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Innovations in Education, Leadership,
Research, and Counseling

October 2022
Dr.Laura Choate
Director's Welcome
Greetings from the LSU School of Education! I am the newly appointed Interim Director of SOE, after having served as Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Services for our College of Human Sciences & Education, and the previous 22 years as a faculty member in Counselor Education program.
If you are not familiar with SOE, we might surprise you with the breadth and depth of our academic program offerings. We are comprised of a diverse array of 3 undergraduate programs (early childhoodelementary, and dually certified special education/elementary education), 3 graduate certificates, 17 master’s degree program areas, 9 EdS certificate areas, and 11 PhD specialization areas. We focus not only on preparing highly qualified Birth-Grade 12 teachers but also in preparing educational leaders, curriculum studies scholars, educational technology experts, applied researchers, higher education professionals, school counselors, and clinical mental health counselors. In other words, we offer scholarly expertise regarding pressing educational and wellness issues across the entire lifespan. From our innovative programs and projects, faculty scholarship, and community engagement, we are living up to our motto to Geaux Change Lives. 
Thank you,
Laura Choate

Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Professor

Overview of Offices and Projects in SOE

Office of Educational Research, Director Eugene Kennedy, PhD
The Office of Educational Research (OER), spearheaded by Dr. Eugene Kennedy, is a new entity in the School of Education. It was created to connect the research expertise of faculty and students in SOE with the research needs of the broader education community in Louisiana. It promises to be an extraordinary resource for policymakers, administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Read more about OER here

Curriculum Theory Project
Directed by Molly Quinn, PhD, the Curriculum Theory Project is a community of internationally recognized scholars and intellectually vibrant students from a diversity of backgrounds whose primary goals are to research the role education plays in a democratic society and participate in the future of curriculum theory nationally and internationally. CTP co-sponsored a virtual conference with the University of Ottawa this fall, and also brought in three visiting scholars, Dr. Elizabeth Macedo, Dr. Matthias Fischer, and Dr. Janet Miller, to share their expertise.
Coastal Roots Project
Co-Directed by Pam Blanchard, PhD, The LSU Coastal Roots Program began in 2000. This program has a BIG impact: Over 25,479 students have participated in Coastal Roots and the program has sponsored over 472 planting trips to coastal areas. Read more here.
Louisiana Writing Project
Spearheaded by Co-Directors, Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD and Courtney Brown, PhD, the Louisiana State University Writing Project (LSU WP) promotes the exploration of writing, writing research, and how to share writing best practice among educators. A revamp of the LSU Writing Project website is under way. In the meantime, you can see writing resources and news about Writing Project members on our new padlet.
Early Childhood Education Institute

Spearheaded by Executive Director Cynthia DiCarlo, PhD, ECEI at LSU is focused holistically on the early years and fills a unique niche by targeting early care, specifically birth through age three. ECEI aims to make LSU a leader in early care and education research, dissemination, and advocacy on recommended practices. Learn more here.

Faculty Research Briefs

Kerri Tobin, PhD and Graduate Assistant Brandi Gros publish book on homelessness and schools. Read more here. To read more about The Tobin Lab, which is a collaborative space for ideas, research, and action on homelessness, education, housing, and justice, click here.
Jennifer Baumgartner, PhD shares about her research collaboration with the Oral History Project. The experiences and expertise of those that care for our country’s youngest children are often assumed, undervalued, and missing from both the public and historic narratives. The Louisiana Early Childhood Teacher Oral History Project partners with LSU’s T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History to collect, document, and archive the stories of current and retired early childhood teachers in Louisiana. Please let us know if you would be interested in sharing your story by completing this form.
Ashley Clayton, PhD Conducts Higher Education Research Through Spencer Grant. In Spring 2020, Ashley Clayton (Co-PI) and Tenisha Tevis (PI, Oregon State University) received a Spencer Foundation Small Research Grant for a project titled, “Institutional Agents: Exploring High School Counselors’ College Knowledge in California Title I Schools.” They will present preliminary findings at the ASHE 2022 Conference and submit their final report in December 2022. Further, Clayton and Tevis plan to publish several articles and chapters with their findings from their study on college knowledge.
April Chen, PhD publishes research on community colleges. Dr. Chen published an article on the supposed community college salary penalty and whether community college students who transfer to 4-year institutions are actually less likely to graduate and earn less compared to those students who go directly to 4-year institutions. Read more here. To read more about Dr. Chen’s research which was recently awarded a NSF CAREER award, click here.
Cynthia DiCarlo, PhD and Margaret Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD publish book on academic writing. Learn more about their book Productivity and Publishing: Writing Processes for New Scholars & Researchers by Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, Leah Katherine Saal, Cynthia F. DiCarlo, and Tynisha D. Willingham. The authors take the challenges and confusion out of academic writing and journal publishing by empowering readers to find the writing process that works for them. Read more here.
Joy Blanchard, PhD, researches Academic Freedom and Political Intrusions. Dr. Blanchard will be presenting in November at the annual conference of the Education Law Association. Her research in progress, entitled “Is Academic Freedom Becoming a ‘Rusty’ Ideal? Legislative Speech-Based Funding Restrictions on Curriculum," focuses on recent developments related to academic freedom and political intrusions. Framed by the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Rust v. Sullivan (1991), which held that government entities are not required under the First Amendment to fund messages that they do not support, Blanchard’s presentation will examine state-level legislation aimed at curbing certain classroom discussions and will offer policy solutions for educators facing possible classroom censorship.
Jennifer Curry, PhD is Co-PI on NSF Grant with LSU Engineering. Dr. Jennifer Curry is co-PI on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant S-STEM grant. The PRISE (Preparing Resilient Individuals for Success in Engineering) Program is an NSF-funded scholarship designed to help high-achieving, high potential engineering students with financial hardships persist through graduation. Read more here.
Jennifer Qian, PhD serves as editor of International journal and receives one-year NSF grant. Dr. Jennifer Qian, coordinator of our online Educational Technology graduate program, has served as the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Innovative Teaching and Learning in Higher Education since January 2021. Dr. Qian is also part of a research team that was awarded a one year National Science Foundation grant. Read more here.

