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.

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!

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

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 .

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!

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

The University of Denver Office of Graduate Studies recently featured the advice of Morgridge College of Education (MCE)  faculty member Dr. Cecilia Orphan. A recent hire in MCE’s Department of Higher Education, Dr. Orphan knows how competitive the academic job market can be. Below, Dr. Orphan offers CV/cover letter advice and interview strategies for the academic job seeker.

Given the vanishing nature of tenure track jobs, a job as a professor is becoming more and more of an elusive brass ring. With careful preparation and practice, you can become a competitive applicant. What follows are a list of tips for your job search including advice about preparing your CV and cover letter and nailing the job interviews.

CV Prep

Curriculum Vitae is Latin for the “course of my life.” Remembering the etymology for this part of the application is important. A CV is much longer than a resume because it shows the academic journey you have taken since undergrad. There are a plethora of resources online that describe CVs, so I won’t be redundant and repeat the good advice of scholars much further along in their careers than me. That said, I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Imitate: Ask to see the CVs of faculty members you work with and students who are further ahead in your program or who have recently landed jobs. When you do this you’ll notice that there are a variety of different ways to construct a CV. If you see a format you like, ask the person if you can borrow their style. Also ask to trade CVs with 3-4 of your friends and say that you’ll edits theirs and give advice about it if they’ll do the same for you. The more eyes you can get on this document, the better.
  2. Proofread: There is absolutely no excuse for typos, spelling or grammatical errors in a CV. Your materials are going to be in a pile of hundreds of applicants and reviewers are looking for any reason to thin that stack. A typo or inconsistent formatting (ex: periods at the end of some but not all items on a bulleted list, italics in some places and bolding in others, etc.) can move your materials from the “look into further” pile into the “reject” pile. A piece of advice I received was to read my CV backwards, from the bottom to the top, so I could look strictly for typos and formatting inconsistencies.
  3. Tailor the Format: Depending on the emphasis of the job application, change the order of items in your CV. If you are applying for a job that emphasizes research, put your publications and research experience first. If you are applying for a teaching gig, put your teaching experience first. This re-ordering will signal to reviewers that you are serious about and understand the goals of the program and position.
Cover Letter Tip

Again, there is a bevy of advice out there on how to write a cover letter but I’ll chime in with the following advice: similar to the CV, your cover letter should tell a story about you as a scholar. The best way to do this is in a narrative format. How has your work, academic and personal experience culminated in your wanting to be a professor? How have your experiences influenced the research you do and the way you teach? How do all these pieces of your life fit together? Constructing a narrative is particularly important if you followed a nontraditional trajectory in your academic career.

Being able to tell your story in a narrative format also humanizes you to the reviewers and makes for a memorable and compelling application. Echoing the advice I gave regarding the CV, depending on the emphasis of the application, you’ll want to highlight either research or teaching within the text of the cover letter. This means that in a 2-page cover letter for a posting for a Research 1 institution, you’ll spend 3-4 paragraphs talking about your research and the second-to-last paragraph briefly talking about your approach to teaching. In your last paragraph, you need to write convincingly about how XYZ State University is the absolute perfect place for you to continue your academic journey.

Interviewing Advice

Once you get an interview (or interviews), celebrate! This is a huge accomplishment followed by what will have likely been dozens of applications you submitted and heard nothing about. After you celebrate, it’s time to get to work. Nowadays search committees conduct a Skype (or phone) interview with candidates first before deciding to bring the top three candidates to campus for a day and half long marathon interview. What follows is my advice about both steps in the interview process.

The Skype or Phone Interview

  • Find the Perfect Spot: If it’s a Skype interview, find a quiet place that has the semblance of an office. This will take some creativity because as grad students, you don’t have access to scholarly-looking-rooms you can take over and use for an interview. I conducted mine in my bedroom in front of a bookcase and I told my roommate that she had to be absolutely silent for 30 minutes.
  • Dress the Part: You should be in interview clothes whether or not the search committee can see you. Stepping into interview clothes (preferably a suit – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed in these situations) helps you get into the mindset of an interview.
  • Prepare for Questioning: Come up with a list of 8-10 questions that you think they’ll ask you and practice answering these with a friend. Write down points that you want to cover and put them on sticky notes attached to your monitor. This way you can discretely glance at them during the interview if you get stuck.
  • Create Some Queries: There will typically be 20 minutes of questions that they ask you and 10 minutes of questions that you ask them. Your questions for them are probably the most important part of the Skype/phone interview. Your questions should not be about salary or benefits but instead about the work of the department, the strategic direction of the department, and how the department fits into the larger institutional context. Asking questions like this shows that you have a keen interest in the department and more importantly, that you have done your homework.
On-campus Job Interview

