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Message from the Interim DeanDr. Karen Riley

Hello, I am Karen Riley, Interim Dean for the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. Education serves as the foundation and the means for positive change within our society. At Morgridge College, we have strong programs within our three departments (Educational Research, Policy, and Practice; Research Methods and Information Science; and School and Counseling Psychology) that provide our students with a solid foundation to become agents of change.

Choosing a graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your career. This is an exciting time, yet it can be overwhelming as you have many options and are faced with a great deal of information. The University of Denver has a long-standing reputation for excellence, innovation and community involvement. Founded in 1864, our university is recognized as the premier private university in the Rocky Mountain region. Our graduates reside across the country and the world, holding prominent positions within their communities and serving as agents for positive change. We seek students who will perpetuate this positive pattern and continue our mission for equity and inclusive excellence.

The Morgridge College of Education has a commitment to excellence in education. Regardless of your choice of program and ultimate profession, your experience here will include high-quality and rigorous academics provided by a nationally recognized faculty, utilizing engaged pedagogical practices. Our commitment to the student experience ensures that we have smaller class sizes so students have opportunities to work closely with faculty on research and community-oriented projects.

We have a diverse student body that serves to enhance the academic experience. Working with your peers and professors will facilitate your professional development as well as your personal growth. We provide programs tailored to full-time traditional students as well at those that are convenient for working adults. Some of our courses are provided via a blended online approach. Regardless of the program or the delivery method, our mission is to help prepare you through well-designed coursework and relevant practical experiences.

A graduate degree or certificate from the Morgridge College of Education serves as a nationally recognized credential. Our programs are approved through the Colorado Department of Education and accredited by relevant national organizations.

As a DU/MCE alumna, I take great pride in our programs and our commitment to excellence and innovation. Please take the time to review the information on our website and reach out to our admissions team with any additional questions. We also encourage you to attend one of our information sessions so that we can meet you in person and give you a tour of our state=of-the-art building, Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall. This building is loaded with the latest in educational technology to advance your learning experience as well as to prepare you to use these tools effectively as you serve others in your future profession. We hope to see you in the fall!

karen-riley-signature

See more about Dr. Riley and Here

This videos highlights the entire financial aid process for the University of Denver

If you missed the Deposited student webinars for Fall start programs and for TEP please feel free to review them at the links provided below.

 

Deposited student webinar for all Fall-start programs: https://connect.du.edu/p1t80gl4n8e/

Deposited student webinar for TEP: https://connect.du.edu/p19deeyo5g0/

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


Dr. Russell is currently working on a number of research projects. She is co-editing a book with MCE alumna Dr. Chayla Haynes 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. Russell continues her work on the math and science 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 28 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across 11 states from sources such as math and science textbooks, math and science faculty papers, institution catalogs, yearbooks, and school newspapers. This history project has advanced Dr. Russell to be a semi-finalist for the 2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Additionally, Dr. Russell 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.

Beginning Fall 2014, Dr. Russell will work with a University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In) Equality (IRISE) post-doctoral fellow to study race, class and gender inequalities in K-12 schools. Over the next two years, she and the post-doc will be working with the historical study data as well as designing a graduate course that will be cross-listed in education, social work, and law.

While working on these projects, Dr. Russell also continues her work with The Sistah Network, a group she founded in 2012 that includes more than 50 Black women who are current doctoral students and faculty members across the university. The Sistah Network brings these women together to provide them with academic opportunities for professional development and support their psychological, social and emotional success.

A morning advocating for additional support for children with autism, to an evening dinner networking with some of the great thinkers in the field of School Psychology. This was a day in the life of Brittany Sovran and Jessica S. Reinhardt at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Convention.  The highlight, however, was the two students’ attendance at the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner. For the first time in the history of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner event at the NASP Annual Convention, students were nominated by faculty to attend.

The Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation (WMF) is a private, nonprofit, operating foundation that supports the advancement of contemporary cognitive assessment. The WMF engages in programs of instructional support to professional preparation programs, research concerning the abilities of individuals with diagnosed exceptionalities, and closely-related educational and research projects and applications.

