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Morgridge Contributor Blog Archive

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. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve - Portfolio

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.

MCE’s Child, Family, & School Psychology (CFSP) PhD program has received accreditationby the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP); the EdS program has been re-accredited.

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).

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.What’s Next for Dr. Nicole M. Joseph, Asst. Professor of Curriculum & Instruction?

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 Kate Crowe 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.

Dr. Nicole Joseph - Portfolio

Dr. Sam Museus exemplifies Inclusive Excellence through his scholarly work. His recent project, the Culturally Engaging Campus Environment (CECE) Project utilizes the CECE model, which investigates the impact of campus environments on diverse student populations. A major goal of the project is to create conditions that are conducive for a diverse college student body to thrive. When assessing a culturally engaging campus environment there are nine characterizing indicators: Cultural Familiarity, Culturally Relevant Knowledge, Cultural Community Service, Cultural Validation, Meaningful Cross-Cultural Engagement, Collectivist Cultural Orientations, Humanized Educational Environments, Proactive Philosophies, and Holistic Support.

Natasha Saelua, Raquel Wright-Mair, Dr. Sam Museus, Varaxy Yi

The CECE Project has deep association with the Morgridge community. Serving on the CECE Project advisory board is Dr. Frank Tuitt, Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education. Also contributing are, Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, Assistant Professor of Higher Education, and Dr. Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Associate Professor of Higher Education, who work as affiliated scholars on the project.  Three current Morgridge College of Education students serve on Dr. Museus’ research team, Natasha Saelua, Raquel Wright-Mair and Varaxy Yi.

Dr. Museus is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at Morgridge, Asian American and Pacific Islander Research Coalition (ARC) fellow, and Director of the CECE Project at DU. He earned his PhD from the Pennsylvania State University, and served as a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Nagoya University in Japan, before becoming a faculty member at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education in the fall of 2013. His scholarship focuses on “understanding the racial, cultural, and structural factors that affect the experiences and outcomes of diverse populations in higher education.”  Dr. Sam Museus is an accomplished author, having produced over 100 publications, many in top-tier peer-reviewed academic journals. He has authored numerous books, including his forthcoming book The New Majority and Higher Education: A Synthesis of Research on College Students of Color. To learn more about Dr. Museus and his work in Inclusive Excellence, please check out his portfolio below.

This week, Karen Riley, Ph.D, Dean of the Morgridge College of Education, testified at the State Committee on Education for House Bill 15-1001. The bill, which addresses distribution of money for scholarship programs that assist early childhood education professionals, did not appear to cover programs that train individuals in early childhood special education. “We have a shortage of individuals with credentials to work with very young children with special needs,” said Dean Riley. “Typically early childhood and early childhood special education programs are separate programs with different requirements and an inclusive measure would serve the broader community while remaining consistent with the intent of the measure.”

Read the Bill Here

On January 14th, MCE held Colorado’s first and only public screening of the documentary “TEACH”. Over 200 educators and community leaders participated in the event which concluded with a panel discussion hosted by MCE Faculty member Paul Michalec, PhD, Program Coordinator and Clinical Professor for the Curriculum Studies and Teaching program.

Four of the Denver teachers and building leaders featured in the film were invited to be part of the panel, including Matt Johnson, MCE alum from the Denver Teacher Residency Program. During the discussion, Michalec quoted a stunning statistic that over 50 percent of new teachers will leave the education field within five years of beginning their careers. Why would teachers continue to teach despite an overwhelming number of obstacles stacked against them? Johnson, teacher at McGlone Elementary, explained that the students are his reason for continuing, a sentiment echoed by others. Lyndsay Young, teacher at MLK Early College, expressed that many students have never known a high school graduate and need a constant driving force in order to succeed. She saw herself as that force.

Carrie Morgridge, of the Morgridge Family Foundation, asked the panel, “What can [we]…do to help improve the system for you?” The panel’s overwhelming response was that teachers could be better prepared for these struggles if colleges of education provided more opportunities for their students to gain hands-on experience. “We need more forums between professors, teachers, and working practitioners,” said Suzanne Morey, Principal at McGlone Elementary School.

The event was featured in the DU Clarion. MCE will continue to drive critical conversations about teaching and teachers. Stay tuned for more events and opportunities to engage.

12 Jan / 2015

2014 A Year In Review

2014 was an eventful year for the Morgridge College of Education. From the introduction of new leaders to exciting student opportunities; we are excited to share with you some of our favorite moments of 2014.

Morgridge College of Education community members had the unique opportunity to ask new University of Denver Chancellor, Dr. Rebecca Chopp, questions about higher education, inclusive excellence, technology, and community building. The video series Chatting with Chopp features Chancellor Chopp as she answers questions posed by the DU Community.

