Sanford School researcher awarded $1.4 million grant from US Department of Education


January 17, 2019

Leigh McLean of Arizona State University’s T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics was recently awarded a nearly *$1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct Project TEAS (“Teachers’ Effectiveness Across Subjects”).

The four-year project will explore how elementary teachers’ and students’ experiences might differ across math, science, and literacy, and what implications these differences may have for students’ learning in each subject. Profile picture of Leigh McLean Assistant Research Professor Leigh McLean will conduct a four-year exploration into how elementary teachers’ and students’ experiences might differ across math, science, and literacy, and what implications these differences may have for students’ learning in each subject.

McLean and her research team will be working with approximately 150 teachers and their nearly 3,600 students across six local school districts, and will use a variety of methods for evaluating teachers’ and students’ experiences in each subject including in-depth surveys and video observations of real classroom sessions. This approach will give a very detailed look at the types of challenges and uplifts that teachers and students might face as they transition from subject to subject across a typical school day.

With this study, McLean is trying to identify “vulnerable contexts” in which elementary teachers and their students might be at a higher risk for having negative teaching and learning experiences. For example, she predicts that math will be an area where teachers and their students experience more negative feelings like anxiety and fewer positive feelings like enjoyment for teaching/learning. 

“By discovering things like this, we will be able to inform the creation of teacher training and professional development programs that can help elementary teachers build the skills they need to support students in all core subjects,” says McLean.

Student opportunities: Project TEAS is currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants to assist in data collection, entry and analysis, much of which will take place in local elementary schools. This is a great opportunity for interested undergrads to gain valuable experience in educational research, as well as to make important connections not only with ASU faculty but with local community partners in the field of education. In addition, there will be opportunities for undergraduates who work on the study for research credits to transition into paid student worker positions if they would like to contribute longer-term. The project is currently recruiting for positions beginning in Fall 2019. For more information on these opportunities, please email the project TEAS team at teas@asu.edu.

*This project will be 100 percent financed with federal funds. Total amount of federal funds for the project is $1,396,915. No other funds from nongovernmental sources will be used to support this project.

John Keeney

Media Relations Coordinator, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

480-965-3094

Community mourns the loss of Bob Bailey, who turned a tragedy into a legacy


January 17, 2019

On a February morning in 1998, tragedy struck the Bailey family and Arizona State University. A van carrying members of the Geography Club and the Friends of Geography group, who were on their way to visit a copper mine in Bagdad, Arizona, experienced a terrible accident resulting in the injury of several students and the death of Matthew Bailey.

Matthew was a senior geography student and active member of the Geography Club through the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, then known as the Department of Geography. Matthew, who lived in Japan for several years, was also minoring in Japanese. Through his travels, he gained a geographer’s insight into Japanese society. Bob Bailey presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to Yining Tan during the 2018 awards ceremony for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Download Full Image

Matthew may have found himself following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who held a PhD in geography and whose research is foundational for other geographers. In the 1980s, Bob identified and described ecoregions in the United States. Ecoregions are large areas that have relatively homogenous ecological and geographic conditions. His work continues to inform geographical research nationally and globally.

“Throughout my research career I have used ecoregions in my own analysis,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “I was delighted when I first met Bob and realized that I had been using his work all these years.”

Matthew and Bob both enjoyed the fieldwork aspect of geography and would often work alongside each other. They had plans for research they would conduct following Matthew’s graduation. Sadly, they never had the opportunity to fulfill those plans.

Late ASU student Matthew Bailey

Matthew Bailey was a senior, majoring in geography, at the time of his death.

Following Matthew’s passing, Bob Bailey was instrumental in the creation of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship through the ASU Foundation. This scholarship fund helps to support the work of students to help them accomplish the fieldwork that is integral to their work — the fieldwork that was also important to both Matthew and Bob.

On Jan. 14, 2019, Bob Bailey passed away. He was just two months away from celebrating his 80th birthday.

Through Bob’s love of his son Matthew and generous support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, 50 young geographers have been awarded scholarships to help support their research through fieldwork. Each year, Bob would travel to Tempe from his home in Colorado to attend the school’s annual awards reception to announce the winners of the award created in honor of his son.

“I first met Bob under the worst of circumstances in February of 1998,” said Breandan O hUallachain, professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, who was serving as chair of the Department of Geography at the time of Matthew’s passing.  

Bob Bailey (center) presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to two recipients, Gabriel Leon and Asif Ishtiaque, during the 2017 School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning awards ceremony.

“I don't have words to describe Bob's inspiring response to that tragedy. His immediate and lasting concern for others showed his deep love for his son and respect for so many people who knew Matt and the students who later benefited from the legacy Bob established at ASU.”

Our school’s community of geographers and urban planners, students and faculty, alumni and friends extend our deepest sympathies to the Bailey family on the loss of Bob. We continue to thank and will always remember Bob Bailey for his longstanding, generous support of our students and for his scholarly contributions to the field of geography.

In honor of Bob’s unending support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, donations to the scholarship account can be made here.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

480-965-1348