Rossier faculty expands with hiring of postdoctoral scholar

December 20, 2017

Stephen J. Aguilar named assistant professor of education

By Ross Brenneman

Stephen J. Aguilar has been hired as a tenure-track assistant professor of education at USC Rossier.

Aguilar joined the USC Rossier community in fall 2016 through the USC Provost Postdoctoral Scholar program, which is designed to develop the next generation of faculty of color. USC chooses 1-2 scholars per year to join the postdoc program—three of the past five have been appointed to USC Rossier.

Former Provost postdocs have transitioned to institutions like Northwestern and UC Irvine.  Aguilar is the first to transition to tenure-track faculty at USC.

Stephen J. Aguilar

“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining a community of scholars that is committed to rigorous research and thoughtful practice,” Aguilar said. “Our renewed focus on equity in education inspires me to do my best work, and having the additional support from the provost’s office will enable me to hit the ground running.”

Aguilar brings a wealth of experiences to the Rossier community. He started his career as a middle school teacher, then worked on learning management systems for a tech startup before switching to academia in order to better understand how students learn in technology-infused environments.

In his time at USC Rossier, Aguilar has quickly established himself in multiple initiatives: as a member of the Joan Herman and Richard Rasiej Mathematics Initiative, Aguilar helped conceptualize a research agenda focused on K-5 teachers’ math knowledge; as a member of the Motivated Change Research Lab Aguilar has advised PhD students studying conceptual change; and most recently as the associate director of the Center for Empowered Learning and Development with Technology Aguilar has helped envision new digital tools sensitive to the developmental needs of adolescents in urban communities.

He plans to launch a Learning Analytics and Psychology Lab in fall 2018.

“The data new learning technologies generate has given us unprecedented opportunities to learn about how students learn, what motivates them, and how we can design learning environments that are better attuned to their immediate needs,” Aguilar said. “It’s exciting work!”

Aguilar will formally begin his new role in August 2018 at the conclusion of his postdoctoral scholarship.

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