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Education doctoral trio, professor have research published in Middle School Journal

Logan Butts  | 

Education Middle School journal authors

From left to right: Emily Mofield, Maggie Lund, Jill Green, Autumn Hills

Three alumni from Lipscomb’s Doctor of Education Leadership and Strategic Change program recently had their research featured in Middle School Journal, the official publication of the Association for Middle Level Education

Doctoral students Jill Green, Autumn Hills, and Maggie Lund and Assistant Professor of Education Emily Mofield’s article “Mindsets matter for equitable discipline: Aligning beliefs to practice among middle grade educators” was featured in the third issue of the 52nd volume of the journal earlier this year. 

Green, Hills, and Lund were members of the fall 2017 cohort and graduated with their Ed.D. in December 2019. Lipscomb’s Doctor of Education program culminates with a practical, collaborative dissertation with a real-life client, which was the basis for their published research.

“It's very encouraging because it made sense why we went through the whole process of a dissertation,” Green said. “We were very fortunate to be able to turn what we did into something very practical. Not everybody gets to experience that, I don't think.”

However, whittling down 240-plus pages of a doctoral dissertation on restorative justice in a middle school setting into one article meant their focus had to be distilled down even further. 

“Our goal was to narrow it down to something that was unique and interesting, and that we felt would really make a difference for an administrator,” Green said. “So really, the challenge was just focusing our attention on that one aspect of our whole study. We needed to take our research and narrow it and then make it something useful and practical for people to read, not just research for the sake of research.” 

The team interrogated their data, asking if an impact on the students could actually be seen. When the research showed that there wasn’t a noticeable impact, they then asked themselves why - which became the foundation for their article. 

“When it came to actually having to handle the kids that were the highest need, the teachers just didn't know what to do,” Green said. “In all of our research we had been doing for 18 months, we didn't see any information about that. So that's where we kind decided to do a spin-off from our dissertation and started looking at the professional development.” 

Mofield, who has had her work published in a number of outlets in the field, helped walked them through the details of the publication process. 

“Many students write their dissertation and they're done,” Mofield said. “But this team really took the initiative. They were so excited about what they had learned. They really want to share this information practically with principals and other teachers.” 

Now, all three are applying what they learned in their research on a daily basis at educational institutions across Nashville. Green is the Youth Court Coordinator at Hillwood High School, Lund is the Director of Family and Community Engagement at STEM Preparatory Academy, and Hills is the Interim School Director at STEM Prep. 

“Everything I’m doing now is 100% restorative justice,” Green said. “I can't wait to be able to continue my passion for that and implement some new things in Metro schools. So, I'm very blessed, and I know Maggie and Autumn both feel the same way. We were just very fortunate to have such a good topic that we're all passionate about and continue to use.” 

Green, who now has four degrees in total from Lipscomb, including an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree, and an Ed.S to go along with the Ed.D, says that Lipscomb fully prepared her for every phase of her career. 

“Every day, I'm using what I went to school to do. Everything's practical. There's something about what I learned at Lipscomb that has helped me every day of my career.”