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ELPA News

School of Education preparing to kick off 2017-18 academic year

August 23, 2017

UW-Madison’s School of Education is welcoming five new faculty members to campus as the 2017-18 academic year approaches.

Those across the School are invited to meet the new faculty members -- and catch up with old friends -- on Thursday, Aug. 31 when the School of Education hosts its annual Welcome Back Bash.

Welcome BackStop by after lunch to enjoy some Babcock ice cream, with the event running from 12:30 to 2 p.m. outside on the Education Building’s North Plaza. If it rains, the welcome event will be moved inside to the Education Building’s Morgridge Commons.

A brief program, including remarks from Dean Diana Hess, begins at 1:30 p.m.

Concurrently from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., the School of Education’s Grand Challenges initiative will be holding a poster fair. Grand Challenges is a bold new grant program launched earlier this year that’s designed to help form interdisciplinary partnerships that can address critical problems that span education, health and the arts. Teams taking part in Grand Challenges were able to apply for Engage Grants of up to $25,000, with the poster fair displaying artistic representations of the 14 Engage proposals submitted for funding. The poster fair will be held in the Morgridge Commons, unless rain forces the welcome event inside. In that case, the poster fair will be moved to the Education Building’s Wisconsin Idea Room.

New hires being welcomed to campus for the 2017-18 academic year include:

Jordan Conwell, assistant professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Department of Sociology –- Conwell comes to UW-Madison after receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University earlier this year. He will spend the 2017-18 academic year as an Anna Julia Cooper Post-Doctoral Fellow before joining the faculty in 2018-19. Conwell’s research and teaching interests center on the sociology of education, racial and class inequality, quantitative methods, and children and youth. He received a prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship in 2016 for his dissertation titled, “All Money is Not Created Equal: Racial Differences in Students' Educational Returns to Parental Income.”

Melinda Leko, associate professor, Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education -- Leko is returning to campus after spending the past three years as a faculty member with the University of Kansas’ Department of Special Education. Leko previously was an assistant professor with UW-Madison’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education from 2009-2014. Her research interests include: evidenced-based practices in reading for secondary students with disabilities; special education pre-service teacher education; educator professional learning; and inclusive education. She authored the 2016 book, “Word Study in the Inclusive Secondary Classroom: Supporting Struggling Readers and Students with Disabilities,” and earned her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2008.

Nicole Louie, assistant professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction -- Louie arrives at UW-Madison after working the past two years as an assistant professor of mathematics education at the University of Texas at El Paso. The former math teacher’s scholarship focuses on how people define what it means to be “smart,” and who is allowed to attain this status. This spring, Louie was awarded a prestigious National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on a project titled, “Empowering teachers, empowering students? Mathematics teacher collaboration and race in Chicago Public Schools.” Louie earned her doctorate in mathematics education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Peter Wardrip, assistant professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction -– Wardrip earned his Ph.D. in learning sciences and policy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014, and has spent the past three years as a learning scientist with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. He also held visiting researcher positions at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center, and at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human Computer Interaction Institute. Wardrip designs and studies ambitious learning experiences in and out of school, and is working on three different research projects that have garnered nearly $1.3 million in funding from groups as diverse as Google, the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. He is an alum of UW-Madison, having earned a BS in Latin Education in 1997.

Natalie Zervou, assistant professor, Dance Department -– Zervou is a dance scholar and performer with a Ph.D. in critical dance studies from the University of California, Riverside. She is no stranger to the UW-Madison campus, having served since January 2016 as a lecturer with the Dance Department.  Her research interests concern contemporary dance in Greece during the recent socio-political and economic crisis, and the ways that dancing bodies negotiate national identity construction in this fluctuating landscape. Earlier this year, she received an Educational Innovation Small Grant award from UW-Madison to create an online course for the Dance Department, “Dancing Gender: Embodiment, Politics and Feminist Theory.”

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