Morgridge Blog

Morgridge Blog

As the United States continues to struggle with issues of race and diversity, DU professor Frank Tuitt has released a new book designed to help faculty better connect with the changing demographics of higher education. Tuitt serves as senior advisor to the chancellor and provost on diversity and inclusion and is also a professor of higher education in the Morgridge College of Education.

Frank Tuitt“Race, Equity and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education” (Stylus Publishing, 2016) examines the importance of creating an educational environment that reflects the changing diversity in higher education. The book also provides specific tools for achieving that goal. “Historically, we’ve created these fine institutions that had a certain set of students in mind when they were created,” Tuitt says. “Our students today are very different from the original set of students that these institutions were created for. And the assumption is that what works for one group will work for all groups. So the book is an attempt to help faculty who are interested in having students be the best that they can be.”

Tuitt believes the choices faculty members make on which authors to include and not include on course reading lists is just one example of how unintended bias can impact a student’s learning experience.

“Race and equity continue to be important as we see disparities between different racial groups even in places where we wouldn’t expect to,” Tuitt says. “We think part of it is because we haven’t been able to adjust our approach to teaching in ways that adjust to the different backgrounds and experiences that come to our classrooms.”

* Original story produced by Tamara Banks. Read it at:

Fostering STEM Trajectories, an event funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted at New America, was a two-day affair featuring informative talks from celebrated experts and leaders in early STEM learning. The focus of the event was on teacher development, the continuous improvement path in early childhood education, and learning progression and trajectory.

Douglas H. Clements, Ph.D. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Executive Director for the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, and Professor of Curriculum Studies and Teaching at the Morgridge College of Education, participated in the panel “Fostering STEM Trajectories: Bridging ECE Research, Practice, & Policy Part 2” alongside experts Mike Marshal Smith and Vivien Stewart. Dr. Clements presented his shared research with Julie Sarama, Ph.D. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the Morgridge College of Education. Their research focuses heavily on learning trajectories in early childhood mathematics instruction, a key component of early STEM learning.

Participants were called upon to generate ideas to assist New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center in crafting a plan of action and offering recommendations to researchers and policymakers. The proposed plans are hoped to be released fall 2016.

The Higher Education (HED) Department at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) engages in teaching, research, and service that draws from and contributes to the resources of Denver, Colorado, and national communities. The University of Denver Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) recently recognized these efforts by awarding HED the Community Engaged Department of the Year award. This award honors an academic department that has developed a concentration of faculty members who engage in high quality community-based partnerships; carry out rigorous public good scholarship; and teach innovative service-learning courses that improve students’ academic knowledge.

HED’s bond with the community is exemplified by its connections with the many organizations throughout Denver that collaborate with them. One such collaboration, with the Denver Scholarship Foundation, places graduate students in Denver high schools to support the work of DSF’s future centers – places designed to support underrepresented students’ postsecondary opportunities. Also, each of the tenure-line faculty members in HED have pursued community-based research projects. For example, Dr. Cecilia Orphan received a grant from the CCESSL Public Good Fund for her research on higher education and the public good in collaboration with the Campus Compact of the Mountain West, an inter-institutional organization that focuses on civic engagement in higher education.

HED students actively engage with these community partners during their time at MCE. In addition to service-learning opportunities across the HED curriculum, students engage in independent and small group “praxis projects” wherein they design and deliver evaluation, assessment, and research-based recommendations in collaboration with student affairs, academic affairs, and business affairs offices at college and university campuses across the Denver metropolitan area. Through these connections HED students experience hands-on the ways in which they can challenge and inform change in the real world.

The Higher Education Department and our students are proud to have formed such strong bonds with these communities and to have the opportunity to work alongside them supporting the public good.

Morgridge College of Education (MCE) faculty member William Cross, Ph.D. has been selected as the 2015-16 University Lecturer by the University of Denver (DU). The University Lecturer award was first given in 1955 and is one of the University’s most distinguished honors, based solely upon creative contributions and scholarly work. “Dr. Cross honors MCE and DU every day and we could not be more proud to have him as our colleague” said Dean Karen Riley.

Dr. Cross is a leading theorist and researcher in the psychology and identity development of minorities. His book, “Shade of Black”, is considered a classic in the field of racial identity. He is the President-Elect of American Psychological Association’s Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), an Elder of 2013 National Multicultural Conference, a CUNY Professor Emeritus, and a Distinguished Lecturer at Georgia Southern University.

Dr. Cross is a passionate member of the DU community and exemplifies the high standard of excellence found among MCE and DU faculty. His positive impact extends beyond the classroom and into the communities he engages with as he strives to make the world a more inclusive place. Please join MCE in recognizing Dr. Cross for his significant contributions to the world of academia.

The University Lecturer award recipient is announced at the Fall convocation and presented at the University Lecture in the spring. More details will be made available in the near future.

