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GERA annual meeting discusses public scholarship to educate diverse democracies

The Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA) held its 41st annual meeting on October 7 in Augusta. Approximately 100 participants attended the conference representing 22 different universities, colleges, and K-12 schools in the state.

“We had a very successful conference this year, even in the midst of Hurricane Matthew evacuations and preparations,” said Conference Co-Chair and College of Education Professor Cordelia Zinskie, Ed.D.

Hurricane Matthew disrupted lives in Southeast Georgia with school and business closures beginning on Thursday, October 6. However, poor weather conditions did not stop travelers from Georgia Southern and other institutions across the state from attending GERA.

Thomas R. Koballa Jr., Ph.D., dean of the College of Education was the keynote speaker. In his conference address, entitled Engaging in Impactful Educational Research, Koballa discussed his beliefs on the structure of a modern college of education being rooted in the quality and impact of its research in concurrence with the exceptionality of its students. Within the Georgia Southern’s College of Education, Koballa has worked with faculty to stress the importance of the relationship between research and practice within both faculty and student activity.

The College of Education was well represented at the GERA conference. Kymberly Harris, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning served as conference co-chair with Zinskie. Also participating in the conference were COE faculty members Ming Fang He, Ph.D.; Lucas Jensen, Ph.D.; Meca Williams-Johnson, Ph.D.; and Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading Department Chair Kent Rittschof, Ph.D.

Current COE graduate students Donald Ariail, Christopher Gaiters, and Stacey Gesaman-Sharif as well as undergraduate student Meagan Fromme presented at the conference. Several COE alumni made presentations as well including Lucy Bush, Jeffrey Hall, Dana McCullough, Cathy Powell, Laura Rychly, Jasmine Sadler, Wynnetta Scott-Simmons, and Rebecca Wells.

The GERA is a state affiliate of the national organization, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and one of Georgia’s most dynamic research organizations. GERA has approximately 150 members from universities and colleges; public and private schools; and state, local, public, and private educational agencies and institutions, covering disciplines in education, psychology, statistics, sociology, history, economics, philosophy, anthropology, and political science.

To view the 2016 and past conference archives, visit


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