As demographics shift in the U.S., new research and tools will be needed to track and analyze the needs of future generations of students and their families – and to inform educators on how to meet those needs. Dr. Lee Flood, who joins the College of Education as Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation, hopes to offer new pathways to answering changing problems of practice.
“I wanted to come to Augusta University because I knew my work here would have an impact on serving educators, and not live only as theories,” Flood said. “I felt like that was really important to me to see this work have a direct connection to boots on the ground. It was exciting.”
Flood received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Western Colorado University, and his doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee. As a former high school teacher and football coach, Flood is well aware of the challenges of today’s classrooms. And his passion for engaging with working educators and helping them to solve problems in their professional settings drove his doctoral research and dissertation. He developed the Social Justice Behavior Scale to provide a quantitative perspective to social justice leadership, and he hopes to expand that work here.
“Social justice research has been largely a qualitative endeavor. So, I developed an instrument with my dissertation that I foresee being a nice tool for researchers to utilize in future inquires,” Flood said. The instrument has three components – school specific, community minded, and self-focused – that are designed to capture educational leader’s attempts in serving marginalized groups.
Much of Flood’s work on social justice is in the comparative space, which led him to collaborate with scholars from 45 different countries. What is considered a social justice issue in one country may be understood very differently in another, and those differences can provide an alternate lens through which to consider issues. For example, New Zealand education policy is adopted with the indigenous Maori population in mind, including language instruction; and Sweden is finding ways to meet rapidly changing demographics in their school systems.
Those differences and similarities can be instructive, especially when found in surprising places.
“I’m currently working with a collaborator in Qatar. There’s not a lot of comparative work between what we think of as disparate systems, like a western context and an Arabic context. But there are actually a lot of commonalities,” Flood said, and the potential is exciting to him. “I feel like there’s going to be opportunity to engage in powerful collaboration with my colleagues here at AU. I am thrilled by the possibilities that may arise.”
Whether he is collaborating in this country or others, all of Flood’s research is designed to be implemented in an educational setting.
“I love being able to transmit something I’m passionate about to somebody else,” he said, in particular the research skills he has to share with AU students. Flood will teach Introduction to Educational Research, Design and Analysis in Educational Research, Advanced Practice in Applied Quantitative Research, and will be working directly with the Educational Doctorate dissertation process.
“Seeing the lightbulb go on for students never gets old,” he said. “And I would love to have students be able to leave my class transformed into skilled researchers.”