The on-campus job interview is in a word: intense. You will be meeting with people who are far more powerful than you (senior administrators) as well as people who are more senior than you in terms of rank. These people are trying to figure out if you would be a good colleague for them. Every aspect of this process is a job interview – everything from walking in the halls between “meetings” (mini interviews) to dinner the night before to breakfast the morning of. You will be watched closely during the entire time you are on campus and need to be on your game 100%. The hardest part for me was shifting my perspective and self-view from that of a grad student to that of a professor. Here are some tips to help you do that.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice Your Job Talk: I wrote a script of my talk and rehearsed it probably 30 times. This is a huge time investment because your talk should be about 40-45 minutes, but it is so important. Also, see if you can convene a group of folks (with strong faculty representation) to watch you run through your job talk. Get their feedback, implement it and … keep practicing.
  • Create a Narrative: Surprise, surprise, your job talk should be a narrative of sorts. I included an “impetus” slide in my job talks that described the impetus for my research. This helped my audience get to know me and also helped them see the trajectory of my work.
  • Select the Right Person: When it’s time for questions, call on the oldest person in the room. Also, pay attention to the person other people seem to defer to and really listen to. This person is likely someone with a ton of informal power who will make or break your interview. Make sure you establish a connection with this person.
  • Get to Know Everyone: Remember that you’re interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Try to think of it as an opportunity to get to know new colleagues you will see at conferences for the rest of your life, and not as a do-or-die interview.
  • Approach Student Interviewing Earnestly: If the search committee has students interview you, take this very seriously. Students will report back to their faculty colleagues about how serious you took the interview.
  • Make Meaningful Connections: Read the last 3-5 articles written by every person in the department and think through ways your work compliments but is also distinct from theirs. Then be able to speak to these points of connection and areas in which you would add something new but related to their department.
  • Implement Mnemonic Devices: Print pictures of people and memorize them on the plane. Keep a cheat sheet in your brief case during the day. Calling folks by their names is extremely important. Do this in group interviews, “That’s a very interesting question, Cecilia … blah blah blah.” People like to hear their names. Calling folks by their name also shows that you have an interest in them as individuals.
  • Nix the Caffeine: Don’t drink too much coffee (unless you are exhausted). Your nerves are already going to be in overdrive. Coffee can exacerbate this. And for god’s sake, do not get drunk at dinner! I suggest ordering a glass of wine or a beer and sipping it throughout dinner.
  • Personalize the Follow-Up Email: Take notes about each person and send personalized thank you notes. If there is a question that you don’t know the answer to, say, “That’s an interesting and important question. I don’t know the answer to it now but I’ll think about it and get back to you.” Then follow up with that person through email and answer the question. Doing this shows that you are thoughtful and interested in ongoing scholarly engagement. If you wish that you had answered a question differently, after the interview email the person who asked and tell them how your thinking has changed or evolved since interview day.
  • Conduct Background Research: Take time to familiarize yourself with the mission and history of the university and come prepared with questions about how that larger mission informs the department.
  • Scrap Salary Talk: Don’t ask any questions about salary and benefits during the interview. This will happen in your negotiations with the dean if you get an offer.
  • Be Ready to Discuss Your Scholarship: Be prepared to talk through 2-3 concrete research ideas you will tackle in your first few years as a professor. A search committee is going to want to know that you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet after you leave the nest of your advisor’s mentorship. Having research ideas in mind will help with this.

My final piece of advice is to be yourself. Be exactly who you are. Authenticity is important for obvious human reasons but also important because a search committee is going to meet other interviewees who are trying to be who they think the department wants. That doesn’t land a job. Being yourself does.

