UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School names two new chairs – Mary Betsy Brenner is the new chair of the Department of Education and Merith Cosden is the new chair of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. The two will begin their three year, elected terms starting July 1. Brenner succeeds Michael Gerber as Department of Education chair while Cosden succeeds Michael Furlong as Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology chair.
“The Gevirtz School is fortunate that two such accomplished professors have accepted their faculty colleagues’ choice to have them serve as department chairs,” Dean Jane Close Conoley says. “Under any circumstances, this is a demanding role. In our current financial situation I am very grateful to have Professors Brenner and Cosden as my close advisors. Each has proven leadership skills and the strong support of students, faculty, and staff.”
Professor Mary Betsy Brenner did her graduate work in Anthropology at UC Irvine. Her dissertation research looked at how the western type schools in Liberia incorporated and conflicted with the local culture in both teaching methods and mathematical topics. After completing her Ph.D., she worked at the Kamehameha Early Education Program in Hawaii. After Hawaii, Brenner taught in the SESAME program at UC Berkeley and continued her research in Liberia on the differences between modern and traditional forms of education. Since coming to UCSB in 1991, Brenner has been examining how algebra can be taught more effectively, particularly for English language learners. She has also been working with several different after school programs (a computer club at the Boys and Girls Club and the Academic Mentoring Program of the Santa Barbara School District) to understand better how different kinds of learning environments can enhance student learning. She has also become involved with comparisons of achievement involving Asian nations and the United States. Her primary teaching responsibilities are in the areas of qualitative methodology, educational anthropology, and mathematics education.
Professor Merith Cosden received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 1980 and joined the faculty at UCSB in 1988. She teaches courses on child and family therapy and family violence. As a licensed psychologist, she also supervises students in the Hosford Clinic and has a small private practice. Her research covers several areas. Cosden studies child abuse prevention and treatment in conjunction with a community-based agency that serves children and families exposed to violence. She also conducts evaluation research with court-based programs for adults with substance abuse or co-occurring disorders, perinatal treatment programs for women with co-occurring disorders and their children, and psychoeducational programs for college students with drinking problems. Finally, she has longstanding interest in the social and emotional functioning of individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD, focusing on differences in self-understanding and self-esteem among children and adults with these disabilities, and, more recently, the impact of having a cognitive disorder on the process of psychotherapy.
[Mary Betsy Brenner and Merith Cosden are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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