Professor Joan Walker Receives Prestigious Award for Innovative Research

Pace University School of Education professor Joan Walker, PhD, has won a prestigious award for best research article of the year – research that has led to the development of an innovative online course on parent-teacher interactions.

Dr. Walker is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the premier professional organization for American teacher education.

The award recognizes exemplary scholarship published in the JTE in the areas of teacher education or of teaching and learning with implications for teacher education, and was presented March 2 at the AACTE's 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Pictured from left at the award presentation on March 2, 2013, during the AACTE's 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida: Dr. Fayneese Miller, chair of AACTE's Board of Directors and dean of the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont; Dr. Joan Walker; and Dr. Walker's co-author Benjamin Dotger, PhD, from Syracuse University. Photo/AACTE

Dr. Walker will be honored with her co-author, Dr. Benjamin Dotger from Syracuse University, for their article “Because Wisdom Can’t Be Told: Using Comparison of Simulated Parent-Teacher Conferences to Assess Teacher Candidates’ Readiness for Family-School Partnership” from the January/February 2012 issue of JTE. The article describes the study of teacher candidates’ communication strategies in parent-teacher conference scenarios via online video case studies.

The award review committee noted how the focus on teacher-parent interactions addresses a critical component that is overlooked in many teacher preparation programs. The committee further lauded the excellence in scholarship and innovative approach that is an effective model for preparing educators throughout the nation.

“This award comes at an ideal time,” said Dr. Walker. “Since the original publication, I have expanded this work into a free online course that I am eager to share with teacher educators, teachers and K-12 administrators across the country. The three part interactive course uses real-life, classroom-based challenges, video examples and other tools to help beginning teachers successfully conduct parent-teacher conferences. The future of teacher professional development is online and it is exciting to be recognized as a leader in this new direction."

"Pace University is embarking on a much more research focused trajectory, and Professor Joan Walker's research award highlights the strong academic programs in our School of Education,” said University Provost Uday Sukhatme, ScD. “She has created a model approach to online learning. We are very proud of her accomplishments."

In addition to experience as a classroom educator, Dr. Walker earned a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and completed post-doctoral research in the Vanderbilt-Northwestern-University of Texas-Harvard/MIT Engineering Research Center (VaNTH ERC) at Vanderbilt University. She is director of research for the American Dream Academy, a program active in Phoenix, Arizona, that has educated more than 14,000 parents--mostly Hispanic--about partnering with their children's school.

To receive more information about the open course ware contact Dr. Walker at

Learn more about Dr. Walker's research on parent-teacher communication and the related online course by reviewing the JTE article, accessing a sample case study from the online program, or viewing a brief video about the project below.