Skip to main content

Lectures, Presentations, & Seminars

The Curry School of Education hosts a variety of events each year. We present leaders in the field of education to share their knowledge, research, perspectives, and also encourage conversation and sharing of ideas with the audience. This year we are pleased to host distinguished guests from universities nationwide as well as from the Curry School. Please see the list below, and we hope you can join us.

Events in Spring 2017

Topic: Peer and Teacher Interactions as Developmental Opportunities in Linguistically Diverse Middle School Classrooms
Presenters: Amanda Kibler, Ph.D., Lauren Molloy Elreda, Ph.D., and Mimi Arbeit, Ph.D.

April 20th, 2017, 12:30 - 1:45pm (includes 30 minute discussion at end)
Ruffner Hall, Room 206

Researchers will discuss new findings in their study of the affordances for second language development and academic learning available in linguistically heterogeneous (including English learners, or ELs, alongside non-ELs) middle school classroom settings (grades 6-8). Data for the overall study consist of student social network surveys, teacher surveys, seating charts, student-level standardized assessment outcomes, and videotaped observations from 35 middle school English and Math classrooms as well as qualitative field-notes and teacher and student interviews from a subset of these classrooms (n=10 classrooms). They will present an analysis in which we test whether the number of friendships and academic help-seeking relationships a student has in the classroom predicts across-year changes in teacher ratings of students’ engagement and students’ standardized test scores. In addition, they test the relative effects of bridging capital (cross-language-status peer relationships) versus bonding capital (same-language-status peer relationships) in contributing to these academic outcomes, and whether these two types of social capital may especially matter for EL students. Findings are consistent with hypotheses, suggesting unique academic benefits of total number of relationships as well as bridging and bonding ties, especially for EL students. The group will describe the process and progress of a mixed-methods analysis in which we explore the teaching practices more often observed for teachers whose classrooms exhibit above-average increases in network cohesion and above-average decreases in hierarchical structure and language-based network segregation.

Topic: Does Repeating a Grade Make Students (and Parents) Happier? Regression Discontinuity Evidence from New York City
Presenter: Jonah Rockoff, Associate Professor, Columbia Business School

Friday April 21st 2017, 12:00-1:30 PM
Seminar Room, Garrett Hall

Bio: Jonah E. Rockoff is an Associate Professor of Business at the Columbia Graduate School of Business and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Professor Rockoff’s interests center on the finance and management of public schools. His most recent research focuses on systems for hiring new teachers, the effects of No Child Left Behind on students and schools, the impact of removing school desegregation orders, and how primary school teachers affect students’ outcomes in early adulthood. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in Economics from Amherst College.

Topic: Preventing Adolescent Dating Abuse Using An Interactive Smartphone Application
Presenter: Katrina Debnam, Ph.D., MPH

May 4th 2017, 12:30 - 1:45pm (includes 30 minute discussion at end)
Ruffner Hall, Room 206

Approximately 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. In addition to being linked to later intimate partner violence, having been a victim of physical dating abuse was significantly associated with lower than average grades and poor school attachment for male and female students in grades 7 through 12. Safety planning is the most widely advocated intervention to reduce intimate partner violence, yet safety planning services specific to adolescents have not been systematically developed or tested. The MyPlan interactive smartphone application was developed to provide easy access to safety planning services for college-aged women.  With some adjustments, the MyPlan app could also be useful to middle and high school students who are experiencing dating abuse and their friends.  In this talk, Debnam will discuss preliminary findings from interviews and focus groups to adapt and refine the MyPlan app for adolescents.

George Graham Lecture in Reading 2017
Topic: Dyslexia Redux
Speaker:  Professor Julian (Joe) Elliott, Durham University, UK

Date:  June 15, 2017
Time: 9 am - 2pm
Ruffner Hall Auditorium

Registration and Details Here

Professor Elliott is Principal of Collingwood College and Professor of Educational Psychology at Durham University, UK.  His review of dyslexia/reading disability (with Elena Grigorenko) across the fields of genetics, neuroscience, psychology, education and social policy, The Dyslexia Debate (2014), was the product of 40 years’ experience as a teacher in special and mainstream schools, an educational (school) psychologist, a teacher trainer, and a researcher.

His argument that dyslexia is a scientifically flawed concept, a position often misreported, misrepresented, and misunderstood, has been met by fury and disdain in some quarters, particularly in settings where emotion, rather than rational, scientific analysis, tends to dominate, or where powerful vested interests are challenged. His arguments are particularly timely for researchers and practitioners in the United States where fierce lobbying has resulted in federal and state legislation driven by a powerful dyslexia industry that, he will argue, is unlikely to serve the interests of many young people.

