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Drew University Professor, Alum Team Up on Research Paper

Professor Caitlin Killian and alum TJ Chiang C’17 tackle education question through UN lens

September 2023 – Faculty mentorship does not always stop at graduation.

Case in point: Drew University Professor of Sociology Caitlin Killian and former student TJ Chiang C’17 recently teamed up to publish a scholarly article on alternative schooling methods and their adherence to United Nations Conventions standards for children’s fundamental educational rights.

The two each brought their own expertise to the subject, helping flesh out a cohesive paper.

“TJ and I truly combined forces,” said Killian. “He had the background in education from his masters studies from Columbia and Penn, and I brought in the human rights angle.”

Chiang, now teaching in Rowan University’s sociology and anthropology department, echoed these sentiments.

“I was aware of the impacts of school choice on academic trajectories and she possessed exceptional knowledge of the UN and the UN Conventions, which I did not have at all.”

Chiang went further, crediting Killian’s expertise with their answer to the complex paradox they worked to address.

“Her knowledge of the UN allowed us to craft an innovative proposed solution to allow private schools and homeschooling options but with oversight measures that ensure that all students have basic standards of learning and knowledge so that they can be productive, informed members of society.”

One published paper down, Chiang and Killian reflected on the importance of the experience.

“The project aside,” said Chiang, “I greatly benefited from her knowledge of the peer-review publishing process as a junior faculty member starting my career in academia.”

Killian was more than happy to provide such guidance.

“Published work helps students be accepted into graduate school, it helps graduate students get hired for jobs, and it helps junior faculty be retained and get promoted,” she said.

“Helping our current and former students do research, present at conferences, and publish papers is a priority of mine and my fellow faculty members at Drew.”

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