The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Curriculum and Instruction program with a specialization in Gifted Education has received approval from the Colorado Department of Education to offer coursework leading to Endorsement in the areas of Gifted Education Core, Gifted Education Specialist, and Gifted Education Director. All three endorsements were approved in the State Board meeting on June 13, 2018 and will take effect for the 2018-2019 academic year.

”This approval provides a platform for [MCE] to serve educators dedicated to improving the lives of gifted students,” said Dr. Norma Hafenstein, Daniel L. Ritchie Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. “Whether as a teacher serving gifted students in his or her classroom or a district level leader developing and implementing programs, our graduate students will be provided exemplary training to impact the field.”

The University of Denver has been a leader in education of the gifted for over four decades. Teacher and administrator training, research, professional development and direct service to children have provided both depth and breadth of community impact. The need for trained educators continues to expand as too often children go unrecognized and are frequently underserved. The three endorsement programs provide multiple levels of training and opportunities resulting in impact on schools, children and families.

  • Gifted Education Core can be achieved through the MCE’s Teaching and Learning Sciences Teacher Education Program (TEP) and can also be met through a certificate program.
  • Gifted Education Specialist standards may be achieved via two different pathways; students complete a Masters level degree as part of TEP with a cognate in Gifted Education and then take additional coursework to address the specialist level standards; or, students meet the Specialist level standards through a Masters level degree separate from TEP.
  • Gifted Education Director standards are incorporated into the Education Doctorate (EdD). The Director of Gifted Education training is a combination of Gifted Education, Initial Administrator preparation, Curriculum and Instruction training, and Research Methods.

The next available term for the Gifted Education cohort is Summer 2019; applications for the 2019 term are open now.

The Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education has been granted continued accreditation status by the American Library Association (ALA). The decision to grant continued accreditation to the program was based on the “totality of the accomplishment and the environment for learning.”

The Master of Library Information Science is a both theory and practice-based curriculum, focusing on 21st century informational science and data management, and developing the skills needed to evaluate, manage, and adapt to technological change. Graduates of the program have chosen various areas for their fieldwork, including:

  • Archiving at the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Archiving interstate projects for the Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Digitization project in the British Library
  • Digitization projects at the Denver Public Library
  • Oral history digitization project at the Jeffco Public Library
  • Creating a digital library about sensory learning
  • Developing and launching a usability study for academic libraries
  • Rebuilding the digital repository of a medical library

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

The University of Denver recently announced its 2018 professor awards and four Morgridge professors were honored, with two taking home the top award of Distinguished University Professor.

Drs. Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama, from Morgridge College of Education Marsico Institute, are the inaugural recipients of the Distinguished University Professor award at the University of Denver. This new award is the highest award that the University bestows on its faculty members. Selection for this honor is based on scholarly productivity, national and international distinction in a field of research/scholarship, and work that makes a positive impact on society. Their title will remain in effect until resignation or retirement from the University of Denver, at which time they will be named Emeritus Distinguished University Professor.

Clements is a professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department as well as the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, and the Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning. He received his PhD from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Previously a preschool and kindergarten teacher, he has conducted funded research and published over 500 articles and books in the areas of the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications in mathematics education. Clements was a member of President Bush’s National Math Advisory Panel, the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics the Common Core State Standards committee and a coauthor of their reports.  His research interests include creating, using and evaluating research-based curricula, taking successful curricula to scale using technologies, and learning trajectories in standards, assessment, curriculum and professional development.

Sarama is a professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department as well as the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies, Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, and Co-Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning. She received her PhD from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She designed and programmed over 50 published computer programs, including her version of Logo and Logo-based software activities (Turtle Math™, which was awarded Technology & Learning Software of the Year award, 1995, in the category “Math”). Sarama has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers.  Her research interests include developing and evaluating research-based educational software and other technologies, using learning trajectories in standards, assessment, educational technology, curriculum and professional development, developing and evaluating research-based curricula, and asking successful curricula to scale using technologies.

Clements and Sarama will be able to share their expertise with the University faculty, staff, friends and DU community at large through the University of Denver Distinguished University Professor Lecture and Performance Series, which will showcase their work.

