Kenneth Graves (Ph.D. ’19), an alumnus of Teachers College’s Education Leadership program, has won the 2020 Dissertation of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Advanced Studies of National Databases special interest group. 

Graves, whose dissertation project was awarded an AERA’s Dissertation Research Grant award in 2016, will be honored at the AERA annual meeting in April.

Kenneth Graves

SCHOLARLY RIGOR Graves drew praise for the “generalizability” of his findings. (Photo: TC Archives)

Graves’ dissertation, titled “Disrupting the Digital Norm in the New Digital Divide: Toward a Conceptual and Empirical Framework of Technology Leadership for Social Justice Through Multilevel Latent Class Analysis,” explores the intersection of educational leadership, instructional technology, and culturally responsive education in pursuit of a new leadership framework called technology leadership for social justice. 

Working with a federal survey of teachers’ technology use and with data from Texas on school technology and readiness, Graves grouped teachers into different categories of technology use. He found that teachers in low-income schools are more likely to be in the teacher subgroups that use technology in less impactful ways in the classroom, and that teachers with the lowest perceptions of technology leadership had the lowest student achievement outcomes and were more likely to serve students from “historically minoritized” backgrounds.

Among Graves’ findings: teachers in low-income schools are more likely to be in the teacher subgroups that use technology in less impactful ways in the classroom

The award committee praised Graves’ work for its “scholarly rigor” and for “the generalizability of the results and findings.”

Graves currently serves as Upper School (9-12) Ethics & Technology Coordinator at New York City’s Ethical Culture Fieldston School and is an adjunct professor at TC’s Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership and at Boston College. Working with his Teachers College dissertation advisor, Alex Bowers, Associate Professor of Education Leadership, he co-facilitated a recent conference at TC that brought together K-12 educators from Nassau County with leading data scientists from across the country.

Graves’ TC dissertation committee consisted of Bowers; Mark Anthony Gooden, Christian Johnson Endeavor Professor of Education Leadership; Sonya Horsford, Associate Professor of Education Leadership; Ellen Meier, Professor of Practice and Director of TC’s Center for Technology and School Change; and Richard Halverson, Professor and the Associate Dean for Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, who gave a keynote address at the recent TC conference.

Read a past profile of Kenneth Graves from the TC web.