February 28, 2022
Call Issued to UW–Madison Researchers for Equity-Centered Proposals for National Educators Conference in April

WCER's MSAN Consortium is encouraging researchers across the School of Education, including doctoral students, to submit proposals by March 1 for the MSAN Institute.

The two-day, professional development opportunity for PK-12 educators in April is aimed at increasing understanding of current research and district practices that can help promote racial equity in schools.

Proposals for 60-minute breakout sessions during the conference, to be held online April 19–20, should share research-based strategies and promising practices around topics aligned with MSAN’s mission, including social-emotional learning and "radical self-care" for students and teachers wearied by pandemic-related challenges, according to the call for proposals.

“As our schools continue to see high levels of student trauma and educator exhaustion, it seems particularly important that we center the mental health of our students and educators during the Institute this year,” says MSAN Executive Director Madeline Hafner. More here.
WCER's Irina Diaz Writes Article for Best Practices Guide
Irina Diaz, a research administrator in the WCER Business Office, is giving back to her field with an article she was invited to write for a much relied-upon resource guide.

Titled "Understanding the Why Behind What We Do in Research Administration," the 10-page article was published by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) in the January update of its "Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies & Recommended Practices."

"When NCURA invited us to write this piece, I was extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the organization in this capacity and to be able to give back to the research administrators' community," Diaz says.

           Irina Diaz
Diaz's writing partners for the article were Dorothy Johnson in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at UW–Madison and Sylvia Bradshaw of Southern Utah University. Diaz called them "very talented and expert" fellow research administrators and co-authors who made the collaboration a "great experience."

"They made the writing process so much more fun," Diaz says.

The three received the invitation to write the article from NCURA Managing Editor Marc Schiffman, after they presented a session at a NCURA conference for pre-award research administrators last year. Schiffman in a letter described their session as "very well received" and asked if they would summarize its key takeaways for the best-practices guide.

Diaz says she was happy to do it.

"The resources through NCURA and the support I have received from individuals who are passionate about this work have allowed me to grow in this profession," she says. "It feels great to pay it forward, and I am grateful that I can be a resource and support other administrators in their journey."

As a member of the grants team at WCER, Diaz supports researchers with pre- and post-award activities and manages outgoing subawards. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Edgewood College and a master's degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the School of Education at UW–Madison. She joined WCER in 2019, after working elsewhere on campus in the field starting in 2008.
  'Research Worth Reading' Award Goes to Sadhana Puntambekar
A paper co-authored by UW–Madison’s Sadhana Puntambekar was chosen for the Research Worth Reading award as one of three papers published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching deemed to have the most significant impact on science education in the past year.

The paper, “Supporting Middle School Students’ Science Talk: A Comparison of Physical and Virtual Labs,” examined students’ discussions as they worked on physical and virtual labs to better understand how they learned from each, and the kinds of learning that each type of lab supported.

The findings suggested each lab type complemented and supplemented the weaknesses of the other, indicating a need for the strategic combination of the two lab approaches.

    Sadhana Puntambekar
The award will be presented during the 2022 Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in Vancouver, British Columbia, in March.
Puntambekar is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and a WCER researcher who leads the Interactive Learning & Design Lab. Her research is in the field of design and use of technology-enriched, interactive environments in education.
WCER Director Courtney Bell Profiled in Latest 'Learning Connections' from UW–Madison's School of Education
"It was because of my students."

Once on a path to medical school, Courtney Bell altered course after spending two life-changing years teaching in rural North Carolina. Today, she is director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research — and planning new ways to bolster its impact. (From Learning Connections cover story)

Learn more about the reasons behind the career path that brought Bell to WCER in this engaging lead story for the Winter 2021–22 edition of Learning Connections, the School of Education's biannual news magazine for friends and alumni.

A needed break from schoolwork helped Bell figure out her future.
In addition to tracing Bell's academic and career trajectory, with plenty of on-point commentary from Bell herself, the piece also checks in with some of the people who now work with and around her, including Percival Matthews, who co-chaired the WCER director search and screen committee, and Tim Boals, the founder and director of WIDA at WCER. School of Education Dean Diana Hess weighs in, as does WCER Deputy Director Mariana Castro, who spotlights what she calls Bell's "intentional focus on equity and justice" and the  focusing effect it has on the daily work and decision-making process at WCER.

