UGA professor Hilar Conklin receives NAE/Spencer Fellowship

UGA education professor Hilary Conklin receives NAE/Spencer Fellowship

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia education professor Hilary Conklin has received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her study of the two major pathways into middle school teaching and how these pathways influence teachers’ practice in their first two years of teaching.

Conklin, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s department of elementary and social studies education, will receive $55,000 to assist with salary replacement and research expenses for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. She was one of 20 fellows selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants.

The fellowships are administered by the National Academy of Education, an honorary educational society, and funded by a grant to the academy from the Spencer Foundation.

The fellowship will fund the second year of Conklin’s two-year study titled, “To specialize in students or specialize in social studies? A comparative, longitudinal study of two pathways into middle school teaching.” Last year, Conklin received a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation that funded the first year of the study.

Conklin’s study will investigate the two pathways that are most strongly advocated for certifying middle school social studies teachers: the specialized middle school pathway and the subject-specific secondary pathway.

She is studying one specialized middle school program and one secondary social studies program, both undergraduate teacher preparation programs at the same university. She is following graduates of the programs into their first two years of teaching to examine the relationship among the teacher education program opportunities, the graduates’ teaching practices and their students’ learning.

Conklin earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction: teacher education and social studies education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 and her M.A.T. in secondary social studies/history teaching from Brown University in 1999.

She was part of the Spencer Doctoral Research Program at UWM from 2003-06 in which participants worked with diverse faculty, apprenticed on research projects, participated in common seminars and presented their own research.