Tag Archive | "School of Education and Human Development"

Professor Wins Premier Psychology Award

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Professor Wins Premier Psychology Award


Blaine Fowers

Blaine Fowers

Professor Honored by American Psychological Foundation 

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August, 29, 2016)—Blaine Fowers, a professor of educational and psychological studies in the School of Education and Human Development, has been awarded the Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Psychological Foundation for his contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychology.

The annual award, which includes a $7,500 honorarium, honors theoretical psychologists who question the basic assumptions most psychologists take for granted. Among them: whether it is possible to study human psychology in a value-neutral way, whether human psychology can be explained only in terms of causal forces, or whether humans have agency or choice. They also ponder whether humans are fundamentally separate individuals or initially social creatures who only later become individuals.

“The Gittler award is an honor to receive because it is the premier award given to recognize work on the philosophical foundations of psychology in North America,” said Fowers. “The importance of the award was indicated by its first two awardees, Jerome Bruner and Daniel Kahneman (who also won a Nobel Prize), two giants in psychology.”

The Gittler award was established through a bequest from Joseph Gittler, Ph.D., who wished to recognize psychologists who are making and will continue to make scholarly contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychological knowledge.

Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, said Fowers’ work helps to illuminate fundamental assumptions underlying psychological thinking.

“His contributions reveal the culturally embedded nature of much psychological thinking and practice. If you want to be a better psychologist, or a better consumer of psychological theories and services, you have to understand the philosophical foundations of the discipline,” Prilleltensky said. “Fowers has helped psychologists and the public at large to understand unquestioned assumptions about the profession, dealing mainly with biases towards individualism.”

Fowers joined the faculty in 1990 and served as the director of training for the doctoral program in counseling psychology from 1997 to 2005 and as department chair from 2005 to 2009. In his role as a teacher, Fowers provides instruction in character development and flourishing, research methods, the evolution of human social life, and preparation for academic careers.

He has an active research team of doctoral and undergraduate research assistants who are engaged in the interdisciplinary study of the virtues of kindness, fairness, and friendship. The author of two books, The Evolution of EthicsVirtue and Psychology and Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness, Fowers also coauthored Re-envisioning Psychology and the forthcoming Human Frailty and Flourishing. His scholarly interests center on the contributions of Aristotle’s ethics to a richer understanding of psychological theory, research, and practice.

Fowers received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He served as an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico before coming to Miami.

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Walter Secada Honored in Peru

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Walter Secada Honored in Peru


By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Walter Secada

Peruvian-born Walter Secada speaks at the ceremony where he was awarded an honorary professorship at the Universidad La Salle in Arequipa, Peru.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 9, 2016) – In the spirit of giving back and sharing his many personal and professional attributes, University of Miami faculty member Walter Secada has dedicated more than 20 years of his life to providing professional and educational training to the Ministry of Education and other educational entities in his native Peru.

Last April, in recognition of his work, Secada, professor and senior associate dean of UM’s School of Education and Human Development, was awarded an honorary professorship from Universidad La Salle in Arequipa, Peru.

“My work in Peru is predicated on giving back,” said the Peruvian-born Secada, who was raised in the U.S. “It is not enough to remember where you’re from. But by giving back to the country of my birth, in the form of collaborative research and the sharing of what I have learned as an academic at the University of Miami and elsewhere, I hope to improve the conditions under which my fellow Peruvians learn mathematics and science. By giving back, I contribute to that nation’s development.”

During the awards ceremony, Ivan Montes, rector of Universidad La Salle, praised Secada for his many publications, accomplishments, and contributions to education in Peru. He noted that Secada has been working with the Universidad La Salle, the nongovernmental agency known as GRADE, and the Peruvian Ministry of Education for more than 20 years, conducting collaborative research and workshops on a variety of topics and devising strategies to improve Peru’s mathematics curriculum.

In a talk prior to receiving the award, Secada argued that academics have an obligation to engage in work in which “outcomes are likely to take place in the long term” because tenure gives them the security needed to take the long view. In addition, Secada argued, academics have a “moral obligation to study about and to speak out on the controversies of the day” because, once again, tenure protects them and because they owe to their students the opportunity to discuss, without fear, the controversies that are shaping their world.

