Educational Foundations and Research Graduates
Dr. Erin Lord Kunz received her B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of North Dakota and is currently working at Mayville State University as Assistant English Professor and Writing Program Administrator. Erin is co-director for the local community writing project "Voices of the Valley," a feature at the 2014 and 2015 UND Writers Conference. Much of her work focuses on local social issues, and she is involved with Global Friends Coalition, while also canvassing and writing on behalf of local elections. Erin's research interests range from postmodern literature to composition pedagogy to feminist and equality studies, and she reads, writes, conferences, and publishes accordingly. In the spring of 2015, Erin will be hosting the Northern Plains Conference on Early British Literature for the first time at Mayville State University. Erin lives in Grand Forks with her husband and pitbull rescue and can often be caught jogging, playing tennis, and supporting the local arts scene. Erin completed her dissertation "Ecocomposition as Writing Curriculum: An Ecological Approach for Writing Program Administrators and Composition Instructors" in Fall 2016
Dr. Eddie Walker is originally from Madison, Alabama and lives in Crookston, Minnesota with his wife. He has a Master of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology (Industrial/Organizational Psychology emphasis) from the University of Alabama-Huntsville and a Master of Science degree in Health and Kinesiology (Sport and Exercise Psychology emphasis/Statistics & Research Methods supporting area) from Purdue University. He is currently a Research Analyst with The EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston and a Teaching Specialist at UMC. Classes he teaches at UMC include Life-Span Development, Socio-cultural Dimensions in Sport, and Social & Behavioral Science Research Methods. His research interests include social psychology, assessment, and test design/construction. Eddie completed his dissertation "Examining Multiple Methods of Analysis to Guide the Development of a Postsecondary Institution Rating System" in Fall 2016.
Dr. Yuliya Kartoshkina, originally from Ukraine, believes in power of international education. Her main research interest lies in exploring how to enhance intercultural teaching and learning. For her doctoral degree in Educational Foundations and Research (EFR), Yuliya wrote the dissertation entitled: “Exploring Pedagogical Decision Making and Metacognition of Faculty Teaching Abroad.” She is very grateful to faculty in the EFR department for helping her sharpen research skills, encouraging critical and creative thinking, and supporting her interdisciplinary research. In the past ten years, Yuliya taught a variety of lectures and workshops on intercultural communication, intercultural learning, brain-based pedagogy, and public speaking. Her current research direction lies in using findings in educational and cultural neuroscience to understand and inform best practices in intercultural teaching and learning. Yuliya works as an Education Program Specialist for the Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus initiatives at the University of Minnesota. Through her practice, teaching, and research, Yuliya seeks to inspire others to learn about diversity of human cultures and how the human mind shapes and is being shaped by cultural environments.
Dr. Jóri Thordarson completed her undergraduate work at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada with a focus on critical and feminist theory. Her graduate studies pivoted around the politics and sociology of education, with a particular emphasis on higher education. For her doctoral research, Jóri mapped out an interdisciplinary socio-philosophical framework in order to explore the connections between power, education, and democracy as they relate to the proliferation of neoliberal ideology within Canada. Understanding both theory and research to be inherently political pursuits, she works to promote an ethic of academic scholarship grounded in the search for social and ecological justice. Dr. Thordarson completed her dissertation “Not Your Business: Pedagogical Lessons of Activist Resistance to Neoliberalism in Canadian Higher Education” in Fall 2016.
Dr. Terri Martin-Parisien is the Director of Research, Assessment and Planning at Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), a tribal college chartered under the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians located in north central ND. She provides leadership and support for all levels of assessment including course, program, and institutional. Dr. Martin-Parisien is also responsible for the analysis and interpretation of institutional data. Terri completed her dissertation in Fall 2016, entitled “ Exploring the Impact of Self-Determination on the Political Practices of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians: A Critical Content Analysis .” Regarding her time in the program she said, "the experience with EFR has really offered me a wide-array of skills and knowledge needed, such as qualitative and quantitative analysis, leadership in higher education, assessment and evaluation, etc. As a result, I feel very well-rounded."
