CPD Faculty Fellow Damon Cann is a USU Researcher of the Year

August 14, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

photo of Dr. Damon Cann

Dr. Damon Cann

We’ve known Dr. Damon Cann was a great researcher for a long time–and we’re glad to say Utah State University agrees.

He was named a Center for Persons with Disabilities Faculty Fellow earlier this year, and now he is the Faculty Researcher of the Year for the college of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The CPD came to know him when he brought his expertise in statistics and research design to the CPD’s Start Smart project.

The research provides a cost-effectiveness analysis of an extended school year in New Mexico. It will measure the gains in literacy, numeracy and social skills against the costs of the program.

The research has broader implications, as policymakers across the country are looking for ways to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace. They may consider summer school as an option, and good data could help them make an informed decision.

The project’s strength is in its structure, Dr. Cann said. Not everyone who applies for the summer school services will receive them, but those who applied but were not randomly selected for participation will be used as a control group for the study.

You can read more about him and other top researchers on USU’s Research Peaks webpage. Dr. Cann also discusses his research experience in this short video.

Congratulations, Dr. Cann!

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CPD researchers visit Ecuador, work with its education ministry

January 4, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

A girl smiles from her desk, surrounded by other students

View from a classroom in Ecuador

Researchers from the CPD went south last month, as part of a collaboration with Ecuador’s Ministry of Education to evaluate programs there.

They were there as part of a planning grant, investigating the possibility of working with the ministry to evaluate programs in Ecuador. The proposed projects would deal with preschools, inclusion of children with disabilities in the schools, newborn hearing screening, and infant programs for children ages 0 to 3.

“We got to see preschool programs throughout the entire country, from the jungles to the cities to the coasts to the highlands,” said Dr. Gina Cook, a collaborator on the planning grant.

“The recent visit to Ecuador was an important learning experience,” said Dr. Eduardo Ortiz, another collaborator on the grant. “It was powerful to see how comfortable and knowledgeable young children were talking about their surrounding plants, animals, and nature.”

The team saw some schools with lots of resources, and others with few. American educators often have similar challenges, adapting programs to make sure they work in schools no matter what materials are available to them.

The learning is definitely a two-way process, said DDE Center for Early Care and Education Director Lisa Boyce, a CPD faculty fellow who went with the researchers. She is another collaborator on the planning grant. “I have yet to see so many teachers being so responsive to children. I have found that I can teach educational strategies to teachers, but I struggle with being able to teach the level of connectedness that I observed in those schools.”

The group will return to Ecuador next month to train government officials on conducting evaluations and incorporating research into its programs.

In addition to her work with the CPD, Gina Cook is now an adjunct research assistant professor in the Family, Consumer and Human Development department at USU. She also provided the photos that accompany this blog post. For more images from schools in Ecuador, visit our Facebook page.

Children stand in a line in a classroom in Ecuador

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