Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Child and Adolescent, Education, faculty, Learning disability, mentoring, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, research, School of Education, Special education, University of Washington on April 9, 2012 |
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I have always been interested in how children learn words and how vocabulary can best be taught, and over the years I have often tried to synthesize what I know about effective vocabulary instruction. My most recent publication (Nagy & Townsend, 2012) is the latest such attempt, focusing in particular on the challenges students face in understanding academic language. I am also interested in how students’ awareness of language contributes to their reading ability. In particular, I have been investigating morphological awareness – students’ knowledge about morphemes (prefixes, roots, and suffixes). In my recent work with Dr. Scott Beers, I have also begun dealing with another aspect of literacy, writing.
Everything I know about these topics is going to be needed for my upcoming research. Dr. Beers and I are now part of the research team led by Dr. Virginia Berninger at the University of Washington in the new Center for the Defining and Treating Specific Learning Disabilities in Written Language. This center is part of the Learning Disabilities Research Centers Consortium funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). (For a press release, see http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/011712-learning-disabilities-centers.cfm). We’ll be part of an interdisciplinary team, including not only educators, but computer scientists, geneticists, and experts in brain imaging. Our work will range from basic research on the nature of writing disabilities to very applied work on developing interventions to help students who struggle with writing.
Nagy, W. & Townsend, D. (2012). Words as tools: Learning academic vocabulary as language acquisition. Reading Research Quarterly, 47(1), 91-108.
Dr. Nagy has been a Professor in the School of Education at SPU since 1996. He teaches literacy and research courses and mentors many doctoral students. He was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in vocabulary development.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged admissions, challenging, collaboration, earning potential, love of learning, mentoring, relationships, rewarding, rigorous on February 22, 2010 |
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With good reason only a small percentage of people pursue and complete a doctoral degree. Earning a doctoral degree demonstrates attainment of the highest levels of knowledge and thinking available in formal education. The work is rigorous, challenging, and time consuming.
It’s best to chunk challenging tasks into doable parts. You can think of doctoral studies are a series of hoops to jump through… taking admissions tests, getting admitted, taking coursework, passing comprehensive exams, conducting dissertation research. But the pursuit of a doctoral degree is much more than jumping through hoops and completing products. While those earning a doctoral degree reap tangible benefits such as increased earning potential and professional opportunities, the processes involved can also be exceptionally rewarding in many other intangible ways.
The cognitive challenges presented during a rigorous doctoral program can drive students (along with faculty) to develop and grow. Synthesis, critical analysis of historical and current ideas, debate, application of ideas to professional contexts, and pursuit of new information are hallmarks of this level of learning. For many, these sorts of cognitive challenges are highly motivating. A love of learning and doctoral studies often goes hand in hand.
The professional and personal relationships built during doctoral studies will last a lifetime. Students and faculty spend time in the “trenches” together and the collaboration, support, and development of ideas cement relationships that pay multiple dividends. Many who earned degrees years ago remain in contact with professors and fellow students. The semi-cohort model employed in SPU’s doctoral programs, along with close interactions built with faculty members during mentoring and dissertation processes, ensures rewarding relationships for years to come.
Doctoral studies should be viewed holistically and the multiple rewards of the journey, along with the more tangible benefits, are to be cherished.
Andrew Lumpe, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Director of Doctoral Programs
Photo Credits-Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/fncll/
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