Scanlon and Valverde Honored with 2015 University at Albany Excellence Awards

Albany, NY (March 24, 2015) – Two School of Education faculty members—Dr. Donna Scanlon, professor in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Gilbert Valverde, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies—have been selected as recipients of 2015 University at Albany Excellence Awards. Dr. Scanlon and Dr. Valverde will be among the 20 exemplary faculty and staff members the University will honor.

Dr. Donna Scanlon will receive a 2015 University at Albany Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Scanlon has built a national reputation as a researcher, scholar and educator in children’s literacy. Her research has focused on the characteristics of children who experience substantial difficulty in learning to read and on how to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. She and her colleagues developed an approach to early literacy instruction and intervention, the Interactive Strategies Approach (ISA), which effectively helps teachers to reduce the incidence of reading difficulties in the early primary grades. The ISA has been successfully implemented by classroom, small group, and one-to-one contexts and is therefore an appropriate approach for use in Response to Intervention (RTI) contexts. The ISA-RTI Professional Development Project, which is housed at the Child Research and Study Center, currently uses distance learning technologies to offer extended, job-embedded professional development for teachers. Dr. Scanlon’s research has influenced fields as diverse as linguistics, psychology, education, learning disabilities, and early literacy development, and her current work also will influence the field of teacher education. Dr. Scanlon has been PI or co-PI on over $20 million worth of grants over the years, and her publications include a best-selling book, 29 journal publications, 21 chapters, and valuable resources for teachers and parents. Her work with her colleague Frank Vellutino has influenced federal policy, being a central motivation in the 2004 shift in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act toward what has become referred to as “response to instruction” or RTI. Her research has had a similar influence at the state level. Dr. Scanlon is often appointed to important policy committees and working groups, particularly those having to do with implementing research. She was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education to the Reading First Federal Advisory Committee, and she is a member of the International Reading Association’s RTI Task Force. Dr. Scanlon received the International Reading Association Albert J. Harris Award based on her publication with colleagues in the Elementary School Journal.

Dr. Gilbert Valverde will receive a 2015 University at Albany Award for Excellence in Academic Service. Dr. Valverde specializes in scholarship and applied research in the broad areas of international assessment, curriculum policy and development assistance for education. This includes cross-national research on global trends in mathematics and science education policy, especially policies regarding opportunities to learn mathematics and the sciences in elementary and secondary schooling. Dr. Valverde is director and principal investigator of the Educational Evaluation Research Consortium, a member of the Working Group on Standards and Evaluation of the Program to Promote Educational Reform in Latin America (PREAL), and he has also served as advisor or consultant on testing, standards, and educational indicators policies to NASA, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development – and to a number of ministries, foundations, school districts, non-governmental organizations, and research institutions throughout the Americas. Dr. Valverde’s service is notable not only for its amount, but for its extremely high quality. Dr. Valverde’s vital service includes the presidency of the large and preeminent scholarly association in the field, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES); this service has benefitted not just the association but the EAPS department, the School of Education, and the University at Albany as well. He has also made extraordinary contribution to the academic profession in Latin America by frequently providing scholarly assistance to university committees eager to boost their institutions’ research professionalism, and serving on the board of three academic journals in Latin America as well as co-establishment of another journal. Of other significance has been Dr. Valverde’s service to U.S. government and policy agencies, service on the School’s leadership committee as department chair, leadership of the EAPS department’s recent accreditation review, service as representative of the department’s Institute of Global Education Policy Studies in the university’s International Centers Working Group, membership on the University Diversity Self-Study committee, and membership on numerous faculty and administrative search committees.