The current edition, which you can view here, is focused heavily on research throughout, not just in the pages of the cover story. Its stated theme is "Research that Matters," and it highlights important and innovative work being done across all 10 school departments.

A pdf of the full print edition is available here, and you'll soon be able to find hard copies of this and future editions of Learning Connections without leaving the Ed Sci building. Look for a rack filled with the magazines, just outside the Business Office on the ground floor.
EA's iPlan Story Shared Across Campus and Beyond
WCER researchers David Williamson Shaffer and Andrew Ruiz of Epistemic Analytics (EA) discussed their new online learning game, iPlan, as guests on a recent episode of The Larry Meiller Show on Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network.

The half-hour talk covered the game's creation, the real-world issues it's designed to model and why it's a good and fun tool to help high schoolers learn about STEM.
Epistemic Analytics partnered with ecology and data-mapping experts on and off campus to create iPlan, which uses real land-use science and environmental data to let players model how different zoning choices would affect the environment, jobs, housing and other factors anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and then pitch their plan to a cast of virtual stakeholders.

The radio show on Feb. 23 was only the latest venue to feature a story about the game or share the one written and posted by WCER Communications here. A cooperative effort by WCER Communications, the School of Education and University Communications allowed for broader distribution of the story, including additional postings in School of Education News, the Campus News site, the Research at UW newsletter and the Inside UW newsletter, as well as distribution of a shorter version of the story by press release to several media and other local and regional contacts by University Communications and WCER Communications.

Of course we also shared the story on different forms of social media, with Shaffer and Ruiz pitching in with key messaging on Twitter as well.  

All of which is to say, to all WCER faculty and staff, please continue keeping WCER Communications in mind so we can work with our partners to try to help you achieve similar results with stories about your research and other news. Email requests to me (Communications Manager Karen Rivedal) at krivedal@wisc.edu. You can also click the gray 'Submit Your Story Ideas' button in the right corner of this newsletter to get an email started.
Podcast on Ethics of College Costs Aimed at Educators
The most recent edition of Ethics and Education, a podcast from The Center for Ethics & Education at WCER, is available for download and listening.

Titled "The True Costs of College," the episode features a conversation with Nancy Kendall and  Matthew Wolfgram, two of the authors of a 2020 book of the same name. Examining key areas of college costs, the book creates a framework for analyzing impacts on student well-being.
The episode is part of the center's series on higher education, with other available podcasts in the series devoted to the ethics of college admissions, the question of whether there is a right to higher education and a discussion of what the aims of higher education should be.

Led by Philosophy Professor Harry Brighouse, the center creates audio pieces to give faculty and students the tools to bridge philosophy and education. The podcast includes study guides for download, and is intended for use in undergraduate and graduate education classes, as well as by anyone interested in ethics and education.
Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
UW–Madison has been celebrating Black History Month in February with a variety of movie and TV show screenings, an open mic night and more for students, faculty and staff.

The theme this year is “Melanin in Media: The People, The Culture, The Blackprint.” The keynote event on Sunday was a conversation with Ruth E. Carter, the Academy Award winner for “Best Costume Design” in Black Panther.
The final offering is tonight: an online panel discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. hosted by UHS-Mental Health Services that will explore Black women’s mental health, intersectionality, self-definition, and embrace of imperfection. The free event is titled "Beyond Black Girl Magic: Normalizing and Centering Black Women’s Mental Health."

