Summer and Fall 2022


  • Ethan Chang and Ronald David Glass: Toward a Just Leadership Learning Ecology: A CHAT-IT Analysis of the Highlander Idea

    This paper recently published in Educational Administration Quarterly conceptualizes a just leadership learning ecology through an analysis of one nontraditional site of leadership preparation: the Highlander Research and Education Center (originally founded as the Highlander Folk School). Drawing on cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and institutional theory (IT), we examine the core design and pedagogy of Highlander, which co-founder, Myles Horton, referred to as the “Highlander idea.” We illustrate how a residential learning and living environment, norms of epistemic humility and democratic decision making, and horizontal teaching and learning roles fostered social justice leadership. This just leadership learning ecology reflected institutions present at the time of Highlander's founding, including cultural scripts rooted in prophetic Christianity, class consciousness, and unfolding social movements in Appalachia and the South. Our analysis of Highlander extends recent efforts to re-envision the how and who of leadership preparation and addresses the observed lack of coherence within this subfield.

    In 'The Just Demands of Democratic Inclusion: Ubuntu Communities and Democratic Education' (the Foreword to Democratic Education as Inclusion by noted South African scholars Nuraan Davids and Yusef Waghid, and just published by Rowman and Littlefield), Ronald David Glass examines what equality might mean given the limits and possibilities of inclusion in the contexts of racist colonial democratic societies and higher education, and engages with Davids' and Waghid's conceptualization of Ubuntu as a basis for a critical response.

    Sal Huixilopotchli has an article in press at PME-NA 44 (The North American chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education). Title: Conferencing to Support Mathematical Argument with Multilingual Students

    We used a proof scheme (Harel & Sowder, 1998) framework to examine revisions that students made during mathematical conferences. Findings show that some students used conferencing as an opportunity to revise (or generate) arguments while other students used conferencing as an opportunity to revise procedures or their use of formal terms. Findings support the notion that language should not serve as a gatekeeper that prevents multilingual students from accessing rigorous mathematics. 

    Cynthia Lewis (2021). Heteroglossia, Emotion, and the Transformation of Signs. In D. Sumara & D. E. Alvermann (Eds), Ideas that changed literacy practices: First-person accounts from leading voices. This book chapter is in a volume that draws on accounts of literacy scholars charged with reading themselves through the lens of an idea key to their thinking. In my chapter, I discuss Mikhail Bakhtin’s philosophy of language and how it has influenced my thinking over time, especially the idea that language and other signs are sites of struggle. I draw on my previous research to illustrate that this idea should be central to the way educators understand literacy learning and teaching in school.

    Judit Moschkovich has an article in press:  Speaking Mathematically: Framing practices, hearing registers, listening for silence, For the Learning of Mathematics

    In this piece, I describe how David Pimm’s approach to mathematical communication has influenced my research. My story began with an exploration of the role of language in learning and teaching mathematics, starting from a cognitive perspective. David’s work, by documenting and analyzing how learners and teachers speak mathematically in classrooms (in one language), provided a foundation for my work to include language(s) and register(s). Building on that foundation, I summarize how I use a Vygotskian perspective on mathematical language, practices, and registers. I address two issues regarding the concept of mathematical language: how we imagine the mathematics register and how participation in mathematical practices can be silent. I use examples to show why we need to hear hybrid uses of multiple registers and expand participation beyond talk.

    Pham, J.H. (2021). Orchestrating critical race talk towards institutional change. Journal of Language, Identity, & Education. Advanced online publication.

    Pham, J.H. (2022). Racial micropolitical literacy: Examining the sociopolitical realities of teachers of color co-constructing student transformational resistance. Curriculum & Inquiry. Advanced online publication.

    Philip, T.M., Pham, J.H., Scott, M., & Cortéz, A. (2022). Intentionally addressing nested systems of power in schooling through teacher solidarity co-design. Cognition & Instruction, 40(1), 55-76.

    Low, D. E., & Rapp, S. M. (2021). Youth identities and affinities on the move: Using a transliterates framework to critique digital dichotomies. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 16(2). This article was published in a special issue of the journal on Critical Digital Literacy that received a 2023 Divergent Award for Excellence in Literacy in a Digital Age, recognizing innovation in research in the field of literacy.

