Bagwell College of Education

Dean's Speaker Series Promotes Faculty Research

The Bagwell College of Education is positioning itself to play a major role in helping Kennesaw State University become a doctoral research university. In September 2012, BCOE Dean Arlinda Eaton launched the “Dean’s Speaker Series” to support that endeavor.  “In keeping with a goal of KSU’s strategic plan to gain national prominence, the Dean’s Speaker Series will initially focus on faculty accomplishments at the national level,” Eaton said. 

Year One Presenters

Dr.McHatton & Dean Eaton

Dr. Patricia Alvarez McHatton, chair,
Department of Inclusive Education

"Emoting through Ethnodrama: An Introduction to Working with Diverse Families through Performance"

It is likely general education teachers will serve diverse students with disabilities in their classrooms. To do so effectively, partnering with the families of these students is important. This study investigated the use of ethnodrama as an instructional tool for preparing 316 preservice teachers to work with diverse families. Findings revealed participants were more positive and committed to working with diverse families after the ethnodramatic performance and valued ethnodrama as a tool that supplemented traditional textbooks and readings.

Dr. Mary L. Garner, professor,
Department of Mathematics and statistics 

“Analysis of Test Survey Data Using Item Response Theory” 

Item response theory (IRT) is a relatively new way of analyzing tests and survey data. In IRT, the probability of a person getting a specific item correct is related mathematically to the difficulty of the item and the skill level of the person. This new theory is behind the development of the Lexile reading scores now used in Georgia and is commonly used in state, national and international testing systems. “In my research, I've used IRT for both design and analysis of tests and surveys, and I've investigated methods to obtain values for the parameters of the mathematical models involved,” Garner said.

Dr. Reta Ugena Whitlock, associate professor,
Department of Secondary and Middle Grades Education

“Knowing Our Place: Narrative Writing, Teacher Education, and the Possibilities of Curriculum Studies” 

This research is part of a 10-year study of Southern place that seeks to learn more about LGBT families who are living in the Southeastern U.S. who have children/adolescents in P-16 schools and the implications for how teacher educators approach diversity. It focuses on the interpersonal relationships within families by relating their personal narratives. Research questions include: 1) Does the Southern region of the U.S. influence lesbian and gay families who live here? 2) What do the stories of these families contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of Southern place? This interdisciplinary project is a unique integration of curriculum studies, narrative inquiry and LGBT studies, with implications for how we as teacher educators approach diversity. "What I really hope to show is that it is not unusual or surprising to find LGBT families with kids in schools in the South. The news is that it is not news," Whitlock said.

Dr. Marvin Smith, associate professor,
Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education

“Longitudinal Mixed Methods Evaluation in Elementary Mathematics Teacher Education” 

Smith examined with colleagues at a nearby university the effects of their courses in elementary mathematics content and courses in methods for teaching elementary mathematics. We focused on undergraduate teacher candidates’ beliefs about how to teach elementary mathematics effectively, their beliefs about their own effectiveness in teaching this subject, and their expectations for all students to be successful in learning mathematics and the specialized content knowledge needed for teaching this subject. Findings show: 1) a second semester of elementary mathematics methods corresponds with increases in teaching efficacy beliefs and learning outcome expectancies; 2) greater teacher content knowledge corresponds with stronger beliefs that teaching should focus more on children’s understanding, thinking and problem solving rather than memorization; and 3) Teacher candidates are very interested in curricular relevance and caring instructors for courses in the content knowledge required for teaching elementary mathematics.

Year Two Presenters

Dr. T. C. Chan, professor,
Department of Educational Leadership 

“Educational Research Wants You”

This presentation reflected the author’s lifelong research experiences. “Why conduct research,” “research agenda,” “research process,” and “research outcomes” were fully explored with encouragement to his colleagues. In his presentation, Dr. Chan also introduced his milestone research projects: portables classrooms, departmentalization of elementary schools, and green school environments. He urged his colleagues to be open-minded in collaboratively performing educational research with their junior or senior faculty members and recognizing team achievement as one’s major achievement. He finalized his presentation by pinpointing the fulfillments and frustrations of conducting research and shared the lessons he learned as a researcher. 

Dr. Alice Terry, professor,
Department of Secondary and Middle Grades Education

“Bringing Passion to Scholarship: My Journey”

“The roots of my scholarship originated in public school classrooms where for over 20 years I employed service-learning as a teaching strategy,” Terry said.  Becoming passionate about service-learning as research unveiled its positive effects on students and community; together, we discovered that, as passionate thought grows, it requires of scholars a willingness to risk disappointment and even failure in pursuit of peak experiences (Newmann, 2006). Like flow, passion involves emotional intensity, which can ultimately transform awareness. “I learned to trust what I knew to be of value, and I felt a sense of pride that I had contributed something of substance to the field I loved,” Terry said. “I set out in this presentation to share my scholarly journey, but, more importantly, to offer a glimpse of what scholarship can be and can mean so that it doesn’t end up being one more thing you have to do. Research can, and should, become a passionate journey of discovery for scholars—and as in my experience, it can be transformative. “  

Dr. H. E. “Doc” Holliday, associate professor,
Department of Educational Leadership

“Reconnecting, Redirecting & Redefining 21st Century Males”

The purpose of his research is to develop, implement and review cutting-edge ideas, changes and research that must be embraced in America's public schools to ensure a more relevant education for at-risk male students.  Research questions include: 1) Why do today's boys come to school?  2) What must 21st-century teachers do to engage boys in developing a love of learning?  3) How can we foster healthy communication between mothers and sons? Answers to these questions are pursued in the context of management, motion, music and relationship building.  This research also addresses the impact of: gender-based approaches to improving academic achievement, parental involvement, and how at-risk boys transition from athletic aggression to academic affirmation. For more information, go to