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Faculty Hightlights

Dr. David M. Dees
Dr. Dees's research interests primarily focus on the dimensions of quality teaching/learning in higher education as well as rural/Appalachian students' cultural adjustment to academic environments.  He is currently involved with the following projects:

  • Co-PI in a National Science Foundation Grant ($189,235) entitled Bridging the Conceptual Divide Between Theoretical and Applied Environmental Chemistry. This three year project examines the influence of teaching style and method on student learning in Geology.
  • He is the Founder and Co-Director of the Rural Scholars Program at the Salem and East Liverpool campuses.  This college-access program is designed to give the Rural Scholars and their families the knowledge, rigorous academic exposure, and social support they will need in order to be successful at a world-class university.  Scholars are selected during the seventh grade and are encouraged to participate in the program as both a student and mentor throughout their entire high school and, if appropriate, college career. 
  • He currently serves as a Senior Faculty Associate in the Office of Quality Initiatives and Curriculum.  In this role he assists units from across the university with the design and implementation of curriculum and assessment initiatives focused on improving student learning.

Dr. Averil McClelland

Dr. McClelland is currently involved with a major curriculum project for the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio, as well as helping to establish an initiative on democracy and education in the College, which includes an undergraduate organization called The Forum, and a Democracy and Education website.


Dr. Vilma Seeberg

Dr. Seeberg's research interests parallel her instruction in multicultural and comparative-international education.  Exploring the intersection of capabilities and opportunities of culturally excluded peoples is at the core of her line of inquiry. She is principal investigator of two ongoing, long-term research projects, which involve graduate and undergraduate students.

1.     "African American Students' Academic Engagement and Success: Family Stories"
The study focuses on Shaker Heights, Ohio; in process of conducting nvivo analyses on over 60 interviews. The Shaker Heights Research Team meets as necessary.

 2.     "Chinese Girls' Education Study"
A longitudinal study of rural girls at the margins of globalization using a human development/capabilities approach. Finding what educational opportunities are valued by village girls over time, can bring out crucial policy issues and lay the foundation for effective educational development policy. Dr. Seeberg meets with the team bi-weekly during the semester.


Dr. Natasha Levinson

Dr. Levinson has been asked to contribute essays to two forthcoming collections of essays about the philosophy of education today.

 1.     The first essay, for an anthology published by Blackwell Press, is for the section on feminist philosophies of education. She will be exploring the controversies over the wearing of the veil in schools in a number of countries: the U.S., Holland, Germany, England and France. She will be looking at what these debates say about the animating concerns of contemporary feminism, with particular emphasis on how feminist political and educational philosophers understand the roles that schools play in the formation of national cultural and political identities of Muslim girls.

 2.     The second article is for the Handbook of Educational Theories. She has been asked to contribute a chapter on political philosophy. She will explore the ways in which the revival of normative political philosophy can help us unravel "what is at issue" in debates over contested educational policies such as school choice (charters, vouchers and homeschooling), and the question of religious expression in public schools.


Dr. Tricia Niesz

Dr. Niesz's research focuses on progressive movements in the field of education and how these influence practice and identities in schooling. Currently she is involved in the following projects.

1.     The 'Silent Revolution' of the Activity Based Learning Movement in Tamil Nadu, India. Dr. Niesz is developing a historical case study of a state-wide movement to implement a child-centered, constructivist approach to primary schooling. This approach, called Activity Based Learning, has transformed thousands of government schools throughout Tamil Nadu.

2.     How has Education Scholarship Addressed Social Movements? In this project, Dr. Niesz is working with Cultural Foundations doctoral students to develop an extensive review of social movement scholarship in the field of education.