Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in the Education Sciences

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Carnegie Mellon University
Principal Investigator: Dr. David Klahr
Interdisciplinary Educational Research Training Program (IERP)

The newly-established Interdisciplinary Educational Research Training Program (IERP) at Carnegie Mellon is designed to train researchers who are 1) grounded in cutting-edge theories and methodologies in cognitive and developmental psychology, statistics, human-computer interaction, and instructional technology, 2) familiar with many of the fundamental problems facing education in America, and 3) committed to applying their skills and knowledge to solving these problems. This program builds upon already existing interdisciplinary programs in Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction, Statistics, and several other departments, and expands and integrates the existing opportunities for rigorous training in education research that are currently distributed across campus. The goal is to provide a high-visibility graduate training opportunity that attracts excellent students into careers in education research.

Several themes in the IERP training program make it distinctive. First is a perspective that education research requires a continual bi-directional flow of ideas and challenges from basic laboratory studies to real-world instructional applications. Students in the training program are provided with opportunities to develop skills that enable them to cycle their research activities back and forth between lab-based studies and studies in classrooms and other educational settings. The second theme involves training in cutting edge knowledge assessment techniques; Carnegie Mellon has a strong record of leadership in developing and applying powerful methodologies that inform understanding of how people acquire, represent, remember, and utilize knowledge. The third theme involves employing cutting-edge educational technologies in education research. Specifically, students are taught state-of-the art methods of data collection and analysis; they are expected to master a rich variety of statistical methods appropriate to education research contexts, and to understand the strengths and limitations of each method.

Florida State University
Principal Investigator: Dr. Christopher Lonigan
Program to Increase Research Capacity in Educational Science (PIRT)

A variety of national reports and agencies have noted the relative dearth of graduates from schools of education who have the requisite training to mount experiments on pedagogy. A solution to this problem is to combine the research expertise of the discipline of psychology and the topical and policy expertise of the discipline of education. This is the intent of this interdisciplinary training program, the goal of which is to produce graduates from psychology, education, communication disorders, and other disciplines who have the level of training in methodology and statistics, the level of expertise in the content of education sciences research related to reading, the knowledge of the politics and pragmatics of research in education settings, and a proven record of productivity to be capable of being hired and succeeding in top tier departments regardless of discipline.

The training program is housed in the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), an interdisciplinary organizational unit of Florida State University. During the course of this 5-year grant, approximately 38 students from the Department of Psychology, the College of Education, and the Department of Communication Disorders will be admitted to the program. Students from each of these departments who participate in this training program receive specialized interdisciplinary coursework, training, and research experiences in education science with a focus on reading research; however, all fellows also retain the identify of their home department, which will award their doctorate.

Northwestern University
Principal Investigator: Dr. James Spillane
Interdisciplinary Training for Education Research, Practice and Policy

The purpose of the Northwestern University program in Education Sciences is to train 22 graduate students in five years to conduct theoretically grounded, methodologically rigorous research in education. Key elements of the training program include 1) interdisciplinary teaching and research mentoring involving faculty from both disciplinary (Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and Statistics) and interdisciplinary (Human Development and Social Policy, Learning Sciences) programs within the University, 2) rigorous methodological training in quantitative and qualitative methods, with a special emphasis on program evaluation, 3) training in learning, cognition and child development, 4) economics-based policy training, and 5) policy and program development and implementation training. Graduate students in Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Statistics, Human Development and Social Policy, and Learning Sciences enter the training program during their second year of graduate study and engage in training and mentoring activities in their second through fourth years. Training activities include both required and elective courses in statistics, evaluation, learning and cognition, and policy and implementation. In addition, students attend a biweekly research seminar and biweekly fellows' meetings with the Program Director. Finally, the most important aspect of the program is research mentoring from core and affiliated faculty engaged in education-focused research.

University of Virginia
Principal Investigator: Robert Pianta
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Education Sciences

The University of Virginia Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Education Sciences builds upon established faculty expertise and doctoral training and recruitment activities in the Curry School of Education and the College of Arts & Science Departments of Economics, Sociology, and Psychology. The goal over five years is to provide 34 doctoral-level fellows with requisite experiences, skills, and emerging research programs that will enable them to become research leaders in the education sciences.

The University of Virginia training program is organized around three conceptual principles. The aim is to provide quality research training that is 1) interdisciplinary in perspective; 2) methodologically rigorous and programmatic, progressing from hypothesis-generating basic research to hypothesis-confirming, randomized control trials; and 3) relevant to practice and policy, promoting the use of evidence as the basis for practice in schools and for the development of national and state education policies. An additional unifying aspect of this interdisciplinary program is the theme of risk and prevention. This training program will meet pressing needs in the field of education research by training students in conceptual and research paradigms in risk and prevention, in order to provide them with the requisite tools to examine inequality and underperformance related to conditions of social, economic, disability, and ethnic variability in the U.S.

This training program provides two levels of support for students. Fellows are funded for 2- or 4-year periods of training, during which they 1) engage in systematic programs of research addressing questions of educational significance, 2) are assigned for joint mentorship involving one faculty member in the Curry School of Education and one faculty member from a department in the University's College of Arts and Science (e.g., Economics, Sociology, Psychology), and 3) participate in a jointly-planned interdisciplinary course of study (4-year Fellows) or minor supporting area (2-year Fellows). Two-year Fellows are already engaged in a program of study in their home Departments in Arts and Sciences (Economics, Sociology, Psychology) while they enroll in the program's 2-year research fellowship/apprenticeship. Four-year Fellows complete a program of study within the Curry School of Education in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Risk and Prevention.

Vanderbilt University
Principal Investigator: Dr. David Cordray
Predoctoral Research Training in Education Sciences

The purpose of the Vanderbilt University Predoctoral Research Training program in Education Sciences is to train 35 predoctoral graduate students in five years to conduct high quality randomized field trials of education interventions that are grounded in strong theoretical frameworks and supported by relevant prior empirical evidence. The training program is located within Vanderbilt's interdisciplinary Learning Sciences Institute. Over two dozen faculty will participate in the training program, representing the departments of 1) Psychology and Human Development, 2) Teaching and Learning, 3) Special Education, and 4) Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. The emphasis for each trainee is on the development of knowledge and skills in three key areas: 1) the use of randomized field trials to estimate the effects of education programs and strategies; 2) knowledge about the education settings in which interventions are delivered, based on relevant educational theories and supported by prior research evidence; and 3) understanding the mechanisms of how people learn, including cutting-edge theory and research from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. On the technical side, a major program emphasis is the acquisition of advanced statistical skills needed for planning, conducting, and analyzing randomized field trials (i.e., hierarchical linear modeling, structural equation modeling, and meta-analysis). Training also involves acquiring a range of field methods needed to assess education treatments and their contexts. Implementation of this training program will involve both coursework and first-hand experience in conducting randomized field trials.

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Last Modified: 09/26/2005