Professor Joseph Robinson named National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow

by The College of Education  /   May 13, 2013

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Joseph Robinson, assistant professor of Educational Psychology, has been named a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The fellowship will provide him the opportunity to devote more time to researching how school districts and state education agencies can improve academic outcomes for English language learners.

The Academy created the program to encourage outstanding researchers at the postdoctoral level to pursue critical education research projects. The fellowships are granted to scholars across the globe who have completed their doctorates within the last five years and wish to conduct education-related research. The fellowships, which require a vigorous application process, are designed to promote scholarship in the United States and abroad on matters relevant to all forms of education.

The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer. The Foundation received its major endowment upon Spencer's death in 1968 and began formal grant making in 1971. Since then, the foundation has made grants totaling approximately $250 million. The foundation is intended, by Spencer's direction, to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. From its inception, the foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement in education.

In addition to the fellowship, Robinson has received several awards during the 2012-13 academic year, including the Junior Best Paper Award by the University of Illinois' Social and Behavioral Research Council and the American Educational Research Association's Outstanding Reviewer Award. This is the fourth time Robinson has received the Outstanding Reviewer Award.

He was also the lead author of a study about gay teen victimization (co-authored by Dorothy Espelage and Ian Rivers) that appeared in the March 2013 issue of Pediatrics, the premier journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study received extensive national and international media coverage.

Robinson’s research focuses on the use of novel and rigorous methods to study equity and policy, particularly concerning sexual minorities, women, and language minorities. With his colleagues, he has recently examined how bullying relates to psychological disparities between sexual-minority and heterosexual youth, how teachers’ expectations of girls’ and boys’ math abilities predict growth in the gender gap, and how well-intentioned education policies may hinder achievement for English language learners.