented by WKU EDD doctoral student J.P. Clark.  Co authors include professors Tony Norman, Jie Zhang, Gary Houchens, and Steve Miller, as well as EDD alumna Dr. Chunling Niu.

Conferences such as MSERA allow professors and graduate students to share and discuss their latest research, generate new ideas for future studies, and further prepare their work for publication.  Congratulations to all of this year’s MSERA participants.