Leadership Development Center (LDC)

Research Projects

The LDC faculty represents many disciplines, many methods, and many perspectives. By bringing together a diverse group that is able to consider issues through different perspectives, the LDC is able to create new and innovative solutions to today's pressing educational leadership problems.

LDC faculty members are conducting groundbreaking research in vital teaching and policy areas. This research is not done in a vacuum. New strategies and methods are tested and refined in school districts throughout the state and state-wide government offices.

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Dr. Mark Berends

Director, National Center on School Choice, Competition and Achievement. U.S. Department of Education-funded at $10 million over 5 years (September 2004-September 2009).

Co-Principal Investigator, Scaling Up Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies to Strengthen Reading Achievement. U.S. Department of Education-funded at $5.5 million over 5 years (September 2004-September 2009).

Dr. Mark Cannon

Manuscripts in Preparation

Cannon, M.D., & Witherspoon, R.W. Coaching for double-loop learning: Altering frames to achieve sustainable change. Explains that behavioral coaching has become popular and is often credited with achieving short-term results, but that these results are often elusive in the long-run. Provides an alternative to behavioral coaching that modifies client frames to bring about sustainable change. Presents a model for assisting clients in identifying unproductive frames and revising them.

Cannon, M.D., Daft, R.L. & Marcic, D. Well intentioned but incomplete: Missing elements in people-centered approaches to organizational effectiveness. Explores a variety of people-centered approaches to organizational effectiveness and explores how these are incomplete. In particular, this paper identifies their tendency to pay insufficient attention to strategy and structure. Provides an alternative model that acknowledges the value of people but that integrates structural and strategic elements with initiatives that are largely people-centered in order to increase organizational effectiveness.

Dr. Ellen Goldring

Reclaiming Communities: Diversity, Equity, and Access in the Post-Busing Era: A longitudinal study of the transition from court-orderd busing to unitary status funded by the WT Grant Foundation.

The Institute for School Leadership: A study of the impact of multi-media case based professional development for school leaders funded by the Gates Foundation and the Learning Sciences Institute, Vanderbilt University.

Parental Involvement and Parent Choice: A study of the new roles for magnet schools with race neutral enrollment rules.

Dr. James Guthrie

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research wing of the U.S. Department of Education, has granted Peabody’s Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations and its chair, Dr. James Guthrie, $10 million to fund a five-year research project to study pay-for-performance incentives for teachers in public schools. Vanderbilt secured the grant, called the Performance Pay Study Grant, after competition from 30 other institutions, including Harvard and Stanford.

Dr. Pearl Sims

National facilitator for Microsoft's Partners in Learning

International study of U.S. Dept. of Defense Schools

Educational specialist on the Governor's Task Force for Welfare Reform

Dr. Marcy Singer-Gabella

2006-2011 “Linking Teacher Preparation to Student Learning in Mathematics and Science.” National Science Foundation, Award Id : 0554486. Principal Investigator: Marcy Singer-Gabella. Co-PIs: Jennifer Cartier, Elise Forman. $2,491,777.

2005-2006 “GEAR UP Nashville – Sixth Year Extension.” United States Department of Education. Principal Investigators: Joseph Cunningham and Marcy Singer-Gabella. $242,582.

2005-2006 McKissack and Pearl-Cohn Family Resource Centers Lead Agency Grant. United Way of Middle Tennessee. Principal Investigator: Marcy Singer-Gabella. $89,000.

1999-2006 “Imagine College” (formerly Project GRAD Nashville). Funded by grants from the Dell Foundation ($50,000), Flora Foundation ($200,000), Ford Foundation ($500,000), the Ingram Charitable Fund ($1,560,068), the Inner City Education Foundation ($719,211), the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools ($1,228,200), the US Department of Education (see GEAR UP below), the United Way ($319,000 to operate Family Resource Centers in two Imagine College sites), and small private donations. Principal Investigator and Executive Director. Responsible for start-up, external funding proposals, management, operations, budget, and continuing evaluation of comprehensive urban reform project that provides college planning, preparation, and financial assistance to students (K-12); intensive professional development support to teachers; and health/social service outreach to families in the Pearl-Cohn cluster of schools in Nashville, TN. Staff size peaked at 26 individuals with backgrounds in education, social work, clinical psychology, and university student services.

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