Message from Division VP

 

Fall 2018

Cindy M. Walker, PhD, Duquesne University

Dear Division D Members,


I am excited to represent each of you for the next three years, as the Vice-President (VP) of Division D. My role requires that I represent each of you on the AERA Council that consists of our Executive Director, Felice Levine; the former, current, and past Presidents of AERA, all of the Vice-Presidents of AERA, and several elected members at large, including a graduate student representative. I met with the Council for the first time this past June and it was a tremendous learning and networking opportunity. Dr. Leslie Fenwick, Dean Emerita of Howard University School of Education, who is a member of the Scholarly Advisory Council for this Smithsonian Museum, gave us a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was a very educational and emotional day. After the tour, we reflected, as a group, about the experience, before delving into other issues, including planning for the upcoming conference. I spent some time talking with Vice-Presidents from other AERA Divisions about collaborative sessions that we might host at this year’s conference. Together we generated many good ideas, so stay tuned for which ones made the cut!


The Executive Committee (EC) of Division D met in New York and discussed several issues that we have since been working to resolve. The EC consists of all of the Chairs of our standing committees, the current and future Secretary, and myself. It was clear through our discussions that we really needed to create a stand-alone Communication committee. While such a committee was in existence for Division D, it was merely a sub-committee of the Membership committee, which did not seem to be the right organizational structure to meet our goal of moving our communication into more modern modes (such as social media). After consulting with Felice about policy and process, we decided that we could simply create a new committee, so we did. We now have a new Communication Committee, chaired by Jonathan Steinberg, Manager, Data Analysis & Computational Research at ETS. I sent a call requesting volunteers to help staff this committee and there was overwhelming support from all of you. We hope to have a launch party, promoting our new means of communication in Toronto this spring, at our annual meeting. Other changes, given our new structure, include:

  1. Moving Division D Webmaster, John LeMay, Research Analyst for Institutional Research at the University of North Alabama, from the Editorial Committee, which is the group responsible for putting together this newsletter, to the Communication Committee, since our website is a form of communication. Moreover, it is a form of communication that I believe we should use on a more regular basis. I know I, for one, never really go to our website, unless I am registering for the annual conference!
  2. Creating a true chair position for the Editorial Committee, as opposed to having the Secretary serve as the chair. This will allow the Secretary to focus only on “secretarial” things, as opposed to having to do so on top of chairing the Editorial Committee. Amanda Nolen, Professor in the School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who was a member of this committee, has graciously agreed to serve in this role.

One of the primary initiatives that I plan to work on during my tenure as your Vice-President is to create opportunities for us to interact more with members of other divisions of AERA. Of particular interest to me is helping to create forums where we can interact with Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) and Division H (Research, Evaluation, and Assessment in Schools). As Dean of a School of Education, with an accredited teacher education program, I have become increasingly interested in how we might work more closely with teachers and teacher educators, many of whom have little to no understanding of measurement and assessment. In conversations with some of my dean colleagues, it has become clear to me that we all agree that teachers need to understand assessment and evaluation on a very deep level, in order to understand how to best assess their students and work with the data that they are presented with and expected to react to. My ultimate goal would be to create one or more assessment literacy modules for in-service and pre-service teachers, as well as teacher educators. I have been in initial conversations with the VP of Division K, Kathy Schultz, Dean at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and we have started to think about planning a pre-session to think though how we might organize some interesting panel discussions on the topic for the annual conference in 2020. If you are interested in this topic, feel free to drop me a note about your ideas.


I would be remiss if I did not include a big shout out to Kadriye Ercikan for her leadership of Division D over the past three years. She has done a marvelous job of mentoring me for my new role, during the last year of her tenure. More importantly, she has left our Division with a healthy budget, a new program section, and strong program and committee chairs. I am ever grateful to her for her leadership and mentorship.

 

Sincerely,
Cindy M. Walker