Dr. Kathy Green was honored as the 2017-2018 Distinguished Teaching Award, as recommended by the Faculty Senate Awards Subcommittee. This award is presented in recognition of excellence in teaching. Green is a professor of Research Methods and Statistics in the Research Methods and Information Sciences Department. She received her PhD from the University of Washington-Seattle.  She was named University of Denver United Methodist Teacher/Researcher of the Year in 1999 and honored with a Fulbright Scholarship to the Slovak Republic in 2002. Her research interests are in applied measurement, specifically applications of the Rasch model, survey research, and teaching statistics.

Dr. William E. Cross, Jr. has been awarded the rank of Emeritus Professor. Cross retired from Morgridge College in June 2018 after serving as a Professor of Higher Education and Counseling Psychology. Cross received his PhD from Princeton University. He holds professor emeritus status from another university but remains active, and he is President-Elect for Div. 45 (APA). His recent publications interrogate the structure of the self-concept; the range of identity profiles found among African American adults; cultural epiphanies; the identity implications of cultural miseducation and false consciousness; and the multiple ways racial identity is enacted in everyday life.

In anticipation of the upcoming academic year, Morgridge College of Education is pleased to announce four faculty promotions within the College.

Dr. Patton Garriott, formerly Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology, had been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in the Counseling Psychology Department. Garriott received his PhD from the University of Missouri. He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the APA, and the Society for Vocational Psychology. His work has been recognized by Division 17 of the APA and the National Career Development Association. He is currently a Co-Investigator on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, which focuses on the career development of women and Latinas/os in engineering. Garriott’s primary areas of research include the academic and career development of students underrepresented in higher education, multicultural issues in vocational psychology, as well as race and racism.

Dr. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, formerly Associate Professor Higher Education, has been promoted to full Professor. Gildersleeve recently completed his term as Chair of the Higher Education Department and will continue as a professor when he returns from a fall 2018 sabbatical. Gildersleeve received his PhD from the University of California-Los Angeles.  He was a 2012 National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Gildersleeve received the 2011 Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Division D – Research Methodology. His practical experience ranges across P-20 education in primarily out-of-classroom learning contexts with non-dominant youth. Dr. Gildersleeve’s research agenda investigates the social and political contexts of educational opportunity for historically marginalized communities, focusing on college access and success for Latina/o (im)migrant families, critical higher education policy, and critical qualitative inquiry. He was recently appointed Executive Editor of About Campus: Learning in the College Environment, a flagship journal for ACPA: College Educators International. His editorship is a five-year term and begins this summer.

Dr. Jesse Owen, formerly Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, has been promoted to full Professor. Dr. Owen recently completed his term as Chair of the Counseling Psychology Department. Owen earned his BS from Ball State University, his master’s degree from U of Miami, and his doctorate from DU. He has worked at Gannon University and University of Louisville prior to joining the faculty at DU. He is a licensed psychologist and has had a private practice at times over the last decade. His research focuses on psychotherapy processes and outcomes as well as romantic relationships. Owen is currently an Associate Editor for two APA journals (Psychotherapy and Journal of Counseling Psychology) and another top tier journal (Archives of Sexual Behavior).

Dr. Andi Pusavat, formerly Clinical Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology, has been promoted to Clinical Associate Professor. She will continue as Counseling Services Clinic Director. Pusavat received her PhD from the University of Denver. She was formerly with the Iliff Counseling Center where she served as the Director for six years. Other career highlights include President of the Colorado Society of Psychologists in Private Practice for two years; founding member of the Colorado Psychological Association Society for the Advancement of Multiculturalism and Diversity; and presenter at the American Psychological Association and National Summit on Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan.  Pusavat’s research interests include multicultural counseling, social justice, trauma, interpersonal partner violence, and training and supervision.

Being in “the center of it all” is nothing new for DU’s Morgridge College of Education (MCE). But, for the next two years, the notion of being an educational epicenter will take on a whole new meaning. That’s because starting this month, the University of Denver is embarking on a massive construction project that will ultimately transform the entire perimeter surrounding MCE’s Katherine Ruffatto Hall.

The initiative is called the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan and seeks to revitalize DU’s 125-acre campus into a vibrant college town in the heart of the city. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by Fall 2020 and will include:

  • New Residence Halls
  • New Community Commons
  • New Career Achievement Center

Construction of both the Residence Halls and the Community Commons will border the north and east side of Katherine Ruffatto Hall. Construction fences, scheduled to go up in June, will alter vehicle and pedestrian traffic around MCE. To combat some of the inherent challenges associated with such a major construction project, the University is piloting the following transportation options:

  • An “ofo” dockless bike sharing program
  • A free “Chariot” campus shuttle

Once completed, the new Residence Hall and Community Commons will provide MCE with a front-row seat to the most vibrant venues on campus – just steps from fire pits, eateries and creative gathering spaces. Until then, the inhabitants of Katherine Ruffatto Hall will be displaying their trademark innovation as they deal with the inevitable challenges of being in the construction zone shadow.