For more information, check out the Academic Job Search Handbook. This is an amazing resource that will walk you through each step of the process.

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

Kaplan Early Learning Company and the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for the Health and Well-being of Children announced the winners of the 2015 Innovator Award on Thursday evening at a special reception held during the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.

The 2015 Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Douglas H. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama. Most recently known for their contributions to Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum, these recipients were recognized by the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for their innovative approach to teaching mathematics in early childhood education.

“It’s exciting to see the results from the years of piloting this curriculum in classrooms,” says Kyra Ostendorf, Vice President, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Development at Kaplan Early Learning Company. “Connect4Learning flips the curriculum, putting math and science at the forefront with literacy and social-emotional development woven throughout. Doug and Julie’s vision is that all children can excel. This curriculum supports that focus.”

In addition, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation made a donation to the Fisher Early Learning Center at the University of Denver. The Fisher Early Learning Center was instrumental in the research of both awardees.

Doug Clements 150x150Douglas H. Clements, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver.

Julie SaramaJulie Sarama, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver

The Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation Innovator Award is given annually to a person, program, product or organization that positively impacts the health and well-being of children. Previous Innovator Award winners include the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (2012); Linda Smith, the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (2013); Dr. Thelma Harms, Dr. Debby Cryer and Dr. Richard M. Clifford, best known for their collective work on Environment Rating Scales (2014).

Established in honor of Kaplan Early Learning Company’s founders, Leon and Renee Kaplan, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation focuses on finding and supporting individuals, businesses and organizations that support the health and well-being of young children. Since 1997, the foundation has gifted more than 2 million dollars in support of programs affecting children and families across the United States.

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

For the original version of this story visit PRWeb.

The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) held their 40th Annual Conference right here in the mile high city from November 5-7. We are excited to announce that 12 University of Denver faculty and students participated and shared their research on institutional change. These movers and shakers’ research covered a broad range of important issues that are sure to advance the conversation of inequality in Higher Education and stimulate collaboration among researchers and decision makers. We took some time this month to visit with these individuals and discover what their scholarship is all about.

Post Doctoral Fellow

Dian Squire

Dian Squire

Dian Squire, PhD Loyola University, Higher Education: Dian Squire is the postdoctoral fellow in the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (in)Equality. His research examines diversity, equity, and justice in higher education.  His current research focuses on the experiences of graduate students of color.


  • Graduate Student Session: Conversations with Newly Minted PhD’s.  
Doctoral Students

Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu, PhD student, Higher Education: Meseret’s research interests are grounded in comparative international education, with a special emphasis on gender issues in STEM programs in Ethiopian higher education. Methodologically, she aims to craft a mixed-methods research agenda.


  • Examining the role of Girl Hub in Shaping College-­‐going Culture for Women in Ethiopia
  • Understanding Diaspora women’s Experiences in Ethiopian STEM Higher Education


Delma Ramos

Delma Ramos, PhD student, Higher Education: Delma’s research interests include access, retention, and graduation from higher education institutions, with an emphasis on underserved populations. Additionally, she focuses on the evaluation and assessment of programs with similar foci and on issues pertaining to educational quality in postsecondary education.


  • The Uphill Battle: An Analysis of Race and Gender Struggles in the Academic Pathways of Doctoral Women of Color
  • Limiting Levels of Involvement of Low-Income, First-Generation, Families of Color through Controlling Images
  •  Inequity in Workforce Outcomes of College-­educated Immigrants of Color: Human Capital Transferability and Job Mismatch

MSarubbi headshot

Molly Sarubbi

Molly Sarubbi, PhD student, Higher Education: Molly crafted a 3-day, embedded conference experience for local Indigenous practitioners and Tribal College Presidents in which they could have participated in various conference presentations, events, and community building sessions. In an effort to further celebrate the Indigenous cultures of expression, she also scheduled local spirit leaders to lead the group in opening and closing ceremonies. Local artists also were invited to showcase their cultural works.

Raquel Headshot

Raquel Wright-Mair

Raquel Wright-Mair, PhD student, Higher Education: 
Raquel’s research is grounded in social justice and focuses on issues of access and equity, as well as the identification of ways to create inclusive campus environments for underrepresented populations. Her research agenda includes looking at the experiences of students, faculty, and administrators of color on college campuses and examining structures, policies, and systems necessary for their growth, development, and success.

