Kara Mitchell ViescaAssociate Professor
2010 PH.D., CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, BOSTON COLLEGE
2002 M.A., EDUCATION, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
2000 B.A., GERMAN, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
Dr. Viesca's research focuses on advancing equity in the policy and practice of educator development with a particular focus on teachers of multilingual learners (both regular content teachers and language specialists). She led a $1.9 million grant from the Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) from 2011-2016 that produced over 30 eWorkshops for teachers of multilingual learners to engage in to enhance their practice supporting language development. To learn more about these eWorkshops or to gain access to them, please visit https://cehs.unl.edu/icmee/
In the Fall of 2016, she was awarded an additional $2.7 million from OELA to continue this work. The new project titled, International Consortium for Multilingual Excellence in Education (ICMEE), has three major goals: to expand the use of the eWorkshops to at least 10 new states, to continue to design eWorkshops for additional groups of educators (e.g. school psychologists, administrators, special education teachers, teachers of deaf students, social studies and English language arts teachers), and to research the impact and outcomes of eWorkshop participation. In order to meet these goals, Dr. Viesca is collaborating with TLTE Faculty Dr. Lauren Gatti, Dr. Lydiah Kiramba, Dr. Aaron Johnson, and Dr. Justin Olmanson, as well as with faculty from around the United States at the University of Colorado Denver, Vanderbilt University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, California State University East Bay, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Saint Anselm, Elon University, Montclair State University and Boston University. Senior personnel on the project also include measurement experts from Leuphana Universität Lüneburg in Germany. ICMEE has also developed a new collaboration with WIDA, a standards and assessment consortium composed of 39 states housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
The former and current grant have helped to foster relationships with researchers across western Europe (currently Germany, Finland, France, England, Austria and Belgium) who are collaboratively exploring issues related to the effective preparation of teachers of multilingual learners. The eWorkshops have already been used by hundreds of pre- and in-service teachers in Finland and Germany. This international collaborative research group is currently exploring possibilities of further use of the eWorkshops in other European countries. The data collection for a collaborative international study by this group of researchers, led by Dr. Viesca, was also recently completed. The study is called OPETAN (Observations of Pedagogical Excellence in Teaching Across Nations), which means “I Teach” in Finnish. 32 observations were conducted across four countries: Germany, Finland, US and UK.
As part of this international collaboration, Dr. Viesca is also participating in the development, translation and testing of various measurement tools and data collection instruments that may assist in the research on effective teaching of multilingual learners as well as the preparation of teachers (both content teachers and language specialists) to work with multilingual learners. Her work is informed by critical sociocultural theory, feminism, and post-humanism/new materialism.
Areas of Expertise:
Teacher Professional Learning
Bilingual Language Development
Critical Race Theory
Sociocultural Theory/Instructional Practices