“I have the best job in the world,” concluded Secada.

In bestowing the honor, Montes quoted Secada’s collaborator at GRADE, Santiago Cueto, saying that “Walter Secada is a good man.”

“He has always been supportive of us, and he has enriched our knowledge with his analytical and international perspective,” said Montes.

Secada received his B.A in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Ph.D in education from Northwestern University.

 

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UM Hosts Black Graduate Psychology Conference

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UM Hosts Black Graduate Psychology Conference


Special to UM News

BGCP 2016 Conference Co-Chairs Laura Kohn-Wood and Liana Mentor

Laura Kohn-Wood, left, and Liana Mentor were the BGCP 2016 conference co-chairs.

Sixty student researchers from throughout the country had an opportunity to present their papers and posters, learn from faculty, and network with their colleagues at the 22nd annual Black Graduate Conference on Psychology (BGCP), held at the University of Miami’s Shalala Student Center May 19-22.

“We had a record number of submissions for this intensive conference experience,” said conference co-chair Laura Kohn-Wood, associate professor and chair of the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies (EPS) in the School of Education and Human Development. “Our attendees took full advantage of four days of research and professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities.”

Liana Mentor, a graduate student in the school’s Ph.D. program in Community Well-Being, co-chaired the annual conference, which was last hosted by the University of Miami in 2011.

The BGCP’s panel discussions, paper and poster presentations, and lunch table conversations touched on a wide range of important research areas in psychology, including the development of racial identity, the impact of HIV intervention on black college women, home literacy practices in Haitian families, and community needs assessments. Several of the sessions also focused on academic career paths involving research, teaching, and service.

“Find your passion and it will guide your career,” said Joan Muir, professor in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, on one of the professional development panels. “For me, it’s about helping black families raise strong, healthy children.”

At the conference’s opening dinner, Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost, welcomed attendees and invited them to join the UM faculty after earning their degrees. “We are building a diverse community of scholars and hope you will apply here,” he said.

Isaac Prilleltensky, professor and dean of the School of Education and Human Development and vice provost for institutional culture, said UM is committed to building a culture of diversity and belonging. “We want everyone to feel valued,” he said. “We also want to be sure our faculty, staff, and students have an opportunity to add value to our university and the community.”

Guillermo Prado, dean of the Graduate School, said there is great value in this type of conference. “I attribute much of my success to attending a conference for Hispanic doctoral students a decade ago,” he said. “It helped give me a direction in my career, while meeting mentors and making friends that I still have today.”

​The conference faculty included Roger McIntosh, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences; Charlton Copeland, professor in the School of Law and president of the Woodson-Williams Marshall Association of Black Faculty and Administrators; and Guerda Nicolas, professor in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies in the School of Education and Human Development, as well as 15 additional faculty, department chairs, and deans from across the country.

“We thank our guest faculty, as well as our students, for making this commitment to our conference,” said Copeland. “As a legal scholar, I appreciate the importance of psychology in advancing how we think about rational behavior. Your research in identity development has also played an important role in law.”

Kevin Cokely, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Department of African and African American Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and editor in chief of The Journal of Black Psychology, delivered the keynote address.

The conference was funded by a grant to the University of Michigan from the National Science Foundation; several units at the University of Miami provided additional funding, including the provost’s office, the dean of the School of Education and Human Development, the Graduate School, the Department of Psychology, and the Woodson Williams Marshall Association. UM students on the planning committee included Dorothy Addae, Amina Simmons, Shannon Chiles, Kayann Richards, Vanessa Thomas, Calvin Fitch, Rhoda Moise, and Atara Muhammad.

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Blaine Smith Awarded National Fellowship

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Blaine Smith Awarded National Fellowship


Special to UM News

Blaine Smith

Blaine Smith

Blaine Smith, assistant professor of language and literacy learning in multilingual settings in the School of Education and Human Development, has been chosen as a 2016 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. She is one of 30 fellows selected from a competitive pool of applicants who were judged on their past research record, career trajectory, and project quality.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for this award, which supports innovative research in a wide range of educational fields,” said Smith, whose work focuses on the digital literacy practices of culturally and linguistically diverse adolescents.