Bryan Hubain

Bryan Hubain

Bryan Hubain, PhD candidate, Higher Education: Bryan’s research is multifaceted and mutually informing. He focuses on the intersections of identities and how specific intersections of marginalized identities influence someone’s personal experiences and perceptions. His current dissertation research agenda focuses on a queer and intersectional analysis of the narratives of Black gay international students and racism in LGBTQ communities.


  • Dialoguing the improvisation of risk: Critically addressing racial inequality and racial incidents in higher education 


Varaxy Yi-Borromeo

Varaxy Yi-Borromeo, PhD student, Higher Education: Varaxy’s research focuses on historically underrepresented and marginalized populations in higher education. Specifically, she is interested in Southeast Asian American college student success.  Varaxy is also interested in graduate student support, especially for graduate students of color.


  • The Uphill Battle: An Analysis of Race and Gender Struggles in the Academic Pathways of Doctoral Women of Color
  • Understanding the Experiences of Faculty Engaging in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Classroom
  • The Impact of Culturally Engaging Campus Environments on Sense of
    Belonging among White Students and Students of Color
  • Navigating Two Worlds: Educational Resilience of Burmese and Bhutanese Refugee Youth
Master’s Students

Jeffrey Mariano

Jeffrey Mariano

Jeffrey Mariano, Master’s student, Higher Education : Jeff’s research uses the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) model as a means to explore how faculty members across various disciplines (STEM, professional fields, arts and humanities, and social sciences) incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum into their classrooms. Specifically, this study highlights the ways these faculty engage the cultural backgrounds and knowledge of their students and the barriers and challenges they face.


  • Understanding the Experiences of Faculty Engaging in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Classroom


Dr. Nick Cutforth

Dr. Nick Cutforth, Research Methods and Statistics: Dr. Cutforth’s research and teaching interests include school health and physical activity environments, qualitative research, physical activity and youth development, university/community partnerships, and community-based research. His current research involves school-based intervention studies related to physical activity and healthy eating among K-12 students in the San Luis Valley in rural Colorado.


  • The Civic Engagement Movement: A Symposium and Participatory History
  • Exploring the Power and Potential of Community-Based Research to Address Educational Inequality

Ryan Gildersleeve

Dr. Ryan Everly Gildersleeve

Dr. Ryan Everly Gildersleeve, Higher Education: Dr. Gildersleeve’s research agenda critically investigates the social and political contexts of educational opportunity for historically marginalized communities. He pursues this agenda in three inter-related braided lines of inquiry: critical policy studies, cultural analyses of higher education institutions, and poststructural philosophy/critical qualitative inquiry. Cumulatively, he hopes to contribute new tools for the study of inequality and the role(s) of postsecondary education in affirming social opportunities for non-dominant youth.


  • Ritual Culture and Latino Students in American Higher Education
  • Exploring Posthumanism in Higher Education: Methods, Contexts, and Implications

Judy Kiyama

Judy Marquez Kiyama

Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, Higher Education: Dr. Kiyama’s research examines the structures that shape educational opportunities for underserved groups through an asset-based lens to better understand the collective knowledge and resources drawn upon to confront, negotiate, and (re)shape such structures. Dr. Kiyama’s current projects focus on the high school to college transition experiences of first-generation, and low-income, and families of color and their role in serving as sources of cultural support for their college-aged students.


  • Limiting Levels of Involvement of Low-­‐Income, First-­Generation, Families of Color through Controlling Images
  • Presidential Session: Reflections on Connecting Research and Practice in College Access and Success Programs
  • Presidential Session: Culturally Relevant Research in Higher Education
  • Exploring the Power and Potential of Community-Based Research to Address Educational Inequality

Frank Tuitt

Dr. Frank Tuitt

Dr. Frank Tuitt, Center for Multicultural Excellence: Dr. Tuitt’s research explores topics related to access and equity in higher education; teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms; and diversity and organizational transformation. Dr. Tuitt is a co-editor and contributing author of the books Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms, and Contesting the myth of a post-racial era: The continued significance of race in U.S. education.


