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Educational Administration Faculty

Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education

Marilyn Amey
Ph.D., Penn State University
Marilyn Amey is a professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education and chairperson of the Department of Educational Administration. In 2017, she was appointed as the Dr. Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education. She studies educational partnerships, particularly those of community colleges, leadership, including how leaders learn, post-secondary governance and administration, and faculty concerns, including interdisciplinary academic work. Her current work focuses on education partnerships including a multi-year evaluation of a multiple- institutional interdisciplinary consortium and factors affecting student transfer and degree attainment.
Ann E. Austin
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Ann E. Austin is the associate dean for research and a University Distinguished Professor. As part of the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education programs at Michigan State University, she has been twice been selected to hold the Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair. Dr. Austin’s research concerns faculty careers and professional development, organizational change in higher education, teaching and learning in higher education, doctoral education, reform in STEM education, the academic workplace, equity and inclusion in academe and higher education in the international context. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the past-president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and she was a Fulbright Fellow in South Africa (1998). She is a founding co-PI/Leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), funded by the National Science Foundation, and was the principal investigator of an NSF-funded ADVANCE PAID grant to study organizational change strategies that support the success of women scholars in STEM fields. Her work is widely published, including Faculty Development in the Age of Evidence: Current Practices, Future Imperatives (2016); Rethinking Faculty Work: Higher Education's Strategic Imperative (2007) and Educating Integrated Professionals: Theory and Practice on Preparation for the Professoriate (2008), as well as other books, articles, chapters and monographs concerning higher education issues in the United States and in international contexts. In 2011, she wrote a commissioned paper for the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council entitled “Promoting Evidence-Based Change in Undergraduate Science Education.” She has worked with colleagues at the national and institutional levels on higher education issues in a number of countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Finland, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Brendan Cantwell
Ph.D., University of Arizona
Brendan Cantwell is an associate professor and coordinator of the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) program. His research interest is in the political economy of higher education and addresses topics including organization and governance, policy, and academic labor. Much of his work takes an international and comparative perspective. Brendan teaches courses on a variety of topics including higher education organization and administration, finance, and comparative higher education. In recent projects he has addressed problems related to academic research enterprise including science policy and the role of postdoctoral researchers as well as problems related to competition among higher education organizations.
John Dirkx
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
John M. Dirkx is professor and Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair (Emeritus) in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University, and is Director of the College of Education Master's of Arts in Education (MAED) online program. His current research interests focus primarily on teaching and learning in higher and adult education contexts. Dirkx is particularly interested in short- term, faculty-led education abroad programs for graduate students; professional development for higher education teachers in developing countries; the role of higher education capacity building in international development; and the spiritual and transformative dimensions of adult, work-related learning. Dirkx is current editor of the Journal of Transformative Education, the primary author of A Guide to Planning and Implementing Instruction for Adults: A Theme-based Approach, and editor of Adult Learning and the Emotional Self. He has also published numerous book chapters and journal articles on teaching and learning in higher and adult education and work-related learning. He is currently working on a book on the transformative dimensions of teaching and learning.
Leslie Gonzales
Ed.D., University of Texas, El Paso
Leslie D. Gonzales is an associate professor at Michigan State University. Leslie’s research focuses on (a) legitimacy within academia; (b) relations of power that govern the recognition of knowledge and knowers and (c) the possibility of agency among academics. Leslie is committed to exposing and challenging both material and symbolic injustices within academia, particularly in the careers of historically underrepresented scholars and amongst scholars whose research agendas fall outside conventional norms. As a Latina, working class, first- generation-college-student-turned academic who earned all three of her academic degrees from Hispanic Serving Institutions, Leslie aims to inform various processes that shape the academic profession, including graduate student preparation, faculty hiring and onboarding, and faculty evaluation.
Dongbin Kim
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Dongbin Kim is an associate professor of higher, adult and lifelong education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and social justice in the field of higher education. This focus is applied to three interrelated topical areas: (1) financial aid policy, (2) college access and (3) international and comparative higher education issues within the U.S. and global contexts. Dr. Kim's research has been published in Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Higher Education and Research in Higher Education. Her most recent research examined the intersection of individual, financial and institutional context that shapes students' college mobility patterns. She holds an Ed.M. in educational administration from Seoul National University in Korea and a Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Patricia Marin
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Dr. Patricia Marin is an assistant professor in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) at Michigan State University. Her work bridges issues of access, equity, diversity and policy in higher education. Her current research examines research use in policy and practice, with a focus on the law. Additional research foci include the changing nature of Hispanic Serving Institutions, admissions policies, affirmative action, Latinx students in higher education and diversity in college classrooms.

