New Portland State faculty member wins AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award

Assistant Professor Molly Baustien Siuty is the recipient of the 2018 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Outstanding Dissertation Award for (Re)constituting Teacher Identity for Inclusion in Urban Schools: A Process of Reification and Resistance. Siuty completed her dissertation for the PhD at the University of Kansas, Department of Special Education, and is now teaching inclusive teacher education for the GSE in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. She will be formally recognized at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting next month in Baltimore, Maryland.

Siuty’s dissertation investigated how teacher candidates’ learning about diversity and inclusion in their preservice preparation programs translates into their practice as new teachers. Her University of Kansas doctoral advisor, Professor Elizabeth Kozleski, explained: “The research questions explored how graduates of an urban-focused inclusive teacher preparation program negotiated the tensions between the inclusive messages of their program and their practice contexts. While teacher identity development has been studied within preparation programs and in practice contexts, this work addresses an important gap in the literature. Little is known about how graduates of inclusive programs transform their identities through their practice and engagement in urban school systems that are not necessarily conducive or designed for inclusive practice.”

Siuty’s findings have implications for teacher preparation, induction of novice teachers, and collaboration across both contexts. Reviewers of her application praised the well-organized and engaging writing, identification of clear problems and solutions, and compelling visions of teachers as “bridge makers” who stand up for what’s right in society and who bring together special and general educators.

This award is given annually by AACTE to recognize excellence in doctoral dissertation research that contributes to the knowledge base of educator preparation. AACTE is a national alliance of 800 colleges and universities with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that ensures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom.

This is Siuty’s first year at Portland State where she is a cohort leader in the Secondary Dual Educator Program (SDEP). She was recently awarded a grant from the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to study the implications of coaching experiences of last year’s SDEP graduates who are now in the field.

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