News and notes for the Fall 2016 Learning Connections


School of Education welcomes eight new faculty members

UW–Madison’s highly ranked School of Education welcomed eight new faculty members to campus at the start of the 2016 fall semester.

“We are honored and excited to have so many outstanding academics joining our team,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “The School of Education continues to be a leading destination for talented faculty members, and this incoming group will not only allow our School to maintain its strength, but help us grow into the future.”

New faculty hires fall 2016
Six of the School of Education's eight newest faculty members pose for a
photo during the School's annual welcome back event prior to the start of
the fall semester. Pictured (from left-to-right) are: John Baldacchino, Jose
Carlos Teixeira, Maxine McKinney de Royston, Walter Stern, Erika Bullock and
S. Andrew Garbacz. (Photo by John Sable/MERIT)
Among those recently arriving is John Baldacchino, a professor with the School of Education’s Art Department and the new director of the Arts Institute at UW–Madison. He comes to Madison from the University of Dundee in Scotland, where he held a professorial chair of arts education at the School of Education & Social Work.

The Arts Institute, described as the voice of the arts at the university, supports and promotes a variety of programs and initiatives, both its own and those of partners around UW–Madison.

Also joining the School of Education for the 2016-17 academic year are assistant professors:

Erika Bullock, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Stephanie Budge, Department of Counseling Psychology

S. Andrew Garbacz, Department of Educational Psychology

Maxine McKinney de Royston, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Claudia Persico, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Walter Stern, Department of Educational Policy Studies

José Carlos Teixeira, Art Department

Gruben’s KIINCE ‘graduates’ from UW business accelerator

KIINCE has developed a
neuromuscular retraining machine
that helps people in need of
effective gait restoration therapy.
KIINCE, which is the brainchild of Department of Kinesiology Associate Professor Kreg Gruben, was among the successful start-up companies that “graduated” this past summer from a UW–Madison program designed to advance innovations based on campus research.

Gruben’s company developed a stroke rehabilitation device with assistance from the Discovery to Product (D2P) program, which is a partnership between UW– Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation that serves as a business accelerator on campus.

After studying the mechanics and control of leg function for more than two decades, Gruben pinpointed why stroke patients have difficulty walking.

“We have discovered muscle coordination patterns that correlate with how people walk after a stroke and predict which types of therapy will work,” he says. “Frequently, the ratio of muscle use is slightly off. The compensating behaviors are easy to see, so therapists tend to focus on them rather than the underlying incoordination.”

Gruben used D2P funding to build fully functional prototypes of neuromuscular retraining machines that precisely measure the mechanics of walking and give corrective feedback. KIINCE is finalizing the product and beginning to execute its strategy to drive clinical adoption.

Video of Hess’ AERA Ed-Talk,
‘Political Education in Polarized Times,’ now available

Hess AERA ed talkAs part of the American Educational Research Association’s 2016 centennial year programming, AERA invited 31 people to deliver six-minute Ed-Talks. These presentations conveyed key research findings crisply, quickly and in ways that were meant to be compelling to policy leaders about the value and relevance of education research.

UW–Madison School of Education Dean Diana Hess was among those who presented earlier this year in Washington, D.C. Hess’ Ed-Talk, “Political Education in Polarized Times,” was made available for viewing on YouTube this fall.

Hess’ research interests include the impact of school-based civic education programs on youth, political and civic engagement, and how students experience and learn from discussions of highly controversial political issues. In 2015, Hess co-authored, with Paula McAvoy, “The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education.” That publication received the 2016 AERA Outstanding Book Award.

Department of Kinesiology launches online Doctor of OT program

The University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents in December 2015 approved a new post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program at UW–Madison. The OT program is housed within the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology.

This program is completely online — except for an initial orientation and final capstone project presentation. This allows OT professionals to continue working while pursuing their doctorate part-time over the course of nine semesters. The program offers coursework in leadership theories and models, administrative tools and techniques, teaching methods and applied research methods.

