2019 UofSC back-to-school faculty experts list

Public schools throughout South Carolina will start the year beginning the week of Aug. 19. The University of South Carolina has a number of faculty members who are available to offer their expertise for education stories.

To coordinate an interview, contact Kathryn McPhail at 803-777-8841 or mcphailk@mailbox.sc.edu.  

Additional questions may be directed to Carol Ward at ward8@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-7549. 

Choosing the right child care or after-school program 

The new school year often means a parent must decide on an after-school program or child care. Early childhood education professor Angie Baum can offer expertise on childhood growth and cognitive development. The College of Education operates the South Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral Network, which works with child care providers throughout the state by providing training, on-site coaching and mentoring. The network director can discuss the network and the importance of quality child care.

Effectiveness of standardized testing 

James D. Kirylo, education professor, questions the educational value of the increase in standardized testing and whether it is a wise use of taxpayer dollars. Each year, more than 100 million standardized tests are administered to public school students in the United States – with most students taking anywhere between 60-100 standardized tests by the time they graduate from high school. Annually, standardized testing costs the states approximately $1.7 billion. Compare that to the 1950s, when students would take about three standardized tests from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Is your child a victim of bullying?

A change in your child’s desire to go to school is one sign that he/she may be a victim of bullying at school. Educational psychology professors Matt Irvin and Molly Dawes can offer tips on what parents should look for if they suspect their child is a victim of bullying and what schools are doing to prevent bullies.

Special education teacher crisis

Special education professor Kate Ascetta can address South Carolina’s critical need for special educators. Special education vacancies make up the largest share – nearly 20 percent – of unfilled teaching positions in the state. Last year, about 100 special education jobs went unfilled statewide. To prepare more special educators, the College of Education launched a series of online certification courses for early childhood teachers – specifically those who serve children from birth to third grade. Also, students in the early childhood education program at the University of South Carolina may choose to earn this six-course certification while completing an undergraduate degree. Previously, special education courses were only taught at the master’s degree level.

Positive impact of bilingual education 

Eurydice Bauer is an education professor who is collaborating with three Midlands area school districts, which house language immersion programs, to research how multilingual education benefits students and how schools can implement education programs. Research shows bilingualism enhances cognitive abilities, student achievement, career possibilities and even mental health. Students who completed at least four years of foreign language study scored more than 100 points higher on each section of the SAT than their classmates with less foreign language instruction. To promote bilingual education in South Carolina, Bauer recently opened a new center within the College of Education called Bilingualism Matters at UofSC, a branch of an international organization headquartered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland with branches in Europe and the United States.

Effective communication with your child’s teacher

Beth White, education professor and long-time teacher, offers advice to parents and caregivers for improving effective communication with teachers. From a quick meet-and-greet to a more formal parent conference, White says knowing when and how to approach your child’s teacher can make a huge difference in getting the results you want.

Managing back to school anxiety 

Eva Monsma, physical education professor of developmental sport psychology, explains how applying sport psychology skills such as mindfulness, mental practice, goal setting and progressive relaxation can help to manage a child’s anxiety as he/she heads back to school.

The role of SC teachers in Brown v. Board of Education

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the monumental U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. Education professor Jon Hale’s research focuses on the history of student and teacher activism, specifically how South Carolina teachers and activists laid the groundwork for what became the 1954 decision. Hale says African American students, teachers and NAACP activists “tilled the soil” for one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions in American history through various teacher salary equalization cases, curriculum reform initiatives and lawsuits over equal resources.

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