Federal Grant to Help UNCW, Partner Universities Build a Diverse Pool of Education Researchers

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The University of North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina Central University and Duke University are partners in a $1.1 million federal grant to develop the Research Institute for Scholars of Equity and build a diverse field of highly qualified education researchers.

“UNCW welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with other universities to expand the scope of and opportunities for meaningful research into disparities in America’s education system,” said Provost Marilyn Sheerer. “This program also will provide students with an applied learning experience that will be valuable in their careers.”

Collaborating institutions also include University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, University of New Mexico and the New School for Social Research in New York City. Under the five-year grant, a total of 60 juniors and seniors will receive one-year research fellowships, beginning in summer 2017. Most will come from one of the three partner universities, but students from the other collaborating universities will be eligible to apply.

The grant is part of the first round of funding for the Pathways to the Education Science Research Training Program, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences, the statistics, research and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Research will focus on inequities in the American education system, with particular attention to the experiences of African American and Hispanic students. NCCU will administer the grant and has the principal investigator on the project.

“As we train a larger and more diverse group of ­­education researchers, we also want to enhance the research-based evidence that has the potential to help us create educational opportunities for all students from all communities” said Van Dempsey, dean of the Watson College of Education.

WCE assistant professor Marta Sanchez is co-principal investigator on the project. Other UNCW faculty and staff involved include Donyell Roseboro, chair of WCE’s Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education, and Edelmira Segovia, director of Centro Hispano.

The three partner institutions will collaborate with several other universities to provide juniors and seniors with training in education research, help applying to graduate programs and the opportunity to work with experienced research professors who will serve as their mentors. An eight-week summer research institute also is included.

The ultimate goal is to attract a more diverse group of students to consider a career in education research, but even those who don’t choose that path will come away with solid research skills and knowledge of the grant process.

“So many of our students want to do something good in the world,” Sanchez said. “This shows them how they can go about that.”

-- Tricia Vance