“We know there will be challenges over the next two years,” says MCE Dean Karen Riley. “But the Morgridge College of Education community is used to coming up with creative, collaborative solutions to problems that others wouldn’t tackle. We’re already planning interactive experiences that will build on the MCE culture and make the most out of this transitionary time.”

An MCE-specific website has been launched providing detailed information on:

  • Parking options
  • Building access
  • Construction timelines

Information about the broader scope of the Campus Framework Plan, including the addition of a hotel, retail spaces and architectural renderings are available here.

Children in rural America face a unique set of health and education disparities.  In comparison to urban students, rural youth demonstrate higher levels of mortality; suicide; obesity; tobacco, alcohol, and illegal substance use; drinking and driving; teen births; and carrying weapons. They also have lower rates of school readiness, proficiency on standardized tests, and math performance.

Tailored solutions are needed to address these challenges particularly since more than half of US school districts are located in rural settings. These and other challenges fueled MCE’s decision to launch the Center for Rural School Health & Education to be led by rural expert, Elaine Belansky, PhD.

Belansky is a community-based participatory researcher who has been working in rural, low-income schools for 19 years.  She studies how universities and communities can work together to make schools healthy places. Her team developed a strategic planning process called “Assess. Identify. Make it Happen.” (AIM) which helps schools implement school-based environment and policy changes that support physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, and school engagement and decrease bullying, high risk sexual behavior, and drug use. Currently, her team is partnering with rural schools in Colorado to create comprehensive health and wellness plans that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

Belansky has received over $13 million in grants from the CDC, NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Colorado Health Foundation. She will begin her duties at Morgridge College May 1. Her six-person team will join her June 1. The research team includes:

  • Shannon Allen – Research Faculty
  • Ben Ingman – Research Faculty
  • Shirley Berg – Business Manager and AIM Facilitator
  • Jerry Jones – AIM Facilitator and Community Coordinator
  • Carla Loecke – Director of Curriculum and Training
  • Susan Portner – AIM Facilitator

The team of rural experts will engage rural school and community partners in Colorado and beyond to identify and address the most pressing issues facing rural education. The goal of the Center for Rural School Health & Education is to be the catalyst for achieving health and academic equity in rural communities across the nation.

Dr. Hitoshi Sato, associate professor at Fukuoka University in Japan, visited MCE this week as part of his government-funded research on teacher preparation in the U.S.

Sato selected MCE due to its CAEP accreditation and track record of teacher residency success.

“The University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education has one of the best and largest teacher preparation programs in the US, so I am really interested in how the program assesses the outcome of teacher candidates and assures the quality of programs, including how to respond to the requirement of CAEP standards,” Sato said.

Sato spent the day at Morgridge College interacting with faculty, staff and students around the topic of internal quality assurance and assessment within teacher preparation programs.

“It was great to visit with Dr. Sato and share some of our experiences building our teacher education program here at Morgridge,” said Dr. Jessica Lerner, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Teacher Education. “I hope sharing what we have learned can improve the educational experiences of students in Japan, as I know we are grappling with some of the same issues.”

“Through this study, I am trying to lead some suggestions for Japanese teacher preparation especially at the level of teacher preparation program,” Sato said. “In Japan, the competition rate of our current hiring examination is decreasing, so the role of assuring the quality of teachers will be changed to teacher preparation level.”

Sato explained that of particular interest to the Japanese government is the teacher residency model.

“We have traditionally focused on teacher knowledge without a lot of emphasis on teaching practice and experience,” Sato said. “Japan is experiencing a growing achievement gap that is making teacher preparation a primary area of focus.”

Sato’s stop at MCE is part of his third year of research into the teacher preparation challenge. His fourth and final year will involve summarizing his findings into a report, which will be presented to the Japanese government to help inform their state-funded teacher education model of the future.

View photos from the visit in our Flickr album.

Marsico Institute for Early Learning post-doctoral research fellow Candace Joswick’s work was recently featured on the March 2018 issue cover of Mathematics Teacher, from the Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Joswick and her co-author, Dr. Anna A. Davis from Ohio Dominican University, offer insights and activities to use geometric constructs in art to teach math.

