Month: April 2017

EDLR’s Joshua Abreu Speaks at TEDx UConn

The mission of TED (technology, entertainment, design) events is to spread ideas that demand to be heard. At UConn, the fourth annual TEDx event is taking place on April 9, and has the theme of “Catalysts in Context.” Joshua Abreu, a second year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy, has been selected as one of the speakers, hoping to be a catalyst himself for change in the criminal justice system.Joshua Abreu

Abreu has a strong background in criminal justice: he obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and has worked as a sworn police officer in New Hampshire and as a social worker in Massachusetts. He is specifically interested in classroom discourse in Criminal Justice programs, and specifically how the identities and backgrounds of the students and instructors shape and influence that discourse.

At the TEDx event, Abreu will be speaking on Critical Criminology, or how criminal justice can be reformed by using Liberal Education: putting students at the center of the learning experience, and by investigating how identity and power can impact criminality and crime control. It was during his time in EDLR that Abreu was introduced to the concept of Liberal Education, by his advisor, Dr. Castillo-Montoya, among others. As a past Criminal Justice student and instructor himself, Abreu has seen how this perspective, our intersecting identities along with the political, economic, and social dynamics can positively influence a student’s development; however, this critical perspective remains limited in Criminal Justice programs.

“The topic is relevant and extremely important,” Abreu says. “The criminal justice system faces serious reform, so it’ll be interesting to hear people’s opinion [at TEDx] on such a polarizing topic.”

TED events are designed for sharing ideas, especially those about how the world can be or needs to be changed. The topic of criminal justice is a critically important one in the United States, and other TED Talks in the past have challenged audiences to consider it before. One, given by a civil rights attorney by Bryan Stevenson, is Abreu’s personal favorite TED Talk. Abreu’s favorite quote from it eloquently describes one of the greatest problems facing the justice system, and is very much in line with Abreu’s own TEDx topic: “We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. And yet, we seem to be very comfortable.” This complacency with the criminal justice system is part of what Abreu, along with Stevenson, is challenging. Abreu’s talk, well-suited for the theme of catalyzing, engages with very real, very serious, and hopefully very fixable problems with criminal justice and specifically criminal justice education.

TEDxUConn is scheduled for April 9, 2017. If you would like to watch Abreu’s talk live, there will be a live stream on the day of the event. To learn more about TEDxUConn, or to access recorded versions of this year’s talks at a later date, go to


UCAPP UPPI Welcomes New Program Coordinator

Joanne Manginelli has been named the University of Connecticut’s program coordinator for the Wallace Foundation’s University Preparation Program Initiative (UPPI) in the Department of Educational LeadershipUCAPP's New UPPI Program Coordinator, Joanne Manginelli. Prior to this role, Manginelli was Director of Professional Learning and subsequently Executive Leadership Coach of Hartford Public Schools, where she helped design and recruit for the UConn/Hartford PLUS Administrator Preparation (UCAPP) program cohort.

The Wallace Foundation UPPI project is a $47 million initiative to research, improve upon, and change the way that principals are trained. At UConn, the UPPI team will work on improving the UCAPP program to meet the goals set through the Wallace initiative. Manginelli has worked closely in developing and implementing principal preparation programs, and comes to this role hoping to use her knowledge and experience to help meet the goals established for the UCAPP program. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor for the UCAPP program.

The director of UCAPP, Dr. Richard Gonzales, describes the UConn UPPI project as a “vast undertaking”, for which Manginelli will be an “asset to organizing and contributing to the continuous improvement effort.” The Wallace Foundation emphasizes that this initiative is a vital one for improving schools and education as a whole.

“I am really looking forward to working with the UCAPP and UPPI team members,” Manginelli says. “They are all exemplary educators and I value their commitment to this work.”

Manginelli obtained her BS in Music Education at the University of Bridgeport in 1975. She earned her Master of Science in Early Childhood Education at Southern Connecticut State University in 1993, along with her sixth year diploma in Educational Leadership in 2005.

“She brings a wealth of quality experience as a practitioner and knows our program well,” says Dr. Gonzales. “We are pleased to welcome Joanne to the UCAPP team.”

Joanne can be reached at

Faculty, Grad Students to Present at 2017 AERA Annual Meeting

Editor’s Note: This story, written by Neag School's Stefanie Dion-Jones, originally appeared on the Neag School’s website.

The work of more than 70 faculty researchers and graduate students from the Neag School of Education will be presented as part of this year’s American Educational Research Association (AERA)’s Annual Meeting, taking place Thursday, April 27, through Monday, May 1, in San Antonio.

The Neag School’s attendees will be presenting academic papers, serving as invited speakers, participating in roundtable discussions, leading professional development courses, and accepting awards conferred to them by various divisions of AERA. Work will also be presented by numerous Neag School alumni.

View a complete listing of the Neag School’s faculty and graduate student AERA sessions at

The theme of the 2017 AERA meeting is “Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity.” More than 2,500 sessions are scheduled over the course of the five days.

The AERA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research, showcasing innovative studies in topics as diverse as STEM, social justice, game-based learning, diversity on campus, and professional development. More than 15,000 scholars will be in attendance. The AERA is a national research society that seeks to advance knowledge about education, encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

Access a PDF of the Neag School’s sessions here, which lists the dates, times, and other details regarding sessions that feature faculty members and graduate students affiliated with the Neag School of Education.

The full AERA program, listing all sessions featuring participants from across the country, is available online on the AERA website.

Follow the conversation on Twitter: #AERA17