“Many youth lead technologically saturated and networked lives,” Smith said. “But traditional print-based reading and writing practices still dominate the classroom, creating a disconnect for students. Integrating digital projects like videos, podcasts, and hypertext that support academic learning can create a more engaging experience for students, particularly for culturally and linguistically diverse young people.”

The National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early-career scholars working in critical areas of education research. Now in its 30th year, the fellowship program has nearly 800 alumni who include many of today’s high-profile education researchers.

Smith plans to use the $70,000 award to launch a multimodal composition research project this fall in a 10th-grade English class at a Miami-Dade County high school. “This study will examine how students analyze literature through multiple modes, including visuals, sound, text, and movement, and how the analytic skills they develop in their digital projects transfer to their academic writing,” she said.

For example, students reading a novel, short story, or non-fiction will create hypertexts that analyze important passages through digital links and related media. Multimodal projects like these will require students to comprehend complex texts, and examine themes, structure, and point of view.

“We will use screen capture and video data, conduct interviews, and analyze their multimodal compositions,” Smith said. “Our goal is to expand the ways students understand and analyze texts, and help teachers effectively integrate digital projects into their classrooms.”

Smith previously received the Literacy Research Association’s Outstanding Student Research Award and the Emerging Scholars Fellowship by the Reading Hall of Fame.

Her 2014 dissertation, “Composing Across Modes: Urban Adolescents Processes Responding to and Analyzing Literature,” was also a finalist for the International Literacy Association’s Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award.

Smith’s work has appeared in the Bilingual Research Journal, Elementary School Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Literacy Research Association Yearbook, and Learning, Media, and Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.

“I am hoping to use this fellowship as a springboard to continue advancing this line of multimodal literacy research,” Smith said. “Digital technologies can help make our schools more relevant and effective for students from many cultures by offering multiple entry points and new ways to develop important literacy skills.”

 

 

 

 

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Pelaez to Lead Teacher Educators

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Pelaez to Lead Teacher Educators


Special to UM News

Gloria Pelaez

Gloria Pelaez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 9, 2016)—Gloria Pelaez, director of teacher preparation and accreditation for the School of Education and Human Development, was recently installed as president-elect of the executive board of the Florida Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (FACTE), an affiliate of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She will serve a two-year term in that role before becoming president in 2018.

“FACTE is near and dear to my heart,” said Pelaez, who has been active with the association for more than 25 years and served as chair of the Policy Committee. “Our association is very involved in advocacy for issues affecting teacher preparation programs in our state.”

FACTE provides input to a variety of initiatives addressed by the Florida Legislature, the State Board of Education, and the Florida Department of Education. FACTE also provides a forum to discuss pedagogy, curriculum, and research-based practices.

Noting that teaching is an art as well as a science, Pelaez said, “We all remember those great teachers whose knowledge and enthusiasm touched our lives. We have to be sure to maintain a rewarding and meaningful career path for Florida’s teachers while preparing them to make a positive impact on every student they teach.”

In its twice-yearly conferences and ongoing discussions, FACTE members also discuss how to meet the evolving needs of 21st century teachers, including changes to the curriculum. “We look at issues like the judicious use of the latest technologies as instructional tools in the classroom,” said Pelaez.

For instance, Pelaez said FACTE members are talking about using technology to connect classrooms in different countries, creating virtual field trips, and other evolving educational strategies.

Florida, Pelaez says, has led the way in preparing teachers to educate students for whom English is a second language. “Since 1998, every teacher preparation program must address the needs of ESOL students starting in elementary school,” she said, adding that her doctoral dissertation provided a curricular model to integrate ESOL competencies and skills to an elementary education degree. Her curricular integration model, the first of its kind in the nation, served as the template for the state and led to a change that is now part of the Florida statutes.

Pelaez has extensive experience in program accreditation and curricular development activities. She serves as a member of the Technical Assistance Team for the Florida Department of Education in the area of Teacher Education Program Approval. She serves on several statewide committees and participates in both folio and site visit reviews for Florida’s peer-reviewed teacher education program approval process. She holds a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from the University of Miami and a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Florida Atlantic University.

She is a member of TESOL, the Florida Association for Bilingual Education, AACTE, ASCD, and the National Association of Community Colleges with Teacher Education Programs (NACTEP).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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