Our Ryan Evely Gildersleeve , an associate professor of higher education at Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver was recently interviewed by Matthew Lynch from Diverse Education. Ryan discusses the current and possible future trends of higher education and why they are so important to higher education professionals.

To view Article, view here: http://diverseeducation.com/article/66148/

If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Like many twenty-somethings fresh out of undergrad, I landed in a position that felt more like a career than not, but certainly didn’t fulfill an all-encompassing life purpose. I was simply happy to be working in a position I enjoyed, not thinking too much about the next steps in my career path. I was fortunate to develop experience as a sales manager with a large and reputable company, which would later prove to be invaluable in my career change. But, as I eventually realized that particular job was not going to lead to a place of lasting interest to me, I had to decide how I was going to use the skills I had gained to work my way toward something more fulfilling.

A part time position at a public library lead me to discover something about myself. Whether it would be in libraries or another type of organization, I knew that I needed to pursue something that felt purposeful to me.

I decided it was important to obtain a Library Information Science degree, which would provide me with a basis of knowledge for a library position. I didn’t have a great deal of experience working in libraries, and felt that this would help prepare me for the type of work I was excited to begin doing.

I applied to a handful of LIS programs, and at the top of my list was the University of Denver and Morgridge College of Education’s LIS program. I wanted to be in Colorado if possible, and I wanted a program that would offer an in-person academic experience. Networking and learning from professionals face to face was one of my priorities, and DU delivered.

I was able to learn from many different professionals working in the field locally. The in-person program provided me with a variety of hands-on, practical experiences that boosted my knowledge and local support system. I graduated with my MLIS and a job in public libraries at the end of 2 years. And, during that time, I discovered a particular interest within libraries and non-profits I wouldn’t have known existed without going through the LIS program within Morgridge.

With the many opportunities the program led to, I discovered evaluation, analysis, and assessment in libraries and non-profits. The work is an excellent match to my passion that was there before I even knew what to do with it. While completing the LIS program, I became familiar with the Research Methods and Statistics program in MCE, and it proved to be the perfect avenue to continue my studies and deepen my focus in my chosen field. I’m completing my first year in the RMS doctorate program now, while continuing to work in public libraries, which will inform my work in research to come.

The faculty in MCE have been continuously supportive and steadfast in assisting me in reaching my goals. I’m continually challenged to think about my path, the steps I’m taking to get there, and how this is fulfilling my goal and professional purpose. My time working on my graduate studies at MCE has certainly shaped me as a professional, as an individual, as well as a seeker of education. Community and education is the thread of passion that links all MCE graduate students together. I’ve discovered that, as varied as our careers and interests are, our common goal is to do meaningful work in our fields.

 

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.


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