Inside this Issue

  4. DU @ ASHE 2015
Upcoming Events

  •  HED Lunch & Learn, 1/20 12-1pm
  • HED Admissions Day 2/20
  • HESA Writing Retreat,2/20 9-4pm
Why Race Matters in the Study of Higher Education

Race matters in the study of higher education and it matters beyond the numbers. While shifting racial and ethnic demographics across the country, dynamic immigration trends, and historic inequalities against communities-of-color are compelling in and of themselves, race matters in the study of higher education for a reason fundamental to its purpose and role in the U.S. As a social institution of democracy, higher education both reflects and produces societal values and ethics. The knowledge imperative of Academe demands that we recognize how inequality is perpetuated through and within higher education – we must contend with the world as it is. Yet the knowledge imperative provides us the opportunity to demonstrate alternative realities; as a social institution, we can build the world as it should be. Rigorous and sophisticated scholarship of research, teaching, and service is required for building such a radical social imaginary. These are precisely the goals and outcomes the Higher Education Department designs to achieve. We are not perfect in our quest for realizing a more equitable social imaginary, but we cannot let our imperfection diminish our resolve. To these ends, HED is responding proactively to student protests across the nation. We are leading college- and campus-wide conversations about race and college racial climates. We are tailoring our curricula to take advantage of the real-world struggles in our midst while honoring (and when appropriate, joining) those who are most directly affected by such struggle. We have developed a resource page for students, staff, and faculty, available here: Our commitment to inclusive excellence is resolute in this matter. Race matters in the study of higher education.

Course Highlight HED 4246: Issues of Access & Opportunity

Taught by Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, this course addresses theories and research on a variety of issues related to college preparation, school structures, and inequalities in college access. The course covers different levels of analyses: theoretical, individual levels (i.e., race, ethnicity, and social class), organizational levels (family, geography, high school context, and outreach), and field levels (i.e., policy, testing, rankings, media, and policy). Special attention is paid to the socio-cultural context, particularly on the role of families. The course is required for first-year masters students and open to all students in the HED department.

HED Newsletter Winter 2016 (4)Two sections of the course are being offered in the winter quarter, a case study (mini research) section and a service-learning section. Students in the service learning section will have the opportunity to partner with a community organization that focuses on issues of college access, transition, and success with the goal of bridging theory and research with hands on experience. Students will complete approximately 15 hours of service during the winter quarter. The service learning section has evolved in two, new exciting ways. First, students work with their service partners for 20 weeks instead of 10. What this means is that the service experience continues into the Retention & Persistence course offering both students and our community partners continuity in the experience and a more meaningful opportunity to engage in issues of college access and success. Second, in addition to the community partners we have worked with in the past: the Denver Scholarship Foundation, College Track, and RISE Colorado; we are partnering with a new organization, The Bridge Project. The Bridge Project provides a path for youth in Denver’s public housing neighborhoods to graduate from high school and go on to college or a vocation by engaging them in educational opportunities and facilitating the development of life skills and self-sufficiency. We are grateful for the strong partnerships that have been created across the community and look forward to a great winter quarter!

HESA Updates

Hello HESA Community! It was a busy but great fall quarter for HESA so we thought we’d share some of our accomplishments and updates:

  • We welcomed a new cohort of approximately 38 Masters, EdD and PhD students. Thanks to all those who came out to our Welcome Event on Sept 15th!
  • There was unprecedented participation in the HESA Board Elections with 44 nominations across our 6 previously open positions. Elections for the 2016-17 academic year will be held in the spring and next fall so consider running!
  • DU HED had an amazing showing at ASHE2015!! HESA hosted a well-attended ‘preASHE’ gathering on 11/3 to help students prepare for the conference and we had over 30 students participating in various pre-conferences, presentations, service projects, and affinity groups.
  • HESA collaborated with the HED department to host a community dialogue on 11/10 surrounding racial climate both nationally, and on our campus which resulted in a few action items such as: A photo and pledge of support and tentative plans for a College of Ed dialogue, book drive, and continuing engagement around these issues.
  • On Sat, 11/14, HESA hosted a ‘Study Squad Session.’ Approximately 20 students came together for breakfast, and then a day-long working retreat to finish up assignments for the quarter.
HED Newsletter Winter 2016 (3)

HED Students @ HESA “Study Squad” Session, Nov. 2015. Photo: Molly Sarubbi


HED Newsletter Winter 2016 (2)

HED students & faculty #DUUnitedWithMizzou, Nov, 2015. Photo: HESA.

DU at ASHE 2015


The 40th Annual ASHE meeting “Inequality &Higher Education” was held in Denver and the Higher Education Department was there to represent. Combined, students and faculty from HED participated in the delivery of 19 sessions. Additionally, HED students and faculty served as chairs, discussants, or committee members of an additional 11 sessions. In terms of attendance, over 30 students and faculty were present.

DU HED Reception at ASHE 2015, Nov. 2015 Photo: Delma Ramos

DU HED Reception at ASHE 2015, Nov. 2015 Photo: Delma Ramos

Spotlight interview with Brenda Sifuentez

Brenda Sifuentez, PhD student in the Higher Education Department
Sifuentez, BrendaCan you share a little bit about what it was like to present as a graduate student at ASHE?

Brenda: I was invited to participate in a Presidential session; the session was a panel discussing the experiences of first generation students. I was asked to share my personal story and my thoughts on the documentary First Generation. It was a great honor to be invited to participate in such a special session as a graduate student. While I was excited to share my story, I was nervous to be so open to a group of people that I did not know. However, being able to share my story for a larger purpose such as helping to inform researchers of the struggles that first generation students encounter in doctoral programs was very impactful for others and myself.

What was something that surprised you about ASHE in Denver?

Brenda: Despite having the conference in our own backyard it was great to be exposed to other professionals who flew in from across the country. It was also a great way to connect with fellow DU students and other graduate students.

Was it any different than when you’ve attended in other cities?

Brenda: This was my first ASHE, however, I have been to other larger academic conferences. At larger academic conferences you have to navigate your way amongst multiple hotels in order to find sessions. One of the perks of ASHE is its size and the sense of community it builds. Having the conference here in Denver allowed us to have a large representation from DU, which meant I was able to connect with fellow colleagues with whom I have limited interaction.

