Three School of Education faculty honored with campuswide Romnes, Kellett research awards

By Laurel White

Three faculty from the School of Education have been honored with prestigious campuswide research awards from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

Brian Burt, Lesley Bartlett, and Mitchell Nathan are among just 30 faculty from across campus who were chosen to receive a 2023-2024 H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship or Kellett Mid-Career Award. The distinctions acknowledge a track record of excellence in research and provide several years of dedicated funding to continue producing impactful work.  

In a story released by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, vice chancellor for research and graduate education Steve Ackerman said the awards “recognize our faculty research, academic and outreach successes and provide an opportunity for continued development of their outstanding research programs.” 

“I’m grateful that we are able to recognize and invest in these faculty in this way, and I look forward to seeing the results of their imaginative use of these funds,” Ackerman added. 

Brian Burt

Burt was one of 18 faculty honored with an H.I. Romnes Fellowship, which recognizes faculty with exceptional research contributions within their first six years from promotion to a tenured position. The award is named in recognition of the late WARF trustees president H.I. Romnes and comes with $60,000 that may be spent over five years.

Brian Burt

Burt is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and director and chief research scientist with Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB). He has received numerous awards recognizing his excellence in research, including the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship and National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award. Through two strands (team-based research experiences, underrepresented students of color in engineering), Burt studies the experiences of graduate students and institutional policies and practices that influence students’ pathways.

His recent publications include a study published in Teachers College Record that sheds light on how to better lead research groups. Burt co-authored a companion article last year that explained how research teams can use a series of six interconnected cultural practices to develop a positive community that bolsters cohesion and productivity.

Lesley Bartlett

Bartlett was one of just 12 faculty members from across campus to receive a Kellett Mid-Career Award. Kellett Mid-Career Awards support those promoted to tenured positions seven to 20 years ago who have made key research contributions in their fields. The award, named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of the WARF board of trustees and president of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, provides support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers and comes with $75,000 to be spent over five years.

Lesley Bartlett Headshot

Bartlett is professor and chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies. An anthropologist by training, Bartlett works in the field of international and comparative education and researches multilingual literacy studies, migration, and educator professional development. 

Bartlett has written extensively about ethnographic and comparative case study research methods and is the author or co-author of nine books, including “Humanizing Education for Immigrant and Refugee Youth” and “Rethinking Case Study Research.” From 2019-2021, she served as faculty director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies. From 2020-2022, she co-edited Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

Mitchell Nathan 

Nathan was also one of just 12 faculty across campus to receive a Kellett Mid-Career Award. 

Photo of Mitch Nathan

Nathan is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences in the Department of Educational Psychology. He is also a Fellow of the International Society of the Learning Sciences. Nathan’s work investigates the embodied nature of how people think, teach, and learn, and how to assess and model nonverbal forms of knowledge in mathematics and engineering. 

Nathan has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and has secured research funds from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. His book, “Foundations of Embodied Learning: A Paradigm for Education,” sheds more light on the large body of evidence that shows the way we move in the world — and even the ways we imagine how we move — shape our cognitive processes. The book was published by Routledge in 2021.

Nathan also recently published a perspectives article in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. The article urges educators to be strategic when using AI programs to measure learning.

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