Award Winners Recognized at Graduation

Dr. Chang

Team Mojo

Beth Paris


Award Winners Recognized at the VCU School of Education's Spring 2023 Graduation

May 16, 2023

At the 2023 graduation event for the VCU School of Education, two exceptional individuals and a team of three doctoral students were recognized for their outstanding contributions and achievements. 

Dr. Nick Chang, Dr. Beth Paris, and Team Mojo (Dr. Katherine Hansen, Dr. Heather Sadowski, and Dr. Martha Tomlin) were honored with prestigious awards for their remarkable work and dedication. 

Dr. Nick Chang
Spring 2023 Recipient of the Ruch Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Nick Chang, an assistant professor in the Department of Foundations of Education, was honored as the recipient of the Spring 2023 Charles P. Ruch Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Dr. Chang has consistently demonstrated exceptional teaching methods that motivate and engage students. In addition, Dr. Chang goes above and beyond to provide academic support, fostering a learning environment where students feel encouraged to collaborate and grow as scholars.

Dr. Chang's teaching style is characterized by its effectiveness and accessibility. Dr. Chang skillfully breaks down complex concepts, making them relatable and understandable to students of varying levels. In addition, Dr. Chang's commitment to mentorship and availability outside of class further amplifies the impact on students. 

By employing innovative teaching techniques, including recording lectures and creating exemplary instructional materials, Dr. Chang ensures students have the tools to succeed in quantitative inquiry and beyond. This award recognizes Dr. Chang's dedication, expertise, and profound impact on the student educational experience.

Dr. Beth Paris
Recipient of the Spring 2023 Distinguished Dissertation Award

Dr. Beth Paris was recognized as the 2023 Distinguished Dissertation Award recipient for exceptional Ph.D. research in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Justice. 

Their dissertation, titled "Resident Assistants and Title IX: Perceptions, Beliefs, and Experiences Impacting RA Help-Seeking Behavior," addresses the previously unacknowledged issue of sexual misconduct experienced by Resident Assistants (RAs) on college campuses.

Drawing from their experiences as a former residence life professional and current Title IX investigator, Dr. Paris brought a unique perspective to this research. Dr. Paris's work sheds light on the challenges faced by RAs who are survivors of sexual misconduct and explores their perceptions, beliefs, and experiences that influence their help-seeking behavior. 

By filling a significant gap in the existing literature, Dr. Paris's research can help cultivate positive changes in supporting and addressing the needs of this population. The dissertation chair, Dr. Beth Bukoski, guided this remarkable academic journey. Dr. Paris's outstanding work and this well-deserved recognition are a testament to their commitment to advancing justice and equity in the educational landscape.

Team Mojo
Recipients of the 2023 Outstanding Capstone Project Award

Team Mojo, comprising Dr. Katherine Hansen, Dr. Heather Sadowski, and Dr. Martha Tomlin, was honored as the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Capstone Project Award. 

Their capstone project, titled "United We Stand: A Case Study about Increasing Equity in the Capacity Building Grant Funding Process for United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg," tackles the issue of systemic racism in the grant funding systems within the nonprofit sector.  Here is a link to all the Doctorate of Education Capstones, including Team Mojo's work.  

Recognizing structural and systemic racism as the root causes of inequitable funding, Team Mojo's project focused on impacting systemic change by building bridges among small, emergent grassroots organizations. Their comprehensive plan of action for the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg has the potential to foster equitable access, improve relationships, and dismantle racism within the grant funding process.

The exceptional work undertaken by Team Mojo highlights the importance of addressing systemic inequalities and fostering collaboration to bring about positive change. Under the guidance of Dr. Beth Bukoski, Dr. Hansen, Dr. Sadowski, and Dr. Tomlin significantly contributed to increasing equity in the nonprofit sector.

These three award winners, Dr. Beth Paris, Dr. Nick Chang, and Team Mojo, exemplify the dedication, passion, and expertise present within the VCU School of Education. Their remarkable achievements contribute to the advancement of education and inspire future generations to make a positive impact. Congratulations to all the recipients for their outstanding work and well-deserved recognition.