Dr. Debra Clark, Ph.DAssistant Professor 328 White Hall
Area: FLA - CULTdlclark@kent.edu
I received a B.A. from Mount Union College in 1984 and my M.A. in 1986 from Bowling Green State University. I worked for seven years in student affairs. My last position in this field was Director of Residence Life at Cleveland State University, where I also began my doctoral studies in Urban Education. After leaving Cleveland State University as an administrator I decided to transfer to Kent State University to pursue a degree in Cultural Foundations of Education. I received my PhD from Kent in May, 2003. My current research interest is pre-service teachers personality traits as they relate to openness to issues of diversity.
Kenneth Cushner, Ed.D.Professor 401 White Hall
Area: TLC - MCED - INSS - CIkcushner@kent.edu
I received the B.A. from Kent State University in 1973, and began teaching biology and general science in schools in Switzerland and Australia. I returned to Kent State to pursue a Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling and then taught fifth and sixth grade in the KSU Lab School. Following a few years of teaching and traveling internationally with young people, I received a scholarship through the East-West Center to pursue the Doctorate at the University of Hawaii, where I studied Curriculum and Instruction and Cross-Cultural Psychology. I returned to Kent State University in 1987 to teach social studies and multicultural education. I have authored or co-authored seven different books, including Human Diversity in Education: An Intercultural Approach, 7th ed (McGraw-Hill, 2012); Intercultural Student Teaching: A Bridge to Global Competence (Rowman Littlefield, 2007); Beyond Tourism: A Practical Guide to Meaningful Educational Travel (Rowman Littlefield, 2004); and Intercultural Interactions: A Practical Guide, 2nd ed (Sage Publications, 1996). I am Director of COST - the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching, a former Fulbright scholar to Sweden; am a Founding Fellow and past-President of the International Academy for Intercultural Research, and have organized and led international travel programs on all seven continents. In my spare time, I enjoy music (percussion and guitar), travel, and photography.
David DeesAssociate Professor 79
Area: FLA - CULTddees@kent.edu
David M. Dees is an Associate Professor of Cultural Foundations at Kent State University. For over 25 years of teaching and learning in higher education, he has been trying to answer the question, “What is quality teaching?” This journey began with a B.S. in Communications and an M.A. in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. This journey has also included short stints as a college football coach, a rock-n-roll disc jockey, and theatre teacher. After earning a doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education from Kent State University, he has spent the last decade specifically focused on the aesthetic dimensions of teaching and learning, how the human brain works, and the impact that rural/Appalachian cultural has on learning in higher education. As a self-proclaimed “hillbilly” from Kentucky, he is proud to have been recognized for his teaching through two student-nominated teaching awards (Outstanding Teaching Award, Kent State University and Teacher of the Year, Gannon University).However, he still hasn’t found a simplified answer to his life's question.
Walter Gershon, Ph.DAssistant Professor 404 White Hall
Area: TLC - ADED - CI - CULTwgershon@kent.edu
Walter S. Gershon is an Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies at Kent State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, RiversideHis scholarly interests focus on the ways in which students make sense in educational contexts and how they and other educational actors construct meaning through their senses, particularly in and through sound. This interest tends to center on questions about the relationship between curriculum and students, the ways in which sociocultural precepts inform this relationship, and the qualitative research methodologies utilized to study educational actors’ sensemaking. Walter is the author of The Collaborative Turn: Working Together in Qualitative Research (Sense Publishing, 2009) and is guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing that explores the intersection of curriculum and the senses. Prior to his time in higher education, Walter taught in urban schools in the United States and in rural and urban contexts in Japan.
