Seed grants fund education research projects with social science roots


Erik Ketcherside

This semester, four Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College researchers are utilizing grants awarded by the Institute for Social Science Research at Arizona State University. The projects they submitted to ISSR were recognized for having particular significance to the social sciences, with the potential to benefit communities through contributions beyond education research.

ISSR provides semester-long seed grants to faculty members seeking external funding for projects in the social sciences, no matter which ASU college or center they work from, says institute director H. Russell Bernard. “Many of the big problems today require collaboration across the medical sciences, the physical and biological sciences, the social sciences and engineering,” Bernard says. “ASU’s emphasis on collaborative work across disciplines is exactly what’s needed to understand these complex problems and to develop solutions.”

ISSR awarded fall 2018 seed grants to MLFTC assistant professors Katie Bernstein, Jeongeun Kim, Keon McGuire and Andrea Weinberg.

Assistant Professor Katie Bernstein

Katie Bernstein: “Discourse as destiny in dual language education? A multi-scalar ethnography of language policy”

Two-way, dual-language immersion programs in U.S. schools are increasingly popular with parents who hope they provide students with a competitive edge in a globalizing world. Many language scholars worry that these programs perpetuate existing educational inequities by failing to meet the needs of language minority students. At a moment when TWI programs are rapidly expanding, their adoption has the potential to shape the future of bilingual education in general. Bernstein’s project will explore whether differences in TWI program rationale — equity for language minority students versus global citizenship for all — produce different practices, understandings and learning at the classroom level and among students and their parents.

Video: Katie Bernstein talks about the benefits of dual-language learning

Assistant Professor Jeongeun Kim

Jeongeun Kim: “The Relationship Between Educational Quality and Career Outcomes for Science and Technology PhDs”

There are more 35,000 PhD graduates in the science and engineering fields every year, receiving their diplomas from more than 400 universities in the U.S., and that number is growing. So are concerns over the quality of their doctoral education and whether PhD programs are adequately serving students, their potential employers and our society. Yet Kim notes that there is little empirical data concerning how PhD training contributes to scientists’ job placement, or to why doctoral degree holders in science and engineering decide to move across occupational sectors. Kim will use her grant to fund preliminary analysis for a study of PhD graduates in science and engineering using data from the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about the career choices of engineering students

Assistant Professor Keon McGuire

Keon McGuire: “The Lived Experiences of Black Muslim students attending a Predominantly White Institution”

Digital media empower the sharing of experiences of racism and Islamophobia among black Muslims, such as using the hashtag #BeingBlackandMuslim. There has been a concurrent growth in studies of the experiences of spiritually and religiously minoritized populations. Within higher education research, however, there is as yet little literature about the experiences of black Muslim college students. McGuire’s study (with former MLFTC faculty associate Saskias Casanova, now of UC Santa Cruz) poses the questions: 1) How do black Muslim college students construct their identities as black and Muslim; 2) How are their educational experiences shaped by race, gender, immigration status and religion; and 3) How do students experience and respond to discriminatory behavior based on their identities.

Learn more about Keon McGuire’s research

Assistant Professor Andrea Weinberg

Andrea Weinberg: “Roles and Self-efficacy of teachers and education professionals in collectively-taught elementary setting”

Studies show that the most influential school-based determinant of student success is an effective teacher. As she examines America’s critical shortage of pre-K–12 teachers, Weinberg notes polls of educators that reveal the leading source of teacher turnover to be voluntary, pre-retirement attrition, and she points to a negative correlation between teacher self-efficacy and teacher attrition. Weinberg intends her study to accelerate a research agenda with three goals: 1) Understand the roles of teacher candidates within an innovative elementary education model; 2) Explore correlations between roles teachers assume and perceptions of efficacy; and 3) Solidify relationships within a developing research-practitioner partnership.

Learn more about teacher self-efficacy