AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER, NCLII scholars and faculty gathered at the University of Minnesota for their annual fall meeting. Faculty and scholars shared updates on their current work and discussed issues related to evaluating the effects of intensive interventions. All shared in career development activities to prepare scholars for their future work as researchers and teachers within higher education departments of special education.
Friday’s meeting focused on evaluating effects of intensive interventions within and across different methodologies (e.g., single-case design and group design). Tough questions were addressed such as, Should effect sizes be used between and within single-case research designs? What are the best methods of evaluating effects of idiographic research in order to generalize results? The group was fortunate to hear University of Minnesota professors Dr. Gerry August and Dr. Tim Piehler present their research focused on using SMART designs to adapt interventions. Scholars then had an opportunity to apply their learning by engaging in cross-institutional groups to design and create their own SMART designs. Following a short coffee break, small groups of scholars met with faculty to ask questions and seek professional advice. At the end of the day, the group gathered at the oldest restaurant in Minneapolis for a meal and camaraderie.
On Saturday, Cohort 1 scholars (currently in their third year of the program) shared their current research through poster presentations. The various topics included mathematics interventions, intensifying reading comprehension instruction, teacher self-efficacy influences on student outcomes, peer-mediated intervention in early childhood settings, and intensive interventions within juvenile justice centers. The knowledge they shared in their research process and findings with fellow scholars and faculty made for stronger connections and new collaborative opportunities.
Cohort 2 scholars also shared their research to the large group in brief, 5-minute “data blitz” presentations. They practiced effectively communicating the “big ideas” of their research and fielding questions from faculty.
On a lighter note, scholars and faculty participated in the “Gopher Challenge” to see who could capture the best photo with the University of Minnesota’s cherished mascot, Goldie the Gopher. Photos were shared with the group on Saturday, and everyone cast their vote for their favorite. Congrats to Chris Lemons, Skip Kumm, and Jessica Toste for their award-winning photo!
Faculty reported being impressed with the growth they are seeing in the scholars – both in the quality of their work and in their professional abilities in communicating and presenting. Also, several of the Cohort 1 scholars reported having an even greater understanding of the value-added of the consortium model as they are moving into their third year of study. Faculty also had some good discussions about the focus of the fourth-year curriculum. All in all, scholars and faculty shared that they thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the opportunity to meet in person to build stronger connections and learn from one another.
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