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NMSU early childhood research institute welcomes new director

Release Date: 26 Jan 2021
NMSU early childhood research institute welcomes new director

Angela Owens has been named director of New Mexico State University’s Glass Family Research Institute for Early Childhood Studies, an innovative institute that seeks to influence policy and practices related to New Mexico’s young children, families and early childhood educators.

The institute focuses on contemporary interdisciplinary research, educational degree offerings, university and community lab schools and collaborative partnerships at the international, national, state and local levels. It was made possible by a generous gift from Smoky Glass Torgerson and her husband, Alan, and is housed in NMSU’s College of Education.

“As the director of the Institute for Early Childhood Studies, Dr. Owens will guide advanced research in early childhood care and education,” Glass Torgerson said. “As a leader in early childhood education, NMSU’s College of Education must prepare our children for success in school and in life. This unique research institute will identify best practices and policies in early childhood education and will collaborate nationally and globally with the education community.”

Owens holds a Ph.D. in teaching, learning and culture with an emphasis in literacy and bi-literacy education from the University of Texas at El Paso. She also holds dual master’s degrees as an instructional specialist in early childhood and in educational administration, both from UTEP.

“I look forward to the collaborative opportunities for research that will be completed between our local lab school, interdisciplinary fields within university departments and the community,” Owens said. “We will explore questions related to culturally responsive care, pedagogy, and instruction ensuring equity in early childhood education. Pursuing timely research informed with young children, their families, educators, and the communities which nurture them in our borderland is one of my most important goals both during this pandemic and post-pandemic.”

Henrietta Williams Pichon, interim dean for the College of Education, said Owens has a “genuine interest and enthusiasm” for early childhood education and is a great asset to the institute.

“As the premiere early childhood research institute in the Southwest, we understand that the earlier we understand children’s educational experiences, the better we are able to ensure that families are getting what they need for educational success and beyond,” Pichon said.

Owens’ research focuses on caregiver experiences with the special education process, early childhood education and inclusivity for all children. She also has experience ranging from teaching in daycare, elementary and special education settings, and as an elementary campus administrator.

“Her expertise lies in collaborating with stakeholders in education and surrounding local communities as well as using qualitative and quantitative methodologies to create, develop and implement innovative programs that meet the needs of children, families, teachers and the community living in the borderland,” said Rick Marlatt, co-director of the NMSU School of Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership and division director for teacher education. “Dr. Owen’s vision and expertise positions the institute and the stakeholders and communities it serves for success now and into the future.”

“The institute’s research provides an extraordinary opportunity to impact the success for our next generation of youth. It’s so exciting to see NMSU step out as a leader in the development and implementation of early childhood education practices and innovations,” Glass Torgerson said. “Dr. Owens and her colleagues are well prepared for the task.”

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