Five faculty members promoted


Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley has been promoted to professor in the Education Policy and Evaluation Department of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Her research agenda includes educational policy and measurement, research methods and, more specifically, high-stakes tests and value-added methodologies. As a former math teacher, Amrein-Beardsley understands accountability firsthand. She has researched consequences of high-stakes testing and the statistical reliability and validity of value-added models, or VAMS, used to evaluate teachers and policies associated with accountability. Amrein-Beardsley is nationally recognized as an expert on VAMs, and contributes to educational research practices and to national, state and local VAM policy.

Her blog, VAMboozled, has more than 15,000 subscribers who stay current on research, policies and public interest stories surrounding VAMs thanks to her multiple posts per week. Her research interests include: the intended and unintended consequences associated with using VAMs to hold teachers accountable for student test scores; how schools, districts and states evaluate teachers; and how academics can make research more usable and accessible to educators throughout educational systems to inform research-based and research-informed practice.

Sarup Mathur has been promoted to professor after being continuously affiliated with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College since 1992 when she earned her doctorate. Mathur was hired as a faculty member in 2002 and was tenured in 2010. She is nationally recognized for her work in the field of emotional and behavioral disorders. Currently, she is the principal investigator of Project RISE, funded by the Office of Special Education Programs and focusing on transitions of youth released from secure care to schools, jobs and communities. She is the co-investigator of a project providing professional learning experiences to Indian teacher educators who completed a three-month residency program at ASU and are adapting new strategies to Indian contexts and enhancing the capabilities of India's teachers.

Mathur's research interests include special education with a focus on emotional and behavioral issues and interventions. She has authored or co-authored numerous articles on topics related to professional development of teachers, effective strategies for children with emotional and behavioral disorders and transition and re-entry of juvenile offenders. Her research activities are on teacher education, professional learning and interventions for children and youth with behavioral issues.

Michelle Jordan has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Her interdisciplinary research agenda focuses on uncertainty in peer interaction and collaboration between students, students and teachers or work teams in education settings. Jordan examines how peers experience, express and manage uncertainty as they engage in collaborative problem solving. She is particularly interested in the role that sense-making and improvisation play in these processes in which people make interpretations and take actions to solve complex problems.

Jordan is currently researching how middle school students navigate communication challenges in engineering design projects. Additionally, she is studying how preservice teachers design collaborative instructional projects for their students.

Janel White-Taylor has been promoted to clinical associate professor. Her primary role is coordinating the education studies program and teaching technology integration and service learning courses. White-Taylor is a technologist who teaches and coaches students at all levels. In addition to teaching at ASU, she works with educational institutions around the country integrating and infusing technology into educational spaces. She actively works with students and nonprofit organizations developing and designing projects and programs, researching funding sources, implementing funding strategies and marketing and managing programs.

Her research and creative interests include creating and developing innovative, technology-infused, hands-on programs for schools and communities, particularly Title I schools in majority minority areas.

Photini Spanias has been promoted to principal lecturer. She has been teaching at ASU since 1996. Before arriving at ASU as a student, she was an elementary school teacher for five years in Cyprus, Greece. Spanias teaches math methods classes for elementary, bilingual and special education majors, as well as all other elementary mathematics courses. The classes are technology-infused with great emphasis on problem solving and STEM education.

Spanias is an honors faculty member with Barrett, the Honors College. She advises honors students enrolled in her courses for honors credit, or who work on math-related honors thesis projects. She works closely with other faculty on a "100K in 10" fellowship on STEM education, as well as with the iTeachELLs team.