Selected Faculty Research: In their own words
Leonard Baca, EdD
My research has been in two main areas: bilingual teacher education and bilingual special education. I have just completed a five-year longitudinal study on bilingual teacher training for the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) at the University of California at Santa Cruz. This study included a large national survey and 10 in-depth case studies in states with large numbers of English language learners. A book manuscript for this project is under preparation.
Ruben Donato, PhD
My research endeavors have brought me a long way from my previous work on “The Other Struggle for Equal Schools: Mexican Americans during the Civil Rights Era.” Most of the literature on the educational history of Mexican Americans focuses on California and Texas. This led me to my current interest: The Educational histories of Mexicans and Hispanos in Colorado from 1920 to 1960.
Elizabeth Dutro, PhD
My interest in the relationship between the social identities of gender, race and class and people’s uses of reading and writing grew from my masters’ work in English literature and my desire to draw on the theories that inform critical, poststructuralist and feminist literary criticism to explore children’s experiences with official and unofficial literacy practices. My interest in children’s literacy grew from my experiences as an elementary teacher and my observations of how children used reading and writing to position themselves socially and intellectually, even as school literacy practices worked to position them in ways that had very real social and academic consequences.
Margaret A. Eisenhart, PhD
My research is in the subfield of educational anthropology. In general, I study patterns of culture, social interaction, and identity formation that affect academic performance, primarily in the U.S. For the past 10 years I have directed afterschool science and technology outreach and research projects with Denver-area Latina and African-American middle and high school girls. These programs use insights and data gained from my previous work on girls and women in science, along with on-going data collection in the local community, to inform development of science and technology activity units that can attract and sustain the interest of girls in this community.
Kathy Escamilla, PhD
My research interests’ center on educational issues related to Spanish speaking language minority students in U.S. public schools. Four major areas of my research interests include: (1) language and literacy acquisition of Spanish speaking students in bilingual programs; ( 2) sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts of classrooms and schools with large numbers of Spanish speaking students, including research on teacher preparation to understand how it affects program implementation and impact on schools; (3) acquisition of literacy in Spanish including the reconstruction of English reading programs into Spanish.; and (4) the impact of high-stakes testing on students who are learning English as a second language.
Kenneth R. Howe, PhD
I have an ongoing interest in the principle of equality of educational opportunity and its role in social justice. I have analyzed the concept of equal educational opportunity across a variety of educational policy issues, such as multicultural education, gender equity, testing and standards, separatism, and school choice.
Ben Kirshner, PhD
I am especially interested in settings where urban youth work together with adults to change systemic inequalities through school reform, action research, and community change projects. Programs like these seek to empower students who have traditionally been marginalized from political participation. The way that young people are positioned socially in these groups contrasts sharply with typical public schools, in which these youth are rarely engaged in decision-making or their voices heard in policy discourse.
Margaret D. LeCompte, PhD
The two separate strands of my research are epistemological and methodological issues in educational research, and problems of school success and failure, both at the individual and organizational level. I have been interested in how problems of education are posed and how they can be solved most effectively, and in how communities, scholars, and educators can work collaboratively to address issues jointly identified as significant in contemporary education. I also have investigated how schools fail to serve children who do not “fit the mold,” whether they are of color, from language minority backgrounds, have divergent talents and interests not rewarded in public schools, or are culturally different from the mainstream.
Michele S. Moses, PhD
My research centers on issues of educational equality and social justice within education policies related to diversity and poverty, such as affirmative action and welfare-to-work policy. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of the political debates over race-conscious policies like affirmative action that profoundly affect meaningful opportunities for higher education, I am currently examining the nature of persistent moral disagreement over controversial education policies in the United States, as well as the relationship between moral disagreement and theories of justice. I am concerned also with recent ballot initiatives aimed to curtail affirmative action programs, such as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, and am investigating how educational researchers might be able to better inform voters on such initiatives and whether ballot initiatives are a just way to make education policy, especially when it comes to issues important to people of color.