Dr. Shanan Chappell

Research Assistant Professor, The Center for Educational Partnerships, Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University

I’m honored and humbled to be part of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network’s new Fellows program. Our first efforts are already underway and hopefully will allow us to provide empirical evidence to identify those program components that are most effective at preventing dropouts and improving graduation rates for all students, particularly those most at risk of not graduating from high school.
Conducting a meta-analysis of programs will provide further insight into what we already know. Previous studies conducted by the NDPC/N and others tell us that the dropout risk factors are many and are multifaceted. The literature also helps identify methods that may help alleviate or eliminate these risk factors. But no synthesis of the literature has been conducted to establish which program components or characteristics are most successful in reducing dropout rates and improving graduation rates. I believe that such a study will allow us to strengthen existing programs by impacting policy at the local, state, and perhaps even national level to help all students graduate on time with clear pathways to a meaningful postsecondary life.

Dr. Lee Crandall

Professor and Chair of Public Health Sciences

2007 – present: Professor and Chair

Department of Public Health Sciences

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

2007 – present: Professor (Voluntary)

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health

University of Miami - Miller School of Medicine

Miami, Florida

I currently serve as Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University. My primary research interests related to NDPC focus on the interrelationships between risks for school dropout and other behavioral risk factors (substance use, sexual risk and teen pregnancy) among adolescents and pre-adolescents. I am specifically interested in interrelationships among community, school, family, peer, and intrapersonal risk and protective domains, and how multi-faceted prevention programs can address risk factors and enhance protective factors across behavioral domains. I believe that both the field of public health and the medical profession have generally been inadequately engaged in efforts to discourage adolescents from using alcohol, tobacco and other risky substances and prevent school dropout despite the lifelong negative health impacts of these choices.

I hope I can serve as a liaison between NDPC/N and the research community in public health and in medical settings that looks at issues like teen pregnancy, substance abuse, bullying, and even childhood obesity. These issues may be seen by those researchers as their dependent variable of interest, but nevertheless may shape the school experience in ways that increase risk of school dropout. Similarly, school failure may be seen by these researchers as an “independent variable” that predicts risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy or eating disorders. I hope that we can move more toward recognizing that this is an interactive system of ”linked epidemics” and that we can help to develop more holistic approaches that improve the lives of individuals from adolescence into adulthood.

Ms. Colleen Dawicki

Director of the Urban Initiative at UMass-Dartmouth

  • B.A., Public and Private Sector Organizations, Brown University (2006)
  • Public Policy Fellow, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School (2011)
  • Master's of Public Policy, UMass Dartmouth (2012)

Since joining the Urban Initiative in 2010, Colleen has provided community partners with technical assistance, program evaluations, public outreach and engagement, and applied research in the areas of education, transportation, and community development.

Recent projects Dawicki has managed or contributed to include a program evaluation of dropout prevention efforts in Springfield, MA public schools; a study of public transit needs and perceptions in New Bedford; a study on collaborative opportunities for school districts and higher education in Berkshire County; serving as evaluator for a HOPE VI (public housing) project in Taunton, MA. She has also been fostering closer ties to local communities by sharing information through a monthly newsletter and a blog on urban policy issues and their local application (www.urbaninitiative.wordpress.com).

As a strategic partner of the NDPC/N since 2009, the UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative has gained tremendously from the opportunity to integrate our comprehensive approach to urban policy analysis with the vast knowledge and skills of the NDPC/N for the benefit of schools, districts, and cities across our region. Across the diverse communities in which we’ve worked together to serve, one thing holds constant: context matters. The decision to drop out doesn’t happen in isolation; instead, it can be affected by factors as wide-ranging as housing access and affordability, transportation, economic opportunity, and public safety. This holistic perspective, along with my experience working with the NDPC/N to evaluate dropout prevention programs and disseminate best practices, will be among my contributions as a NDPC Fellow. I look forward to working with the team of NDPC Fellows to broaden the reach of the NDPC/N in its efforts to increase high school graduation rates nationwide.

Dr. Jennie Farmer

Assistant Professor of Special Education

2011 – present: Assistant Professor

Department of Teacher Education

Special Education Program

Eugene T. Moore School of Education

Clemson University

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Clemson University where I teach courses in the Special Education and Educational Foundations Programs. My research interests include improving educational and quality of life outcomes for students with high incidence disabilities, particularly those with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and those who are twice exceptional. My research within special education primarily focuses on the intersection of academic and social-emotional needs through the use of learning strategies, self-determination, and positive psychology. I also conduct research related to research methodology and analysis in the area of single-case designs.

I am pleased to be a Research Fellow for NDPC/N. I hope to continue the quality research of the Center and expand it by conducting intervention research related to preventing school dropout. I am interested in interventions that attend to students’ academic and social-emotional needs within school settings and through the transition from K-12 to postsecondary settings. I believe we must focus on educating the whole person in order to make substantial and lasting changes in the educational system and with student outcomes. I hope to be a part of this change for all students and particularly for those with high incidence disabilities and who are twice exceptional.

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