Alumna Bayonne Holmes, M.A (’68), returned to the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) to participate in a dine and dialogue event in celebration of Black History Month. MCE Dean, Karen Riley, moderated the event which was attended by faculty, alumni and students of education.
The event honored Holmes’ legacy and work in encouraging diversity in schools in Colorado and California as early as the 1950s to present day. As a professional educator and community volunteer, Holmes has inspired many youths to look beyond their circumstances and establish future goals. In all of her classrooms, as early as 4th grade, she required her students to make journey maps which would include their future in education.
Holmes is quick to credit her mother with instilling the value of education in her family tree – a seed that took root in Holmes’ siblings and beyond. Holmes’ older brother William Smith also earned two degrees in education from DU and went on become the first black principal in Denver. Thirty years later, his son, Robert Smith, gave the 2017 commencement address at DU.
During Holmes’ decades-long career, she provided curriculum and diversity leadership to the Denver Public School System, UC Berkley, the Colorado Coalition for Domestic Violence, and the Community College of Denver. Her work allowed her to play a pivotal role in civil rights issues, including desegregation and school bussing.
In addition to reflecting on her life’s journey in education, Holmes described her experience being one of only a handful of black students at DU in the 50s. A time in which she transcended expected roles to become the first black cheerleader and one of the founders of the Black Alumni Affinity Group on campus.
“I graduated from East High School (in Denver) so I knew what it was like to be among a lot of white students,” Holmes said. “Everyone has to find out for themselves what they have to do to feel comfortable. The way you carry yourself can project respect. I felt good about myself so I didn’t allow anything negative to have an impact on me. I just did it!”
Holmes continues to bring that diehard enthusiasm to the current projects with which she is involved; tutoring at an afterschool program and creating a mural of her family tree for the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s Five-Points neighborhood. As Holmes is quick to point out, the family tree will be a visual representation of the power of education. Referring to her nephew Robert Smith, Holmes recalls, “When his dad came home with his PhD it didn’t just change the family. It changed the community.”
The 9th annual Students of Color Diversity Celebration was held November 7th in Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Katherine Ruffatto Hall. The event showcased the College’s commitment to producing a new generation of change agents passionate about working together to create an inclusive and diverse community for all students.
The panelists described their experiences as first-generation and underrepresented students, as well as the unique challenges that their individual culture has on their educational career. Several panelists stressed the value of the cohort model used at MCE and described how faculty members embrace all students into the academic community. During the Q&A session, panelists discussed scholarship opportunities for students and the funding of graduate degrees, work life balance, and the need for commitment to your degree.
The Students of Color event was created by Dr. Frank Tuitt, MCE Higher Education faculty and current Sr. Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Diversity and Inclusion.
Teacher Education Program (TEP) student Krystal Giles participated in a round-table discussion with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. The round-table, hosted by Denver Public Schools (DPS) Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova and Mayor Hancock, focused on the important role teachers of color play as advocates and role models for students of color.
The Make your Mark Campaign is an initiative dedicated to diversifying the faculty population working in Denver schools by recruiting educators of color. Mayor Hancock, DPS, six charter school networks, and several foundations have teamed up to lead this campaign. Their goal is to assure that the faculty working in Denver schools better reflects the diverse student population.
Diversifying teacher demographics is especially important in Denver. Statistics from Make Your Mark show that—in DPS—while over 75% of Denver students are of color, teachers of color make up less than 25% of the regions educators.
As part of the TEP field experience requirement, Giles, a Dual Degree Teacher Education candidate at MCE, works as an Apprentice Teacher at Barnum Elementary School in Denver. She was invited to participate in the round-table through the connections she developed during her field experience.
MCE promotes inclusive excellence and diversity in all of its programs, and recruits students who have a passion for inclusivity. Students like Giles are trained to become ideal candidates for schools looking to employ teachers dedicated to serving diverse populations.
Dr. Frank Tuitt is devoted to the examination and exploration of topics related to access and equity in higher education, including issues of race, Inclusive Excellence, and diversity in and outside the classroom from the purview of both faculty and students. As Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, his studies are centered on teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms, diversity, and organizational transformation.
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, the American Council on Education released the report, Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape at a release convening in Washington, D.C. As a member of the research oversight committee for the report, Dr. Tuitt contributed to a panel discussion at the event for a conversation on the report findings. During the final session of the day, focused on the connection between admissions and student success, he commented, “ We recognize our students, faculty, and staff come to us with a variety of experiences that are assets—not something that should be checked at the door—but that are valuable resources that will help them be successful and we find ways to help them leverage those rich assets to support their overall success.”
The report fosters a much-needed dialogue on how institutions can best respond to a shifting policy and legal landscape at a time when access to postsecondary education has never been more vital and our citizenry never so diverse. The researchers examine contemporary admission practices at four-year colleges and universities across a wide range of selectivity in the context of recent legal challenges to race-conscious admissions, including the pending U.S. Supreme Court caseFisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Among other findings, the authors examine the most widely used and effective diversity strategies; changes in admissions factors after the 2013 Fisher ruling and statewide bans on race-conscious admissions; and, the most sought after research and guidance given the current legal and political landscape.
Morgridge College of Education community members had the unique opportunity to ask new University of Denver Chancellor, Dr. Rebecca Chopp, questions about higher education, inclusive excellence, technology, and community building. The video series Chatting with Choppfeatures Chancellor Chopp as she answers questions posed by the DU Community.
Chancellor Chopp brings a wealth of experience to DU. Most recently, she served as the president at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. In addition to her advanced administrative roles at numerous institutions, Chancellor Chopp is a widely published author and editor. In 2013, she co-edited the book Remaking College: Innovation in the Liberal Arts. The Morgridge College of Education is excited to share our opportunity to Chat with Chopp.
Watch the video above to learn more about Chancellor Chopp’s perspective on higher education.
Dr. Patton O. Garriott joined the Morgridge College of Education as an Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology in 2012 after receiving his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri and completing his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center. Dr. Garriott’s work focuses on those who are underserved, underrepresented, and excluded in higher education and specific career domains. He is currently a Co-Investigator on a $1,491,909 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will examine the persistence of women and Latinas/os in engineering. Dr. Garriott teaches several courses in the Master’s and Doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, including Multicultural Counseling, Ethics and Research seminars. He is a strong believer in mentorship and providing students with opportunities to “learn by doing.”
As the Director of the Career and Social Attitudes Lab, Dr. Garriott and his research team are working on several projects. His most recent work has focused on first-generation college students’ academic and career development as well as students of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Within the former domain, Dr. Garriott is examining predictors of first- and non-first-generation college students’ academic and life satisfaction. Given recent increases in first-generation college students’ attendance at institutions of higher education and their disproportionate non-persistence rates, this research could have implications for ensuring the success of this underserved student group. Dr. Garriott’s research in the area of STEM careers has focused on prospective first-generation college students as well as Mexican American high school and college students. The goal of this line of research is to help end the disproportionate overrepresentation of whites and males in growing occupational sectors that offer opportunities for social mobility. In addition to uncovering pathways to success for underrepresented groups, Dr. Garriott also believes in the necessity of interrogating privilege to foster social change. His research in this area has examined the efficacy of various approaches to multicultural education among white college students and explanatory mechanisms by which they work (e.g., guilt). Dr. Garriott and members of his research lab have been successful publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals as well as delivering presentations at national conferences.
In the future, Dr. Garriott plans to investigate help seeking behaviors among historically underrepresented students in higher education as well as socioeconomically distressed individuals. He continues to have an active research lab of around 10-15 Master’s and Doctoral students and welcomes student interest in research. Dr. Garriott is also working in collaboration with faculty from Higher Education and Sociology as well as the DU Center for Multicultural Excellence to qualitatively examine student perceptions of campus climate at DU. He hopes this work can have an impact at the macro level and inform institutional practices around inclusion and equity.
According to the National Math + Science Initiative, about 44% of high school graduates are ready for success in college math and 36% are ready for college-level science. Students progressing through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to complete a four-year degree when compared to those who do not progress through Algebra II. There is an increasing need for math educators who are innovative and creative leaders in the classroom and in the field of math education.
To address this need for innovative math educators, beginning in Fall 2014, the Curriculum Studies and Teaching program at the University of Denver will begin offering courses in the new math education concentration area in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I). Students completing this concentration will develop their leadership skills through a deep understanding of the role of diversity, social justice, access, and equity in math. Additionally, students will be able to demonstrate comprehension of mathematical content, the application and synthesis of theories in research-based settings, and the application of technology and project-based learning. Students will have a chance to explore and evaluate the historical research foundation of math education and the impact on current practices in the field. Moreover, through coursework, field experiences, and initial research experiences, students in the math education concentration in the Curriculum & Instruction degree program will develop a strong background in cognition and math learning stylesmath. The program will produce math educators who have a strong theoretical background in math education and who are well prepared to address relevant and pertinent local, national and international questions in math education.
The new course offerings in the math education concentration math include the history and philosophy of math, learning and teaching math, early childhood math, diversity and equity in math, foundations of learning, technology in math education, discourse in math, and elementary math. This concentration is being offered in the masters and doctoral degree programs, both EdD and PhD, in Curriculum and Instruction.
Upon completion of this concentration, students will be prepared for roles as leaders in math education in a variety of sectors such as higher education, state agencies, and non-profits. Students will be equipped to be positive change agents ready to identify and solve relevant national and international issues in math education, particularly for underrepresented student groups.
For more information, contact (303) 871-2509 (toll free at 1-800-835-1607) or email email@example.com.—
School of Education promotes Inclusive Excellence with Students of Color Reception
by Emma McKay
For the Morgridge College of Education, diversity means more than just a number of minority students – it means a higher quality education. That’s why the school held its third annual Students of Color reception last Friday evening in an effort to promote inclusive excellence in all of its higher education and teacher training programs.
The reception, which was held in Ruffato Hall and gathered approximately 40 professors, current and prospective students, was meant to inform prospective students of why inclusive excellence is important to Morgridge, and also to give them a taste of what the Morgridge experience is like, according to Ryan Barone, second year PhD student in the Higher Education program who coordinated the event.
The evening began with an hour or mingling over hor’d’oeuvres and drinks including chocolate covered strawberries, roasted vegetables, cheese, coffee and various alcoholic beverages, so that attendees could get a chance to meet each other and informally network.
“In the past students who have attended felt like it was a really unique opportunity to meet other students of color at [Morgridge] to talk in an authentic way about some of the challenges and opportunities that are unique here at the college,” said Barone.
After short speeches by Gregory Anderson, dean of the school, and Frank Tuitt, associate provost of multicultural excellence, a panel of six current masters and doctoral students answered questions about their time at Morgridge
The students didn’t only discuss their experiences with diversity at the school. Many questions were focused on things like the school’s unique class schedule, which allows students to take classes at night or on the weekends, internships or time management. Two students spoke about what it is like to raise children while still attending school.
“As a parent, I really appreciate the fact that there is a family bathroom here,” said panelist David Kennedy, laughing. “My daughter is here so much some people say she’s going to earn her honorary degree.”
Another panelist, Sujie Kim, spoke about how the program helped her decide what she wants to do after school.
“If I had guessed a couple years ago, I never would have thought I’d be working with veterans,” said Kim.
All panelists agreed that the school’s commitment to inclusive excellence has added to their education.
“We have a wide variety of life experiences and we each bring those different perspectives to the things we’re working on,” said panelist Myntha Cuffy.
“In my cohort, there’s probably about 14 of us, and eight out of the 14 are students of color,” said Jesús Rodríguez, first PhD candidate in education leadership and policy studies. “That’s a really different experience for me.”
According to Barone, the school does take into account diversity when admitting students.
“I think the more diverse our classrooms are with all identities, better training they’ll get in their programs and they’ll be better professionals down the road,” said Barone.
Morgidge is trying to diversify its pool of students as much as possible in order to create a more rounded learning experience.
“We are always trying to diversify in terms of race but also in terms of other identities,” said Barone. “Folks from out of state, folks from all over the world, different religions, gender, sexual orientation, that’s all part of our strategy.”
Originally posted through the Clarion Newspaper at the University of Denver