Child, Family and School Psychology faculty members, Dr. Karen Dittrick-Nathan and Dr. Cynthia Hazel, who were invited to the dinner event, nominated Brittany Sovran and Jessica Reinhardt for the honor of attendance. The two University of Denver students were then selected by the event’s planning committee to attend.

Both Jessica and Brittany took the conference as an opportunity to network and advocate for their agenda.  Earlier in the conference they visited Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) to advocate for additional funding for mental health in school. Jessica shared that the event, “was a great opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in the field, including faculty from other universities, and those highly regarded in the area of test development.” Both students stressed that the opportunity to form relationships with potential mentors from other institutions, could prove beneficial for learning additional techniques for educating and training school psychologists.

Jessica emphasized that it is life changing to meet the frontrunners in test development at various moments of the conference. “This event [WMF dinner], specifically at this conference inspired me to pursue a career in academia.” Jessica describes herself as both an academic and practitioner, and although she wants to continue working at the grassroots level, her appreciation for having a more systemic impact by training school psychologists is even greater. She shares that “in the future, I can now see myself in a faculty position at a university, where having a greater impact is possible.”

The Faculty in the Child, Family and School Psychology Program encouraged all Morgridge College of Education students attending the conference to speak with legislators who can influence change on a variety of issues affecting child, family, and school psychologists in Colorado. The CFSP program provides students the foundation to not only be Change Agents and advocates in the field but also highly competent, collaborative, ethical and self-reflective scientist-practitioners.  To learn more about the program and the Morgridge College of Education, visit www.du.edu/education.

According to the National Math + Science Initiative, about 44% of high school graduates are ready for success in college math and 36% are ready for college-level science. Students progressing through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to complete a four-year degree when compared to those who do not progress through Algebra II. There is an increasing need for math educators who are innovative and creative leaders in the classroom and in the field of math education.

To address this need for innovative math educators, beginning in Fall 2014, the Curriculum Studies and Teaching program at the University of Denver will begin offering courses in the new math education concentration area in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I). Students completing this concentration will develop their leadership skills through a deep understanding of the role of diversity, social justice, access, and equity in math. Additionally, students will be able to demonstrate comprehension of mathematical content, the application and synthesis of theories in research-based settings, and the application of technology and project-based learning. Students will have a chance to explore and evaluate the historical research foundation of math education and the impact on current practices in the field. Moreover, through coursework, field experiences, and initial research experiences, students in the math education concentration in the Curriculum & Instruction degree program will develop a strong background in cognition and math learning stylesmath. The program will produce math educators who have a strong theoretical background in math education and who are well prepared to address relevant and pertinent local, national and international questions in math education.

The new course offerings in the math education concentration math include the history and philosophy of math, learning and teaching math, early childhood math, diversity and equity in math, foundations of learning, technology in math education, discourse in math, and elementary math.  This concentration is being offered in the masters and doctoral degree programs, both EdD and PhD, in Curriculum and Instruction.

Upon completion of this concentration, students will be prepared for roles as leaders in math education in a variety of sectors such as higher education, state agencies, and non-profits. Students will be equipped to be positive change agents ready to identify and solve relevant national and international issues in math education, particularly for underrepresented student groups.

For more information, contact (303) 871-2509 (toll free at 1-800-835-1607) or email edinfo@du.edu.—

The STEM Crisis

https://nms.org/Education/TheSTEMCrisis.aspx

Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Under-Represented Minorities in STEM Fields

https://nms.org/Portals/0/Docs/whitePaper/NACME%20white%20paper.pdf

 

Child, Family, and School Psychology alumna, Rachel Wonner Kersteins, is 1 of 15 national semi-finalists for the Health Mart Champions of Care Challenge. Kerstiens volunteers with the organization Girls on the Run, which is an after school running program that engages girls from Grade 3-8.  The program focuses on  teaching girls to embrace difference and celebrate their individual voices through healthy and active practices.

