COURTESY OF SOLA ADESOPE
As WSU College of Education’s new associate dean for research and external funding, Sola Adesope hopes to support faculty research to tackle real-world problems.
Adesope began his career at WSU as an assistant professor of educational psychology in the College of Education. Over the last 10 years, he said he has grown professionally and has seen WSU grow.
Adesope said he was drawn to WSU in 2010 because of the people.
“I love the architecture, the atmosphere, I love the buildings, I love the Palouse, but more importantly, I love the people,” he said. “The people at WSU actually make the place unique.”
Adesope has taught many courses at different universities and enjoyed interacting with students from diverse backgrounds. Adesope said he is excited about the new projects happening across the country.
He also admires other faculty members. Adesope hopes to extend his work beyond his department and involve all faculty members from different colleges. He said he believes collaboration is essential.
“It is such a great thing at WSU that collaboration occurs across different colleges,” he said. “WSU has created a collaborative culture for faculty to work together to tackle challenges, which I am very grateful for.”
Adesope said he has many published articles in his field, including journals and book chapters. He has also spoken at national and international conferences.
Adesope was also the recipient of awards such as the Distinguished Paper Award for his paper “The Effect of Poor Source Code Lexicon and Readability on Developers’ Cognitive Load” and was nominated for the 2020 Washington State University Chosen Coug Award, he said.
The pandemic has been a significant hurdle for research projects, Adesope said. He is involved in a program that brings students to campus from rural areas to teach computer programming skills. The program is a one-week course to teach younger students programming while also developing critical thinking and logic skills. He hopes to inspire these students to pursue computer science-related majors.
However, he said the pandemic made that impossible this year.
“Those challenges, especially COVID, help us to be transformative in our thinking,” he said. “For our annual Boeing computer programming camp for middle school students, rather than bring students to campus, we offered the [programming] camp online for the first time. It was so successful that we were able to draw students from rural areas across the country.”
In the future, Adesope said he is looking to host the programming camp both online and in person to increase its reach and capitalize on the experience from moving it online this last year.
Adesope said he hopes the challenges presented from the pandemic can be used to improve projects and research so that they can be accessible and effective in an online environment.
“Online programming has caused us to think outside the box,” he said.
He said he wants to take the faculty’s experience, expertise and skills from other colleges to tackle problems.
“I will be working to support faculty research programs,” he said. “I look forward to taking our faculty’s experience and expertise and skills to other colleges to tackle some novel problems and grand challenges.”
Adesope said he will help connect WSU’s faculty members with funding options and resources for their research. He will use the connections that he has forged with other colleges within WSU and across the country.