  • Dialoguing the improvisation of risk: Critically addressing racial inequality and racial incidents in higher education
  • The (un)intended consequences of campus racial climate on university faculty
  •  The Black Womanist Manifesto: Navigating Media Influences in Higher Education

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

Brinda Prabhakar-Gippert, a PhD candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), has been selected as one of the two graduate student winners for the November 2015 Distinguished Graduate Community Leader Award.

The award reflects Prabhakar-Gippert’s demonstration of excellent work ethic, dedication to her research, good character, and inclusivity. Her doctoral dissertation, an embodiment of her commitment to improving services for underrepresented groups, explores mental health-seeking behaviors of international college students with the hope of uncovering ways to provide them with better resources and services. Additionally, she has published work on parental support and underrepresented students’ math and science interests. She is a dedicated researcher who is committed to thoughtfully integrating scientific findings into her clinical work.

Prabhakar-Gippert also works at Denver Health Medical Center as a pre-doctoral intern in the APA accredited psychology internship program, spending more than 40 hours each week providing counseling services to the community. She is an involved community member at DU actively participating as a student leader and serving as past representative of doctoral students at MCE. Colleagues and peers look up to her, stating that she is consistently warm, respectful, attuned to issues of power and privilege, punctual, and funny.

DGCLA winners are selected through a peer-nomination process. To nominate a colleague, email with a 250-500 word statement describing why the nominee deserves to be an DGCLA winner.

Suzanne Morris-Sherer is the current principal of Thomas Jefferson High school in the Denver Public School district. Morris-Sherer spent six years working as the principal of Side Creek Elementary in the Aurora Public School district after receiving her Principal Licensure from the Morgridge College of Education’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Ritchie Program.

In her three years at Thomas Jefferson, Morris-Sherer has drastically raised the status of the school. She tells her students that they “need to aspire to achieve”. By changing expectations placed upon the students and staff, she has been able to create an environment that gives the support and inspiration needed for success. “I just love seeing their potential… [Thomas Jefferson High] is truly the hidden jewel I always say it is”, stated Morris-Sherer, who has worked with the students and staff to incorporate curriculum aimed at developing life skills.

Watch the video below to experience the change at Thomas Jefferson High School.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

Adams 12 - Skyview Elementary

Adams 12 – Skyview Elementary

Stephanie Auday is in her 3rd year as principal of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools District Skyview Elementary School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Minnesota State University at Mankato before moving to Colorado to further her career in teaching. Auday spent several years as a classroom educator in the Adams 12 school district before receiving her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies through the Ritchie Program for School Leaderships in the Adams County Cohort.

Soon after graduating, Stephanie began leading in her community through three Assistant principal positions in the Adam 12 Elementary Schools. “The Ritchie program developed who I am as a leader, it focuses on beliefs and values that drive your day-to-day work”.

Auday attributes her successful career in leadership to the application of systems thinking. “Good systems allow people to be creative and successful… clear organization is key”. At Skyview Elementary, Auday has applied this principle by analyzing the school system and implementing a plan for teachers to stay an hour and a half longer together every Monday. During these Monday sessions, teachers collaborate with one another and walk away with something accomplished. “The complex nature of schooling means we (teachers) need to support each other professionally and emotionally.” This community effort continues into the rest of the week where teachers will stop in the hall or meet up in a classroom to touch base.

Auday wears her learner’s hat with her staff and is open to dialog, discussion, and pushback. She aims to empower her teachers to have the capacity to solve complex problems. “This isn’t a job you can do on your own…the goal is to live in a professional learning community,” Auday explained.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.


Crystal River Elementary School

Matthew Koenigsknecht is the newly appointed principal at Crystal River Elementary in the Roaring Forks School District. Inspired by six years of teaching in Denver Public Schools (DPS), he began his pursuit of a Principal licensure and Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Morgridge College of Education. Koenigsknecht completed a year as a Ritchie Principal Intern at Harrington elementary School in DPS, and has already begun applying his education at Crystal River Elementary. Aspiring leaders in the central mountain region can access the same principal preparation experience through the Mountain Cohort of the Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.

