Ladson-Billings to discuss dilemmas for scholars of color as Hilton Chair on Jan. 15

AMES, Iowa -- Author and education scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings has experienced and written about major research dilemmas that many scholars of color face as they attempt to represent diverse and alternate perspectives in social science research.

The Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education and professor of curriculum and instruction and educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ladson-Billings will highlight those experiences and share the challenges scholars of color face when she visits Iowa State University this month as the 2009 Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Chair in Human Sciences. The author of several books, including "Beyond the Big House: African American Educators on Teacher Education" (2005, Teachers College Press, Columbia University), she will present a free, public lecture titled "The World Is Neither Flat nor Round: The Power of Research Paradigms," on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Sun Room/South Ballroom of ISU's Memorial Union.

Ladson-Billings is credited with introducing and applying the framework of critical race theory in the realm of education. She has also become known as a leading scholar in the areas of teacher education, research/practitioner inquiry, race and policy.

At the University of Wisconsin's School of Education, she and her colleagues developed the Teach for Diversity graduate program for educators who want to teach in diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic settings. She also serves as a project director for the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), where her research focuses on multicultural education, social studies, critical race theory and education and culturally relevant pedagogy.

A past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Ladson-Billings is a member in the National Academy of Education and National Society for the Study of Education, and the author of over 50 journal articles. Her other books include "Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children" (1994, Jossey-Bass Inc.) and "Crossing over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms" (2001, Jossey-Bass Inc.).

As the Hilton Chair, Ladson-Billings will conduct workshops, seminars and classroom visits with Iowa State students, faculty and administrators. Lori Patton, an ISU assistant professor in educational leadership and policy studies who is chairing the Hilton Chair committee, is optimistic about the impact Ladson-Billings will have on the campus community.

"My hope is that faculty, students, staff and every member of the campus and Ames community who has an opportunity to interact with her or hear her speak might think differently about education and student experiences," Patton said. "I hope they will gain a greater understanding of diversity and multiculturalism in education, and that what they learn not only touches upon their discipline, but moves beyond that and might affect how they see their daily lives."

The Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Chair in Human Sciences Lecture is sponsored by the College of Human Sciences with support from the ISU Lectures Program, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

Established in 1995, the Hilton Chair was endowed by a gift of more than $1.3 million from the estate of Helen LeBaron Hilton, who served as dean of the College of Home Economics from 1952 to 1975. That college is now part of the College of Human Sciences.

In addition to her Thursday evening lecture, Ladson-Billings will conduct a more intimate discussion titled "Fostering a Culture of Research," on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Multicultural Center. That event is co-sponsored by the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Research Committee and the Hilton Chair Committee.

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