Was there a specific session or talk that you attended that made an impact on you?

Brenda: All the session made an impact on me, however, I would say the session entitled “The Civic Engagement Movement: A Symposium and Participatory History”, made me critically reflect upon the role of civic engagement in communities of color. As someone who has done civic engagement work in the past this session made me reconsider the ways that students of color participate in civic engagement action. I specifically thought about the Black Lives Matter movement and the current racial climate across the nation and on higher education campuses.

What did you learn about higher education from the conference?

Brenda: The field of higher education is very complex. By examining the conference program, you could see that there were many topics being covered along with multiple perspectives within the field of higher education. I think it is important as graduate students that we are able to fully understand the impact of research. Regardless of your career path-as a practitioner or a faculty member- research should always be influencing the way we work. The conference brought attention to the changes that are affecting our field and encouraged me to stay current with the research that can enable programs to be successful.

Stay Connected!

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HESA Portfolio Page

HESA Board Meetings
Everyother Tuesday 6-7PM
KRH Board Room

The Faculty and Staff of the Morgridge College of Education would like to congratulate the graduating class of 15-16. We join your families, friends, peers, and co-workers in expressing how proud we are of you all. It is our pleasure to watch as you go forth into the next chapter of your lives where you will undoubtedly make a positive and lasting impact.

Doctorate Hooding 2016

The Faculty and Staff of the Morgridge College of Education would like to congratulate the graduating class of 15-16. We join your families, friends, peers, and co-workers in expressing how proud we are of you all. It is our pleasure to watch as you go forth into the next chapter of your lives where you will undoubtedly make a positive and lasting impact.