Professor Elliott will outline the reasons why dyslexia is a problematic concept, discuss which forms of intervention have scientific support and which should be avoided, and then explain why his arguments have often been met by hostility. Finally, he will conclude by outlining how the needs of children with reading disabilities may be best served.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr. Peter Patrick, Dr. Donna Scanlon and Dr. Bill Therien,  who are experts in the fields of cognitive psychology, assessment and intervention, and special education.

Lectures that have already occurred

Topic: The Science of Hope and Why it Matters for Children and Families in Poverty
Presenter: Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS, Psychologist, Author, and Motivational Speaker

Friday, February 24, 11:00am-12:30pm
Holloway Hall (Rm 116), Bavaro Hall
Sponsored by Youth-Nex

Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS has devoted her career to addressing the challenges of low-income and minority children and families.  From her early work as an educator to her current role supporting biomedical and behavioral sciences research, Dr. Maholmes calls attention to the short and long term psychological and health consequences of experiencing adversity early in life.  

Dr. Valerie Maholmes completed her Ph.D. at Howard University and was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center in the School of Medicine.  Upon completion of her post-doctoral training, she joined the faculty at the Yale Child Study Center.  After serving in numerous capacities including Director of Research and Policy for the Comer School Development Program, she was awarded  the Irving B. Harris Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry—an endowed professorial chair in research and social policy.  She served two terms on the New Haven Public School Board of Education and was elected Vice-President/Secretary.  She also served as a minority visiting faculty at the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington, IN. 

In 2003, Dr. Maholmes earned a sixth-year degree in School Psychology with a concentration in neuropsychological and psychosocial assessments from Fairfield University.  In that same year, she was awarded the prestigious Science Policy Fellowship sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS).  She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, lectured and through her work at the NIH has funded research and programs on factors that influence the health and development of low-income, minority children.  Notably, Dr. Maholmes co-authored a text on applied child development research published by Taylor and Francis, Psychology Press in 2010 and a comprehensive volume about the intergenerational effects of poverty titled Child Development and Poverty published by Oxford University Press in 2012.  This work was followed by a text titled Fostering Resilience and Well-being in Children and Families in Poverty:  Why Hope Still Matters published in February 2014 also by Oxford Press.  With her most recent book titled Post Dramatic Relationship Syndrome: How to Find Your Drama-Free Zone , Maholmes' joins the global network of independent book authors and uses her platform to call attention to the ways in which relationship dynamics have an impact on women's emotional wellbeing and overall health.

Abstract: This talk will review the factors that promote hope and resilience in poor children and families and will explore the focal question: "Are We Wired to Hope?"    Case studies will be presented of individuals who experienced adverse events in childhood, but seem to fare well despite their circumstances.  The session will conclude with a discussion on the "cost of resilience" and evidence-based strategies that help families manage the day-to-day complexities of their lives and achieve their most fundamental goal of providing a better life themselves and for their children.

Topic: Natural Mentoring Relationships: Why They Matter and What We Can Do To Encourage Their Formation
Presenter: Noelle Hurd, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

Friday March 3rd 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM 
Holloway Hall (Rm 116), Bavaro Hall

Bio: Dr. Noelle Hurd has a scholarly background in clinical psychology, public health, and education. She has a primary appointment in the University of Virginia (UVA) Psychology Department (specifically, in the clinical and community psychology areas). She also has an appointment in the Curry School of Education and is a faculty affiliate of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at UVA. Her research agenda has primarily focused on the promotion of healthy adolescent development among marginalized youth.  Specifically, her work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Using a resilience framework, she has assessed the potential of nonparental adults to serve as resources to marginalized youth, and she has investigated the processes through which these relationships affect a variety of youth outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, health-risk behaviors, academic achievement). Currently, she is investigating the role of contextual factors in promoting or deterring the formation of intergenerational relationships and shaping the nature of interactions between marginalized youth and the adults in their communities. She also is further examining the mechanisms that drive the promotive effects of natural mentoring relationships and developing an intervention focused on enhancing positive intergenerational relationships between adolescents and the nonparental adults in their everyday lives. She runs the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. She is a current William T. Grant Scholar and a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2015, she was recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. She has published her research findings in a host of journals including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, the American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Her research is currently funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), and the National Science Foundation.

Topic: Youth Adult Relationships as Ecological Assets
Presenters: Nancy Deutsch, Ph.D. and Mimi Arbeit, Ph.D.

