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

Making Math Add Up

Leah Rineck loves mathematics and loves teaching mathematics.

Rineck, a doctoral student in the School of Education’s urban doctoral program, is also a senior lecturer in the mathematical sciences department. Last year, she was honored with the Academic Staff Outstanding Teaching Award, based on her work in improving the way developmental mathematics is taught at UWM.

“If you understand mathematics, you’re going to have better career choices. It’s going to open doors for you,” says Rineck. “If we tell students they need mathematics to get their degree, it’s our obligation to help students be prepared in mathematics.”

She is part of a mathematics team that introduced innovative techniques to help students who came to UWM not ready for college-level mathematics. That program has helped reduce the time these students spend in noncredit courses, and improved their mathematics abilities to the point where some are even pursuing additional, advanced courses.

Read MoreMaking Math Add Up

Checking in on School Behavior

The challenge of teaching a classroom of students is magnified when some students are disruptive or not paying attention. David Klingbeil’s research aims to ease that burden by helping schools help students improve their behavior and academic results.

Klingbeil is in the midst of a project with Milwaukee Public Schools, where he’s studying a modified version of the popular Check-In/Check-Out program, or CICO.

“It’s an intervention for students who demonstrate mild problem behaviors,” says Klingbeil, an assistant professor of educational psychology in UWM’s School of Education.

Read More: Checking in on School Behavior

Teaching Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Second-grade public school classrooms are often modern-day melting pots. One desk may belong to a Burmese boy whose family spent time in a refugee camp. Sitting at another may be a girl whose first language is Spanish, while behind a third desk is a girl from Somalia. They are there to learn alongside students from Latino, Caucasian, African-American and Asian families that have been in the United States for generations.

Teachers must respect each child’s cultural strengths while promoting academic achievement and well-being. To help them, UWM’s School of Education has formed a partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools to study and support culturally responsive teaching.

UWM is working with 12 schools to instruct current and aspiring teachers how to best engage diverse learners. The project’s principal investigators are Donna L. Pasternak, professor of English education, and Kristen Taylor, director of UWM’s Office of Clinical Experiences.

Read More: Teaching Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Youngsters Learn to Read and Empathize

Learning that reading can be fun is a good lesson for toddlers. How can a little lesson on recognizing one’s feelings or on empathy add value to the experience?

That’s the question that Karen Stoiber, professor of educational psychology, and group of her graduate students in school psychology are exploring with youngsters in the Next Door Head Start program.

Project BRIGHT (Book Reading to Improve Growth and High Quality Teaching) started during Head Start’s summer session in 2017, and is continuing this academic year. One or two graduate students come to a Next Door classroom for 60 to 75 minutes each day – at a time convenient to the teacher — to read to the children in small groups of one to four children. The graduate students act as early literacy facilitators with preschool children ages 3 to 5 years.

One of the key goals of the project is to promote children’s learning of key early literacy concepts like letter naming, vocabulary words, and awareness of phonics. With only 10 percent of children in urban areas such as Milwaukee reading proficiently by third grade, building a strong foundation in these skills is vital, according to Stoiber.

Read More: Youngsters Learn to Read and Empathize

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