MCE’s 15-16 Graduates

  • Jaclyn Abeloe
  • Jessica Abel-Pype
  • Mindy Adair
  • Sarah Alhaj
  • Lydia Amewu-Sirleaf
  • Alexis Anderson
  • Elizabeth Anderson
  • Mary Anderson
  • Samuel Anderson-Lehman
  • Matthew Angleman
  • Elibeth Arce
  • Erick Arellano-Ruiz
  • Stephen Arichea
  • Chelsea Armstrong
  • Rima Aroutiounian
  • George Ash
  • Sarie Ates-Patterson
  • Michael Atkins
  • Melissa Bachmann
  • Kaleen Barnett
  • Leah Bearman
  • Chloe Beck
  • Alyson Beery
  • Jacilyn Berryman
  • Grace Bird
  • Grace Bird
  • Brittney Bixby
  • Callie Blackmer
  • Kathryn Bodnar
  • Travis Boehler
  • Rebecca Bolger
  • Meredith Borden
  • Andrea Brandt
  • June Branon
  • Angelica Bravo-Velez
  • Jaclyn Bretl
  • Michael Brinn
  • Genell Britton
  • Kiersten Brown
  • Suzanne Brown
  • Laura Browning
  • Jesse Bruce
  • Scott Burke
  • Rhianna Burroughs
  • Christopher Cain
  • Jose Cardona Iii
  • Jodi Carlson
  • Kendra Carpenter
  • Jessica  Carswell
  • Donna Cash
  • Benita Cervantes
  • Karla Chappel
  • Anne Cherniss
  • Christopher Clair
  • Ellen Clark
  • Megan Claydon
  • Sara Cleary
  • Beverly Cloud
  • Linsey Cobb
  • Jeremy Coleman
  • Margarita Colindres
  • Kathryn Coon
  • Philip Courey
  • Keely Cox
  • Alison Cox
  • Joel Cruz
  • Christine Culver
  • Jill Curnow
  • Adrienne Davis
  • Kristin Deal
  • Megan Dekutoski
  • Kimberly DePinto
  • Kimberly DeRosa
  • Bryan Deshasier
  • Juan Diaz
  • Liliana Diaz
  • Sonja Dolnick
  • Emily Dommermuth
  • Anthony Drewry
  • Madison Dryden
  • Stephanie Dueber
  • Aubri Dunkin
  • Ivan Duran
  • Henry Edelstein
  • Jeffrey  Einerson
  • Khaled El Mezughi
  • Robbie Elliott
  • Jeffrey  Elliott
  • Roxanne Ellsworth
  • Heather Engblom
  • Alicia Fajohn
  • Lauren Fedor
  • Courtney Ferreira
  • Morgan Fitzgerald
  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald
  • Kathryn Florance
  • Mitchell Foss
  • Autumn Foster
  • Ashley Frank
  • Ralph Gadbois III
  • Mario Galvan
  • Kyle Gamba
  • Danielle Gapinski
  • Georgina Garcia
  • Theresa Gilbreath
  • Krystal  Giles
  • Thomas Glenn
  • Raechel Gliesmann
  • Callie Gonyea
  • Donna Goodwin
  • Maggie Gordon
  • Ryan Gournic
  • Leanne Greenquist
  • Brittany Greiert
  • Candice Grimm
  • Lindsey Groettum
  • Michael Guillory
  • Rosalind Gullatt
  • Hayley Gunter
  • Jiajing Guo
  • Anne Haas
  • Audrey Haas
  • Candice Hamilton
  • Taylor Hammrich
  • Shannon Hanschen
  • Anna Hanson
  • William Harris
  • Erin Harris
  • Rachel Harrison
  • Kristin Hatcher
  • Abbie Hause
  • Thomas Heald
  • Chelsea Heinbach
  • Erin Hellstrom
  • Lauren Henderson
  • Alisha Hendrix
  • Aisha Henry
  • Jonathan Herring
  • Phoebe Hevers
  • Casey Hibbard
  • Melissa Higgins
  • Gabrielle Highdale
  • James Hill
  • Melissa Hofmann
  • Jennifer Holdeman
  • Amanda Holyfield
  • Katie Hoskins
  • Biaze Houston
  • Madison Howard
  • Bryan Hubain
  • Rebecca Hubbard
  • Jayne Illovsky
  • Kara Ingram
  • Lisa Jackson
  • Anna Jameson
  • Buffy Jamison
  • Nina Jarnot
  • Bryce Jennings
  • Taylor Johnson
  • Brie Johnson
  • Morgan Johnson Mickle
  • Brittany Johnstone
  • Lacy Jolly
  • Sarah Kane
  • Savannah Kay
  • Rebekah Kester
  • Michael Kitch
  • Lauren Kohl
  • Colleen Kopay
  • Pilar Lafaye
  • Carissa  Land
  • Eric Lane
  • Launa Laporta
  • Kelly Lavin
  • Kendra Layton
  • Chloe Leal
  • Rebecca Lester
  • Marvin Lewis
  • Sarah Lewis
  • Julia Linkous
  • Christopher Loncke
  • Amanda Lopez
  • Zadik Lopez
  • Caitlin Lowe
  • Sheree Lynn
  • Lauren Lyon
  • Kyle Mack
  • Richard Maez
  • Laura Magill
  • Joan Mann-Boykin
  • Robert Manthy
  • Jeffrey  Mariano
  • Ryan Marks
  • Caitlin Martines
  • Kara Mastalski
  • Ruth McClure
  • Sarah McDonnell
  • Anna McDonough
  • Noel McKillip
  • Allie McRitchie
  • Jill McVey
  • Emily Mehregan
  • Stephanie Metz
  • Carrie Meyer
  • Alisha Mills
  • Kimberly Moore
  • Kaitlin Morris
  • Claire Mosier
  • Jane Nelson
  • Joseph Nelson
  • Jill Netz-Fulkerson
  • Katherine Nittmann
  • Joie Norby
  • Richard North
  • Nebeyou Nunamo
  • Jessica  Ogden
  • Sarah Olsen
  • Deborah Olwell
  • Wendy Orr
  • Rebecca Otis-sanders
  • Sarah Owen
  • Cassi Parkinson
  • Evangeline Pasterkamp
  • Margaret Payne
  • Megan Peddycord
  • Christopher Pena
  • Leighanne Penna
  • Alexandra Persley
  • Sarah Pingel
  • Erica Plasencia
  • Maximilian Popiel
  • Natalia  Potrzuski Lynch
  • Tanya Prax
  • Stephanie Puello
  • Ellen Quinn
  • Susan Quinn-Fortner
  • Jaime Raith
  • Michelle Ramirez
  • Ana Ramirez
  • Elizabeth Rardin
  • Julia Ratchford
  • Eron Reed
  • Emily Reese
  • Ily Reiling
  • Melanie Reiser
  • Davon Renfrow
  • Parker Rhomberg
  • Anne Rice
  • Joe Richard
  • Hannah Robbertz
  • Sara Robinson
  • Keely Rochford
  • Alexandra Rodgers
  • Marlene Romero
  • Laura Rupert
  • Lindsey Rushing
  • Ian Saari
  • Cristina Sandoval
  • Anjela Sargent
  • Jeff Sauro
  • Jessica Savage
  • Kristina Scala
  • Eleanor Schalow
  • Jacob Schaner
  • Megan Schirf
  • Melanie Schultz
  • Sherry Segura
  • Devin Shanahan
  • Perry Shank
  • Roland Shaw
  • Amy Shortt
  • Ron Sidwell
  • Mark Sikora
  • Tracy Simmons
  • Crystal  Skenandore
  • Tiffany  Smesrud
  • Amanda Smith
  • Cynthia Smith
  • Emerald Smith
  • Jessica  Smith
  • Keelie Sorel
  • Nicholas Spanel
  • Kelsey Speaks
  • Sydney Spiller
  • Matthew Spurlin
  • Paige Stafford
  • Zachary Steedman
  • Michael Stinnett
  • Caitlin Sullivan
  • Katherine Surline
  • Robyn Sutherland
  • John Syron
  • Brittney Talamonti
  • Jay Tallmadge
  • Jamie Taylor
  • Justin Teneyck
  • Rachel Teune
  • Randi Thackeray
  • Jaysonm Thomas
  • Patrick Thompson
  • Rebekah Thurston
  • Hazuki Tochihara
  • Elizabeth Tomaro
  • Makenzie Tompkins
  • Ashley Toomey
  • Maritza Torres-Mcguire
  • Julieann Trujillo
  • Allison   Tyler
  • Allen Van Hoye
  • Kathryn Van Norman
  • Kreesta Vesga
  • Courtney Vidacovich
  • Karen Viloria
  • Ana Vizoso
  • Kathleen Wagner
  • Natalie  Walker
  • Ashley Walsh
  • Leonard Ward
  • Drew Weisel
  • Carley Westerson
  • Matthew Weyer
  • Emily Wheeler
  • Holly Wilcher
  • James Williams
  • Kelly Wilson
  • Mark Wilson
  • Talia Wolken
  • John Worden
  • Jessica  Wright
  • Nanxi Xu
  • Liu Yang
  • Sara Zaleski
  • Joseph Zeman
  • Ying Shan Zhang
  • Tiegan Ziegler
  • Charles Zinn
  • Charles Zinn
  • Jordan Zogler-Brown

The late Marilyn Stein (BA ’55, education) of Denver has bestowed $3.2 million of her estate to fund the arts and early childhood education programming at the University of Denver.