    Professor Emerita Judith Scott wrote and self-published a children’s book, called When the Mission Bells Rang (2022) in consultation with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band as part of a UCOP Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives grant on California Missions.  The book is a freely available as a PDF at []  and is also sold as a print version, with proceeds going to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.  This child-friendly imaged fable features animals that join together to foil attempts to ring the mission bells. The story uses Amah Mutsun names for the animals, introduces the concept that Indigenous people were held in captivity, and contains historically accurate end-notes. 

    Rebecca Buchanan, Judith A. Scott, Lucinda Pease-Alvarez, Margaret Clark, (2022) Common ground is not enough: The situated and dynamic process of collaboration in a multiagency teacher professional development project, Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 117.

    Švigelj, M. M. (2022). Chapter 18. Re-Mediating Narratives: Exceptional Children in Captivity. In R. Williams (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Challenging Deficit Thinking for Exceptional Education Improvement (pp. 380-404). IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-7998-8860-4.ch018  Retrieve from

    Students and Švigelj, M. M. (2022). Chapter 15: Opportunities for Hope are Created. In M. W. Cole, S. M. Madison, A. D. Henze, & J. Sosnowski (Eds.), Flying Kites: Narratives of Prison Literacy in Essays & Art (pp. 164-176). DIO Press.

    Kim Vachon published an article in the spring issue of Issues in Teacher Education entitled "The racialization of self and others: An exploration of criticality in pre-service teacher self-reflection.”  This qualitative case study examined exit-credential papers from a teacher preparation program to explore how pre-service teachers discussed racial positionality in relation to teaching for social justice. Framed by a Critical Whiteness perspective, the pre-service teachers’ papers revealed that out of the cohort of twenty-four, only seven of the White PSTs identify their race. These seven do so within the context of racializing their students. This study has implications for teacher preparation programs as important arenas for teachers to commit to developing a consciousness of their social positionality and bring a critical lens to structures of power.

  • Grants

  • Assistant Professor Rekia Jibrin was awarded a Sprouts Grant from UCSC Institute for Social Transformation to support a community-university research partnership on ethnic studies in Santa Cruz county school districts (more info about research project here).

    Assistant Professor Rekia Jibrin was awarded Seed Funding for Early Stage Initiatives from UCSC's Office of Research to support the project "Ethnic Studies Research Collaboration with Santa Cruz County Office of Education." (Josephine Pham, Daisy Martin, Cynthia Lewis, and Christine Hong are Co-Investigators on the project.) More info about the research project here.

    Assistant Professor Josephine H. Pham was awarded a Sprouts Grant from UCSC Institute for Social Transformation to support a research project on multimodal approach to antiracist teacher educator pedagogies (more info about research project here

    Assistant Professor Josephine H. Pham was awarded a Faculty Research Grant from the UCSC Committee on Research (COR) to support a research project on day-to-day teacher leadership for critical race and ethnic studies.

  • Honors and Awards

  • Judith Scott, Professor Emerita from the UCSC Education Department, was awarded the 2022 Vocabulary Special Interest Group Notable Vocabulary Researcher Award  at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Diego on April 23, 2022. The award recognizes scholars whose research in vocabulary, literacy and learning has had a significant impact on the field. At the meeting, presenters engaged the audience in a game of "Judy Scott Wordle” and listened to poems and limericks about her written by P. David Pearson, former Dean of Education at UC Berkeley and a member of her dissertation committee many years ago.

    Professor Judit Moschkovich is currently working as a member of the National Academy of Education Civic Discourse Math Subcommittee, charged with producing a set of practitioner briefs, a report, and materials for supporting teachers in using mathematics for civic reasoning and discussions of important social issues.

  • Keynote/Invited Presentations

  • In March 2022, Professor Judit Moschkovich delivered an invited talk for the NCTM ICME-14 Virtual Series “Language and learning mathematics: A socio-cultural approach to academic literacy in mathematics.” 

