My goal as a teacher is to develop an environment where students feel motivated to complicate questions and issues, unpack them, and put them back together in new ways. I want students to leave the class at the end of the semester excited about the fact they have begun thinking about issues in new ways and motivated to use this skill in their other coursework, in their work lives and in their personal lives.
In order to invoke the abovementioned, I find it critical to devise class materials and assignments that are challenging. However, I find it to be the teacher’s responsibility to guide students through the journey of navigating the challenging material. In particular, I highly value using scaffolding techniques for assignments to help me know whether students are mastering the material and creating a successful project.
My classes are very organized, down to having a timed agenda to use as a guide which is shared with students at the beginning of every class. However, I create an informal atmosphere. I also provide assignment overviews that give structure to assignments, yet also leave space for students’ creativity. I have found this combination of organization and informality creates a good balance for students. Students typically find me to be approachable, nurturing, and highly engaging in the classroom. By being positive, upbeat and “present”, I have found that students tend to be highly engrossed and excited about their education.
Finally, I highly desire students to begin thinking as global citizens. I aim to impart critical ways of thinking in the classroom that allow them to connect our discussion not only to the local but the larger global context. This context is the heart of my work and it is part of my overarching philosophy that our work and the ways in which we conduct our lives is highly interconnected across cultures, regions, countries, etc.
While I am a higher education scholar, my work spans the PK-20 continuum and uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. The social context of education overarches most of my research which focuses on the student development of immigrants; international student experiences; higher education quality, organization and governance; and, the barriers impeding marginalized populations from persisting through the PK-20 pipeline. Much of my US-based work on immigrant generation students has focused on Asian American populations; yet, recently, I have extended some of this work on sociocultural and academic decision-making to Latino communities. I have worked extensively on projects throughout South Asia and currently have numerous ongoing projects.
My work has appeared in numerous journals including Teachers College Record, Ethnic and Racial Studies, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Berkeley Review of Education, Asian Education and Development Studies, Annual Review of Comparative and International Education, and Social and Education History. I am co-editor of the upcoming Palgrave Macmillan book series South Asian Education Policy, Research and Practice and will be co-editing a special issue of Asian Education and Development Studies about quality issues in Asian higher education.
I have consistently presented work and provided active service at several North American-based organizations including American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and Council on International Higher Education (CIHE) as well as at international forums including World Congress of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), Comparative Education Society of India (CESI) and Global Conclave of Young Scholars of Indian Education. He is Chair for the South Asia Special Interest Group (SIG) and Chair of the Book Awards Committee of the Higher Education SIG, both of CIES. I have also been an invited speaker at higher education institutions and government agencies throughout South Asia and in the US.
2015 Ph.D., Higher Education Research, Claremont Graduate University Dissertation: “Educational Value in Urban Colleges of Education in India.”
Awarded Claremont Graduate University Dissertation Research Grant- $10,000
2004 M.A., Educational Research Methodology, Louisiana State University
1999 M.S., Leadership and Policy Studies of Higher Education, University of
1996 B.A., English, Towson University
Paik, S. J., Cho S. M. & Witenstein, M. A. (2016). Filipinos in the U.S.: Historical and Educational Experiences, Social and Education History, 5(2), 134-160.
Witenstein, M. A. & Saito L. E. (2015). Exploring the Educational Implications of the Third Space Framework for Transnational Asian Adoptees, Berkeley Review of Education, 5(2), 117-136.
Paik, S. J., Ganley, D. E., Luschei, T. F., Kula, S. M., Witenstein, M. A., Truong, K. K., & Shimogori, Y. (2015). Intercultural Exchange Among Global Teachers: The case of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Study Abroad Program, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 49, 100-113.
Paik, S. J., Kula, S. M., Saito, L. E., Rahman, Z, & Witenstein, M. A. (2014). Historical perspectives on diverse Asian American educational experiences: Modes of incorporation and achievement, Teachers College Record, 116(8).
Iyengar, R., Witenstein, M. A., & Byker, E. (2014). Comparative Perspectives on Teacher Education in South Asia, International Perspectives on Education and Society, 25, 99-106.
Rahman, Z. & Witenstein, M. A. (2014). A quantitative study of cultural conflict and gender differences in South Asian American college students, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37(6), 1121-1137.
Witenstein, M. A. & Palmer, B. (2013). Inequality of participation in Nepalese higher education: A critical conceptual model of educational barriers, Asian Education and Development Studies, 2(2), 162-176.
Witenstein, M. A. & Setty, R. (Forthcoming, 2016). Theorizing participatory action research (PAR) in South Asian educational contexts. In R. Iyengar, M. A. Witenstein, H. Kidwai, R. Setty, & E. J. Byker (Eds.), The Practice of Participation in Educational Development: Exploring the Roles, Goals, and Limits of Participatory Action Research in South Asia. Palgrave Macmillan.
Co-editor of the book series South Asian Education Policy, Research and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan. First volume is entitled “The Practice of Participation in Educational Development: Exploring the Roles, Goals, and Limits of Participatory Action Research in South Asia.”
• American Educational Research Association (AERA)
• Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE)
• Comparative Education Society of India (CESI)
• Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)
• Council on International Higher Education (CIHE)
• World Congress of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES)
• South Asia SIG (CIES)
• Higher Education SIG (CIES)
• Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans SIG (AERA)
• American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (AISLS)
• Chair, CIES South Asia Special Interest Group (SIG)
• Chair, CIES Higher Education SIG Book Award Committee
• Claremont Graduate University (CGU) School of Educational Studies Student Association Jack Schuster Travel Award, 2012, 2014, 2015
• CGU Dissertation Research Grant- $10,000, 2014
• New Scholars Dissertation Workshop grant at CIES Annual Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2014
• CGU Presidential Travel Award, 2013
• Excellence in the Study of Higher Education Award, School of Educational Studies, CGU, 2013
• AERA Division G Travel Award, 2012, 2013
• New Scholars Publication Workshop grant at CIES Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2013
• Invitation and full travel grant, Global Conclave of Young Scholars of Indian Education, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, India, 2011
• CGU Graduate Student Association Travel Award, 2010-2013
• Dean E.B. Robert Scholarship- LSU College of Education, 2003-2004
• Fred G. Thatcher Fellowship- LSU College of Education, 2003-2004