Kaleen Barnett—Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Ed.D. student—has been selected to run the Colorado High School Charter (CHSC) satellite campus serving Denver’s Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods.

CHSC is a charter school for students who need an alternative academic environment to succeed and to achieve post-secondary goals. The satellite campus, which opened in August 2016, supports a low-resource area with a high underserved population. Barnett’s goal with the new campus is to “create a tailored curriculum in an inclusive environment that values community partnerships” and to “empower students to succeed in their life and positively contribute to their families and community.”

The campus has partnered with the Colorado Construction Institute to provide vocational training, infusing the curriculum with individualized skill-building to help students reach future goals. Barnett says there is nothing like it in Denver for a school to run an outsourced model which utilizes existing, strong, established training already rooted in the community.

Barnett cites her education in the ELPS program as something that has prepared her for this opportunity, saying that “because of DU I’m better equipped to utilize a cultural leadership lens and continue to help create a community that values inclusivity.” The infusion of turnaround leadership into all ELPS coursework has prepared Barnett to step into a leadership role responsible for transforming a community.

This story is featured in our 2016 Dean’s Report, which you can read in its entirety here.

The Educational Leadership Policy Studies (ELPS) Program at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) is a nationally-recognized leader in the field, and is ranked in this year’s Top 20 programs for Educational Administration and Supervision by U.S. News and World Report.

According to Susan Korach, Ed.D.—ELPS department chair—“Our systems of support and coursework embedded in school and district contexts prepares transformative leaders who positively impact the educational outcomes for all students. Institutions of higher education across the country have consulted with ELPS to redesign their programs and to build partnerships with schools and districts.” The infusion of turnaround leadership into coursework and the drive of students, faculty, and alumni to innovate propel program success.

One leading example of the program’s innovative impact lies in Denver Public Schools, which has approved the creation of an Innovation Zone called the Luminary Learning Network where educators have more autonomy to influence student success. Three of the schools in the Network—Denver Green School, Ashley Elementary School, and Cole Arts & Science Academy—have been founded by, or are currently run by, ELPS alumni. Denver Green School, founded by alumni Mimi Diaz (2008), Craig Harrer (2008, current Ed.D. candidate), and Andy Post (2008) and currently co-led by alumni Prudence Daniels (2007), is unique in this group for infusing project-based learning and environmental sustainability into its curriculum.

This story is featured in our 2016 Dean’s Report, which you can read in its entirety here.

Students from the Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP) program—under the mentorship of faculty member Gloria Miller, Ph.D.—have been working with the Colorado African Organization (CAO) to connect with refugee families who have settled in Colorado.

The students and CAO Community Navigators assist refugee families in adapting to and succeeding in the American education system. School-based issues that the families have encountered include religious dietary restrictions conflicting with school lunch menus, expectations about parental involvement, trauma and mental health, language barriers, and education gaps due to prior unstable living situations.

The partnership enables students to obtain experience working with diverse communities and helps them become more well-rounded practitioners while providing newcomer families with tools and resources to thrive. Due to a rising population of refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States and Colorado, services such as those that CAO provide and the involvement of students who are training to serve these populations are becoming increasingly important.

This story is featured in our 2016 Dean’s Report, which you can read in its entirety here.

Kate Newburgh, a Ph.D. student in the Morgridge College of Education Curriculum and Instruction Program, is working with Eagle Valley Schools to design and implement curricula that reflect the skills needed in today’s world. Newburgh, who joined Eagle Valley Schools earlier this year, supports the district’s middle and high school English and Language Arts departments. Her curriculum development incorporates “performance tasks” supplementing traditional content to develop “global-ready skills,” a concept created by Harvard University professor Tony Wagner.

The performance tasks prompt students to create projects that have a real-life impact in their communities; elementary-school students are working to research and install “buddy benches” on their playground to address bullying. Additionally, a ninth-grade class creates podcasts to tell the story of a local hero. Projects still in the works include one seventh-grade class working on a lesson in identifying and examining stereotypes by studying slam poetry and writing their own, with the intent of sharing their work with the community.

Eagle Valley Schools will measure student engagement in the performance-oriented curriculum to continually assess how to improve and expand upon a system designed to prepare students for a modern, global, and connected society. Her work in the district is particularly important in regards to people development because of the need to support the region’s growing immigrant and refugee population in an area that is isolated from the rest of the state.

The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program (ELPS) offers a Mountain cohort option in its Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (ELSS) Certificate program. The cohort expands opportunities for educators and administrators to benefit from the program’s expertise and earn Certification for Colorado Principal Licensure. ELPS—which earned a top 20 ranking in Best Education Administration and Supervision by the U.S. News and World Report in 2016—launched the Mountain cohort in the 2014-15 academic year due to increasing interest from the region’s district superintendents.

Because the communities are far from higher education institutions on the Front Range and Western Slope, options for educators looking to expand their skills can be scarce. The cohort was created to address the unique needs of growing mountain communities and their schools, and to enable them to invest in school leaders who were already part of those communities. According to Assistant Professor of the Practice, Ellen Miller-Brown, Ph.D., the cohort provides a “high-quality, hybrid face-to-face and online program without the need for extensive travelling.” Face-to-face classes are held at locations in the high mountain region where the majority of the students reside.

Members of the 2015-16 cohort had great success; three graduates—Kendra Carpenter, Laura Rupert, and Robin Sutherland of Summit School District—applied for, and were accepted to, principal positions in their districts after completing the ELSS Certificate. Additionally, cohort members Hank Nelson and Clint Wytulka served as interim principals at their Nucla, CO schools during the program and were promoted to full principals after completion, and cohort member Will Harris was appointed the Education Technology Specialist in his Eagle County district school after completing the program.

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!

Curriculum and Instruction alumna Juli Kramer, Ph.D. (‘10), has begun working with the Multicultural Division of the Soong Ching Ling School (SLCS) in Shanghai, China, where she will serve as the Director of Curriculum for grades 6-8 and develop curricula for the new high school, which will open in 2017. Her role supports the middle school as it strives for higher levels of academic excellence and care, and works to facilitate consistency in teacher flow. Furthermore, the high school will allow students to continue their education in the multicultural environment.

SCLS opened in 2008, and devotes its mission to “providing children the opportunity to explore and gain valuable opportunities and experiences in education and life.” The school incorporates Western educational principles into the curriculum, and has an International Division for students from outside of China and a Multicultural Division for Shanghai residents. The school utilizes care theory, or creating a learning environment that adapts to needs and interests. Working at SCLS appealed to Dr. Kramer because she identifies with the mission and its commitment to providing an environment of care.

Dr. Kramer has worked in a wide range of roles supporting curriculum design and implementation. Her most recent positions include supporting the design and implementation of an online educational resource for teachers at the Denver Art Museum; developing a citizen awareness program to give individuals ownership over their security at The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab; and founding the high-achieving Denver Academy of Torah’s high school, raising it to academic excellence at a national level. Dr. Kramer attributes her professional achievements in part to a strong working relationship with “tremendous mentor” and Morgridge College of Education faculty member Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.

Robin Filipczak (MLIS ’11), a reference librarian at Denver Public Library (DPL), has produced a local installation of the Race Card Project. The Race Card Project is an initiative created in 2010 by Michele Norris—a former host at NPR—who describes it as “a place for people to talk about race and cultural identity in only six words.” In a recent Colorado Public Radio (CPR) broadcast with “Colorado Matters” host Nathan Heffel, Filipczak spoke about the library’s installation, a poster board where library visitors can share their six-word stories on postcards.

The installation began in July 2016 and has since collected hundreds of responses. In the CPR broadcast, Filipczak said she was empowered to do more to deepen the conversation around race and support her community after attending the 2016 Public Library Association national conference in Denver. The installation has been met with enthusiasm from other librarians, and will expand into additional DPL branches this fall. Furthermore, the project is expanding the view of libraries beyond a repository for books; rather, libraries are true public forums that promote community connections, freedom of ideas, and civil discourse, and are environments well-suited to host what Filipczak calls “thornier” conversations.

Filipczak also credits the Morgridge College of Education’s Library and Information Science program with her professional success, citing her specialization in reference and user services and faculty support in networking and hands-on experiences. She enjoys working in reference services—landing her dream job at DPL right out of school—in order to be on the front line of working with customers and helping to share information and resources.

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.

Cynthia Hazel, Ph.D.—Department Chair of Teaching and Learning Sciences and Professor of Child, Family, and School Psychology at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE)—was selected to participate in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2016-2017 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP). LIWP prepares, supports, and empowers women psychologists as leaders to promote positive change in the field and in APA governance.

Dr. Hazel’s outstanding career achievements and leadership potential contributed to her invitation to participate in LIWP. Dr. Hazel’s career accomplishments include coordinating arts-based after-school programs for urban youth, serving as the Behavior Evaluation and Support Teams Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education, and practicing as a school psychologist in impoverished communities.

About Dr. Hazel

As the chair of MCE’s Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences, Dr. Hazel oversees faculty, administration, and student outcomes for the Child, Family, and School Psychology program, the Curriculum and Instruction Program, the Early Childhood Special Education Program, and the Teacher Preparation Program. Furthermore, she was recently promoted to Full Professor at MCE.

Dr. Hazel’s recent contributions to the field include a presentation titled “Supporting the School Success of Students with Emotional Disturbance” at the International Association of School Psychologists conference in Summer 2016, held in The Netherlands, and the completion of her book titled Empowered Learning in Secondary Schools Promoting Positive Youth Development Through a Multitiered System of Supports, published by APA.

MCE extends its heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Hazel!

Jeffrey Selingo Comes to MCE

Jeffrey J. Selingo is a best-selling author and award-winning columnist who helps parents and higher-education leaders imagine the college and university of the future and teaches them how to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Slate, and his work has been honored with awards from the Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press.

Selingo will be at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) on October 4 to hold a series of discussions on his latest book, There is Life After College.

There Is Life After College offers students, parents, and even recent graduates the practical advice and insight they need to jumpstart their careers. Education expert Jeffrey Selingo answers key questions—Why is the transition to post-college life so difficult for many recent graduates? How can graduates market themselves to employers that are reluctant to provide on-the-job training? What can institutions and individuals do to end the current educational and economic stalemate?—and offers a practical step-by-step plan every young professional can follow. From the end of high school through college graduation, he lays out exactly what students need to do to acquire the skills companies want.

How can I Get involved?

Selingo will be in residence at MCE October 4 for a series of events focusing on his new book.

  • MCE Faculty are invited to a luncheon and discussion on October 4 from 12:00 AM -1:30 PM.
  • MCE Students are invited to a special student forum from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM.
  • MCE Students, faculty, and staff can participate in a college-wide book talk from 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. *

*Students can apply to participate in the student forum by sending a one-page response to the question, “Why do you want to participate in the forum, and how does it align with your educational interests?” to their department’s ASA by 5:00 PM on September 23. Space is limited, and students accepted into the forum will receive a complimentary copy of the book which they are expected to read before the event. Students can contact their ASA for more information.

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.

Library and Information Science (LIS) student Anna Kongs is refurbishing an ambulance into an interactive bookmobile to serve the greater Denver community; it is expected to officially launch in summer 2016. Kongs plans to establish a presence—similar to food trucks—at many of the area’s local farmer’s markets and festivals and will provide an interactive experience for patrons through light and sound as well as by hosting events for artists and writers. In addition, the bookmobile will serve high-need and less-resourced areas of Denver as a mobile library, bookstore, and book donation center.

Kongs started the project because of a lifelong love of books and interest in stories, and she “didn’t want to wait until graduation” to begin applying the lessons of her studies to the outside world. She came to the University of Denver (DU) from an accounting career—wanting a change to a creative field—and joined the Library and Information Science program because of the versatility that graduates have in their careers, choosing to focus on public librarianship, outreach, and programming. With the bookmobile, Kongs wants to give back to the community and carve a place in the local literary community.

The project has gained awareness on campus and in the literary community; Kongs has benefitted from support from her peers at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE)—many of whom have offered assistance—and advice from literacy nonprofits in Denver such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Burning Through Pages.

Kongs successfully applied for 501(c)3 non-profit status, which she says was in and of itself a learning experience. She completed a test run of the bookmobile this spring, and will attend her first events in Denver this month. She has created a digital presence for the project, which can be found here.

Choose2Matter (C2M) is a national movement created by Angela Maiers to inspire K-12 students to take ownership over their educational experience. Courtney Collins—a Curriculum and Instruction (CI) student—is working with Maiers to further promote C2M and establish a partnership between the movement and the University of Denver. Collins met Maiers in the fall of 2015 and invited her to speak at the students’ Practice of Teaching course taught by Clinical Professor Paul Michalec, PhD.

The goal of C2M is to empower students—by themselves, their peers, and their teachers—to practice passion-based learning, including exploring “heartbreaks”— issues that affect students on a local, national, or international level — and to identify their genius, or unique strengths, as individual learners and contributors to the classroom. Schools participate in the movement by hosting C2M workshops.

Collins describes C2M’s approach to identifying “heartbreaks” and connecting them with passion projects as “taking problem solving to the next level” by motivating students to identify and explore issues in order to create solutions. At a recent workshop that Collins attended in Saskatchewan, Canada, students from the third grade through high school collaborated on exploring and identifying solutions for a range of heartbreaks, including mental health, loss of family members, bullying, and feelings of invisibility.

Collins said the premise of the movement “hits a fundamental nerve”, a sentiment shared by Morgridge College of Education students Tess Golding, Alicia Saxe, and Sarah Wilkins, who became interested in C2M after hearing Maiers’ presentation. Saxe and Wilkins support C2M through advocacy and workshop facilitation while Golding is starting a position as C2M’s website and social media intern. All of the students are pursuing involvement with C2M outside of course and program requirements because they consider the mission of the movement critical to their career plans and aspirations as future educators.


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