Fall 2012 - School of Education Faculty, Graduate Students Make Major Contributions to Regional Research Meeting

Pace University School of Education had an impressive showing at the recent meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA), which convened from October 17-19 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Esteemed School of Education faculty and Pace graduate students presented several papers and played various roles at this major regional education research conference, centered on “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Educational Research.”

“Research is a major aspect of the Pace University School of Education’s mission, vision and identity,” said Andrea (Penny) Spencer, PhD, Dean of the School of Education. “The expertise represented and the scope of papers at NERA speaks to our rich diversity, experience, and commitment to uniting pedagogy, theory and best practices. These activities ultimately all help us prepare educators who create caring classrooms and school communities and enable all students to be successful learners.”

Brian Evans, EdD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department at the Pace New York City campus, participated in several aspects of the conference. He presented a paper, “Problem Solving Abilities and Perceptions in Alternative Certification Mathematics Teachers,” during a discussion of issues facing mathematics teachers.  He also served as the discussant for a session focused on “The Pre-Service Teacher,” which touched on a multitude of professional and cultural issues surrounding the preparation of teachers.

Christine Clayton, EdD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department at the Pleasantville campus, also presented in “Research Methods to Inform Educational Policy and Practice,” a relevant topic in a time so focused on exploring different avenues of educational reform and evaluation.

Pace students also participated at the NERA conference. Francine Falk-Ross, PhD, Professor and Childhood Literacy Program Coordinator for the School of Education, presented papers with three Pace graduate students, Holly Bukofser, PhD, ’12, Doctoral candidate Jenny Sora, ABD, and MSEd Candidate Ann Garland. This was a special opportunity for these School of Education graduates and degree candidates to receive feedback on manuscripts that will be defended and eventually published, as well as to reflect overall on the use of new literacies applications in teaching in the classroom setting.

“As the need for teachers to be more accountable for their work in the classroom and to consider social justice themes, the importance of classroom research and the opportunity to share their findings through conference participation gains importance,” said Dr. Falk-Ross. "All three students represented Pace University well. "

Sora presented “Evaluating the Impact of an Education Technology Facilitator’s Role in a Technology Integration Grant Project” in a paper discussion on the various roles of technology in education.  Bukofser presented “The Impact of One-to-One Netbooks: Student Achievement and Teacher practice in a Bilingual Fourth-Grade Classroom” during a presentation on improving student learning. In a discussion of the student experience, Garland contributed “Podcasting for Change: Observing Changes in Two Students’ Behavior and Achievement.”

The NERA experience was helpful to Sora. “I was provided with the opportunity to present my research to a small group of professionals from various fields,” said Sora, a doctoral candidate in computing for educational professionals. “The discussant provided in-depth feedback. The comments provided insight on areas that needed to be addressed and improved within my paper.”

Garland found herself at ease among colleagues committed to the same areas of research. “I was surprised and delighted that other researchers agreed with my findings, and I learned of new studies, theories, and research in my area of interest,” she said of the experience.  “It was definitely worthwhile.”

NERA is a regional affiliate of the American Educational Research Association, and the conference was an opportunity for educational researchers and mentors to present various techniques and theories in addressing major points of research that will advance the field to improve classroom instruction and student performance.