This significant gift, which the University recently received, supports the creation of endowments for the Lamont School of Music, the Morgridge College of Education and the School of Art and Art History in the following ways:

  • $1.1 million will support the Lamont School of Music to fund student learning and creativity in the performing arts. For instance, the endowment can fund the repair and replacement of musical instruments, such as percussion sets and pianos, which are heavily used on a daily basis.
  • $1 million will support the Morgridge College of Education’s Fisher Early Learning Center and fund student scholarships and speech therapists.
  • $1.1 million will support the School of Art and Art History to fund materials that facilitate student learning and creativity in the visual arts. For example, this gift enables faculty to purchase a digitally programmable kiln for ceramics students, textbooks for art history students or darkroom equipment for photography students.

“Ms. Stein’s estate gift significantly increases our ability to serve and teach our students,” says University Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “As a teacher, Ms. Stein understood firsthand the financial hurdles facing educators. It’s appropriate that her estate gift creates a legacy at DU through which we can honor her lifelong passion for education and the arts.”

A Denver native and lifelong resident, Stein was a kindergarten teacher for the Englewood School District and Denver Public Schools. She attended East High School before graduating from the University of Denver with a BA in education in 1955. According to those who knew Stein, her work was her passion and the impact she had on children during her lifetime was monumental.

“This generous expression of philanthropy indicates a deep confidence in the University of Denver to realize Ms. Stein’s vision for future generations of students,” says Armin Afsahi, vice chancellor for advancement. “We are grateful that she chose DU for her gift.”

Stein, whose birthday would have been today, died on Nov. 29, 2014, at the age of 81.

The original article is available in the DU Magazine.

You can also learn more in the Denver Post .

Library and Information Science (LIS) student Anna Kongs is refurbishing an ambulance into an interactive bookmobile to serve the greater Denver community; it is expected to officially launch in summer 2016. Kongs plans to establish a presence—similar to food trucks—at many of the area’s local farmer’s markets and festivals and will provide an interactive experience for patrons through light and sound as well as by hosting events for artists and writers. In addition, the bookmobile will serve high-need and less-resourced areas of Denver as a mobile library, bookstore, and book donation center.

Kongs started the project because of a lifelong love of books and interest in stories, and she “didn’t want to wait until graduation” to begin applying the lessons of her studies to the outside world. She came to the University of Denver (DU) from an accounting career—wanting a change to a creative field—and joined the Library and Information Science program because of the versatility that graduates have in their careers, choosing to focus on public librarianship, outreach, and programming. With the bookmobile, Kongs wants to give back to the community and carve a place in the local literary community.

The project has gained awareness on campus and in the literary community; Kongs has benefitted from support from her peers at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE)—many of whom have offered assistance—and advice from literacy nonprofits in Denver such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Burning Through Pages.

Kongs successfully applied for 501(c)3 non-profit status, which she says was in and of itself a learning experience. She completed a test run of the bookmobile this spring, and will attend her first events in Denver this month. She has created a digital presence for the project, which can be found here.

Upcoming Events

  • HED Lunch & Learn, 4/6
  • ASHE Proposal Workshops 4/16 & 4/20
  • HED Praxis Day 5/27
  • 3/29 Student Affairs Panel
  • 04/12 NASPA Conference Debrief
  • 5/27 HED Praxis Day & End of year celebration
  • 6/3 DU Graduation
  • Ted Talk Tuesday date TBD
  • Student Alumni Speaker date and guest TBD
Stay Connected!

  • DU HED Facebook
  • DU HED Twitter
  • HESA Facebook Page 
    (Student/Alumni Led)
  • HESA Portfolio Page
  • HESA Board Meetings
    Everyother Tuesday 6-7PM
    KRH Board Room
HED Recent Faculty Achievement

  • Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Latino Knowledge Community at NASPA.
  • Dr. Cecilia M. Orphan received a DU Public Good Grant supporting her project, “Leading Collective Civic Impact: Measuring and Advancing Higher Education’s Contributions to Civic Health in Colorado Community Partner(s): Campus Compact of the Mountain West.”
  • Dr. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve was named to the Editorial Board for the Journal of College Access.
  • Dr. Laura Sponsler was selected as Co-Chair of the NASPA Service Learning/Civic Engagement Working Group
  • Dr. Bill Cross Will be Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Higher Education Diversity Summit (HEDS) in the Auraria Campus.

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (3)


A mix of students from HED MA and EdD/PhD programs participated in the annual DU Research & Performance Summit at the end of January.  In total, students delivered 7 sessions focused on topics including: safe spaces on campus, racist and sexist contexts surrounding doctoral women of color, international students, and issues of diversity and inclusive excellence.

Inclusive Excellence in the HED Curriculum

By Cecilia M. Orphan, Assistant Professor, Higher Education 

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (1)Shortly after the Mizzou protests, I was talking with a graduate student of color from Brandeis about her efforts to create a racially inclusive campus. I pushed her, in the same way I had pushed DU students, to identify specific demands for her administration.
My fear was that unless students were specific about what they wanted, the protests would dissolve and it would be business as usual. She responded by saying, “With all due respect, it’s not my job to fix campus culture. It’s the job of the people who run this place.” Her comment struck me deeply. She’s exactly right – it’s not the job of students to fix racially hostile campuses. It’s the job of staff, faculty and administrators – those with positional power – to create inclusive cultures. We can do this by verbalizing and claiming our shared stake in ending oppression and honoring the diverse identities students possess.