“Getting a doctorate puts occupational therapists in the running for leadership roles,” says Sharon Gartland, the director of the OTD program. “I would recommend it for those who desire to keep moving forward in their career, whether that looks like clinical expertise, administrative responsibilities, teaching opportunities or research participation.”

The first cohort of students started the program in September.

WCER study documents post-Act 10 teacher pay changes

School districts and policymakers across Wisconsin exploring teacher pay alternatives have new information to help guide them — a recently released study from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) in the School of Education.

The report is titled, “Teacher Compensation: Standard Practices and Changes in Wisconsin.”

The study, based on 25 of Wisconsin’s 424 public school districts, is the first to document teacher pay changes implemented or considered locally by districts following the 2011 passage of Act 10, which allows new flexibility for compensating public school teachers.

“There has been considerable talk about compensation changes in Wisconsin, but very little solid information on what was happening,” says Steve Kimball, a principal investigator of the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC) and Consortium for Policy Research in Education. “We hope the study fills an information gap in the state and provides guidance for school districts and other stakeholders.”

Around the school ...

● Despite perceptions that too many Americans are ignorant when it comes to the realm of science, a study released this past summer reports that people in the United States actually “perform comparably to adults in other economically developed countries on most current measures of science knowledge.”

Nonetheless, when it comes to altering the public’s mindset about complex topics such as climate change, the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that attitudes may be difficult to change because they are shaped by factors such as values and beliefs — rather than knowledge of the science alone. The 12-person committee that produced the study — “Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences” — included School of Education Professor Noah Weeth Feinstein of the top-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Edward Hubbard and Percival Matthews in September were awarded a research grant worth nearly $1.9 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will allow the faculty members with the No. 1-ranked Department of Educational Psychology to examine mathematical learning processes. The project is called, “Perceptual and Cognitive Mechanisms of Developing Fractions Knowledge: A Cross-Sequential Approach.” The researchers working on this multifaceted project will collect brain imaging, behavioral and educational data in schoolchildren.

Martina Rau is the principal investigator on two grants awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) this past summer, with funding topping $1.1 million. Each of these projects will focus on how to help students learn with visual representations. Rau leads the Learning Representations and Technology Lab on campus, is an assistant professor with the Department of Educational Psychology and holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Computer Sciences.

David Kaplan was invited to present a keynote address to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities conference, “The Initiatives for Applied Education Research,” scheduled for Dec. 19. Kaplan will be speaking about the challenges and opportunities of using longitudinal data to inform education policy. Kaplan is the Patricia Busk Professor of Quantitative Methods with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology.

Xueli Wang is the author of a groundbreaking research article that examines community college course-taking patterns that contribute to effective academic pathways for transfer-aspiring students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The article is titled “Course-Taking Patterns of Community College Students Beginning in STEM: Using Data Mining Techniques to Reveal Viable STEM Transfer Pathways.” It appeared in the August issue of Research in Higher Education. Wang is a faculty member with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

● Effective July 1, the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) was integrated into the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. The center is now part of ELPA’s Higher, Postsecondary and Continuing Education (HPCE) program. Clifton Conrad, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and professor of higher education, will serve as WISCAPE’s inaugural faculty director, for a three-year term. Noel Radomski will serve as the center’s managing director.

● The School of Education on Aug. 4 graduated its first cohort of students (see photo below) from UW–Madison’s new Master of Science for Teaching program, which includes secondary teaching and ESL certification. The day began with the finals conference at which students shared their master’s projects with their peers, program faculty and visitors. Each of the content-area cohorts — science, math, English and social studies — displayed and/or discussed the findings from their papers in group poster sessions. The conference was followed by a dinner and graduation ceremony in the Alumni Lounge at the Pyle Center on Lake Mendota, where Dean Diana Hess delivered a heartfelt keynote welcoming graduates to the teaching profession.

Secondary education cohort
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