Faculty News

Jeff Greene, Dana Griffin, Steve Knotek receive Phillips Memorial Fund challenge grants

Three School of Education faculty members received funding this fall from the Guy B. Phillips Memorial Fund. Created in 2001 by a gift from the estate of Rose B. Byers, this dean’s discretionary fund was established in memory of Guy B. Phillips, who served as dean of the School of Education from 1948 to 1953.  

This year, Interim Dean Jill Fitzgerald chose to use the fund to award seed grants that will provide a foundation for faculty to submit subsequent competitive proposals to external funding agencies for larger investigations. A faculty committee selected the recipients, and Dean Fitzgerald announced the awards Nov. 10.

The award recipients for 2008-2009 and their project titles are:

  • Jeff Greene, assistant professor of educational psychology, “Surveying the Landscape: A Qualitative Investigation into the Epistemic and Ontological Cognition of Experts and Students in Science and History”;
  • Dana Griffin, assistant professor of school counseling, “The Effects of a Parent Education Program on Parental Involvement in Their Child’s Education: An Exploratory Study”;
  • Steve Knotek, assistant professor of school psychology and early childhood education, and principal investigator of the study, with Jeff Greene, assistant professor of educational psychology and co-principal investigator, “Madres Para Niños.”

This type of funding is important in bolstering the research agenda of the faculty and in strengthening the research capacity of the School. Moreover, it positions the faculty to develop productive partnerships with schools.

“This funding will allow me to initiate a line of research with the specific purpose of partnering with local schools to identify difficulties students have learning in science and history classrooms,” said Assistant Professor Greene. “The study will identify the various ways students think about knowledge in these domains, with the goal being a better understanding of how to align students' cognition with that of teachers.”

“The grant will provide me with the opportunity to work with parents who are not involved in their child’s education by allowing me to offer services, incentives and resources to parents who need them the most,” said Assistant Professor Griffin. “It will allow me to combat some of the barriers that hinder parental involvement such as child care issues, lack of transportation and lack of time.

“Furthermore, it will allow me to establish collaborations and partnerships between the University and a public school system,” Griffin noted. 

“The School of Education funding will allow us to further the work that has been previously funded by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and the Foundation for Child Development,” said Assistant Professor Knotek. “This grant will allow us to collect additional data and to further refine the intervention so that we will have a stronger base from which to apply for large implementation grants.”

The support also creates valuable opportunities for our graduate students.

“The funding will allow me to hire a graduate student to assist me in all aspects of the study,” Greene said. “That student is learning about personal epistemology, ontological training and qualitative research methods. She will be involved in all aspects of research design, data collection, data analysis and manuscript preparation and submission.”