Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation

Faculty Spotlight

educator banner 2018 fall

Dr. Dwan Robinson Helps Develop New Online Certificate Program

Dr. Sami Kahn Mentors Emerging Scholars in Thailand 

Dr. Christine Bhat Improves Mental Health Services in Southeast Ohio


Dr. dwan robinson helps develop new online certificate program

Dr. Dwan RobinsonDr. Dwan Robinson, chair of the Educational Studies Department, played an integral role in developing The Patton College of Education’s new one-year Education Public Policy Leadership Certificate (EPPLC), which will expose participants to real-world theoretical and practical instruction, as well as experiences in education public policy leadership studies.

“It quickly became apparent that Dwan was best suited to lead this endeavor,” said Dr. Connie Patterson, assistant dean for Academic Engagement & Outreach. “She brings a wealth of expertise to the topic, as well as an ability to manage the numerous steps it takes to launch a brand new initiative.”

The Patton College partnered with The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs to create this graduate-level program, which begins in 2019. It will run on a January-to-December timeframe and culminate with a three-day networking residency in Washington, D.C.

“The EPPLC program promises to be a dynamic 12-month experience for students who seek more extensive knowledge about education public policymaking and advocacy,” said Robinson. “It was created to expose professionals to real-world engagement with the theoretical and practical aspects of education public policy.”

This certificate is designed for professionals interested in education public policy, including those who work in K-12 education, higher education, lobbying, or legislative affairs, as well as individuals who hold positions with school boards, professional organizations, civic organizations, foundations, and in government agencies.

“We began brainstorming the idea for the certificate a few years ago,” said Patterson. “We wanted it to be appealing for working professionals to help them advance in their knowledge and working opportunities.”

Upon completion, program participants will have a strong command of the education public policymaking process, including policy development, analysis, implementation, evaluation, and advocacy. Participants will be equipped with knowledge and skills that will increase their employability in the education public policy sphere.

This program wouldn’t be possible without collaboration from Dr. Mark Weinberg, dean of The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

“We knew that if we wanted to create the best certificate program, we needed to include experts in education and policy, and Mark agreed,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of The Patton College. “We both are very excited to work on this interdisciplinary effort.”

The program, which will offer five-week courses worth 1-2 credit hours apiece, requires 12 credit hours and will provide opportunities for online coursework and inquiry in education public policy. Ohio University faculty will deliver engaging course sessions with guest lectures from practitioners and leaders in varied aspects of public policy.

“The EPPLC program will facilitate greater understanding of the educational public policymaking and advocacy process,” said Robinson. “Anyone who participates will benefit.”

The deadline to apply for the first EPPLC cohort is Dec. 14, 2018. 

Back to Top



Dr. sami kahn mentors emerging scholars in thailand

Dr. Sami KahnDr. Sami Kahn spent a week in Bangkok, Thailand, October 13-20, mentoring emerging scholars from South and Southeast Asia. One of three U.S. professors to make the trip, she helped four doctoral students and two early career faculty develop and advance their science-education research in hopes of achieving top-tier journal publication.

Kahn, assistant professor of Science Education in the Department of Teacher Education, found this work fulfilling on a number of levels.

“My entire career has been about equity and ensuring equitable science opportunities for all people,” she said. “This was an opportunity to help science-education scholars develop and disseminate their ideas internationally by enhancing the excellent work already being done in their countries – and that starts with building bridges to research and understanding best practices. It was a privilege to work with these scholars and an honor to participate in this program.”

The program – the inaugural Science Education Research Institute of Southeast and South Asia (SERI-SESA) – was facilitated by NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning Through Research. Since its inception in 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education – and the communication of knowledge generated by research – with the ultimate goal of helping all learners achieve science literacy. The project was also supported, in part, by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) of the Ministry of Education in Thailand.

Kahn was one of four mentors to participate in this project. She worked with Dr. Julie Luft from the University of Georgia, Dr. Bhaskar Upadhyay from the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Narendra Deshmukh from the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai, India. Under the guidance of Dr. John Stiles, IPST project director, they prepared for the project more than a year in advance, reviewing applications and assessing scholars’ research-methodology and writing skills.

Mentors spent the first day of the program getting to know the scholars before diving into discussions about research methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and organizational-writing techniques, among other scholarly considerations.

