I am an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at North Dakota State University. My Ph.D. is in Teaching & Learning, Higher Education from the University of North Dakota. I have a MEd in Adult Education from Westminster College with a certification in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). In my research, I seek to identify where and how institutional disjunctures occur in higher education for women and members of minoritized groups. Building on that research, I use curriculum and course development to recreate the teaching and learning environment in higher education to promote equitable and effective learning spaces. My research questions ask how decolonizing pedagogical and curriculum approaches can create a more inclusive and equitable higher education space. I am a qualitative methodologist, with a focus on ethnographic and discourse methods of inquiry. I received the 2019 NASPA Ruth Strang award for research concerning women in higher education and was the first recipient of the Gloria Nathanson Research Fund for International Research. I was a finalist for the 2019-2020 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant for the project Coordinating Transitions: Exploring the STEM Institution from the Standpoint of Transfer Undergraduate Women.
Building on the body of knowledge about curriculum design in higher education and my own work in competency-based curriculum design (Parson, Childs, and Elzie, 2018), I have conceptualized a new approach to competency-based curriculum design that promotes equity and diversity, acknowledges the diversity of knowledge(s), and seeks to provide spaces for indigenous and marginalized persons to not only have a voice in the classroom but to inform the forms of knowledge taught in the higher education environment. I am currently collecting data to validate and test this conceptual model funded, in part, through an American Institutes for Research (Lumina Foundation) Grant to develop a Higher Education Administration program. Additionally, I am implementing this model as a part of my work with the grant-funded project at Air University (Air Force) where we developed a new conceptual model for Ethical Leadership in the Air Force and will will work to develop leadership curriculum for Air University using the same Competency-based Curriculum Design Model.
In addition to validating the Decolonizing Approach to Curriculum Design, my research questions also seek to understand how the classroom environment and learning experiences can be tailored to promote learning. To do that, I am exploring how experiential and endurance-based activity can enhance learning experiences in a co-curricular environment. Summer 2019, I collected data on an expedition to Bear’s Ears National Monument to explore how learning occurred in an extreme, outdoor environment. Data analysis from that project is ongoing, but preliminary results have already led to a grant application to develop a competency-based certificate program in Outdoor and Endurance-based Scientific Education. Finally, with co-author Dr. C. Casey Ozaki, the first volume of a three-volume edited series titled Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Equity in Education was published in June 2020. If you are interested in collaborating or would like to speak more about any of these or past projects, please contact me.