Indeed, students embody a wealth of expertise and identities. Our role as professors is to surface this wisdom by getting to know each student and treating them as a colleague. I strive to do this by emphasizing to students that our classroom is a co-created experience. Throughout each course I teach, I welcome and use student feedback. I tell students that I want to know if anyone on campus or in the classroom – myself included – acts in oppressive ways. Because students may not always feel comfortable giving feedback in person, I maintain a SurveyMonkey for anonymous feedback.

I have been influenced by bell hooks’s assertion that teaching is a political act and, at its best, a practice of freedom. If, as professors, we choose to highlight current events and practice freedom in our classrooms – that is a political act. And if, as professors, we choose to ignore these events and perceive ourselves as the sole experts – that is an equally political act. By using my position to practice freedom, I hope that inside and outside the classroom, I am able to promote Inclusive Excellence. Of course I don’t always get it right but hey – that’s what the SurveyMonkey is for.

Featured Program: Jonathan Butler Visits DU

Jonathan Butler, Graduate student University of Missouri. Photo: Twitter

Jonathan Butler, Graduate student University of Missouri. Photo: Twitter

Jonathan Butler, graduate student at the University of Missouri, activist, educator, and member of the group “Concerned Student 1950” will be visiting the University of Denver on May 2nd . Stay tuned for more details.

A Dialogue on Professional Development: Thinking Outside the Box

By:  Rod Bugarin, HED EdD Student & Shannon Lopez, HED PhD Student 

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (2)ROD: Hey Shannon, are you going to the SACSCOC meeting this fall? I remember you worked on UTHSCSA’s accreditation.

SHANNON: Actually, I’m shifting career paths.

ROD: How did that come about?

SHANNON: Even though I’ve enjoyed working with my institution’s data to report outcomes evaluation, I want to work more with students. I’ve always known that I want more of that direct connection and seeing how our faculty engage with us, in and out of class, I find myself following that interest even more.

ROD: I know our coursework encourages us to find ways to develop and to make a difference in communities that will benefit from work we are passionate about. Beyond conferences and working on campus, I’ve really enjoyed how opportunities in organizations outside of academia have given me a new dimension about what I can do when I graduate. Don’t get me wrong – I know I can make change as a campus administrator; but I’ve also been inspired by my peers who have thought outside the box and sought work experiences beyond those on a college campus like those in consulting groups, government agencies, and non-profits.

SHANNON: I never thought about getting experience that way. So beyond conferences or part time work, I could intern with the Colorado Department of Higher Education or Denver Scholarship Foundation this summer.

ROD: Yes, or during the quarter if you can squeeze it in. Next year, I hope to intern with one of the enrollment consulting groups based in Denver. With my advisor’s permission, I hope to use it as one of my electives.

SHANNON: Thanks for that insight. I was concerned about how I’d be continuing building my resume while balancing coursework. I knew about the value of conferences and workshops to further myself professionally, but had not considered finding alternative experiences outside of a campus.

ROD: Denver is unique in that there are lots of opportunities in the metro area. And to be a change agent, we should (and are encouraged to) think big. Have you thought about getting experience with an organization in San Antonio?

SHANNON: Yes! There’s a non-profit called Communities in Schools. It’ll be perfect as it’ll give me hands on experience with students, while I can research those interests I’ve developed in class on the intersections between families, schools, and students.

ROD: That’s outside the box thinking! And this would be a great experience that Dr. Kiyama would love to have in her class. You should ask if you can be her TA next year. But, ask early. I know a lot of our fellow doctoral students want to have TA experience as it’s another great avenue for professional development.

SHANNON: Any other tips?

ROD: Finding mentors in other fields is very helpful. I remember advice that Marybeth Gasman gave during an ABAFOILSS
(Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy League and Sister Schools) meeting about the importance of having a “board of mentors.” This way, when there are new opportunities and challenges in your professional and personal life, you can turn to multiple seasoned professionals to help you navigate these choices.

SHANNON: I can definitely work on that. After all, my partner, family and friends can only stand so many of my “What should I do with my life?” questions.

How do you spend your summer?

For EdD Students

By Katie Kleinhesselink, HED EdD Student 

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (5)

Many of us in the EdD program are employed fulltime, myself included. Summer, for me, is that precious time in which I can intentionally play with implementing what I’ve learned in the program into my work. For example, I spent most of last summer editing a faculty-focused service learning curriculum. I was able, in that process, to pull directly from Org & Gov. and Higher Ed. Law to flesh out chapters that were woefully lacking on topics like navigating institutional barriers and risk management.

Thanks to my class project in Social & Political Context, I was also able to create an orientation for my veterans-focused VISTA program that addresses critical questions of intersectional identities in campus veteran spaces. I live and learn by doing—I am, after all, a practitioner.

Summer offers the space for me to intentionally merge my student and professional identities, take risks I might otherwise have not, and ultimately grow programs that better meet the needs of Campus Compact of the Mountain West’s member institutions.

For MA Students

By Ana Ramirez, HED MA Student 

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (6)

Summer time is the perfect time for me to see what I want to potentially do or not do, upon graduation. Last year I had the opportunity to do my internship with the Dallas County Community College District with the Student Success Center and I assisted with the Dallas Mayor’s Interns Fellows Program with Education is Freedom.

March is a great month to start reaching out to contacts about potential summer opportunities. If you are seeking an internship, specially paid, contacting them a couple months before the summer arrives, gives them time to explore ways they can accommodate you.

