Changing the Perception of the Student
IT’S A FACT:
- black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students.
- nationwide, one in five high schools lacks a school counselor. – U.S. Department of Education
THE FIVE MARKERS OF GENIUS IN BLACK MEN
During a lecture on February 6, 2015, titled “Kindling the S.P.A.R.K. of Black Male Genius Through Education,” Dr. Marlon James, assistant professor in curriculum and instruction and associate director of the Center for Urban School Partnerships, shared findings from his latest research on the development of highly successful black males and provided recommendations for concerned parents, schools and communities.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 20% of black boys and more than 12% of black girls receive an out-of-school suspension in their academic career. Expulsions like these can lead to an increased likelihood of dropping out of school and even inappropriate or delinquent activities.
“The education system and the prison system are in competition for their souls,” began Dr. Marlon James, a renowned expert in urban and multicultural education. “We don’t have an achievement gap,” he insisted. “We have an opportunity gap. We are not making equal investments in children. How do you exist in a society that is resisting your maturation?”
Where some may see a grim future for a doomed generation of black men, Dr. James believes that educators can bring out the best in these young men by using success stories as blueprints for excellence and expanding their own definitions of success.
In a publication he guest edited called “Can You See Me Now: Exploring the Critical Autoethnographies of Successful African American Males in Education,” nine black male K-12 teachers, graduate students and faculty from around the country shared their thoughts on educational attainment in spite of social barriers and glass ceilings.
What Dr. James and his colleagues found is that the men had a far more holistic view of intellectual success that couldn’t be measured by an aptitude test. Rather, they defined genius as a synthesis of know-how; a collective wisdom of sorts. They aspired to achieve what Dr. James called S.P.A.R.K.: five domains of development that demonstrate intellectual, personal and physical maturity. In the future, Dr. James and his colleagues hope to expand the research by interviewing more Black males, conducting a national study, and ultimately developing the S.P.A.R.K. Inventory of Black Male Genius. For more on the work of the Center for Urban School Partnerships, click here.
SUPPORTING ACHIEVEMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS FOR LATINO MALES
For Dr. Luis Ponjuan, providing students a path to one day pursue and attain a college degree is at the heart of his research on the country’s Latino male population who are struggling to keep pace with their peers at key transition points along the educational pipeline.
As an immigrant who was undocumented until the age of 15, Dr. Ponjuan, an associate professor of higher education administration, feels compelled to represent that community – one that, according to his research, has not traditionally been a part of the public discussion.
“Up to this point, the narrative has always been around men of color and primarily focused on African American males,” Ponjuan said. “But – in a state like Texas – the Hispanic population is going to eclipse every other group and half of that population is participating in record number lows in enrollment and degree completion.”
Dr. Ponjuan has been working with Dr. Victor B. Saenz, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. William Serrata, president of El Paso Community College, to co-found Project M.A.L.E.S. (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), a multi-faceted research and mentoring initiative.
After evaluating seven institutions across the state of Texas, the project is poised to enter into its second phase where researchers will focus on outlining and establishing what Ponjuan has termed “Collaborative Consciousness.”
“We recognize that if we are going to have conversations about what state of Texas institutions and schools are doing, it takes more than just awareness,” Ponjuan stated. “Collaborative Consciousness is a key concept that can help leaders and individuals who are considered champions for the cause to raise the consciousness of a community.
This step is vital to creating sustained commitment, support and achievement opportunities for Latino males in higher education institutions and schools throughout the state and across the nation.
“We recognize that if we are going to have conversations about what state of Texas institutions and schools are doing, it takes more than just awareness. Collaborative Consciousness is a key concept that can help leaders and individuals who are considered champions for the cause to raise the consciousness of a community.”
Ethnic-racial socialization has been researched for more than 30 years, but Smith said only one other research group has systematically explored its associations with lifespan outcomes. Those findings were released almost 15 years ago.
Dr. Michael Duffy, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology, passed away on May 10, surrounded by his family at home.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started in China, Dr. Fuhui Tong, professor and associate director of CRDLLA, did not want that research to stop.
The award recognizes outstanding senior education undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional service and commitment to the teaching profession.
During COVID-19, the Education Leadership Research Center has been working to increase collaboration between coaches, mentors, and educators virtually.
Three faculty in the College of Education and Human Development are honored as 2020 Distinguished Achievement Award recipients from the Association of Former Students, one of the university’s highest professional honors.
Dr. Kay Wijekumar, professor and director of the Center for Urban School Partnerships in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, established a series of online videos for students.
With minimal notice, face-to-face classes were forced to move to online formats in schools and universities across the country due to COVID-19. Online education experts Dr. Christine Mark and Dr. Jere Liu offer best practices and tips for instructors to make their online courses more successful.
Dr. Monica Vasquez Neshyba, clinical assistant professor in TLAC, spent the first part of this semester working with her students on an Education Abroad trip to Italy.
The Education Leadership Research Center and the Center for Research and Development in Dual Language and Literacy Acquisition has been providing virtual professional development since 2013, and is ready to serve the needs of educators and parents in Texas and worldwide.