New faculty, postdocs bring expertise to USC Rossier in 2017-18

September 28, 2017

Scholars in race, equity, K-12 policy and other areas join school

Three new faculty members and seven postdoctoral scholars have joined USC Rossier:

Charles H.F. Davis III
Charles H.F. Davis III is an assistant professor of clinical education, director of research, and the chief strategy officer of the USC Race and Equity Center. Davis’ research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Urban Education, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Educational Foundations, Men and Masculinities, and the Journal of Negro Education. In addition to his written scholarship, Davis hosted and produced “Saving Tomorrow, Today,” a long-form documentary about the structural barriers facing Black youth in education and innovative solutions to support their success. He is currently working on his first book titled “Flourish,” an ethnography examining the contemporary organizing practices of the Dream Defenders, an organization of Black and Brown youth building power and fighting for freedom in the deep south.

Before joining the Rossier faculty, Dr. Davis served as a lecturer in the Penn Graduate School of Education and a visiting research fellow at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He also was Director of Higher Education Research in the Penn Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. His graduate research was recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, earning the Melvin D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award (runner-up).

Shaun R. Harper
Shaun R. Harper is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center. He is author of over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. Professor Harper’s research has been cited in more than 7,000 publications. His books include Advancing Black Male Student Success from Preschool through Ph.D. and Scandals in College Sports. Johns Hopkins University Press is publishing his 13th book, Race Matters in College.

Harper is president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and an elected member of the American Educational Research Association Executive Council. He serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Higher Education and American Educational Research Journal, and was previously associate editor of Educational Researcher. AERA presented him the 2010 Early Career Award [Division G] and 2014 Relating Research to Practice Award. He also received the 2008 ASHE Early Career Award, the 2012 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Robert H. Shaffer Award for Faculty Excellence, and the 2014 American College Personnel Association Contribution to Knowledge Award.

Dr. Harper has been interviewed on CNN, ESPN, and NPR, and featured or quoted in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and over 11,000 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. He was appointed to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper advisory council in 2015, and recognized in Education Week as one of the 10 most influential professors in the field of education in 2017.

Sarah Klotz
Sarah Klotz is Senior Project Specialist and Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Urban Education. Before coming to CUE, Dr. Klotz was an English professor at Butte Community College in Northern California, where she taught developmental and transfer-level English courses. While there, Klotz also developed a practitioner inquiry program for community college faculty to examine their individual student success data disaggregated by race, and to create interventions to improve gaps for minoritized students in their classes.

Klotz’s research focuses on the intersections of race and literacy education in the United States. Following this interest, she has completed projects on the persistence of Native American literacy practices from contact with Europeans through the off-reservation boarding school period. As a teacher-researcher, she has also written on instructional methods grounded in the work of Gloria Anzaldúa. Her work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Composition Studies, and in edited collections published by Routledge and the University of New Hampshire Press.

Samantha Bernstein-Sierra
Samantha Bernstein-Sierra is a postdoctoral researcher in the Pullias Center for Higher Education. She works with Drs. Zoe Corwin and Adrianna Kezar on research surrounding college access and equity, the academic profession and other legal and policy issues in higher education, generally. She has published several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and recently released an edited book with Dr. Kezar on faculty rights and intellectual property.

Bernstein received her Ph.D. degree in urban education policy from the USC Rossier School of Education, where she worked with Kezar on research pertaining to public/private tensions in higher education, faculty rights, and tenure. For her dissertation, she conducted a qualitative study of open access campaigns and policies in leading research universities. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School in 2009, after which she practiced special education law for several years in New York City.

Cheryl D. Ching
Cheryl D. Ching is a postdoctoral scholar and research associate at the Center for Urban Education (CUE). Her primary research focus is on how higher education institutions make sense of and enact “equity” within particular organizational and policy contexts. She also studies how the design and implementation of state-level equity policies shape the educational outcomes and experiences of students of color.

Ching previously served as a program officer at the Teagle Foundation, where she managed a college access initiative for low-income students attending New York City public schools. At Teagle, she also worked on grant-making programs that supported faculty-led projects to improve undergraduate education at four-year institutions.

Ching received her PhD in Urban Education Policy with an emphasis in higher education at the USC Rossier School of Ecucation. She holds an MA in humanities and social thought from New York University, and a BA in English literature from Wellesley College.

Ayesha Hashim
Ayesha Hashim studies the implementation and impacts of district-level school reforms focused on school accountability, choice, autonomy, and capacity building. She is a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Southern California for a Spencer-funded study on the implementation and outcomes of portfolio districts in three cities: Los Angeles, Denver, and New Orleans. Ayesha completed her PhD in Urban Education Policy, along with a concurrent Master’s in Economics, at the University of Southern California in May 2017.

Prior to her doctoral studies, Hashim received a Master’s in Public Policy from USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy in 2012, and a Bachelor’s in Economics and Politics from Scripps College in 2007. In her free time, Ayesha serves on the board of a philanthropic organization in India that supports community-based programs for improving educational opportunities for low-income youth.

Adrian H. Huerta
Adrian H. Huerta is USC Provost Postdoctoral Scholar at the Pullias Center for Higher Education. At Pullias, he is working on a project college access for young men of color with a focus on Latino males. Huerta’s research centers on college access, vulnerable populations, and young men of color in the K-16 educational pipeline. During the 2017-2018, Huerta was selected as a Poverty Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Washington, West Coast Poverty Center. He is a past recipient of the AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship and the UCLA Higher Education and Organizational Change Faculty Award.

Michael Lanford
Michael Lanford is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Pullias Center for Higher Education.  His research explores innovative approaches to secondary and higher education, focusing on student development, educational policy, and the impact of globalization.  Over the past three years, his work has appeared in the American Educational Research JournalHigher EducationHigher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and Policy Reviews in Higher Education, among other publications.  Additionally, he has received funding to present his research in Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For several years, Michael taught undergraduate and graduate classes in music history, music theory, and world cultures at Western Carolina University and the University of Georgia.  He holds Master’s degrees from the University of Hong Kong, where he graduated “with distinction” in higher education, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a Harvey Fellow in American Studies.  In his spare time, Michael mentors first-generation and low-income students, is an accomplished pianist and percussionist, and enjoys a variety of sports.

Jessica Rodrigues
Jessica Rodrigues is a postdoctoral scholar for the Joan Herman and Richard Rasiej Mathematics Initiative at the USC Rossier School of Education. She is working with the initiative team on several projects with the goal of improving the mathematics knowledge and teaching effectiveness of current K-5 teachers. She earned her PhD in Education at the University of Delaware, where her work focused on the development of mathematical thinking and the implementation and evaluation of interventions for students with mathematics difficulties. Specifically, her work has focused on students’ learning of fractions.

Rachel S. White
Rachel S. White is a postdoctoral scholar/research associate at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. Her research focuses on issues of power, politics, and accountability in education policymaking and implementation processes. Rachel hold a PhD in education policy from Michigan State University, an MA in educational leadership and policy from The Ohio State University, and a BA in public policy from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

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For media inquiries, please contact Ross Brenneman at rossbren@rossier.usc.edu or (213) 740-2327.