Grants Office Update: August/September 2019

Principal Investigator: Shannon Wanless
Department: Office of Child Development
Project Title: Early Head Start
Agency Name: Allegheny County
Award Dates: 9/30/19 – 9/29/20 
Amount: $4,319,152

Family Foundations Early Head Start (EHS)provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income families with children from birth to age three.

Family Foundations is a program of the University of Pittsburgh Early Head Start Grant, operating in high-risk neighborhoods in six local communities: Clairton site and East End site, hosted by The Consortium for Public Education; Sto-Rox site hosted by Focus on Renewal; Hill District site and Northside site hosted by Community Human Services Corp; and the Tri-Boro site hosted by Turtle Creek Valley MH/MR, Inc.

Principal Investigator: Jerry Longo
Department: Administrative and Policy Studies
Project Title: The Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents
Agency Name: The Grable Foundation
Award Dates: 7/16/19 – 7/16/22 
Amount: $90,000

The Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents has concluded its 23rd year of service to regional school superintendents.  The Forum is about advocacy for children and youth, collaboration and collegiality among school leaders, mentoring emerging school leaders and becoming masters of a complex profession.   The membership meets in retreat in the spring and fall of each year.   These meetings focus on emerging problems and trends in basic education schools; ways to advocate for children and youth; fellowship and camaraderie, and encouragement.  The membership is comprised of 55 school superintendents who represent school districts with differing governance structures, of varying sizes and of varying socio-economic conditions.   They are a relatively young group of  leaders who are supported by experienced mentor superintendents and university practitioner faculty.

Principal Investigator: Jill Sarada
Department: Falk School
Project Title: Pittsburgh Scholars
Agency Name: Heinz Endowments
Award Dates: 8/1/19 – 6/30/20 
Amount: $31,000

Earlier this spring, Ms. Jill Sarada, newly appointed Falk School Assistant Director for Elementary Grades Learning, along with colleagues from the School of Education and Pittsburgh Public School, secured a $31,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments to build communities of practice among Falk and Pittsburgh Public School teachers, University-affiliated researchers, family service specialists, and early childhood coaches in order to implement new classroom practice that reflect 21st-century skills. 
Their work began with a two-day institute at Falk School in early August.  After attending theme-based sessions in which information was shared from multiple perspectives, participants were tasked with creating a plan for the upcoming school year that takes their learning into their practice.

Principal Investigator: Amanda Godley/Diane Litman
Department: Learning and Research Development Center
Project Title: Discussion Tracker: Development of Human Language Technologies to Improve the Teaching of Collaborative Argumentation in High School
Agency Name: National Science Foundation
Award Dates: 9/1/19 – 8/31/22 
Amount: $750,000

The project is with Diane Litman (computer science) and focuses on developing a computer-driven interface so that English teachers can easily see information about quality and equity in student talk during discussions and make adjustments to their teaching.

Principal Investigator: M. Najeeb Shafiq
Department: Institute for International Studies in Education
Project Title: Comparative and International Education Society Office
Agency Name: Comparative and International Education Society
Award Dates: 8/1/19 – 7/31/21 
Amount: $259,014

The Executive Committee of the CIES has selected the University of Pittsburgh to provide operational and managerial support for the Society, including the provision of Executive Director, managerial, and operational services. M. Najeeb Shafiq (Professor, School of Education) will serve as the Executive Director. The initial terms for this Office of the Executive Director will be two years beginning August 1, 2019 for $260,000/year exclusive of any cost-sharing and overheard reduction. According to the CIES Bylaws, there is possibility for subsequent renewals for additional five-year terms. The scope of work of the CIES Office of the Executive Director at Pitt includes: maintenance of office and operations; oversight, administration, and maintenance of the membership management service; production the newsletter and weekly announcements; supporting the Board of Directors and Executive Committee; supporting conference services; maintenance of digital archives; maintenance of all financial services; and maintenance of website and social media.

Principal Investigator: Ming-Te Wang/Karen Kokka/Xu Qin
Department: Psychology in Education
Project Title: Student Engagement in Mathematics: A Longitudinal Study of Classroom and Psychosocial Process
Agency Name: National Science Foundation
Award Dates: 9/1/19 – 8/31/22 
Amount: $1,500,000

Increasing student engagement is an explicit goal of many reform efforts that address problems of student boredom, alienation, and low achievement. To better understand the processes linked to math engagement, it is important to study the trajectories and patterns of math engagement and differences by race and gender, the associated motivational and classroom factors, and the impact of engagement on achievement. Understanding the conditions under which classroom characteristics are most effective and for whom can lead to the development and refinement of contextually-relevant interventions and optimal teaching practices that enhance student engagement and achievement in math. This large-scale mixed-methods longitudinal study aims to investigate the classroom and psychosocial processes linked to mathematics engagement from 6th to 8th grade with a racially diverse sample. Understanding these processes among historically underrepresented groups of students is particularly important because it will enhance our ability to broaden participation in STEM and increase the access and involvement of underrepresented groups in STEM learning. The findings will identify groups of students who are at greater risk for disengaging from math and potentially turning away from STEM careers and to develop classroom-based interventions that reflect specific contexts, instructional practices, and motivational beliefs.

Principal Investigator: Christopher Kline
Department: Health and Physical Activity
Project Title: Disentangling Subclinical Cardiovascular Risk Associated with Insomnia, Short Sleep Duration, and Their Combination 
Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Award Dates: 8/1/19 – 7/31/21 
Amount: $155,723

Poor sleep is consistently linked with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, the independent cardiovascular risk associated with insomnia and short sleep duration have not been isolated. The purpose of this study is to examine the subclinical cardiovascular profile of two groups: (1) adults with isolated short sleep duration (i.e., without insomnia), and (2) adults with isolated insomnia (i.e., with ≥ 6 h sleep duration). These data will be combined with data collected from another grant (NIH K23HL118318) in which the subclinical cardiovascular profile of two other groups were examined: (3) adults with both insomnia and short sleep duration, and (4) adults without insomnia or short sleep duration. Comparing these four groups will allow us to disentangle the subclinical cardiovascular risk associations with isolated insomnia, isolated short sleep duration, and their combination.