University of Denver Morgridge College of Education curriculum and instruction alumni and adjunct professor, Dr. Floyd Cobb was the February featured author for the Office of Development and Inclusion book chat. Cobb’s recent publication, Leading While Black, is a reflection of his experiences as an educator and inspired by his relationship with his father-in-law, the late Colorado State Rep. John Buckner, who had also been principal of Overland High School. Using the era of the Obama presidency as the backdrop for this work, Cobb illuminates the challenges and complexities of advocating for marginalized children who come from a shared racial heritage in a society that far too often are reluctant to accept such efforts.

In addition to teaching at Morgridge, Cobb is the Executive Director of the Teaching and Learning Unit for the Colorado Department of Education. His background as an educator gives him a solid foundation to support current leaders in education.

On November 6, 2017 Judy Marquez Kiyama, Associate Professor of Higher Education, was featured on EdLab’s vlog, The Voice, as a supplement to her co-authored article, “Fighting for respeto: Latinas’ stories of violence and resistance shaping educational opportunities” published in Teachers College Record. Kiyama and her co-researchers looked at experiences of Latina youth in New York state when embedded within a larger social context influenced by gender, ethnic/racial identity, socioeconomic status, language, and sociospatial, and political characteristics that can negatively impact their daily lived experiences. Their research was guided by two questions: How are Latina students’ schooling experiences influenced by acts of violence? How do Latina students respond to these acts of violence?

Higher Education Ph.D. candidate Varaxy Yi Borromeo has been recognized as the Asian Pacific American Network’s Outstanding Graduate Student of 2017. The award is presented by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Coalition for Multicultural Affairs (CMA). The CMA works to promote diversity within ACPA and addresses the changing cultural dynamics within higher education.

Yi joined the the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) community in 2013 and has had an “overwhelmingly positive experience.” She attributes her academic success to strong faculty support, opportunities to contribute to impactful projects, and a close-knit doctoral cohort. Yi is passionate about inclusive excellence, equity, inclusion, diversity, culturally engaging campus environments, and critical race theory, all of which are topics she has infused into coursework, research, and impact projects. Her research connects her to programs, organizations, and individuals whose experiences help to inform transformations in campus environments. One such organization is the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Project, where she currently serves as a Research Associate.

In addition to her studies, Yi participated in and led a number of research projects that contributed to a greater impact in her community. Most notably, as a Graduate Fellow for the University of Denver’s (DU) Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE), Yi developed the Roger Salters Writing Institute in partnership with Anthea Johnson Rooen, Director of Graduate Student Success at the Center for Multicultural Excellence, and with support from the Writing Center and English department faculty to create a writing program for doctoral students from historically underrepresented communities. According to Yi, the Institute creates a cohort-based learning community in a collaborative, supportive environment to not only provide tips and strategies for productive writing but to address the vulnerabilities inherent in the writing process and to combat feelings of isolation in students’ programs. She considers the project to be one of her most significant accomplishments at DU.

Yi is expected to complete her studies in the Fall of 2017. She is honored to receive the award, and credits her success to her research team and community at MCE, saying that “similar to many other doctoral students of color, I face daily feelings of inadequacy and anxiety about the relevance and quality of my work…this recognition tells me that I am seen, my contributions are important, and I must continue my work to ensure that academia is a more equitable and inclusive space.”

Cecilia Orphan, Ph.D., a Higher Education Assistant Professor at the Morgridge College of Education, has partnered with the Campus Compact of the Mountain West (CCMW) in a yearlong Collective Impact initiative. Dr. Orphan will lead the project—a collaboration with Colorado State University-Pueblo, the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Northern Colorado—which is focused on assessing the institutions’ contributions to civic health and equity in their regions. The initiative is phase one of a higher education civic health and equity initiative.

The project was made possible through a Public Good grant provided by The University of Denver’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. The Collective Impact project builds on the work of the Colorado Civic Health Network—an initiative founded after the 2014 publication of the Colorado Civic Health Index—which includes increasing volunteerism, voter engagement, civic health in minority communities, and student engagement. Dr. Orphan has focused her career on institutional civic engagement, and has previously served as the National Manager at the American Democracy Project.

With the Collective Impact Project, Dr. Orphan says that institutions are working to foster reciprocal partnerships with organizations in their communities, and that the information collected will be leveraged to create matrices as a framework for additional institutions—on a local, regional, and national scale—to participate in similar projects in the future. In the long term, participant institutions have the goal of translating the data collected from assessment and research into policy briefs for the state legislature, helping policymakers better understand the public impact of higher education and to drive future policy in higher education.

