Scholar of the Quarter | Spring 2021

Elizabeth Montano

June 8, 2021–P.L.A.C.E with CAMPSSAH is delighted to announce the recipient of our spring Scholar of the Quarter award–Elizabeth Montaño, Associate Professor of Teaching in the School of Education!

The Scholar of the Quarter award is a new initiative funded by a UC Office of the President “Advancing Faculty Diversity” grant designed to improve faculty retention and satisfaction through peer recognition.

This award is designed to recognize faculty at the assistant or associate rank whose scholarship epitomizes scholarly or creative achievements that involve diverse communities with a commitment to social change. 

Applicants were evaluated on whether they developed innovative curriculum that engages diverse student populations with collaborative work in communities; demonstrated a long standing commitment to advocating on behalf of underserved communities; produced creative or scholarly work that brings awareness to critical issues facing marginalized communities; and conducts research that challenges “normative” disciplinary boundaries.

As nominators Marcela Cuellar and Kevin Gee explained, Montaño is a leader and leading educator in the School’s Ed.D. program. She is currently at the forefront of leading a program-wide curriculum redesign process–the type of transformational work that is necessary to make our university more equitable at its very foundation. Alicia Garcia, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the School of Education, studying organization and education policy cheered the selection saying, “Dr. Montaño is amazing educator who makes herself available to mentor her students both professionally and personally. She has really humanized the professoriate for me which I aspire to be a part of post-graduation.”

Along those same lines of moving institutions in the direction of social justice, Montaño is also a leading expert in approaches in education. Restorative Justice is an alternative to standard school disciplinary measures, and seeks to repair harm, particularly systemic harms inflicted on youth of color via a cooperative approach and it has become a cornerstone in California’s performance expectations for public school teachers. Through her recent research publication, “History Matters: Challenging an A-Historical Approach to Restorative Justice in Teacher Education,” published in a leading journal in the field of education, Theory Into Practice, Dr. Montaño generates new evidence of troubling trends about how Restorative Justice is being implemented throughout schools and classrooms. Her work has crucial implications statewide and, beyond just building awareness, is a fundamental call to action for a paradigm shift in teacher education programs.

Dr. Montaño is also currently the Chair of the Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CANDEL), a program designed to prepare educational leaders in schools, community colleges, and related educational capacities that reside in Northern California. The program puts particular emphasis on leading for change in educational environments that promote learning, equity, and achievement for all students.

Montaño’s leadership in the School of Education, amongst the community of educational leaders in the region, her mentorship/teaching directly with students, and her scholarly work which shapes the field and informs policy is a stellar example of engaged work which seamlessly blends the three pillars of teaching, research, and service at the highest level,” remarked Kimberly Nettles-Barcelón, the grant’s Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

The Scholar of the Quarter will receive a $1,000 Academic Enrichment Fund as well as a certificate of recognition.