    Melissa Svigelj-Smith was interviewed for the Ethical Schools podcast which was released on April 27th. : Halpern-Laff, A. (2022, April 27). Interview with Melissa Svigelj-Smith, School behind bars: Meeting the needs of traumatized kids. Ethical Schools Podcast. episode. Retrieved from


  • Graduate Students’ Accomplishments

  • Saadeddin Bozkurt passed his dissertation defense and received his Phd. His dissertation examines teacher engagement and burnout.  Through extensive statistical analysis he has developed a scale which can be used by administrators and school districts to inform them of the ways in which teachers are responding to their profession.  Committee: Professor Emerita June Gordon, and Professors Doris AshEduardo Mosqueda, and Doug Bonett (Psychology).

    Brittany Caldwell passed her dissertation defense and received her PhD. Her dissertation, “Mathematics in Early Grades: Beliefs and Practices Related to Students’ Assets,” explores beliefs of K-3 educators about language and mathematics and examines a 1st grade teacher’s practices in-person before and online during the pandemic. The analysis illustrates how a teacher drew on student assets to create opportunities for mathematics learning and how some practices persisted even with the transition to online teaching and new constraints. The study has important implications for teacher education and professional development focusing on students’ assets. Committee: Professors Judit Moschkovich, Cindy Pease Alvarez, Judy Scott, and Rebecca Ambrose (UC Davis).

    Lucía Alvarado Cantero passed her Qualifying Exam Winter Quarter and has advanced to Candidacy. Her dissertation proposal was approved in June.  

    Sal Huixilopotchli passed his dissertation defense and received his PhD. His dissertation ”Writing and revising arguments in early algebra” examines how middle school students revised mathematical arguments through writing and conferencing. The analysis provides evidence that multilingual students improved their arguments with conferencing to support revising and that a linear hierarchical progression (or proof scheme) does not adequately describe the revising process. The study has important implications for pedagogical approaches to supporting students in learning to construct mathematical arguments. Committee: Professors Judit Moschkovich, George Bunch, Betsy Brenner (UCSB, Education, Emerita) and Cindy Cruz (UA, Education).

    Adria Patthoff passed her dissertation defense and received her PhD. Her dissertation “Exploring pre-service teachers’ conceptualizations and enactments of formative assessment with multilingual learners,” holds important applications for teacher education. Committee: Kip Téllez, George Bunch, Soleste Hilberg, and Elizabeth Van Es (UCI).

    Fatima Raja passed her Qualifying Exams and has advanced to Candidacy. Her dissertation proposal has been approved. 

    Caroline Spurgin passed her dissertation defense and received her PhD. Her dissertation, "Discourses of Power in Science Teacher Becoming: Science and Equity in Conflict,” examines how equity-oriented pedagogies and ideas are enacted, resisted, challenged and transformed in a science teacher preparation program. Committee: Professor Emerita Doris Ash and Professors Cynthia Lewis, Lora Bartlett, Sam Severance, and Sara Tolbert (University of Canterbury).

    Kirsten Standeven passed her dissertation defense and received her PhD. Her dissertation, “ Neoliberal Circuits of Worth, Faithful Witnessing, & the Need for Regenerative Public Schooling,”  focuses on the effects of neoliberal school reforms and their effects on a charter school in an historically dispossessed Chicago community. Committee: Professors Brad Olsen (Brookings Institution; UCSC), Cindy Cruz (UA; UCSC), and Jabari Mahiri (UC, Berkeley).

    Melissa Marini Švigelj passed her Qualifying Exams and has advanced to Candidacy. Her dissertation proposal has been approved.

    In addition to advancing to candidacy, Melissa won People's Choice for her 3-minute presentation of her research, “The Limitations and Potentialities of Educational Civil Rights Protections under IDEA for Incarcerated Children.”  You can view the video of her grand slam on YouTube. : UC Santa Cruz Grad Slam 2022 People’s Choice Melissa Marini Švigelj Mar 24, 2022.

    Yuzhu Xia passed her dissertation defense and received her PhD.  Her dissertation, “Predicting students’ English performance with traditional statistical modeling and machine learning: An analysis of the China Education Panel Survey,” has implications for both language education and statistical methods.  Committee: Professors Kip Téllez, Doug Bonett (Psychology) and Eduardo Mosqueda.