The Morgridge College of Education extends its heartfelt congratulations to Higher Education Ph.D. student Meseret Hailu, who received the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award. Hailu will use the award to conduct a study examining gender inequality within science and technology in Ethiopia.

Prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program, Hailu attended the University of Denver and Regis University for her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biological and biomedical sciences. She has served as an affiliate faculty member at Regis University and as an Academic Fellow at College Track, and currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant to supplement her doctoral studies. Hailu’s research interests revolve around international education and gender equality in STEM fields, particularly for Black women.

Congratulations, Meseret!

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Ph.D. student Isaac Solano was selected by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) as a 2016-2018 Jackson Scholar. The Jackson Scholars Network provides students of color with opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and networking in order to elevate their careers in educational leadership.

Solano is thrilled to become a Jackson Scholar, saying that “various scholarship organizations have made it possible for me to continue my education up to a PhD. I am just so grateful for the unwavering and constant support I have from my DU family.” Solano’s mentor for the program is Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig of California State University, Sacramento.

Solano will participate in professional development and networking opportunities designed to enhance his doctoral experience. He will represent the Morgridge College of Education (MCE)—along with fellow MCE student Rana Razzaque, 2015-2017 UCEA Jackson Scholar—at the UCEA Convention in November.

About the Jackson Scholars Program

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

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

Kitchen-150x150Dr. Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair and Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction program at Morgridge College of Education (MCE), aims to advance equity and diversity in education through Access in Mathematics for All (AMA), a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. “The goal of the program,” says Dr. Kitchen, “is to recruit talented students of color and low-income students to come to DU to study mathematics, to encourage them to become mathematics teachers and return to their communities to serve as educators.”

Dr. Kitchen and his fellow researchers—Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Alvaro Arias, also from DU, and James Gray from the Community College of Aurora (CCA)—are developing an infrastructure that will provide academic and social support for future students in AMA. The team has built relationships with CCA and Aurora Public Schools to recruit potential students through a pilot tutoring program, host math talks focused on the importance of mathematics and mathematics education, and integrate existing services at DU to better serve future AMA students.

To augment the impact of AMA, Dr. Kitchen and his team have submitted a second proposal to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for $1.45 million to fully fund five students in MCE’s Teacher Education Program each year for five years.

AMA addresses a critical need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, as identified in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act and the America COMPETES Act. The program also supports the National Science Foundation goal to “Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.”

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, 201Dr. Frank Tuitt. Exemplifies Inclusive Excellence5, 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 case Fisher 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.

Blizzard 100x100

Sarah Blizzard

The 28th annual National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP) Conference was held in New Orleans on April 8 – 11. The conference’s purpose is to bring graduate education management (GEM) professionals together to share and gain insight on a range of topics including, admissions policies and processes, career and staff development, graduate student support and financial aid, legal and ethical issues, marketing and recruitment, and student services. The theme of this year’s conference was, GEM Defined, A New Kind of Rhythm.

Morgridge College of Education Admissions Counselor and Higher Education EdD student, Sarah Blizzard, presented at this year’s conference. Her presentation entitled, Identifying Inclusive Admissions Practices for Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Graduate Students, created dialogue around admissions practices for creating inclusive spaces for Trans* and gender nonconforming graduate students, specifically related to language. Sarah’s presentation is extremely timely as many institutions are having conversations around ways to better serve and be more inclusive of non-binary gender identities. As she discussed in her presentation, applications, forms, statements, and policies are most often what prospective students see when inquiring about grad school; “The language we use and the culture(s) we demonstrate can change whether or not someone applies to our institution.”

Importance of language

A slide from Sarah Blizzard’s NAGAP presentation

Language is important and impacts whether or not students feel welcome/safe in our campus environment. To further engage in this conversation or to learn more email Sarah at Sarah.Blizzard@du.edu.

Dr. Shimelis Assefa exemplifies Inclusive Excellence through his scholarly work in global knowledge production. His research focus on knowledge production and knowledge diffusion highlights a new form of social-class division, which is commonly known as the north-south divide, which he frames as the knowledge divide. For Dr. Assefa, knowledge divide between a developed and a developing country is based on human capital. As the key element to the wealth of nations and globalization, human capital facilitates the free flow of ideas, information, best-practices, know-how, and knowledge on a global scale. He investigates how Africa’s limited access and non-recognized contribution to the global knowledge base creates a challenge for Africa, hindering it from playing an active role in today’s knowledge-based economy. In his book chapter Unfulfilled Promises of Globalization: Global Knowledge Production and Africa, he argues that global knowledge production is critical for a speedier, wider, and deeper interconnectedness that is inclusive and benefits all nations involved. Dr. Assefa is an Associate Professor in the Library and Information Science program.

Dr. Shimelis Assefa talks with students

In 2012, Dr. Assefa organized a panel discussion at the Association for Information Science and Technology annual meeting on the topic of Content Divide: Africa and the Global Knowledge Footprint. Taking research outputs and patent applications across all regions of the world, he analyzed the volume of production as a barometer for the well-being of nations’ scientific and innovation impact. Last year, at the same conference in Seattle, WA, he organized and led another panel on the topic of Open Access: The Global Scene, with the goal of reviewing global open access practices and suggesting ideas for the implementation of an international infrastructure that supports and sustains the future of open scholarly communication. In his recent interview with Janet Lee, Dean of Libraries at Regis University, he discussed challenges and opportunities of library collaboration from an international perspective. One key theme he discussed in the interview is exemplified through the practices of PubMed Central (PMC), the world’s largest free full-text database of bio-medical and life sciences  that archives more than 3.3 million journal articles and scientific papers. Hosted by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, so far PMC International (PMCI) supports only Europe (Europe PMC) and Canada (PMC Canada).

In his recent publication Diffusion of scientific knowledge in agriculture: The case for Africa, he developed a knowledge diffusion model that enhances the existing extension service that is slow and hierarchical. Borrowing from the method of translational research, Dr. Shimelis investigates methods on how scientific research findings reach farmers, in a format and language that is easy to use and provides timely access, thereby narrowing the gap from knowledge to action/decision-making. Dr. Assefa also organized and led a workshop for agricultural scientists at the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists titled Using Moodle as an Online Learning Management System to offer Professional Development Courses to Agricultural Extension Workers in Africa. He has played leadership roles in the Association for Information Science and Technology, where he served as co-chair (2011-2012) and chair (2014-2015) of the Special Interest Group in International Information Issues. We look forward to his continued dedication to Inclusive Excellence.

Dr. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve exemplifies Inclusive Excellence through his scholarly work, investigating the social and political contexts of educational opportunity for historically marginalized communities. Specifically, his research focuses on college access and success, higher education policy and critical qualitative inquiry. Dr. Gildersleeve is an Associate Professor and the Program Coordinator in the Higher Education (HED) Program.  He is an alumnus of Occidental College, and after, received his M.A. in Higher Education and Organizational Change and Ph.D. in Education from UCLA.

Currently, Dr. Gildersleeve is embarking on research that explores Latino graduation ceremonies. On a previous project, Los Estudiantes Migrantes y Educación (LEME), Gildersleeve worked with 12 migrant youth and their families, in California, over an eight year period. During this time all but two of the youth graduated from college and invited him back to attend their graduations. Of those 10 students, nine participated in Latino graduation ceremonies, preferring Gildersleeve to attend the Latino specific ceremony over the institutional commencement ceremony. His notion of the graduation ceremony was reimagined. Gildersleeve explained, “I noticed they were somewhat different than the institutional commencement ceremonies that I had become accustomed to; there was something really interesting in how the Latino ceremonies focused on students and families.” This is where his focus on Latino graduation ceremonies began, “One of these students from LEME was on a graduation committee, and he invited me to be the keynote speaker. That was really the beginning of the project for me.”

“I noticed they were somewhat different than the institutional commencement ceremonies that I had become accustomed to; there was something really interesting in how the Latino ceremonies focused on students and families.”

For Dr. Gildersleeve, part of why it’s important to examine Latino graduation ceremonies is that “ceremonies produce and reflect changing power structures in the purposes and values of higher education. Particularly, as we see the demographics of the United States changing rapidly, and an ascendancy of a stronger Latino middle class.” Morgridge HED students Darsella Vigil and Ben Clark are aiding Gildersleeve throughout the project. As Gildersleeve’s research gets underway, he will be visiting with student organizers of Latino graduation ceremonies and attending a number of these ceremonies throughout the spring of 2015. We look forward to the findings of his research and his continued dedication to inclusive excellence!

Since joining the Morgridge College of Education faculty in 2011, Dr. Nicole M. Joseph, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, advances Inclusive Excellence research and practice around issues related to access, equity and achievement for underrepresented students. Her work focuses particularly on social justice for African American females in math education. In addition to her research, Dr. Joseph is strongly committed to teaching, employing transformative practice to co-construct deep learning experiences for her students. Congratulations are in order; Dr. Joseph was recently awarded the 2014-2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr. Joseph is currently working on a number of research projects. She is the lead co-author of a book with MCE alumna Dr. Chayla Haynes Davison and Dr. Floyd Cobb entitled, Interrogating Whiteness and Relinquishing Power: White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms, which seeks to link issues of inclusion to teacher excellence by illuminating the critical influence that racial consciousness has on the behaviors of white faculty in the classroom (Haynes, 2013). The important work specifically examines STEM classrooms because of the over saturation of white faculty teaching in STEM, in addition to the STEM system being a white institutional space that perpetuates hegemony, thereby negatively influencing racially minoritized students’ equitable outcomes. The book is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

In addition to finishing her book, Dr. Joseph continues her work on the mathematics education of Blacks during segregation from 1854 to 1954 through a University of Denver funded PROF grant. This study focuses on archival data collected from 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities across 11 states from sources such as mathematics textbooks, mathematics faculty papers, institution catalogs, yearbooks, and school newspapers. This history project is now being funded by her National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Additionally, Dr. Joseph recently submitted an article to the Journal of Negro Education based on this work and is also working on turning this research into a book manuscript.

In the Fall 2014, Dr. Joseph began working with a University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In) Equality (IRISE) post-doctoral fellow, Subini Annamma, to study race, class and gender inequalities in K-12 schools. Over the next two years, she and Dr. Annamma will be working together on research that focuses on these important areas.  Additionally, Dr. Annamma will offer a graduate course that will be cross-listed in education, social work, and law.

Dr. Joseph and Kate Crowe pose with 9News' TaRhonda Thomas

Dr. Joseph and Beverly Leali pose with 9News’ TaRhonda Thomas

As the founder of the Sistah Network, Dr. Joseph is committed to the experiences of Black women at DU. She is currently partnering with Kate Crowe, the Special Collections and Archives Curator to conduct oral histories of Black women alums from the University of Denver from the early 1950s to the present. These oral histories are important because they help to reconstruct a more complete picture of the student experience at the University  of Denver’s rich history. Dr. Joseph and Ms. Crowe will create a repository of these oral histories for future researchers who would like to study this area.  TaRhonda Thomas, from Channel 9 news recently did a story on this project, DU seeking out diverse history.

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 Chopp features 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.

The 2014, Students of Color Reception: Celebrating a More Inclusive College was a success. Despite bitterly cold temperatures (day high of 39°, and 19° at the start of the event) the fifth annual installment of the event saw increased attendance from the past couple years, with nearly 70 guests joining Morgridge faculty, staff and a student panel. Beginning the night with delightful hors d’oeuvres, prospective students were introduced to current students and faculty to hear more about Morgridge and learning opportunities within the college. Current Higher Education Masters student, Ana Ramirez, spoke of the event saying, “It was a great opportunity to meet other individuals within the Morgridge College of Education and share my experience with prospective students.”

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Morgridge, Dr. Frank Tuitt, was the event facilitator for the evening. He spoke to the ongoing need for the college to utilize Inclusive Excellence pedagogy, in order to create equitable education opportunities for all students, specifically students of color. Dr. Tuitt then introduced a panel of current and former Morgridge students of color, to speak about their experiences as students of color on the predominantly white campus of the University of Denver. The panel spoke at length about the investment of the college’s faculty in the success of students of color, both emotionally and academically. There was much praise by the panel on the cohort model as an aid in confronting the challenges that come with being a grad student (e.g. balancing work/social life, having children, the substantial school-workload). Financial resources on campus was a topic of great interest by many of the prospective students. There was an echoed sentiment of the panels’ initial perceptions of the University of Denver being that of a private school with excessive tuition prices; upon acceptance to their respective programs and further conversations with different departments on campus, they discovered the multitude of assistantship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities to help fund their education.

The event was impactful. Prospective and current students were able to share their stories and engage in conversations with regard to the meanings of their journeys in and through higher education.  The night culminated with panel member, Dr. T. Lee Morgan’s plea to diversify the makeup of the campus and bring voice to communities of color, “If we are going to change the diversity of DU, of Morgridge, we need you here. You have valuable experiences that no one else can bring to the table.”

Thank you to all who attended and supported the Students of Color Reception, and a special thank you to Dr. Frank Tuitt and the panel members:

  • Casey Crear, Curriculum and Instruction PhD (Current Student)
  • Dr. T. Lee Morgan, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies PhD (Alum)
  • Raquel Wright-Mair, Higher Education PhD (Current Student)
  • Ruby Lopez, Teacher Education Program MA (Alum)
  • Hazuki Tochihara, Early Childhood Special Education MA (Current Student)
  • Jamie Kawahara, Child Family and School Psychology EdS (Current Student)

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