Mari Kemis, Arlene de la Mora, and Brandi Geisinger are among nearly 50 Iowa State graduate students, faculty, and staff members who will share their expertise at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting this weekend. Photo by Ryan Riley.

Iowa State shares expertise at national education research event

Iowa State University will share its expertise on topics ranging from effective mentoring of graduate students, to multicultural competence among student affairs professionals, at an upcoming gathering of 15,000 peers.

Nearly 50 Iowa State graduate students, faculty, and staff members — largely from the School of Education — will present research at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, April 27 to May 1 in San Antonio, Texas.

The AERA annual meeting is the nation’s largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research. More than 15,000 are expected to attend this weekend’s event.

Sampling of the research

Arlene de la Mora and Brandi Geisinger, research scientists with Iowa State’s Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE), will present collaborative research about effective mentoring next Sunday with co-authors graduate student Dan Li, RISE interim director Mari Kemis, and agricultural and biosystems engineering professor and CBiRC University Education Director D. Raj Raman.

The work grew out of a longstanding collaboration between RISE and the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) to understand effective mentoring strategies for student researchers.

“While mentoring is a critical aspect of graduate education, research had not fully explored what made mentoring effective,” the authors said. “To better train mentors to support students’ development, we needed to identify which behaviors were essential for effective mentoring. Our research suggests these four critical behaviors are for mentors to be: Engaged, Positive, Professional, and Present.”

Graduate student Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, who is also director of operations for the College of Human Sciences, and assistant professor Ann Gansemer-Topf will on Thursday present a study about how student affairs professionals develop multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills.

The 2015 research examined the multicultural competency development of 17 student affairs professionals who attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), an immersion experience exploring issues of race and ethnicity.

“Findings from this study suggest that new student affairs professionals, mid-career professionals, as well as seasoned administrators need continued multicultural competency development throughout their careers to best serve a diverse student body and provide a welcoming and inclusive campus culture,” Plagman-Galvin said.

And graduate student Jennifer Gallagher will on Thursday present two papers, both on using historical inquiry — which uses thinking strategies and literacy practices from the discipline of history — to support social justice-oriented civic goals.

One paper focuses on a case of using the practices in an economics inquiry, while the other focuses on using the practices in exemplary elementary teaching.

“The findings reported in this paper illuminate how an elementary classroom provides specific opportunities for and constraints on teacher practices that use historical inquiry skills to support social justice-oriented civic goals,” Gallagher states in the abstract of the one of the studies.

Promise of equal educational opportunity

The theme of this year’s AERA meeting, “Knowledge to action: Achieving the promise of equal educational opportunity,” is framed around the historical and contemporary discussions about unequal educational opportunity.

Discussion and feedback at the meeting of education researchers are intended to help scholars publish their work.

“It allows the results of this study to be disseminated to multicultural education and social justice education scholars in both K-12 and higher education,” Plagman-Galvin said. “Additionally, it provides scholars with expertise in these areas to provide critical feedback for advancing this manuscript, as well as research related to multicultural competency development of student affairs educators.”

Iowa State participants include: Zina Alaswad, Thomas Andre, Mollie Appelgate, Lorenzo Baber, Morgan Bartlett, Gulbahar Beckett, Constance Beecher, Jeanne Bissonnette, Brian Burt, Julio Cammarota, Carlos Casanova, Yu Chen, Brandon Clark, Dennis Eugene Culver, Arlene de la Mora, Erin Doran, Anne Estapa, Anne Foegen, Jennifer Lynn Gallagher, Ann Gansemer-Topf, Brandi Geisinger, Benjamin Gleason, Isaac Gottesman, Guang Han, Emily Hayden, Emily Howell, Mari Kemis, Dan Li, Ran Li, Tara Marron, Larysa Nadolny, Jeannette Olson, Rosemary Perez, Gary Phye, Elena Yu Polush, Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, Sarah Rodriguez, Jason Salisbury, Denise Schmidt-Crawford, Linda Serra Hagedorn, D. Raj Raman, Daniel Spikes, Dian Squire, Sylvester Upah, Wei Wang, and Douglas Wieczorek.