Friday, April 8, 2022

Educational psychology professors win Article of the Year award for work in social justice

Educational psychology professors win Article of the Year award for work in social justice

APRIL 4, 2022 — Three professors in the UTSA Department of Educational Psychology have been awarded Article of the Year by School Psychology Training and Pedagogy (SPTP).

Associate professor Felicia Castro-Villarreal, professor Jeremy Sullivan, and associate professor Victor Villarreal from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) earned the award for their paper titled “Social justice training in school psychology through a university-school service-learning partnership.”

According to the journal’s website, the award is given in recognition of the article’s focus on training practices, critical thinking, systemic issues, and applicability to other professionals.


“I’m glad they really did see what we were doing and how we were affecting change for so many students and so many communities.”



Associate Professor Felicia Castro-Villarreal, Professor Jeremy Sullivan, and Associate Professor Victor Villarreal from COEHD earned the Article of the Year award from School Psychology Training and Pedagogy.


“This is something that has always been near and dear to my heart,” said Castro-Villarreal, the lead author and researcher. “I’ve always wanted to be able to provide and inject support where it’s needed.”

For the last 12 years, she and her colleagues have been identifying schools that need additional support. This redistribution of opportunities, she says, enhances equality for these communities by connecting teachers and students with resources the communities wouldn’t normally have.

Over the years, their process has become increasingly streamlined, such that the team felt they should share their methods with other professionals so that they too can work to change student outcomes in their own communities.

“What [this article] really provides is a model,” Castro-Villarreal said, “It’s an exemplar for how to refine graduate student experiences and also improve outcomes for students and teachers in the schools.”

The article comes at an opportune time. Just like teachers and other educators, school psychologists have faced many challenges in recent years, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Castro-Villarreal has seen the behavioral and mental health concerns of the students she works with become more frequent and more severe. Pre-existing academic gaps based on ethnicity and income have also widened during the pandemic. This, she says, is due to communities having even fewer opportunities and resources.

Fortunately, the authors are seeing improvements in students and teachers. She and her team have been able to improve mental health outcomes, bolster socioemotional and academic skills, and improve behaviors such as attention and classroom engagement. The team also coaches and trains teachers on interventions and strategies that they can use to solve both immediate problems and to address future ones.

“They’re growing from a professional development standpoint and we’re developing their skillsets,” Castro-Villarreal said.

The 18 graduate students she’s currently working with have also benefited from the project, she says. By working in these settings and facing such complications, Castro-Villarreal says her grad students are receiving invaluable real-life training, which will prepare them to manage similar situations as professionals.

“That’s the nice thing about our consultation-problem solving model,” she said, “Outcomes are on so many different fronts and we’re seeing benefits and improvements across all these different parties.”


EXPLORE FURTHER
Learn more about the School Psychology Training and Pedagogy and Article of the Year award.

Castro-Villarreal says she was shocked and humbled to learn they’d won article of the year, but also grateful that others were recognizing the importance of their work.

“I’m glad they really did see what we were doing and how we were affecting change for so many students and so many communities,” she said.

The team’s next goal is narrowing in on the most useful interventions to combat the various mental health and behavioral concerns, as well as those academic gaps they’re still seeing. From there, they hope to publish further, more detailed results about the effectiveness of their work for others to learn from.

Christopher Reichert



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu.


UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


Events


Spotlight

Spotlight

dtc-utsa-sign_680.png
University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.