Hamann earns anthropology in public policy award

Photo of Ted Hamann

Hamann earns anthropology in public policy award

11 Jun 2015     By Brad Stauffer

Research has many different purposes, but one of its highest callings is to influence public policy. For the impact his anthropological research has had on public education policy in Mexico, UNL Professor Ted Hamann has been honored with the 2015 Anthropology in Public Policy (AIPP) Award from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Hamann was notified of the honor June 4 and will be formally recognized at the AAA annual meeting in November in Denver.

Hamann, a professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences, has spent years researching the educational impacts on transnational students who have spent time in both U.S. and Mexican schools. He’s found that often, neither school system serves their needs fully. Because of Hamann’s research and that of his collaborators, the Mexican Secretaría de Educacíon Pública (SEP, the federal education ministry) initiated a program to better serve transnational students.

“Mexican schools are designed to help kids grow up to be Mexican,” said Hamann. “American schools are designed to help kids grow up to be American. When the economy precipitates families’ international movement, you get a dilemma that neither system is designed for. Amongst many other moving parts, our project included creating a book and teacher development guide both intended to help Mexican educators better account for some of their students’ U.S. experiences and backgrounds.”

Without his research and support, says Maria Esther Padilla Medina, a project director with Mexico’s National Institute of Educational Evaluation, “it would have been impossible to think of appropriate public policies that would deal with equity and quality of education for migrant boys and…girls.”

From 2008–2012, SEP’s “Basic Education Without Borders” project provided resources to teachers in 21 Mexican states to help meet the unique needs of transnational students who had spent a portion of their education in U.S. classrooms. Hamann and colleagues Victor Zuniga and Juan Sanchez at the University of Monterrey supported the project by designing materials and leading professional development.

“The importance of Dr. Hamann’s participation…was undeniable,” said Héctor M. Monges, another project director with the National Institute of Educational Evaluation. “…the results of his research established the need to implement educational support initiatives for transnational students.”

The research of Hamann and his colleagues has reached other corners of the globe. Educators and researchers in Bangkok, Amsterdam, Pretoria, Buenos Aires, Toronto and Boston have invited Hamann to speak about the educational needs of transnational students.

The AIPP Award honors anthropologists whose work has had a significant, positive influence on the course of government decision-making and action. Specifically, it recognizes particular instances in which anthropological insights and analyses have resulted in the implementation of effective and beneficent policies in the last five years. Hamann was nominated for the award by Teresa L. McCarty, George F. Kneller chair in education and anthropology; and Frederick Erickson, inaugural George F. Kneller chair in education and anthropology, both from the University of California, Los Angeles.

College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education