Chancellor Chopp brings a wealth of experience to DU.  Most recently, she served as the president at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. In addition to her advanced administrative roles at numerous institutions, Chancellor Chopp is a widely published author and editor. In 2013, she co-edited the book Remaking College: Innovation in the Liberal Arts. The Morgridge College of Education is excited to share our opportunity to Chat with Chopp.

Watch the video above to learn more about Chancellor Chopp’s perspective on higher education.

Morgridge College of Education faculty member, Dr. Douglas Clements, sat down with NPR Morning Edition to discuss Why Math Might be the Secret to School Success. Across the country, enhancing the education of young children has been a major area of focus from academia to politics. This podcast focuses on Building Blocks, a math curriculum developed by Dr. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama.Currently, in New York City, a $25 million study is collecting evidence on ways to effectively raise educational outcomes for children in poverty. Building Blocks is one math curriculum being tested in the study. Dr. Clements and Dr. Sarama believe that math may be key to increasing educational outcomes.

The NPR Morning Edition podcast was released a day prior to the December 10, 2014, White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. Morgridge faculty are at the forefront of the conversation of early childhood learning. Their work is pushing the envelope on how teachers engage and promote educational outcomes for future generations.

Listen to the NPR podcast here

The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education (MCE) is screening the film TEACH by Davis Guggenheim, on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. Teach follows the struggles and triumphs of America’s education system through the eyes, minds and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers.

The film is hosted by Queen Latifah and directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who also created the documentary, Waiting for “Superman.” Guggenheim focuses on how to develop and retain great teachers in the United States; Morgridge’s Teacher Preparation Programs (TPP) are a part of this movement. A  Morgridge Alum, Matt Johnson, is featured in the film.

The screening is being held for educators from across the Denver metropolitan area. It will also feature a special Q&A session with two of the film’s featured teachers, Matt Johnson (McGlone Elementary School-Denver) and Lindsay Chinn (MLK Early College-Denver), as well as an administrator from each school. Because we’ve had such a positive response from community members/educators, there will be a separate screening for MCE students, faculty and staff.

TEACH by Davis Guggenheim

TEACH by Davis Guggenheim

The 2014, Students of Color Reception: Celebrating a More Inclusive College was a success. Despite bitterly cold temperatures (day high of 39°, and 19° at the start of the event) the fifth annual installment of the event saw increased attendance from the past couple years, with nearly 70 guests joining Morgridge faculty, staff and a student panel. Beginning the night with delightful hors d’oeuvres, prospective students were introduced to current students and faculty to hear more about Morgridge and learning opportunities within the college. Current Higher Education Masters student, Ana Ramirez, spoke of the event saying, “It was a great opportunity to meet other individuals within the Morgridge College of Education and share my experience with prospective students.”

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Morgridge, Dr. Frank Tuitt, was the event facilitator for the evening. He spoke to the ongoing need for the college to utilize Inclusive Excellence pedagogy, in order to create equitable education opportunities for all students, specifically students of color. Dr. Tuitt then introduced a panel of current and former Morgridge students of color, to speak about their experiences as students of color on the predominantly white campus of the University of Denver. The panel spoke at length about the investment of the college’s faculty in the success of students of color, both emotionally and academically. There was much praise by the panel on the cohort model as an aid in confronting the challenges that come with being a grad student (e.g. balancing work/social life, having children, the substantial school-workload). Financial resources on campus was a topic of great interest by many of the prospective students. There was an echoed sentiment of the panels’ initial perceptions of the University of Denver being that of a private school with excessive tuition prices; upon acceptance to their respective programs and further conversations with different departments on campus, they discovered the multitude of assistantship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities to help fund their education.

The event was impactful. Prospective and current students were able to share their stories and engage in conversations with regard to the meanings of their journeys in and through higher education.  The night culminated with panel member, Dr. T. Lee Morgan’s plea to diversify the makeup of the campus and bring voice to communities of color, “If we are going to change the diversity of DU, of Morgridge, we need you here. You have valuable experiences that no one else can bring to the table.”

Thank you to all who attended and supported the Students of Color Reception, and a special thank you to Dr. Frank Tuitt and the panel members:

  • Casey Crear, Curriculum and Instruction PhD (Current Student)
  • Dr. T. Lee Morgan, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies PhD (Alum)
  • Raquel Wright-Mair, Higher Education PhD (Current Student)
  • Ruby Lopez, Teacher Education Program MA (Alum)
  • Hazuki Tochihara, Early Childhood Special Education MA (Current Student)
  • Jamie Kawahara, Child Family and School Psychology EdS (Current Student)

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