Work by several COE researchers garners national attention

Children eating lunch

From school lunches and food stamps to math teaching, the UO’s College of Education has been serving up headlines recently through the work of its highly ranked faculty.

Research and writing by professors Tasia Smith, Jennifer Ruef and Sarah Riggs Stapleton has landed in major publications and news outlets, shedding light on public policy issues and adding to the knowledge pool. Stories have centered on Smith’s research refuting a connection between food stamps and obesity, Stapelton’s work on school lunch shaming and Ruef’s ideas for making math easier.

All three were featured in The Conversation, a website that works with university researchers from around the world and makes their work available to news organizations.

In “Don’t blame food stamps for obesity in America,” Smith rebuts the notion that low-income people are more prone to obesity than others, noting that only 20 percent of American adults who meet the definition of obesity make enough money to qualify for food aid. The story was picked up widely, landing in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Raw Story, Medical Xpress and numerous other websites and publications.

Ruef’s simple tips for approaching math problems, “These four easy steps can make you a math whiz,” also found a receptive audience, landing in publications ranging from the Associated Press to

And Stapleton’s work on school lunch shaming — the treatment meted out to children whose parents fall behind on school meal debts — landed in the national magazine website Newsweek as well as on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud” radio program. In “We should serve kids food in school, not shame,” Stapleton argues that all children in public schools should receive a free, hot meal at lunch.