Tag Archive | "School of Education and Human Development"

UM Hosts Black Graduate Psychology Conference


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


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


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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University Hosts The Melissa Institute’s 20th Annual Conference: ‘The Dangers and Promises of Social Media’

The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, in partnership with University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development, will present its 20th annual conference on Friday, May 6 on a timely and important topic: “The Dangers and Promises of Social Media and Computer Technology for Children, Youth, and Their Families: A Call to Action.”

Leading experts on The Melissa Institute’s scientific board will share their research and experiences along with the challenges and potential benefits of electronic social media in the 21st century from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Newman Alumni Center, 6200 San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables.

The conference will focus on the effects of social media and computer technology on children, youth, and their families in hopes of raising awareness about the potential benefits of social media in enhancing educational practice and well-being.

To register, visit The Melissa Institute website, or call 305-284-2930.




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UM Awarded Grant to Improve Mental Health


UM Awarded Grant to Improve Mental Health

By Barbara Guiterrez
UM News


Daniel Santisteban

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (March 16, 2016)—The Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center (CEW) at the School of Education and Human Development has received a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida to help several community partners improve their assessment and treatment of underserved clients with mental health issues.

“There is much to improve in the treatment of individuals who are most in need of quality counseling services for mental health and behavioral issues,” said UM Professor Daniel Santisteban, who heads the CEW. “We can and must do better for the most vulnerable in our community. This grant will allow us to work in a collaborative network. By focusing on evidence-based practices and the direct involvement of frontline providers, I believe we will.”

Through the $150,000 grant, the CEW will establish a practice improvement network with Banyan Health Systems, the Institute for Child and Family Health, and Camillus Health Concerns. The goal is to build the capacity of these health care organizations to provide evidence-based services for underserved populations.

The project is important, says Santisteban, because, although many innovative and effective evidence-based treatments in the areas of health promotion, mental health, and drug abuse have been developed through research, these treatments often fail to reach the frontlines of practice—falling short of the desired impact.

Within the network, the partners will work collaboratively to improve the access, quality, and sustainability of services for those who are typically vulnerable and hardest hit by individual, family, and community-level risk factors. The team will then identify, design, and select new evidence-based treatments and fund training opportunities for frontline service providers.

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