  • PhD Students with New Faculty/Research Positions

  • Brittany Caldwell has accepted a position for a two-year postdoctoral position at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development in Nashville, TN under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Gresalfi and Dr. Anita Wager, and Dr. Amy Parks (Michigan State University). Brittany will be part of the NSF funded research project "Supporting Playful Learning in Elementary Mathematics Classrooms” a research-practice partnership project focusing on supporting early elementary teachers’ learning about integrating play into their mathematics lessons. 

    Sarah Rapp has accepted a tenure-track position as an  Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sonoma State University, starting in the fall! 

    Last fall, Yuzhu Xia accepted a full-time position as the Evaluation and Data Manager for the Department of Early Childhood, Boston Public Schools. Yuzhu Xia will defend her dissertation and graduate this June.

  • Events, Media, and Department News

  • The Education, Democracy, and Justice B.A. has 178 declared undergraduate majors at the end of just two years!  Kudos to all of the terrific faculty and staff who have made the major one of the most popular on campus!

    In honor of the dedication of John R. Lewis College at UC Santa Cruz, the Division of Social Sciences, Colleges Nine and Ten, the Institute for Social Transformation, and the Center for Racial Justice organized a series of events titled "Necessary Trouble: Thinking with the legacy of John R. Lewis," that exemplified the life of Representative John Lewis. Assistant Professor Rekia Jibrin was a featured speaker at one of the events, "Social Movements for a Just Society." (More information can be found here.)

    The History & Civics Project at UC Santa Cruz hosted a number of professional learning series this year including Making Meaningful Assessments, Integrating Mexican-American History Across the Curriculum, and a series on media literacy in collaboration with UC Irvine. In partnership with Critical Missions Studies and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the HCP also facilitated a teacher inquiry group all year with teachers across California who are interested in centering Indigenous perspectives in their teaching. Most recently, the project hosted Professor Tsim Schneider of the Anthropology department, who spoke with teachers across California about Indigenous resistance to injustice in colonial California as part of the Sources of Justice scholar series through the California History-Social Science Project and also participated in the Youth Environmental Action Summit, an event produced by Santa Cruz county high school students. 

    On May 7th, the UCSC Education Department, UCSC Central California Writing Project (CCWP), and the History and Civics Project (HCP)  hosted Re-Imagining Civics Education featuring  Antero Garcia (Associate Professor of Education, Stanford) and Niole Mirra (Assistant professor of presented their work on what they call "speculative civics" focused on youth-driven engagement in community/social change. The event included K-16 educators, administrators, and non-profit organizations from across the region who had a chance to re-evaluate traditional civics education and consider the ways in which they might incorporate imagination, freedom dreaming, and alternative paradigms into their work. There will be on-going discussions and workshops continuing this work in the future. The event was also an opportunity for CCWP and HCP to hold their first in-person event since before the beginning of the pandemic!  The gathering was also a time to celebrate the teachers and to recognize all they have accomplished in a time of crisis and the many ways that they have inspired their students and provided support during a time of high anxiety.

    On May 21st, Corre La Voz, Senderos (Leslie Lopez, Director and Lecturer, Oakes College, Joel Lovos, Program Coordinator/GSR, and Cynthia Lewis, PI) hosted "Tejiendo Voces: Nuestro Pasado, Presente y Futuro"/ “Weaving Voices: Our Past Present and Future” at Branciforte Small Schools Campus. This full-house event celebrated the strength of the immigrant community of Santa Cruz, and the expressive work and civic commentary of Corre La Voz participants, who showcased multi-generational creative projects by Corre la Voz Bay View, Branciforte, and Plaza Comunitaria.  A special focus was the photovoice projects each site completed on the themes of "belonging and not belonging," in coordination with We Belong: Collaboration for Community-Engaged Research for Immigrant Justice. Many thanks to Joel Lovos (1st year PhD student) and Lizeth Peña Sanchez (Education Department student employee and CLV-Senderos mentor) for their dedicated work with CLV elementary and middle school students. 

    UC Santa Cruz Magazine interviewed  Su-Hua Wang (Psychology), Director of New Gen Learning (NGL), Cynthia Lewis (Co-Director), and Barbara Rogoff (Co-Director).  The article Learning about Learning highlights the goals of NGL as well as some NGL research collaborations that focus on fostering the learning of underserved students and children.