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College of Education presents Dr. Keith Nitta in annual Couch Lecture April 17

April 11, 2008 -- Dr. Keith Nitta, assistant professor of Educational Policy at the Clinton School for Public Service, will be the guest speaker for Arkansas State University's annual Paul Couch Lecture on Education. Dr. Nitta’s lecture, “Closing the Achievement Gap in Arkansas,” will be Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the Osage Room on the third floor of ASU’s Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, Jonesboro. Free parking is available in the parking garage adjacent to the Student Union. Admission to the lecture is free, and the public is invited. A reception will follow the lecture.

Dr. Nitta is co-author with Dr. Jay Barth, of the recent study, “Education in the Post-Lake View Era: What is Arkansas Doing to Close the Achievement Gap?” This study was funded by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Dr. Nitta received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has served as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Los Angeles and taught in Japanese public schools for two years on the Ministry of Education’s Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Nitta worked on staff for the California State Legislature from 2002-2004, dealing with education policy, including the development of the P-16 Master Plan for Education. He has published on education reform, organizational theory, and U.S.-Japanese politics.  He is the author of “The Politics of Structural Education Reform” (forthcoming from Routledge). Dr. Nitta currently works with researchers at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to investigate the effects of rural school consolidation. He is also engaged in a project using social network methods to understand school entrepreneurs.

The lecture series is sponsored by the ASU chapter of Phi Delta Kappa and the College of Education. Established as a way to present outstanding speakers to the community, the series is named in honor of Dr. Paul Ellsworth Couch, who joined the ASU faculty in 1945 and retired in 1972, after devoting 27 years to the university.

Couch was the first chairman of the Department of Education and the first dean of the Graduate School. He was also the founding member and the first faculty adviser of the ASU chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. Couch received the National Outstanding Educator award in 1971.



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