UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School announces that four of its esteemed faculty members will retire and accept the title of Emeriti Professor – Sheridan Blau, Manny Casas, Carol Dixon, and Julian Weissglass. These four scholars have a combined 151 years of service to UC Santa Barbara.
“The Gevirtz School is built on the accomplishments of its faculty members. We are losing four distinguished members from full time participation in our work and we will feel the loss very poignantly,” says Dean Jane Close Conoley. “All have made significant scholarly contributions in their respective fields and each has contributed to the health of our entire community by their tireless dedication to students, to the Santa Barbara (and beyond) region, and to their colleagues. I know that our students and many of our faculty can’t quite imagine the School without these outstanding individuals.”
Sheridan Blau has taught in the Departments of English and Education at UCSB since 1970. In 1979 he founded UCSB’s South Coast Writing Project – a professional development program for outstanding teachers of writing from all disciplines and all levels of education. A former director of the campus Composition Program (1984-90), he also served for over twenty years as program head of the UCSB teacher-education program in English. He has served as the senior consultant for the development of California’s statewide language arts assessment, and founded and served as Director of the National Literature Project. In 1998-99 he was president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). A specialist in English education, his research and publications range across such topics as seventeenth century literature, composition theory, professional development for teachers, and the teaching of composition and literature. His most recent book for teachers and scholars, The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers, was named by the Conference on English Education as the winner of the 2004 Richard Meade Award for distinguished research in English education. In 2007 Blau was honored with NCTE’s Distinguished Service Award.
After earning his secondary teaching credential, Manny Casas found teaching to be quite rewarding, especially when working from a “counseling” perspective with children from diverse backgrounds, low income families, and at high risk for failure within the traditional educational system. Wanting to better understand such children and in turn improve his ability to help them, he obtained an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University with a specialization in the areas of Counseling and Cross-Cultural Psychology. As a professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, he continued to direct his professional efforts towards improving the plight of such children and their families. More specifically, Casas’s most recent research and publication endeavors have focused on Hispanic families and children who are at risk for experiencing educational, health, and psycho-social problems, including tobacco, and other drug abuse. His research in this area gives special attention to resiliency factors that can help Hispanic families avoid and/or overcome such problems. He has published extensively on these topics. Along with Joseph Ponterotto he is the co-author of the Handbook of Racial/Ethnic Minority Counseling Research and one of the editors of the three volumes of the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling. His work has been recognized by being given Fellow status in two of the American Psychology Divisions, awarded the title of “Elder” by the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, and designated to be one of the Founders of Chicano Psychology by the National Latino Psychological Association.
Carol Dixon has been (and will continue to serve as) the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, where she has been a faculty member since 1973. Dixon has served as co-director of the South Coast Writing Project and pursues research in the fields of literacy, family literacy, and classroom interaction. As part of her work with SCWriP, she was co-director of a three year Literature Institute for Teachers (LIT), funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 1987-1990. In addition, Dixon has been the co-director of an advanced institute funded by the California Writing Project, the Advanced Professional Leadership Institute for Teachers of Linguistically Diverse Students in 1993-1994, and of the Advanced Institute on Literacy in 1996-1998. She is co-author with Denise Nessel of Using the Language Experience Approach with English Language Learners: Strategies for Engaging Students and Developing Literacy.
Julian Weissglass received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and was a member of the UCSB Mathematics Department for over 30 years, joining the Department of Education in 2001, where he taught courses on educational change, race and ethnicity, U.S. education, and studying and teaching the Holocaust. He has taught mathematics to elementary classes, written about education and educational change, and spoken and led workshops on learning and educational change in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Mexico. His early career was focused on mathematics research. He has worked extensively doing professional development in mathematics education, receiving more then 14 million dollars in extramural funding over his career. He started the Tri-County Mathematics Project (a site of the California Mathematics Project) in 1983. He was Director of the NSF funded Equity in Mathematics Education Leadership Institute, which developed leadership capacity for equity in mathematics education, and is currently director of the National Coalition for Equity in Education.
[Jane Close Conoley is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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