Her published work includes two co-edited volumes: Realizing Bakke’s Legacy: Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Access to Higher Education and Higher Education and the Color Line: College Access, Racial Equity, and Social Change. Before joining the MSU faculty she served as associate director of the University of California Educational Evaluation Center. She also worked for The Civil Rights Project (CRP) at Harvard University and the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C.
Kristen Renn
Ph.D., Boston College
Kristen Renn is a professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education and associate dean of undergraduate studies/director for student success initiatives. Her research centers on college student learning, development, and success in higher education, with current projects focusing on low-income, first-generation students and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students. Other interests include college student identity development, student affairs administration, and women’s higher education in international contexts. She is co-PI of the National Study of LGBTQ Student Success and leads Michigan State University’s Neighborhoods student success initiative.
Gabriel R. Serna
Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington
Gabriel R. Serna is an assistant professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE). He has over 15 years of experience in higher education including as director of programming at New Mexico State University, assistant director of admissions at the University of Kentucky and most recently on the faculty of Virginia Tech where he also served as program director.

Dr. Serna’s research interests include higher education economics, finance, policy, undocumented student populations, college and university fiscal administration and strategic enrollment management. He has taught multiple courses in higher education policy, finance, foundations, law, institutional research and assessment and evaluation. Some of his published work can be seen in the Journal of Education Finance, Studies in Higher Education, Education Policy Analysis Archives, and the Journal of Student Financial Aid. Serna is a first-generation, Hispanic college student from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Riyad Shahjahan
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Riyad A. Shahjahan is an associate professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) at Michigan State University. He is also a core faculty member of Muslim Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies and Center for Advanced Study of International Development. His areas of research interests are in globalization of higher education policy, temporality and embodiment in higher education, cultural studies in higher education and de/anti/postcolonial theory. He has been conducting both empirical and theoretical work, focusing on a) the role of transnational actors/processes (international organizations, global rankings, media) in globalizing higher education policy; and b) rethinking the traditional objects of study/practice in higher education (e.g. temporality, pedagogy, and/or globalization) from global and non- western critical indigenous perspectives.
Emerald Templeton
Assistant Professor
Emerald Templeton is an assistant professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and coordinator of the Student Affairs Administration program. She has more than a decade of experience in higher education and student affairs administration as a counselor, career development practitioner, educator and director of student affairs. While her focus is theory to practice, her research interests include access, equity, and institutional logics in higher education.
Matthew Wawrzynski
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Matthew Wawrzynski, Ph.D. is an associate professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education. His research integrates non-cognitive measures and the collegiate environment with college student outcomes. Current projects include student engagement and learning in South Africa, learning outcomes for peer educators and the effects of psychosocial interventions on college student success and persistence. Other interests include student affairs administration, assessment, and college student learning development. He serves as PI and director of the National Peer Educator Study.
Steven Weiland
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Steven Weiland is a professor in the graduate program in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (in the College of Education). He has degrees from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (B.A. in English) and the University of Chicago (PhD in English). Previous to his appointment at Michigan State, he held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota. For much of his career, Professor Weiland taught in departments of English and American Studies. At the University of Minnesota, where he taught courses in literature and the history of psychology (at the Institute for Child Development), he was director of the Department of Professional Development Programs. He also spent nine years as executive director of the National Federation of State Humanities Councils, a non-profit organization serving the state programs of the National Endowment for the Humanities. After moving to MSU, Professor Weiland also spent eight years as director of the University’s Jewish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. Professor Weiland’s primary interests are in the intersections of the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences in the subjects of adult and career development, technology and higher education, biography and other forms of narrative inquiry, and in research methods, rhetoric and writing. He teaches courses in career development (EAD 864) and education in the digital age (EAD 878) among other subjects and the college-wide course in research (CEP 930). In all, Professor Weiland teaches five online courses in two College of Education MA programs, all in a self-paced hypermedia format he has devised. In spring 2015, Professor Weiland will offer a new hybrid course for PhD students in “Scholarly and Scientific Communications in the Digital Age.” Professor Weiland is the author of Intellectual Craftsmen: Ways and Works in American Scholarship and of many essays on subjects in the humanities and education, and he is the co-author of Keywords of Social Gerontology and co-editor of Jazz in Mind. He is at work on Faculty Work in the Digital Age: A Primer and The Scholar's Tale: Life Stories and Intellectual Identities.

