PULLMAN — For her exploration of the role of colleges in economic development, a WSU doctoral graduate has received a Dissertation of the Year award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J.

Tami Moore’s dissertation, “Placing Engagement: Critical Reading of Interaction Between Regional Communities and Comprehensive Universities,” was selected from five finalists. She will present her findings at the 2009 AERA conference in April.

In 2008, Moore completed two WSU College of Education doctoral programs, Higher Education Administration, and Cultural Studies and Social Thought. She is an assistant professor of higher education at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. 

Moore’s dissertation examined the ways that comprehensive colleges and universities engage in economic development. Her case studies depicted communities undergoing significant change: Oklahoma City, home to the University of Central Oklahoma; and north-central Idaho, served by Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston.

Of her findings, Moore said: “Place and power matter tremendously in the practice, scholarship and theorizing of engagement to a degree that has been under-appreciated.”

Associate Professor Dawn Shinew and Associate Professor Kelly Ward were Moore’s dissertation advisors.

“Tami’s dissertation breaks new ground in that she uses the lens of critical geography to analyze community-university collaborations,” said Shinew. “While there is a fairly extensive body of literature on collaboration models, very little work has been done in this area that emphasizes cultural theories.”

Ward described the AERA award, given in the field of post-secondary education, as “very prestigious and competitive.”

More information about WSU College of Education graduate programs can be found at http://education.wsu.edu/graduate/.