Welcome to New Faculty

Welcome to Henderson Lewis, PhD
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Henderson Lewis, Assistant Professor in our Educational Leadership program.  Prior to his arrival at LSU he served for seven years as the superintendent of schools in New Orleans. Learn more about his journey and goals here.
Welcome to Eugene Geist, PhD
We would also like to welcome Dr. Eugene Geist, Associate Professor in the Early Childhood Education area. Dr. Geist worked as a professor for 24 years at Ohio University. Read more here.
Welcome to Tyrslai Williams, PhD
Tyrslai M. Williams-Carter, PhD is the Assistant Dean of Mentorship, Education, & Research in Strategic Initiatives of the Graduate School (SIGS) at Louisiana State University. She recently joined SOE Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Research. She is very excited to join the School of Education and looks forward to engaging with the Office of Educational Research on STEM and higher education projects. Read more about her career and research initiatives here

Chalk Talk: Update from Teacher Preparation Programs

Margaret Piccoli, PhD, Coordinator, Office of Professional Experiences shares news on new student residencies
As the new Coordinator of the Office of Professional Experiences, Piccoli highlights some of the exciting initiatives the OPE has launched this fall. With the help the amazing supervisors in the OPE, we have implemented several initiatives designed to improve the quality of our students’ residencies. Read Dr. Piccoli’s OPE message here.
LSU Elementary Education Alum Kristin Lambert Shines in her First Year of Teaching
Kristin Lambert graduated from LSU in May of 2022 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education (1-5). She is currently a 3rd grade Math and Science teacher at Sugar Mill Primary. Read her interview here
Two LSU Education Students Awarded Future Educator Honor Roll by the Board of Regents. Read about Hannah Bryant and Emily Kleefisch's experiences in the teacher education program here

Graduate Spotlight

Sharae Vicknair, Counselor Education Program
Sharae Vicknair is a recent graduate of the Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the School of Education and is now working with LSU Student Support Services. Read more here
Heather Lavender, PhD, Science Education
LSU School of Education alum, Heather Lavender, PhD, has been awarded her first NSF grant. Her study will examine connections between Black girls' lived experiences and their interest in pursuing STEM careers. Read more here.

Community Engagement

Carver Cubs Summer Reading Clinic Hosted by Kim Skinner, PhD and Laura Piestrynski, PhD
Forged from a ten-year partnership between Carver Library and LSU literacy faculty, the Carver Cubs Summer Reading Clinic is held every weekday for four weeks each June. In keeping with a clinical model, the graduate literacy education students provide specific, individualized reading and writing instruction based on diagnostic literacy assessment data to neighborhood children entering grades 1-7. Read more HERE.
SOE at A&M Academic Showcase. We had 4 Graduate Assistants represent SOE at the recent LSU-SU A&M Showcase on September 7, 2022 in honor of the historic LSU v. SU football game. Students from the area browsed academic programs from LSU and SU to learn more about potential majors.
Did you know we have a Mindspa in Peabody Hall?
Currently open to all faculty, staff, and students, our Mindspa is most recently being utilized in a partnership with students from the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts Theatre program. Drs. Jennifer Curry and Emeric Csaszar have partnered with the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts (along with doctoral student Dori Leeman) to promote theatre students’ self-care. Read more about the mindspa and their collaboration here.
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