“There has to be a coherent line between the questions you’re asking, how you’re doing research, and how you’re interpreting results,” explained Kahn. “Everyone that I worked with had already collected data. It wasn’t a matter of doing research, but more so what do we do with the information that we have, what’s the story, and how are we going to tell it?”

Kahn also taught a session about an underrated aspect of publication: choosing which journals to submit articles to.

“It’s something that’s quite important, and a lot of researchers don’t think about it,” she said. “Every journal has a scope that it covers, and ‘Where should I send this paper?’ is a critical question to ask.”

This project marked Kahn’s second trip to Thailand – she gave a keynote presentation at the International Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Conference (ISMTEC) in 2013 – but due to the different nature of this trip, encountered a bit more of a language barrier.

“I consider it a barrier on our end,” said Kahn, laughing. “Our students were brilliant scholars, and they knew a lot more English than we knew of Thai, Malay, or their other primary languages. But research is its own language, and we were able to work around it. It was fascinating because we understood methodology, and we understood what our goals were.”

Kahn and Thailand studentsAt the end of the program, each scholar delivered a three-slide presentation to the group. It was, in essence, a condensed version of a conference presentation.

“It really was a jam-packed week,” said Kahn. “It was incredible seeing these young scholars blossom in just a matter of days with their research, their papers, and their confidence.”

Kahn blossomed as well. She hopes to participate in similar NARST programs in the future. 

“I was so nervous about being a mentor, but it was one of the most important and transformative experiences in my career,” said Kahn. “I learned so much about working with students and the common language of research, diligence, caring, and passion. I didn’t realize it would have that kind of an effect on me and my professional development, but it did. It was really quite amazing.”





Dr. christine bhat improves mental health services in southeast ohio

Dr. Christine BhatThe Patton College of Education prides itself on serving communities near and far and meeting the human and social needs of any and all populations. While this commitment often involves work on national and global levels, it also occurs in the College’s own backyard in and around Southeast Ohio.

Dr. Christine Suniti Bhat has more than upheld that commitment. The Counseling and Higher Education professor – along with Dr. Sherry Shamblin, Chief Strategy Officer at Hopewell Health Centers (HHC) – recently completed the third year of their multi-year, $540,201.00-grant, Train, Gain, Retain: Counselors Serving Children, Adolescents, and Transitional-Age Youth in Rural Appalachia.

“This grant expanded and strengthened the behavioral-health workforce in Southeast Ohio,” said Bhat, who served as project director and principal investigator. “This region has many economic challenges, including poverty and higher-than-average behavioral-health diagnoses.”

The federal grant was funded through the Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training initiative. It enabled 32 master’s students within the Counselor Education programs at Ohio University-Athens and -Chillicothe to work directly with local children and adolescents to address their mental health needs. Students received a $10,000 stipend for their Clinical Mental Health (CMH) internships, which were completed at HHC. These internships – which require 600 clocked hours at a site – are typically unpaid. 

“This type of support for our students was unprecedented in the history of our program,” said Bhat. “We were delighted to partner with HHC and our alumna, Dr. Sherry Shamblin, on it.”

An integrated health care organization, HHC offers behavioral health, primary care, and dentistry services at 22 locations across nine counties in Southeast Ohio. It seeks to provide affordable, high-quality holistic care for all.

“All the counties we serve are mental health workforce shortage areas,” said Shamblin, who has bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Ohio University. “The grant has allowed us to fill much-needed counseling positions and close gaps in care in our region. The student stipends were particularly helpful in attracting students to our more rural clinics, where they are most needed and appreciated by their respective communities.”

Dr. Sherry ShambinAll 32 students receiving stipends graduated with an M.Ed. in Counseling. Upon graduation, 24 students (75 percent) achieved paid employment as CMH counselors or School Counselors serving children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth in Southeast Ohio, including 19 students (59 percent) now working at HHC.

“Our goal at the outset of the grant had been to retain 50 percent of the graduates in this region,” said Bhat. “We were extremely happy to reach the 75-percent threshold.”

While not in this region, three of the 32 interns gained employment at the prestigious Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Two students enrolled in Ph.D. programs.

“The goal was to recruit counseling students who were motivated to serve in this region, provide them with paid internships, and facilitate their employment and retention within the region,” said Bhat. “By strengthening an existing relationship with our community partner, HHC, we have been able to train skilled counselors to serve children, adolescents, and families in Southeast Ohio. Without Dr. Shamblin’s support of our interns and graduates, this project wouldn’t have been possible – or ongoing.”