March 16th 2017, 12:30 - 1:45pm (includes 30 minute discussion at end)
Ruffner Hall, Room 206

Teachers, coaches, extended kin, after-school program staff, clergy, youth group leaders, mentors - these are just some of the various non-parental adults who youth might interact with across the different settings of their lives. Such non-parental adults are an important source of social, emotional, and material support for adolescents. Indeed, relationships with supportive non-parental adults, sometimes called natural mentors, have been linked to positive youth outcomes. We followed 40 youth (ages 12-18 at the start of the study) and their relationships with important adults over the course of three years. Across this time period, half of the youth in our study transitioned from middle school to high school and the other half transitioned out of high school, giving us the opportunity to examine whether and how relationships with important adults are sustained across key developmental transitions. Drawing on interview, survey, and social mapping data from youth and interview and survey data from their nominated important adults and parents, we are examining how these relationships are developed and sustained over time as well as the influence of these relationships on youth outcomes. In this talk we will present an overview of the data we have (we have just finished data collection), current analysis completed and underway, and discuss planned analyses and ideas for new questions we could ask of the data.

Topic: The Demand for Teacher Characteristics in the Market for Child Care: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment
Presenter: Chris Herbst, Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Monday March 27th 2017, 12:00-1:30 PM
Holloway Hall (Rm 116), Bavaro Hall

Bio: Chris M. Herbst is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs and a faculty affiliate in the School Social Work in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University. He is also a Research Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, and a former Visiting Scholar in the School of Public Policy at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). His research focuses on the evaluation of public policies within the U.S. social safety net. Specifically, he seeks to understand the ways in which redistributive tax and transfer programs affect the well-being of economically disadvantaged families.

Topic: Teacher Incentives in Tanzania
Presenter: Isaac Mbiti, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics, University of Virginia

Monday April 10th 2017, 12:00-1:30 PM
Holloway Hall (Rm 116), Bavaro Hall

Bio: Isaac M. Mbiti is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Prior to his appointment at the Batten School, Mbiti was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University and also served as a Martin Luther King Visiting Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His research has focused broadly on African economic development with particular interests in examining the role of education policies such as free primary education and teacher performance pay programs, as well as the potential for new technologies (especially mobile phones) to spur the development process. His ongoing research projects in East and West Africa evaluate various policies that aim to improve the livelihoods of African youth through training programs.

His research has been supported by numerous agencies including the National Science Foundation, The National Institutes of Health, the International Impact Evaluation Initiative, USAID and the World Bank. He is a research affiliate at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT and was previously selected as a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow.  His publications have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and Journal of African Economies. He has also authored several policy reports for the Kenyan Government, the World Bank and NGOs, such as the International Rescue Committee. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Brown University.

Curry Annual Research Conference

Topic: Pathways from Research to Policy: Implications for Researchers
Cynthia Coburn, Professor of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Friday April 14th 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM  
Holloway Hall (Rm 116), Bavaro Hall

Cynthia E. Coburn is professor at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She specializes in policy implementation, the relationship between research and practice, data use, and scale up of innovation. She has studied research use in schools and districts since 2002, including co-directing a six-year cross-case study of innovative approaches that reconfigured the relationship between research and practice for educational improvement (with Mary Kay Stein), a study of research-practice partnerships in three urban districts (with William Penuel), and a study of the role of research in school-district policy making in four urban districts (with Jim Spillane). She serves as co-Principal Investigator of the IES-funded National Center for Research in Policy and Practice. In 2011, Coburn was awarded the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association in recognition of her contributions to the field of educational research in the first decade of her career. In 2015, she was elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, honoring “exceptional contributions to and excellence in educational research.” Coburn has a BA in philosophy from Oberlin College, and a MA in Sociology and a PhD in Education from Stanford University.

Abstract: In the last decade, there has been renewed interest in how policy makers in various fields use research in their decision making. Researchers wonder why some research ends up being influential in policy making while other research does not. Funders want to find ways that their investment in research can be more influential. Advocates argue that policy makers should be using the best information available to inform consequential decisions, especially when it affects children and youth. In this talk, I discuss what we know as a field about the ways in which research informs policy making. Rather than taking a normative stance, I discuss the nature of decision making in public agencies and the ways in which research enters into these practices, and the role of researchers and research-practice partnerships in these processes. I illustrate the discussion with evidence from my own studies of instructional decision making in urban school districts. I discuss implications for researchers, paying particular attention to new ways of conceptualizing the relationship between researchers and policy makers.


All lectures, seminars, and presentations

(Click on each link for the list.)

Year-long Lecture Series

Curry Education Research Lectureship Series

Education Policy Seminar Series

Youth-Nex Works in Progress

CASTL Works in Progress

Dean's New Faculty Lecture Series

Annual Lectures

Walter N. Ridley Distinguished Speaker Series

George Graham Lecture in Reading

Mary & Butch Slaughter Lecture Series

Annual Curry Research Conference

Connect With Us On: