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TC Announces New Policy/Research Fellows

Teachers College's Office of Policy and Research has announced the school's first group of policy/research fellowships. Nine outstanding applicants -- including six current and three incoming students -- have each been selected by faculty panels to receive the honor and an accompanying $6,000 award. The fellows, who represent six of the College's nine academic departments, were chosen for work that will contribute to policy debates at the local, regional, state, federal, and/or international levels, and help advance educational and social policy.

"We were thrilled with the high quality of the submissions, and it was clear that each proposal had something unique to offer," said Sharon Lynn Kagan, Director of the Office of Policy and Research and Associate Dean for Policy at Teachers College. 

Darlyne Bailey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, took note of the growing role for policy studies at the College. "These fellowships, together with the recent founding of our new Office of Policy and Research, set a new and exciting course for policy work at TC."

The following are the new policy/research fellows and their project proposals:

Current Students

Mark Boutros (Health and Behavioral Sciences); Is There Space for Place?: Forced Migration and the Psychology of Place
Boutros seeks to advance the study of the mental and emotional effects of forced migration, defined as the involuntary movement of refugees and displaced peoples due to conflicts, environmental disasters, chemical/nuclear disasters or development projects. He will examine whether policy makers and humanitarian organizations adequately account for the impacts of forced migration when formulating or implementing humanitarian or relief work. 

Manu Kapur (Mathematics, Science, and Technology); The Effect of Problem Type on Collaborative Problem Solving in a Synchronous Computer-Mediated Environment
To improve how problem-solving is taught, Kapur will dissect the dynamics of problem-solving within real-time (synchronous) computer-mediated environments. His research is based on two premises - first, that the type of problem (well- vs. ill-structured) affects a group's interactions and collaborative efforts to solve it; and second, that the data collected from examining how tasked groups solve problems in an on-line environment can inform curriculum designers and education policymakers on better ways of teaching in general, and teaching problem solving, specifically. 

Melinda Mechur Karp (Human Development); Facing the Future: Identity Development among "College Now" Students
Karp will examine why the practice of dual enrollment - the placement of junior- and senior-level high school students in college classes - benefits students as they move from high school to college. Preliminary findings from research conducted on the "College Now" program, in use in New York City, indicate that the benefit results more from "anticipatory socialization" than from rigorous academic preparation.

Saeyun D. Lee (Organization and Leadership);Untitled
As districts are increasingly asked to respond to state- and federal-level education policy initiatives, more research is needed on the actual capacity of districts to implement such policies effectively.  Lee proposes to develop a system by which the organizational capacities of school districts can be measured. Through the use of such measurements, policymakers and administrators could assess the capacity of districts to implement educational policy and reform efforts, and how those capacities can be improved or expanded. 

Michelle J. Neuman (Organization and Leadership); Governance of Early Childhood Education and Care: A Comparative Analysis of France, Sweden, and the United States
Three economically advanced nations - the United States, Sweden, and France - have developed distinct approaches to the governance of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). Neumann, who will look at issues of ECEC governance, argues that actors and ideas -- mediated by ECEC structures -- shape how policy develops.

Jed Tucker (International and Transcultural Studies); The Impact of Participation in a Prison College Program on Student-Inmates' Social Networks and Rates of Recidivism
As a teacher in a maximum-security prison in Ulster, New York, Tucker has observed positive transformations of prisoners who received college-level education. He will study precisely how continuing education impacts recidivism and creates stronger social capital for the prisoner, both in the institution and among family and friends.  His research will include interviews, personal written narratives and analysis of prison social context.

Incoming students

Jennifer Swift-Morgan (International and Transcultural Studies)
A former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, Ms. Swift-Morgan received a Masters Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. She has worked for the past five years in mid-and senior-level consultancy positions that entailed international educational research and policy analysis.  She is interested in indicator research, particularly in the area of children's rights. 

Kate Tarrant (Curriculum and Teaching)
Tarrant worked previously as the Public Policy Specialist for Good Beginnings Alliance - Hawaii, and has just completed a Masters Degree in Public Administration at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.  At Teachers College, she hopes to gain a greater understanding of how parents, families, and communities fit into the current social policy framework, with particular interest in the application of school readiness policy to informal care settings.   

Michelle Van Noy (Human Development)
For the past five years, Ms. Van Noy has been engaged in research on educational and social welfare policy, first as a consultant for New Jersey Policy Perspectives, and later as a research assistant/programmer and research analyst for Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton.  During her studies at Teachers College, she intends to look more closely at the role of education and training in advancing individual careers in the workplace. 

It is anticipated that these Policy/Research Scholarships will be awarded annually.  For further information, contact:

Sharon Lynn Kagan, Ed.D.
Office of Policy and Research
371 Grace Dodge Hall, Box 226
Teachers College, Columbia University


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