Kerstiens work has earned her a nomination as an unsung community hero. Associated with this nomination was a $1,000 grant that was donated to her Charity of choice; Girls on the Run. There is a $50,000 grant to be donated by Health Mart to the organization, however the winner will be chosen by a vote.

Support CFSP alumna, Rachel Kersteins and “Girls on the Run” by voting: www.healthmartcommunity.com.

The original story was covered on Channel 9 news: http://www.9news.com/story/sports/2014/03/20/denver-nonprofit-grant/6646465/ 

"Manhattan Gold Mining and Milling Company certificate." Courtesy the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries, via the Mountain West Digital Library.

“Manhattan Gold Mining and Milling Company certificate.” Courtesy the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries, via the Mountain West Digital Library.

Last fall the library and information science (LIS) students in the Digital Libraries class participated in the pilot project launched by the Digital Public Library of America. The Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la/) is a fairly new initiative aimed at creating a national digital library in the United States. The goal of the project was to provide Library and Information Science (LIS) students with the knowledge and practical experience to curate online exhibitions.  The Morgridge College of Education’s LIS program was among four programs from around the country participating in this pilot program; the School of Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute in New York, University of Washington, and the University of Oklahoma.

The exhibition was created by Heidi Buljung, Chelsea Condren, Rachel Garfield-Levine, Sarah Martinez, Liz Slaymaker-Miller, Chet Rebman, and Brittany Robinson, under the supervision of Professor Krystyna Matusiak. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) selected the exhibit created by MCE’s LIS students, Staking Claims: The Gold Rush in Nineteenth-Century America for permanent presentation on the DPLA website.  The exhibit can be viewed at:  http://dp.la/exhibitions/exhibits/show/gold-rush

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, P-1257.

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, P-1257.

Artifacts showcased in the exhibit includes historical map of the gold regions of California, a magazine section from the San Francisco Sunday Call in 1910, journal entries, and certificates reflecting ownerships of stock in mining companies . These artifacts reflect the journey west to the gold regions and the romanticization of the gold rush. The exhibition further captured the implications of the gold rush such as marginalization and transformation of the United States. DU LIS student group also selected resources from the Colorado libraries, including images from the Denver Public Library Western History Digital Collections and Pikes Peak Library District Digital Collections. The participation in the DPLA pilot gave DU LIS students an opportunity to discuss the concepts of digital libraries in the real-life context and to apply their technical competencies and collaborative skills into a practical project. To view the online exhibitions at the Digital Public Library of America visit: http://dp.la/info/2014/03/05/new-exhibitions-launch-on-dpla/

Many Morgridge College of Education Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates are not only seeking imaginative, non-traditional roles in the field, but they’re finding them as well. From the variety displayed by recent graduates, the landscape of librarianship has clearly moved far beyond any antiquated stereotypes one may be holding onto.

LIS students often contribute to the traditional sites of public, school, academic, special library and archives settings, but many choose non-traditional roles working for corporations, science and medical companies, web design and content management firms, research firms, or non-traditional academic settings. These tend to be the jobs, that when discussed at a cocktail party, invite inquisitive looks and comments such as, “I didn’t even know that job existed.” But, they do exist, and based on our graduates’ success, it seems the options are boundless.

LIS career

Some recent graduates shared their experiences in landing exciting, unique jobs as information professionals, and how the LIS program at Morgridge helped to shape the path they took.

A popular and important role for information professionals is digital librarianship and technology services. The graduates we spoke with interact with this role in different ways, but technology is certainly at the core of the work they’re doing.

“My official title is Digital Asset Management Specialist, though that doesn’t really explain what I do.” Grant Outerbridge, a recent LIS graduate, shared what his work involves.

“I am currently engaged in two major projects.  The first project is selecting and configuring a digital asset management (DAM) system for hundreds of thousand of digital photos and videos. This involves designing extensive customized metadata schemas for photos and videos”, Grant explains, “The second project is to help redesign DaVita’s intranet. Once word of my library training spread, I was recruited to help create taxonomies of content and business functions in order to assist the IT department in laying the organizational framework for the new intranet.”

