2015 News Releases
Head of the class: College of Education honors outstanding new graduates
Nine future teachers from Kansas State University's College of Education have earned honors from the college or the Kansas State Department of Education for excellence. At the college's Dec. 12 commencement ceremony in Manhattan, five students were recognized as winners of the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award for their demonstrated excellence in leadership and scholarship as undergraduates. The college also recognized two graduating seniors — an elementary education major and a secondary education major — as recipients of its Outstanding Future Teacher Award. In addition, the state's Department of Education recognized two Teachers of Promise from each of the teacher education programs in the state. The Kansas State University recipients were recognized with the other Teacher of Promise recipients at the Kansas Teacher of the Year state awards banquet Nov. 21 in Wichita.
The following students, all December 2015 bachelor's degree graduates, are award winners:
- Jordan Kennedy, elementary education, Frankfort, Kansas State Department of Education Teacher of Promise Award. A summa cum laude graduate of the college, Kennedy is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society, and a recipient of the Transfer Achievement Award, Crosby Family Education Scholarship, Charles and Doris Setterquist Scholarship, College of Education Alumni Scholarship and Edwin Lee Holton Scholarship. She also presented "Rigorous Technology in the Classroom" at the 2015 Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics conference. The daughter of Michael and Melissa Kennedy, Frankfort, she is a 2011 graduate of Frankfort High School.
- Autumn Snesrud, secondary education, Iola, College of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. President of the Staley School of Leadership Studies Ambassadors, Snesrud also served as a leadership studies peer leader practicum student leader and a member of one of the school's International Service Teams. She was a member of Silver Key, the sophomore honorary; the Kansas State University Marching Band, serving as section leader; and Tau Beta Sigma, the music service sorority. She also was the recipient of a Pat J. Bosco Leadership Studies Outstanding Graduating Senior Award and was co-coordinator of the Olathe Ethics Conference. The daughter of Jim and Melody Snesrud, Iola, she is a 2011 graduate of Iola High School.
- James Ashcraft, secondary education, Lawrence, College of Education Future Teacher Award. Ashcraft is the son of Dick and Sue Ashcraft, Lawrence, and a 2004 graduate of Lawrence High School.
- Jennifer Beesley, secondary education, Overland Park, Kansas State Department of Education Teacher of Promise Award. A member of Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, Beesley served as its historian and membership chair. She was a member of KSU Navigators, a University Experience tutor and a four-year Putnam Scholarship recipient. She also served as a camp counselor at Camp War Eagle and Little Apple Day Camp. Beesley is the daughter of Darin and Kari Beesley, Overland Park, and a 2011 graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School.
- Hannah Pralle, secondary education, Randolph, College of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. A magna cum laude graduate, Pralle has earned semester honors throughout her time at the university. She is the recipient of several College of Education scholarships, including the David R. Laurie Jr. Scholarship, Doris and Charles Setterquist Memorial Scholarship, College of Education Alumni Scholarship, Dr. Charles I. Rankin Scholarship in Education and the College of Education Faculty and Staff Scholarship. She is a member of the university's student chapter of the Kansas National Education Association and of the Kansas Reading Association. Pralle co-authored an article that appeared in the Kansas Reading Journal. She also is active in 4-H. She was a 12-year member of the Randolph Ramblers 4-H Club, serving as club president, vice president and secretary. The daughter of Steve and Michelle Pralle, Randolph, she is a 2011 graduate of Blue Valley-Randolph High School.
- Jessica Leichter, elementary education, Shawnee, College of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. A summa cum laude graduate who earned semester honors throughout her Kansas State University undergraduate career, Leichter also completed the University Honors Program and was a Nancy Larson Foundation and Kansas State University Foundation scholar. She was active in the college, serving as historian of the Education Ambassadors; a member of Kappa Delta Pi education honor society; and a member the student chapter of the Kansas National Education Association, KNEA-SP, serving as new member and newsletter chair. At the university level, she was on the standards committee for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and community service project chair for Silver Key, the sophomore honorary. In addition, Leichter was featured in the College of Education documentary, "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students." Her community service includes the college volunteer program at Children's Mercy Hospital, summer staff for Trail West Family Camp, lead teacher in her church's preschool ministries, book club and bingo activities volunteer at Via Christi Senior Housing and presenter at the Kansas Association for Teachers of Mathematics annual conference. The daughter of Kim Leichter and James Leichter, both of Shawnee, she is a 2012 graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.
- Bonnie Bailey, elementary education, Washington, College of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. A university semester honors list student, Bailey is a member of Education Ambassadors, serving as its Ad Hoc Committee chair. She also is a member of Christian Challenge, serving on the leadership team and as a life group leader. She has received the BSNSF Scholarship and Maude C. Meyer Education Scholarship, and she had internships in Amsterdam and Spain. Bailey is the daughter of Terry and Ruth Bailey, Washington, and a 2011 graduate of Washington High School.
- Hilary Cosgrove, elementary education, Wichita, College of Education Future Teacher Award. A Kansas State University semester honors list student, Cosgrove also received the Pilots Program's 2011 Freshman Excellence Award. She was a member of the Classy Cats dance team from 2010-2014, serving as an assistant section leader of the squad in 2013 and 2014, and being named the Assistant Section Leader of the Year for both years. She also was a recipient of the Kansas State University Marching Band's Medallion Scholarship in 2013-2014. She earned the National Dance Alliance's All-American Dancer Award at Collegiate Dance Camp in 2012 and 2013. The daughter of Daniel and Margaret Cosgrove, Wichita, she is a 2010 graduate of Kapaun Mount Carmel High School.
- Sarah Potter, elementary education, Winfield, College of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Potter served as president of Transfer Ambassadors and as an Education Ambassador. She also was a life group leader for Christian Challenge and received the Order of the Arrow as an outstanding coach and bearer of the 3 Flames at Camp War Eagle in Rogers, Arkansas. The daughter of Pat and Dorothy Potter, she is a 2011 graduate of Winfield High School.
K-Stater named Kansas School Counselor of the Year
A College of Education doctoral candidate in the department of special education, counseling and student affairs was named Outstanding School Counselor of the Year at the 66th Annual Counseling Conference in Emporia, Kansas. The Kansas School Counselor Association, or KSCA, named Kristin Wright, school counselor at Lincoln Elementary School in Clay Center, as the 2015-2016 Outstanding School Counselor of the Year. Wright earned a master's degree in counseling from K-State in 2003 and is currently working toward her doctoral degree. As winner, she is the state nominee for the American School Counselor Association's 2017 National School Counselor of the Year award. The other two finalists also were K-Staters: Tara Walrod, a school counselor at Sunrise Point Elementary in the Blue Valley School District completed a master's degree here; and William Skaggs III, a school counselor at Topeka High School, is a doctoral student.
Ken Hughey, professor and chair of the department of special education, counseling and student affairs, applauds the winner and finalists. "Our faculty are very proud of Kristin, Tara, and Willie and their many contributions to the profession," Hughey said. "To have three professionals associated with our programs selected as finalists is not only a treat for us but also offers evidence of the depth of our programming and speaks to the caliber of people dedicated to this challenging and rewarding line of work. All three have contributed positively to school counseling in the state and their districts and represent our department, the College of Education, and Kansas State University very well."
OEIE conducting national evaluation of Air Force teen programs
The Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, or OEIE, is conducting an evaluation of the U.S. Air Force Youth Programs, or YP, to provide empirical, actionable information about the overall impact of YP teen programs for developers and managers, as well as other stakeholders. This work is part of a grant awarded to Marlene Verbrugge, research assistant professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services. She received the grant from the Air Force 4-H Military Partnership and Outreach and Support Project awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or USDA-NIFA, in 2014.
Air Force YP offers teens and younger children a wide range of programs, instructional classes and events, focused on character and leadership development; education and career development; informal sports, recreation, and fitness; health and life skills; arts; and recognition of youth. Air Force YP has affiliations with Boys and Girls Club of America and 4-H Clubs, and is located on more than 70 installations across the United States and throughout the world.
The evaluation applies systematic research methods to assess the experiences and outcomes of teens who participate in YP, and provides evidence to support the mission of the U.S. Air Force through program improvement. Specifically, K-State's Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation is exploring what YP teen programs are doing well, areas for improvement, and the benefits of participation to support the overall goal of enhancing YP opportunities for current and future teen participants.
The evaluation effort is being led by OEIE evaluators Valerie York and Allison Teeter, with support from team members Katie Allen, LeAnn Brosius, Robert McCowen, and OEIE acting director Cindy Shuman.
OEIE is a full-service evaluation center, established in 2000 and affiliated with the College of Education, conducting program evaluations for a broad range of clientele in educational institutions, governmental agencies, and other organizations. Principal evaluators within the office have extensive expertise in program evaluation design, curriculum development, instrument development, and program assessment and evaluation. For more information about OEIE, including a searchable database of OEIE evaluation projects and contact information, please visit www.oeie.ksu.edu.
Yelich Biniecki receives national early career award
A tenure-track professor in the College of Education recently received a national award for her academic contributions to the field of adult and continuing education. Susan Yelich Biniecki, assistant professor in educational leadership department, was presented with the Early Career Award from the Commission of Professors of Adult Education of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education in November at its annual conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The award honors an individual in the early stage of their academic career who has made significant contributions in scholarship and service to the field of adult education as well as demonstrated excellence in research and publication. Yelich Biniecki's research focuses on adult learning and knowledge construction in international education contexts.
David C. Thompson, professor and chair of the educational leadership department, believes Yelich Biniecki has been an exceptional addition to his department. "Dr. Yelich Biniecki represents the best of the present and the great promise of the future," Thompson said. "We have an outstanding faculty of adult education, and we are so proud that Dr. Yelich Biniecki chose Kansas State University for her academic home. She has a wonderful future in the university and beyond; we could not be more fortunate to have her here."
