Morgridge Means More Than Ever
2021 Annual Report
Welcome the 2021 Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver Annual Report. The online version of our report (below) features resource links that may not be available in other formats.
More to Explore
"At the Morgridge College of Education, we have had the unique opportunity to witness the profound impacts that community members can have. During these unprecedented times, we’ve seen the power of connectedness triumph over physical isolation and other challenges. We are, and will forever be, immensely grateful to every member of our community and for their commitments to help ensure our emerging educators, leaders, and agents of change are supported and successful in service to the greater good.
As we look to the future, we do so with optimism and momentum. Our work of creating positive change in education and wellness is more important than ever. We will pursue this work relentlessly in order to empower and enrich communities, break down barriers to equity, and strive for a brighter tomorrow."
- Bruce Uhrmacher, Interim Dean
$18.3M+ In federal grants and sponsored projects
New Grant Funding: $858,000 in 2018 to $13.6 million in 2020
Gift Funding: $9.4 million in 2018 to $18 million in 2020
$14M+ Direct Scholarships & Tuition Discounts
More Leadership Focused on the Future
Drs. Bruce Uhrmacher (Interim Dean), Ryan Gildersleeve (Professor of Higher Education and Associate Dean), and Duan Zhang (Associate Professor of Research Methods and Statistics and Interim Associate Dean) have provided sustainable leadership focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Uhrmacher is a deeply thoughtful teacher-scholar and caring leader who exemplifies DU and MCE’s commitments to the highest standards of integrity and collegiality. Dr. Zhang has extensive experience in the classroom and as a researcher, leader, and community builder. Dr. Gildersleeve is a relentless advocate for social change, improving college access, and providing paths towards to success for Latinx students. Together, they have helped to redefine and shape MCE's strategic goals, community engagement, and program development.
More Excellence Across 10 Programs
MCE is ranked among the top 100 colleges of education in the nation.
- Top 20
Teacher Education Program – Secondary Teacher Education (2021)
- Top 25
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies – Education Administration (2022)
- Top 35
Library and Information Science (2022)
+25% Students in 5 years
To Change Tomorrow
In response to a nationwide STEM teacher shortage, Drs. Gloria Miller (Endowed Professor, School Psychology) and Barbekka Hurtt (Teaching Associate Professor, University of Denver College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics) embarked on a collaborative endeavor: The M2 STEM Partnership Project (Mentoring with Mentors).
The project promotes the exploration of STEM careers by high school students from minoritized communities through an undergraduate-graduate co-curricular experience. Undergrad students provide mentorship to high school students, while graduate students mentor them on social-emotional learning. Students at each level - with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives - help one another grow.
The University of Denver awarded M2 STEM a 4D Infusion Grant in December 2021. Potential impact and scalability were key criteria for the award. M2 STEM’s pilot will include around 60 high schoolers, 15 undergrads, and 30 graduate students. Drs. Miller and Hurtt hope that M2 STEM will become a model for co-curricular learning.
M2 STEM has the potential to do much more than advance the future of STEM education. The project builds a foundation for infusing community-based scholarship into teaching. It will also advance educational equity in tangible ways. Mentoring, and the inclusion of underrepresented groups in higher education, can improve diversity across the educational landscape.
To Define Excellence
At Morgridge, we are recruiting architects of change, thinkers, and scientists who will help today's students become tomorrow's leaders. Our students have the opportunity to learn from those who are willing and ready to challenge the status quo and pave paths towards a more equitable world.
Welcoming Dr. D-L Stewart
Dr. D-L Stewart is widely recognized for challenging our collective understanding of minoritized groups, inspiring others to reimagine equity, and advocating for all students. In 2021, he joined MCE as Professor and Department Chair for Higher Education.
Before serving at MCE, D-L had been faculty for 20 years at various institutions focused on the study of higher education with an emphasis on college students, history, and philosophy related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In addition to serving as 2021 president for the Association for the Study of Higher Education, D-L has worked with ACPA. We are thrilled to be challenged and inspired by him.