On Monday, February 19, 2018 the University of Denver (DU) Black Alumni Affinity Group (BAA), in conjunction with the Leadership Insights program, celebrated Black History month at Cableland, the official residence of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, with a reception and conversation with Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) alumni Nick Dawkins (ELPS MA ’16). Dawkins is a principal with Denver Public Schools (DPS) at Manual High school, a historically black school in the Whittier neighborhood in Denver. His public conversation with Dr. Frank Tuitt, professor of Higher Education at Morgridge and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Inclusive Excellence, was preceded by remarks from Denver Councilman Albus Brooks (MBA 16’), attending on behalf of Mayor Hancock.

This annual event is meant to engage DU’s communities of color by giving them an opportunity to ask questions and provide them with information regarding how the University is addressing issues of inclusive excellence through DU’s leadership and DU Impact 2025. Dawkins was the night’s featured conversationalist.

According to Dawkins, his education at Morgridge prepared him for his current role. He firmly believes in creating a culture of happy kids in his school. Many of his students face familial or personal deportation, homelessness, trauma, and other challenges in their daily lives. He worked hard to create a culture of access where his students know they can come to him with any trouble they are facing.

Recently, Dawkins himself was facing an exceptional challenge. In the fall during a high school football game, reports of racism and a rebel flag catapulted Dawkins and Manual High into the spotlight. As the he-said-she said grew, Dawkins discovered an ally in Morgridge and in DPS. Both the district and MCE stood by Dawkins as an exceptional leader who has the best interest of his students at heart.

Dawkins is a change agent. It is something he takes very seriously and he relentlessly challenges the status-quo in order to build better a future for his students.

“If I’m not in trouble,” he says, “I’m not doing my job.”

Educational leadership and policy studies PhD student Natalie Lewis has been selected by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) as part of the 2017-2019 Jackson Scholars Program. The Jackson Scholars Program develops future faculty of color for the field of educational leadership and policy.

Lewis is the current Assistant Principal at McAuliffe Manual Middle School, part of the Denver Public School (DPS) system. A graduate of DPS Manual High School, Lewis is began her career as a substitute teacher in Philadelphia. Her experience led her to pursue an advanced degree in education in order to be a leader to underserved populations.

“I am excited, honored, and extremely privileged to receive this award,” Lewis said. “This sets me on a path to my ultimate goal to blend educational theory and practice.”

Lewis plans to utilize this program to create more equitable opportunities where educators can integrate research into their schools and classrooms.

The UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network began in November 2003 after a vote of the members of the UCEA Plenum. The two-year program provides formal networking, mentoring, and professional development for graduate students of color intending to become professors of educational leadership.

UCEA facilitates the development of a robust pipeline of faculty and graduate students of color in the field of educational leadership. As a result, Barbara Jackson Scholars and Alumni enhance the field of educational leadership and UCEA with their scholarship and expertise.

The University of Denver (DU) Morgridge College of Education (MCE) announces Phillip Strain, PhD, will become the third James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education in the Teaching and Learning Sciences (TLS) Department. Strain is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading researchers on autism and preschool inclusion. He is recognized for creating the LEAP model of inclusive services for young children with autism in 1981.

Strain, will be partnering with the two existing Kennedy Chairs, Doug Clements, PhD, and Julie Sarama, PhD, to

steer the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success at MCE.

“This is a game-changer for Morgridge College of Education,” says Dean Karen Riley. “Phil is the perfect complement to the nationally-recognized work that Doug and Julie are already doing in early childhood education. I expect a lot of energy to be generated from this high-level collaboration.”

As Endowed Chair, Strain will be responsible for conducting and guiding research and disseminating knowledge to improve the lives of children and families locally and nationally. He will also provide leadership to the MCE faculty, students, and community in curriculum development and research initiatives with an emphasis on finding solutions to 21st century challenges in teaching and learning in urban environments.

Select achievements of Strain’s include:

  • Authoring over 180 peer reviewed journal articles
  • Contributing to 47 book chapters
  • Writing 9 books
  • Receiving $85 million in sponsored grants

Strain’s most recent grants total over $4.7 million and will provide full research funding for the next four years.

Strain has served as a professor in Early Childhood Special Education, and the director of the Positive Early Learning Center (PELE) at the University of Colorado Denver. He and his PELE research team will join the  Morgridge College on July 1, 2018.


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