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Howard Earl Fields wins Innovative ETD Award

posted Aug 7, 2017, 2:16 PM by NDLTD Admin
Dr. Howard Earl Fields III
Howard Earl Fields III, Ph.D. Education (2017) / University of Missouri-St. Louis

Howard Fields’ written dissertation was accompanied by a documentary, which was titled, “The Art of the Student Transfer Program.” This feature-length documentary examined the disparities in education for Black students living in poverty. Dr. Fields takes a look at a St. Louis, Missouri law, allowing students from failing districts to transfer to higher-performing neighboring districts. He examines this law through an often-overlooked perspective: that of the families involved.

Through his research, it is evident that these disparities in educational equality have a long and wide-spread history. However, as a former employee of one of the failing districts, the topic hit on a personal level as well.

While writing, and transcribing interviews with families would have been a sufficient route to take, Fields’ incorporated his passion for cinematography, and the stories that are better captured through film, to create a documentary that outlines the Student Transfer Program, its impact on the St. Louis area, and three families directly involved. The unique perspectives of each of these families shed light on this controversial topic that the media does not always fully represent.

Dr. Fields has transitioned to a neighboring St. Louis school district, where he serves as principal of both an elementary school and 6th-grade center. However, he is still very passionate regarding all matters that are associated with urban education. He continues to strive to help ensure that all students receive an equitable education through mentoring of students and administrators.

The thesis of Dr. Fields is available through the thesis repository of the University of Missouri - St. Louis at

The documentary "The Art of The Student Transfer Program" made by Dr. Fields as part of his thesis research:

The Art of The Student Transfer Program

Award acceptance video by Dr. Fields:

Award Acceptance by Dr. Fields