SPOTLIGHT: Gerald Edmonds

Book edited by IDD&E alumni receives positive review

In summer 2017, the book Bridging the High School–College Gap (2016) received a positive review in the educational journal The Teachers College Record (TCR). The book was edited by adjunct faculty member Dr. Gerald Edmonds, Ph.D., and IDD&E alumna Tiffany Squires, Ph.D. We met with Dr. Edmonds in his office and asked a few questions about the book.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Gerald Edmonds, Ph.D.

Why did you decide to publish a book?

— We actually published two books. The first edited volume that we edited gathered previously published studies about Syracuse University Project Advance. We self-published that book because there were requirements from the owners of some of the articles that were in journals that we couldn’t make a profit selling the book. For the Bridging… book, we pulled together different writings about concurrent enrollment programs. There are not many books out there, there are articles—especially in the last few years—but there wasn’t one volume that pulled together definitions, different research studies, and articles about what was happening in various states. I thought there was a gap in the literature on concurrent enrollment that an edited book with those faculty involved in the programs as well as staff members in the programs had a story to tell about concurrent enrollment.

Was it difficult put the book together?

— This was the first time that I had done an edited book this large. Some of the difficulties in pulling the book together were related to a geographic location. We had some editors’ turnover at the press. But Tiffany Squires, an IDD&E alumna, did a fantastic job of organizing and communicating with people, so it eventually became much quicker. Without her, it would be really difficult for me to finish, especially as I transitioned positions at the University.

How does it feel now that the book is published and you see reviews?

When I saw it, I was driving back from New York. I saw several messages on my phone that said “review.” I wasn’t sure what they were all about, but then opened them and realized they were about the book we’d published. I felt nervous at first, but it turned out an extremely positive review. It was nice to see that the book had been very well received by Teachers College Record.

 It was published in 2016. Before this review, did you get any kind of feedback on the book from others?

Yes, mostly from the authors. There was a promotional post that was sent to last year’s NACEP conference and there is a number of volumes that have been sold there. Their feedback was more informal, such as “It’s good” and “This is very interesting.” But Teachers College Record was the first formal review.

What impact do you want ideally this book to have?

 To help further the scholarship of concurrent enrollment, to get people—both practitioners in research and faculty—to have concurrent enrollment or dual enrollment program as a focus of their research. I think that those types of programs do provide that extremely valuable role to help students make the transition and give them an idea what to expect at the next level.

For someone who takes this book for the first time, what do you think could be the biggest takeaways regarding the concurrent enrollment programs?

We structured it so readers could find something relevant depending on their purpose. The first part of the book—definitions, foundations, examples—attempted to define some of the different ways of thinking about concurrent enrollment. The second part looks at the components of such programs and some of their features. The third part discussed what is happening at the state level. Finally, the fourth part talks about research and evaluation studies around concurrent enrollment programs. I think the book provides a solid foundation in jumping off point for other avenues to explore.

— Is it the kind of book for principals or is the audience bigger?

I think it could be bigger and include principals, school boards, superintendents—anyone who understands these types of programs and what they mean for their schools. Parents and students may want to read it to have a better understanding of what these programs are. Universities that might not have these programs can be interested to know more about how these programs function. Even programs that are in current existence will find the book useful by learning helpful tips about what other colleges and universities are doing.

Are there other books that are sitting in your mind waiting to be written and published?

When I can find the time (smiles). I’ve always thought about writing a book on the management of concurrent enrollment programs. I spent a number of years as Associate Director and Director of SU Project Advance. During the time I was Director, we expanded our staff and course offerings. We also increased the number of students enrolled from about 2,000 to 12,000. I think there’s some expertise that I gained over the years to share with other people and other programs that want to learn how to manage or set up such programs and position it for success.

There is another idea, too—some type of a Dick-and-Carey book on assessment. Initially, I will be preparing a couple of presentation proposals related to assessment and institutional effectiveness. One will be on assessing strategic plans and one on categorizing assessment outcomes using the classic IDD&E framework: are you looking at an instructional problem, a motivation problem, an organization or policy problem, or a tools problem? And then link assessment with our Instructional Technology foundations. These are my most immediate goals.

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