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Artiles recognized for scholarship, service to children with disabilities

October 19, 2009

Fresh on the heels of a prestigious residential fellowship at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) and his election to the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Alfredo J. Artiles, a professor of special education with the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education at Arizona State University, is being honored by his alma mater.

Artiles has received the 2009 Curry Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Virginia for his outstanding scholarship and service to advance the education of children with disabilities.

“Dr. Artiles is at the forefront of his field with a strong commitment to improving the lives of children who have been marginalized by their communities,” said Robert Pianta, the dean of the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.

He has published extensively in the general, special and bilingual education fields, and his research in the United States and Latin America examines the role of cultural processes in special education placement practices and teacher learning in urban schools.

He has been a consultant to Harvard University’s and UCLA’s Civil Rights Projects on equity issues in special education practices. A commissioned study he conducted for the UCLA Civil Rights Project examined the impact of language-restrictive policies on the placement of English language learners in special education before and after Proposition 227 in California and Proposition 203 in Arizona. The study will be included in an edited volume published by Teacher’s College Press.

Artiles and Elizabeth Kozleski, an ASU professor, are co-principal investigators of a three-year project funded by a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support reform efforts and technical assistance for schools and communities in their efforts to tackle equity and access issues in public education.

Energized by his residential interdisciplinary fellowship at Stanford, he returned to ASU in August. The fellowship gives scholars the freedom to pursue their research interests and join a community of interdisciplinary scholars to design projects pursued beyond the fellowship year.

“It was a very stimulating and productive experience,” he says. “Stanford has a distinguished tradition of bringing together cohorts of scholars at the top of their fields to work on timely issues using interdisciplinary lenses.”

While at Stanford, Artiles and Kozleski conducted a conference that brought together scholars from 10 nations to examine questions of equity in inclusive education. With support from the Spencer and Motorola Foundations, these researchers are writing conference papers to be published in an edited book by Harvard Education Press. They will meet at the University of Hannover, Germany, this fall to write a research grant proposal to conduct a comparative study.

Artiles conducted another conference at CASBS to create an interdisciplinary doctoral seminar on how the ideology of colorblindness disciplines the production of research knowledge about the structural nature of race. Research knowledge about race is used in a wide array of disciplines such as urban sociology and planning, literary studies, education, psychology, public health, anthropology and legal studies and has the potential to inform contemporary policy and practice in school reform, voting rights, affirmative action, higher education admissions and residential desegregation efforts.  He plans to collaborate with the scholars who attended the event to design the seminar and pilot it in the near future at ASU.

The Stanford experience enabled Artiles to connect with faculty in legal studies, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

“I started to use literature that more systematically examines the role of space in human behavior,” he says. “I was able to strengthen my understanding of analytic models that link local processes with larger structural influences.”

As the vice president of the AERA’s Division G: Social Context of Education, Artiles represents this division’s membership and provides leadership, advice and input in the organization’s vision, priorities, future initiatives, needs and opportunities.

“One of the themes I want to emphasize during my term is bringing a divisionwide discussion about interdisciplinary research on social contexts of education, which has received a lot of attention in the social sciences in recent years,” he says. “I’ve noticed the term has different meanings for different purposes and there are different assumptions underlying its uses.

“I want Division G members to refine their theoretical understanding of interdisciplinary research and invite established scholars to reflect on the contributions and impact interdisciplinary inquiry has had on their distinguished careers. Contemporary scholarship on the social contexts of education continues to be informed by interdisciplinary models, but we need to spend time thinking theoretically about the notions we bring to the work and strengthen the methodological approaches we apply based on these models.”