Koenigsknecht has developed three strategic priorities for his school: to identify and have fidelity to a mission and vision for the school; to implement high-quality instruction driven by data and supported by professional development and coaching; and, to develop a strong culture for students and staff by increasing their capacity.

Crystal River has successfully implemented the first initiative through Matthew’s leadership. He attributes a great deal of his success to the rich environment and support that the Richie program provided him. “Everything I learned at Ritchie was applicable and really great preparation for the work we are now doing… They taught me to have a vision and every day they stressed the importance of values-based leadership” stated Koenigsknecht.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

The University of Denver’s Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy is one of six partners with lead agency  ZERO TO THREE who have been awarded a federal grant to administer the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NC ECDTL).

The grant, awarded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the Office of Child Care, provides $70 million over five years to fund the creation of the NC ECDTL.

A scientific framework will be used to ensure the NC ECDTL’s work will enhance best practices for implementing programs in real-world settings. “The new Center will integrate a developmental perspective in all of its activities reflecting how human brains are built – from the bottom up,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE. The Center will also develop resources and offer training and technical assistance to Head Start programs, Early Head Start programs, early childhood specialists, and child care lead agencies in order to strengthen their capacity to provide extensive and high quality early care and education from birth to age five.

The prestigious team includes Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, WestEd, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, Child Care Aware of America, and AEM Corporation.

The Center will be supported by a Research to Practice Consortium made up of 18 leading researchers in early childhood, development, teaching, and learning to ensure that its work is based on the latest early childhood research. The NC ECDTL is expected to begin operating in October 2015.

ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture development. Founded in 1977, ZERO TO THREE is a leader in the field of infants, toddlers and families – reaching more than 2 million parents each year. The organization brings together experts on parenting, child behavior and development, care and education, and public policymakers to help ensure every child from birth to three years old gets a strong start in life.

On Saturday, September 26, Share Fair Nation (SFN) hadShare Fair Nation another successful year with more than 500 teachers and education leaders and hundreds of families in attendance. This annual event brought together innovators in STEM education and offered engaging, hands-on teaching strategies designed to ignite the imaginations of today’s diverse PreK-12 students.

SFN which began in Denver in 2009 was created by John and Carrie Morgridge, philanthropists leading the Morgridge Fami
ly Foundation (MFF) and longtime ambassadors for the University of Denver. It was designed to provide PreK-12 educators the opportunity to discover emergent technologies and discover firsthand the most effective approaches to delivering 21st Century education.

The morning kicked off with an exciting art performance and presentation by key note speaker, Erik Wahl, an internationally renowned graffiti artist and best-selling author. Erik encouraged audience members to tap into their passion for lifelong learning by exploring the power of creativity to achieve superior performance.

The remainder of the day was filled with engaging interactive sessions for families and educators. At the Ritchie Center Magness Arena, STEMosphere was at full capacity as exhibitors showcased innovation and creativity and guests participated in STEM-oriented interactive exhibits that were hands-on, minds-on adventures for all. With more than 15 exhibitions on the floor, exhibitors ranged from The Denver Zoo to SeaPearch, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science to KEVA Planks.

At the Morgridge College of Education, teachers and education leaders had an opportunity to participate in 20+ hands-on Classroom Intensives. These sessions were filled with thought provoking and interactive activities and discussions on topics such as Design Thinking, Heart Lab, Game-Based Learning, and Problem-Based Learning. Attendees were able to receive University of Denver Certificates of Completion for Contact Hours for sessions they attended.

Lessons learned at SFN extend beyond the event as attendees carry back to their schools, fellow teachers, and classrooms the new and creative education methods they learned, propelling schools across the country toward even greater 21st Century learning opportunities. “Share Fair Nation exemplifies Morgridge College of Education’s commitment to life-long learning through professional development. We believe that as a College, our responsibility to teachers extends beyond pre-service to ongoing teacher development and support through innovative, hands-on learning.” Said Karen Riley, Dean of the Morgridge College of Education.

The exciting day came to a close at the Morgridge College of Education with attendees joining Share fair Nation founder, Carrie Morgridge, outside for prizes, which included Ipads, Chromebooks, Kindles, STEM kits, subscriptions, and much more.

