Academic Research and Evaluation Center (AREC)

Mission and Vision

The overall goal of the Academic Research and Evaluation Center (AREC) is to labor alongside others to actualize the positive educational growth of all learners.  In alignment with the CSUDH College of Education mission and vision, the AREC uses principles of justice, equity, and critical consciousness to enhance student learning and experience through the assessment, exploration, enhancement, and/or development of educational programs.  This is accomplished by using Theory Driven and Inclusive Evaluation approaches to: 1) assist in the development (or creation) of effective programs, using social science theory to inform expected outcomes; 2) investigate the ability of a program, policy, or service to achieve its desired outcomes (e.g., needs assessments); and 3) conduct original research and evaluation to measure the extent to which key educational outcomes (e.g., learning, teaching, retention, graduation, improvement, achievement) are achieved.

In connection with this goal, the AREC seeks to:

  1. Utilize our collective evaluative expertise to carry out a public service regarding the realization of student-centered outcomes.
  2. Develop partnerships with researchers, departments, and Colleges within CSUDH; PK-12 systems; community organizations; and outside universities who seek to improve educational outcomes.
  3. Facilitate a culture of improvement at CSUDH where multiple, non-dominant perspectives are sought after.
  4. Support and foster original research in the COE, CSUDH, and surrounding community.
  5. Enhance graduate and undergraduate learning and experience through research training opportunities and educational support.
  6. Disseminate research findings and scholarly activity through papers and/or conference presentations.

AREC Faculty

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Jarod Kawasaki, Ph.D.
Executive Director
(310) 243-2253

Dr. Kawasaki is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department in the College of Education. He is also the Assessment Coordinator for the College of Education responsible for supporting the program improvement efforts for the departments in the college through rigorous and meaningful assessment and evaluation. Previously, he worked at UCLA Center X, supporting the program and evaluation work for a federally funded teacher residency program and at UCLA CRESST designing pilot assessments examining K-12 science learning. He received his Ph.D. in Education from the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

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Darrel Skousen, M.A.
(310) 243-3740

Mr. Skousen has a BA degree in Psychology from Arizona State University, an MA degree in Positive Organizational Behavior & Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and has completed his coursework towards a PhD in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Mr. Skousen’s evaluation and research interests include program design and development, increasing the use of evaluation findings, and enhancing success within the field of education. Over the last 9 years he has led numerous evaluations of government, and privately, funded programs, including children’s health (OAH), teacher development and assessment (USDOE), academic success through peer mentoring (USDOE) and behavioral health, and STEM education (NSF & USDOE).

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Laura Cervantes, Ph.D.
Lead Evaluator

Dr. Laura Cervantes holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work centers on dismantling harmful environments, practices, and policies that amplify the achievement/opportunity gap and disparities for marginalized groups and communities. Her areas of research expertise have focused on creating rigorous, accessible, and equity-minded methodologies that inform data-driven and action-oriented recommendations. Specifically, the projects she has been involved with include the topics of discipline disparities, examining the achievement gap in urban school systems, college readiness, persistence and completion in higher education and STEM pathways, and organizational change to increase diversity among talent in government agencies nationwide. Her work is grounded in creating equitable and inclusive spaces and practices through an anti-racism and inclusivity lens.

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Sandy Chang, Ph.D.

Dr. Sandy Chang specializes in assessment and the learning and teaching of language and literacy, especially for English learners. Her work includes developing and providing professional development for educators on standards, formative assessment, and language learning. Sandy earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles and her Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Sandy is a National Board Certified Teacher in literacy. She worked with English learners as a K-8 classroom teacher and reading specialist.

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Kirk Kirkwood, Ed.D.

Dr. Kirk Kirkwood is the Principal Consultant of Village Life Education—a consultant firm empowering educators, parents, and students to achieve their greatest aspirations through world-class professional development and academic advising. For over two decades, Dr. Kirkwood has supported hundreds of K-12 students with preparation, admissions into, and graduation from HBCUs, Ivy Leagues, Public and Private 4-year colleges and universities. Recognizing the immense opportunities afforded through math education, he designed the Math Literacy Project, first funded by the CSU Office of the Chancellor. Dr. Kirkwood has worked with school districts, charter organizations, and community colleges in California, Ohio, and Delaware, empowering teachers, faculty, administrators, and communities to reimagine a world of affirming mathematics experiences, especially for historically underserved populations. He has a Doctorate in Educational in P-12 Leadership from Cal State Fullerton and a Single Subject Math Credential and Multiple Subject Credential.

Upcoming events:

Bring your lunch and join us for an introduction to the newly chartered Academic Research and Evaluation Center (AREC) in the College of Education at CSUDH. During this session, AREC faculty will share about our work supporting the development of evaluation plans for CSUDH faculty and staff seeking research grants and/or external funding. If you are planning to write a research or program grant that requires external evaluation, the AREC would love to partner with you to develop a competitive grant proposal.

Information sessions will be held virtually via Zoom every 1st Friday of the month. All CSUDH faculty, staff, and administrators are welcome to attend.

Fall 2023

Friday, September 1, 2023, noon - 12:45,

Friday, October 6, 2023, noon - 12:45,

Friday, November 3, 2023, noon - 12:45,

Friday, December 1, 2023, noon - 12:45,

Past Events

2022 AERA Annual Meeting

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting. AERA is the world’s largest gathering of education researchers and a showcase for groundbreaking, innovative studies in an array of areas.