Two SOE proposals receive VCU Accelerate Fund awards

Katherine Hansen and Yaoying Xu awarded $200K for two projects that support the One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan.

Katherine Hansen and Dr. Yaoying Xu.
From left: Katherine Hansen (Courtesy Photo) and Yaoying Xu (Photo by Kevin Morley)

Two VCU School of Education research proposals have been selected for VCU Accelerate Fund awards, a new initiative supporting the One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan to advance creative, collaborative, inclusive and community-engaged research.

Katherine Hansen, communications and community engagement specialist with the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center (VALRC), was awarded $100,000 for her proposal, Career Pathways for Minority Under-Represented Adult Learners in Computing (CAREPATH MURAL). This project aims to create an innovative pathway into computer science careers for underrepresented adult populations such as women, persons with differing abilities, and minorities. Along with SOE Department of Teaching and Learning faculty members W. Monty Jones, Ph.D., associate professor, and Nakisha Whittington, Ph.D., assistant professor, this project also involves a collaboration with David C. Shepherd, Ph.D., associate professor in VCU’s College of Engineering. This established collaboration will enhance the efforts to broaden participation in computer science and promote successful careers in the field.

Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, Katherine P. Dabney, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, and Moe Debbagh Greene, Ph.D., associate director of English Language Programs at VCU’s Global Education Office, were awarded $99,680 for their research proposal, Engaging Parents in Afterschool STEM Projects. This project aims to implement a parent-facilitated STEM program for preschool-aged children from low-income families in urban Richmond, with the goal of preparing at-risk children for school readiness, including children who are Spanish speaking dual language learners.

Through transdisciplinary research, the VCU Accelerate Fund supports high-profile, launch-ready initiatives designed to yield measurable results in research, scholarship and creative practice with a critical priority of improving the human condition. Funding awards were up to $100,000 each, with a project period of 12-18 months.

The VALRC is a division of the Center for Teacher Leadership, a center within the School of Education. The VALRC strengthens Virginia’s adult education and literacy system through professional development, resources and collaborative projects.