The Honors Roll In for TC at AERA | Teachers College Columbia University

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The Honors Roll In for TC at AERA

Christopher Emdin receives the Early Career Award; other awards honor professor emerita Celia Genishi; current faculty Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Judith Scott-Clayton and Elizabeth Tipton; recent graduate Jared Boyce; and current student Esther Ohito

As the American Educational Research Association announces its award recipients for 2016, Teachers College is represented at every career stage and across a wide spectrum of fields and disciplines.

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"We are very pleased and proud of to see TC faculty members receiving such well-deserved recognition," said TC President Susan Fuhrman and Provost Tom James in a joint statement. "The College has placed particularly emphasis on mentoring younger faculty in their careers, and it is inspiring to see these efforts so well rewarded."


Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, has received the AERA Early Career Award. 

Emdin, a former physics and chemistry teacher at Marie Curie High School in the Bronx, has earned global attention for his use of Hip Hop concepts and rap to teach science to middle- and high-school students. His commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and he  provides regular commentary on Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post

In 2012, together with the Hip Hop artist GZA, Emdin created the Science GENIUS program in which teams of New York City high school students write rap songs incorporating science concepts and enter them in a citywide competition. The songs are judged by a panel of scientists and rap artists for the accuracy of their science content as well as their artistry.


Emdin is the author of Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation (2010) and For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...And the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy in Urban Education which is being released this week. He serves as Director of Science Education at TC’s Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education and Associate Director of the College’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education, and also is an Alumni Fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.

In 2014 Emdin was named a White House “Champion of Change” for creating opportunities and broadening diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions. Also in 2014, he was appointed a Minorities in Energy Ambassador by the U.S. Department of Energy, with the task of working with senior leaders from industry, government, academia and nonprofits to increase engagement of minority and tribal communities in the nation's energy sector. In 2011, Emdin received TC’s Strage Junior Faculty Prize. In 2008 he was honored by ASTE (the Association for Science Teacher Education) for Best Paper on Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers; and by PDK-Phi Delta Kappa International for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation and as 2008-09 class Emerging Leader.

Celia Genishi, Professor of Education Emerita, is the recipient of the 2016 Dr. John J. Gumperz Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarship, named for the pioneering linguist, anthropologist, and developer of the field of Interactional Sociolinguistics.

The Gumperz Award honors scholars for professional service and significant contributions to research in language and social processes. Given by the Language and Social Processes Special Interest Group, the award also recognizes these scholars for serving as role models for their commitment to learning and the pursuit of new knowledge and ideas.

Genishi is an authority on early childhood education, language in the classroom, qualitative research and childhood bilingualism. Her published books include Children, Language and Literacy: Diverse Learners in Diverse Times (with Anne Haas Dyson; Teachers College Press, 2009); and On The Case: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research (with Anne Haas Dyson; Teachers College Press, 2005); and Ways of Assessing Children and Curriculum: Stories of Early Childhood Practice (Teachers College Press, 1992).

At AERA 2012, Genishi was the recipient of the Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award; the Division G Mentoring Award; and the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education Distinguished Career Contribution Award. She also is a past recipient of the Advocate for Justice Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education


Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education, has been named the 2016 recipient of the AERA Division K Mid-Career Award. The award recognizes an outstanding researcher whose scholarly and applied work advances knowledge about teaching or teacher education, and whose activities demonstrably contribute to the well-being of students, teacher candidates, teachers, teacher educators, or families/communities.

Sealey-Ruiz is faculty supervisor for TC’s Racial Literacy Roundtable Series, now in its eighth year, and one of three faculty facilitators of a TC Civic Participation Project for safely discussing social inclusion and related issues raised by the “Black Lives Matter” agenda. In Fall 2011, she guest-edited “Preparing Teachers to Teach Black Students; Preparing Black Students to Become Teachers,” a special issue of the Journal of Negro Education. She is also a past recipient of TC’s Elaine Brantley Memorial Award for Community and Civility.