Black History Month at UW–Madison is planned and hosted by the 2022 Black History Month Planning Committee, the Black Cultural Center and partners across campus. For a complete list of events, visit wisc.edu/black-history.
Beth Graue was awarded a grant of $44,468 from the Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood for “Designing a Tool to Assess Educationally Productive Play” through Oct. 31, 2022.
Donald Gillian-Daniel received $224,012 from the National Science Foundation, in a subcontract from the American Society for Cell Biology, for “RCN: LEAPS: Leveraging, Enhancing and Developing Biology (LED-BIO): Scientific Societies Shedding Light on Persistent Cultural Challenges” through Dec. 31, 2024.
David Gagnon was awarded $147,094 from the National Science Foundation, in a subcontract from Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, for “Becoming Joey: Promoting Informal Learning through Embodiment in an Adélie Penguin Virtual Reality Experience” through July 31, 2022. Gagnon also received $65,585 from the University of Wisconsin Foundation for “The Journalism Game: Scaling Journalism.”  
New on the WCER Website

Media Mentions:

Mariana Castro’s Feb. 3 article for WIDA News, “From False Positives to Advocacy: Shifting Deficit Perspectives in the Identification of English Learners,” was re-published as “Tips for Educators” news item in Nexus e-newsletter, Feb. 22, National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)
Kimber Wilkerson speaks about Teacher Pledge program in “Call for Action: UW Madison Offers Loan Forgiveness for Teaching Students,” Feb. 14, Channel 3000/News 3

Madison Education Partnership cited in “MMSD Will Add 11 Full-Day 4K Classrooms,” Feb. 8, Cap Times

Christine Pfund quoted in “Getting More Out of Your Mentoring Relationship,” Feb. 1, Forbes 

Nicholas Hillman quoted and his report, “Mapping Rural Colleges and Their Communities,” highlighted in “Shining a Light on Rural Colleges,” Feb. 1, Inside Higher Ed

News from WCER:


Journal article: “Bilingual Investments of Dual-Language Immersion Program Alumni,” Madina Djuraeva, Diep Nguyen, Mariana Castro, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, February 2022

Journal article: “Breaking the Fourth Wall: Reaching Beyond Observer/Performer Binaries in Studies of Teacher and Researcher Learning,” Sarah Schneider Kavanagh, Alison Fox Resnick, Hala Ghousseini, Elizabeth Schiavone Gotwalt, Eric Cordero-Siy, Elham Kazemi, Elizabeth Dutro, Cognition and Instruction, February 2022

Journal article: "'One Internship, Two Internships, Three Internships...More!': Exploring the Cuture of the Multiple Internship Economy," Matthew Wolfgram, Vivien Ahrens, Journal of Education and Work, February 2022

Journal article: “Translating Mentoring Interventions Research into Practice: Evaluation of an Evidence-based Workshop for Research Mentors on Developing Trainees’ Scientific Communication Skills,” Christine Bell, Erin K. Dahlstrom, Shine Chang, Hwa Young Lee, Cheryl B. Anderson, Annie Pham, Christine Maidl Pribbenow, Carrie A. Cameron, PLoS ONE, February 2022

​Journal article: “Using Classroom Observations in the Evaluation of Special Education Teachers,” Nathan D. Jones, Courtney A. Bell, Mary Brownell, Yi Qi, David Peyton, Daisy Pua, Melissa Fowler, Steven Holtzman, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, January 2022

Journal article: “Why Teachers Stay: Shaping a New Narrative on Rural Teacher Retention,” Jennifer L. Seelig, Katie M. McCabe (both formerly of WCER), Journal of Research in Rural Education, 2021 (Work supported by WCER and RERIC funding)

Book chapter: "Chapter 1: “Practice, Feedback, Argument, Measurement: A Frame for Understanding Diverse Perspectives on Teaching Assessments,” pp. 21-52, from ​Ways of Analyzing Teaching QualityCourtney A. Bell, Robert Mislevy, Scandinavian University Press, 2022


All events are Central Time Zone unless otherwise noted.

March 7, noon-1 pm, Carl A. Grant Scholars Lecture | "Rethinking Racial Domination in Education: A Critical Approach," Quentin Wheeler-Bell, Indiana University, Ed Sci 259 and Zoom

April 8, noon-1:30 pm, ITP | "Challenges and Rewards of Conducting Grant-Funded Longitudinal Mixed Methods Research," Xueli Wang, UW−Madison, Ed Sci 259