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Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line. The News Service number ((615) 322-2706) has 24/7 on call information. Visit our website to view this information online and to view other experts-at-a-glance. Visit our news website where you can also access our online searchable database of experts. (Last updated May 2010)
Doug Christiansen, vice provost for enrollment; dean of admissions and assistant professor of public policy and higher education
Christiansen can discuss college admissions, tuition, financial aid and higher education policy. Christiansen has spent the last 20 years in admissions leadership roles in top-tier public and private universities. Christiansen thinks there are a lot of misconceptions about the admissions process and who is actually deciding if a student gets in or not, and that the process is far more personal for universities than parents and students believe. Christiansen consults with universities throughout the United States on enrollment management and revenue generation and has conducted more than 60 consulting engagements working directly with presidents, trustees, enrollment professionals and faculty on enrollment-related issues. Watch a video of Christiansen giving tips about getting into college.
Stella Flores, assistant professor of public policy and higher education; assistant professor of sociology
Flores can discuss the impact admissions and financial aid policies have on immigrant students, demographic changes in higher education, Latino students and community colleges, and how current immigrant migration patterns are affecting the education system. She is the author of numerous papers on Latino educational opportunity and racial shifts in higher education. Her work was cited in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Gratz v. Bollinger decision on affirmative action in higher education admissions.
Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development; professor of psychology; investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Benbow is a nationally recognized expert on gifted children. She is in the third decade of a 50-year study of 5,000 gifted students that tracks their development and the impact of educational interventions over their life-span. She recently served as vice chair of President Bush’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel and is a member of the National Science Foundation Board. She has led Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, ranked as the nation’s No. 1 education school by U.S. News and World Report, since 1998.
Matthew Springer, research assistant professor of public policy and education; director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development
Springer is a frequently quoted expert on the topic of paying teachers based on their performance. He is leading a $10 million federally funded study to determine the impact, if any, financial incentives for teachers have on student achievement. He has served on several advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for teachers and/or principals at the state and district level, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky and South Carolina. He recently was named a Bush Institute Fellow.
Thomas Smith, assistant professor of public policy and education
Smith can discuss the options available to schools when dealing with underperforming teachers and what strategies work best to boost teacher performance. He can also discuss his and his colleagues’ findings that alternative certification, often touted as a way to bring non-teachers with professional experience into teaching to improve quality and boost teacher ranks, does not generally achieve those goals. He also has been interviewed about charter schools.
Claire Smrekar, associate professor of public policy and education
Smrekar can discuss how children of American military cope when their mothers and fathers are deployed. Not only do the children cope, but schools operated by the DOD score higher on national reading and writing tests than public schools, according to Smrekar’s research. Her current research involves a study of school choice policy in the post-busing era. She is the author of two books: The Impact of School Choice and Community: In the Interest of Families and Schools and School Choice in Urban America: Magnet Schools and the Pursuit of Equity with Vanderbilt professor Ellen Goldring.
Douglas Fuchs, professor and Nicholas Hobbs Chair in Special Education and Human Development; co-director, Vanderbilt-Kennedy Center Reading Clinic
Fuchs’ areas of specialization include instruction for students at risk of school failure because of disability or poverty, peer-to-peer learning strategies, testing, test bias and special education policy.
Georgene Troseth, associate professor of psychology
Troseth studies toddlers’ and infants’ use of video, and can tell parents what they need to know about exposing their young children to videos. Troseth provided input to Sesame Workshop on the infant DVD series. Her articles on this subject include “Young Children’s Use of Video as a Source of Socially Relevant Information,” published in May 2006; “TV Guide: 2-year-olds Learn to Use Video as a Source of Information” and “Getting a Clearer Picture: Young Children’s Understanding of a Televised Image.”
Maury Nation, associate professor of human and organizational development
Nation’s clinical research focuses on understanding and preventing violence and bullying among school-aged children. He can discuss the characteristics of bullies and victims and the short- and long-term consequences of peer harassment. The Centers for Disease Control is currently using principles that Nation developed to evaluate all grants related to intimate partner and sexual violence. He has written or co-authored numerous articles on adolescent behavior touching on topics such as empowering victims of bullies, the community’s role in preventing adolescent drug abuse, predictors of adolescent substance abuse, and gun ownership among middle school students.
Kathleen Hoover-Dempsey, associate professor of psychology
Hoover-Dempsey can discuss the role and influence of parents in children and adolescents’ education and development, and can provide tips for parents to help their children develop strong study habits. She and her students study both why parents become involved and the impact this has on the children’s work habits, behavior and school engagement.
Donna Ford, professor of special education
Ford can discuss the under-representation of minority students in gifted classrooms, the challenges these students face in terms of peer-pressure, and the impact the idea of ‘acting black’ has on their performance. Ford and Vanderbilt colleague Gilman Whiting founded the Vanderbilt Achievement Gap Project to address systematic problems of racial inequity in education. Ford is a board member of the National Association for Gifted Children, and has served on numerous editorial boards, such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Exceptional Children, and Roeper Review. She is the recipient of the Early Career Award and the Career Award from The American Educational Research Association; Early Scholar Award from The National Association for Gifted Children; and the Esteemed Scholarship Award from The National Association of Black Psychologists.