McLaughlin Named Richard James Mertz Chair of Education

March 22, 2012

Jim McLaughlinH. James McLaughlin has been named the Richard James Mertz Chair of Education at Rollins College.

Named in honor of education major Richard James Mertz ’60, the Mertz professorship recognizes an education professor who is committed to providing sound training for future educators that fosters independent intellectual inquiry, critical thought, and clear written and oral expression and that inspires a lifetime love of learning. McLaughlin is the third professor to hold the Mertz professorship since it was established in 2001 from a generous donation by Esther M. Mertz, who created the endowed chair of education to honor the memory of her son.

“I'm delighted that a candidate of Jim McLaughlin’s stature has agreed to join us at Rollins,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Bresnahan. “He emerged from a very competitive and impressive pool of applicants for this position, and I congratulate the department for having worked hard and successfully to obtain such a deep pool. I am sure that the Mertz family and trustees are as pleased about his coming to Rollins as I am.”

McLaughlin comes to Rollins College from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where he is a professor in the College of Education and holds the Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry. Prior to FAU, he worked at the University of Hawai’i and the University of Georgia. He received his teacher certification in graduate studies in secondary social studies education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1974, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on curriculum and instruction.

With over 20 years of experience as a professor, McLaughlin has a vast academic background in higher education, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Over the years, he has worked with teams of teachers to develop research projects related to their own questions, and has written with them about this kind of action research. He continues to consult with teachers on school-wide research projects. At the graduate level, he has taught courses about curriculum theory and history, global perspectives of education, and action research. He also advises many master’s and doctoral students and takes leadership in international issues at the college and university level.

“The education department has spent a great deal of time and effort aligning our program with the College’s mission of educating students to be global citizens and responsible leaders,” said Dean of the College of Professional Studies Debra Wellman. “With Jim’s commitment to international education, I expect to see more opportunities for our students to participate in global education initiatives.”

McLaughlin has dedicated his research to better understanding the immigrant educational experience. His areas of focus are social curriculum in classrooms in the USA and rural Mexico, the education of Latino immigrant students, the history of immigrant education in the U.S., and teacher action research. He is co-author of two books, Foundations of Democratic Education (Harcourt Brace) and Classroom Management: Perspectives on the Social Curriculum (Prentice-Hall). His writing has been published in a number of journals including Journal of Education and Urban Society, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Teacher Education.

Since 1997, McLaughlin has examined life in Mexican schools, and was named a Fulbright Scholar for Teaching and Research in 2002-03. He has published articles on one-room rural schools in the Latin American country, and has created study abroad and student exchange experiences in Mexico for educators. His next project in this area is a manuscript detailing the experiences of one Mexican family in a rural area that has been affected by emigration to the U.S.

McLaughlin will join Rollins this fall.

By Laura J. Cole

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