Morgridge College of Education (MCE) had a robust presence at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New York City, April 13-17. More than 50 faculty and students presented papers, and four were recognized for Division and Special Interest Group (SIG) awards. AERA is a national community of education researchers, comprised of 12 divisions and over 155 special interest groups (SIGs).  The Annual Meeting serves as a forum for academic institutions, departments, non-university-based research institutions, and professional associations to share information about federal education research, and engage in shaping policy with regard to significant research issues. This year’s conference theme was “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education.”

MCE Award Recipients

  • 2018 AERA Division K Innovations in Research on Equity and Social Justice in Teacher Education Award: Maria Salazar, PhD, Higher Education Faculty
  • 2018 Shelby Wolf Literature SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award: Kimberly McDavid Schmidt, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor
  • 2018 Leadership for Social Justice SIG Dissertation of the Year Award: Angelina Walker, EdD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate
  • 2018 Family, School, and Community Partnerships SIG Dissertation of the Year Award: Kayon Morgan, PhD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate

MCE Presenters

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.

Morgridge College of Education Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning Sciences and Teacher Education Program, Dr. Maria Salazar, sat down with Wallethub.com for its assessment of the Best and Worst states for teachers and expert panel on issues teachers are facing today and how to tackle those challenges.

The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education (MCE) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) today announced the creation of a pilot teacher education program aimed at placing highly trained educators in some of the most highly impacted schools in the Denver metro area.

The DPS Urban Teacher Fellowship (UTF) program will position selected teacher candidates in highly impacted schools and provide them with the support necessary to both learn and thrive. UTF students will receive their graduate training as part of the University of Denver (DU) Teacher Education Program, and will complete their one-year teacher residency in selected schools within DPS.

“At a time when fewer and fewer college students are choosing to pursue a career in education and more and more K-12 students need great teachers, we are excited to launch a new program that we hope will serve as the model for future programs,” Dr. Karen Riley, MCE Dean says.

As a pilot program, DU and DPS will partner to evaluate the success of the model, collaborative partnership, and the transferability to other areas and program providers across the district. The UTF program is consistent with national trends in teacher residency programs in which the coursework is provided by the higher education partner and the field placements are designed and supported by the district. The program will be co-developed by the two partners in keeping with best practices creating new opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations.

“Nationally, over the last 10 years, teacher residency programs have evolved and grown,” said Laney Shaler, DPS Director of Teacher Pathways & Development. “We are excited to take what we have learned through our previous partnership with DU and apply the framework to this new program that will both extend the partnership and serve as the foundation for expanded pre-service training experiences in DPS.”

The UTF program will replace the existing Denver Teacher Residency (DTR) program which was co-developed between DU and DPS nearly a decade ago to meet the critical challenge of filling vacancies in highly impacted schools and hiring candidates who reflect the students the district serves. Since then, 350 teachers have been trained through DTR in a model of joint operation between DPS and DU. Eight cohorts of residents have confirmed the value of residency as a productive way to prepare teachers.

“I see this new partnership as taking our existing partnership to the next level. It allows us to strengthen our collective efforts to train a diverse teacher corps and serve teacher candidates with relevant on-the-job training opportunities,” Dr. Karen Riley says.

The pilot UTF program represents the next phase in the longstanding DU/DPS partnership committed to finding innovative ways to ensure highly trained educators are available to all students in the DPS district. The first UTF student cohort will begin in fall 2018.

The Colorado Consortium of Residency Educators (CO-CORE), a unique group of partners across higher education and non-profit organizations in Colorado, has received a $400,000 federal grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to study what makes teacher residencies effective as a teacher preparation strategy and how to sustainably fund their most important elements.

As the number of teacher residency programs has grown in Colorado and across the country, the range of preparation approaches has grown as well, raising questions about the quality and effectiveness of these different approaches. This two-year study will analyze data from a range of residency program models from across the state to understand what makes programs effective and determine and provide comparable metrics to understand program success.

The principal investigators for this study are Rebecca Kantor, dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, and Karen Riley, dean of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.

“Teacher preparation residencies show great promise, including strong findings that their graduates are more diverse and stay longer in the profession,” Kantor says. “Clear definitions of residency practices and research evidence to support investment in the model’s critical elements, however, are lacking. This study will help fill the gap in the existing research.”

Teacher residencies, often compared to medical residencies, offer yearlong experiences co-teaching with accomplished teachers as a central part of the preparation of novice teachers. The first of its kind in the country, this study will determine the components of residency programs that serve as quality indicators of teacher effectiveness. Ultimately, the research will provide the state with the capacity to assess the quality of teacher residency programs, follow the transition of residents into the first years of teaching, and evaluate their investment.

Kantor and Riley say that the quality of a child’s teacher has been identified as the single most important in-school factor in educational attainment.

“Even in relatively high performing districts, Colorado faces challenges recruiting, preparing, hiring, supporting and retaining highly effective teachers. Without a well-prepared, stable educator workforce, the state will not be able to reach its educational goals,” Riley says. “Teacher residencies provide a balanced approach to teacher preparation that combines classroom-based experience with academics and theoretical foundations to create a comprehensive learning experience. Teacher candidates graduate with skills in what to do, the theoretical understanding of why methods are effective, and the foundational knowledge of how to modify practice when necessary.”

The research is considered the first large-scale project of its kind to bring together collaborators that represent both the institutions where the teachers are trained, as well as the schools in which they teach. Data from this two-year study are expected to inform best practices in teacher training across the country.