Digital librarianship is an expanding segment of the field of information. Many prospective and current students may be seeking something similar to Grant. His advice?

“The classes I took in Web Content Management, Digital Objects & Collections, and Information Architecture were instrumental in providing me with the intellectual skill set and hands-on experience to be able to do what I do now. Information of Organization made my brain melt a little bit when I took it, but the introduction to taxonomies, folksonomies, and FRBR is what set me down my current path.”

Lindsay Roberts, a Reference Librarian at Arapahoe Community College, teaches information literacy classes, creates LibGuides for the college, catalogs new materials, assists with collection development, and provides reference service to students and faculty.

Lindsay discovered community college librarianship while completing her MLIS. When asked if there was anything in particular from her LIS education that prepared her for this role specifically, she shared a variety of classes and experiences that helped guide her.

LIS Career

“I took Cataloging and Library Instruction, which were both directly applicable to my current role and helped me get the job. I also did a Service Learning project at the Community Technology Center at Denver Public Library and worked as a Graduate Assistant at Auraria Library while in the program. Both of these experiences gave me valuable training in reference and instruction. Finally, Kim Dority’s Alternative Careers class and Jamie LaRue and Sharon Morris’ Leadership class helped me think broadly about information work and all the possibilities for careers. I highly recommend these if they are offered!”

Lindsay’s passion for the community college culture and student population is evident in her approach.

“I love building relationships with students and faculty: ACC staff and students with a wide range of backgrounds. We see many of the same folks in the Library regularly, so we get to know their names and their stories. Students will sometimes come back and say, “Hey, I got an A on that paper you helped me with!” and that’s a wonderful feeling. I think the work we do really matters, since the research skills used for a particular assignment can also help someone with other areas of their life and help them feel more confident about themselves.”

When asked “Why libraries?” many LIS students agree that public service, helping people to find the information they’re seeking, and working with a variety of resources are top of their list of reasons for going into the field of Library and Information Science. The LIS program introduces a variety of classes that shape each individual’s approach to these passions. The varied paths students take is evidence of the range of the field as well as the opportunities.

Katie Yashiro works at the National Park Service (NPS) as a government contractor for Cherokee National Technical Solutions.

“I work in the Technical Information Center (TIC) for NPS. Currently, I assist with the processing of construction, design, and planning documents that NPS produces. This includes organizing, cataloging, and accessioning these documents known as Project Information Files.”

When asked what best prepared her for her role she explained that having a basic fundamental knowledge of how to organize information so that it is findable has been the most beneficial.

Her advice to current or prospective LIS students is to look at job postings for positions they’re interested in. By doing this, you’re able to see what a prospective employer is looking for in terms of certifications, specializations, and classes. Katie claims this was some of the best advice she received while in the program. She also encourages LIS students to network as much as possible by joining different clubs, associations, and affiliations.

“I have learned [this] is a key to advancing your career in the library field. Being as connected as possible to the library community is one of the most beneficial things an LIS student can do.”

The notion of networking and being a part of professional associations is new to many students upon entering the program, but the opportunities to do so on a student level are numerous. And while involvement in the student associations and the coursework, as well as finding your way down this path, may seem overwhelming, a similar sentiment is shared among recent graduates: It’s all about the courses, the people, investigating the path you’re interested in, and utilizing the LIS offerings to get you there.

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

http://duclarion.com/multicultural-mixer-provides-mingling-at-mordridge/

Museus 150x150

Associate Professor of Higher Education Dr. Samuel Museus joined the Morgridge College of Education faculty in the Fall of 2013, where he teaches graduate courses in student development, college access, diversity and equity in higher education. His current research focuses on the institutional practices and environments that impact student success for minority college students. Dr. Museus has produced more than 120 publications and presentations that focus on racial, cultural, and structural factors that affect the experiences and outcomes of diverse populations in K-12 and higher education.

In 2013, Dr. Museus published the book, “Asian American Students in Higher Education,” along with several scholarly articles in journals and academic magazines such as The Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, and About Campus. Another book, “The New Majority and Higher Education: A Synthesis of Research on College Students of Color,” is slated for release in 2015. In October 2013, he was honored as the Routledge Education Author of the Month. Dr. Museus has also received a Public Good Grant for the “Collecting Asian American and Pacific Islander Refugee Stories” project, which aims to work with refugee youth in the Denver area, particularly those from Bhutan and Burma to document their stories about cultural conflict and adjustment and their educational trajectories. Recently, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) selected Dr. Museus as the 2014 recipient of the George D. Kuh Outstanding Contribution to Literature and Research Award for his work in racial inclusiveness in higher education. He will be honored with this award at the upcoming NASPA conference in March of this year.

So the big question that everyone is asking, “What’s next for Dr. Sam Museus?” To answer this question, Dr. Museus shared that he will be investing his energies in three main areas over the next few years:

  • He will be working on several books. The largest book project is a volume with co-author Dr. Kimberly A. Griffin (University of Maryland) and will encompass reviewing the last two decades of research on college students of color and synthesizing these bodies of knowledge into one volume, titled The New Majority in Higher Education.
  • Dr. Museus will be moving the National Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Project forward. The CECE Model explains the impact of campus environments on diverse students’ success in college. The CECE Survey measures the elements of campus environments that promote success among diverse populations in college. The National CECE Project is focused on utilizing the CECE Model and Survey to work with administrators so that they can assess, better understand, and positively transform their environments to maximize success among diverse populations.
  • Dr. Museus will also be working with his Asian American and Pacific Islander Research Coalition (ARC) Fellow colleagues to establish an infrastructure and networks that allow ARC to generate and disseminate useful information to policymakers and practitioners interested in better serving Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations in K-12 and higher education.

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.

Research Summit - C&I

Curriculum & Instruction doctoral student Katherine Newburgh presenting at the summit

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.

Natalia BlogHaving 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.

Natalia Lynch
MCE Student Ambassador
Child, Family, and School Psychology

Visit the Student Ambassador Webpage: http://morgridge.du.edu/community/student-ambassadors/

This quarter, the Morgridge College of Education welcomed Dr. Diana Howard as the new Interim Director for the Ricks Center for Gifted Children. Dr. Howard is a nationally recognized leader in the field of gifted education and brings a wealth of experience to this new position.

Diana Howard photo

The Ricks Center is a pre-eminent program that provides gifted education to about 250 advanced learners ranging from three years of age to eighth grade and serves as a model demonstration site for graduate students. Its mission is, “to provide a dynamic and challenging educational environment that anticipates and responds to the individual, intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive needs of gifted children.” Dr. Howard’s commitment to gifted education and strategic vision will move the school forward in furthering this mission throughout the remainder of the academic year.

As a University of Denver alum, Dr. Howard graduated with a Ph.D. in Gifted Education and Administration in 1994. Her 24 year career includes studying in Ghana as a Fulbright scholar, a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay, and serving as a librarian and facilitator for advanced learners in both private and public schools thought Denver. She has also aided in opening and/or leading schools such as Challenge K-8 in Cherry Creek, Douglass Elementary in Boulder, Polaris at Ebert in Denver and Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy K-12 in Denver. In addition, Dr. Howard has been honored as outstanding Elementary Principal for the State of Colorado with the Wright Way Award in 2004, Colorado Art Education Association’s Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Arts in 2009 and the Gully Stanford Award for Arts Leadership in 2011.

In addition to her current position, Dr. Howard teaches college courses in Arts in Education, Young Gifted Children, Girls and Mathematics, Children’s Literature and Curriculum Integration. Her community involvement includes serving on the boards of VSA/Access Gallery, which serves youth with disabilities, and The Globeville Community Center, which provides education to people in need in the local community. She has also worked with the Denver Art Museum’s Creativity Resource website for teachers, and assisted with launching El Sistema Colorado at Garden Place Academy, which transforms the lives of children living in poverty through music.

This month, the University of Denver will launch a national search for a permanent director for the Ricks Center, with the goal of instating the new director by June 1, 2014.


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