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WSU Research Opportunity & Equity

Transforming leadership to achieve equity in education

Building parent participation and shifting administrator mindsets

In 2010, 47 percent of children under the age of five belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group[1]. That statistic signifies a shift in the demographics of tomorrow’s classrooms.

As the nation’s K-12 students become increasingly diverse, school environments, educational policies, and teaching best practices must take students’ cultural backgrounds into account. Research of Dr. Katherine Rodela anticipates changes needed in K-12 schools. The educational leadership professor is rethinking the role of parent leadership in school systems. She is also examining how district leaders can develop an equity mindset—the belief that by engaging members of … » More …

Promoting an informed and equitable society

Preserving indigenous traditions in digital form

A complete picture of U.S. history requires the information held in tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs). While many major libraries and museums now digitize their collections for access and use, many TALMs lack the resources to do so. In addition, traditional content management systems are organized under Western standards, not allowing for local narrations and other cultural practices and protocols important to archiving Native heritage.

Digitally preserving and sharing stories, artifacts, and images from diverse cultures is important in a technologically advancing world. WSU researcher Kim Christen is ensuring that digital history includes Native American voices stored and … » More …

Police training in a new light

WSU seeks better ways to handle tense encounters

The call came into 9-1-1 from a Spokane YMCA last October: A middle-aged man was threatening to break the kneecaps of an eight-year-old, because he said the boy could “ruin my NBA career.”

Corporal Jordan Ferguson of the Spokane Police Department responded, fully aware of the suspect’s antagonistic and unpredictable behavior. Ferguson’s body camera footage shows what happened next.

In the lobby of the YMCA, an employee first describes the man’s erratic statements. Ferguson tracks the man to the gym, who then walks away yelling. Rather than restraining the man immediately, Ferguson asks him questions and listens … » More …

Raising Washington’s grade in math and science education

Researchers identify best practices in teaching STEM disciplines

Education in the STEM subjects— science, technology, engineering and mathematics—serves as a steppingstone to social and economic opportunity. How can teachers inspire interest in these disciplines and make the lessons stick?

More than 140 WSU researchers conduct collaborative STEM education research from early grades to graduate school. Their research focuses on “clinical education,” practical integration and application of knowledge to real-world educational settings. These scholars examine instruction at STEM-focused schools. They monitor outcomes to see how methods of instruction affect student learning. They strengthen understanding of best practices in teaching STEM disciplines.

Their efforts don’t stop there. … » More …

Ensuring access and achievement

Programs spur advances in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education

WSU Tri-Cities is emerging as a regional hub for K-12 STEM research, education, and outreach.

In the 2013/2014 fiscal year, one researcher received over $16 million in funding for programs to help students in educationally isolated rural schools in the inland northwest. GEAR UP, as one of the programs is called, reaches over 50 rural schools, giving middle-school and high-school students and their families guidance on how to prepare for college.

Equity for women in the workplace

Despite comparable levels of commitment, women don’t advance at the same rate as men

In the past 40 years, women have assumed a larger role in the U.S. workforce. While roughly two out of five women worked for pay in the early 1970s, almost three out of five do so today[1]. But Julie Kmec, a Washington State University sociologist, has repeatedly seen how their roles, wages and mobility continue to differ dramatically from those of their male peers.

In a study of some 800 law firms, she found that a woman’s chance of promotion decreases as she advances. Nearly 40 percent of entry-level … » More …

Youth employment challenges reflect and widen the gap between rich and poor

Recession dims employment prospects most severely for disadvantaged youth

The path from adolescence to professional success has become more challenging, especially for disadvantaged populations. The Great Recession in 2009 dimmed employment prospects for the millennial generation around the world, leaving many unemployed or underemployed. Teens and young adults whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or less have suffered the most.

Professor of sociology Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson studies teenage and young adult employment in the U.S. In two recent studies she examined employment trends and how work experiences during the recession affected teens’ and young adults’ economic and career outlooks in the long … » More …

Why people act for the common good

Professor identifies traits that underlie human cooperation

Social interactions depend on fairness and equity, but much of the world works because people are willing to give time, money, or other support for little or nothing in return. Citizens approve bond issues for schools and playgrounds they’ll never use. They donate to radio stations they don’t listen to and people they’ll never meet. They volunteer to fight and die in wars.

In the WSU Department of Psychology, Professor Craig Parks has deciphered the social and psychological calculus behind caring and cooperation, distilling some common traits among public goods that succeed while others fail. He and … » More …

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