Writing Literature Reviews

Recently, I was working on a literature review, and it felt like it was making little progress over a long time. Writing lit reviews is not new to me; I have done many, in addition to innumerable research papers. Why should it take so much time? I decided to review my process and speak to classmates in the program, both in my cohort and those who are further along than I, to get ideas. Continue reading

Systems Approaches to School Change

School change is hard.  It doesn’t always go as planned.  In my last post (which you can read here), I made the case (with the help of Professor Tammy Kolbe) that this is true because education is a complex system.  The good news is that systems theorists have been working on the problem of change in complex systems for a few decades now.  In this second post I share a few big ideas from the literature on systems, schools, and change that I think can be immediately useful to education innovators.  Continue reading

On Becoming a Professor

As I enter my second year in the PhD program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont, I find myself standing in front of my own university classroom. My role is to engage my students in content that directly relates to my research interests and work experience.  To do this, I welcome my responsibility to instruct this required English Language Learner (ELL) education course but also to invite these students into meaningful community involvement through service learning.  Yet, the next day I am back to being the student again.  In all of this, I am not alone, neither in my experience nor in my support from the faculty at UVM. This is the story of how I have been encouraged and supported into this position.

Continue reading

Reviewing as a Graduate Student

Journals, conferences, and other refereed publication and presentation opportunities depend on reviewers to identify quality submissions and provide feedback to authors. Up until now, I have interacted with these systems as a contributing author. However, as I enter the third year of my doctorate program, I have been looking to get involved with the other side of the system. A few months ago,on the advice of colleagues and professors, I volunteered to serve as a graduate student reviewer for submissions to a conference. Recently, I received an email notification with items for review. It was time to get to work. Continue reading