Faculty News

Eileen Parsons receives grant, is selected for Leadership Training Institute for diverse researchers

Eileen Parsons has received a grant from the National Science Foundation designed to enhance the retention of Black faculty—including African American faculty—in science education in the United States. She also was selected to participate in the 2008 Leadership Training Institute on Career Advancement for Diverse Researchers in Bethesda, Md., funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Parsons is an assistant professor of science education at the School of Education.

The $100,000 grant will support symposia next summer where support and mentoring in research and grant writing will be provided to selected Black faculty, in an effort to retain the very small number of Black faculty in the field of science education. A network will be developed of tenure-track Black science education faculty members who are interested in researching issues related to science teaching and learning among pre-K-12 students, especially students of color. 

The grant will be managed by Parsons’ colleague Mary Atwater at the University of Georgia, who is the principal investigator. Besides Parsons, an additional co-principal investigator is Malcolm Butler from the University of South Florida.

The NIMH-funded Leadership Training Institute (LTI), which Parsons will attend Oct. 19-22, is intended to support the career advancement of early- and mid-level social and behavior science researchers who are women and/or persons of color. Twenty participants were selected, based on their academic accomplishments and commitment to a research career in the social and behavioral sciences.

Participants will receive specialized training and coaching experiences with scientific leaders through intensive in-person workshops. In addition, online support and resources will be provided for a year.

The LTI is part of a funded research contract from NIMH that is seeking to identify the most effective way to provide women and persons of color with the information and training they need to achieve high-level positions in academic research and executive leadership.

Parsons’ research focuses on science achievement among African American K-12 students, African American culture, racial equity and culturally inclusive teaching.  A North Carolina native, she completed her Ph.D. in science education at Cornell University in 1994 and joined the faculty of the UNC School of Education in 2005.