College of Education awards 2017 seed grants

Five projects were awarded 2017 College of Education Seed Grants by the College’s Research Committee in March.

Faculty members receiving grants included: Richard Cleveland, Ph.D., Scott Beck, Ph.D., Alma Stevenson, Ph.D., Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D., Antonio Gutierrez de Blume, Ph.D., Wendy Chambers, Ph.D., Sabrina Ross, Ph.D., and Chelda Smith, Ph.D.

Cleveland received a grant for his pilot project titled, “Mindfulness-Based Tactical Instruction.” The project is a collaboration between the College of Education’s counselor education program, Georgia Southern University’s Public Safety Department, Statesboro Police Department, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Pentagon Force Protection Agency. The pilot will explore how mindfulness practices help officers mitigate the physiological effects of high-stress when engaged in tactical situations. Specifically, the project will examine the effects mindfulness plays in officers’ tactical proficiency in both live-fire and simulator scenarios.

“My hope,” explained Cleveland, “is that this pilot project will open up new opportunities for exploring how best to train and support officers and more specifically school resource officers primarily with their response to high-stress incidents, but then also in terms of officer resiliency through mindfulness.”

Beck and Stevenson were awarded funding for their research project, “Adult Migrant Farm Workers’ Responses to Children’s Picture Storybooks Regarding Migrancy.” This project focuses on the responses of current and former migrants to children’s literature intended to represent the lives of farm workers. During the project, two dozen participants met in small groups to read, and discuss nearly three dozen children’s picture storybooks such as Going Home, Adventures of Connie and Diego, Hard-Times Jar, First Day in Grapes, and Harvesting Hope.

“This grant will allow the recordings of the focus group conversations to be transcribed and analyzed,” explained Stevenson. Beck added, “Our findings will address questions about the accuracy of these books and how best to use them when teaching children about farm work, rural life, food production, and migration.”

Akcaoglu, Gutierrez de Blume, and Chambers received funding for their voluntary after school experience called the “Photography and Multimedia Learning Project.” The project asked students to consider some aspect of their environment (i.e., a problem from the natural, physical, school or social environment) and develop a media presentation about the topic, which included images that they took with iPads, as well as a narrative that described their observation, research, argument and/or experience.

“Through the use of technology and various other media, our purpose was to help these young learners improve their metacognitive planning and monitoring skills, as well as their problem-solving and reasoning ability, all foundational skills critical for success in high stakes assessments such as the Georgia Milestone Assessment,” explained Akcaoglu.

Ross was awarded grant funds for her proposal focusing on the high rates of attrition for doctoral students attempting to complete their dissertations. She will use an online survey and focus group interviews with doctoral students enrolled in Georgia Southern’s Ed.D. Curriculum Studies program to identify their experiences and perceived challenges. This project is set to begin in summer.

“By exploring barriers to dissertation completion in this group, I hope to identify intervention strategies that will encourage greater success among students in our program,” said Ross.

Smith received a seed grant for her undergraduate research project with former student Alyce Wells. Together Smith and Wells will research, present, and publish a study exploring the teaching and learning outcomes of their professional relationship. The project addresses the question: how can collaborative research between a teacher educator and a preservice teacher enhance faculty approaches to developing exemplary teachers able to meet the needs of traditionally marginalized youth?

“We will aim to understand pedagogical, curricular and programmatic reforms to enhance the capacity of Teacher Education Programs to develop asset-based pedagogues in initial licensure programs,” said Smith.

Seed Grants are funded by the College of Education for the purpose of providing initial, or “seed,” funding for research proposals that support the institutional research agenda of the College. This includes the advancement of the COE’s mission and conceptual framework commitments as well as having a significant impact on the College’s outreach to P-12 and community constituents and enhancement of the College’s capacity to conduct significant education research.

For more information about College of Education research, visit

COE hosts annual research retreat

Retreat attendees enjoy the BYOD showcase demonstrating technology capabilities in COE room 3165 lab.

The College of Education’s Research Committee hosted its annual research retreat on April 21.

Faculty and staff from the College received information about large data sets from keynote speaker Jeremy Zelkowski, Ph.D., participated in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) showcase and learned from faculty members in the College about unique technologies that can be used for research.

Zelkowski is an associate professor and program director of secondary mathematics education at the University of Alabama. Detailing how he utilized large data sets for his doctoral and current research, Zelkowski explained the benefits and considerations of utilizing this form of data.

For his research, Zelkowski was interested in the impact of students having taken a math course their senior year of high school when taking college mathematics courses.

Keynote speaker Jeremy Zelkowski, Ph.D. discusses large data sets.

“When kids were failing my college algebra or business calculus class, crying sometimes, I would ask about their preparation for college,” said Zelkowski. “I was shocked to find that many kids said they didn’t take math their senior year, and many kids said they were told not to take precalculus, calculus, etc.”

To conduct his research, Zelkowski needed high school data, which he was able to access via federal data sets.

“Software does the work, you just need to interpret the output and understand the setup of the data,” he said.

Zelkowski explained that most researchers have not taken advantage of these federal databases because of the sheer size of the data sets and the quantitative methods that need to be considered.

“This is an untapped resource that can open up grant opportunities, but more importantly, test policy,” he said.

Zelkowski also reviewed potential funding opportunities and answered questions from the attendees about relative weights of data and how to determine what data must be absolved.