Also, making use of career services at DU can be helpful in preparing for career opportunities during the summer. For example, I attend workshops that include but are not limited to LinkedIn, negotiating salary, interview skills and I also make one-on-one appointments with a career counselor to review my resume and cover letter. Taken together, reaching out to your contacts and networks can prove handy as you explore potential summer opportunities. I am currently doing all these things as I prepare for a new career upon graduation.

For PhD Students

By Delma Ramos, HED PhD Student

HED Spring 2016 Newsletter (7)

Summer is a critical time for PhD students who want to pursue opportunities such as research internships/associateships and teaching to enhance their trajectories in their academic programs.

The past two summers in particular, have given me the opportunity to work for places that allow me to explore higher education through different contexts and methodologies.During my second year in the program, I completed an internship at the Education Commission of the States. In this position I learned more about policies that impact higher education, and also worked in collaboration with policy analysts to explore topics such as higher education strategic planning across all states and financial aid policies and statutes affecting diverse communities.

Last year, I did a summer associateship with the RAND Corporation LA. This opportunity not only allowed me to spend the summer in West LA but also to learn more about how higher education, in conjunction with other disciplines shapes policies at a macro level.

Some of the most useful resources that helped me identify and pursue some of these opportunities include, the DU career center, LinkedIn, ASHE and AERA listservs, and also running google searches for summer opportunities for doctoral students. Good luck this summer!

Choose2Matter (C2M) is a national movement created by Angela Maiers to inspire K-12 students to take ownership over their educational experience. Courtney Collins—a Curriculum and Instruction (CI) student—is working with Maiers to further promote C2M and establish a partnership between the movement and the University of Denver. Collins met Maiers in the fall of 2015 and invited her to speak at the students’ Practice of Teaching course taught by Clinical Professor Paul Michalec, PhD.

The goal of C2M is to empower students—by themselves, their peers, and their teachers—to practice passion-based learning, including exploring “heartbreaks”— issues that affect students on a local, national, or international level — and to identify their genius, or unique strengths, as individual learners and contributors to the classroom. Schools participate in the movement by hosting C2M workshops.

Collins describes C2M’s approach to identifying “heartbreaks” and connecting them with passion projects as “taking problem solving to the next level” by motivating students to identify and explore issues in order to create solutions. At a recent workshop that Collins attended in Saskatchewan, Canada, students from the third grade through high school collaborated on exploring and identifying solutions for a range of heartbreaks, including mental health, loss of family members, bullying, and feelings of invisibility.

Collins said the premise of the movement “hits a fundamental nerve”, a sentiment shared by Morgridge College of Education students Tess Golding, Alicia Saxe, and Sarah Wilkins, who became interested in C2M after hearing Maiers’ presentation. Saxe and Wilkins support C2M through advocacy and workshop facilitation while Golding is starting a position as C2M’s website and social media intern. All of the students are pursuing involvement with C2M outside of course and program requirements because they consider the mission of the movement critical to their career plans and aspirations as future educators.

Recent Child, Family, and School Psychology program graduate Brittany Greiert focused her academic research and dissertation on sex and relationship education for individuals with autism, a topic that has seen little research or development of guidelines until recently.

Prior to enrolling at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), Greiert worked with a nonprofit reproductive health organization and noticed the lack of resources available for individuals with disabilities. This inspired Greiert to continue her education in order to address the resource gap, and she chose MCE because of the college’s support of her research interests. Greiert says that historically there have been extremely limited resources for comprehensive sexual education for those with autism, and that while there has been progress in the past few years, there are few guidelines on the topic.

Her work has led to a variety of opportunities for collaboration and sharing in the community and on a national level; in 2015, she collaborated with a colleague at Emerge: Professionals in Autism, Behavior, and Personal Growth to present a workshop at the Autism Society of Colorado titled “What happens in Vegas…Autism Style! Sex, dating, and intimacy.” Nationally, Greiert presented her findings on data, resources, and gaps in research at the 2016 National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) annual conference.

Greiert’s dissertation research resulted in the development of the Guidelines for the Development of Sexuality Education Curricula for High Functioning Adolescent Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The guidelines are intended to be used as a tool to guide future sex education curriculum development, address the unique needs of students with autism, and provide suggestions to modify existing curricula so that their needs are met. Furthermore, the guidelines function as an advocacy tool to increase awareness of the unique needs of high-functioning students with autism.  Greiert says that being proactive in creating a structured approach and presentation of information would be of huge benefit to individuals with autism as well as to school psychologists and parents of children with autism.

We are excited to highlight Morgridge College of Education Higher Education PhD student Delma Ramos. Delma focuses on social justice in higher education and explores systems of access and opportunity for underserved populations that stem, in part, from her experience as a first generation student. Her inspiring scholarship has led to a variety of opportunities including a summer associate position at the American Council on Education Center for Policy, Research, and Strategy! Below Delma shares her professional experience and advice:

Current research

I have been involved in collaborative projects guided by both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Currently, I am participating in a study that explores the transition to college of low-income and first generation families and the systems institutions have in place to determine their involvement in their children’s college experience. Another project examines the academic trajectories of low-income, first generation women of color in racialized and sexualized academic settings.

Most recently I was invited to collaborate in two studies one which seeks to understand the role that low-income and families of color play in cultivating their children’s educational aspirations and ideologies, and one that involves the construction of a series of measures of Funds of Knowledge. I am also currently working with the Colorado Department of Higher Education on projects related to developmental education and performance metrics.  This summer, I look forward to joining the American Council on Education Center for Policy, Research, and Strategy in DC as a graduate summer associate exploring federal policies impacting higher education. Findings from at least two of the projects have been widely disseminated at forums including ASHE, NASPA, and AERA. Several publications that have emerged from this work are currently in the pipeline.


