Primarily Math educator receives ORCA award

Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards
Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards

The University of Nebraska recently announced the 2012 recipients of its most prestigious, system-wide award, the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award. Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards, Willa Cather Professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies and the Department of Psychology, is one of two recipients of the 2012 ORCA award.

Edwards is a co-Principal Investigator of the NebraskaMATH grant and has been instrumental in the development of the research and coursework that comprises the Primarily Math program. Her expertise has helped position the research program associated with Primarily Math to inform the nation as to how teachers of young children are best equipped to increase student achievement in mathematics.

The ORCA award is presented each year in honor of outstanding research or creativity of national or international significance, and are given for a sustained record of excellent accomplishment in research or creative activity rather than 'meritorious' service.

The ORCA award citation reads as follows:
"Edwards earned degrees at Harvard University in anthropology and human development. Before coming to the University of Nebraska 15 years ago, she taught at Vassar College and the Universities of Massachusetts and Kentucky, and she has held visiting research appointments in Kenya, Italy, and Norway. Her research focuses on developmental psychology and early childhood education.

"Beginning with research in East Africa, she has studied cultural influences on children’s development around the world. In the field of early childhood education, she is best known for her studies of the innovative public early childhood services of Reggio Emilia and Pistoia, Italy. She is also part of federally funded research projects at the University of Nebraska seeking to evaluate and improve the quality of children's services, to strengthen parent-child-teacher relationships to help children get ready for school, and to improve K-3 mathematics education throughout the state of Nebraska. She is author of 11 books and 120 scholarly articles and chapters.

"Her work emphasizes interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration. In making contributions to anthropology, psychology and early childhood education, she has brought the methods and thinking of each of these disciplines to the others. This past year she has served as coordinator for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, established in 2011 at the University of Nebraska to promote young children’s development and learning, birth to age 8."