Dr. Natasha Levinson, Ph.D.Associate Professor 316C White Hall
Area: FLA - CULTnlevinso@kent.edu
I received my Doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have been teaching at Kent State since 1997. I teach graduate courses in philosophy of education, with an emphasis on normative political philosophy, professional ethics and constitutional considerations in education. My courses include Classics in Philosophy of Education, Contemporary Readings in Philosophy of Education, Great Ideas in Education (which explores one great idea each time, e.g. political toleration; justice in education, etc) and a special topics seminar on Schooling and Religious Pluralism in the U.S. In addition, I teach the Proseminar in Cultural Foundations, a course that explores the emergence of the field of social foundations of education in relation to the various "disciplines of education" (history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology), and introduces new doctoral students to the challenges and possibilities of the field. I also teach Foundational Approaches to Research, one of the 4 required research courses for CF doctoral students. I teach a master's level course in ethics in education and the human services which is occasionally offered on-line. At the undergraduate level, I teach a few sections of "Education in a Democratic Society" each year. This course, which is periodically offered on-line, explores the development of public schools and examines the challenges of teaching in a time when schools have never been asked to do quite so much in quite so distrustful a climate. My work tends to focus on educational concerns in the U.S., but I was born and raised in South Africa, and I teach a section of Education in a Democratic Society that travels to Ireland every other year. I am told that I bring an international perspective to my teaching, through the readings I assign and my own experiences as an immigrant to this country.
Dr. Averil McClellandAssociate Professor 405 White Hall
Area: FLA - CULTamcclell@kent.edu
My academic life has been the happy (and more-or-less unplanned) result of walking through a series of doors opened to me by teachers in various places. At Hiram College, where I was a legacy student, I discovered sociology, majoring in it, as well as in social science and history. Marriage, and three children later, I entered a master's program in educational administration (community education) at Kent for the purpose of enhancing a growing career as an educational consultant with school districts, the Greater Cleveland Superintendent's Association, Cuyahoga Community College, and the Cleveland Federation for Community Planning. I discovered cultural foundations at Kent, and earned a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in that field in 1979 and 1986. My interests have similarly evolved, and have included the nature of community, the nature and processes of social change, the role of education in the lives of women (The Education of Women in the United States: A Guide to Theory, Teaching and Research, 1992), the ways in which human beings acquire a cultural identity (Human Diversity in Education: An Integrated Approach with Ken Cushner and Phil Safford, 5th ed., 2005), and the nature and structure of social networks (dissertation, 1986). My most recent interest (and passion!) lies in the area of the impact of public policy on education in a democracy, including, but not limited to education as it occurs in schools.
Tricia Niesz, Ph.D.Associate Professor 316 White Hall
Area: FLA - EVAL - CULTtniesz@kent.edu
Tricia Niesz received her Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Her specializations are qualitative research, ethnography/critical ethnography, and anthropology of education. Tricia teaches in the area of qualitative research methodology. Her research focuses on cultural change in the field of education, particularly as related to schooling, poverty, and social stratification. Over the past several years she has been exploring how progressive social and professional movements influence educational change. Her current research centers on a recent educational reform movement in South India that has radically transformed over 37,000 government schools.
Dr. Vilma SeebergAssociate Professor 316 White Hall
Area: FLA - CULTvseeberg@kent.edu
I have been a member of the Kent State University community since 1989 as professor for international-multicultural education. I completed my PhD in Comparative International Education at the University Hamburg, Germany, in 1990, which was preceded there by my MA in Education with a minor in Sinology in 1983. In 1970, I received my B.S. in Foreign Language Instruction, German and Russian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. From 1970 to 1978, I served as co-founder, principal and executivedirector of a "street academy" (private non-profit secondary school) serving middle and high school drop-outs, and infant day care center, in Madison, WI. In 1979 I returned full-time to academic studies, and immediately, after normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and P.R. China, was invited to teach as a foreign expert at China University for Science and Technology. During my year there and subsequently in Hong Kong, I conducted my dissertation research on mass literacy in China under Mao. Upon my return to the US, I worked at the World Bank and a think-tank in Washington, D.C., taught in International Studies at the University of South Florida, and foundations of education courses at Cleveland State, while writing my dissertation. I also substitute taught in three districts in the greater Cleveland area.
My interests in education have always been in exploring and finding ways to address the inequalities in access to knowledge, whether that be in advanced industrial areas with pockets of poverty, or poor regions and nations with pockets of wealth. Ancillary to that work, I founded and continue to lead the Guanlan Scholarship Foundation which sponsors village girls through K-12 education in a remote region of China.
My primary line of inquiry and publishing has been in education in China using socio-political and anthropological perspectives in order to frame egalitarian policy in China. Recently I have been focusing on girls/women’s education in marginal regions cross-culturally and adapting the human development capability approach as an explanatory framework.. I am active in the Comparative International Education Society, and the Human Development and Capabilities Association.