By Data for the Public Good
Data informs our pursuits. From providing transformative educational experiences to relentlessly seeking to advance equity. It is people, though, who leverage data in service to everything that we do. Without them, our shared work would not be possible. Nicole Holland, our Associate Director for Accreditation and Assessment, is a champion for high-quality, actionable, and verifiable data. Many would recognize her as a part of the team at MCE responsible for supporting accreditation. Many may not know, though, that she lives our values well beyond the bounds of her role.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion drive her. As “MCE continues to take tangible steps to address issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she wants to be a part of it. In 2019, she joined the Inclusive Excellence Committee to expand her knowledge, find ways to contribute to improvements on a college-wide level, and help to inform policy.
For several years, she has volunteered for Casa de Paz, a non-profit organization focused on supporting immigrants released from detention centers. Her professional work has helped to promote equality and access, expand online program offerings, and much more.
Her personal efforts, though, have strengthened the MCE community in ways that benchmarks and spreadsheets never could. Nicole said that “working at Morgridge has been great.” She attributes this “to fantastic and thoughtful colleagues that support and challenge” her.
Our community is great because of staff like Nicole. They challenge us to do more, do it better, and do it together. Thanks to them, Morgridge means more than ever.
In Rural America
The Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE) provides a virtual professional learning program: ECHO-DU. Their partnerships and research help rural communities combat deep-rooted health and education disparities.
Dr. Doug Clements (Distinguished Professor, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, and Executive Director of the Marsico Institute has - like many of our faculty and students - made significant impacts near and far. In Ireland, he has helped to define standards for early childhood math education. Dr. Clements’ videos are featured in official guides for educators.
50+ Articles, books, and book chapters
2021 O.L. Davis Jr. Outstanding Book Award - Lesson Planning with Purpose: Five Approaches to Curriculum Design
Dr. Bruce Uhrmacher and Curriculum & Instruction alums Drs. Christy McConnell (MA '99 & PhD '07) and Bradley Conrad (MA '06 & PhD in '11 )
More Collaboration to Educate and Empower
Dr. Jayson Richardson (Department Chair for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) serves as a director for the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). CASTLE, a UCEA national program center, is co-hosted by the University of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver. For nearly 2 decades, CASTLE has contributed to our shared understanding of the intersection of technology and school leadership.
Dr. Kristina Hesbol (Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) is the Founding Director of The Center for Innovative Rural Collaboration for Leadership in Education (CIRCLE). CIRCLE was approved as the first rural UCEA center. CIRCLE is a national clearinghouse for rural practice-research partnerships aimed at improving equitable learning opportunities for students in rural environments around the country.
Featured Students & Alumni
More Impact By Agents of Change
Dr. Stephen Fusco
Dr. Fusco was a corporate attorney for 14 years before he found his passion: special education and advocacy.
Dr. Fusco was a corporate attorney for 14 years before he found his passion: special education and advocacy. In a recent interview, he said “if you see people as humans, and don't see people based on their disability, there's just this profound potential to change the way we collectively exist as people.” This drive to change not just individual perspectives, but the systems that support them, inspired Stephen to pursue his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Today, Dr. Fusco is challenging systems to improve lives. He was appointed to the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC), providing policy guidance to the State on issues relating to special education. He serves as Corporate Counsel for HopSkipDrive, which examines transportation’s role in equitable access to education and advocates for transportation to be viewed as a service as important as any in special education.
Dr. Fusco is a relentless warrior for equity, an engaged alumnx, and a champion of change.
"You're not here just to make incremental change - You're here to disrupt the system that’s creating the inequities that are glaring in education!"
- Stephen Fusco PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, 2021. Lawyer. Advocate. Educator.
Dr. Stephen Fusco: PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, 2021. Lawyer. Advocate. Educator.
More Stories to Improve Communities
After more than two decades in education, Gerardo Muñoz (Colorado's 2021 Teacher of the Year) has learned that diversity and community are essential.
