Dr. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve exemplifies Inclusive Excellence through his scholarly work, investigating the social and political contexts of educational opportunity for historically marginalized communities. Specifically, his research focuses on college access and success, higher education policy and critical qualitative inquiry. Dr. Gildersleeve is an Associate Professor and the Program Coordinator in the Higher Education (HED) Program.  He is an alumnus of Occidental College, and after, received his M.A. in Higher Education and Organizational Change and Ph.D. in Education from UCLA.

Currently, Dr. Gildersleeve is embarking on research that explores Latino graduation ceremonies. On a previous project, Los Estudiantes Migrantes y Educación (LEME), Gildersleeve worked with 12 migrant youth and their families, in California, over an eight year period. During this time all but two of the youth graduated from college and invited him back to attend their graduations. Of those 10 students, nine participated in Latino graduation ceremonies, preferring Gildersleeve to attend the Latino specific ceremony over the institutional commencement ceremony. His notion of the graduation ceremony was reimagined. Gildersleeve explained, “I noticed they were somewhat different than the institutional commencement ceremonies that I had become accustomed to; there was something really interesting in how the Latino ceremonies focused on students and families.” This is where his focus on Latino graduation ceremonies began, “One of these students from LEME was on a graduation committee, and he invited me to be the keynote speaker. That was really the beginning of the project for me.”

“I noticed they were somewhat different than the institutional commencement ceremonies that I had become accustomed to; there was something really interesting in how the Latino ceremonies focused on students and families.”

For Dr. Gildersleeve, part of why it’s important to examine Latino graduation ceremonies is that “ceremonies produce and reflect changing power structures in the purposes and values of higher education. Particularly, as we see the demographics of the United States changing rapidly, and an ascendancy of a stronger Latino middle class.” Morgridge HED students Darsella Vigil and Ben Clark are aiding Gildersleeve throughout the project. As Gildersleeve’s research gets underway, he will be visiting with student organizers of Latino graduation ceremonies and attending a number of these ceremonies throughout the spring of 2015. We look forward to the findings of his research and his continued dedication to inclusive excellence!

Dr. Sharolyn Pollard-Durodola embodies Inclusive Excellence through her scholarly work, attending to the prevention and intervention of language and literacy difficulties (Spanish and English). Central to her scholarship is an interest in developing intervention curricula that build on validated instructional design principles, evaluating their impact on the language and reading development of struggling readers, and investigating ways to improve the quality of language and literacy practices of teachers and parents of young English language learners (ELLs) and non-ELLs who are at risk for reading difficulties. Dr. Pollard-Durodola is an Associate Professor in the Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP) program.

For the past ten years, her work has focused on accelerating oral language and content knowledge (science and social studies) through intensified shared book reading practices with young language learners (English language learners, native speakers of English) in school and home settings. As co-principal investigator in an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant-funded research project, Project Words of Oral Reading and Language Development (WORLD), she has collaborated with faculty from Texas A & M (Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, PI; Dr. Deborah Simmons, Co-PI) and the University of Texas – Pan American (Dr. Laura Saenz, Co-PI) to design and implement the WORLD interactive book reading approach in high poverty school and home settings.

In 2014, Dr. Pollard-Durodola received a grant from the University of Denver Internationalization Council for her project: International Perspectives on Bilingual Education. This grant allowed her to provide a keynote speech in Hanoi, Vietnam (August, 2014) at the Consortium to Advance School Psychology- International (CASP-I) Conference. The title and topic of her keynote speech was An Examination of Language, Literacy, and Socio-emotional Needs of Young Emerging Bilinguals: A Responsive and Proactive School Approach. This international experience and collaboration presented Dr. Pollard-Durodola the opportunity to form networks with other researchers whose scholarship attend to the oral language, literacy, and socio-emotional needs of children from high poverty settings who are also acquiring literacy in two or more languages. We look forward to her continued dedication to inclusive excellence.

The Institute for the Development of Gifted Education (IDGE) is pleased to announce Dr. Julia Link Roberts as recipient of the 2015 Palmarium Award. She is the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University as well as the Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies and The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.

The Palmarium Award is awarded to the individual most exemplifying the vision of the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education. A vision of, “a future in which giftedness will be understood, embraced, and systemically nurtured throughout the nation and the world.”

Recipients demonstrate the Institute’s vision through understanding of giftedness in the areas of:

  • Practice by impacting graduate education, pre-service, and P-12 community
  •  Outreach through advocacy at a variety of levels (local, national, international)
  • Publications informing teachers, children, parents, policy makers, and academia
  •  Research influencing theory, practice, and policy

For the full article on Dr. Julia Link Roberts visit WKUNews.

Heather Blizzard is a PhD student in the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Research Methods and Statistics Program (RMS). Utilizing qualitative research methods and program evaluation, her research focuses on social and academic support for first-generation students. She is currently developing a measure to examine the self-perceived social support of first-generation, post-secondary students. “This is the first step to what I hope will lead to pinpointing ways to aid in their success as students” states Heather, who also works as a Graduate Research Assistant on a federally funded grant for the Kennedy Institute. We sat down with Heather to learn a little more about her Morgridge experience.

Research Methods and Statistics student Heather Blizzard

Research Methods and Statistics student Heather Blizzard

“I would say that the one thing we all have in common at MCE is the desire to make a difference.”

Morgridge Blog: How did you learn about the RMS program at DU?

Heather: I actually found the RMS program on accident. I was originally setting out to pursue a degree in Social Psychology; however, I had an interest in studying first-generation college students and teaching at a university level, so I decided to check out the College of Education and came across the program. After reading about the program and the faculty members in the program, I was extremely interested in learning more.

MB: How did you decide to pursue an MA in RMS at Morgridge, and then to continue on with the PhD program?

Heather: The faculty played an instrumental role in my decision to complete both my MA and my PhD in the RMS program. My partner was asked to come in for an interview session with a different program in Morgridge, so I emailed Dr. Duan Zhang to see if I could meet with her during that time, and she ended up getting me a meeting with every faculty member. Each faculty member has a unique background in how they approach research, and through their guidance I have grown as a person and as a researcher.

MB: How do you feel the programs in MCE are related, and how have other programs, professors, or students in other programs shaped your experience?

Heather: All of the programs have a central focus on education, but approach it in various ways. By having classes with professors and students in other programs I have gained different lenses to view research. I feel that collaborating with students from other programs enables me to learn more about the way they view research and gives me the opportunity to share my passion.

MB: How would you describe the core value of MCE and the programs within it?

Heather: I would say that the one thing we all have in common at MCE is the desire to make a difference. Some people want to make a difference in how education is attained, some want to change the way education is viewed, and some want to create better ways of assessing education. While each journey is different, the end goal of improving education is the same.

MB: Looking back, is there any decision/action you would change during your time in the program? Or, advice you would give to incoming/prospective students?

Heather: I wish I had gone to more of the events that were held on campus. The amount of free resources that are available is amazing, but I didn’t really take advantage of them. Advice for others: take advantage of the resources. Also, I recommend utilizing the assignments given to you in your classes to hone in on your personal research interests. Each assignment served as an opportunity to do more research on what I thought I was interested in. I came into the program with a very broad idea of what I wanted to study and was able to leave my MA knowing what I wanted to do my PhD dissertation on. Another piece of advice would be to make sure you check the schedule for what classes are being offered.

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is assisting the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) in conducting a state-mandated study. This study centers on the development, delivery, and administration of comprehensive early childhood care and early childhood education in North Dakota. Dr. Carrie Germeroth, Assistant Director of Research at Marsico and the project director, works closely with a State Advisory Committee to provide insight on early childhood needs. The Marsico study “has really given us a roadmap, I think last session we didn’t have enough information to really make some changes,” said Senator Michael Nathe in the Grand Forks Herald. The state funding would cover approximately half of the cost of pre-kindergarten education for an estimated 6,000 children through annual grants of $1,000 per student. “With just 36 percent enrollment among 3- and 4-year-olds, the state ranks fifth from the bottom in early childhood education,” said Kirsten Baesle, State Superintendent. Under the legislation, communities would have to organize coalitions of early childhood education providers, both public and private. Dr. Germeroth also works closely with the State Advisory Committee developing a state Early Care and Education Framework and Parent Brief to support further legislative efforts.

aSSURING a qUALITY eDUCATION

MCE’s Child, Family, & School Psychology (CFSP) Ph.D. and Ed.S. programs are both arccredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

NASP accreditation is an important indicator of quality graduate education in school psychology, comprehensive content, and extensive and properly supervised field experiences and internships, as judged by trained national reviewers. In addition, a program attaining NASP approval allows for a streamlined process for program graduates to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential.

“NASP program approval is your assurance that the key professional association in the field recognizes the content and quality of Morgridge’s CFSP PhD and EdS programs” said Cynthia Hazel, PhD (Associate Professor and Program Coordinator).

Our NASP Accredited Programs

Since joining the Morgridge College of Education faculty in 2011, Dr. Nicole M. Joseph, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, advances Inclusive Excellence research and practice around issues related to access, equity and achievement for underrepresented students. Her work focuses particularly on social justice for African American females in math education. In addition to her research, Dr. Joseph is strongly committed to teaching, employing transformative practice to co-construct deep learning experiences for her students. Congratulations are in order; Dr. Joseph was recently awarded the 2014-2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr. Joseph is currently working on a number of research projects. She is the lead co-author of a book with MCE alumna Dr. Chayla Haynes Davison and Dr. Floyd Cobb entitled, Interrogating Whiteness and Relinquishing Power: White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms, which seeks to link issues of inclusion to teacher excellence by illuminating the critical influence that racial consciousness has on the behaviors of white faculty in the classroom (Haynes, 2013). The important work specifically examines STEM classrooms because of the over saturation of white faculty teaching in STEM, in addition to the STEM system being a white institutional space that perpetuates hegemony, thereby negatively influencing racially minoritized students’ equitable outcomes. The book is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

In addition to finishing her book, Dr. Joseph continues her work on the mathematics education of Blacks during segregation from 1854 to 1954 through a University of Denver funded PROF grant. This study focuses on archival data collected from 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities across 11 states from sources such as mathematics textbooks, mathematics faculty papers, institution catalogs, yearbooks, and school newspapers. This history project is now being funded by her National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Additionally, Dr. Joseph recently submitted an article to the Journal of Negro Education based on this work and is also working on turning this research into a book manuscript.

In the Fall 2014, Dr. Joseph began working with a University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In) Equality (IRISE) post-doctoral fellow, Subini Annamma, to study race, class and gender inequalities in K-12 schools. Over the next two years, she and Dr. Annamma will be working together on research that focuses on these important areas.  Additionally, Dr. Annamma will offer a graduate course that will be cross-listed in education, social work, and law.

Dr. Joseph and Kate Crowe pose with 9News' TaRhonda Thomas

Dr. Joseph and Beverly Leali pose with 9News’ TaRhonda Thomas

As the founder of the Sistah Network, Dr. Joseph is committed to the experiences of Black women at DU. She is currently partnering with Kate Crowe, the Special Collections and Archives Curator to conduct oral histories of Black women alums from the University of Denver from the early 1950s to the present. These oral histories are important because they help to reconstruct a more complete picture of the student experience at the University  of Denver’s rich history. Dr. Joseph and Ms. Crowe will create a repository of these oral histories for future researchers who would like to study this area.  TaRhonda Thomas, from Channel 9 news recently did a story on this project, DU seeking out diverse history.


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