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Q&A with Joshua Marland

Meet the newest addition to the Highlander Institute Team, Joshua Marland! As Manager of Organizational Learning at the Institute, Joshua oversees the development of data collection and analysis systems. He is currently working on his dissertation in the Research in Educational Measurement and Psychometrics doctoral program at UMass Amherst. Before UMass, he worked at the Regents Research Fund with the New York State Education Department, and was also a Strategic Data Fellow with the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard. He helped develop the data collection and analysis capacity at New Leaders, a nonprofit that trains and supports urban school principals across the country. He holds a Master’s in Urban Education Policy from Brown, and a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from the University of Florida.


Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander

My role at the Institute will be mainly focused on developing data collection and analysis systems so the organization can really learn from all of our initiatives and share that learning out with our partners.

What’s your background?

I’m currently working on my dissertation in the Research in Educational Measurement and Psychometrics doctoral program at UMass Amherst, where I’ve focused mostly on quantitative research and analysis methods. My interest is in using these methods to make sense of the data that organizations collect so that we can really learn about what’s going on (and maybe even disrupt!)  My first role after my master’s was on the organizational learning team at New Leaders, where we really embraced this idea of knowledge development – which is turning data (quantitative and qualitative) into information through analysis – which then becomes knowledge through dialogue. To my mind, that’s exactly the work that we want to do at Highlander.

What are you most looking forward to with this new position?

I’m looking forward to so much with this position! One of the reasons I took this position is because I think student-centered learning will play an even more important role in education going forward, so I’m eager to be a part of that. The Institute has done a fantastic job of collecting data, so I’m eager to dig into it and start learning what we can! I’m also from Warwick, so I’m super excited to be moving back to work in education in RI.

What’s your self-professed ninja-power?

It’s probably really expected for me to say I’m a data guru, but I really do love working with data and am pretty good at it. If we’re going way outside the box, I love (and collect) bugs, so maybe my power is the bug whisperer.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

I’m the first in my family to go to college, and I’m also a proud community college graduate!