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Academics and Programs

NC State College of Education to Launch 3 Interdisciplinary Research Hubs as Part of New Strategic Plan

Interdisciplinary Research Hubs

NC State’s College of Education will form three Interdisciplinary Research Hubs that cut across disciplines to generate creative and innovative solutions to address some of the most pressing challenges in education as part of the implementation of its Strategic Plan: 2023-2030:

These hubs are designed to enhance community, collaboration and inclusion by bringing together individuals from different units and disciplines to share resources and perspectives, and to learn from one another; build on existing work and projects to broaden the collective impact of research and scholarly endeavors; cultivate relationships and partnerships with experts within and beyond the college and university; and connect with key stakeholders to support the translation of research into practice.

These outcomes are aligned with the College of Education’s vision outlined in its Strategic Plan: 2023-2030 to ensure access and success for all learners in North Carolina and beyond, produce innovative educational research and solve the pressing challenges of education.

“By building on existing work and projects, these hubs are actively working to amplify the collective impact of research and scholarly endeavors. They also provide an excellent platform for cultivating relationships and partnerships, both within the college and university and beyond,” said Associate Dean for Research and Innovation Karen Hollebrands. “This networking aspect contributes to a broader understanding of the educational challenges we are addressing and brings together experts from different disciplines to generate more comprehensive solutions.”

Read more about the three new Interdisciplinary Research Hubs below.

Fostering Learning, Identity, and Participation within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (FLIP-STEM)

Hub goals: The aim of the FLIP-STEM Hub is to center racially, linguistically and neurodiverse middle school students’ knowledge and experiences in technology design and development. Designing with (as opposed to for) students, the group will document a landscape of students’ experiences from which innovative technologies grounded in generative artificial intelligence, augmented reality, place-based learning, and/or game-based learning can use students’ knowledge and experiences as inputs for STEM learning and discourse opportunities. More specifically, incorporating data science as a focus in this initiative will enable a deeper exploration of how students’ own experiences, interests and knowledge can be transformed into meaningful datasets for exploration and investigation. By engaging with data science, students will learn how to build datasets that they will analyze, interpret and make inferences about, enabling them to uncover patterns and insights from within their own experiences as they explore personally, locally and culturally relevant questions. This approach not only empowers students to see their experiences as valuable data sources but also teaches critical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Initial hub members: Associate Professor of Mathematics and Special Education Jessica Hunt, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation Executive Director and College of Education Associate Dean for Translational Research Krista Glazewski, Goodnight Distinguished Professor in Educational Equity Maria Coady, Data Science Academy Director Rachel Levy, Friday Institute Director of Learning Analytics and and Data Science Shaun Kellogg, Friday Institute Research Scholar Amy Walter, Data Science Academy K-12 Data Science Coordinator Taryn Shelton and participants from the Design Justice Network.

Systems for Un-correlating Poverty and Reading (SUPR) in North Carolina Schools

Hub goals: Reading achievement is highly correlated with socioeconomic status, such that many children in high-poverty North Carolina schools and communities are not learning to read proficiently. There are some schools that defy this trend. The goal of the SUPR (Systems for Uncorrelating Poverty and Reading in North Carolina Schools) Hub is to both expand the narrative to highlight the possibility of equitable reading outcomes in North Carolina schools and to carefully examine, from an interdisciplinary systems approach, the people and processes at work in these schools and communities that may differentiate them and serve as models for other schools and communities. These complex questions and efforts require expertise in looking at important challenges, systems and sources of data from multiple perspectives.

Initial hub members: Associate Professor of Literacy Education Dennis Davis, Associate Professor of Literacy Education Jill Grifenhagen, Associate Director of Principal Preparation Lesley Wirt, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation Research Scholar Amy Walter, Associate Professor of Psychology Kate Norwalk and Duke University’s Social Science Research Institute Director of Evaluation and Strategic Planning Jessica Sperling.

Well-Being and Equity in Rural Communities (WERC)

Hub goals: The Well-Being and Educational Equity in Rural Communities (WERC) Interdisciplinary Research Hub aims to address disparities in well-being and educational equity in rural communities and understand the impact of gender, race, culture, language and disability status within these disparities. The group will begin by engaging in participatory advocacy research with interdisciplinary leaders in rural communities to identify strengths that include rural ingenuity, unity, resourcefulness, and familism. Hub members will also work with rural partners to identify significant issues of equity within rural communities and document how communities across different locations address diversity. They will also study how community organizations work together to improve well-being and educational equity for diverse rural populations. 

Initial hub members: Assistant Teaching Professor of Special Education Jared Stewart-Ginsburg, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education Brean’a Parker, Goodnight Distinguished Professor in Educational Equity Maria Coady, W. Dallas Herring Professor and Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Executive Director Audrey J. Jaeger, Institute for Emerging Issues Director of Community Initiatives Samantha Graham and Institute for Emerging Issues Faith and Community Initiative Leader Ellen Beasley.