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Behavioral sciences center taps Artiles

January 23, 2008

Alfredo Artiles, a professor of curriculum and instruction within the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, has been selected as a 2008-2009 fellow by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in Palo Alto, Calif.

The center’s mission is to advance its constituent fields by facilitating interdisciplinary perspectives, depth of inquiry, integration of knowledge and application to real-world concerns.

“Since the arrival of the first class in January 1955, the center has fostered research and scholarship that has been enormously influential in the United States and global intellectual life, even as it has real-world implications,” says Claude Steele, the center’s director. “Dr. Alfredo Artiles will add further distinction to the outstanding group of fellows who have preceded him.”

At CASBS, Steele says its trustees, staff and fellows collaborate to create an environment that inspires and supports scientific innovation within new fields and subfields, and encourages the cultivation of professional relationships and networks that continue to advance scholarship long after the center fellows return to their home institutions.

A principal goal of the fellowship experience is to bring together scholars from a wide array of disciplines to broaden their specialized expertise. The 2008-2009 class includes scholars from 13 disciplines: anthropology, communication, economics, education, history, law, medicine, music, political science, psychology, religion, social work and sociology.

Many members of the incoming class work on topics that cross disciplinary boundaries, Steele says.

“In contrast to their image in the public imagination as peaceful places of contemplation, universities are beehives of activity,” he says.

At the center, no matter what their career stage, fellows are provided “time out of time” to develop their work.

“I’m truly honored and looking forward to developing further the interdisciplinary nature of my work,” says Artiles, who will begin his one-year fellowship in September. “It will be an exciting and highly productive year in which I will benefit from collaborating with leading scholars from across the country and around the world. The experience, I’m certain, will be nothing short of extraordinary. It will facilitate my learning and development – and, in this way, enhance my contributions to my field of study and to ASU.”

Artiles’ research focuses on culture and disability, understanding the cultural nature of learning and teacher learning for social justice. His work is concerned with the disproportionate number of African-American and Native American students in special-education programs within educational systems across the country. His latest work examines this equity issue in educational systems from a global perspective.

“At a time of unprecedented demographic changes, the racialization of special-education placement raises difficult questions about societal understandings of deviant and typical performance,” Artiles says. “Are we confusing differences with disabilities? How can we identify the special needs of minority students? What should special education look like in schools where multiple cultural perspectives and linguistic backgrounds are prevalent? These are some of the questions that drive my research.”

Artiles is a principal investigator with the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt).

“Disproportionate representation is a symptom of the educational system’s response to differences,” he says. “NCCRESt was created in 2002 to help states address this predicament and find solutions for the problem.”

Before joining ASU in 2004, Artiles served as an associate professor with the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. He earned his doctorate in education in 1992 from the University of Virginia, with concentrations in special education and culture in learning.