As part of KUSA Channel 9 Denver’s Recovery Week special on addictions, news anchor TaRhonda Thomas interviewed Counseling Psychology (CP) Addictions Specialization director, Mike Faragher. Faragher is a Level II National Gambling Counselor, as a Board Approved Clinical Consultant by the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board, and as Level III Senior Addiction Counselor by Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. Dr. Andi Pusavat, Counseling Service Clinic Director and Clinical Assistant Professor addressed addiction causes in a live interview during the broadcast. Faragher and Pusavat were joined by Amy Hudson, CP PhD student, Wesley Pruitt, ’15 CP MA grad, and Tammy Pope, MS, NCGC1 from Choice Counseling & Recovery. All five manned the live phone lines answering questions on a wide range of addiction issues and connecting callers with local resources and support groups, including MCE’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic.

You can find more photos from the interview in our Flickr album.

The 9th annual Students of Color Diversity Celebration was held November 7th in Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Katherine Ruffatto Hall. The event showcased the College’s commitment to producing a new generation of change agents passionate about working together to create an inclusive and diverse community for all students.

After opening remarks by Dean Karen Riley, Dr. Lolita Tabron, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, facilitated the panel discussion.

The panelists described their experiences as first-generation and underrepresented students, as well as the unique challenges that their individual culture has on their educational career. Several panelists stressed the value of the cohort model used at MCE and described how faculty members embrace all students into the academic community. During the Q&A session, panelists discussed scholarship opportunities for students and the funding of graduate degrees, work life balance, and the need for commitment to your degree.

The Students of Color event was created by Dr. Frank Tuitt, MCE Higher Education faculty and current Sr. Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Diversity and Inclusion.

This year’s student panelist included:

See photos from the event here or view the entire panel discussion here.

November 17th, 2017—For a story to be told about teaching there must be a person on the other end listening.  In my last post I wrote about the art of storytelling as articulated by J.D. Vance in “Hillbilly Elegy.” In this post I want to explore the art of listening as described by the southern novelist David Joy in his essay, “Digging in the Trash.” When asked at a book signing what he thought would help the people he knows in Appalachia, Joy responded:

Just listen. The truth is we live in a world where we don’t listen to people anymore. So often we’re just waiting for the next opening to respond. What we need to realize is that sometimes people don’t need advice. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is just to keep our mouth shut and let them empty themselves into our hands. When they’re finished, we don’t need to do anything with what they’ve given us. We just need to show them that we’re holding it for them till they can catch their breath.

Joy’s suggestion to “just listen” seems like sound advice to me.  What a gift to give a teacher, listening to stories with no purpose other than to hear what is being shared.  No agenda.  No outcome. No advice giving.  No need to pre-think how to fix the situation.  Just listen in a way that creates a space where the teacher can empty out emotions, understandings, questions, wonderment, or frustrations.  The listener embracing the honor of holding those stories with integrity and humility for however long it takes the teacher to “catch their breath”, pick up their craft knowledge, and reengage the complexities of teaching.  Here are some questions to ask a teacher that might invite a round of storytelling and deep listening.

  • What aspect of your day left you breathless and full of wonder?
  • Fill in the blank with a metaphor; teaching is like a _________.  And why?
  • Tell the story of a student who changed your approach to teaching.
  • If you could thank an influential teacher, what would you tell that person about why you became a teacher?

Joy’s advice seems easy to practice when at least two people are present; the teacher and the listener. But does his guidance hold true if the only person present is the teacher?  The form of listening Joy describes is even more important when practiced as self-listening; when the teacher listens with intention to self-stories. When the organ of listening is no longer the ears but instead is the heart, the source of deep wisdom.  Like partner listening, self-listening is best practiced without an agenda, outcome, or advice giving. What matters is a willingness to trust the inner-voice communicating about the call to teach; a desire that is characteristically soft-spoken, gentle, truthful, and persistent.  The gift of self-listening is an invitation to empty out into your own hands; to hold the deep truths about your teacher-self until you catch your breath and are ready again to take on the role of teacher.  This is no easy task as most teachers are skilled at practicing a form of humility that borders on denial; a resistance to praise and the naming of talents and ability.  Here are some questions to ask that might elicit a response from your inner teacher who in my experience is more than willing to engage in conversation. Your job; just listen.

  • When you are struggling with the question of whether or not to keep teaching, why do you come back?
  • In what ways does teaching encourage you to be more fully yourself?
  • What aspects of teaching fill you with an overflowing sense of wonder and awe?

Laura Finkelstein (PhD ’14), has been keeping very busy since graduating from Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver (DU). She spent the first year of her post-graduate professional career as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. She then accepted a position as a staff psychologist at the University of Texas Dallas (UTD) Counseling Center until she was promoted to Outreach Coordinator. In her roles at UTD, she provided individual counseling for students dealing with a broad range of concerns, from adjustment issues to the emergence of more severe mental health symptoms. She ran several groups, including an Expressive Arts Therapy Group, a Men’s Issues Group, and a Self-Compassion group. She also oversaw outreach training, coordination, and provision for UTD students and staff.

More recently, Laura moved back to Washington, DC to be closer to family and has since opened her own private practice where she sees adults with a range of concerns and symptoms.  She focuses on trauma, relationship issues, men’s issues, and expressive art therapy, and she just recently accepted a position as the Director of the Counseling Center at Marymount University.

Laura remembers her time at DU and Morgridge fondly, particularly the relationships she built with faculty and instructors.

“They embodied the type of compassionate, curious psychologists I wanted to be, and in many ways continue to be important examples to me,” Finkelstein said. She also appreciated the broad scope of experiences and counseling skills that were a part of both the MA and PhD programs, which prepared her well for an assortment of challenges she has faced professionally.

Finkelstein was initially drawn to the field of counseling based on her fascination with people’s stories; their childhood, relationships to self and others, and construction of narratives. Before entering the field as a student and eventually a professional, Laura wrote for a fashion magazine but found that she was more interested in how individuals functioned psychologically in the industry than she was the fashion itself.

“I applied to the MA program to see if these interests would fit for me as a career,” she said. “Absolutely loving it from day one, I knew I wanted to continue through a PhD program and make a professional life out of psychology.”

“DU first came on my radar because I had a lot of friends from the East Coast, where I grew up, who had recently moved to Denver and loved the lifestyle. Through my research of the program and my interview, I was excited by the breadth of learning and experiences offered by the counseling program. The people in the program, my cohort and professors, kept me going and feeling inspired professionally.”

In the future, Finkelstein is open to different roles as a psychologist, including further work in counseling centers, either in a teaching or administrative capacity. In whichever direction her career in the field of counseling moves, she feels very prepared for a wide array of positions, which is one of things she appreciates most about having her degrees in Counseling Psychology.

“The path of a counseling psychology student, especially a Ph.D. candidate, was not always smooth,” she said. “There were many challenges and I definitely had moments where I questioned if I could do it. I have so much admiration and respect for students in these programs. To them I want to say, this can be such a rewarding and meaningful path, and it does get easier!”

The Higher Education Department and the MCE Alumni Office hosted a panel discussion that explored the impact of the U.S. Department of Education’s recent announcement on Title IX enforcement. The panel, moderated by Dr. Michelle Tyson, Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education, discussed the challenges associated with implementing the Title IX directive.

Panelists Included:
Dr. Becky Broghammer, Conflict Mediator and Title IX Investigator, University of Northern Colorado
Dr. Elena Sandoval-Lucero, Vice President, Boulder County Campus, Front Range Community College
David Anderson, Title IX Investigator, University of Denver

Photos from the event may be viewed on our Flickr album.

On Tuesday, November 7, Morgridge College of Education alumna Dr. Carrie Olson (PhD, ’16) was elected to represent district 3 on the school board for Denver Public Schools. Olson beat out incumbent Mike Johnson 52% to 48%. Olson graduated from Morgridge in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


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