Most of the research inquiries I have participate(d) in are collaborations with various researchers.  In these settings, I play different roles as part of the research process from proposal development to finding dissemination and the creation of recommendations. These partnerships have taken place within the University of Denver, primarily with my academic advisor Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama and with colleagues from outside organizations including the University of Missouri, the University of California-Los Angeles, Teachers College, the Denver Scholarship Foundation, RAND Corporation, and the Education Commission of the States.

Initial Inspiration

My research interests include access, retention, and graduation from higher education institutions, with an emphasis on underserved populations. Additionally, I focus on the assessment of programs with similar foci and on issues pertaining to educational quality and inclusive pedagogies in higher education, with a special interest in measure development. Philosophically, my research agenda is driven by my passionate commitment to social justice and my vision for a more inclusive and accessible higher education system. My research interests are further strengthened by my background as a first generation student and my exposure to scholars who study inequities in higher education as influenced by economic, social, and political contexts.

Biggest Challenge

As a woman of color, my biggest challenge has been to identify support systems that strengthen my ability to persist and succeed in my program at DU. My support network is composed of colleagues within and outside of DU as well as family and friends outside of Higher Ed.

Research Advice: Make Connections

I have found networking to be a very effective tool to access a wide array of research and other professional development opportunities.  Reach out to those people you would like to work with, you’ve got nothing to lose!

NOTE: This blog post is being featured from the official blog of the University of Denver’s Office of Graduate Studies.

Joybox Studios—a startup established in 2015 by Will and Julie Clark, the creative minds behind Baby Einstein—has partnered with the University of Denver (DU) to develop early childhood curriculum materials including activities, music, videos, games, flash cards, books, and toys. The materials are designed based on research from early childhood education experts.

The collaboration between DU and Joybox Studios is a part of Project X-ite, a cross-disciplinary initiative at the University intended to ignite new ideas and build exciting, innovative partnerships with creative thinkers and doers in industry and government.

The partnership allows Joybox to leverage the expertise of three academic departments at DU, including the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), Daniels College of Business (DCB), and the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science. The project also leverages DU’s location at the heart of Colorado’s thriving high-tech innovation economy.

Carrie Germeroth, Ph.D, Assistant Director of Research at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy at MCE, is the team lead for the project. Dr. Germeroth will lead a diverse group of students from across the University as they delve into longitudinal efficacy studies, resource creation, business analytics, Latino market studies, project management, video production, and application development. The students – who will come from MCE, DCB, and the Ritchie School – will work together to create a finished product.

Joybox Studios will also create a suite of tech-based and physical tools for parents and children—birth to three—providing parents with a road map for understanding, supporting, and monitoring their child’s development. Dr. Germeroth, along with Research Methods and Statistics students Heather Blizzard and Ksenia Polson, are providing research support for the development of the tools, including the creation of a research design intended to evaluate the suit of tools and the creation of a plan for data collection which supports iterative development. Utilizing the expertise of MCE faculty and students will enable Joybox to create more effective means of developing and measuring their products.

Campus Conversations is a monthly, student-led group that discusses issues of identity, oppression, and privilege. The group was founded by Grace-Ellen Mahoney, a first-year graduate student at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE). Mahoney’s efforts are supported by MCE Faculty members Andi Pusavat, Ph.D, a Clinical Assistant Professor, and Patton Garriot, Ph.D, an Assistant Professor, of the Counseling Psychology (CP) Department.

The first meeting took place on April 7, with a great turn out by faculty and students from a variety of different programs across campus. The meeting focused on what goals Campus Conversations should pursue, as well as setting group norms for future meetings.

Mahoney is a first year CP graduate student at MCE. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a degree in Family and Human Services. Her academic and professional interests include providing culturally responsive mental health services to marginalized and under-served populations. Mahoney began Campus Conversations because she believes that an important aspect of graduate school is learning from others and having one’s beliefs challenged. This belief fueled an interest in providing students with a space to openly discuss issues of identity and social justice outside of the classroom.

Andi Pusavat, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Counseling Services Clinic Director in the Counseling Psychology Department at the University of Denver. Dr. Pusavat’s clinical interests are in the intersections of identities and her research interests focus on emotional abuse. She is very excited to be a faculty sponsor of Campus Conversations and she is a current member of the Counseling Psychology Diversity Task Force and Morgridge College of Education Inclusive Excellence Committee at the University of Denver. Dr. Pusavat feels very fortunate to have participated in the first Campus Conversations meeting and looks forward to supporting the program as it continues to address issues of identity, oppression, and privilege. She espouses that transformational conversations about diversity and privilege require honest, respectful dialogue that both empowers and challenges participants to think and feel within the context of brave spaces. “It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Dr. Garriott’s work focuses on the intersections of race, class, and vocational psychology with an emphasis on issues of access and equity. He is a member of the Counseling Psychology Diversity Task Force and proud faculty sponsor of the Campus Conversations program at DU. Dr. Garriott believes that Campus Conversations offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity engage with one another on issues of privilege, oppression, and equity. He believes open dialogues on issues of diversity help us check our own biases and communicate at a broader level that the university community is invested in creating an environment that is truly inclusive.

The next Campus Conversations meeting will take place on May 12, from 4:00pm – 5:00pm in Katherine Ruffatto Hall Room 105. Campus Conversations is open to all DU students, faculty, and staff.

Interested in getting involved? Email Mahoney at

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