Dr. Cathy Williams is originally from Hopkins, Minnesota, but has been living and working in the Grand Forks area for the better part of 35 years. She received her B.S.Ed. and M.A. in English from UND and began teaching English and Spanish for the Grand Forks school district. Her teaching career was interrupted by a stint as assistant director of the Mathcounts Foundation in the D.C. area, where she oversaw development of curriculum. After returning to the Grand Forks area, Cathy began teaching mathematics and eventually took on the role of instructional coach for secondary teachers. In her work for the curriculum department of the Grand Forks Public Schools, she partners with the UND Math Department in efforts to improve math teacher education. Her current research interests relate to her work in curriculum and instruction. Her dissertation was entitled "Examining Openness to Pedagogical Change among Secondary Mathematics Teachers: Developing and Testing a Structural Model."
Dr. Emmanuel Mensah received his bachelor's degree in Social Science Education from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana in 2005. Emmanuel taught Economics at a Senior High School in Ghana for three years (2005-2008) after which he left for the United States to pursue further education. He received his Master of Education degree from Minot State University in 2010. Emmanuel has worked with other doctoral students in and outside the EFR department on a range of scholarships related to participatory education and epistemological beliefs underpinning college teaching and learning. His research interests include critical pedagogy, public school improvement, and educational reform. His dissertation was entitled, "Listservs, Learning Communities, and Baby Steps: Rural Educators and Implementing the Common Core in North Dakota." Dr. Mensah was recently appointed the Special Education Data Coordinator by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.
Dr. George Prince Atta is from Dominibo No. II (Bibiani) in the western part of Ghana. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. George had taught at the Primary, Junior, and Senior High School levels. He received his Master’s degree in Education at Minot State University in 2010. George is interested in researching group learning--teacher learning (i.e., professional learning communities), and student learning (collaborative/cooperative learning). Dr. Atta's dissertation was entitled "Professional Learning Communities: The American Experience and its Implications for Ghana and Other International School Systems."
Dr. Andrew Knight (EFR PhD 2014) is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at Colorado State University. He holds a bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance, Jazz emphasis from UW-La Crosse, a music therapy equivalency and master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Research from the University of North Dakota (UND). At the University of North Dakota he supervised students at clinical placements in the Grand Forks community, taught undergraduate coursework, advised the student music therapy association, and conducted research. Prior to UND, he was an active clinician in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, with various music therapy clinical roles in nursing/geriatric facilities, school districts, and at agencies serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. His current research pursuits include clinical applications of music therapy for toddlers with language impairments, adults with addiction issues, music therapy percussion pedagogy, and technology use in clinical settings.
Dr. Godfrey Magoti Mnubi (EFR PhD 2013) from the East African nation of Tanzania – more than 9,000 miles from his home– came to UND to further his knowledge and skills in educational research professionalism and cultural plurality. Now, Ph.D. in hand, he wants to develop teaching skills in these areas and hone his social justice research skills in education back home. He also plans to observe educational research and services in the Tanzania education system while analyzing ways to increase its effectiveness through qualitative and quantitative methods. "I believe this education program and the knowledge and skills I have acquired from this program will fulfill my dream of making a difference in my community and in the world at large." When he reflects on his wonderful experience at UND, Mnubi noted that "I am sincere thankful to the members of EFR faculty team who enlightened and taught me the meaning and glance of research. I always feel amazingly fortunate to be at UND, particularly to have an advisor and mentor, Professor Kathy Gershman who taught me a lesson of being a good professor and mentor able to reach out and learn from students."
Mnubi served as a National Program Officer for Education at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization where he was involved in designing and implementing various educational programs in Tanzania. Currently, Mnubi teaches International Education and research methods classes at Mzumbe University. He is also conducting social researches that provide Tanzanians with information and awareness of education issues. "I also plan to work with local and international government and nongovernment organizations as they develop equitable and inclusive educational policies."