Professional Development Workshops
Ethnographic Based Action Research (EBAR)
This workshop is designed to assist teachers and school-based personnel (e.g., administrators and support staff) in conducting action research from an ethnographic perspective. Action research is a process of conducting research on site that generates questions related to improving practice, followed by an action plan to collect and analyze data related to the questions. This involves self-reflection and may generate more questions along the way that require additional data collection and analysis. The ethnographic base presumes that we view participants acting as local cultures. This perspective makes visible how participants construct norms, beliefs, and language in common as they interact in their educational spaces.
Presenters will guide participants through ethnographic processes and analytic techniques. We illustrate data collection methods that are primarily qualitative. We illustrate a variety of data collection tools and then demonstrate analytic techniques that provide ways of interpreting various types of data. Participants will be engaged in formulating an action research project with their own ethnographic action research questions. For those in the session who have conducted action research projects prior to this workshop, we will discuss possible advanced analytics as well as illustrating how they can assist as action research mentors, working with novice action researchers.
LeAnn G. Putney, Ph.D.
LeAnn Putney is Professor in Educational Psychology, at UNLV. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. LeAnn teaches various courses in qualitative research. Her ethnographic research focuses on collective classroom efficacy from a Vygotskian perspective to illustrate how efficacy can be developed and enhanced by teachers and students. LeAnn has developed an ethnographic based action research protocol and qualitative program evaluation tool for classroom teachers. She has presented regularly at AERA, ATE, TESOL, and EQRC/CARE conferences. She recently served as Senior Co-Editor for ACTION in Teacher Education Journal.
Suzanne H. Jones, Ph.D.
Suzanne Jones, an Associate Professor of Literacy with the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University, received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research interests include hope as a motivational factor of learning, collective classroom efficacy, teacher efficacy, conceptual change, and emotions in learning. She has received several awards to include the McGraw-Hill Distinguished Scholar Award, 2020 (CARE). She has presented at numerous conferences and has published her research in tier one journals including Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Teacher Education, and Reading Research Quarterly.
Working with English Learners (EL) in the Content-Areas
In the context of the United States, ELs can be defined as students who are learning English as a second or other language. Currently, ELs make up 10.1% (5.0 million) of all U.S. public school children, making it likely educators will encounter ELs at some point in their content-area instruction. EL content-area instruction can be defined as ELs being taught language (e.g., English) and a content-area (e.g., science, math, social studies, language arts) simultaneously. The goal of content-area instruction is for ELs to not fall behind on learning core content. This is in contrast to pull-out EL services where ELs are pulled out of their classrooms to receive English lessons while missing content instruction.
In this workshop, teachers and school-based personnel (e.g., administrators and support staff) will learn about and/or refresh/update their knowledge on effectively working with ELs in the content-areas to promote academic achievement. Presenters will guide participants through key, research-based points to consider when working with ELs in the content-areas. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect and plan out ideas to apply to their own teaching, administrative, and/or support practices and to share their experiences and ideas with each other during the workshop.
Margarita Huerta, Ph.D.
Margarita Huerta has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in bilingual education from Texas A&M University. She is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Her expertise includes literacy and content integration to promote achievement for English Learners (ELs) in the science classroom, EL assessment development, and factors influencing ELs’ success in K-20 settings. Dr. Huerta has authored and/or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Educational Psychology Review, The International Journal of Science Education, The Journal of Educational Research, and Teaching and Teacher Education. She also has more than 50 refereed and invited presentations on research related to English learners in K-20 settings.
Tiberio Garza, Ph.D.
Tiberio Garza earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in bilingual education from Texas A&M University. He is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (CREA). His expertise includes quantitative methodology, statistical techniques, and culturally responsive evaluation. Dr. Garza has authored and/or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Educational Psychology Review, Journal of International Students, Journal of Science Teacher Education, and The Journal of Educational Research. Dr. Garza has served as evaluator for numerous grants geared towards providing equitable education for ELs including analyzing topics on EL resilience, retention, and achievement.
Evaluation Techniques in Education and Social Sciences
This workshop is designed to provide an overview of program evaluation techniques that are commonly applied in education and social science settings. Education and social programs are typically developed based on assumptions about human learning and behavior. Best practices in evaluation engage stakeholders in explicating these assumptions in the form of models related to theory of change and program activities that lead to intended outcomes. Evaluation study designs are then built around these models to investigate aspects of the program. Research-based evaluations are designed to provide formative information about programmatic improvement and changes, whereas summative evaluations are focused on identifying the extent to which programs have met intended outcomes.
Presenters will guide participants through key elements of a basic program evaluation. These elements include key stakeholder interviewing, developing theories of change models, outlining a logic model, formulating evaluation questions, and methods used to answer evaluation questions. The presenters will also discuss how these evaluation practices might look different depending on the perspective that is grounding the evaluation, such as a participatory perspective compared to a utilization-focused perspective. Participants will be encouraged to ground their activities in their own work and practice.
Gwen Marchand, Ph.D.
Gwen Marchand, is the Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Projects in the College of Education and an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Higher Education at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). As the former Director of the UNLV Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, she and her team conducted evaluations of interdisciplinary research centers and institutes using innovative methods. She has research expertise in academic motivation and engagement classroom systems, student mobility, collaborative team processes, and research and evaluation methods. Dr. Marchand is currently the principal investigator on a collaborative National Science Foundation project.
