May 2019 Newsletter

Third Annual Give Day Breaks School of Education Records

Thanks to an outpouring of support from alumni, staff, faculty and friends, Give Day 2019 was a huge success! Overall, UC Davis raised over $2 million from more than 4,400 gifts. The School of Education had a record-breaking year with over $23,000 raised from more than 70 gifts. Give Day gifts will provide scholarship support to our PhD, EdD and Teaching Credential/Master’s students, programmatic support for a number of community outreach programs, including the Center for Community and Citizen Science and the Transformative Justice in Education Center, as well as discretionary funds for the School’s most pressing needs. We are grateful for your support and investment in the School of Education and our students!

Forgot to make your gift? It’s not too late! Give Day may be over, but you can still be counted. Give on our website.

School of Education Researchers Attend AERA Annual Meeting in Toronto

Group of researchers pose for a photo at AERALast month, nearly 50 faculty members, graduate students and other researchers from the School of Education attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in Toronto, Canada. The AERA Annual Meeting is the world’s largest conference for education researchers and a gathering place for groundbreaking, innovative studies in a variety of research areas. (For instance, read about Professor Kevin Gee’s new student absenteeism study he previewed at the AERA Annual Meeting in this Education Week blog.) We were excited to connect with School of Education alumni and friends in Toronto, and we can’t wait to see everyone next year!

New Wheelhouse Brief Highlights Forgone Community College Financial Aid

Wheelhouse logo imageThe Pell Grant is vital for almost half a million low-income California community college students, but one in five students who are eligible aren’t receiving the much- needed funds they deserve.

Why do Some Students Fail to Receive Pell Grants? Survey Evidence from California Community College Financial Aid Directors,” a new research brief from Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, outlines the obstacles students are facing and how to increase access. The brief reports that many community college students are not aware they are eligible for substantial financial aid, and that the Pell Grant “verification” process presents a significant barrier. Students are also sometimes counseled to decline their Pell Grants, and aid offices may be using ineffective means of  communication. Read more about the issues these students are facing in the new brief.


Portrait of Tony AlbanoWe are excited to welcome Dr. Tony Albano to the School of Education faculty as an Associate Professor of Assessment and Measurement starting July 1, 2019. Albano is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska. His research interests include three main areas within the field of educational and psychological measurement: scaling, multilevel modeling and assessment development. In addition to teaching courses in advanced statistical methods, Albano has worked extensively to educate students and practitioners in educational measurement—writing an online textbook, creating online training modules for educators in both K-12 and higher education, and winning a teaching award at the University of Nebraska. He has also been awarded an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant as Co-PI and has published widely, including with his students. We look forward to having Dr. Albano at the School of Education!

Portrait of Darnel DegandProfessor Darnel Degand, alongside other researchers at UC Davis, CSU Sacramento and American River
College, has been awarded a $500,000 grant to explore more engaging ways to introduce students to engineering. A common complaint is that the first two years of engineering education are too abstract and students are unable to feel a connection between what
they are learning and what a career in the discipline is like. Disillusioned students leave early in the curriculum, and underrepresented groups are disproportionately affected. “Improving Retention in Engineering: E-Games for Active Training in Engineering Design” proposes to provide scalable, meaningful exposure to engineering design to lower division students by creating online game modules. The grant is being awarded by the California Education Learning Lab, a program focused on increasing learning outcomes and closing equity and achievement gaps in STEM. Learn more about the project here.

Portrait of Megan WelshCongratulations to Professor Megan Welsh on receiving this year’s Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students. This campus-wide honor is conferred annually by graduate students from the UC Davis Graduate Student Association. Welsh was chosen to receive this award for her strong commitment to graduate students’ academic achievement and personal well-being. She was publicly recognized earlier this month at the Graduate Student Association General Assembly meeting. We are lucky to have such a supportive mentor at the School of Education!

Faculty Spotlight: Marcela Cuellar

Portrait of Marcela CuellarFor Professor Marcela Cuellar, examining the transformative power of education has been a lifelong passion. “My parents moved to Oxnard, a coastal California town, in the late 1970s to work in the strawberry fields,” said Cuellar. “As the youngest of six children, in addition to Spanish, I learned English from my siblings and had a different trajectory because of it.” Cuellar was accepted to multiple schools, eventually choosing Stanford University. “Stanford was a different world than Oxnard,” she said. “When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to help other students, especially students from my own community, have access to an education in the way that I had.” She eventually went on to earn her PhD in Education with a specialization in higher education and organizational change from UCLA.

Cuellar has been an Assistant Professor at the School of Education since 2014. Her current research examines student experiences and outcomes at Hispanic Serving Institutions, which are institutions where at least 25 percent of undergraduates identify as Latinx. “For me, higher education was a transformative experience,” she said. “Grades matter and degrees matter, but there’s so much more to an education. I hope my research makes sure that we don’t lose sight of that.” Learn more about her in this new faculty spotlight.


The School of Education Welcomes Hardeep Gulati to the Board of Advisors

Portrait of Hardeep GulatiWe are pleased to welcome Hardeep Gulati, Chief Executive Officer of PowerSchool Group, LLC, as the newest member of the School of Education’s Board of Advisors. Gulati is an innovative leader and executive with more than two decades of experience leading
software businesses. His passion for education and proven expertise in guiding companies through periods of growth have been instrumental to PowerSchool’s success. PowerSchool is proud to be the leading
provider of K-12 education application technology supporting over 45 million students in more than 70 countries. Under Gulati’s leadership, PowerSchool has introduced award-winning, integrated classroom solutions and made a lasting impact on the future of K-12 education. He has been named Education Technology CEO of the Year and one of the Top 100 Influencers in EdTech by EdTech Digest. Learn more about Gulati and the Board of Advisors on our website.

Board of Advisors Chair Davis Campbell Publishes New Book on School Governance

Book cover for The Governance CoreDavis Campbell, chair of the School of Education’s Board of Advisors and former Executive Director of the California School Boards Association, recently co- authored a new book with educational researcher Michael Fullan focused on educational leadership and governance. The Governance Core provides strategies and tools for board members, superintendents and school leaders to unify and face the complex challenges of school governance together. Learn more about Campbell’s new publication here.


Annual Emerging Scholars Panel Returns

Tracey T. FloresThe School of Education and the Graduate Group in Education will host the annual Emerging Scholars Panel on Tuesday, May 7, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., in Meeting Room D, UC Davis Student Community Center. This special panel will showcase critical, diverse disciplinary perspectives in education from exceptional pre-tenure scholars across the nation.

This year’s presenters are Tracey T. Flores, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin; Jameson David Lopez, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona; and Tia Madkins, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about the event on our website.

Students Present at Undergraduate Research Conference

Undergraduate student poses next to her research poster at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research ConferenceOn April 26, undergraduate education minors and undergraduates working in School of Education labs presented their research posters at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference. Congratulations to these hard-working students! Check out photos from the event on our website.

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