Message from Division VP
Division VP


This year Division L made two important strides forward.  First, the Division adopted bylaws.  These had been developed over several years, beginning when Mark Berends was Vice-President of Division L, so we are pleased to see this project coming to fruition.  Perhaps, its most important accomplishment is to establish an internal organizational and governance structure with a set of committees.  This should enhance participation in the work of the Division.  Second, the Division adopted a series of awards.  In addition to the traditional dissertation award, the Division now gives

  • The Outstanding Policy Research Award for an article or short report every other year,
  • The Outstanding Policy Research Award for a book or long report in the years when an article award is not given
  • The Early Career Award every other year, and
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award in the years the Early Career Award is not given.

The first Early Career and short Outstanding Policy Research Award will be given at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Vancouver.

For the 2011 annual meeting, 308 paper proposals were submitted along with 46 symposia proposals.  One hundred and thirty-four papers were accepted along with 31 symposia.   The number of submissions has generally increased over the last three years.  The committee who handled all of these submissions for 2011 was led by John Sipple of Cornell University and also included Katy Bulkley, Montclair State University; Erica Frankenberg, Penn State University; Greg Garn, University of Oklahoma; Rebecca Jacobson, Michigan State University; Don Peurach, (then of) Michigan State University; Becky Smerdon, Quill Research Associates; Tom Smith, Vanderbilt University. 

As in years past, the division organized a number of special sessions for the Annual Meeting. For example, Motoko Akiba (University of Missouri) organized a New Faculty Mentoring Seminar on the keys to successful navigation of the early career stage in education policy research. Peg Goertz, John Sipple, Jay Scribner, and Dana Mitra were all on the panel. 

This year, the AERA–Division L travel stipends supported the attendance of five graduate students at the Annual Meeting.  They were Kimberly Berry, Florida State University; Sally Bonet, Rutgers University; Kevin Collins, Claremont Graduate University; Kevin McGowan, George Mason University, and Debra McKeown: Vanderbilt University.

The Division L officers and committee chairs presented their reports at the Business Meeting. Divisions A and L and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) cosponsored the annual reception.

It is worth noting that the Division had 2010 members in 2011.  It ranked sixth out of 12 among AERA’s divisions and has been either sixth or seventh for the last five years. 

Graduate Student Activities

Tim Nordin, the Division L Graduate Student Representative, submits the following report on student activities:

The 2010/2011 academic year was a productive one for the Division L graduate student members. In November, we continued our partnership with Division A to bring two sessions with scholars to UCEA. Graduate students were able to discuss job market strategies at our breakfast session, and got to engage in a more intimate discussion during our “Evening with the Scholars.” These sessions will continue at UCEA 2011, and we will add a third session for graduate students around publishing their work. We are happy to be working with Division A in this productive partnership.

AERA 2011 saw the Division L Graduate Student Fireside chat continue to be a source of passionate discussion and deep thought. Our topic, “Critical Conversations:  Explaining the Democratic Implications of Mayoral Takeover of School Districts” featured Drs. Kenneth Wong, Jeffery Henig, Joseph Viteritti, and Gail Sunderman. It was a great success, attended by over 50 people. We hope to continue our growing tradition of engaging Fireside Chats at AERA 2012. While our final topic is not yet set, we are excited to bring division graduate students another chance to interact with top scholars.

In addition to the activities organized by students, AERA’s oldest graduate student seminar, the David L. Clark Seminar, was held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. Organized by UCEA, the Seminar was cosponsored by UCEA and Divisions A and L. More than 40 graduate students presented their dissertation research designs and benefited from critiques by senior faculty and professional development panels discussing the challenges faced by young scholars. Special thanks go to Bruce Cooper, Bill Firestone, Mike Knapp, Darleen Opfer, Susan Printy, Karen Seashore, John Sipple, and Linda Skrla who all served as mentors at the seminar.

Dissertation Award

The winner of this year’s Division L Dissertation Award was Morgan Polikoff of the University of Southern California.  His dissertation was entitled The content of Instruction Under Standards-Based Reform, and his chair was Andy Porter.  The runner up was Dallas Stallings III for his study of The Governors’ Club: Rethinking Gubernatorial Power, Influence and Policy-Making in the Context of Statewide Education Reform in the South It was chaired by Cathrine Marshall of the University of North Carolina.  Kathy Borman chaired the Dissertation Awards Committee. 

Planning for the 2012 Annual Meeting

Next year, Tom Smith of Vanderbilt University will chair the Program Committee.  He will be assisted by Robert Bifulco, Syracuse University; Erica Frankenberg, Penn State University; Jason Grissom, University of Missouri, Rebecca Jacobson, Michigan State University; Donald Peurach, (now of the) University of Michigan; Peter Youngs, Michigan State University.

Special thanks to all the members of last year’s executive Committee, including Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Mark Berends, Katy Bulkley, Kathy Borman Luis Huerta, and Janelle Scott.  Dorothea did a great job with the newsletter, and Janelle is pioneering a new role for the Affirmative Action Committee.  Finally, thanks to everyone who served as peer reviewers for the Annual Meeting and those who served on the Dissertation Award Committee.

Submitted by William A Firestone

Vice President, Division L AERA

August, 2011

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