Denise is a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher based in the Centre for Higher Education Equity and Access at the University of Birmingham September-December 2016.
Research within the School of Education
The purpose of her Fulbright research project at the University of Birmingham is to identify takeaways (best practices, resources, cautions, areas of further inquiry) with regard to first generation university students’ academic transitions from secondary school to college or university. Key research questions include: What programs exist internationally to help students transition from high school to university? How do these programs operate, and what best practices have they identified to help students transition? How do first year university students and their professors evaluate the efficacy of these programs? What recommendations do first year university students have for improving readiness?
Again and again, disconnects between high school curricula, college entrance requirements, college coursework, and 21st century job skills fuel passionate debates about what it means and takes to serve today’s students. As a 12th grade teacher of predominantly first generation college-applicants in a New York City public high school, Denise thinks often and deeply about how to prepare her students for success in college. She and her students know the stakes of careful preparation for college: together, they have researched and understood the odds they face, in a city and school system where less than a quarter of high school graduates meet state college-readiness standards, and less than half of students who enter a state university graduate in 4 years. Their college success is her biggest professional goal, and she would, quite literally, cross oceans to make it happen.
Prior to beginning this project, Denise was a high school English teacher in New York City for 13 years. Most recently, she's been a 12th grade English teacher and department chair at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, where her classes focus on authentic, socially engaged writing for real-world audiences. Denise has also supported new teachers in their curriculum planning by teaching several graduate school classes and working with Teach for America Corps Members. She received the 2014 Presidential Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has an MS in Secondary Literacy Education from Pace University and an Ed.M in Curriculum & Teaching from Columbia University and is National Board Certified.