Inside this Issue

Upcoming Events

  • MCE New Student Orientation; Fri. 9/11
  • HED Welcome Reception, co-sponsored with HESA; 9/15
  • HED Lunch & Learn; 10/7
  • ASHE in Denver, 11/5-7
HED on Social Media

Are you following @DUHigherEd ? We’re on twitter!
Follow us. Tag us.
Share your achievements, and promote your HED related programs and activities.


It’s an honor and a privilege to introduce two new members of the HED Faculty and one new staff member in the Higher Education Department.

  • Dr. Cecilia Orphan joins HED as a tenure-track assistant professor. Dr. Orphan earned her PhD in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania; her dissertation was titled, “Democracy’s Colleges” Under Threat: Examining the Effect of Public Policy on the Open-Access and Community Engagement Missions of Regionally-Focused Public Universities.”
  • Dr. Laura Sponsler joins HED as a clinical assistant professor. Dr. Sponsler earned her PhD in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, she served as Director, Civic Learning Initiatives with NASPA in Washing-ton, DC.
  • Anna Millies (re)joins HED as our dedicated Academic Services Associate. Anna has worked at DU for 17 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the College. With record support from grants, partnerships, and MCE, we are proud to offer students the opportunity to work within the Higher Education Department. These students play an integral role in ensuring HED Programs and research run smoothly, and offer faculty collaborative support in a variety of ways.

There are some new and familiar faces up on the third floor. We welcome new Graduate Assistants, MA student Paige Mills and Sam Anderson-Lehman, and PhD students Brenda Sifuentez and Sabrina Sidaris into the fold. We also welcome back MA student Ben Clark, CME Fellow, and Graduate Assistants, PhD students Delma Ramos and Molly Sarubbi.

A very special congratulations to Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, who earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Higher Education. The University of Denver is proud to count Dr. Kiyama as one of its best and brightest, and HED is proud to be her academic home.

Last, but certainly not least, we welcome our new MA, EdD, and PhD students. There will be over 40 new faces in classrooms, hallways, offices, and inevitably the library this Fall. We are thrilled to bring yet another season of outstanding new and experienced leaders in higher education to study alongside our returning students and to embark on new adventures in their lives as change-agents in postsecondary education. This year’s classes continue our historical tradition of being the most diverse within the Morgridge College of Education and share our Department’s commitment to equity, diversity, and social justice in – and through – postsecondary educational opportunity.

The HED Calendar

A calendar of significant events in the Higher Education Department has been developed so that students, campus and community partners, alumni, and the public can plan ahead and build expectations for HED’s involvement in MCE, DU, and the broader field of higher education. You’ll find out about quarterly lunch-and-learns, our regular community events like the Winter Town Hall, as well as special events like the annual HED Leadership and Policy Speaker. View HED 2015-2016 Calendar of Events.


This year, the HED Seminars (HED 4294) are each designed around a common theme, “Higher Education Leadership for the 21st Century.” While each seminar will be qualitatively different with unique focus and diverse emphases, they will link together thematically in their shared objective to explore how the challenges and opportunities for leadership in American higher education are shaping and being shaped by conditions of inequality and an imperative for social justice and democracy. This year’s seminar series includes:

Fall Quarter

Higher Education & Leadership for the Public Good
Taught by Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama

Winter Quarter

Leadership During Uncertain Times: Examining Open Access Universities
Taught by Dr. Cecilia Orphan

Spring Quarter

Higher Education Leadership in the Global Economy
Taught by Dr. Evely Gildersleeve

The HED Seminars (HED 4294) are unique opportunities to explore special topics related to faculty members’ research agendas and the most pressing issues facing postsecondary education today. They tend to focus on depth rather than breadth and often include dynamic guest speakers, innovative teaching methods and student assignments, as well as opportunities to explore new interests in the study of higher education.
Note: all EdD and PhD students are required to take 9 credit hours of HED 4294 as part of the coursework plan; MA students may count HED 4294 as elective credit hours toward any of the HED emphasis areas.


