Cheryl Matias, an assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Development at CU Denver, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the American Educational Research Association Division K Innovations in Research on Diversity in Teacher Education Award.
The award recognizes research that demonstrates innovation in addressing issues of diversity in teaching and/or teacher education. The award honors work that explores and/or demonstrates powerful new ways to think about diversity in teaching and teacher education, giving direction to educators and to policy makers; offers an expanded vision of a theoretical framework, research methodologies, or practices regarding diversity in teaching and teacher education; or provides new models of research that give direction to the field concerning diversity in teaching and teacher education.
The selection committee cited Matias’s steadfast focus on deconstructing whiteness so that the teachers she prepares will be able to engage constructively with students of color. One of her nomination letters pointed out: “Traditional approaches in diversity in teacher education research often focus on how to understand the cultures and languages of students of color (mostly urban), or how to learn best teaching practices that better facilitate the learning of culturally and linguistically diverse students, as in culturally responsive pedagogy. . . The focus of Cheryl’s work is on how teachers, a majority who are white females, sustain projects of racial justice inside the classroom by understanding the emotional and affective dimensions of teaching and learning that are needed to invest in long-term, socially just teaching.”
Matias will receive the award during the organization’s Division K Business Meeting on April 4 in Philadelphia.
Additionally, Matias and her twins recently were invited by Michelle Obama to a private screening of “The Muppets: Most Wanted” and to tour the White House.