Research & Impact

Cindy Walker

The Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Engaged Scholarship in the School of Education (SOE) is committed to supporting an inclusive environment for collaborative inquiry for faculty, students, and staff. The primary goal of the office is to strengthen research by: (1) Supporting and facilitating the submission, acquisition, and management of extramural grants; (2) Identifying new research opportunities; (3) Encouraging and supporting collaborative research; and (4) Facilitating partnerships among faculty and researchers both within the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, as well as non-University individuals and organizations.

We work with researchers at each step of the proposal and award process including:

• Finding funding opportunities
• Developing and submitting grant proposals and contracts
• Building partnership opportunities with school districts, community agencies, and other    entities
• Managing awards
• Working with other research units across the campus, including the Graduate School    and the Business office

In 2013, the SOE faculty received over 3.3 million dollars in extramural funding. Faculty members seeking research support services from my office should click here.

Additionally, the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Engaged Scholarship is responsible for doctoral education in the School of Education. We currently have two Doctoral programs: Educational Psychology and Urban Education. We strive to recruit top graduate students from around the world and prepare them for successful careers in academia, industry and the public sector after graduation.

High Impact Research

Avatars Teach Students About Teaching

Craig Berg (right) goes over the video of the lesson student Robin McGuigan taught using TeachLive."No students were harmed in the making of this teacher."

If the TeachLive program had a motto, that might be it.

TeachLive is an interactive computer and human-facilitated simulation of a classroom with five avatars who behave as typical middle or high-school students. The goal is to help potential teachers learn how to improve their skills, and to better prepare them to teach real students in a real classroom.

Basically, says Craig Berg, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the program lets students learning to become teachers try out their lesson plans in a controlled environment – with a limited number of simulated students, who respond to a teacher’s questions, ask the teacher questions, make comments to the teacher and fellow students, and also display various levels of misbehaving.

The program isn’t meant to replace clinical experiences in real classrooms, says Berg, but to help students develop basic skills and techniques early in their education, in a controlled, less chaotic, less complex environment.

Read More: Avatars teach students about teaching

Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program

Spark Tutor Works with Young Student

The need for increased literacy opportunities in the Milwaukee area is urgent. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress only 15% of 4th grade Milwaukee Public School students are proficient in reading. In an effort to address this need, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Schools were awarded an Investing in Innovations (i3) grant from the Department of Education to implement the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project, also known as the SPARK (Spheres of Proud Achievement in Reading for Kids) Program.

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students are selected to participate in SPARK for two years and receive one-on-one tutoring, access to literacy-focused after-school, and parents are provided opportunities to be engaged in the literacy development of their children.

The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee is conducting an independent evaluation of SPARK. Through a randomized control design, the evaluation is able to isolate the impact of SPARK on reading achievement by comparing the achievement growth of randomly selected participants with control students.

The results from the first cohort of students that completed SPARK are promising. SPARK was found to have a significant impact on the overall reading achievement of “early reader” participants. Although SPARK had an impact on several components of literacy development it had its largest impact on the phonics development of students. The results suggest that SPARK may represent one resource that the Milwaukee Public Schools could use to help improve the literacy proficiency of its students.

Read More: Research Report - Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program: Findings from the First Cohort (PDF)

Research Brief - Evaluation of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project/SPARK Program: Interim Findings from the Second Cohort (PDF)

Research Evaluation Consulting


The primary mission of the Consulting Office for Research and Evaluation (CORE) is to assist others with the design and analyses associated with research or evaluation projects.

CORE is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking help with their: research design, evaluation design, statistical analysis, instrument/survey development, psychometric analyses, data processing and database design, statistical and analytical software training.

Learn more: Consulting Office for Research and Evaluation (CORE)

Research Centers

Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research

Math and Science Education Research

The Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research coordinates research, teacher education, curriculum development and implementation, and dissemination efforts in mathematics and science education, and fosters partnerships with educational institutions and organizations throughout the Milwaukee metro area. Learn more

Early Childhood Research Center

Early Childhood Research Center

The Early Childhood Research Center is dedicated to advancing the welfare of young children and their families in urban settings through research and the exchange of knowledge. Interdisciplinary collaboration and university-community partnerships are valued as essential to the accomplishment of the mission.

The central function of the ECRC is to provide a formal organizational structure to support sustained interdisciplinary collaboration among UWM faculty and other professionals whose work focuses on young children and their families. Learn more

Institute for Intercultural Research


The Institute for Intercultural Research (IIR) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) addresses the needs and responds to the concerns of communities of color through research, public service and information resource sharing.

In partnership with faculty, staff and community members, the Institute conducts scholarly research and sponsors public forums to address a variety of intercultural issues. Learn more

Research Center for Urban Education Leadership Development

The Research Center for Urban Education Leadership Development (RCUELD) is an interdisciplinary center housed within University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Department of Administrative Leadership. The Center attracts faculty and practitioners with expertise and research interests in school administration and leadership. Center Faculty and affiliates conduct research on leadership topics effecting urban schools and educational organizations including: continuing and adult education, professional development, governance, finance, policy and politics, organizational change, and issues of race, gender, and class.

The mission of the Research Center for Urban Education Leadership Development is to improve administrators’ leadership practices by conducting research, evaluation, and assessments of leadership PK-12 and post-secondary educational settings. Learn more

Community Engagement

Faculty in the SOE are engaged in a number of projects in the Greater Milwaukee community  The established partnerships with the urban community address such issues as:

(1) Culturally Responsive Curriculum; (2) Parental Involvement; (3) Adjustment to Immigrant Families; (4) Academic Achievement; (5) Race Relations; (6) Transition to College; and (7) Digital Histories.

A partial list of some of the schools, school districts and nonprofit organizations where research teams from the School of Education are present in the community include:

State of Wisconsin – Department of Public Instruction Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Brown Deer School District City of Milwaukee – Office of the District Attorney
Shorewood School District Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Greendale School District Milwaukee Public Library
Racine Unified School District Next Door Milwaukee
Milwaukee Area Technical College Educare Milwaukee
United Community Center La Casa Esperanza
Silver Spring Community Center Council for the Spanish Speaking
Walnut Way Organization Journey House
Urban Ecology Center Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

    Celebrating Our Research Success

    The Office of the Associate Dean for Research hosts several annual events that highlight the research of our faculty and doctoral students including: (1) the SOE Research Gala which highlights the current research of the faculty in the SOE; and (2) SOE Doctoral Poster Session which highlights the current research of all of our doctoral students in the SOE.

    Expanding Our Research Strengths

    The Office of the Associate Dean for Research hosts workshops throughout the year for faculty in the SOE. These workshops are designed to education faculty about; (1) Methodological Issues, such as using N’Vivo; (2) Research Interests of Legislators, Policy Makers, and Funding Agencies, such as IES; (3) Internal Campus Research Processes; and (4) Conducting Research in Milwaukee Public School District.

    Addresses & Contact Info

    Mailing Address
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    School of Education Enderis Hall 599
    P.O. Box 413
    Milwaukee, WI 53201

    Street Address
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    School of Education Enderis Hall 599
    2400 E. Hartford Ave.
    Milwaukee, WI 53211