The Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Engaged Scholarship in the School of Education (SOE) is committed to supporting an inclusive environment for collaborative inquiry for faculty, students, and staff. The primary goal of the office is to strengthen research by: (1) Supporting and facilitating the submission, acquisition, and management of extramural grants; (2) Identifying new research opportunities; (3) Encouraging and supporting collaborative research; and (4) Facilitating partnerships among faculty and researchers both within the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, as well as non-University individuals and organizations.

We work with researchers at each step of the proposal and award process including:

  • Finding funding opportunities.
  • Developing and submitting grant proposals and contracts.
  • Building partnership opportunities with school districts, community agencies, and other entities.
  • Managing awards.
  • Working with other research units across the campus, including the Graduate School and the Business office.

In 2013, the SOE faculty received over 3.3 million dollars in extramural funding. Faculty members seeking research support services from my office should access the Research Support webpage.

Additionally, the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Engaged Scholarship is responsible for doctoral education in the School of Education. We currently have two Doctoral programs: Educational Psychology and Urban Education. We strive to recruit top graduate students from around the world and prepare them for successful careers in academia, industry and the public sector after graduation.

High Impact Research

Avatars Teach Students About Teaching

“No students were harmed in the making of this teacher.”

If the TeachLive program had a motto, that might be it.

TeachLive is an interactive computer and human-facilitated simulation of a classroom with five avatars who behave as typical middle or high-school students. The goal is to help potential teachers learn how to improve their skills, and to better prepare them to teach real students in a real classroom.

Basically, says Craig Berg, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the program lets students learning to become teachers try out their lesson plans in a controlled environment – with a limited number of simulated students, who respond to a teacher’s questions, ask the teacher questions, make comments to the teacher and fellow students, and also display various levels of misbehaving.

The program isn’t meant to replace clinical experiences in real classrooms, says Berg, but to help students develop basic skills and techniques early in their education, in a controlled, less chaotic, less complex environment.

Read More: Avatars Teach Students About Teaching

Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program

The need for increased literacy opportunities in the Milwaukee area is urgent. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress only 15% of 4th grade Milwaukee Public School students are proficient in reading. In an effort to address this need, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Schools were awarded an Investing in Innovations (i3) grant from the Department of Education to implement the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project, also known as the SPARK (Spheres of Proud Achievement in Reading for Kids) Program.

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students are selected to participate in SPARK for two years and receive one-on-one tutoring, access to literacy-focused after-school, and parents are provided opportunities to be engaged in the literacy development of their children.

The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee is conducting an independent evaluation of SPARK. Through a randomized control design, the evaluation is able to isolate the impact of SPARK on reading achievement by comparing the achievement growth of randomly selected participants with control students.

The results from the first cohort of students that completed SPARK are promising. SPARK was found to have a significant impact on the overall reading achievement of “early reader” participants. Although SPARK had an impact on several components of literacy development it had its largest impact on the phonics development of students. The results suggest that SPARK may represent one resource that the Milwaukee Public Schools could use to help improve the literacy proficiency of its students.

Read More: Research Report – Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program: Findings from the First Cohort (PDF)

Research Brief – Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program: Interim Findings from the Second Cohort (PDF)

Research Evaluation Consulting

The primary mission of the Consulting Office for Research and Evaluation (CORE) is to assist others with the design and analyses associated with research or evaluation projects.

CORE is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking help with their: research design, evaluation design, statistical analysis, instrument/survey development, psychometric analyses, data processing and database design, statistical and analytical software training. To learn more, visit the Consulting Office for Research and Evaluation (CORE) webpage.

Community Engagement

Faculty in the SOE are engaged in a number of projects in the Greater Milwaukee community The established partnerships with the urban community address such issues as:

  1. Culturally Responsive Curriculum
  2. Parental Involvement
  3. Adjustment to Immigrant Families
  4. Academic Achievement
  5. Race Relations
  6. Transition to College
  7. Digital Histories

A partial list of some of the schools, school districts and nonprofit organizations where research teams from the School of Education are present in the community include:

State of Wisconsin – Department of Public InstructionMedical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS)Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Brown Deer School DistrictCity of Milwaukee – Office of the District Attorney
Shorewood School DistrictMilwaukee Journal Sentinel
Greendale School DistrictMilwaukee Public Library
Racine Unified School DistrictNext Door Milwaukee
Milwaukee Area Technical CollegeEducare Milwaukee
United Community CenterLa Casa Esperanza
Silver Spring Community CenterCouncil for the Spanish Speaking
Walnut Way OrganizationJourney House
Urban Ecology CenterBoys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee