The University of Denver (DU) Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE) will be expanding its work in rural communities with the addition of a new grant-funded initiative through the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Plan into Action Grants. CRSHE’s goal with this initiative is to create a robust rural school mental health workforce in order to meet the mental health needs of rural students and provide classroom teachers with the support they need by increasing the number of mental health professionals placed in rural schools. MCE will work with state and community partners in southeast Colorado to build and sustain a rural school mental health workforce that can alleviate some of the pressures classroom teachers face in trying to meet those students’ emotional needs. The University anticipates that teacher retention rates will increase as a result of teachers feeling more supported in the classroom.

CRSHE director, Dr. Elaine Belansky, has been working in rural schools in Colorado for 19 years. While new to DU, Belansky is not new to challenges faced by rural communities.

“I have been working with rural school districts since 1999 and what’s striking to me is that in the past few years, every rural school district our team works with has named student mental health as a top concern,” Belansky said. “We don’t have enough school mental health professionals to meet the needs of rural students and classroom teachers are under a lot of pressure to teach content and meet the mental health needs of their kids. This grant gives us an opportunity to address these challenges.”

The $123,950 grant will allow Belansky and her team to partner with the Colorado Rural Education Collaborative and two Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to create strategies aimed at increasing the school mental health workforce across underserved areas of the state. The grant consists of three components:

  • Conduct an immersion in Southeast Colorado for school mental health graduate students
  • Develop a statewide Professional Learning Community for school mental health professionals via ECHO DU
  • Create a hiring forecast that includes cost-effective, innovative strategies to meet rural school mental health workforce demands

The long-term goals and impact of the grant are to see an increase in the rural school mental health workforce, increased teacher retention rates, and increased mental health of rural students. The 12 month grant period begins fall 2018.

Dr. Patricia M. McDonough, an internationally recognized college access scholar and professor at UCLA, delivered two days of lectures and engagement opportunities during the annual HED Speakers Series, Jan. 29 and 30. McDonough is the author of the book Choosing Colleges: How Social Class and Schools Structure Opportunity. Originally published in 1997, the book continues to be an influential text.

McDonough’s public presentation, “20 Years of College Choice: Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we need to go,” can be viewed in its entirety here.

Her luncheon interview, delivered to students and alumni, is available here.

The MCE Educational Leadership and Policy Studies department hosted a Transformation Leadership Roundtable which featured Dr. Carolyn Shields, former Dean of Education at Wayne State University and expert on inclusive excellence and equitable learning. Shields discussed her most recent book Transformative Leadership in Education: Equitable and Socially Just Change in an Uncertain and Complex World.

Dr. Kristina Hesbol, ELPS assistant professor, served as the moderator for the event. Roundtable participants included:

  • Sarah Bridich, ELPS PhD graduation & adjunct
  • Doris Candelarie, PhD, ELPS clinical assistant professor
  • Mohsen Alzahrani, ELPS PhD student

After the roundtable discussion, Shields fielded questions from the audience, followed by a book signing.

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.

After opening remarks by Dean Karen Riley, Dr. Lolita Tabron, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, facilitated the panel discussion.

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.

This year’s student panelist included:

See photos from the event here or view the entire panel discussion here.

Kayanne Klipka, a 2017 graduate from the LIS program, is a featured student on DU’s special Commencement website. The following story, written by Jeremy Jones from DU’s Marketing and Communication Office, appears below.

As students across the country prepare for commencement, many will be faced with the important question of “now what?” Whether it’s continuing with their education, entertaining job offers or taking time to see the world, many are relying on a firm plan to guide their next steps.

For Kayanne Klipka, however, there is an excitement in not knowing exactly where the future will take her. Instead, she’ll let her own curiosity guide the way.

“My plans after graduation are to hold plans loosely,” says Klipka, who is earning her master’s in library information science (LIS) from the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. “I’ve got an insatiable sense of curiosity and a pretty adaptable attitude. Hopefully with [my degree], my laptop and connections made at DU, I’ll be off on some pretty interesting adventures.”

The only adventure Klipka has planned at this point is a summer trip to Medellin, Colombia, where she plans to learn Ruby (a computer programming language), salsa and Spanish. After that, your guess is as good as hers — and that’s the way she likes it.

Spending time to experience another culture is well-deserved for someone who has spent the last two years working hard to earn her master’s while at the same time proving her theory that “all librarians are actually mad scientists,” a humorous statement she takes somewhat seriously.

Klipka has learned a lot as a graduate student, and having basically lived out of Ruffatto Hall during that time, she jokingly admits that she now knows which microwave heats soup most effectively and what corners are best for squeezing in a quick power nap between work and class.

“But seriously, my tenure at DU has been unique,” says Klipka, who worked as a graduate research assistant at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy. “While most of my library school colleagues are graduating with a couple years of traditional library experience —which no doubt will serve them incredibly well in their careers — I’ve been practicing research data management on a true academic research team. I really think it has expanded my thinking about research and where else my library school skills can be applied.”

At Marsico, Klipka worked on a project referred to as LT Studies, or “learning trajectories.” Over the course of two years, she and other DU students spent time in preschool classrooms conducting math instruction with small groups of children using two different methods: traditional and learning trajectories — a more conscientious and tailored approach based on a child’s development, Klipka says.

In addition to her studies, the people Klipka has met, worked with and learned from have made her DU experience a memorable one.
“There have been so many people helping me through these last two years. I have felt wholeheartedly supported by my advisor Mary Stansbury, Professor Krystyna Matusiak and Kate Crowe, curator of special collections and archives,” Klipka says. “These women have helped me find my research interests, encouraged me to build collections around student activism and racial and ethnic minority students, and write and present research at conferences.”

Klipka also praised Stansbury for her receptiveness to the feedback she provided about the LIS program.

“I urged the LIS faculty to center more curriculum around serving diverse populations and recognizing our own biases. In response, Dr. Stansbury fought for funding to integrate the Intercultural Development Inventory into part of LIS student requirements,” Klipka says, adding that the integration enables students to recognize their own perspectives while becoming more interculturally competent.

With just a few days remaining until commencement, Klipka is preparing for her summer and is looking forward to seeing where her curiosity takes her. For those preparing to enter graduate school, Klipka encourages them to explore all the possibilities.

“Grad school is exactly what you make of it,” she says. “If you know what you want to do when you’re coming into a grad program, work like crazy at it but always leave yourself open to new opportunities.”

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 mce@du.edu.—

The STEM Crisis

https://nms.org/Education/TheSTEMCrisis.aspx

Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Under-Represented Minorities in STEM Fields

https://nms.org/Portals/0/Docs/whitePaper/NACME%20white%20paper.pdf

 


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