Texas Center for Equity Promotion Announces New Faculty Affiliates

The Texas Center for Equity Promotion (TexCEP), an interdisciplinary research center founded in 2020 at the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, has announced 10 new faculty affiliates who share the center’s vision of eliminating disparities in education and health among underserved populations.

“We are thrilled to welcome these distinguished faculty members from throughout UT Austin to join our community of equity-centered researchers and practitioners,” said Charles R. Martinez, Jr., founding director of TexCEP and dean of the College of Education.

The inaugural affiliates, who will join TexCEP’s steering committee to advance the center’s mission, are:

Doris Luft Baker is associate professor in the Department of Special Education and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education. Her expertise focuses on developing evidence-based reading, science, and social studies interventions and assessments for multilingual students with and without learning difficulties.

Matthew Bowers is associate professor in the Sport Management program in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the College of Education. He examines the management of systems for athlete development, including how different sport settings influence performance and participation, and focuses on reimagining the youth sport experience.

Stephanie W. Cawthon is professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the College of Education and is founding director of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. She investigates issues of access and equity for disabled people, with a special focus on systems change, research translation, and assessment.

Seung W. Choi is professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and holds the Pearson Endowed Professorship in Psychometrics at the College of Education. His research interests include the development and dissemination of computerized adaptive testing applications in educational and psychological testing and patient-reported outcome measurements.

Alexandra Garcia is professor in the Family and Public Health Nursing Division at the School of Nursing and in the Department of Population Health at Dell Medical School, where she was the inaugural director of the Division of Community Engagement and Health Equity. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and economic influences on health and equity.

Huriya Jabbar is associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the College of Education. She examines the social and political dimensions of market-based reforms and privatization in education, including school choice and decision-making in PreK-12 and higher education contexts.

Deborah B. Jacobvitz is the Phyllis L. Richards Endowed Professor in Child Development in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences. Her research specializes in the field of parenting and focuses on developing interventions to help families and children in need of support.

Alexandra Loukas is associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Education and professor in its Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. She has a special research interest in examining how educational, cultural, and familial factors interact to protect youth from negative health outcomes.

Stephen Russell is department chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences and director of the School of Human Ecology in the College of Natural Sciences, where he holds the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professorship in Child Development. He studies adolescent development, with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing. 

Mary A. Steinhardt is professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education in the College of Education, where she is a Distinguished Teaching Professor. Her research explores the determinants and methods for building resilience and strength when challenged with change and stressful situations.

Jessica R. Toste is associate professor in the Department of Special Education in the College of Education, where she is a fellow of the Reading Institute at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. She focuses on intensive interventions for students with reading disabilities, with a particular focus on data-based decision-making processes and motivation.

Researchers and practitioners at TexCEP use interdisciplinary approaches to understand, and intervene with, roots of inequities that surround children and families. They support and conduct high-quality applied research, disseminate evidence-based information, and train future professionals regarding the nature, origins, contexts, effects, and elimination of inequalities in education and health.

Affiliates and steering committee members of TexCEP are also committed to:

  • Deliberate anti-racist and equity-focused approaches in both their research and practice.
  • Explicit and ongoing examination of their own positionality and privilege within the context of each project.
  • Careful consideration of the power dynamics inherent in every stage of the research process, from an examination of the actors participating in study design and motivations for establishing research questions, all the way through dissemination of findings, with a particular interest in projects that yield valuable and actionable practices, policies, and/or recommendations.
  • Mindful focus to locate, implicate, and disrupt existing power structures and contextual factors that perpetuate inequity, rather than pathologize or further marginalize the communities they intend to serve.

TexCEP affiliates and members prioritize working with populations and communities that have been historically marginalized, and they value research that maintains a strengths-based, community-derived, and focused work that draws on the historical resilience of many social identities/dimensions.

UT Austin staff and faculty interested in affiliating with TexCEP can learn more online and apply via email.