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Monday, September 25, 2017

Academics & Research

UH to open new Education Research Center


The new education research center will be placed within the College of Education. | Claire Andersen/The Cougar

UH recently received approval from the state to launch its own Education Research Center. This Research Center will examine and analyze years of data in an effort to improve the quality of the education system at the local and state level.

The center will focus on gathering and analyzing information to improve students’ success in the education system, beginning in Pre-K and going all the way through college and into the workforce. Matters such as teacher retention rates, dual-credit course effectiveness and levels of teacher quality will be examined in an effort to aid education policymakers.

“The College of Education is committed to eradicating inequities in education that disproportionately affect low-income students,” says College of Education dean Robert McPherson. “This new research center will allow us to answer pressing questions to improve academic outcomes for all children while shaping education policy at the state and federal level.”

In order to address these questions researchers will examine 20 years of UH’s own data as well as records collected by various educational agencies they will be partnering with. All the data used will be strictly regulated, ensuring student confidentiality.

Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes gave authorization for the Research Center in late January after UH passed a competitive approval process. The new Education Research Center will be housed in the College of Education and co-directed by Catherine Horn and Anthony Role. According to a recent report, UH will host the only center of this kind in the Gulf Coast region.

The research that will take place at the new UH center will be especially important due to the concentration of students and workers in the Gulf Coast region. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board, the Gulf Coast represents nearly a quarter of the state’s total population and more than 20 percent of the student population.

As well as improving the state education system, the research at the Education Research Center will also strengthen the Texas workforce. According to a recent statement, the state predicts that in the next two decades 60 percent of the 25- to 34-year-old workforce must hold post-secondary qualifications in order to maintain a strong economy.

The Center is intended to provide a better understanding of a student’s movement through elementary and secondary education and eventually into the workforce. The expansive research is expected to not just benefit local students, but also the entire regional and state economy.

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