Ph.D. in Education, 2014
School of Education
August 1, 2013
“I am excited about the opportunity to work in an environment that sees its students as co-collaborators.”
Adam Sheppard, who is completing his UC Irvine Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC), has been hired as the new Student Life Coordinator for The Academy Charter High School in Santa Ana (The Academy).
The Academy is a collaborative effort among Orangewood Children’s Foundation, Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), and UC Irvine School of Education to offer project-based learning in Engineering and Design, as well as college preparation (A-G requirements).
The Academy, which is welcoming its first class of 9th grade students this September, has been designed to provide a transformational learning environment for community, underserved, and foster youth.
Soon-to-be Dr. Sheppard shared the activities he will be pursuing as Student Life Coordinator and the preparation he is bringing to his new position.
As Student Life Coordinator, my main responsibilities relate to overseeing overall school culture through a variety of non-classroom experiences. By participating in weekly town hall meetings, small group advisory meetings, and lunchtime activities, students will have multiple opportunities to interact with school staff, and their peers, in non-classroom environments, which will help develop a more holistic view toward the school that reaches beyond the traditional strict academic focus. Engaging after-school enrichment courses will also expose students to a variety of skills and knowledge that will help support and build upon the material covered during their traditional school-day classes.
Both my academic training and my professional experiences have prepared me to work in this exciting new endeavor. Graduating from UCLA, with a degree in physiology, I began my working career with a collaborative project between the YMCA of Orange County and the Santa Ana Unified School District. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, I was able to assist elementary school teachers in developing physical activity programs for their students in an effort to improve their health and well-being. During this time, I also completed a master’s degree in kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton, where I was introduced to the ideas behind the positive youth development movement—using organized activities to promote psychological, social, emotional, and physical development in youth.
Upon completing my master’s and finishing up grant-related projects in Santa Ana, I chose to pursue my doctorate in Education at UC Irvine—with an emphasis on positive youth development and the design of organized activities outside of schools. While at UCI, I taught various courses in the School of Education including: Foundations of Out-of-School Learning, and Issues in K-12 Education. I was also fortunate to be able to publish research and speak locally, as well as nationally, about the benefits of youth activities.
After hearing about the dynamic and innovative learning community being created at The Academy, I knew I wanted to be a part of this effort. I am excited about the opportunity to work in an environment that sees its students as co-collaborators in the design of learning experiences and look forward to seeing it all come together.