(Critical) Mixed Methods Research
The focus of this workshop is on mixed methods research (MMR) and analyses. In MMR, the researcher: 1) collects and analyzes both qualitative and quantitative data, 2) integrates the two forms of data and their results, 3) organizes these procedures into specific research designs, and 4) frames these procedures within theory and philosophy (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018). In addition, we will be using a “critical” MMR lens that requires educational researchers to examine each element of the process: their identity, their intentions, and - most importantly - the effect of such research on marginalized communities.
The intended workshop participant would be graduate students, academic faculty, classroom teachers, and/or school-based personnel who have working knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative research. During this interactive workshop, we will cover the basics of critical MMR including design options, analysis challenges/solutions, and suggestions for writing up results. We will look at, and discuss, exemplar mixed methods studies especially as they pertain to integrating qualitative and quantitative results. There will also be a demonstration of MAXQDA – a data analysis software for qualitative and mixed methods research.
Lisa D. Bendixen, Ph.D.
Lisa Bendixen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education at UNLV. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998. Her research interests involve the epistemic cognition of students and teachers and how this type of thinking influences learning, teaching, and teacher education. Dr. Bendixen has authored an edited book: Personal Epistemology in the Classroom and has chapters in the Handbook of Educational Psychology and the Handbook of Epistemic Cognition. She is an active member of AERA, EARLI and the Southwest Consortium for Innovative Psychology in Education (SCIPIE). She teaches courses in Cognitive Development, Classroom Assessment, and Mixed Methods Research.
Mónica J Hernández-Johnson
Mónica J Hernández-Johnson is a Central-American doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education at UNLV. Her research interests involve advancing research methodologies and analytical approaches to better assess educational outcomes for diverse students in the field of educational psychology. Ms. Hernández-Johnson has published works highlighting the experiences of women scholars of color and social justice parental partnerships. She is an active member of AERA and the Southwest Consortium for Innovative Psychology in Education (SCIPIE).
Tara J. Plachowski, Ph.D.
Tara Plachowski has spent the last 18 years as an educator across the PK16 spectrum, and she is currently the Research Associate at Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity. Previously, she served as a teacher educator and researcher at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. Her research interests are teacher diversity, critical race studies in education, critical research methodology, multicultural teacher education, mentoring, and school climate. Dr. Plachowski holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.A. in Educational Leadership and Administration from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
An Introduction to Using the Statistical Language R
This workshop provides an introductory demonstration of the graphic and analytic functions that R can offer. It starts by comparing SPSS and R during which many advantages of R will be highlighted. I then demonstrate how to create and customize graphs in R through both the base functions in R and a package called ggplot2. An example will be given using a real dataset to explain the structure of the ggplot2 syntax so that the audience will be able to apply the technique to their own research data. The presentation is then followed by a walkthrough of some basic data analyses in R. In this part, I will outline the steps of importing data into R, summarizing the data, calculating and visualizing correlations between two or multiple pairwise variables, and conducting a regression analysis. Upon completion of this workshop, the audience will be acquainted with the fundamental compositions of R commands needed for graphic display and statistical analysis. It is the goal of this workshop that the skills and techniques presented will directly benefit every participant’s own research.
Chao Liu, Ph.D.
Chao Liu earned his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, his M.A. from the University of Maine, and his B.A. from Beijing Normal University. He serves as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. Dr. Liu teaches Statistics in both on-campus and online formats. He has published in peer-reviewed journals, maintains an active research agenda, and provides statistical consultation to multiple research projects.
Collaboration and Mentoring:
Conducting Qualitative Research with Graduate Assistants
The purpose of this workshop is to explore interactively contributions of researchers (including practitioner researchers) and graduate students serving as graduate assistants (GAs) in the collaborative conceptualization of qualitative research. Qualitative researchers are the “tool” through which data are processed. To process data collaboratively and in ways that would warrant trustworthiness (adhering to established methodological procedures), researchers need to use intentionality in the collaborative processes, in developing the research design, the data collection process, and the data analysis procedure. Developing processes and dedicating time to dialogue about the thinking throughout all stages are key to this collaborative process. Additionally, as more experienced researchers collaborate with less experienced, time and resources should specifically be dedicated to mentoring and coaching throughout the process.
Jacob D. Skousen, Ed.D.
Dr. Jacob Skousen is an assistant professor of Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has worked in public schools as a teacher, principal, and district-level administrator. Dr. Skousen's research interests include social justice leadership, principal preparation, and leadership development.
Spencer C. Weiler, Ph.D.
Dr. Spencer Weiler is an associate professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at Brigham Young University and focuses his research on topics related to school law, school finance, and educational leadership. Dr. Weiler is the president of the National Education Finance Academy and Editor-in-chief of the 'Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal.'
Ms. Brianna Pesci is a graduate student working on a master's degree in educational leadership at Brigham Young University. She has taught in public education in two different states.
Mr. Adam Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Educational Inquiry Measurement & Evaluation Program at Brigham Young University. He has extensive teaching experience in public education as a teacher and an instructional coach.