Simone C.O. Conceição, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Jeff Zacharakis, a professor at Kansas State University, supported Yelich Biniecki's nomination for the early career award. "I believe Dr. Yelich Biniecki's contributions to the field of adult education have been of the highest quality with publications in top journals using a variety of methodologies," Conceição said. "Her work in teaching, scholarship, and service shows impact and promise in visible ways at the institutional, national, and international levels."
Zacharakis agrees. "Susan has an ambitious research agenda and is developing a strong presence as a scholar in adult education circles."
Yelich Biniecki expressed her gratitude to those who have supported her. "I am honored to receive this recognition from my esteemed colleagues and am grateful for the support I have received from my department and faculty," Yelich Biniecki said. "I look forward to continuing to contribute to Kansas State University and the adult and continuing education field."
Yelich Biniecki earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. She earned a master's degree in administrative leadership and supervision in education and a doctorate in urban education with an emphasis in adult and continuing education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Education faculty members' book translated into Chinese
A textbook co-authored by College of Education faculty members has been translated into Chinese. Collaboration, Consultation, and Co-teaching for Students with Special Needs, seventh edition, was authored by Peggy Dettmer, professor emeritus; Ann Knackendoffel, assistant professor of special education, counseling and student affairs; and Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and graduate studies and Lydia E. Skeen chair. The book was first published in 1993.
Pearson editor Ann Davis said it was significant that the book was selected for translation. "While we have a number of our texts being translated into different languages, Chinese translations didn't start happening with any regularity until a couple of years ago. So the fact that this book has been translated is pretty cool," Davis said. "What it says is that Chinese universities have become more open to ideas, methods and strategies common in Western institutions of higher education."
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, believes this is a testament to the quality of the work, and it demonstrates the college's impact internationally as China is the most populated nation on Earth. "This book is in its seventh edition, which says a tremendous amount about its scholarly contribution to the profession," Mercer said. "The college's expertise and impact are being broadened through this translation, and it is a significant contributor to our strategic goals for K-State 2025."
Thurston believes the book struck important societal issues and that is the heart of its longevity. "'Collaboration' seems to be the watchword of the decade, with discussions in professional organizations, government, universities and industry about the critical need for collaboration across disciplines and organizations to address the important issues we face in our local and global communities," Thurston said. "Our textbook grew out of critical needs in understanding and serving students with disabilities in the early 1990s; those needs and issues are still prominent today. Many of the topics we address, such as communication, collaborative problem- solving, understanding individual differences and working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, are recognized as essential skills for the 21st century workplace."
The back cover offers an outstanding summary of the book's content. The seventh edition of Collaboration, Consultation, and Teamwork for Students with Special Needs focuses on collaboration in a variety of environments and emphasizes constructive ways to use educator differences to serve students with special needs.
This text's broad perspective ensures coverage of the history of the collaboration, ways to structure and implement collaborative teams, important processes and practices that ensure effective co-educator partnerships and the external support that makes collaborative school consultation successful. The seventh edition features new chapters devoted to professional perspectives, personal preferences, paraeducators and evaluation techniques. With coverage of the latest educational reforms, updated activities and tools of technology, this edition prepares educators, school personnel, families and community leaders with a strong knowledge base that celebrates strengths in personal differences.
The authors are currently working on the eighth edition. Dettmer, Thurston and the late professor emeritus Norma Dyck authored the first four editions.
Graduate student, Manhattan elementary teacher receives Fulbright to Singapore
A Kansas State University student has received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant to Singapore. Katie Sibbitt, master's degree student in curriculum and instruction in the College of Education and sixth-grade teacher at Marlatt Elementary School in Manhattan, will conduct an inquiry project about math teaching practices of Singapore teachers to understand successes in math education as part of the Fulbright program. She will leave for the five-month trip in January 2016.
"I will study how Singapore teachers and students' beliefs about math teaching and learning compare to U.S. teachers and students' beliefs and how that relates to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommendations about productive and unproductive beliefs," Sibbitt said.
The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board award the grants to individuals who have demonstrated academic and professional achievement and leadership potential. Sibbitt is one of 49 U.S. citizens to receive the grant for the 2015-2016 school year. "I am most looking forward to experiencing a different culture and school climate," Sibbitt said. "I don't know what it feels like to be completely out of my comfort zone in this way, and I think the experience will help me better relate to my students who face this challenge every day. I am also excited to work with Singapore primary teachers and students and learn about their school system."
In addition to her research, Sibbitt will foster international relations, conduct professional development for Singapore teachers and study at Singapore's National Institute of Education. "This international experience will help me better prepare students to be globally competitive and culturally aware," Sibbitt said.
Sibbitt received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Fort Hays State University in 2010. She is a 2006 graduate of Osawatomie High School and is the daughter of Dave and Tracy Bueker, Osawatomie. She is married to John Paul Sibbitt, Manhattan.
Doll named KELI executive director
A statewide organization dedicated to improving leadership in elementary, middle and high schools has hired a highly accomplished school superintendent as its chief executive. Rick Doll has accepted the position of executive director/associate professor of educational leadership for the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute, or KELI. Doll has served as the school superintendent in Lawrence since 2009 and will assume his new responsibilities in July. Doll replaces Dan Yunk, who will retire in June.
David C. Thompson, professor and chair of the department of educational leadership and Elvon G. Skeen professor, believes hiring the right leader for an educational leadership institute is paramount. "KELI's success is based on its ability to provide high visibility, high credibility and high service in mentoring and induction and professional development to Kansas' licensed school leaders," Thompson said. "Therefore, it is imperative to find exactly the right new executive director, and we did. Mary Devin and Dan Yunk provided KELI with groundbreaking leadership, I am so pleased that we were able to attract the highest caliber of school leader possible yet again."
Doll is grateful for the opportunity to serve as KELI's top executive. "I am very excited to work with the next generation of Kansas administrators through the KELI program," Doll said. "I am humbled by the confidence the university has placed in me and believe that with my excellent education from Kansas State University and my experience as a Kansas administrator, I can carry on the rich tradition of mentorship of KELI."
KELI's partners include the K-State College of Education, the Kansas State Department of Education, the United School Administrators of Kansas, the Kansas School Superintendents Association and the Kansas Association of School Boards. KELI provides mentorship for the state's newest superintendents and principals.
Polson inducted to International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame
Cheryl Polson, professor of adult education, associate dean for the Graduate School and director of K-State at Fort Leavenworth graduate programs and outreach, was inducted into the 20th International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame on Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Polson has 37 years of experience working with diverse adult populations and has been an advocate for improving adult education practice. She has been a strong advocate for how research and existing knowledge can improve adult education practice. Polson has co-edited a book that provides the field with a contemporary view of military education. She introduced adult education concepts and literature to practitioners working in disciplines outside the field that include homeland security and meat and poultry food safety training.
The International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame honors leaders in the fields of continuing education and adult learning and serves as a record of inspiration for the next generation of continuing education leaders. Adult and continuing education leaders from around the world are selected annually for induction into the hall. Individuals who are inducted reflect the diversity of adult and continuing education practice and scholarship and the increasingly global leadership community.
"During her many years of service, she has provided insightful contributions to the field regarding military education, adult students in higher education, as well as other key contributions to the education of practitioners regarding adult learning best practices," said Carol E. Kasworm, North Carolina State University professor of adult and community college education and a colleague who nominated Polson for this honor. "Dr. Polson's most significant contribution has been her commitment to serving military-connected learners."
Some of Polson's most notable achievements in adult education include her published paper, "Teaching Adult Scholars," which has been described by colleagues as the most practical and useful article published on teaching adult learners; her co-authored book, "Responding to Adult Learners in Higher Education," which combined theory and research of adult education and college student development; and securing numerous Department of Defense contracts to support the development of programs devoted to enhancing military faculty development, brigade command spouse education and the education of senior civilian government leaders.
"As a colleague, I have been impressed with the significant leadership and contributions to the field of adult and continuing education by Dr. Cheryl Polson during her career," Kasworm said. "In particular, she has been recognized through a variety of national awards for her major leadership in military education at the graduate level, the professional continuing education arena, and in her scholarly contributions through her work at Kansas State University."
"This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Polson for her significant career contributions to adult education, said Carol Shanklin, dean of the Graduate School. Throughout her career she has mentored numerous graduate students completing their master's degrees while attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. She has also spent time recruiting, retaining and helping many adult education master's students graduate programs."
Council for Public School Improvement program receives national award
The University Professional and Continuing Education Association's Central Region presented the Council for Public School Improvement with the association's 2015 Central Region Mature Noncredit Program Award at its meeting recent meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. The council, which is housed in the College of Education, was selected based on six stringent criteria: cost effectiveness, longevity, innovation, diversity, quality, and contribution to adult/continuing education.
Bob Shannon, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 superintendent, said the Council for Public School Improvement model is a great success. "The Council for Public School Improvement is a K-12 and higher education collaboration model that has provided professional development for educators in this region for many years," Shannon said. "It is efficient in its use of members' fiscal resources and timely in the topics provided to participants. The College of Education at Kansas State University has provided much-appreciated faculty expertise, time and facility resources to facilitate the quality and delivery of programs."
John Bergkamp, Valley Heights superintendent and council board member, said teachers and students are the beneficiaries of its programming. "Educators are able to learn from the best of the best in the field and are able to return to their classrooms with strategies and tools they can implement immediately," Bergkamp said. "With limited budgets and the challenge of sending educators to far off locations for important staff development opportunities, the Council for Public School Improvement has afforded Kansas districts the chance to gain relevant and research-based professional development on a continuous basis."
The Council for Public School Improvement program was founded in 1986 as a partnership program between the K-State College of Education and school districts in Kansas. Program objectives include fostering improvement at all levels of public education and developing and implementing collaborative networks and professional development opportunities within school districts and the university.
National magazine lists Kansas State University's College of Education among its great teaching schools
Kansas State University's College of Education is getting national attention for doing what it does best: preparing educators, both current and future. The college is featured in Newsweek magazine's list of 2015's great teaching schools. The magazine cites the college's national award-winning programs; centers that address many of the key topics in education, such as diversity and professional development; and its innovative initiatives to advance teaching and education, including original documentaries that can be used as classroom resources and programs to assist early-career teachers.
The Newsweek article highlights a tradition of national recognition for the college – including 12 major awards since 2012 – and shows why the college produces more teachers annually than any other program in Kansas, according to Debbie Mercer, dean of the college. "The College of Education at Kansas State University is having an impact on the field of education around the nation and the world," Mercer said. "Whether it is through research, textbooks – one was recently translated into Chinese – or through the college's online offerings of graduate programs, the fact is people from all walks of life are seeking us out to start their careers and advance them."
From bachelor's to doctoral degrees, the college's comprehensive programs prepare future educators for the classroom and help current educators to advance in their careers, garnering national recognition along the way. Some recent honors:
- The 2015 Best Practice Award in Support of Global and International Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
- The 2014 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) H.G. "Pete" Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award for Higher Education.
- The 2014 Outstanding Service to Underserved Populations Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education for Go Teacher, a language training program for Ecuadorian teachers.
- The 2012 Distinguished Elementary Education Program in Teacher Education Award from the Association of Teacher Educators.
In addition, the college's graduate programs are consistently ranked in the top 100 by U.S. News and World Report, and its faculty have earned many national and campus honors — including Mercer, who was recognized recently as one of the top 30 education deans in the nation by Mometrix. More information is available on the college's many honors.
Since its founding 50 years ago, the college also has been active in addressing many key issues in education, including diversity. The Midwest Equity Assistance Center, housed at the college, has secured more than $30 million to support schools in a four-state region on equity issues. The college's Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy also has received more than $30 million since its launch and has served as a professional development model for more than 10,000 English as a second language teachers throughout the Midwest since 1998.
The college also leads in educational innovation through such programs as its iPad initiative for faculty and students; providing monetary support for faculty who create digital resources to replace costly textbooks; and Ed Cats, which provides support for teachers early in their careers.
Another innovative offering by the college are documentaries available to all educators – many with lesson plans – that explore important issues in education. One of the college's documentaries, "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students," drew praise from first lady Michelle Obama, a first-generation student herself.
Harlow named Kansas higher education's art educator of year
Trina Harlow, College of Education art education instructor, was named the 2015 Kansas Art Education Association Higher Education Educator of the Year. Harlow was presented with the award last month at the association's 2015 fall conference at Pittsburg State University. She was selected for the honor based on her service to the organization, the Texas Art Education Association and the National Art Education Association. Additionally, she was chosen because of her work with globally inspired art, tradigital art, and for her service of excellence in promoting and advocating for art education in Kansas, the United States, and internationally.
"This award is very special to me as it represents my life's work and all the educators, artists, art enthusiasts and students who have been part of my life's canvas," Harlow said. "I firmly believe in the power of art education in the lives of our students."
Harlow taught school short-term in Uganda, Ecuador, and Switzerland and participated in a research project in Cuban fine arts schools. She was a 2014 Fund for Teachers fellow and completed her fellowship in Istanbul, Turkey. She was the Prosper, Texas, ISD District Teacher of the year and founded the Worldwide Color Wheel Project. She was called "a pioneer in video digital media" by Skype in the Classroom, and works continuously to further the scope and reach of art education in the classroom and communities. Her latest project, The Great Teacher Project, uses art education to promote the positive aspects and influences of being an educator.
An avid supporter of the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Harlow is involved in leadership capacities with the Market and works tirelessly to promote the well-being of people around the world in developed and developing countries whose lives are changed by their art making. She started the Aprendiendo del Arte lecture and workshop series at Kansas State University. Her newest interests are refugee art and art in Kansas rural schools. Now in her second year at the College of Education as the art education instructor and program coordinator, she has been a practicing K-12 art educator for more than two decades. Harlow received a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University and a master's degree in art education from Boston University. Her research interests are globalization, tradigital art, folk and refugee art.
Grant provides professional development for civics, government teachers
The Center for Social Studies at K-State is offering a free professional development program for Kansas civics and government teachers who want to provide an exemplary curricular program for their students. The James Madison Legacy Project is part of a nationwide professional development program directed by the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit educational organization that was recently awarded a federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education's Supporting Effective Educator Development, or SEED, grant program. The legacy project is designed to provide professional development for middle and high school teachers in civics and government focusing on the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
Thomas S. Vontz, professor and director of the Center for Social Studies at K-State and "We the People" state co-coordinator, believes highly effective civics and government teachers are the key to inspiring the next generation of Americans. "In order to help students become effective and engaged members of 'We the People' and further the goal of a nation that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, it is critical that teachers have access to the people, strategies and resources that will help them bring the subject to life each and every day for their students," he said.
The James Madison Legacy Project uses a professional development model that's enhanced with online resources, many of which were developed by the center. These resources will provide teachers with rich academic content and a mastery of teaching methods useful in helping students develop the capacity and inclination to become competent and responsible participants in the civic life of their communities and the nation.
For more information, contact Vontz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-532-5927.
Education honorary inducts 22 members
The Iota Xi chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, international honorary in education, recently welcomed 22 new members. Kappa Delta Pi focuses on scholarship, leadership, and service. To receive an invitation to join Kappa Delta Pi, faculty members, alumni, graduate students and undergraduate students must be outstanding in their specified fields or achieve high scholastic standings. Students must have at least 60 credit hours and a 3.3 minimum GPA.
Initiates included Danelle Abbott, Brett Hamilton, Takara Brownridge, Karissa Hammock, Rachel Collins, Cara Hillman, Kelsey Crawford, Bridgett Kelly, Jenee Davis, Loni Ann Kite, Perlita Dominguez, Alyssa Noble, Jacob Easterberg, Megan Reece, Leeza Enfield, Amanda Rogowski, Aleta Friedeman, Rachel Schrag, Morgan Fulk, Brooke Waters, Lauren Gregory and Rachel Wrobel.
This international honorary society in education was founded in 1911. The purpose of Kappa Delta Pi is to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. In addition to celebrating the annual fall initiation banquet, the chapter plans to partner with the Flint Hills Breadbasket for our annual service project.
Pinkneys present on social justice through children's literature
A New York Times bestselling husband and wife team were guest lecturers as part of the College of Education's "Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education" program. Award-winning author and illustrator team, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney, presented "Social Justice Education through Children's Literature."
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, invited the Pinkneys to campus. Mercer's area of expertise is children's literature and she personally witnessed transformative powers of the couple's books. "Andrea is brilliant," Mercer said. "She has an almost magical quality of drawing children into her stories — and these are terribly complex subjects and situations surrounding racial inequality. Her gift is making children imagine themselves in these situations and from that moment comes empathy and understanding. I personally witnessed that 'moment' many times as a classroom teacher when reading one of their books. My favorite is probably Sit-In.
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down tells the story of four friends who sat down at the "whites only" lunch counter at a Woolworth's department store in North Carolina in 1960. Brian Pinkney's color-drenched illustrations in his distinctive scratchboard style give life to the swirling emotions in the diner that day.
The Pinkneys were recently named among the "25 Most influential People in Our Children's Lives" by Children's Health magazine. Their books have amassed numerous awards including the Caldecott Honor Medals, multiple Coretta School King Book Awards, Jane Addams Children's Literature Honor citations, NAACP Image Award nominations, Parenting Publications Gold Medal and several American Library Association Notable Book citations.
Film about local buffalo soldier to premiere on campus on Veterans Day
One of the last living buffalo soldiers shares his life experiences and career in the Army that included heavyweight champion Joe Louis and life-changing Count Basie concert. "I Was a Buffalo Soldier: The Story of Nolan Self" will premiere at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 in the Hale Library's Hemisphere Room. The film was commissioned by Self's son, Curtis, and produced by videographer Rusty Earl with the help of David L. Griffin Sr., assistant dean in the K-State College of Education. The college is promoting the film as an educational tool and resource for teachers across the country.
Self, a 97-year-old former buffalo soldier in the 10th Cavalry, served five campaigns during World War II. He was stationed at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley and moved to Junction City after retiring from the military. Self retired from the city of Junction City after a 17-year career. Self's mother and 10 siblings moved from Leesburg, Louisiana, to Pine Bluffs, Arkansas, after his father's early death. No one asked Self to quit school — no one had to — because he knew that's what he had to do. He spent approximately four years in the Civilian Conservation Corps until he was old enough to join the Army. It was 1940, and that meant war.
Self recounts the trip on a Missouri-Pacific train from Pine Bluffs to Fort Leavenworth with about 400 young African-American men who were to become buffalo soldiers. It broke his mother's heart to think her son was going off to war, but that's not how Self saw it. "The Army was a salvation to me and my family. I was glad to be a solider," Self said of the job that provided financial stability for his mother and sisters. "I loved the horses, and in the Army I had two horses, in fact. When you are in the horse cavalry, you have a spare."
Self explained the Army moved the 10th Cavalry to Fort Riley to train with the 9th Cavalry. That's where he met fellow buffalo soldier and world heavyweight champion Joe Louis. Louis was stationed at Fort Riley with his family and realized there wasn't much for the other buffalo soldiers to do so he called his friend, Count Basie, who agreed to perform a concert in Topeka. Louis rented buses, giving a couple hundred girls free transportation to the concert so the soldiers had someone to dance with. That's when Self met the girl he would dance with for the next 72 years.
Self's wife, Wilma, still smiles when she thinks of the moment they met. "Well, I thought he was about the cutest kid I'd ever seen," she said. "He was so handsome." The couple raised eight sons and the film depicts the deep love, affection, respect and wisdom the two have gained during their seven decades together. Closing shots depict Self standing next to the Buffalo Soldier Memorial in Junction City, and his jacket said it all: Army Strong.
For more information about the buffalo soldiers, visit the Buffalo Soldier Museum.
Education major presented with new laptop
A College of Education major joins a select group of students who have received an academic scholarship with an additional bonus: the recipient also receives a new computer. Takara Brownridge, senior in elementary education with a concentration in English as a second language, was this year's recipient of the Lawrence G. Wright Scholarship for multicultural students. The Wright scholar also receives a technology award from the Doris Wright Carroll Multicultural Technology Award. Carroll is Wright's daughter and an associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs.
Brownridge is the fifth student to receive the technology award and was elated when presented with a MacBook Pro. "It was pretty great," Brownridge said of receiving the laptop. "I really needed a computer because the one I have is not working very well and this came at the right time." Brownridge believes it will be especially useful once she begins her clinical semester. "When I go into student teaching, it will be really helpful for lesson planning and writing notes," she said. "Now I will be able to use the apps I've already paid for while using the college's iPad."
The college provides an iPad for students to use during their professional education courses, and Carroll believes the technology award supports the college's iPad initiative. "Technology is essential for your success as an educator, and this is something you can carry with you, and it serves as an extension of the college's iPad initiative," Carroll told Brownridge. "I am just delighted that I can help out."
Brownridge is a member of the Black Student Union executive board, EPIC dance team, student-at-large for education council. She works at the K-State ID center and the Boys & Girls Club.
Carroll's family established the Lawrence G. Wright scholarship in 2002 to honor their father, who was a human resources officer for the Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka. The goal was to enhance opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds. The technology award has been in existence since 2011.
Music education professors present posters at national research conference
Kansas State University professors of music education Phillip Payne and Frederick Burrack recently presented their research at the 2015 Symposium on Music Teacher Education at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Their research, "Examining the Predictive Properties of an Electronic Portfolio as it Relates to the Four Domains of the Danielson Framework," investigated the predictive ability of ePortfolios to identify the qualities of effective teaching during student teaching.
Multiple regression analyses revealed a significant regression equation between the ePortfolio and student teaching assessments. Specifically, there were significant predictors found for Danielson's domains of planning and preparation and instruction at the secondary level. Furthermore, there was a significant predictor found for professionalism at the elementary level. In all cases, student reflections — as part of the portfolio process — was found to be the significant predictor. While not significant, it should be noted that the Praxis II: Music Content Test was found to be a strong predictor of planning and preparation.
Also presented was research on "Encouraging Students to Consider Music Education as a Future Profession," which investigated the extent to which practicing teachers in Florida, Ohio and Kansas encourage their students to consider music teaching as a career.
Over half the respondents in this study — 52 percent — reported they encourage students to explore the music teaching profession, one-third reported they were uncertain as to whether to encourage their students to pursue a career in music education, and 21 percent of respondents indicated that they actively discourage their students from pursuing a career in music education.
Grauer featured in 'EduCATion Today' Web series
The College of Education recently released the latest webisode in its monthly series "EduCATion Today: The Issues & The Experts." The featured guest was award-winning engineer and educator Bette Grauer.
Grauer, assistant dean of retention, diversity and inclusion in the College of Engineering, is a licensed professional civil engineer and a former physics educator. She earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from K-State and worked in engineering for more than 15 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education-physics at K-State and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction at Wichita State University. She taught secondary science for 12 years. Grauer completed her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction at K-State where she also taught classes in the College of Education. She joined the College of Engineering as an assistant dean in 2011. In 2014, she received the American Society for Engineering Education Midwest Section's Outstanding Service Award.
Grauer addressed her college's retention efforts, programs to attract diverse students to the field, and the role teachers play in influencing and inspiring future engineers. "We've done a lot of surveys of our students," Grauer said. "We've found that the secondary teacher is the person they most often cite as the person who interested them in engineering. They always bring up the secondary teacher that reached out to them."
Armed with both anecdotal evidence and research, Grauer understands the powerful connection between teachers and students. She developed a workshop for middle school and secondary teachers to help them find ways to incorporate engineering concepts and examples into the curriculum. "We know the teacher is the key to student understanding," she said. "You can have all of the technology and information you want, but if you don't have an effective teacher, learning won't take place."
Grauer believes her engineering degree and experience would have been insufficient to ensure student success when she was teaching high school. "It doesn't matter how much knowledge I had of engineering, math or science, I couldn't teach without the critical pedagogy that I learned," she said of her education degrees. "I think that's probably the most important area that I think should be emphasized here."
There is a shortage of engineers and Grauer's responsibilities include attracting multicultural students and women. She believes these groups are key to solving the great problems of our time. "Engineering is all about creativity," she said. "The greater the diversity in engineering, the greater the diversity in creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving. It all improves when you have diverse points of view."
Grauer's, and all "EduCATion Today" webisodes, can be found on the College of Education's website and YouTube channel. Previous guests include Robert Hachiya, assistant professor of educational leadership, who addressed school safety, and Raymond Doswell, vice president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, who discussed the museum's 25-year relationship with the College of Education.
Study abroad scholarships memorialize daughter, inspire future teachers
Can something good really come from the loss of a cherished daughter? For one couple — and about 200 teachers and counting — the answer is "yes." The College of Education produced a video about philanthropists Bill and Marilyn Taylor, Olathe, Kansas, whose scholarships have sent nearly 200 future teachers on study abroad trips. The scholarships were named in memory of their beloved daughter, Megan, who was killed in Germany while bicycling on a high school band trip.
In 2002, the Taylors created the Megan E. Taylor Memorial Scholarship for Study Abroad and have inspired future educators with their generosity and grace. The college recently produced a video about this amazing couple where they share their story and commitment to "paying it forward."
"In Germany, when she passed away, we decided that we had to make something good come out of this," said Bill Taylor. "And so we came back and started to think about scholarships, and we just really felt like study abroad was an 'extra' and the term that we use and others use is 'life changing.'"
Marilyn Taylor agrees. "We love to have any opportunity to meet the students because it's just so fulfilling to us," she said. "I think a study abroad experience for teachers is so important because they don't know what they are going to be facing, what kinds of students they are going to be facing. Plus, I think a study abroad experience for everybody is just so meaningful because you learn, if nothing else, people are basically the same."
Thank you, Taylors, for sharing Megan with your K-State family and for being the embodiment of "paying it forward."
College of Education creates Office of Innovation & Collaboration
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is announcing the creation of the Office of Innovation & Collaboration, a comprehensive effort to draw on the faculty's expertise and experience to help solve some of the most challenging issues in the profession.
The office was officially established this summer and its first program, Ed Cats, was launched this month. Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, was named program coordinator.
Mercer explained it is well documented the first few years of teaching are challenging as half of all new teachers nationally leave the profession within the first five years. It also is well documented the top predictor of K-12 student success is teacher effectiveness. Ed Cats is designed to address the issues of teacher retention and student achievement.
"There is an inherent connection between teacher retention and student success, and that is why we decided to focus initial programming on ways to keep highly-trained teachers in classrooms," Mercer said.
Ed Cats offers support for early-career teachers by providing access to free resources that include an electronic newsletter, a blog and networking through social media. The resources were developed after the college had focus groups, surveyed employers and sought input from school-based personnel.
"Our goal is to provide graduates with a toolbox that goes with them into their first job and we stay connected to them, available to them throughout their early career, which we have defined as the first three years," Martinez said. "We're building postgraduation relationships, and look at the benefits. It benefits students, schools, communities and industry," Martinez said. "This adds value to our graduates' degrees."
To learn more about Ed Cats, please watch this video, follow us on Twitter @WeAreEdCats or visit coe.k-state.edu/edcats.
College of Education launches 'Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education' program
Keeping true to its heritage of diversity and inclusion, the College of Education and the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, or MEAC, will launch a universitywide and communitywide initiative to bring light to many of the defining social issues of our time. "Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education" is the brainchild of Linda P. Thurston, College of Education associate dean of research and graduate studies and Lydia E. Skeen chair. The effort brings together researchers, subject matter experts, clergy, authors, community members and student organizations to weigh in on some of this generation's most pressing social issues. The activities supplement the college's Social Justice Education graduate certificate program.
Thurston tapped K-State leaders in women's studies, leadership studies, American ethnic studies, the student access center, the GLBTQ resource center, as well as leaders in the community and subject matter experts across the country for the yearlong program. The college's honors program students will be involved with the thematic activities and the college's Diversity for Community standing faculty committee is a partner in the planning. "So many organizations across campus and in the community are doing great work in their areas," Thurston said. "What we have the opportunity to do here is to highlight many of these efforts together in one focused series of activities throughout a whole year."
"Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education" will offer monthly activities throughout the academic year to support a predetermined theme based on the logo for the word cloud for the college's social justice education certificate.
Ronna Olivier, Midwest Equity Assistance Center project assistant, said this is the ideal time to remind educators that MEAC's resources, books, movies, journals and more, are available free. For more information, contact her at email@example.com or by calling 785-532-6408. She also can add other campus and community organization's social justice-related events to the MEAC calendar.
Following are just a few of the scheduled events in the first months of the semester for "Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education." Check MEAC's calendar for event information and the Website for updates and announcements. Stay connected by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @NotJustAYear.
- August — Faces of Social Justice Education, a video with children's voices from a local elementary school singing "We Shall Overcome."
- September — Theme is education
- Sept. 17: Ruben Parra-Cardona will present "Building Bridges of Social Justice: Embracing Prevention Research to Support Latino/A Communities in the U.S. and Mexico" as part of the Tony Jurich Lecture on Social Justice series.
- Sept. 18: Sonia Nieto will present "Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms."
- Sept. 25: Multicultural Pride Day.
- Sept. 30: Faculty panel discussing critical pedagogy.
- October — Theme is empowerment
- Oct. 1-2: Elaine Newman, will report about sexual assault and trauma journalism, sponsored by the women's studies department.
- Oct. 5: Authors Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney will present "Social Justice Education Through Children's Literature."
- Oct. 14: Author Wes Moore will present "The Other Wes Moore."
- Oct. 15: Author and researcher Piya Chatterjee will present her book "A Time for Tea: Women, Labor and the Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation," sponsored by the women's studies department.
College of Education faculty, clinical instructors present at national conference
Two College of Education faculty and two clinical instructors from the department of curriculum and instruction recently presented on distance supervision at a national teacher education conference.
David S. Allen, associate professor and director of field experiences, and Lori Goodson, assistant professor, along with Twyla Sprouse of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 and Allison Rothwell of Junction City USD 477, presented Aug. 2 on "Enhanced Supervision Opportunities: Technology as a Vehicle for Enabling Distance Supervision and Improving Accountability." The presentation was part of the Association of Teacher Educators, or ATE, Summer Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The group shared its research on distance supervision through the use of SWIVL, a robotic video and audio recording system, and Zoom, a cloud-based conferencing application. The team worked on this project, which allowed student teachers more site locations and the possibility of completing their internship closer to their hometowns, reducing student expenses. The research team has presented and published numerous times on this project.
The focus has been on the elementary education program, which started because of a southwest Kansas district's request for placements to help recruit new teachers to the area to fill vacancies. Beginning this fall, the research team will have its first two secondary student teachers participating in the distance supervision program. The program also benefits the college by eliminating travel time while providing a more cost effective and efficient quality support for student teachers.
Mercer named among 30 most influential deans of education
The dean of Kansas State University's College of Education is getting some high praise. Debbie Mercer has been recognized as one of the 30 most influential deans of education in the U.S. by Mometrix, a test preparation company. To compile its list, Mometrix researchers checked ranking systems, honors, awards and commendations to education deans.
According to Mometrix, Mercer's accomplishments include her efforts to create technologically advanced learning environments at the university, including securing iPads for all preservice teachers and instructional faculty, and her efforts launching the Go Teacher program, which brings Ecuadorian teachers to the university and other institutions to enhance their English proficiency. The program has served more than 3,000 students.
Mercer is the only education dean from Kansas to earn the recognition and just one of two deans from the Big 12 Conference recognized.
Thurston to present at international conference
Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and external funding in the College of Education and Lydia E. Skeen chair, will present at an international conference on gender related issues in England in July. The title of Thurston's presentation is "The Role of Culturally Responsive Evaluation in Promoting and Sustaining Equitable Education Programs for Women and Girls." She will present at the Gender and Education Association's biennial conference July 13-17 at the University of Roehampton in London.
"Too often, educational programs for marginalized groups, such as women and girls, are evaluated without attention to culture, context and voice; those findings lack the validity needed to demonstrate success or to guide improvement," Thurston said. "I look forward to discussing the need for Culturally Responsive Evaluation because it helps ensure reliable, valid and meaningful findings, and increases the likelihood that social and educational policies and practices are socially just."
Thurston specializes in program evaluation and gender and disability issues in education, especially at the postsecondary level. Her research-based welfare program "Survival Skills for Women" was recognized by the White House and implemented in more than 20 states. She is the co-author of "Collaboration, Consultation and Co-teaching for Students with Special Needs," in its seventh edition. She is the author two other books, more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, six curricula, and has presented at nearly 200 national and international conferences. She has keynoted numerous conferences, including speaking at the United Nations about women with disabilities, science education and careers. Thurston is a member of the Journal of Mixed Method Research editorial board and has leadership positions in the Feminist Evaluation and the Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations special interest groups of the American Evaluation Association.
College of Education documentary nominated for regional Emmy award
The Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated a College of Education documentary about five K-State icons for a regional Emmy Award. The official announcement will be made at a simulcast gala and red carpet event on July 18.
"A Long Road: 150 years of Experience from Five African-American K-State Alumni" premiered in January 2014 during Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week and has been a resource in classrooms around the country ever since its debut. The film was produced by the College of Education and the Midwest Equity Assistance Center and was made possible by the support of a Faculty Incentive Grant from the Tilford Initiative at Kansas State University. Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, conceptualized the project and served as the film's director.
"I was so happy for K-State, Dean Mercer and everyone who contributed to the project," Martinez said. "The nomination is great validation that the stories of our African-American K-State trailblazers resonate with a wide audience. I hope this calls attention to all of the great documentaries Rusty Earl is producing in the College of Education." Rusty Earl is the college's videographer who filmed and edited the program.
"'A Long Road' represents the simplicity of storytelling from the heart and has reached a much broader audience than I think we ever expected," Earl said. "As a former classroom teacher, I am honored to think that the films we are creating here in the College of Education are being used as resources across the country for teachers in elementary schools to higher education. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the project and look forward to it being shared for years to come."
Featured in the film are: Kathleen Greene, director, Education Support Services; David L. Griffin Sr., assistant dean/director, College of Education Center for Student and Professional Services; Juanita McGowan, former director, American ethnic studies; Charles I. Rankin, director, Midwest Equity Assistance Center; and Veryl Switzer, former administrator, Ring of Honor Athlete and distinguished alumnus.
Yang presents at NSF ADVANCE/GSE program workshop at Baltimore
Lydia Yang, assistant professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, presented "Explaining Gender Differences in STEM Undergraduates’ Occupation Interest: People-Thing Orientation and Goal Affordances" at the 2015 National Science Foundation ADVANCE and Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program workshop May 31 to June 2 in Baltimore. The event was sponsored by the Association for Women in Science.
The 2015 Broadening Participation through Innovations for Institutional and Educational Transformation workshop focused on gender-based privilege and underrepresentation to address the persistent gender and racial disparities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education and academic workforce.
Yang's work was supported by a National Science Foundation Gender in Science and Engineering grant awarded to The University of Alabama where Yang previously worked. She served as a statistician on the grant. Her collaborator is Joan M. Barth, the principal investigator on the grant.
Polish teacher presents about social justice education
An acclaimed educator and Lowell Milken Center Fellow presented on Tuesday at the College of Education as part of its yearlong focus on social justice education. Marzanna Pogorzelska, an award-winning Polish high school teacher, presented about social justice education initiatives and project-based learning within a Polish context.
Pogorzelska provided a riveting account of her nation's history — its postwar mindset, identity crisis and the economic realities of communism, which lasted until 1989. "After the war, every word, every song, every poem that was publicly spoken in Poland was censored," she said. "The social life was marked by unification. We were supposed to be the same in the way we think, we speak and the way we work. All of these things were mirrored in education. In Polish context, education was very much influenced by post-war destruction. We lost the material base of education — schools, libraries and culture houses. We lost one-third of our teachers, but also doctors, priests, lawyers — everything that creates the cultural tissue of the nation."
She then explained the vast economic and social challenges ushered in by her country's move to a free-market economy as the people of Poland found their country changing yet again. The change also brought to light many social justice issues. "Democracy and human rights sort of fell on the teachers after 1989," Pogorzelska said. "After years of teaching in the old system, it was not clear to them how they should do it. They were not taught how to rule school in a democratic way."
Susan Yelich-Biniecki, assistant professor of educational leadership, and the committee for social justice education invited Pogorzelska to campus. This same group recently developed a graduate certificate in social justice education and classes started in May. "This conversation gave us an important opportunity to think about social justice education through a different lens and reflect on our own subjectivities as educators and researchers as we engage with social justice education with diverse communities and international colleagues, including those in our own organizations," Yelich Biniecki said.
Pogorzelska earned her master's degree and doctorate in pedagogical sciences from Opole University in Poland and has taught at the secondary level for 18 years in her hometown of Kedzierzyn-Kozle. She received the Teacher and Citizen Laureate award from the countries of Poland, France, Germany and Spain. In 2012, she was honored with the Golden Cross of Merit Award from the President of Poland, which is given to teachers who have outstanding educational achievements in shaping the civil virtues of the young generation.
College of Education recognizes six new graduates for excellence, potential
The College of Education recognized six of its new graduates for excellence and for promise in the education profession. The students were honored at the college's commencement ceremony May 16. Four students received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award, which is given for outstanding leadership and scholarship. Two students received the Outstanding Future Teacher Award, which recognizes their potential as future teachers.
The following students, all May 2015 bachelor's degree recipients, were honored:
- Maria Eck, secondary education graduate, Colwich, received the Outstanding Future Teacher Award in Secondary Education. Eck, who was the college's Student of the Month in September 2014, served as special events chair of the college's Education Council in fall 2014 and as Chalkboard editor from 2012-2014. She was a member of the university's chapter of the National Art Education Association, serving as fundraising president in 2014-2015, vice president in 2013-2014, secretary in 2012-2013 and fundraising chair in 2011-2012. She also was president of Cats for Life in 2013; was active in St. Isidore's Catholic Student Center's Liturgical Ministry; was a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary and a Resident Assistant of the Month; and earned university semester honors multiple semesters. The daughter of Larry and Margaret Eck, she is a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita.
- Clarissa Corkins, elementary education graduate, Hutchinson, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Corkins is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Kappa Delta Pi, where she served as secretary and president. She also was a member of Smurthwaite Scholarship and Leadership House, serving as scholarship chair, secretary and vice president. A summa cum laude graduate, Corkins earned semester honors each semester for her academic work at the university, and was the recipient of the Kappa Delta Pi, Nancy Larson Foundation, Office of International Programs Faculty-Led Study Abroad, Robert Hays Memorial and Tomorrow's Teacher scholarships. She also was named Phi Kappa Phi Sophomore Honor Scholar. The College of Education's Student of the Month for March 2015, she was a member of the university's Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble and Women's Choir. Corkins, who studied in Italy for the class Family and Children in a Cultural Context, worked with the nonprofit Schools of Hope; directed the Junior Summer Academy Theatre Camp for two summers; and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan. The daughter of Jim and Cynthia Corkins, she is a graduate of Buhler High School.
- Anna Nusser, secondary education graduate, Lyons, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Nusser was a member and student coach on the university's women's rowing team and served as a K-State Athletics strength and conditioning intern coach. She was named to both the Conference USA and Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and received the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Kansas State University and a recipient of the Kansas Masonic Legacy Scholarship. The daughter of Kelly and Beth Nusser, she is a graduate of Lyons High School.
- Emily Schadler, elementary education graduate, North Newton, received the Outstanding Future Teacher Award in Elementary Education. Her activities include serving as secretary of the College of Education Ambassadors and as the student representative to the college's Executive Committee. She was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, a national honor society; Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national leadership and honors organization; and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also was a member of the university's International Buddies. The daughter of Melvin and Donna Schadler, she is a graduate of Hesston High School. Schadler will teach English and language arts to sixth-graders at Halstead Middle School.
- Will Clark, secondary education graduate, Oakley, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Clark's leadership activities include serving on the university's Honors Council; College of Education Student Council, where he was treasurer from 2013-2014; and on the college's open house committee. He also was a senator in the university's Student Senate. The College of Education's Student of the Month for May 2014, Clark received university semester honors and earned the ETS Recognition Excellence in Social Studies: Content Knowledge. The son of Ruth Clark and the late state Sen. Stan Clark, Clark earned an associate degree from Colby Community College and attended Discovery Home School.
- Lauren Meis, elementary education graduate, Salina, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. The feature twirler for the Kansas State University Marching Band, Meis also served on the band's leadership team and won numerous awards in state, regional and national baton twirler competitions. A magna cum laude graduate of Kansas State University, she was the recipient of the university's Leadership Scholarship and the Loan Initiative for Future Teachers Scholarship. She also received university semester honors multiple semesters and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Meis is the daughter of Kris and Shannon Meis and a graduate of Salina High School South.
Hughey named recipient of international academic advising award
A professor in the College of Education is being recognized by a global organization for his substantive contributions to the field of academic advising. Ken Hughey, professor and chair of the department of special education, counseling and student affairs, will be presented this fall with the Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in the Field of Advising at the annual conference of National Academic Advising Association: The Global Community for Academic Advising. The winner of this prestigious award must demonstrate impact at the national and/or international level through research, publications and presentations, leadership and commitment to academic advising over an extended period of time.
Charlie Nutt, National Academic Advising Association, or NACADA, executive director, points to Hughey's leadership and influence on the college's master's degree program in academic advising as the key reason he was selected for the award. "Dr. Virginia Gordon was a charter member of NACADA and one of the first presidents of the association, Nutt said. "But most importantly, Dr. Gordon conducted and published some of the first research in the field of academic advising in regard to exploratory students. Throughout her career, she epitomized excellence in advancing the field of academic advising. Dr. Hughey also epitomizes the outstanding contributions to the field through his work with the first and most successful master's program in academic advising. His work at Kansas State University will have a lasting impact on the field of academic advising."
Hughey was humbled by the recognition. "It is an honor to be named the recipient of the Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in Academic Advising. I sincerely appreciate the support of Dean Mercer and Dean Emeritus Holen; the faculty and staff in the department of special education, counseling, and student affairs; National Academic Advising Association and executive director Charlie Nutt and emeritus director Bobbie Flaherty; and our students who have contributed to the success of Kansas State University's graduate programs in academic advising offered through Global Campus."
Hughey joined K-State in 1990 and was named department chair in 2008. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Southeast Missouri State University, and his doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He has been a member of the National Academic Advising Association since 2005.
Future teachers present action research projects
Forty undergraduate preservice teachers in the College of Education presented posters at the spring 2015 Undergraduate Action Research Poster Presentation.
Sally Yahnke, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the Kansas State University Professional Development School Partnership, said this was an optional assignment based on the preservice teachers' experiences during their clinical semester. To conduct the research, future teachers had to select a focus, identify a research question, collect data, analyze the data, report their results and take informed action. "Action research allows educators to better understand the students in their classroom," Yahnke said. "The results provide teachers with new knowledge and understanding about how to improve educational practices or resolve problems in their classrooms."
Yahnke said topics presented ranged from addressing behavioral issues to improving vocabulary instruction to teaching to the whole brain.
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, attended the event and had in-depth conversations with the presenters. "I was impressed with the professionalism of our future teachers," Mercer said. "Their confidence was evident as they discussed the impact of their research on the students in their classes. Further, their research had an impact on their professional growth and learning. I'm proud that our students are so well prepared and know they will make a significant difference in children's lives."
Yahnke hopes a collection of abstracts will be written on some of these research projects and published in the College of Education's "Prairie Journal of Educational Research." In addition to adding to the body of knowledge and disseminating the information, this would directly support K-State 2025 research goals and objectives.
The preservice teachers involved in the poster presentation just completed their clinical semesters at Lincoln Elementary School and Sheridan Elementary School in Junction City; Morris Hill Elementary School and Ware Elementary School on Fort Riley; and Bergman Elementary School, Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools, and Manhattan High School in Manhattan.
Area superintendent receiving Dan and Cheryl Yunk Excellence in Educational Administration Award
An area superintendent is this year's recipient of the prestigious Dan and Cheryl Yunk Excellence in Educational Administration Award. Corbin Witt, superintendent of Geary County Schools, was selected for this honor. The Yunks were both exemplary teachers and administrators throughout their careers in the Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 school district. Established in their honor, this award recognizes the importance of educational administrators who establish environments that promote student learning.
Witt joined Geary County Schools in 2014. As the organization's chief executive, he is responsible for district budget preparation and management including federal impact aid, board of education relations, curriculum and instruction, negotiations, public relations, crisis management, and day-to-day district level leadership. Witt's career began as a teacher in 1988 at Northview Elementary School in Manhattan, where he also became an assistant principal/lead teacher. In his next position, he served as principal at Sterling Grade School in Sterling. Witt moved to Atchison, where he was named principal at Atchison Elementary School from 1997-2001, after which he became the associate superintendent then acting superintendent of Atchison Public Schools. From 2007-2014, Witt was the executive director of School Improvement for Salina Public Schools, a position he had until accepting the superintendent position in Junction City. Witt believes his experiences in small, medium and large school districts contributed to his growth and perspective as a leader. He is member of multiple state and national education-related organizations and actively engaged in service organization in his communities where he has lived.
Witt has earned three degrees from K-State: a bachelor's degree in elementary education; a master's degree in educational administration; and a doctorate in educational administration.
College of Education produces monthly Web series 'EduCATion Today'
The College of Education created a new Web series to build a bridge between subject matter experts in education and external audiences. "EduCATion Today: The Issues & The Experts" will air monthly Webisodes on the college's YouTube channel and will address current issues in the field education. Experts from both on and off campus will weigh in on current issues ranging from inclusion and diversity to school finance.
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is producing the series in the hopes it serves as a prompt for positive discussion for students, teachers, administrators, parents and policymakers. "The professionals interviewed are experts in education who have practical experience and know what works," Mercer said. "Too often, it seems educators are overlooked when important discussions take place, and our goal with 'EduCATion Today' is to provide a forum for meaningful discussion and insight."
The first guest on "EduCATion Today" is Raymond Doswell, the college's 2015 Alumni Fellow and vice president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. He discusses the creation of the museum and the 25-year partnership between the College of Education and the museum, including the curriculum materials the college developed for teachers as an introduction into diversity. "The museum provides content as an entrée into diversity," Doswell said. "Sports is a terrain that is shared and understood equally. It allows students to imagine their favorite teams without some of their favorite players. For older students, they can even imagine some of the social pressures these players faced like eating and traveling. It wasn't that long ago."
College of Education welcomes new ambassadors
The College of Education welcomes 11 new ambassadors for the 2015-16 academic year. Kelly Briggs, ambassador program advisor, said these students are selected after an extensive application and interview process. "These students are amazing," Briggs said. "We are fortunate to have such committed students who are willing to take on additional responsibilities to promote the College of Education and the teaching profession."
The new College of Education ambassadors are: Samantha Bendrick, sophomore in elementary education-modern language; Erin Davis, sophomore in elementary education-special education; Hannah Fowles, secondary education-earth science; Dallas Froome, elementary education-modern language; Jordan Jimerson, elementary education; Emilie Liebe, elementary education-English as a second language; Emma K. Miller, elementary education–special education; Mary Grace Poskin, elementary education; Allison Sears, family and consumer sciences; Brooke Waters, secondary education-math; and Emily Wilson, elementary education.
The 31 ambassadors returning for 2015-16 are: Paxton Akin, elementary education-special education; Alyssa Bisagno, elementary education-social studies; Becky Brady, elementary education-math; Kasey Criser, elementary education-English; Kortney Edelman, elementary education-special education; Shawn Finch, secondary education-human ecology/life skills; Madison Grier, secondary education-math; Kathleen Hail, secondary education-math; Justin Haun, elementary education-math; Nathan Herrman, secondary education-Spanish; Sydney Ho, secondary education-math; Leah Kellerman, elementary education-special education; Kelly Kristiansen, secondary education-math; Rachel Londeen, elementary education-social science; Allie Love, elementary education-English as a second language; Hannah Martin, secondary education-English and social studies; Emma A. Miller, elementary education-special education; Shannon Oakley, secondary education-math; Daniel Patterson, secondary education-social studies; Jessica Pennybacker, secondary education-Spanish; Charlee Pierson, elementary education-special education; Brendan Schmitz, secondary education-physics and math; Elizabeth Stover, elementary education-English; Emilie Taylor, elementary education-English as a second language; Kaley Taylor, elementary education-English as a second language; Sarah Watkins, elementary education-math; Katherine Wernes, elementary education-English; Kate Whitsitt, elementary education — English as a second language; and David Zieger, secondary education-math.
Kim publishes book about narrative inquiry
A College of Education faculty member's new book on narrative inquiry research illustrates why people's stories are actually data with heartbeats. Jeong-Hee Kim, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, recently published her first book "Understanding Narrative Inquiry: The Crafting and Analysis of Stories as Research."
The cover photo, an arched cave in Geary County, Kansas, that wraps around the back of the book, was taken by Tom Parish, a two-time K-State alum. The front cover shows a door with a few steps leading to sunlight, and the image comes to a dramatic end on the back as the cave's path leads to a stone wall. Kim believed this was the perfect image for her book because it represented how narrative inquiry opens doors to the world of stories that need to be told. She said narrative inquiry sheds light on many of today's social challenges and issues through stories that people share. The methodology, she said, was once largely dismissed by the research community but now is embraced by a variety of fields including psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, business, law and even medicine.
"Narrative in the field of medicine, for example, is becoming popular," Kim said. "At Columbia and other medical schools, narrative medicine programs have been created where narratives are used to train future doctors as a way to humanize the field of medicine, realizing that practicing doctors tend to overlook their patients' stories. Narrative medicine has proven to be a very successful tool in helping doctors diagnose and treat patients because they are taught to pay attention to what their patients have to say."
Kim was introduced to the methodology while working on her doctoral degree at Arizona State University. "My dissertation adviser is a pioneer of narrative inquiry in education who created a special interest group called Narrative Research for the American Educational Research Association," she said. "I took his class and fell in love with it because of its approachability. Stories are a part of our daily life, and we make sense of our lives through stories. Research can be viewed as cold and distant, but narrative inquiry is really about understanding what it means to be human and it does so through exploring and excavating people's life stories to make the world a better place."
As researchers and students are increasingly interested in what stories can offer to help them broaden their research fields, there has been a need to develop narrative inquiry as a more rigorous, interdisciplinary research methodology. Kim's book is an effort to meet such a need with firm underpinnings of theoretical, philosophical, social, methodological and practical considerations. "Telling stories is not enough." Kim said. "We have to make sense of those stories using our theoretical framework, and from there, we can draw implications, answering the question, 'So what?' The goal is to reach out and improve the quality of people's lives by addressing the social issues and challenges at hand."
Kim and College of Education colleagues Amanda Morales, assistant professor and diversity coordinator, and Sandra Avalos, academic advisor, are collaborating on a narrative inquiry project that Kim addresses in the book about the college's documentary "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students." The film debuted in fall 2014 and each person's story is available on the college's website. The documentary delved into the lives of eight people who told about their journeys to college. The researchers took transcripts from the video interviews and synthesized the fragmented narratives to life stories of each storyteller to illustrate what these students' experiences were like. This will provide important information about how institutions can do a better job of supporting first-generation college students.
"We hope to take our college's documentary series further to the level of research, so that we can find ways to make a broader impact at the scholarly and policy level," Kim said. "And, I hope the research reveals what we can do better as a college and as a university for first-generation college students. We are also planning to create an eBook so many groups will have access to our research findings, including teachers and academic advisors at high schools and community colleges."
Kim joined the faculty in 2005 and teaches graduate-level courses. She was born and raised in South Korea and moved to the United States in 1998. Her most recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and Educational Philosophy and Theory.
Kansas PBS stations to air 'Vale la Pena' documentary
The College of Education's latest documentary will air on all Kansas PBS stations, making it the third film picked up statewide and the fourth time a college documentary aired on northeast Kansas's local PBS station. "Vale la Pena: Revolutionizing Hearts, Minds and Communities" will air on KTWU at 7:30 p.m. April 9 and 4 p.m. April 19. Please check listings for SHPT in Bunker Hill and KPTS in Wichita for air times.
The documentary's title means "worth the pain" and is about Ecuadorian teachers who came to K-State to take part in their country's GoTeacher program. GoTeacher is a concerted commitment to train thousands of Ecuadorian English language teachers so they can return to their classrooms and transform their nation's educational system.
Films produced by the College of Education that previously aired on all Kansas PBS stations were "Humanity Looks Good on Everyone," and "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students." Another documentary, "A Long Road," aired on KTWU. Visit the college's YouTube channel for these and more videos covering a broad range of topics and issues.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network offers sessions for Manhattan community, educators
The Greater Kansas City Chapter of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, will be on campus this week providing free training opportunities for campus organizations, K-State faculty and academic advisers, future teachers, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden educators and members of the community. Amanda Morales, College of Education assistant professor and diversity coordinator, was honored to work with network representatives to organize several learning opportunities for those interested in advancing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, equity issues.
"As an educator, I value the research and advocacy work that GLSEN does to increase awareness of issues related to LGBTQ students' wellness, safety and inclusion in schools," Morales said. "These opportunities could not be more timely, given the nature of public discourse on this issue at the district, state and national levels. I am grateful to be part of this event which will, I hope, open doors for meaningful dialogue."
Data from the organization's 2013 National School Climate Survey reveals many challenges LGBT students face. Nearly 8,000 students between the ages of 13-21, many of whom self-identified as LGBT, were asked about their experiences in their school communities. These students reported that due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation:
- 55 percent of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
- 39 percent felt unsafe because of the way they expressed their gender.
- 65 percent of LGBT students reported hearing homophobic remarks and 33 percent heard negative remarks specifically directed at transgender people.
- 36 percent were physically harassed because of their sexual orientation and 23 percent because of their gender expression.
- 17 percent were physically assaulted and 11 percent because of their gender expression.
- 56 percent reported personally experiencing LGBT related discriminatory policies or practices at school.
- 57 percent of students did not report these incidents because they believed no action would be taken or that reporting would make things worse.
All of these experiences were found to be more extreme in rural schools.
Global academic advising association celebrates 25 years at K-State
The world's leading association for academic advising in higher education is celebrating an important milestone this year. National Academic Advising Association: The Global Community for Academic Advising is celebrating its 25th anniversary of being headquartered at K-State. The association formalized its relationship with the university in 1990 when it established its executive office at K-State, and the College of Education serves as the association's host institution. Charlie Nutt, association executive director, joined the association in 2002 and assumed the top leadership role in 2007.
"The insight and wisdom of Dr. Michael Holen and the NACADA board of directors in 1990 ensured the foundation for our growth," Nutt said. "Dean Debbie Mercer's continued support has allowed us to explore new opportunities." Nutt said the association grew out of the first national academic advising conference in 1977 and was officially chartered in 1979. Prior to the agreement with K-State, NACADA was managed by a group of volunteer leaders at institutions across the country. The association's sustained growth resulted in the need to establish a centralized base of operations as well as a professional staff.
"The College of Education provided the association with a home in the beginning so the association could support its members through a professional staff that managed the financial growth as well as the coordination of the annual conference," he said. "It is only through the support of and collaboration with the College of Education that NACADA has been able to not only expand its professional development opportunities for academic advisors across the globe, but also to support the field of academic advising in its expansion of research and publications focused on the profession."
NACADA made history in 2014 when it was the first organization to hold a conference on academic advising in the Middle East. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and boasts more than 12,000 members worldwide who are professional advisors, counselors, faculty and administrators working to enhance the professional development of students.
"This collaborative partnership continues to be a role model for how a university and a higher education association can work together in a symbiotic relationship that is a true win-win for both parties," Nutt said. "NACADA is proud of and grateful to the College of Education for its support and is even more proud to have become an integral part of the college's and the university's academic mission."
Thurston, Burden given new responsibilities
A shift in responsibilities for two College of Education administrators means new synergies for faculty and graduate students.
Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and graduate studies and the Lydia E. Skeen endowed professor, assumed responsibility of the graduate studies program earlier this month. Paul Burden, assistant dean, was asked to focus on the college's reaccreditation effort.
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, appreciates the flexibility both of these administrators have demonstrated. "We are fortunate to have administrators with such varied backgrounds and areas of expertise that when a structural change such as this one is needed, they have the ability to shift seamlessly into their new roles," Mercer said.
Thurston looks forward to her new duties, as she believes it will create many synergies. "This structural change combines some of the goals of our graduate programs with some of our research goals," she said. "Building the capacity to do research for faculty aligns with providing resources and experiences for graduate student research." Thurston thinks the inaugural Graduate Student Appreciation Week April 6-10 will be the ideal time to begin bringing faculty and student researchers together from the college's 14 graduate programs. "I plan to explore all options that build a sense of community among researchers," she said.
Burden thinks the ability to fully concentrate on accreditation will advance the college today and for future site visits. "By serving as the accreditation coordinator, I now can interact with others in the college to prepare the report for our upcoming national accreditation visit," he said. "This new role also gives me the opportunity to provide guidance to the college as we move to new professional standards and a different national accrediting agency. This will be an exciting time to build on our successes and further strengthen our programs."
Kansas State University's education, engineering, veterinary medicine graduate programs named among the nation's best
Kansas State University's graduate programs in the College of Engineering, College of Education and College of Veterinary Medicine are being recognized as among the best in the nation. According to the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings for 2016, the university's College of Education is No. 88, up from No. 92 in 2015; College of Engineering is No. 94, up from No. 99 in 2015; and College of Veterinary Medicine is No. 14, up from No. 19 in 2015.
"The U.S. News & World Report rankings confirm that the College of Education, College of Engineering and College of Veterinary Medicine have graduate programs that are respected by our peers and that our graduates are esteemed in their respective fields," said Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. "These graduate programs advance a culture of excellence and help the university move forward with our goal to become a Top 50 public research university by year 2025."
The rankings are calculated through national surveys, student selectivity, faculty resources and the institutions' research activity.
"The upward movement in the rankings affirms the quality of the graduate programming offered by the K-State College of Education," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "We are proud that people from all professions including educators, military officers, healthcare, business, law enforcement and non-profits are turning to the college to advance their careers and professions."
College of Education announces premiere of 'Vale la Pena' documentary
The College of Education and its partners announce the premiere of an international documentary based on the Go Teacher program, an award-winning teacher education program for Ecuadorian English teachers. "Vale la Pena: Revolutionizing Hearts, Minds, and Communities" will premiere at 2:30 p.m. April 7 in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union. The documentary, which translates to "Worth the Pain," was made possible through a joint effort among the K-State College of Education; the Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, or CIMA; Global Campus; Office of International Programs; and the Ecuadorian government.
Forty voices unite to tell one unique and heartfelt story about this inspiring international partnership. Hear firsthand accounts of why these English as a foreign language teachers left behind their country, friends and families for a year with the sole purpose of becoming better teachers.
Socorro Herrera, professor and CIMA director, believes the influence of the Go Teacher program likely will be measured in decades. "There is a lot of rhetoric regarding what it means to form international relationships; yet, the reality is that it falls short because the players are always limited to a select few," Herrera said. "However, this project has opened our hearts — from the outside in and the inside out. The influence from this project will be measured for years to come, not only in Kansas but also abroad."
K-State was chosen as the lead institution to train 3,000 of Ecuador's EFL teachers, and the first cohort arrived in 2012. Partner institutions, New Mexico State University, Northern Illinois University, Kentucky University and Valparaiso University, along with former Go Teachers can watch the premiere via live stream.
To date, more than 1,000 teachers have completed, or are in the process of completing, the K-State program. Since it's inception, Go Teacher has received several awards including:
- 2015 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education — Best Practice Award in Support of Global and International Teacher Education.
- 2013 Association for Continuing Higher Education Great Plains Region — Exceptional Noncredit Program Award.
- 2012 University Professional and Continuing Education Association Central Region — Innovative Noncredit Program Award.
For more information about Vale la Pena, watch for updates at the Vale la Pena website, and on Instagram and Twitter at #ValelaPenaKState.
College of Education earns national diversity award
The College of Education received a national award for global teacher education based on its nearly four decades of inclusion and commitment to diversity. The college was presented with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education — Best Practice Award in Support of Global and International Teacher Education at the association's 67th annual meeting in Atlanta recently. Debbie Mercer, dean; Amanda Morales, assistant professor and diversity coordinator; and Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor, accepted the award.
"Diversity isn't a class that is taught within our college," Mercer said. "Diversity is how we live, it is how we relate to others, and it is how we prepare future teachers to educate all of the students in their classrooms. This award is particularly meaningful as it affirms that we are taking the right steps at the right time and are truly impacting the education students receive in Kansas as well as students far beyond our state's and nation's borders."
Morales drafted the five-page application with support from Kevin Murry, associate professor, detailing the college's many initiatives, which center on the concept that diversity is a collective responsibility that is woven into every aspect of the college's teacher education program. Morales wrote the college has "a history of recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, staff and students, offering undergraduate and graduate curriculum, providing intensive field experiences with diverse students for pre-/in-service teachers, and building community and school partnerships to support diversity, equity and global perspectives."
- The Midwest Equity Assistance Center has been housed at K-State since 1978 and has provided vital services to wide a range of local and state constituents in a four-state region.
- The Go Teacher program is an international partnership among the Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, or CIMA, several other campus departments and the governing body of higher education in Ecuador. K-State is the lead institution in training 3,000 of Ecuador's ESL teachers.
- CIMA's BESITOS program has become a model for bilingual/bicultural students in ESL education. The program recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.
- The Center for Student and Professional Services has implemented a recruitment program with a research-based developmental advising model to address retention of first-generation college students and underrepresented students.
- Preservice teachers are typically placed in one of three highly diverse schools districts that are members of the college's award-winning Professional Developmental Schools partnership.
- The college began its fourth year of Project EXCELL, an acronym for Extending College Education for Lifelong Learning. It provides a collegiate opportunity for adults with mild developmental disabilities for supplemental transition services. Student volunteers assist with classes.
- The college's Military/Veteran Educational Initiative began in 2012 with the purpose of preparing educators to serve military personnel, veterans and their families in educational settings.
- The college has produced a diversity-themed documentary series "A Walk in My Shoes" and topics include international graduate students, first-generation college students and military life. Many other diversity-related films and videos are on the college's YouTube channel.
- The college has established a diversity task force, diversity for community committee, diversity brown bag sessions, a multicultural inquiry group and a distinguished research lecture series that featured Gloria Ladson Billings, an American pedagogical theorist and teacher educator, as the inaugural speaker.
Carroll develops eBook for graduate course
A College of Education faculty member created an e-book that is saving graduate students the cost of two textbooks. Doris Wright Carroll, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, developed an e-book for multiple sections of the course "Multicultural Aspects of Academic Advising." Carroll received a $5,000 award from the university's Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative to develop the resource. Over the course of the academic year, the e-book is saving approximately 120 students $13,500.
"Because I teach graduate-level distance courses, my motivation for doing this was to help the students who are taking this course around the world," Carroll said. "I routinely have students enrolled who are in Canada, South Africa, Europe and on Army bases around the world. This population of students experiences a number of challenges when ordering textbooks and very often would not get their books until week four of the course or would incur additional costs."
Carroll earned her doctorate degree in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She has been on faculty at K-State since 1999 and conducts applied research in student affairs practice and higher education administration, with special focus on online graduate education. Carroll's current research focus is on cultural competency development.
College of Education offers social justice education certificate
The College of Education is launching a groundbreaking graduate certificate program in social justice education, with enrollment opening in March and classes beginning in May.
Courses for the program, which is 15 credit hours, can be taken exclusively online or as a hybrid with electives being taken on campus. This program is truly unique in that it was a coordinated, collegewide effort that included faculty and graduate students from every department and its applications extend far beyond similarly named programs, which are typically limited to K-12 education.
Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research, and Lydia E. Skeen endowed professor, coordinated the efforts to develop and implement the certificate program. "We see this as a great fit for students and professionals in many fields who want to learn more about pedagogical practices to promote social justice in all sorts of educational settings, from a rural preschool to an extension program to higher education," Thurston said. "This is the first social justice education certificate designed for both formal and informal educational settings and includes learners of all ages."
The certificate focuses on the principles of social justice education that promote equitable, sustainable and transformative change. The program consists of a focused collection of courses that relate to social justice education in school, community and organizational settings, with theory-to-practice central to the program.
Susan Yelich Biniecki, assistant professor of educational leadership, served as co-chair for the college's steering committee that developed the certificate program. "The goal was to develop a certificate program to help students, including many working professionals in a variety of disciplines, better understand the world around them and issues of inequity that need to be addressed," Yelich Biniecki said. "The program illustrates how to take theory to practice and collaboratively create meaningful and sustainable changes in communities and workplaces such as neighborhoods, companies, schools, the military and nonprofits."
Education faculty member crafts savings for students
It's not often graduate students cheer when talking about textbooks. But that's exactly what happened when a College of Education faculty member told her class she replaced two textbooks with electronic modules.
Christy Craft, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, announced on the first day of the semester in the course Principles of College Student Personnel Services that she had revised the course and eliminated both textbooks. Craft was awarded $3,000 through the college's Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative to develop the digital modules, which will save about 35 students $3,150 per year. Thanks to several College of Education faculty members, students have saved more than $228,000 due to the university's and college's alternative textbook initiatives.
"The textbooks were too theory based and did not have enough content in practical application," Craft said. "I felt very constrained by the textbooks, and this gives me much more freedom." Craft noted the course was designed for administrators, and the best examples are rooted in real-life issues. "This course is designed to teach administrators about budgets, legal issues, ethics, supervision and other administrative issues," Craft said. "Which would you rather do if you are discussing ethics? Would you rather read a chapter about ethics or listen to a podcast or watch a TED Talk about a current issue related to ethics?"
Craft has taught courses in the student affairs in higher education program at Kansas State University since 2005. She earned her doctorate in higher education from the University of Arizona and is often sought out to share her research about religion and spirituality in higher education
iBook produces savings for education students
A College of Education faculty member is the latest to develop an iBook for future teachers thanks to the college's Open/Alternative Resource Initiative.
Brad Burenheide, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, was awarded a $3,000 grant to develop an iBook for his course, Secondary Social Studies Methods and Practicum. Students began it using this semester, saving each $140. The projected annual cost savings is estimated at $4,200.
The nine-chapter iBook is devoted to complex topics such as teaching history, teaching civics and political science, teaching economics, assessments and fundamental pedagogy. Created in iBooks Author, Burenheide appreciates the flexibility of the technology.
"I no longer have to settle for a textbook that's close to what I want," he said. "Textbooks were not keeping up with cutting-edge information, and now I can update content economically, efficiently and with the most current ideas in research."