Three students pursuing graduate degrees in education through the School of Professional & Continuing Studies recently presented research findings at the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC) annual conference held at the Thomas R. Fulghum Conference Center in Chesterfield.
Tonishia Short, who is pursuing a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, presented a paper titled “Bucket Filling: Creating an Environment for Filling, not Dipping.” The paper focused on helping students deliver positive praise to classmates in a classroom environment built upon trust, belongingness, risk taking, and praise. Short works in Programs for the Gifted in Richmond City Public Schools.
Teresa Cole, GC’15, who earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in December 2015 and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, presented a paper titled “Student Definitions of Care and Connections to Motivation and Engagement.” The paper addressed teacher attitudes and behaviors in the classroom. Cole works at Short Pump Middle School in Henrico County Public Schools.
Short and Cole presented in a panel titled “Sustaining a Positive Classroom Environment: Critical Roles of Students and Teachers (Action Research)” moderated by Dr. Kate Cassada, assistant professor of education and assistant chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Richmond.
In addition, Dayna Walger, who is pursuing a post-master’s Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, presented a paper titled “Partnership PD: Authentic Assessment Design as Collaborative Practice” with a colleague at Virginia Commonwealth University. The paper describes a collaborative project between the Matoaca Middle School social studies department and a VCU professor focused on authentic-assessment design. Walger works at Matoacca Middle School in Chesterfield County Public Schools.
The value of presenting research findings at regional and national conferences is not lost on these educators and graduate students — nor on their professors. Assistant Professor Laura Kuti, assistant chair of graduate education in curriculum and instruction, notes that graduate education students focus on research in their courses of study in order to plan and conduct their own research projects. “Having a working knowledge of current and seminal research in their area of interest is an integral part of graduate study,” she indicated, “and sharing that knowledge and contributing to or furthering research opens the door to contribute to the field and their community at large.”
The School of Professional and Continuing Studies offers master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction and in educational leadership and policy studies. In addition, the School offers a post-master’s graduate certificate in educational leadership and policy studies and a post-baccalaureate certificate in teacher licensure preparation.