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Professors Win Distinguished Research Award


East Palo Alto middle school students, part of the Young Interpreters program co-created by Noah Borrero, USF assistant professor of teacher education, pose in front of a mural.

Noah Borrero, assistant professor of teacher education, and Dean Rader, associate professor of English, each received the University of San Francisco’s annual faculty Distinguished Research Award earlier this year. Borrero’s research focused on issues of equity in urban education; Rader’s on Native American literature, art, and film.

Borrero, who works at schools in Oakland, East Palo Alto, and Los Angeles, where high school graduation rates can be as low as 40 percent, researches approaches to connect communities, families, and students to public schools. His goal is to empower underprivileged youth and increase the investment in and support for teachers. 

“My research is rooted in the belief that education is a human right for all students,” Borrero said.

An example of what he means is the Young Interpreters program that he helped create at an East Palo Alto middle school. There, students who might normally be isolated as English-learners, have been trained in interpretation and translation, drawing on their unique abilities as bilingual students.

Hired by the School of Education in 2007 to create the Master of Arts in Teaching: Urban Education and Social Justice, Borrero works directly with master’s degree students interested in urban teaching environments. “USF is a special place to do this work because we, as a university community, care about issues of equity and social justice,” Borrero said.

Rader, who strives to demystify Native American culture and relate it to the history and culture of other groups, has published several books on Native American art, literature, and culture. “I grew up in Oklahoma, where Native issues are present in every way,” said Rader. “Writing about and teaching Native literature, especially poetry, was a way to connect an aesthetic interest in poetry with increasingly important political and social issues.”

Rader’s book "Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI," published in April, investigates the survival of Native American culture during various occupations and anti-Native movements.

As part of his curriculum, Rader regularly leads students on tours of Alcatraz Island, which was occupied by Native Americans for 19 months beginning in November 1969 to draw attention to Native rights. Students also study the art produced by Native American while on Alcatraz.

Written by Laura Waldron »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews