Thursday, March 1, 2012
University of Iowa College of Education Dean Margaret S. Crocco
Margaret S. Crocco

Fifteen University of Iowa faculty members received support to fund research projects that represent educational research at its best: “critical, purposeful, and solutions-oriented,” according to UI College of Education Dean and Professor Margaret S. Crocco.

Thanks to a partnership between the UI College of Education Office of the Dean and the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP), faculty received increased support of their research through the College of Education Research Fund. The fund now provides up to $1,000 per year with up to $500 coming from ITP. Prior to the partnership, the awards were up to $500 total.

University of iowa Iowa Testing Programs Director Stephen B. Dunbar
Stephen B. Dunbar

ITP Director Stephen B. Dunbar, the Hieronymus-Feldt Professor in Educational Measurement, says the range of research proposals this year is a “testament to the breadth and quality of research in the College of Education.”

Crocco says she was able to fund awards in all four of the college’s departments and to professors of all ranks.

“The research represents a fascinating mix of topics, from the history of Black Catholic education in the South to the educational needs of immigrants and their families,” Crocco says. “The awards signify the vitality of our faculty’s research efforts, their engagement with communities far and near, and attention to timely social issues such as inequality.”

Crocco says she hopes increasing the awards will stimulate more research activity in the college, “especially research that is significant to solving educational problems wherever they are found.”

Awardees include the following:

Saba Ali, associate professor of counseling psychology, for Project HOPE (Health Science Occupations, Preparation and Exploration). This project provides middle school and high school students in rural Iowa with information about careers in the health sciences and encourages them to set educational and career goals.

Betsy Altmaier, professor of counseling psychology, for her research on the impact of cancer on family psychosocial well-being. Her study focuses on the influence of three variables: optimism, religiosity, and communication patterns on the quality of life of patients, their spouses, and their adolescent children.

David Bills, professor in the Schools, Culture, and Society Program, for his project, “The Face of Inequality: Brazil in the late 20th Century,” a book he will co-edit with a scholar from the University of Wisconsin.

Allison Bruhn, assistant professor of special education, for her project, “Examining the Effects of an Integrated Reading and Behavioral Intervention,” which will study the impact of using a well-known reading intervention program in tandem with a behavioral intervention with middle school students.

Mary Cohen, assistant professor of music education, for her project, “Who Needs Music? Establishing the Extent of Music Programs across the U.S. Prison System,” a book about secular prison music programs.

Carolyn Colvin, associate professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program, for her project, “Building School and Community Partnerships with Immigrant Parents,” which builds on an ongoing partnership between the College of Education and West Liberty, Iowa.

David Duys, associate professor of counselor education and supervision, for his project, “Cognitive Complexity and Information Processing for Counselors in Training,” which examines the relationship between counselors’ cognitive complexity and their information processing styles.

Kathryn Gerken, associate professor of school psychology, for her project, “Mental Health Needs among Regular Education High School Students in Iowa,” which seeks to identify needs and suggest methods for change in Iowa schools.

Soonhye Park, associate professor of science education, for the “Development of the Survey-Type Measure of Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for Teaching High School Biology.” The funds will go toward rewarding teachers who participate in a survey to measure their PCK.

Lia Plakans, assistant professor of foreign language/ESL education, with Ann Marie Garcia Santos, clinical assistant professor of school psychology, for their “Migrant Education Research Agenda,” which they are pursuing with a team of graduate students.

"The research represents a fascinating mix of topics, from the history of Black Catholic education in the South to the educational needs of immigrants and their families."
Margaret S. Crocco

Katrina Sanders, associate professor in the Schools, Culture, and Society Program, for “The Rise and Fall of Black Catholic Education,” which studies the establishment and subsequent dismantling of three black Catholic schools in Louisiana.

Bonnie Sunstein, professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program, for her project “I Eat What You Grow: A High School Partnership of Distance, Geometry and Writing,” which links students and teachers in rural Iowa and urban Massachusetts.

Pamela Wesely, assistant professor in foreign language/ESL Education, for “Second Language Teachers and Web 2.0 in the Classroom,” the second phase of a study about K-12 teachers’ use of interactive Internet resources such as blogs, Twitter, and social networking.

Suzanne Woods-Groves, assistant professor of special education, for “An Investigation of the Concurrent Validity of the Human Behavior Rating Scale: Brief Form.” The funds will allow her to examine the efficacy of the instrument she created for use as a school-wide screener to identify K-12 students at-risk for behavioral and academic problems.