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Lynch School of Education

Matthew J. Welch, Ph.D. '12 wins Outstanding Dissertation Award

Lynch School of Education doctoral graduate Matthew J. Welch has won the American Education Research Association (AERA) Districts in Research and Reform Special Interest Group Outstanding Dissertation Award.

He received his award at the annual meeting of AERA in San Francisco, CA, April 24-May 1, 2013.

Dr. Welch’s dissertation, titled Districts’ Experiences Balancing Inclusion, Accountability, and Change: Mixed-Methods Case Studies of Implementation in Ontario and New Hampshire was successfully defended and awarded by the Lynch School in June 2012.                                     

The AERA Districts in Research and Reform SIG’s Outstanding Dissertation Award is given to a recent doctoral candidate whose dissertation reflects the SIG goals of promoting research that features central office administrators or school board members as main actors in reform or that considers educational reforms and practices that are districtwide in nature.

His award-winning dissertation consists of four mixed-methods case studies from the United States and Canada. The case studies highlighted efforts to foster participation and achievement for students with special needs and collaboration between general and special educators. Welch proposes a workable theory for policymakers and school and district staff for the design and implementation of policy that attends to the inclusion of students with special educational needs and demands for test-based accountability.

Thomas More Brennan Chair Andy Hargreaves served as Dr. Welch’s dissertation advisor.

“[His dissertation] focus is clearly and compellingly on educational policy design and implementation and it makes a significantly original contribution to the field of school district research in a study that is unusually ambitious in depth and scope and that still achieves great coherence in the presentation of its findings and their implications,” said Hargreaves.