For the remainder of the research retreat, participants were educated about the capabilities of technology located in COE room 3165 for the Bring Your Own Device showcase hosted by Georgia Southern Academic Technology Support Manager, Todd Tinker, and COE Professor Elizabeth Downs, Ph.D. Afterwards, faculty members Antonio Gutierrez de Blume, Ph.D.;  Jonathan Hilpert, Ph.D.; and Pamela Wells, Ph.D. informally shared with the audience tips on how they use technology in their research.

Members of the 2016-2017 COE Research Committee include Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D.; Katie Brkich, Ph.D.; Antonio Gutierrez de Blume, Ph.D.; Brandon Hunt, Ph.D.; Alisa Leckie, Ph.D.; and Alma Stevenson, Ph.D. Ex-officio members include Alejandro Gallard, Ph.D.; Tracy Linderholm, Ph.D.; and Robert Mayes, Ph.D.

Numerous COE faculty to present at AERA 2017

The American Educational Research Association’s 2017 meeting will convene on April 27 – May 1 in San Antonio, TX to discuss research centralized around the theme “Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity.”

Georgia Southern University’s College of Education will be well represented at the conference with over 20 faculty members accepted for presentations.

Presentations (in order by date only) from COE faculty members include:

Jonathan C. Hilpert; Gwen C. Marchand Individual-referent and Group-referent Measures of Student Engagement: Linear and Nonlinear Evidence for Classroom Systems
Aslihan Unal; Z. Unal; Yasar Bodur Flipped Classroom Strategy: A Study of Student Performance, Perceptions and Teacher Satisfaction
Scott Beck; Dina Walker-DeVose; Caren Town; Laura Agnich; & Trina Smith Reaching Conservative Teachers regarding Gender and Sexual Diversity in the wake of Obergefell
Antonio Gutierrez de Blume Calibration Among Undergraduate Students: The Role of Gender and Performance Attributions
Amanda Glaze; Liz Barnes; Eli Gottleib; Erich Eder; and Gale Sinatra Relations between Religious Belief and Learning about Evolution: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Dan Rea and Cordelia Zinskie Development of a Holistic Instrument to Assess Need and Readiness of “Forgotten Middle” Students
Alisa Leckie Twenty-Five Years of Race-Evasive Literature on White Teacher Identity
Julie C. Garlen Pop Culture Praxis: Cultural Production as Critical Pedagogy
Julie C. Garlen, (chair/session organizer); Lisa Farley; Gail Boldt; Joe Valente; Sandra Chang-Kredl; and David Lewkowich The Child in Question: Exploring Social Constructions of Childhood
Alma Stevenson and Scott Beck Emergent Conscientization among Pre-teens through Critical, Socioculturally Responsive Literacy Pedagogy
John Weaver Quantitative and Qualitative Methods are not Enough! The Ethics of Research Beyond Methodocentrism
Jonathan C. Hilpert; Gwen C. Marchand; and Jenefer E. Husman Engagement and loss of complexity during interactive instruction: A multilevel analysis of energy science classrooms
Marlynn Griffin and Bryan Griffin Faculty, Staff, and Student Views of Concealed Carry of Handguns on the University Campus
Dean Thomas R. Koballa, Jr. and Chris and Katie Brkich Digital Badges and Differentiated Instruction: Programme Evaluation in Supporting Online Professional Development
Ashlihan Unal and Z. Unal Using Online Case Studies to Prepare Preservice Teachers Working with Parents. What Would You Do in This Situation?
Ashlihan Unal and Z. Unal Investigating and Comparing the Effectiveness of Three Different Case-Based Instruction Strategies in Classroom Management
Michael Moore Whose stories are we telling? Literary knowledge, English curricula and diversity in globalised national contexts
Alma Stevenson and Lacey Huffling With Our Writing, We Had to Think Like Scientists:” Developing STEM Literacy Through Creative Narratives.
Cordelia Zinskie Analysis of Required Twitter Participation in an Online Educational Research Course: Process and Results

*Bold indicates College of Education faculty member.

For additional information about AERA or to see an online program for the meeting, visit

Glaze invited to present in LSU Museum Seminar Series

Amanda Glaze, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, has been invited to speak at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Natural Sciences later this month. On April 21, Glaze will present “Unspeakable, Forbidden, Taboo: Conversations about evolution in the American Southeast” for LSU’s Museum Seminar Series.

The series is a weekly research talk given by invited guests and LSU personnel that revolves around topics of natural history, ecology, or evolutionary biology. Seminars are open to the public and take place on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. in the museum exhibits area.

COE faculty TEDxGeorgiaSouthernU videos available for streaming

Richard Cleveland, Ph.D.

Fayth Parks, Ph.D.

Richard Cleveland, Ph.D. and Fayth Parks, Ph.D. of the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development presented at the University’s first-ever TEDx event, TEDxGeorgiaSouthernU, in 2016. Videos of their lectures are now available for streaming on YouTube.

Cleveland presented “Story as Connection.” The talk referenced his experience as a traveler and educator with diverse populations and talks about his efforts to connect people to stories and then to each other. To view his lecture, click here.

Parks presented “Connecting Humanity Through the Art of Storytelling.” She spoke on knocking down walls and lessening the gaps between people through exploring the common threads of human experience by telling and listening to each other’s stories. Parks presented a fresh look at storytelling as a creative, time-honored way of connecting through universally valued human strengths.  To view her lecture, click here.

TEDxGeorgiaSouthernU is organized by the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement.

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