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Teachers College Convocation to Honor Deborah Loewenberg Ball, John Ioannidis, Kent McGuire and Luis Moll

TC Convocation ceremonies are bring held May 18-20. For event details and other information, click here.

At its 2015 Convocation ceremonies, Teachers College will present its Medal for Distinguished Service to four scholars who have highlighted critical issues in research and practice and championed strategies for change: Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan; John Ioannidis, C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University School of Medicine; Kent McGuire, President & CEO of the Southern Education Foundation; and Luis Moll, Professor in the Language, Reading & Culture Program in the Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona’s College of Education.

Ball, who will be honored at the College’s first Master’s Degree Ceremony on Monday afternoon, May 18th, is also William H. Payne Collegiate Professor in Education and founding director of TeachingWorks, an organization at the university dedicated to improving initial training for teachers. She has worked to put teacher preparation and professional development on a footing commensurate with that of medicine, law and other highly skilled professions. A former elementary school math teacher, Ball chaired the landmark 2003 report of the RAND Mathematics Study Panel, “Mathematics Proficiency for All Students,” which offered a blueprint for raising mathematical proficiency and eliminating differences in proficiency among students in different social, cultural, and ethnic groups. 

Under Ball’s direction, TeachingWorks is creating a comprehensive professional curriculum for teachers, from initial training through early career in the classroom, which includes development of general skills, such as commanding the attention of a class and diagnosing student confusions, and discipline-specific ones, such as explaining fractions in multiple ways.  

Ball will address graduating students in TC’s Departments of Arts & Humanities and Curriculum & Teaching.

McGuire, who will be honored at the second Master’s Degree Ceremony, on Tuesday morning, May 19th, previously served as Dean of the College of Education at Temple University and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President Clinton.

McGuire is known for modeling practical, evidence-based approaches to foster educational equity. His co-edited volume, Narrowing the Achievement Gap in a (Re) Segregated Urban School District: Research Policy and Practice, published in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down racial balance as a factor in assigning children to public schools, has been hailed as an example of scholarship that addresses policy change in real time. While pundits variously cast the Court’s ruling as everything from confirmation of a post-racial America to legally sanctioned re-segregation, McGuire assembled the most comprehensive documentation to date of how attendance at segregated schools was affecting the nation’s achievement gap.

In leading the Southern Education Foundation, McGuire has argued that the South, with a burgeoning population of low-income students of color, “is what the nation is becoming.”  On his watch, the Foundation is identifying early education trends, creating opportunity for cross-state collaboration, and marshaling evidence to identify the most effective regional strategies. In particular, the Foundation has sought to counter what McGuire has called “a disinvestment in public education” throughout the South.

McGuire will address graduates in Biobehavioral Sciences, Counseling & Clinical Psychology, Education Policy & Social Analysis, and Health & Behavior Studies.

Moll will be honored at the third Master’s Degree Ceremony, on the afternoon of May 19th. A leading champion of socio-culturally based literacy instruction he has affirmed the critical importance of “studying human beings dynamically, within their social circumstances and in their full complexity.” Moll has found, for example, that rural barrio families possess abundant knowledge of plant cultivation, animals, ranch management, mechanics, carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring, and medical folk remedies. Ignoring such culturally-mediated knowledge, he has argued, deprives educators of a powerful tool for enabling all students to succeed in school and life.

In his landmark 2005 book, Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities and Classrooms, Moll draws on sources as varied as anthropological kinship models and Vygotsky’s theories of cultural/historical psychology and zones of proximal development to reveal how Mexican-American barrio families cluster according to exchange relationships; how knowledge ownership is developed and distributed within individual households; and how teachers can mobilize such knowledge in the classroom.

Moll will address graduates in Human Development; International & Transcultural Studies; Math, Science & Technology; and Organization & Leadership.

Ioannidis, who will be honored at TC’s doctoral hooding ceremony, on Wednesday morning, May 20th, has almost single-handedly focused global attention on the pervasive fallibility of biomedical research, proposing detailed strategies for reform.

His 2005 paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” – the most accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science – established that research findings are less likely to be true when more teams are involved in the pursuit of statistical significance; that claimed research findings are often simply accurate measures of prevailing bias; that the hotter the scientific field, the less likely that research findings are true; and that in many instances, fields that claim stronger effects are simply those that have sustained the worst biases. In another paper in the Journal of American Medicine, Ioannidis revealed that among 45 of the most highly regarded research findings in recent years, 41 percent of those retested turned out to be wrong or significantly exaggerated.

The solution Ioannidis has proposed include a shift in focus in the research community from the quest for statistical significance to an improved a priori understanding of a study’s ultimate chances for success; conducting large, unbiased studies on established research findings to see how often they are confirmed; and above all, debunking the myth of the heroic lone researcher or team in favor of a cumulative view of work in a given field.

Published Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015


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