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Drs. Xu and Cormier awarded COVID-19 rapid research grants

Studies designed to provide resources for PreK-12 Richmond students, support systems for international students from China

From left: headshots of Dr. Yaoying Xu and Dr. Dwayne Ray Cormier, both of the VCU School of Education. [View Image] [View Image]From left: Dr. Yaoying Xu, professor, and Dr. Dwayne Ray Cormier, assistant professor.

Two VCU School of Education faculty members have been awarded COVID-19 rapid research grants by the university to help better understand this new pandemic and to combat it.

Dwayne Ray Cormier, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Foundations of Education and visiting iCubed scholar, and Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, received news of their awards in April.

Cormier’s study will explore pandemic preparedness and response within PreK-12 public school systems located within the Greater Richmond area during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“The study is exploratory and will use sociological and cultural theoretical frameworks together with a concept mapping methodology to analyze data yielded from focus groups across the PreK-12 school systems,” said Cormier.

Findings from the research will have an immediate impact, providing PreK-12 school systems with a preparedness checklist and resource guides as they prepare for future pandemics and the reopening of schools post-COVID-19.

Xu’s study will begin with a focus group interview of 6-8 international students from China on their experiences and perceptions during the COVID-19 outbreak. Following that, Xu’s team will develop and implement a series of culturally responsive support systems to help international students from China cope with this world crisis.

“We expect these support systems will sustain across VCU campuses after their initial launch and will become resources for all international students on VCU campuses,” said Xu.

The COVID-19 rapid research funding opportunity is offered by the VCU Office of Research and Innovation, with support of VCU’s Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research. The primary goal of the grants is to advance projects that are ready for rapid development and deployment, that will enhance real time decision making and implementation within the health system and in the local community.

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