General information

2020: Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

General School News

Addressing the challenges of emergent COVID-19: In early 2020, the School of Education and other institutions worldwide were impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time presented many challenges, including making the switch to remote learning. Highlights of the School’s actions during this time included:

  • Remote Learning: Moved all instruction online effective Spring Quarter 2020, and transitioned all staff to remote work.

  • Emergency Fund: With support from a generous donor, established a $20,000 student emergency fund to assist School of Education students facing financial crises related to the pandemic.

  • Teaching Credential Candidates: Our teaching credential candidates were directly impacted by K–12 school districts transitioning to remote instruction. We worked with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to understand options for program completion and with our students to ensure they could complete their requirements and begin their teaching careers as soon as possible.

  • Master’s Degree Students: The graduating cohort of master’s degree students in teacher education were able to complete their requirements in Winter Quarter 2019, and presented their final research at the Master’s Symposium on March 7, 2020. This was the last public event the School was able to hold before shelter-in-place orders were established, and we followed hand sanitizer and no-handshake protocols. 

  • California’s Education Leaders: Several of the School’s research centers transitioned to virtual professional development for California’s principals, superintendents and community college presidents. Our College Opportunity Programs staff worked with local school districts on ways to improve or enhance their remote learning capabilities.

  • Virtual Commencement: Conducted our first-ever entirely remote graduation with a recorded message from Dean Lauren Lindstrom.

Additionally, School of Education researchers began investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the field of education. Among other initiatives, Prof. Michal Kurlaender and Dr. Sherrie Reed partnered with the California Student Aid Commission to conduct one of the largest surveys in the nation to gauge the impact of the pandemic on our college population and help guide response moving forward. 

Quarter at Aggie Square: Aggie Square—the new UC Davis innovation center in Sacramento—announced its first year of curriculum for undergraduates in fall–winter 2020–21, and School of Education Prof. Margarita Jiménez-Silva, Prof. Maisha Winn and Prof. Lawrence (Torry) Winn were announced as leaders of the new Quarter at Aggie Square Experiences. These new “Experiences” will be a cohort model in which undergraduate participants’ entire course of study for the quarter will be within the program. 

Each Experience incorporates 13 to 18 units, including internships or research, as well as community outreach opportunities.

“Transformative Justice Studies in Sacramento,” an Experience co-led by Winn, Winn, Dr. Vajra Watson and Prof. Orly Clerge, built on long-standing relationships with community educational organizations in Sacramento to address issues of social justice. “Multilingual Education for California”—an Experience co-led by Jiménez-Silva and Prof. Agustina Carando, aimed at forming a cohort of Spanish-English bilingual K-12 teachers and advocates in light of the Global California 2030 initiative, which calls for half of all K-12 students to participate in programs leading to proficiency in two or more languages by 2030.

Prof. Maisha Winn Named Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Instruction: Dr. Winn, who is the co-director of the Transformative Justice in Education research center, was also named top 200 education scholars in the U.S., according to the 2020 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings published by American Enterprise Institute director of education policy studies and Education Week blogger Frederick M. Hess. Additionally, National Basketball Association franchise the Sacramento Kings named her a “Dream All-Star” for contributions to the local Black community.

CANDEL Program Joins the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Consortium: The School of Education’s doctorate in educational leadership (CANDEL) program was selected to become a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Consortium. CPED is a network of faculty, administrators and practitioners representing more than 100 EdD programs across the nation. The consortium is committed to working together in order to better understand the needs of PK-20 leadership and prioritize the development of EdD programs.

In other news:

  • Jennifer Martinez joined the School as Senior Director of Development.
  • Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research welcomed Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez as Wheelhouse’s Chancellor in Residence for 2020. 
  • We launched our Expanding Equity in Education Speaker series. The first two events featured experts on speculative civil literacies and addressing bias in research on higher education.
  • PhD student Yared Portillo named a 2020 Mellon Public Scholar.
  • Long-time School of Education lecturer and supervisor Beth Foraker, ’86, Cred. ’87 has played a key role in securing a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create an inclusive, four-year college program for students with intellectual disabilities at UC Davis, called Redwood SEED.
  • New Dean’s Board of Advisors members were appouinted: Davis Joint Unified School District Superintendent John Bowes and Jennifer L. Johnson, who currently serves as Vice President of Government Relations for Calbright College.
  • The School received $50,000 gifts from both PowerSchool Inc. and Microsoft to remodel one of our classrooms as part of our Classroom Improvement Project.

Faculty News

  • Associate Dean and Prof. Cynthia Carter Ching chosen to serve as interim vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education for UC Davis.
  • Dean Lauren Lindstrom received a Distinguished Researcher Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Special and Inclusive Education Special Interest Group.
  • Prof. Michal Kurlaender elected into the National Academy of Education.
  • Prof. Megan Welsh named a 2019­–2020 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow
  • Prof. Elizabeth Montaño named Chair of the CANDEL Program.
  • Prof. Darnel Degand and Prof. Nicole Sparapani named 2020 Hellman Fellows. The Hellman Fellows Fund provides research support to promising faculty members when they need it most, in the early stages of their careers.
  • Prof. Margarita Jimenez-Silva an inaugural UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 
  • Prof. Danny C. Martinez appointed Chair of the Graduate Group in Education for a three-year period. 


School of Education researchers were awarded a variety of funding awards in 2020. Here are just a few:

Prof. Margarita Jimenez-Silva named a co-principal investigator on a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning program.

Prof. Marcela Cuellar named program evaluator for the first federal HSI grant received by UC Davis, included among two National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $1 million.

Prof. Tony Albano named a co-principal investigator on a $1 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research titled “Rebalancing the Equity Gap in Chemistry Education with Individualized Adaptive Learning.” 

Prof. Cassandra Hart received a Spencer Foundation Grant to explore  COVID-19 Impacts on community colleges.

Resourcing Excellence in Education (REEd) received a grant to support the ESSA Leadership Learning Community, a national partnership of the Council of Great City Schools, Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Urban League, funded by the Wallace Foundation.

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