K-12 Administration

Kristy Cooper Stein
Ed.D., Harvard University
Kristy Cooper Stein is an associate professor of K-12 educational administration. Her research examines how school and district leaders systematically increase student engagement in classrooms--both to enhance student learning and increase high school graduation rates. To this end, Kristy studies strategies for increasing student engagement through teacher collaboration and teacher leadership. Kristy also studies instructional leadership, school improvement, dropout prevention, and the qualities of effective schools. Her prior work has included analyses of the use of data in elementary schools and the inner-workings of high-performing, urban charter schools.
Madeline Mavrogordato
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Madeline Mavrogordato is an associate professor of K-12 educational administration. She utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate how education policies shape outcomes for underserved student populations, particularly immigrants and English learners. In addition, she studies how to develop and support effective school leaders who are prepared to serve students from diverse backgrounds in today’s climate of high stakes accountability and evaluation. Her work is informed by her experience serving as a bilingual teacher in Texas and California. Mavrogordato’s work has appeared in a range of publications including Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Educational Policy. She currently serves as an associate editor for the American Educational Research Journal. Follow her @MaddyMavro.
Jada Phelps-Moultrie
Ph.D., Indiana University, Indianapolis
Jada Phelps-Moultrie is an assistant professor of K-12 educational administration in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Her scholarship includes family engagement, culturally responsive leadership and equity in education. She takes an intersectional approach to exploring families and communities and their educational pursuits, extending to online education. She often examines the intersection of race and racism with other forms of oppression. In that aim, she includes how leaders support or detract family/community pursuits. Currently, her work includes how African refugee families support the education of their children in xenophobic climates. She has served on several national research organizations, including the Critical Race Studies in Education Association (CRSEA) and the Graduate Student Council for the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Jada was also a NCAA Division-I All-American and an Olympic Trial Qualifier in Track and Field. She desires to serve student-athletes at MSU.
BetsAnn Smith
Ph.D., University of Minnesota
BetsAnn Smith is an associate professor of K-12 educational administration. Her interests stretch across areas of school reform, school development, the contributions of administrator, teacher and student leadership to school improvement, leadership learning and the implementation of policy. Much of her work has been in the U.S., but has recently been engaged in leadership development work internationally. A former coordinator for K-12 programming, she has helped redesign master level leadership development programs and contributed to the creation of a novel Ed.D. for school and community leaders. Some of her current work focuses on the development of new leader roles in schools, on the influences of school organizational routines on teacher’s time use and instructional quality and on the interactive affects of performance metrics on school organizational community.
Chris Torres
Ph.D., New York University
Dr. Torres uses qualitative approaches to study the implementation of school choice and accountability policies in traditionally marginalized communities. He is particularly interested in how organizational working conditions are formed and experienced in schools, and how these conditions affect school improvement efforts and teacher/leader supply and turnover. For example, he examines how working conditions in charter schools influence the career decisions of teachers and leaders, including their views of the profession and implications for the experiences of minoritized students in these spaces. He also studies the role of district governance and leadership in school improvement, policy implementation, and school turnaround efforts. Across his work, Dr. Torres focuses on how the experiences and insights of educators can inform leadership and policy.
Melissa Usiak
Ph.D., Michigan State University
Melissa Usiak is an assistant professor of K-12 educational administration. She is a veteran educator, having served for two decades as a teacher, district coach, assistant principal, and principal in three distinctly different public school districts in Michigan. As a professor of practice, Melissa is a mentor for aspiring school leaders. She has a deep investment in bridging theory to practice and is committed to fostering systems that better support students living in poverty. Particularly noteworthy is her work on developing the leadership capacity of leaders, teachers and staff as a means of supporting and sustaining continuous school improvement. Melissa also continues to assume leadership roles in organizations that serve Michigan practitioners and students. She is a 2017 UCEA Excellence in Education Award recipient. Follow her @MelissaUsiak.
Terah Venzant Chambers
Ph.D., University of Illinois
Terah Venzant Chambers is a professor of K-12 educational administration. Her research interests include post-Brown K-12 education policy and urban education leadership. Specifically, she is interested in the ways within-school segregative policies influence African American students? academic achievement and school engagement, as well as the price of school success for high-achieving students of color (racial opportunity cost). She has been an associate editor for several journals and currently serves on the editorial boards of AERJ, JRLE, and Urban Education. She has previously served as a Congressional Fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) with placements in the Office of Rep. Diane E. Watson (retired) and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.
John Yun
Ed.D., Harvard University
John T. Yun has areas of expertise in diverse learners and educational equity, educational policy, assessment and measurement and evaluation. His research focuses on issues of equity in education, specifically patterns of school segregation; the effect of poverty and opportunity on educational outcomes; the educative/counter-educative impacts of high-stakes testing and the power of evaluation to impact policy and practice.