News - 01/10/2014

MiraCosta College Instructor Selected for Fellowship

Mark Whitney

Mark Whitney, MiraCosta College’s Child Development Center director, is one of seven faculty members from around the state who have been selected for a year-long fellowship program to research early childhood education issues.

The Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development created the fellowship program to connect prominent researchers with California community college faculty exploring issues affecting children birth to 3 years old. The program launches with a think tank symposium in February at Santa Barbara City College. It is the first project of its kind at the community college level, where 70 percent of early childhood educators are trained.

The fellowship program “will provide an interdisciplinary platform for community college professionals to dialogue with major researchers on the rapidly changing issues facing families today,” states a video produced by the program.

“It provides a really unique opportunity to bring together prominent researchers with community college faculty,” Dr. Whitney said. “It will help bridge the gap between research and practice.”

In his fellowship application, Dr. Whitney wrote that he expects to “develop a set of protocols delineating and demonstrating best practices in the design, implementation and evaluation of high-quality early childhood learning environments…” 

He will have plenty of support through the new program. “At the Think Tank, you will have the opportunity to dialogue with internationally recognized experts, college faculty and Fellows about early childhood research and on issues impacting families today,” states a letter sent to Dr. Whitney informing him of his selection as a 2014-15 Simms/Mann Institute Fellow.

Dr. Whitney has been with MiraCosta College for the past 14 years. As director of the Child Development Center, he is responsible for programming for approximately 150 young children and their families and for coordinating the efforts of as many as 30 staff. He also teaches a wide range of child development courses at both the Oceanside and San Elijo campuses.

He wrapped up a sabbatical research project in the spring of 2012 with a report detailing the importance of reconnecting young children with the outdoors and incorporating natural elements within traditional playgrounds.

“I am interested in using the fellowship as an opportunity to more deeply engage my community of learners in an applied understanding of inclusive childhood programming in natural environments for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families,” Dr. Whitney wrote in his application.

Bookmark and Share