Associate Dean for Research and Community
Associate Professor Paige Bray's teaching expertise includes undergraduate and graduate level teaching, specifically the course work to career transition that occurs during the final year clinical experience coupled with a professional learning community seminar experience. With her own first hand, continuous experience as a teacher and supervisor in Pre-K 3 to Grade 3 early childhood classrooms, Bray focuses on teacher inquiry and authentic practice questions that inform more reflect and effective teaching practice. Seeing herself as an advocate for children and families, Bray teaches collaborative approaches to working with communities, schools, and families and enacts them as a community-engaged scholar. Bray is an academic advisor and program coordinator for the early childhood programs. She teaches early childhood courses including K-3 Integrated Curriculum Course (undergraduate and graduate), Working with Families and Community Agencies (undergraduate and graduate), Student Teaching Seminars and the STEM lab.
Bray's research interests focus on teacher inquiry and the use of meta-cognitive tools. An outgrowth of this dynamic inquiry work is the focus on parent inquiry and working with parents as knowledge producers as well as knowledge consumers. Her methodological choices of collaborative, participatory research reflect a long-held value of practitioner knowledge and commitment to mutual use and benefit — research with, not on, collaborators. Consistently securing funding for her research, Bray is the founding co-chair of URBAN Hartford focusing on supporting and mentoring new faculty and interested community members in public scholarship. With a deep commitment to the whole person Montessori education is ever-present in Bray’s life, including Montessori Concentration program development and research. In addition, Bray has spent the past decade engaging in phenomenological, qualitative interviewing of women who are veteran early childhood teachers of color, as their perspective, professional discernment, and earned wisdom are placeholders of possibility and a window to our educational and social history that risk being lost. Bray integrates her research, theory, and practice through professional development opportunities, research dissemination, and service to the University and local/statewide communities.