Two education teachers receive prestigious scholarships from the Spencer Foundation
ATLANTA – Two faculty members from Mercer University College of Education received Spencer Foundation scholarships in the most recent selection cycle.
The Spencer Foundation has been a major funder of educational research since 1971 and is the only national foundation focused exclusively on supporting educational research.
Dr Leah Panther, Assistant Professor of Literacy, along with Collaborator Dr Eric Parker, who is Principal of Tucker High School in DeKalb County, received a grant under the Research Partnerships Grants Program and of practice (RPP).
Dr. Susan Cannon, assistant professor of elementary and middle school, received a grant under the Small Research Grants program.
“Dr. Panther and Dr. Cannon are excellent teacher-researchers, and these awards recognize the promise of their ideas and the strength of their achievements. Their projects highlight areas of emerging identity for the College of Education: develop and maintain productive partnerships and strive for equity in education, ”said Dr. Thomas Koballa, Dean of the College.
RPP grants are intended to support educational research projects that engage in collaborative and participatory partnerships with project budgets of up to $ 400,000 and durations of up to three years. The program supports researcher-practitioner partnerships that aim to gain new knowledge about the processes, practices and policies that improve the education of learners, educators, families, communities and institutions where learning takes place and education, such as schools, universities, museums and other workplaces. Grants are awarded once a year.
Dr. Panther’s project, titled “Use Your Voice: Linguistic Justice to Literacy Practice in the State of Georgia,” will establish the Linguistic Justice Collaborative (LJC), extending an existing school-university partnership to create a three-year stand-alone research infrastructure .
The objectives of the LJC are to strengthen the capacity for linguistic justice in the State of Georgia through professional learning and training of current and future literacy leaders; engage in participatory research activities initiated by the community; and continue to build and expand relationships with communities throughout the state of Georgia to directly support youth literacy.
The LJC will offer hybrid summer literacy workshops where young people from partner schools across the community – and possibly across the state – engage in culturally and linguistically free literacy programs. The workshops will also serve as participatory research projects where project teams respond to pressing dilemmas related to language, linguistic diversity and responsible educational opportunities for young people.
“Over the past three years, growing up in Georgia, I have marveled at what makes this state so unique. One of those highlights was getting to know the cultural and linguistic diversity of the state, ”said Dr Panther. “As I spoke to teachers, community members and learners, I kept coming back to a few questions that I wanted to answer on my own. It is truly exciting to know that the Spencer Foundation also shares an interest in finding the answers to these questions. As I have started working on this grant over the past few months, I am already encouraged by the wave of interest and support from members of the local community, organizations and schools who wish to be a part of this work for valuing and supporting Georgian youth.
Small Research Grants are intended to support educational research projects that will contribute to the improvement of education, at large, with budgets of up to $ 50,000 for projects ranging from one to five years. . This program is ‘field-initiated’, which means that proposal submissions are not in response to a specific request for a particular research topic, discipline, design, method or location. These grants support rigorous, intellectually ambitious and technically sound research relevant to the most pressing issues and compelling opportunities in education. Grants are awarded three times a year.
Dr. Cannon’s project, titled “Equity Based Tools in Virtual Field Work and Induction of Elementary Mathematics Teachers,” investigates an innovative model of teacher integration that harnesses the expertise of graduates of the K-5 Mathematics Approval Program. Mercer to mentor and support prerequisite elementary mathematics. teachers in their field placements and throughout their first year of teaching.
The project, which stems from a seed grant from Mercer Provost, studies the effect of two tools previously developed and published by other researchers – the EQUIP application (Equity Quantified in Participation) and the Levels of Classroom Discourse ( LCD) – which are used to help elementary teachers create equitable math communities.
“During my first year of working with Mercer’s graduate students in the Elementary Mathematics Approval Program, I was struck by the in-depth knowledge of pedagogy and content that our graduate students have. I wanted to connect our strong Mercer graduates with our pre-service teachers, and do so with equity as a central tenant, ”said Dr. Cannon.
About the College of Education
Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta, and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named in honor of the former college for women which merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator”, which supports those who aspire to develop professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit education.mercer.edu.