On behalf of the HESA Board, Welcome to the 2015-2016 Academic year! We are excited to see what this year brings and have been working to develop even more engagement and professional development opportunities for our Higher Education students. There are many ways to get involved and capitalize on all the resources the Morgridge College of Education has to offer! Some new HESA initiatives will be quarterly writing retreats, student alumni speaker series, and CV/resume workshops. For a deeper level of engagement, consider running for one of our open board leadership positions:

  • Professional Development Chair
  • Social Networking Chair
  • Masters Student Representative (2)
  • Doctoral Student Representative (2)

Nominations and Elections will be held week 2 of the quarter– stay tuned for more information and be sure to stay up to date on HESA information through our various communication outlets:
Like us on Facebook; @ DU Higher Ed, and DU Higher Education Student Association (HESA), and the HESA highlights and portfolio page.

HESA Mission: The Higher Education Student Association (HESA) provides an educational, professional, and social base for students interested in the field of higher education. We aim to deliver services and programming that supports our colleagues and peers in their development as change agents, focusing on inclusive excellence and InContext learning.

We wish you all the best for the start of a year full of community and learning. As always, please contact your HESA Board if there is anything we can do to help you in the next year!

~ Current HESA Officers,
Molly Sarubbi, President
Marlene Romero, Vice President
Meseret Hailu, Communications Chair


At the end of their first year, most MA students find themselves in a mix of emotions. Exhausted yet exhilarated from the intellectual demands of the quarter system. Proud yet weary of having completed 50% of their coursework for the degree. In order to address these strangely complementary experiences, many MA students jump right into intensive practical experiences doing the work of theory-to-practice and practice-to –theory through summer internships. These experiences provide students with unique opportunities to indulge in hands-on, real-world conditions in diverse higher education settings. This past summer has been no different! HED students were all over the country and here in Denver, sharing and learning about the demands of higher education for meeting the needs of 21st century democracy. Here is a sample list of placements our students held this summer:

  • The Arts & Communication Pre-College Studio Program, Department of Professional Studies & Special Programs at Emerson College
  • Colorado School of Mines International Student and Scholar Services office
  • ACUHO-I Intern at Oregon State
  • Office of Outreach and Recruitment, and Office of Student Life at the Community College of Aurora
  • Student Success and New Student Orientation at Mountain View College
  •  Education is Freedom program with the Dallas Mayor Interns Fellow Program
  •  University of California, Santa Cruz at the Summer Session program at Merrill Residential College

University of Denver:

  • Office of Academic Advising and Discoveries Orientation
  •  Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Health Promotion with the Health and Counseling Center
  •  Housing and Residential Education

Note: all HED MA students are required to complete 2 credit hours of internship, which equates to 100 hours of actual work for each credit hour earned, plus assignments as directed by the student’s advisor (e.g., a reflection paper). EdD and PhD students can pursue internships that can count toward HED elective coursework, with permission of advisor.

Spotlight interview with Marlene Romero, Summer Intern at California State University, Chico:

  • Can you tell us a bit about your summer placement?
    MR: The mission of the California State University, Chico Orientation program is to help facilitate the transition of new students to our campus and provide them with the tools and knowledge needed for a successful college experience. We strive to demonstrate a clear communication of our campus policies and expectations while encouraging campus involvement, diversity, inclusiveness, and integrity. Additionally, we wish to welcome and introduce new student’s families to Chico State and provide them with information and resources they can utilize to help their students succeed.
  • What were your primary responsibilities while working there?
    MR: I worked as the Assistant Orientation Coordinator at California State University, Chico. My primary responsibility was to assist with the parent/guest program. I co facilitated the academic talk for all freshman sessions and coordinated the student life presentations during our six transfer sessions. Another big responsibility was to coordinate our Spanish parent and guest program. We had about 189 Spanish speaking parents and loved ones supporting about 112 students.
  • Please share the best things about the experience?
    MR: The best thing about my experience was taking lead on Spanish Orientation. It was inspiring to interact with Latino families who want their loved ones to succeed in academia.
  • How do you see this experience influencing your current studies at MCE?
    MR: Chico State is an aspiring Hispanic Serving Institution therefore, culturally relevant programs, such as Spanish Orientation, are being implemented to serve the increasing Latino population. My experience at Chico State this summer will directly inform my Capstone project focusing on orientations for Spanish speaking families at an aspiring Hispanic Serving Institution.

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