After more than two decades in education, Gerardo Muñoz (Colorado's 2021 Teacher of the Year) has learned that diversity and community are essential. In tandem, they allow us to create educational spaces that help students and teachers alike to thrive. To both celebrate diversity and build community, Gerardo relies on a technique employed on for centuries: storytelling.
In the classroom, sharing lived experiences can not only inspire new perspectives but promote self-worth. Stories, Mr. Muñoz says, help us to build communities of “mutual support, interest, and care.” They help us to validate one another and, oftentimes, ourselves. This is true not only for students, but for teachers who – we may sometimes forget – are human, too. Through storytelling, we can collectively find “our biggest strength.”
For Mr. Muñoz, this is looking across a classroom, seeing people with different backgrounds, and saying “it’s good to be who you are.”
We all have diverse backgrounds and “that’s our biggest strength, the fact that we can look across a classroom and see people from way different backgrounds. The more we celebrate and uplift that and say it’s good to be who you are” the more learning spaces can be special.
Gerardo Muñoz earned his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from MCE and is pursuing his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Education. Muñoz teaches at the Denver Center for International Studies and hosts “Too Dope Teachers and a Mic” with co-creator Kevin Adams.
More Peers and Possibilities
Joi Lin was searching for a "knowledge community” in gifted education – a place where she could meaningfully connect. In 2018, she found it at MCE.
Joi Lin was searching for a "knowledge community” in gifted education – a place where she could meaningfully connect. In 2018, she found it at MCE. She met her future mentor, Dr. Norma Hafenstein (Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education and Professor in MCE’s Teaching and Learning Sciences Department) at a conference. A chance meeting, quick coffee, and great discussion led Joi Lin to embark on her next journey: she joined MCE’s Curriculum & Instruction PhD program mid-cohort. Joi Lin found the place she wanted to be, supported and challenged by "an impressive group of educators passionate about gifted education and supporting neuro-diverse students.”
“Morgridge is not a monolith - it has a collective identity. It brings together diverse people from many nations who identify with many communities" - Joi Lin (Doctoral student, Vice President of MCE's Student Association, & Graduate Assistant)
Joi Lin: Doctoral student, Vice President of MCE's Student Association, & Graduate Assistant
More Leadership in Mental Health
Khara Croswaite Brindle
In 2012, Khara Croswaite Brindle earned her master’s at MCE. In 2021, she returned as an Adjunct Professor in Counseling Psychology.
In 2012, Khara Croswaite Brindle earned her master’s at MCE. In 2021, she returned as an Adjunct Professor in Counseling Psychology. Over the course of her career, she has made significant and positive impacts in Colorado and beyond. Khara has established a non-profit, authored best-selling books, and more. Recently, she gave a TEDx Talk: The Burden of Busyness. Her work has helped patients and peers alike make innovative and research-based progress on issues ranging from suicide prevention to work-life balance.
More Advocacy to Empower Youth
Dr. Janiece Mackey
In 2020, Dr. Mackey completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education with an emphasis in Public Policy and Curriculum and Instruction. Today, she continues to be a steadfast champion of positive student outcomes.
Eleven years ago, Dr. Janiece Mackey started a non-profit. As a bilingual educator and counselor, she “was sick and tired of seeing [her] lived experiences of systemic racism through the bodies and minds and souls of the youth [she] was working with.” Homelessness, bullying, and racism were just a few of the compounding challenges that she saw pushing children out of the educational space. She wanted to help and, in doing so, hoped that the children would "see themselves in the person that was helping them.”
In 2020, Dr. Mackey completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education with an emphasis in Public Policy and Curriculum and Instruction. Today, she continues to be a steadfast champion of positive student outcomes. Her work invites youth to confront hard topics while developing their own passions. This is accomplished, in part, by exploring socio-political pressures in the context of individual student perceptions, needs, and goals. Self-advocacy, wherein students “protect their minds, bodies, and souls,” enables young people to reclaim their voices and identity. Advocacy anchored in wellness results in what Dr. Mackey calls a “beautiful web of activism.”
Dr. Janiece Mackey: PhD in Higher Education, 2021. Co-Founder and Director of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Rutgers-Newark.