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UCLA Turns Out in Force for AERA 2024 Annual Meeting

By John McDonald

UCLA Scholars respond to call to "imagine boldly what education spaces free of racial injustice can look like"

The American Education Research Association will host its annual meeting April 11-14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event brings together scholars from across the nation and the globe to take part in the world’s largest gathering of educational researchers. Scholars from the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies (SEIS) will be among them in force. More than 180 members of the UCLA community, from students embarking on their academic research careers to noted faculty members and UCLA leaders, are scheduled to participate. 

Led by Tyrone C. Howard, 2023-2024 AERA president, UCLA Pritzker Family Endowed Chair and UCLA professor of education, this year’s meeting is guided by the theme of “Dismantling Racial Injustice and Constructing Educational Possibilities: A Call to Action.”

Tyrone C. Howard, UCLA Pritzker Family Endowed Chair and UCLA Professor of Education

Tyrone C. Howard

“The 2024 conference asks the education research community to engage in a massive undertaking of attending to the simultaneous act of dismantling racial injustice and constructing educational possibilities across P–20 systems,” Howard writes in his introduction of this year’s theme. “The call for a global conversation on race, racism, and its redress is long overdue for the world’s largest education research organization. This year’s theme asks researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to imagine boldly what education spaces free of racial injustice can look like.” 

Responding to that call in sessions ranging from simple poster presentations highlighting student research, symposia presenting new academic papers, and Presidential Sessions examining critical challenges in education, UCLA scholars will share their research and discuss their ideas with colleagues from across the AERA community. 

UCLA helps AERA to set the stage for the meeting opening night with a do-not-miss keynote lecture by Kimberlé W Crenshaw, a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University. Crenshaw, a founder and intellectual leader in the field of Critical Race Theory, is expected to discuss her groundbreaking work on intersectionality and structural racism. Her remarks will be followed by a conversation with Professor Howard.


Sandra Graham, distinguished professor in the Department of Education

Sandra Graham

UCLA scholars will also participate in AERA Presidential Sessions that serve as highlights of the annual meeting. Among those participating in these sessions are Christina Christie, Wasserman Dean, SEIS, who is taking part in a session exploring the scholarship and impact of the late UCLA scholar and writer Mike Rose; Professor Sandra Graham joins in a session exploring the urgent need to create racially just systems of education; and Professor Sylvia Hurtado joins in a very important presentation exploring the role of federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions in the advancement of racial and intersectional equity. (For a fuller description of UCLA participation in Presidential Sessions see the listings in our just-published article here.)

Across the four days of the meeting, UCLA students, research staff, and faculty members will fan out to participate in dozens of events ranging from electronic poster sessions and roundtable discussions to presentations of individual research papers and participation in research symposiums with multiple scholars.

Darlene Lee, UCLA Teacher Education Program Advisor

Darlene Lee

Among the many highlights are sessions exploring issues impacting teachers, teaching, and schools. Kai Mathews, Cathy Balfe, Hui Huang and Erika Yagi will present their research on the relationship between teacher shortages and teacher education deserts. UCLA Teacher Education Program (TEP) Director Emma Hipolito chairs a session exploring, “Pedagogies for Ethnic Studies Teacher Education.” Among others, the session includes a presentation by TEP Program advisors Darlene Lee and Eduardo F. Lopez examining Ethnic Studies teacher candidate core competencies. Lee also joins Julieta Rico and Keara Williams to share their research on Ethnic Studies teacher field supervision. In a poster session, student Edwin Cruz presents findings of a case study, “Participatory Methodologies to Transform the Project of Schooling. CRESST researcher Christine Ong shares her research paper “California Teacher Preparation and Placement Data: What Do We Know? What Can We Learn?”

Cecilia Rios-Aguilar

Cecilia Rios-Aguilar

UCLA scholars have also been researching issues of higher education access and community colleges in California and will be sharing some of their findings at AERA.  PhD student Davis Vo and UCLA Education Department chair Cecilia Rios-Aguilar will present the findings of their paper, “Exploring Economic and Workforce Development Alignment: A Content Analysis of California’s Community College Baccalaureate Program Applications.”  UCLA PhD candidate and research analyst Liza Chavac joins Vo and Rios-Aguilar to share a paper on the post-graduate labor market success of Black and Latino community college baccalaureate graduates. In addition, PhD student Brianna Wright, research assistant Mia Elliot and undergraduate student Karina Ramirez join with Professor Rios-Aguilar and David Justin Chang of UC Irvine to share their research on calculus completion among community college students.

UCLA faculty have also been digging into issues of artificial intelligence and critical media literacy. UCLA Professor Tatevik Mamikonyan leads a roundtable discussion titled,“Can Artificial Intelligence Detect the Practice of Engaging in Critical Self-Reflection,” asking how AI capabilities can be leveraged for the cultivation of critical thinking and self-reflection among teachers committed to social justice education. Professor Louis Gomez will participate in an invited speaker session, “Toward a Research and Development Roadmap: Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Analytics, and Assessment in the Service of Learning.”

Professor Lucrecia Santibanez

Lucrecia Santibañez

Students and faculty will also take part in other sessions exploring a wide range of issues in education. In a poster session exploring topics in brain research, neuroscience and education, UCLA graduate student researcher Kyle Chasen Hay presents “Looking Into California’s Science Framework via Sports and Exercise: Linking Neuroscience and Promoting Equitable Access,” a project in collaboration with researchers at the UC/CSU  Collaborative for Neuroscience, Diversity and Learning. Professor Megan Franke presents “Teachers' Reported Characterizations and Supports for Students in Mathematics,” investigating whether teachers in kindergarten through second grade characterized their students mathematically in ways that would enable them to take up the details of their students’ mathematical ideas.  Joseph Bishop, director of the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, chairs an AERA Presidential Session, “Learning From New Research on Large-Scale Efforts to Disrupt Racial Injustices in Education,” featuring research from “The Landscape of Language Learners in California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support” by Mary Louise Ledger, Professor Lucrecia Santibañez, Olivia Obeso and Sarah Perez. Professor Teresa McCarty will take part in a symposium with UCLA’s Kyle Halle Erby, Thomas Jacobson and others to share research on the possibilities and promise of indigenous-language immersion. Leyda Garcia, associate director for professional learning at the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, is a presenter in the invited speaker session “Learning From Colleagues Taking Action to Dismantle Racial Injustice.” Professor Daniel Solórzano offers perspective as the discussant in the symposium, Confronting the Assault on Critical Race Theory: Lessons Across Generations, chaired by Professor Walter Allen.

This year’s AERA meeting theme, “Dismantling Racial Injustice and Constructing Educational Possibilities,” is central to the work of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies to further educational opportunity and equity and that emphasis can be seen across many of the research presentations by UCLA researchers, faculty and students.

Professor Howard is leading the way in this effort in multiple sessions. Don’t miss his AERA Presidential address on Saturday, “Examining our Past to Imagine a Better Future: Recognition and Redress of Racial Injustice in Education.”

Finally, be sure to attend the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies reception on Saturday night to celebrate Tyrone C. Howard’s leadership of AERA and thank him for his tireless efforts to confront racial injustice, promote equity and further educational opportunities for all students. Find more information about the reception and RSVP here.

We apologize in advance to the students, staff, and faculty whose presentations we were unable to highlight in this article. There are simply too many great sessions to list in this limited space. More information about the American Education Research Association annual meeting is available on the AERA website here.  The site includes a search function. To find sessions by UCLA students, staff, or faculty search for University of California - Los Angeles.  You can also search by individual names of presenters. If you would like to highlight a session you are presenting, please share your information with the UCLA Ed & IS social media channels.