GSOE Welcomes Education Pioneer Deborah Meier and Educator Emily Gasoi on February 21

RSVP HERE by Feb 15.

The Graduate School of Education will host longtime educators and authors Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi during an upcoming installment of the GSOE Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Please join us for a moderated discussion and book signing with Meier and Gasoi focused on their recently released book, “The Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon Our Public Schools.”

In their book, the authors describe how the last two decades of education reform have been characterized by “a disconnect” between the original purpose of education and anything remotely resembling foundational ideas about democracy. “Schools that have pioneered and that have attempted to sustain their innovative, democratic, or just demonstrably good practices—are in danger of disappearing,” the authors caution. “In 2017, our very institution of free, universal education is at risk of succumbing to the forces of free-market ideology, which have overtaken our national sensibilities.”

WHO: Dean Thomas Smith will give an introduction to a conversation with veteran educators and authors, Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi, moderated by GSOE professor Leigh Patel

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Barn at UCR. Complimentary parking provided with RSVP.

About the authors: 

Deborah Meier, author of the acclaimed books The Power of Their Ideas and In Schools We Trust, has spent more than five decades working in public education as a parent, school-board member, teacher, principal, writer, and advocate. Meier ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the United States. Among her numerous accomplishments, she helped found the Coalition of Essential Schools in the 1980s, under the leadership of Ted Sizer. In 1987, she received a MacArthur award for her work in public education.



Emily Gasoi has been an educator for more than two decades and was a founding teacher at Mission Hill School in Boston. In 2012 she earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Gasoi currently lives in Washington, DC, where she adjuncts at Georgetown University and is cofounder of Artful Education, an organization focused on helping schools and arts organizations improve practices related to creative teaching and learning.

To learn more about the democratically governed school that Meier and Gasoi discuss in the book, see this series of 10 shorts entitled A Year at Mission Hill School.

Moderator/GSOE Professor Leigh Patel is an educator, writer, and sociologist. She is the author four books, including the award winning “Youth Held at the Border and Decolonizing Educational Research: From ownership to answerability.” She is a proud member of the grassroots organization Education for Liberation which sponsors the Free Minds Free People conference. Prior to working in the academy, she was a teacher, journalist, and state level policymaker.


12th Annual UC SPEDDR Conference

UC SPEDDR Student Advisory Council

On January 19 and 20, 2018, doctoral students in special education at UCR joined students and professors from eight UC campuses for the 12th annual student-run University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR) conference, held at UC-Davis.  

This conference is one of several activities of the University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR), founded in 2005 by UCSB professor Michael Gerber and UCR professors H. Lee Swanson and Rollanda O’Connor, which links faculty and doctoral students with shared research interests across the UC system.  

As the organization spread to eight of the UC campuses, faculty routinely brought their students along to the twice-yearly meetings and students soon formed their own organization, the Doctoral Student Advisory Committee, which now runs the conference annually on their own (with just a little help from faculty mentors).

Participating UCR students included Yasamine Bolourian, Megan Ledoux, Juan Chen, and Elizabeth Isralowitz.  

Dr. Rollanda O’Connor, center, with UCR students Juan Chan & Megan Ledoux.

In addition to attending the conference, faculty from seven of the UC campuses (Riverside, Davis, Los Angeles, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and San Francisco) discussed their current research and findings, primarily in the areas of learning disabilities and autism, with Richard Gifford from the California Department of Education.  

The SPEDDR Student Conference is supported partially through the generous endowment of the Eady/Hendrick fund to the GSOE. 

Check out UCSPEDDR’s Facebook page here.

Dr. Margaret Nash’s Anthology Introduces New Voices on the History of Women in Higher Education


It’s been over 30 years since historian Barbara Solomon published In the Company of Educated Women: A History of Women and Higher Education, one of the few comprehensive texts that looks at the role of women in higher education. Since then, subsequent accounts of women in higher education have largely been “an ‘add-in’ to the grand narrative of higher education,” explains Margaret Nash, a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside.

Inspired by this, and the lack of comprehensive scholarship that she, herself, has been able draw on for the courses she teaches at UC Riverside, Nash has released Women’s Higher Education in the United States: New Historical Perspectives, a collection of new viewpoints on women’s education from the early 19th century through the 1970s.

“So much research has been done since Barbara Solomon’s book was published in 1985, and Palgrave series editors William J. Reese and John Rury thought it was time for a new volume that brought together some of the new directions the field has taken since then. I was honored to take on the project,” said Nash.

The book contains 12 different essays, including “From Haskell to Hawaii: One American Indian Woman’s Educational Journey” authored by UC Riverside Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Talerico-Brown. Nash considered many factors when choosing authors for the various chapters, including the diversity of voices and experiences – racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, as well as roles: students, faculty, and administrators.

Whereas earlier research on women in higher education tends to ask about access, such as when were women allowed to attend college, Women’s Higher Education in the United States, poses different questions. “Histories of education usually focus on, understandably, people who receive or offer that education, and most of the chapters in this book do that, too. But there also are important stories to uncover in who is left out: who does not get formal education, and why? One of the chapters focuses on antebellum African American women who protested their exclusion from education,” explains Nash.

The volume also poses questions about power relations in higher education. For any time and place, what is the nature of the power that particular women have, as students, instructors, staff, or as President? How do particular women attempt to free or constrain other women through education? What understanding of “woman” is perpetuated by colleges and universities, and how do LGBTQs negotiate that definition? What disciplinary measures are being used to police the boundaries of acceptability?

By uncovering these stories, Nash’s anthology demonstrates how an examination of the history of women’s education can transform our understanding of educational institutions and processes more generally.