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UT Arlington educator named Greater Texas Foundation Faculty Fellow

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

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A University of Texas at Arlington educator with a passion for improving educational experiences for traditionally underrepresented student populations in higher education has been named a member of the 2015 Class of Greater Texas Foundation Faculty Fellows.

Ozuna Allen

Taryn Ozuna Allen, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, is one of only four fellows chosen from across the state this year. Each fellow receives up to $30,000 per year for three years to support research aligned with the Greater Texas Foundation’s mission to reinforce postsecondary preparation, access, persistence and completion for Texas students.

The program is designed to help build the research and teaching capacity of tenure-track faculty at Texas colleges working in areas related to student success. Allen’s research focuses on college readiness and access; science, technology, engineering and math or STEM; and Latino students’ higher education experiences.

Her research project focuses on the experiences of Latino students who enroll in engineering programs with dual credits. “With the resources and mentorship I receive from this program, I will be able to uniquely examine Latino students’ educational experience in STEM in college and beyond,” said Allen, who began her research in Latino educational issues seven years ago.

The study begins with data collection this fall, and it will follow a cohort of students over three years to investigate the role of dual credits in their academic and career trajectories in engineering.

Further, Allen will investigate the student’s perceptions of their learning environment as a Hispanic Serving Institution. HSIs are institutions with at least 25 percent Latino student enrollment, and Allen will study how the institutions’ HSI status influences the students’ relationships and experiences. 

“This study will also allow me to explore the distinct characteristics of a Hispanic Serving Institution and how these characteristics promote Latino student success,” Allen said.

As she conducts her study, Allen hopes to be able to address important education issues affecting the state of Texas, including the rise of dual-credit programs and to contribute to higher education research, policy and practice in meaningful ways.   

The Greater Texas Foundation uniquely requires a faculty mentor to guide early-career faculty through the tenure process. Maria Martinez Cosio, an associate professor in the UT Arlington College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs and assistant vice provost for faculty development, will serve as Allen’s mentor for the duration of the grant.

Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UT Arlington College of Education, noted that collaborative research such as that conducted by Allen will promote more equitable learning environments, enhance student-oriented teaching for Latino students, and will encourage Latino college students to pursue STEM careers as well. 

“Dr. Allen’s research will enable instructors to develop the best protocols for perfecting the learning experiences of Latino students,” Gerlach said. “Advocacy is critical to successful educational achievement, and I am pleased to support her work in this area.”

The other fellows include Amy Bach, assistant professor of Literacy at UT El Paso; Imani Masters Goffney, assistant professor of mathematics education at the University of Houston; and, Hurlya Jabbar, assistant professor of educational administration at UT Austin.

Learn more about the Greater Texas Foundation and all of the new fellows at www.greatertexasfoundation.org.

--Tamra Rains, contributing writer

About the College of Education

The College of Education is fully accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and in 2006 became the first College of Education within the UT System to receive accreditation through the prestigious National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The college currently offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Visit www.uta.edu/coehp to learn more.

 About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.