This IES award is one of 15 nation-wide grants from the National Center for Education Research (NCER). The nation-wide grants total more than $12 million and are intended to foster partnerships between researchers and practitioners to study education policies, programs and practices.

Aesthetic learning and arts curricula are a key component in the development of young minds. The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) and its faculty, students, and alumni are making an impact across the nation in the world of arts education.

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D and MCE faculty member, leads teachers in incorporating the arts in their daily lives and work. Dr. Uhrmacher is a proponent for aesthetic learning experiences and advocates that all educators can enhance their teaching by bringing creativity in to the classroom. Dr. Uhrmacher has been working with Think 360 Arts since 1993 to promote the creative arts in Colorado.

MCE and Think 360 Arts recently co-sponsored a training program where teachers engaged in art-making projects designed to teach them creative problem solving and inspire them to use similar practices in the classroom. In a Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting (RMPBS) feature documenting the event, Program Director Caitlin Lindquist states that the organization brings in “artists that are really adept at working with a wide variety of student populations and skilled in developing curriculum.” The artists inspire teachers to bring art to life in their teaching and classrooms.

MCE Alumni Make an Impact in Art Education

MCE alumni are also making an impact in education as they utilize skills learned at MCE to implement the arts and aesthetics in their own work.

Curriculum and Instruction (CI) alumna Michelle Mandico is a practicing artist who incorporates her love of art into her teaching. Her art includes influences from her work in early childhood education, higher education, and residential education.

David Kennedy is a CI alumnus who taught middle and high school prior to enrolling at MCE. He recently developed a series of videos as a student addressing the use of arts—in particular, music—as a way for minority students to engage with curricula

MCE Faculty, students, and alumni create and participate in projects that support creativity in effective learning. Our programs aim to empower graduates to make a lasting impact in their communities.

RMPBS Feature on Think 360 Art

CRISPA is a six-dimensional Perceptual Teaching and Learning model that provides approaches to enrich learning beyond outcome-based standards. P. Bruce Uhrmacher, PhD, faculty of the Research Methods and Statistics, Curriculum and Instruction, and Teacher Education Programs, was inspired to create CRISPA based on interactions between artists and educators as well as the views of philosopher John Dewey; in particular, his view that aesthetic experiences can exist outside of the arts.

The six dimensions – Connections, Risk-Taking, Imagination, Sensory experiences, Perceptivity, and Active engagement – support research-based strategies that serve as a common ground for educators, enable teachers to enrich lessons, and allow students to explore their creativity. CRISPA is growing in popularity and is used by many educators nationwide – including many of Dr. Uhrmacher’s former students – to create better experiences for students and teachers alike.

MCE alumna Kristina Mahoney works at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) where she used CRISPA to co-develop and implement a tour program for young children this past year. Mahoney worked with DAM while completing her dissertation regarding the role of CRISPA’s elements in art museum education and recognized how the model can be applied in practice. The tour program was created to help children make connections to artists by using their imaginations to relate to the artmaking process. The tour program launched in 2015, providing children with opportunities to have hands-on experiences as well as to engage with art and artmaking materials.

Bradley Conrad, a former student of Dr. Uhrmacher’s and current Assistant Professor of Education at Capital University in Columbus, OH, frequently uses CRISPA in his teaching and has written about and presented on the model. He conducted a one-day lesson planning workshop utilizing CRISPA in Denver with K-12 teachers as part of a study recently published on curriculum disruption. The teachers’ perceptions changed noticeably after the workshop – those who had not considered themselves to be creative realized that CRISPA gave them the tools to design creative lessons and provide meaningful experiences for their students. One participant said that it was “important for us to be creative as educators. We are teaching the future doctors, the future scientists, people who are going to create the world that we live in”.

It was recently announced that Teaching and Learning Sciences Clinical Professor Dr. Paul Michalec will be the recipient of the University of Denver’s (DU) 2015 Distinguished Teacher Award. This prestigious award is given to one exemplary faculty member a year and recognizes excellence in teaching. Nominations should emphasize the degree to which a nominee’s teaching has constructively influenced his/her students. The award will be presented to Dr. Michalec at DU’s Fall Convocation.

Dr. Michalec received his Ph.D. (Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations of Education) from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is the former director of student teaching at Skidmore College and Director of Teacher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, serves on editorial boards for the newsletter EnCouragement and the journal Democracy and Education, leads professional development for religious communities, and is a founding member of Colorado Courage and Renewal. His research interests include teacher education, effective instruction in higher education, spiritual dimensions of teaching, and teacher renewal/formation.  Dr. Michalec enjoys biking, baking, drawing, nature study, and reading in the areas of theology, poetry, philosophy, identity, and educational-spiritual reform.

Dr. MichaleC’s Teaching Philosophy

I believe that the purpose of education is to transform the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life of the learner.  I believe, consistent with the root meaning of education, that transformation is the process of drawing out the inner wisdom of the learner.  My responsibility as an educator is to create an engaged and rigorous learning environment where learners are invited into deep relationship with the content we are studying as well as each other as members of a classroom community. Academic success is premised more on change and transformation of the learner rather than the capacity to present back to me specific forms of information.”

Dr. Norma Hafenstein was recently elected to the National Board of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). She was appointed the position at this year’s Conference, Growing Gifted Globally, in Florida, and will serve three years on the National Board. As a member of the National Board, Dr. Hafenstein will help carry out SENG’s mission of “[empowering] families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually”. Denver was selected to be the location for the 2015 SENG Annual Conference, giving the University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education, and the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education an opportunity to showcase their work in Gifted Education at a national level.


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