The UW–Madison School of Education is bringing another talented and diverse cohort of new faculty members to campus for the start of the upcoming fall semester.
To welcome these newest members of our community — and to reconnect with colleagues and celebrate the start of the upcoming 2023-24 academic year — the School is hosting its annual Welcome Back Bash event for faculty and staff on Thursday, Aug. 31. The event will be held outside on the North Plaza of the Education Building from 12 to 2 p.m. (if it rains, we’ll move things inside to the Morgridge Commons). The event will include lunch — complete with Babcock ice cream.
Those attending will hear brief remarks from Dean Diana Hess, with department chairs introducing their newest faculty members. This fall, there are nine new faculty hires joining us for the start of the fall semester. Three of these new faculty members will spend the 2023-24 academic year as Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellows, which provides space to focus on research development and writing.
Seven of our departments are welcoming at least one new faculty member. Following are the incoming faculty members, in alphabetical order:
Elena Aydarova, assistant professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies
Aydarova joins the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies after serving as a faculty member at Auburn University for six years. Aydarova’s research uses critical, feminist, and decolonial approaches to examine intersections between education policy, advocacy, and social inequality in global contexts. Her publications have appeared in Educational Researcher, Teachers College Record, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and other journals. Her book, “Teacher Education Reform as Political Theater,” along with her other scholarly works, have won multiple awards. Aydarova received postdoctoral fellowships from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation and the American Association of University Women. She earned her PhD at Michigan State University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University.
Carlos Padilla Colon, Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellow (2023-24) and assistant professor (starting in fall 2024), Department of Kinesiology
Colon, previously a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio University and The Ohio State University, is interested in understanding the neuromuscular mechanisms of the loss of physical function during aging, including loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and motor performance. He received his PhD in biomedical sciences, physical activity, and sports sciences from the University of León in Spain, along with a graduate interdisciplinary specialization in obesity sciences and a graduate certificate in assistive technology and rehabilitation from The Ohio State University. He has been teaching for over 17 years in both the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Colon will spend 2023-24 on an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Shamya Karumbaiah, assistant professor, Department of Educational Psychology
Karumbaiah studies human-centered AI for teaching and learning with the aim to augment human intelligence. Her current research focuses on constructing a scientific and critical understanding of equitable and responsible use of AI in classrooms. After being a computer scientist for over 10 years, she earned a PhD in learning sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation empirically investigated sources of biases in AI-based learning systems. She joins us after spending a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University where she studied ways to augment teacher practices in human-AI partnered instruction.
Dian Mawene, assistant professor, Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education and the Computer Sciences Department
Mawene earned her PhD from the UW–Madison School of Education’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education in 2021, and went on to become an assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of New Hampshire. She returns to Madison to focus on her research interest in the intersections of race, class, space, and disability. She examines how educational opportunities and outcomes of historically marginalized students are shaped by race relations embedded in the structure of the local community as well as within the education system.
Tim Portlock, professor, Art Department and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Portlock comes to us from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he was the chair of the undergraduate art program. “Nickels from Heaven,” one of his recent solo exhibitions, was displayed at Philadelphia’s Locks Gallery in 2021. Portlock uses 3D animation, drone footage, and more to align art with environmental research. He won a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2011. Portlock will be working jointly with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the School of Education’s Art Department.
Aireale Rodgers, Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellow (2023-24) and assistant professor (starting in fall 2024), Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Rodgers joins our school after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at UW–Madison’s Center for the Humanities. Her research interrogates how people’s everyday (mis)understandings about race and racism shape learning in postsecondary education. Rodgers holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University and a PhD from the University of Southern California. She will spend 2023-24 on an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Ann Shanahan, professor, Department of Theatre and Drama
Shanahan joins us as a member of the acting and directing faculty and as artistic director of University Theatre. A scholar-artist specializing in feminist directing, theatre and social change, and representations of domestic space on stage, she has directed and dramaturged over 60 productions, and writes about directing practices. Shanahan is a founding co-editor of the SDC Journal’s Peer Reviewed Section; a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the National Theatre Conference; and incoming co-director of the Comparative Drama Conference. She comes directly from Purdue University, and before that Loyola University Chicago where she served on the faculty for 20 years. She holds a BA in Drama from the Residential College of the University of Michigan, and an MFA in directing from Northwestern University.
Christy Starr, assistant professor, Department of Educational Psychology
Starr’s research examines how to increase equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields by leveraging individual and community strengths (such as family support) while decreasing barriers (such as stereotypes). Starr received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her bachelor’s degree from Knox College in Illinois. She was previously a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Irvine, where she worked on a project funded by the National Science Foundation that studied adolescent STEM motivation, intersectionality, and families.
Rachel Williams, Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellow (2023-24) and assistant professor (starting in fall 2024), Department of Educational Policy Studies
Williams joins our School after receiving her PhD in education from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines education policy at the intersections of race, place, and political economy. With a focus on market-based reforms, her work investigates relations between education, capital, and segregated metropolitan landscapes and explores Black politics and spatial imaginaries. Williams also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dillard University, and a master’s of public policy from Vanderbilt University. She will spend 2023-24 on an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship.