School of Education promotes Inclusive Excellence with Students of Color Reception
by Emma McKay
For the Morgridge College of Education, diversity means more than just a number of minority students – it means a higher quality education. That’s why the school held its third annual Students of Color reception last Friday evening in an effort to promote inclusive excellence in all of its higher education and teacher training programs.
The reception, which was held in Ruffato Hall and gathered approximately 40 professors, current and prospective students, was meant to inform prospective students of why inclusive excellence is important to Morgridge, and also to give them a taste of what the Morgridge experience is like, according to Ryan Barone, second year PhD student in the Higher Education program who coordinated the event.
The evening began with an hour or mingling over hor’d’oeuvres and drinks including chocolate covered strawberries, roasted vegetables, cheese, coffee and various alcoholic beverages, so that attendees could get a chance to meet each other and informally network.
“In the past students who have attended felt like it was a really unique opportunity to meet other students of color at [Morgridge] to talk in an authentic way about some of the challenges and opportunities that are unique here at the college,” said Barone.
After short speeches by Gregory Anderson, dean of the school, and Frank Tuitt, associate provost of multicultural excellence, a panel of six current masters and doctoral students answered questions about their time at Morgridge
The students didn’t only discuss their experiences with diversity at the school. Many questions were focused on things like the school’s unique class schedule, which allows students to take classes at night or on the weekends, internships or time management. Two students spoke about what it is like to raise children while still attending school.
“As a parent, I really appreciate the fact that there is a family bathroom here,” said panelist David Kennedy, laughing. “My daughter is here so much some people say she’s going to earn her honorary degree.”
Another panelist, Sujie Kim, spoke about how the program helped her decide what she wants to do after school.
“If I had guessed a couple years ago, I never would have thought I’d be working with veterans,” said Kim.
All panelists agreed that the school’s commitment to inclusive excellence has added to their education.
“We have a wide variety of life experiences and we each bring those different perspectives to the things we’re working on,” said panelist Myntha Cuffy.
“In my cohort, there’s probably about 14 of us, and eight out of the 14 are students of color,” said Jesús Rodríguez, first PhD candidate in education leadership and policy studies. “That’s a really different experience for me.”
According to Barone, the school does take into account diversity when admitting students.
“I think the more diverse our classrooms are with all identities, better training they’ll get in their programs and they’ll be better professionals down the road,” said Barone.
Morgidge is trying to diversify its pool of students as much as possible in order to create a more rounded learning experience.
“We are always trying to diversify in terms of race but also in terms of other identities,” said Barone. “Folks from out of state, folks from all over the world, different religions, gender, sexual orientation, that’s all part of our strategy.”
Originally posted through the Clarion Newspaper at the University of Denver
In addition to the success of The 2014 Graduate Research and Performance Summit, graduate students from various programs at the Morgridge College of Education stood out due to their engaging research. The event occurred February 7th 2014, as an initiative of the Graduate Student Government (GSG) to engage in interdisciplinary research and dialogue across DU. The theme for the summit was Breaking Down the Silos.
MCE students’ research at the summit showcased their InContext applications of theories or cross-cultural immersions, which were linked to some classes pursued over the course of the year. Here is a list of presenters and projects:
Aiding or Abating: Electoral Fraud Through a Lens of Social Justice
Tara Rhodes, Research Methods and Statistics
Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Mental Health Issues in School Settings
Ariel Haytas, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Libby Malone, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Lizzy Savage, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Common Core State Standards(CCSS) in Higher Education Primer Project
Kate Burns, Higher Education
Teachers Who Become Professors: Running to or Running From Teaching
Eron Reed, Curriculum & Instruction
Coping Strategies of Students of Color in Student Affairs and Higher Education Preparation Programs
Evette Allen, Higher Education
Who says racism is dead? A Creative Representation of the Racialized Experiences of Students of Color in Student Affairs Graduate Preparation Programs
Bryan Hubain, Higher Education
Mapping the Ineffable: An Exploration of Teacher Growth in Unscripted Moments
Katherine Newburgh, Curriculum and Instruction
CLICK HERE To learn more about what students presented on. Each program was centered around Inclusive Excellence and Social Justice.
Having been invited to interview only a few weeks earlier, I arrived in Denver feeling very anxious. This was my first in-person graduate school interview and I was feeling apprehensive about having to distinguish myself from the other applicants in a single day. I was staying with a friend close to campus and we walked over to Ruffatto Hall the evening before so I would know where to go the next morning. I was blown away by the beauty of the building and could imagine spending hours reading and writing papers in the many study nooks around the building. I went to bed early that night, hoping to get a good night’s sleep.
After a breakfast buffet and time to mingle with current and prospective students, the day’s program started. My two interviews were both scheduled for the afternoon, so I spent the morning learning about financial aid and inclusive excellence. My thoughts were preoccupied by the interviews and this made it difficult to focus on the presenters. During lunch, we were able to ask a panel of current students questions about the program. Hearing their firsthand perspectives was one of the most helpful parts of the day.
After lunch, I had some free time before my interviews. I found a beautiful porch on the fourth floor to review my notes and enjoy some vitamin D. After a long winter in North Dakota, the 50 degree weather and view of the mountains was welcome.
I had two half-hour interviews with two different faculty members and both asked the same questions, “Why do you want to be a school psychologist?” and, “Why do you want to attend DU?” The first gave me the opportunity to expand on my prior experiences that had led me to the field and to expand on my specific interests. To the second I was able to say unquestionably, “I want the best education I possibly can.” Both interviews turned out to be more of a comfortable dialog with faculty than the interrogation I was worried about.
The interview day finished with a reception with good food, wine, beer, and conversation with current students and faculty. The other prospective students shared feelings of relief that the day was finished. The head of the program gushed about her summers spent white water kayaking with her family. I left campus that evening feeling 100% sure DU was the school for me and with my fingers crossed that, come next fall, I would be able to experience the 300 annual days of sunshine, hike the beautiful mountains, and maybe even try out white water kayaking, while preparing for my dream career.
MCE Student Ambassador
Child, Family, and School Psychology
Visit the Student Ambassador Webpage: http://morgridge.du.edu/community/student-ambassadors/