SOE News

School of Education making leadership changes

Two long-time faculty members at the School of Education are moving into leadership positions to advance the School’s research and teaching endeavors, Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick has announced.

Jill Hamm, professor of Educational Psychology, moves into a newly created position as Interim Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. Kathleen Brown, professor of Educational Leadership, moves into the new position of Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies. Both appointments were effective Jan. 1.

“I am thrilled that Drs. Hamm and Brown have agreed to take on these roles,” said Abd-El-Khalick. “They have served as leaders among the faculty of the School of Education, have valuable and diverse experience and are ready to help guide the School as we move forward. I am looking forward to working with them as we embark on new initiatives to advance and strengthen the School’s academic programs and funded research portfolio.”

Hamm is a professor in Applied Developmental Science. She holds a doctorate and master’s of science in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship through the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined the School of Education in 1999.

Brown has been a professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at UNC for 18 years. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Rowan University and an Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Temple University. Since earning her doctorate in 1999, she has helped prepare school principals, superintendents, and policy analysts for impactful careers.

The moves come as two School administrators leave their posts.

Deborah Eaker-Rich is stepping down as senior associate dean, chief academic officer and director of graduate studies, returning to the School’s faculty. Eaker-Rich, who also served as interim dean during spring 2016, has served in leadership roles at the School since 2005.

John Plummer, associate dean of administration and finance, is leaving the School, effective Feb. 17. He has worked for the School since 2009. A national search for a new assistant dean for finance and operations is underway.

“Deb Eaker-Rich and John Plummer have devoted countless hours to the School of Education and to Carolina,” said Abd-El-Khalick. “They have helped navigate the School through some challenging years. I and the School of Education community are grateful for their service.”

More about Jill Hamm
Jill Hamm

Jill Hamm

Dr. Hamm's Profile

Hamm is past associate editor of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (JADP) and serves on the editorial boards of JADP and Journal of Educational Psychology. She also directs the Social Development Intervention Research Program at the Center for Developmental Science at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hamm’s research interests center on early adolescents’ social, behavioral, and academic adjustment, and the role of peer relations in successful school adaptation. She has applied her research findings on naturally occurring academic and social processes in schools to the development and testing of professional learning experiences designed to help middle and high school teachers create supportive classroom and school environments. She is the author or co-author of more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and seven handbook, monograph and book chapters. Hamm has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on funded research projects totaling approximately $9 million.

Her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Education Sciences, as well by the William T. Grant Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. She currently co-leads two intervention development research projects. One project, PEARL (Peers Engaged as Resources in Learning), is a $1.5 million endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation and bridges research on early adolescents’ social dynamics with mathematics education research on mathematical tasks and discourse. It is designed to provide foundational research and preliminary professional learning experiences for teachers in small-group learning environments in middle and secondary mathematics classrooms.

The second is a $1.5 million Institute of Education Sciences-funded project aimed at extending an evidence-based professional learning program for sixth grade teachers, SEALS (Supporting Early Adolescent Learning and Social Success), to seventh- and eighth-grade teachers. As part of her ongoing research efforts, Hamm works with several school districts to support the development and implementation of programs to promote positive social dynamics in classrooms and schools.

More about Kathleen Brown
Kathleen Brown

Kathleen Brown

Dr. Brown's Profile

Brown has served in a number of leadership capacities in the School of Education and in the state of North Carolina, including Program Chair and Coordinator, Interim Associate Dean, Strategist with the Hunt Institute, and Evaluator on the Race-to-the-Top grant, in addition to serving on several Advisory Boards and state-wide leadership committees.

Brown served as a teacher and as an elementary and middle school principal in the Philadelphia/Camden, New Jersey area for more than 12 years before moving into higher education. Her research interests include effective, site-based servant leadership that connects theory, practice and issues of social justice in breaking down walls and building a unified profession of culturally aware educators working toward equitable schooling for all.

Brown approaches education from an ethic of social care and works toward changing the metaphor of schools from hierarchical bureaucracies to nurturing communities. As a skilled qualitative research methodologist, her empirical studies are well-crafted and tend to employ intensive interviewing and/or case study techniques triangulated with survey, observation, and/or document analysis data.

Brown has published more than 50 refereed research articles, 15 non-refereed articles, and 20 book chapters in the field of educational leadership. She has also written and/or edited six books and has delivered more than 100 presentations nationally and internationally during her tenure at UNC-Chapel Hill.