Her research focuses on black and Latino male students, critical English Education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and educational trajectories of African-American, adult-reentry women from the criminal justice system. Earlier this year, she served on a blue-ribbon committee whose recommendations have prompted New York to become the first state in the nation to develop a systematic program to assist young men of color as they travel the road through school to adulthood.

The award committee praised Sealey-Ruiz for her “distinct contributions to interrelated areas of research on racial literacy in urban teacher education, critical English education/literacies, culturally responsive education, education of Black and Latino males, and Black women college reentry.” One letter endorsing Sealey-Ruiz for the award asserted that “in a world of research that does not always connect theory to practice, Yolanda’s work is work that matters; work that surely can inform life in classrooms for both teachers and students.”


Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics & Education, is the winner of the AERA Division L early career award. Scott-Clayton is a Senior Research Associate at TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC) and a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. She studies labor economics and higher education policy, with a particular focus on financial aid, student employment, and programmatic barriers to persistence and completion at the non-selective public two- and four year institutions that enroll the majority of undergraduates. Her research has been published in the Journal of Human ResourcesEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education Finance and Policy, and the Future of Children. Her recent research on the predictive validity of college placement exams were the focus of both an article and editorial in the New York Times, and has influenced state and institutional policies on remedial testing. Her work examining the adverse consequences of complexity in the federal student aid application process has contributed to national policy debates about financial aid simplification.


Elizabeth Tipton, Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics, will receive the 2015-2016 Early Career Award for AERA Division D, Category–Quantitative Research Methodology. Tipton is known for her work in helping researchers who conduct randomized clinical trials make better, more thoughtful generalizations from their experiments. As part of that work, she collaborates with study designers to ensure recruitment of the most broadly representative populations. Funded by the Spencer Foundation, she currently is developing new web-based software to facilitate this process.

The award committee particularly noted Tipton’s contributions to the literature on robust variance estimation in meta-analysis and on generalizations from experiments. “Your commitment to bridging the gap between theory and application, as well as striving for both theoretical and practical solutions also should serve to advance the use of quantitative methods within education research and beyond,” wrote the award committee chair, Tony Onwuegbuzie.

Tipton has twice been an award-winning reviewer for one of AERA’s flagship journals, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.


Jared Boyce (Ph.D. ’15), a former TC doctoral student in Education Leadership, has won the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the AERA Advanced Studies of National Databases Special Interest Group. Boyce’s dissertation, titled Commitment and Leadership: What We Know From the Schools and Staffing Survey, was praised for taking “a novel approach to exploring information from a nationally-representative data set – one that underscores how a large body of research stemming from a single survey program can inform our understanding of important educational problems.” Boyce, who is now an education researcher at SRI International in Menlo Park, California, finds that there are important conceptual differences between how individuals and groups working in schools perceive their environments (for example, teachers as individuals have a strong sense of their influence, but collectively see school administrators as much more dominant). He argues that effective school leadership must address the needs of both the individual adults in the schools and the adults as a collective body. 


Esther Ohito, a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching, has received the 2016 Distinguished Graduate Student Paper Award from the AERA Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies Special Interest Group. In her paper, “Thinking Through ​t​he Flesh: A Critical Autoethnography of ​t​he Politics, Potency, and Potential of Racially Marked Flesh in Urban Teacher Education,” she addresses what she describes as long-standing accusations that university-based teacher education programs in the United States are “acutely inattentive to how white supremacy underpins the field’s curriculum, classes, and culture.” Ohito concludes that “the privileging of disembodied approaches to teaching and learning leaves pre-service teachers poorly equipped to engage the material consequences of white in urban classrooms.”

Published Monday, Mar 21, 2016

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education
Jared Boyce
Jared Boyce (Ph.D. ’15), a former TC doctoral student in Education Leadership
Esther Ohito
Esther Ohito, a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching
Celia Genishi
Celia Genishi, Professor of Education Emerita
Christopher Emdin
Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education
Judith Scott Clayton
Judith Scott Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Elizabeth Tipton
Elizabeth Tipton, Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics