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College of Education

College of Education
006 Bluemont Hall
1114 Mid-Campus Drive North
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

785-532-5525
785-532-7304 fax
edcoll@k-state.edu

Patrice Scott
Communications Coordinator
1114 Mid-Campus Drive North
16B Bluemont Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-2521
patrices@k-state.edu

2014 News Releases

Fall 2014

Ecuadorian dignitaries attend graduate commencement

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Three dignitaries from the Ecuadorian government attended the Graduate School's commencement on Dec. 12 in support of the 42 students from their country who earned master's degrees from the College of Education.

Vanessa Lucia Calvas Chávez, undersecretary of education for professional development in the Ministry of Education, was delegated to represent Minister of Education Augusto Espinosa. Monica Del Pilar Palacios Bernal, general coordinator for English language development in the Ministry of Education, also attended. Geannine Claudé Alvarado Romero, director of scholarship coordination, orientation and design in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, was delegated to represent National Secretary of Higher Education René Ramirez.

"We are honored to assist the Ecuadorian government in its aggressive goal to train ESL teachers and its commitment to education," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "I also want to thank the faculty in the department of curriculum and instruction for their support of these special students who return to Ecuador as advocates for educational change."

This inaugural master's program represents an innovative collaboration between Kansas State University and Ecuador. The academic program addressed the context and site-specific needs of Ecuadorian students in public school classrooms. Specifically included in the curriculum:

  • Theory-into-practice applications of concepts.
  • Cross-cultural experiences with teachers in Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 and Geary County Schools USD 475.
  • Research, including white papers on identified problems with proposed solutions, to improve their nation's education system both locally and nationally.

College of Education recognizes seven graduates for outstanding work

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Five new College of Education graduates of Kansas State University have earned special honors from the college. Two students are recipients of the Outstanding Future Teacher Award, presented to graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential as future teachers. The college's Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award has been presented to five graduates who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and scholarship.

The following students, all December 2014 bachelor's degree graduates, earned awards:

Matraca Hutton, Dodge City, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Hutton earned a degree in elementary education. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education. She worked as a paraeducator at Bergman Elementary School in Manhattan and was active in service to the community. Hutton received university scholastic honors four semesters and was awarded the Kansas Service Teacher Scholarship and Chapter GA P.E.O. Scholarship. She graduated from Dodge City High School in 2010 and is the daughter of Jenny and Jeff Hutton.

Christian Maude, Kingman, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Maude earned a degree in secondary education-social studies and served as student commencement speaker. An Eagle Scout, he also was a member of the Arnold Air Society, serving as vice president and director of training. In the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, he served as flight commander, deputy operations group commander, mission support group commander and cadet wing advisor. In the Honor Guard, Maude served as deputy commander and detail commander. He was selected for the U.S. Air Force Field Training Superior Performer and Honor Graduate in 2012; the USAA Spirit Award; the Military Order of the Purple Heart, awarded for military excellence; and earned semester scholastic honors. Maude graduated from Kingman High School in 2010 and is the son of Liz and David Maude, Black Hawk, South Dakota. His wife, Paige Maude, also is from Kingman.

Adrienne Pauls, Oberlin, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Pauls graduated cum laude with a degree in elementary education. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and a National Society of Collegiate Scholar, earned numerous scholarships, and played intramural volleyball, basketball and softball. In addition, she was active in community service and participated in many volunteer activities. She graduated from Decatur Community High School in 2010 and is the daughter of Dorian and Richard Pauls.

Michelle Vreeland, Overland Park, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Vreeland earned a degree in elementary education. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, where she served as administrative vice president, homecoming chair and standards class representative. Vreeland was a National Society of Collegiate Scholar, a member of the Golden Key International Honorary Society and earned university semester honors. She graduated from Blue Valley West High School in 2010 and is the daughter of Connie and Dan Vreeland.

Leah Mahanay, Salina, Outstanding Future Teacher in Elementary Education Award. Mahanay earned a degree in elementary education. She served as vice president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and was the Kansas State University Marching Band feature twirler in 2008-2009. She also was active in philanthropy by serving as fundraising coordinator for Autism Speaks. Mahanay graduated from Salina Central High School in 2008 and is the daughter of Cindy and Bill Mahanay.

Mattithyah Tillotson, Valley Center, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Tillotson earned a degree in secondary education-chemistry. She was a member of Sigma Phi Sigma, a physics honor society, and the Physics Club. She also was a Noyce Scholar, Kassebaum Scholar and four-time recipient of the Phi Lambda Upsilon's Undergraduate in Chemistry Classroom Award. Tillotson graduated from Remington High School in 2009 and is the daughter of Jan and Norman Tillotson.

Benjamin Raaf, Lake Ozark, Missouri, Outstanding Future Teacher in Secondary Education Award. Raff graduates with a degree in secondary education-music. He was a member of the university's chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the concert choir. In 2012, he was selected as Resident Assistant of the Year. He also was named Moore Hall Eternal Optimist of the Year for 2010 and 2011. Raff graduated from Blue Springs South High School in 2009 and is the son of Marian and David Raff.


Professional Development Schools program celebrates 25th anniversary

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For 25 years, teachers and preservice teachers have improved their craft locally and nationally thanks to the creation of the College of Education's Professional Development Schools, or PDS, partnerships.

The program started with three elementary schools in 1989 and has grown to 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools and two distant partner districts. Gail Shroyer, professor of curriculum and instruction, and Sally Yahnke, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, developed the Professional Development Schools model as a response to the call for reform in teacher education that originated with the 1983 publication of "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Report."

In 1998, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE, Professional Development Schools Standards Pilot Project, selected the K-State College of Education as one of 20 national sites to participate in the first effort to develop national standards for the Professional Development Schools program. As a result, these standards were adopted across Kansas and the nation. In 1999, the department of curriculum and instruction received a $6.7 million grant — the second largest in college history — from the Department of Education after an intensely competitive application process for the Professional Development Schools partnership project.

To detail the success and growth of the partnerships, the fall 2014 edition of the college's peer-reviewed journal, Educational Considerations, was dedicated to the program.


Mentoring program celebrates 15 years of success

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A highly successful College of Education program committed to faculty development is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The College of Education Mentoring Program began in 2000 with Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research, and Lydia E. Skeen professor, serving as director. Jan Wissman, associate dean emeritus, led the task force that piloted the program for more than a year before it was launched. Since its inception, more than 84 faculty members have been mentored or served as mentors.

Thurston said mentorship is a driving force behind the college's mission to develop knowledgeable, ethical, caring, decision-makers in a diverse and changing world as well as faculty recruitment and retention. "This program has improved the culture in our college by building a growth-oriented environment that creates a regenerative cycle because today's mentees are tomorrow's mentors," she said. "It has made a difference in people's lives."


College of Education earns three national awards at continuing education conference

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Two College of Education programs and one faculty member received national awards at a recent conference celebrating excellence in adult education. The Association for Continuing Higher Education's annual conference was Oct. 27-29 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme was "Winning Together: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work."

Jeff Zacharakis, associate professor of educational leadership, received the leadership award, the highest award presented by the association. It recognizes a person's extraordinary contributions in leadership, theory and practice in continuing higher education on a national or international level.

The college's academic advising program received the association's credit program award. The special education, counseling and student affairs department, K-State Global Campus and National Academic Advising Association: The Global Community for Academic Advising, developed the program's 15-credit hour certificate and 30-credit hour master's degree.

Go Teacher, an innovative program developed in the Center for Multilingual and Intercultural Advocacy to enhance the English skills of Ecuadorian TSEL teachers, received the association's outstanding services to underserved populations award.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, believes timeless principles combined with progressive programs yields results. "Innovation and excellence will always be celebrated in education because the field must grow and change to meet learners' needs," Mercer said. "The fact that our college was recognized with three national awards in such a highly competitive field speaks directly to the caliber and commitment of our faculty."


Modest investments yield major savings for education majors

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College of Education faculty members parlayed eight alternative textbook awards totaling $24,700 into a savings of $222,000 for education students, representing a 798 percent return on investment. The awards were made possible through two funding streams. First, the university's Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, which was designed to reduce the amount students spend on textbooks. The program began in fall 2013, and the university funded two College of Education projects totaling $10,500.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, followed suit and offered college-level incentives as well. Six faculty members completed projects and received awards totaling $14,200. When combined over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, the cost savings will affect approximately 1,733 students. "The beauty is these savings will continue well into the future," Mercer said. "While the investment of time and expertise is intensive in the development stage, faculty members have shared how easy it is to revise or add content so their course materials are always current and relevant. Because this aligns with the college's K-State 2025 objectives, it truly is a win-win-win situation."

The faculty members who received awards are: Ann Knackendoffel, assistant professor of special education, counseling and student affairs; Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, instructor of curriculum and instruction; Lotta Larson, associate professor of curriculum and instruction; Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Leah McKeeman, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Sandy Risberg, instructor of curriculum and instruction; Tom Vontz, professor of curriculum and instruction; and Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.


Morales receives TRIO Achiever Award

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Amanda MoralesAmanda R. Morales, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction and diversity coordinator, received the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel's 2014 TRIO Achiever Award for her outstanding personal and professional accomplishments.

Morales was a McNair Scholar from 1997-1998. The McNair Scholars Program is one of several national TRIO programs. She received the award on Nov. 11 at the association's annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As an undergraduate, Morales was an outstanding student and was on the President's Honor Roll from 1996-1998. As a master's student at Texas Tech University she was the recipient of the Bearden Foundation Scholarship from 2002-2005. As a doctoral student, Morales was selected as the 2011 College of Education's Outstanding Graduate Student. Her dissertation was awarded the American Education Research Association Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2012 and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2013. As a faculty member at Kansas State, Morales has eight co-authored, refereed journal articles, six book chapters, and several funded grant proposals. She also has presented her research at regional and national conferences.

In addition to her very busy schedule, Morales finds the time to mentor McNair Scholars and serve as a panelist for McNair Scholar seminars on Graduate Education. She is a highly regarded speaker. In 2012, she was the keynote speaker at the McNair Scholars Banquet. In 2013, she was the keynote speaker at the McNair Scholars Heartland Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.


Hugoton High School students watch College of Education documentary on first-generation college students

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A group of 36 students from Hugoton High School — which also included Superintendent Mark Crawford, Principal John Girodat, college and career readiness advocate Yolanda Hernandez and math teacher Anna Wold — spent Nov. 7 on the Kansas State University campus. After arriving on campus and having lunch in Derby Dining Center, the group went to Bluemont Hall where they watched the College of Education's documentary, "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students."

Crawford believes the film's message could not have come at a better time because one of the district's priorities is for more students to attend postsecondary education. "This was really powerful," he said of the documentary that tells the stories of several first-generation students. "I don't think there's a single stakeholder this film couldn't impact."

Crawford said the latest data from 2007-2011 revealed 44 percent of the district's students drop out of college after their freshman year of college. The district is working to obtain qualitative data, but early indicators point to financial problems and family support issues as the top reasons students leave college.

At the conclusion of the documentary, the group walked to the K-State Student Union where they met with students who graduated from Hugoton High School and attend K-State. They also visited with representatives from the colleges of Agriculture, Education, Arts & Sciences, Architecture, Planning & Design, Engineering and Human Ecology.


Administrators recognize preservice teacher's act of heroism

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Yunshu Liu and Erin RedekerYunshu Liu, a preservice teacher from China, successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on a middle school student who was choking on a piece gum. The incident occurred in the last few minutes of a school day at Eisenhower Middle School in Erin Schoen Redeker’s classroom. Liu noticed the seventh-grader, who had been laughing with classmates, was suddenly quiet. The little girl started turning red. Liu asked the student if she could breathe, and she shook her head no.

"I told her stand up, and I stood behind her and did the Heimlich," Liu said, shrugging as if she's slightly confused about the attention this act has received. Liu was presented with a certificate of outstanding service from College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer and Eisenhower Middle School Principal Tracy Newell at a faculty meeting for both Manhattan middle schools.

CPR training is required by the College of Education before future teachers can start their clinical teaching semester. Liu, whose mother is a doctor, said that only medical personnel in China have these types of skills.


McKeeman's open source text saves students money

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A College of Education faculty member developed an open source text, which is saving students money as well as engaging them in course work at a new level.

Leah McKeeman, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, developed "World Language Methods Open Source Text" for her course Modern Language Methods for Secondary Schools and Modern Language Methods Practicum. Her resource is replacing two textbooks valued at $145, saving 20 students $3,000 for the 2014-15 school year.

"My students have been very receptive to the open source text," McKeeman said. "Being a Google Doc, they like that they can contribute to the text, too. I think it gives them a sense of ownership with the content and the class. They also like the straightforward nature of the writing and having additional resources – videos, journal articles, wikis and sample documents – embedded within the text."

The Open/Alternative Resource initiative is part of the college's technology plan – a key component to achieving its K-State 2025 objectives and philanthropic goals. In 2013, Dean Debbie Mercer provided all full-time teaching faculty with an iPad along with professional development opportunities. In 2014, the college provided iPads for all preservice teachers in their professional courses.


Knackendoffel creates electronic modules

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A College of Education faculty member has developed new resources for preservice teachers, saving roughly 60 students more than $6,600 per year.

Ann Knackendoffel, assistant professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, developed electronic modules for future teachers in her course Characteristics of Cognitive Disabilities. Her materials are on Canvas in modules and Wiki content pages. The modules replace a $55 textbook.

"As an instructor, I'm excited when something relevant and timely comes to my attention, and I can add information instantly," Knackendoffel said. "E-source materials allow me to customize and update material in real time."

Knackendoffel believes the time has come to leverage technology in the classroom. "Students are coming to campus with a variety of digital devices," she said. "As faculty, we need to take advantage of these devices by showing our students and future educators how to maximize their potential. Another advantage is the students have their materials with them at all times."

The Open/Alternative Resource initiative is part of the college's technology plan — a key component to achieving its K-State 2025 objectives and philanthropic goals. In 2013, Dean Debbie Mercer provided all full-time teaching faculty with an iPad along with professional development opportunities. In 2014, the college provided iPads for all preservice teachers in their professional courses.


First generation college students celebrated in College of Education film

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For the first time in more than 36 years, Narciso Ruiz is taking a day off from the Dodge City beef processing plant where he's worked since 1978 so he can watch his daughter in the College of Education's upcoming documentary, "A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students."

Angelica Villanueva, Ruiz's daughter, joins two successful alumni as well as five current preservice teachers from across Kansas who share their stories in the film dedicated to struggles and triumphs many first-generation students face. The premiere is Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union.

Seventeen members of Villanueva's family will attend the premiere, but one person's presence will be especially important: her father's. "My dad is my hero," Villanueva said. "He said he is very proud of my accomplishments and that I was asked to be part of such a great documentary. He said our family has had to make lots of sacrifices, but they were all worth it in the end."

Sacrifices like coming home every day in pain — a pain Villaneuva experienced when she followed in her father's footsteps working briefly at the beef processing plant. "I wanted to work in knives in fabrication just like my dad," she said. "The first day I worked on knives, I cried my hand hurt so bad that night. I remember calling my dad and asking him, 'Dad, my hand hurts so much and I can’t stop crying because of the pain.' And he told me, 'I have worked there as long as I have and suffered the pain for you guys not to suffer.'"

The Ruiz family lived in a 434-square-foot, one bedroom, one bathroom home where they raised six children. Five of the couple's children earned college degrees and one has started local businesses.

"My story is just one of millions of first generation graduates, and I feel honored to have my story told," Villaneuva said. "This documentary is a celebration of the fact that hard work and sacrifices do pay off. I feel privileged in continuing a new tradition in my family as a college graduate. My older siblings were my role models, and now I am one to my nieces and nephews. So far, three have degrees and two are starting their college careers."

Villanueva was overjoyed to learn first lady Michelle Obama watched the film’s trailer on Upworthy.com and shared her personal experience as a first generation college student in a post as a guest curator. "I started crying and shaking — that’s how emotional I was about it," she said. "I have admired Mrs. Obama ever since I heard her give her speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and to know that she took the time to see this trailer and comment about it, I knew then I was part of something extremely special."


Instructor's iBook saves students money

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The Link: Blending iPads into Teaching & LearningCollege of Education instructor Cyndi Danner-Kuhn developed an iBook for her teaching course and all early indicators are positive.

Danner-Kuhn received an award from the dean's office for the Open/Alternative Resource initiative to create her iBook "the LINK: Opening Minds & Blending iPads into Teaching & Learning," which is compatible with Macs and iPads. Saving each of the 143 students $90 in the Technology for Teaching & Learning course this semester translates to a total estimated savings of more than $25,000 for the 2014-15 academic year.

"The students seem amazed that it is free, and that they can take notes inside the book," Danner-Kuhn said. "Because it's interactive, they can highlight, make sticky notes, watch videos and do everything in one place — and no Internet connectivity is necessary after the initial download, which takes about 10 minutes."

Danner-Kuhn appreciates the flexibility the technology offers. "I find myself making additions and updates each week as I use the iBook," she said. "Changes are based on student questions and new ideas as they arise. I suspect next semester it will be even better as well as more complete."

For faculty interested in developing their own resource, Danner-Kuhn has advice. "Creating an iBook is an easy process through the free iBooks Author software on a Mac; the tough part is deciding the content," she said. "But in the long run, it is well worth the time I have spent. I believe the students have all the information they need because it is all in one place, it looks good, it is interactive, and it is free."

The college's Open/Alternative Resource initiative is part of the college's technology plan — a key component to achieving its K-State 2025 objectives and philanthropic goals. In 2013, Dean Debbie Mercer provided all full-time teaching faculty with an iPad along with professional development opportunities. In 2014, the college provided iPads for all preservice teachers in their professional courses.


Education faculty members save students $74,000

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Core Teaching Skills eBook coverTwo College of Education faculty members created one iBook, which over the 2014-15 school year will save preservice teachers $74,000.

Thomas Vontz, professor of curriculum and instruction, and Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, developed the iBook "Core Teaching Skills" that replaced three textbooks costing $216 in the courses EDEL 320 Core Teaching Skills and Lab and Core Teaching Skills and Field Experience/Lab. Combined, the courses average 343 students per year.

The educators created a discussion board on their Canvas course sites and received an extensive amount of useful suggestions — criticisms and compliments — that were used in making revisions. "This iBook allowed us to focus on specific elements that we believe are critical for our students to understand about their future careers in teaching," Goodson said. "We were able to use the iBook during the summer semester, a full semester before we'd planned on rolling it out. That gave us extra opportunities to receive student feedback."

Vontz said his biggest surprise was how easily the book came together. "We were able to find excellent resources for all of our big ideas," he said. "Although there are areas we differentiate teaching strategies between elementary and secondary education, most of the book is about principles of great teaching that apply at every level. The real challenge was selecting the best resource for a particular section — a video, a journal article or a graphic."

The Open/Alternative Resource initiative is part of the college's technology plan — a key component to achieving its K-State 2025 objectives and philanthropic goals. In 2013, Dean Debbie Mercer provided all full-time teaching faculty with an iPad along with professional development opportunities. In 2014, the college provided iPads for all preservice teachers in their professional courses.


Preservice teacher walking on iCloud

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Doris Carroll and Josh Karimi with iPad AirFor the fourth consecutive year, a deserving College of Education student has a scholarship and a new device to help him become a better teacher. Josh Karimi, Topeka, sophomore in secondary education with a focus in speech and theatre and double minors in political science and history, received the Lawrence G. Wright Scholarship and the accompanying Doris Wright Carroll Multicultural Technology Award.

Carroll, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, is following in her father's footsteps. Her family established the Lawrence G. Wright scholarship in honor of her father, who was a human resources officer for the Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka. The goal was to enhance opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds. But Carroll realized she could do more.

In 2011, Carroll established the Doris Wright Carroll Multicultural Technology Award, which provides the Lawrence G. Wright scholar with a new laptop or iPad to aid his or her academic pursuits. "This is very exciting because our college is providing iPads for our students. But Josh will be ahead of the curve because he will have had an iPad for nearly a year by the time he starts taking his professional education courses," Carroll said.

Karimi chose an iPad Air.

"I work in the financial aid office and understand how hard paying for college can be," he said. "Any relief is greatly appreciated. But when I was first informed about the scholarship, I had to double-check to make sure that it wasn't a mistake," Karimi said. "I am very excited about this, and I'm just lucky that this year it turned out to be me."

Karimi was nominated for the award by his academic advisor Pangie Burns in the Center for Student and Professional Services, and she is emphatic that luck had nothing to do with it. "Josh is a humble, hard working student who also is enjoying college," Burns said. "He is doing exceptionally well academically, and I was happy to nominate him for this award. He is really looking forward to teaching, and he will be a great teacher."


An app a day keeps the costs away

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An app a day keeps the costs away. That's the philosophy behind a new app being piloted this semester by a College of Education faculty member.

Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor in the department of curriculum and instruction, developed the app for her course Teaching as a Career for sophomores. Martinez was awarded funds under the college's open/alternative textbook initiative.

To download the app to their mobile devices, students can scan a QR code or receive a link via email. Martinez worked with an app developer in Olathe who also is a teacher, and with colleagues in the Division of Communications and Marketing to ensure K-State's branding guidelines were followed. The result is a clean, easily navigated app divided into several pages: syllabus, student handbook, assignments, community, social media, video and locations.

"We have 270 students simultaneously looking for local schools, so we added geocaching to help them find out exactly where they are and how to get to the school if they get lost," Martinez said. "We tried to think of as many things as possible but know we will continue making adjustments as we get feedback from students."


First Lady Michelle Obama posts comment about College of Education video trailer

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The College of Education's latest documentary is receiving attention from the White House as first lady Michelle Obama posted a comment this week on a popular website about the film's subject.

"A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students" tells the triumphs and struggles of several students majoring in education as well as successful alumni educators who have walked that path. This was Mrs. Obama's first post as a guest curator on Upworthy.com, a social media website dedicated to important issues, where she viewed the film's trailer. As a first generation college student, Mrs. Obama shared her personal experience.

"Neither of my parents graduated from college, so when I got to campus as a freshman, I'll admit I was a little overwhelmed. I didn't know anyone on campus except my brother. I didn't know how to pick the right classes or find the right buildings. I didn't even bring the right size sheets for my dorm room bed. But then I had an opportunity to participate in a three-week, on-campus orientation program that helped me get a feel for the rhythm of college life. And if it weren't for those resources and the friends and the mentors, I honestly don't know how I would have made it through college. In the video below, you'll hear inspiring stories from first-generation students at Kansas State University who have overcome challenges and are preparing to give back as educators. As a country, we're missing out on too much potential because too often young people don't believe that college can be a reality for them — or they don't know the steps to take to prepare themselves for higher education. So it's up to all of us to make sure we're helping our young people reach higher and take charge of their futures. Because our young people need to know that no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build a better life for yourself."

The documentary came to fruition because Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, wanted to shed light on the personal stories of first-generation college students — a group that makes up 34 percent of the college's undergraduate student body, 40 percent of the Manhattan campus's student population and 70 percent of students at K-State Salina. Mercer commissioned the college's videographer, Rusty Earl, to produce the film to help educators and future educators better understand the issues many first generation students face.

Mercer is grateful the college's work is striking a national chord, again. In 2011, the college joined Michelle Obama's and Jill Biden's "Joining Forces" initiative to make educators aware of the needs of military-connected children.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, or AACTE, and the Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, created "Educate the Educator" to support "Joining Forces." K-State was one of the first 100 universities in the country to participate.

In July, the College of Education was presented with a LTG (Ret) H.G. "Pete" Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award for higher education at its 16th National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C. Only three universities were recognized. The college's film, "A Walk in My Shoes: Military Life" was a key contributor to the documentation for the award.

The "A Walk in My Shoes" video series began in 2011. All of the college's documentaries and videos can be viewed on its YouTube channel. "A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students" will premiere Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall.


Thurston, Thompson appointed to endowed professorships

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Two College of Education administrators were recently appointed to endowed professorships.

Linda Thurston and David Thompson

Linda P. Thurston, professor and associate dean for research and external funding, and David C. Thompson, professor and chair of the department of educational leadership department, have been named Skeen professors. The professorships were established in 1997 and named after their generous benefactors and lifelong educators, Elvon and Lydia Skeen.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the college, made the announcement.

"Named professorships are prestigious commodities in academia, and we are forever grateful to the Skeens for their commitment to education," Mercer said. "It is a heavy responsibility to honor someone's wishes — and truly capture the kind of mark they wanted to leave in this world — and match that with individuals who possess the ability and credentials to turn that vision into reality. Linda and David are two such people."

Thurston holds the Lydia E. Skeen Endowed Professorship. Her impressive academic career has spanned nearly three decades at K-State. She has been awarded approximately $15 million in external funding and now mentors faculty in proposal development. An active advocate for pathways in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, Thurston served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation where she was presented with the director's award of excellence in 2011 shortly before her departure.

Her many scholarly accomplishments include a co-authored textbook that is in its seventh edition, delivering nearly 200 scholarly presentations, and serving as the original director of the educational innovation and evaluation office.

Thompson holds the Elvon G. Skeen Endowed Professorship. Thompson is revered as one of the nation's foremost experts on P-12 education finance and is often sought out by local and national media on important school funding issues.

His 40-year professional career includes experience as a public school teacher, high school principal, school superintendent and professoriate. Thompson has published seven books, 27 refereed monographs, 15 refereed book chapters, including chapters in four consecutive yearbooks of the American Education Finance Association, 36 refereed journal articles and 19 other published works, along with almost 150 professional presentations.

He serves or has served on the editorial boards of six different journals and is the founding co-director of the University Council for Educational Administration's Center for Education Finance. In 2012, Thompson was named the National Education Finance Corporation's distinguished fellow of research and practice. The following year he was honored with the organization's lifetime achievement award.


Summer 2014

College earns national award from MCEC

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MCEC Award PresentationThe College of Education was presented with a LTG (Ret) H.G. “Pete” Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award™ for higher education by the Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, at its 16th National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C., on July 30. Only three universities were recognized.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is proud that the college’s efforts are among the best in the nation.

“The military has been one of our key areas of concentration, and the fact that we were selected from an outstanding group of educators speaks to our innovation and on-going commitment the military and military-connected children,” she said. “I want to personally thank Linda Thurston, Judy Hughey, Jane Fishback and Sandy Risberg for their expertise, guidance and leadership in this important area.”

This award will be presented annually and encourages and applauds the outstanding partnerships formed between military installations and school districts that serve military children. Award winners are selected from schools and military installations around the world by MCEC, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the transition and educational issues affecting the highly mobile military child.

The college was recognized for its collaboration with Fort Riley, Geary County Schools USD 475, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383, Riley County USD 378, and Chapman Unified School District 473.


Marilyn Kaff receives Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant

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Marilyn Kaff, associate professor of special education, counseling and affairs, has received a 2014 Literacy Grant from Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Kaff is one of just 14 recipients of the grant this year.

The $2,500 grant will be used to support the Books-in-a-Bag program, which aims to address one of the most basic impediments to literacy in Tanzania — books in the home. The program, developed by faculty and students from K-State's College of Education, assists families with children with disabilities in Lushoto, Tanzania. Through provided training, parents are encouraged to explore books and bond with their children through reading. Additionally, families receive illustrated books based on local tales, written in Kiswahili and English, to which children can easily relate. MP3s of the stories also are distributed to promote literacy among families without literate members.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was initiated in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the society's mission "to engage the community of scholars in service to others." Drawing from a multi-disciplinary society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and to the needs of their communities.


Brown presents at 55th annual Adult Education Research Conference

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Dr. Nozella L. Brown, Wyandotte County Extension educator and Spring 2014 Ed.D. graduate in adult and continuing education, presented a paper at the 55th annual Adult Education Research Conference at Penn State Harrisburg, June 4-7.

Her presentation, "What's for Dinner? How Factors that Potentially Influence Perceived Self-Efficacy Affect the Dietary Habits of Low-Income African American Mothers," discussed findings of her research study and implications for practice.

Brown also was elected to serve on the Adult Education Research Conference steering committee. Kansas State University's adult and continuing education program, a part of the educational leadership department in the College of Education, will host next year's conference, May 20-23, at the K-State Alumni Center.


Spring 2014

Burrack named chair of national committee

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Frederick Burrack, K-State professor of music education and director of assessment, has been appointed to a two-year term as chair of the Evaluation, Measurement, and Assessment Special Research Interest Group for the Society for Research in Music Education of the National Association for Music Education. He will serve from July 1 through July 1, 2016.

The mission of the Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment Special Research Interest Group is to promote dialogue and improve practice related to a broad range of assessment issues pertinent to music education.

His current project is designing and piloting Model Cornerstone Assessments for the new National Standards for Music Education that will be published in June by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. He and Kelly Parkes, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, are leading a team of researchers from across the country in this effort. Pilots will take place the coming school year in K-12 schools in every state.


College of Education launches student research journal

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The College of Education launched a new research journal designed to expose graduate and undergraduate students to the rigors of academic publishing. Prairie Journal of Educational Research is an online, open access journal, and there is no charge for submissions. The college partnered with the K-State Libraries' New Prairie Press, the university's home for open access publishing.

The journal's editor-in-chief is Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and external funding for the College of Education. Managing editors are Haley Downing and Paul Maxfield, graduate students in the special education, counseling and student affairs department.

"We have been working on this concept for almost a year," Thurston said. "Haley and Paul did a lot of basic research about appropriate platform, journal format, other student journals, even the title. Then we created an editorial advisory board of faculty and students to discuss the vision, the design and the editorial process."

Thurston said the journal would serve many purposes.

"This endeavor relates to our college's 2025 goals," she said. "The journal is one way to involve undergraduates in research and help graduate students learn the process of submitting manuscripts and reviewing manuscripts of others. We also want to communicate to our students that doing educational research is for all educators. Whether it's action research when you are a teacher in classroom or whether it's being a professor or a doctoral student who's doing experimental research, it's just part of what educators do."

Maxfield said one of the publication's goals is to spotlight the research being done by education undergraduate and graduate students.

"We wanted to have a journal that supports students in the publication and review process," he said. "We'd like to give them supportive and constructive feedback."

Downing is confident they have chosen the appropriate platform and the right partner.

"Because the journal will be free and freely accessible to anyone, it was a perfect fit with New Prairie Press since they are advocates for open access. It was a good partnership."

The journal will be peer reviewed, with initial reviewers being faculty and students in the college. Undergraduate and graduate students will be mentored in the review process, and Downing and Maxfield are developing training for journal reviewers. The editorial staff expects the first journal to be published in fall 2014.

Members of the Editorial Advisory Board are:

  • Mike Holen, dean emeritus and professor
  • Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Kakali Bhattacharya, associate professor of educational leadership
  • Lori Andersen, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Morgan Chesbro, graduate student in curriculum and instruction
  • Amanda Lickteig, graduate student in curriculum and instruction
  • Ashley Gleiman, graduate student in adult and continuing education
  • Madison Johnson, undergraduate student majoring in elementary education

Chester E. Peters lecture to focus on supporting students with psychiatric disabilities

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The student committee that selects the speaker for the College of Education's annual Chester E. Peters Lecture Series has chosen Holley Belch, professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Belch's presentation, "We Belong: Creating an Infrastructure of Campus Support for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities," will be at 10:30 a.m. on April 11 in Town Hall in the Leadership Studies Building.

Her research interests include students with disabilities and specifically psychiatric disabilities, the recruitment and retention of entry-level housing professionals, and the issues and concerns of middle managers in student affairs. The Chester E. Peters Lectures in Student Development Series was established in 1983.

Kansas State University, in cooperation with the College of Education, named the lecture series after Chet Peters in recognition of his contributions to K-State students and the student personnel profession. Since its inception, the series has hosted several prominent professionals in student affairs.

Jennifer Cherayand and Alex Wiltz, graduate students in the department of special education, counseling and student affairs, served as co-chairs of the planning committee.


Education faculty establish English language center in Ecuador

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A group of educators from the College of Education's Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, or CIMA, just arrived in Ecuador and will spend a total of three years establishing an English Language Center at the country’s newest university.

Eight K-State instructors and one director will implement a research-based, innovative curriculum and program model to teach English to entering, first-year Yachay University students. The goal is to prepare these students with the English literacy skills and content language proficiency to take science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, courses in both languages. The three-year contract is worth $1.2 million.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, sees multiple benefits from this partnership.

"This program advances many of the university's and the college's shared goals related to K-State 2025," Mercer said. "By focusing on internationalization and creating innovating programming, the college is bringing much deserved attention to a variety of experts at K-State. This may lead to more student opportunities and perhaps even new relationships with additional countries and organizations."

Socorro Herrera, CIMA director, believes her organization is in a strong position to lead efforts to train English as a second or other language, or ESOL, teachers both nationally and internationally.

"The fact that K-State was selected from proposals received from around the world to lead the first language institute gives us international visibility," Herrera said. "This opportunity opens the doors for many more projects in the future including student exchanges, opportunities for our students to study aboard, and research and collaboration with STEM faculty from all over of the world."

The partnership between CIMA and the Ecuadorian government grew from the Go Teacher program, a bold effort on the government's part to train 3,000 English as second or other language teachers. The K-State College of Education was named the lead institution in the Go Teacher program and created partnerships with other universities to help train the teachers.

The program was so successful, K-State has now developed its own program model, Global Teacher, so it can provide similar services for organizations around the world.


Education faculty present about K-State military education initiatives

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A panel of College of Education professors presented information about the college’s military initiative in a paper, "KSU Military ED-OPS: Initiatives at K-State’s College of Education for Military and Veteran Students, Teachers, and Families" at the 2014 Council of College and Military Educators Professional Development Symposium, Feb. 10-14, in Savannah, Ga. About 1,000 people from around the nation attended the conference.

Presenters were: Linda P. Thurston, associate dean; Judy Hughey, associate professor of special education, counseling and students affairs; Sandy Risberg, instructor of curriculum and instruction; and Jane Fishback, associate professor of educational leadership.

The initiative, called K-State military education operation, or ED-OPS, is a collegewide framework preparing in-service and preservice personnel to serve military, veterans and their families in educational settings. This initiative includes three critical steps: providing professional development for faculty and students; implementing curricular and co-curricular modifications to address military/veteran-connected issues; and conducting research to contribute to the knowledge base about educational issues, strategies and adaptations for military personnel, veterans, and K-12 students in their families.


Documentary about K-State’s African-American alumni premieres

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The College of Education has produced an insightful new documentary that tells a history of Kansas State University that has often lived below the surface of campus life.

"A Long Road: 150 Years of Collective Experience from Five African-American K-State Alumni" will premiere during Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week, beginning Jan. 19, and will be available to faculty across campus and educators across the state and nation. The film was produced by the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, or MEAC, and was made possible by the support of a Faculty Incentive Grant from the Tilford Initiative at Kansas State University.

Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of education, and former College of Education faculty member Albert Bimper developed the project from its inception. "We both shared many of the same views about supporting and motivating students, and cross-cultural collaboration always makes projects better," Martinez said.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, applauded the efforts that went into creating this film. "Once Tonnie’s and Albert’s vision was set, an extraordinary group of campuswide experts came together, including Myra Gordon and our videographer Rusty Earl, to capture the story and tell it with graceful honesty."

The five deeply personal stories from alumni delve into their childhoods. Then, each person shares experiences at K-State. The video participants are: Kathleen Greene, director, Education Support Services; David L. Griffin Sr., assistant dean/director, College of Education Center for Student and Professional Services; Juanita McGowan, former director, American Ethnic Studies; Charles I. Rankin, director, Midwest Equity Assistance Center; and Veryl Switzer, former administrator, Ring of Honor Athlete and distinguished alumni.

"I believe these stories are important to tell because they shed light on the richness toward understanding the depth and breadth of experiences that truly make up the past and present of the university, the community, and the people at K-State," Bimper said. "I believe powerful living truths exist around us all of the time and it was important for us to capture these individuals’ truths."

But how are stories from the past relevant to today’s students?

"Our participants' stories give us the permission and an opportunity to think about how far we have or haven’t come, what the experiences are for younger generations and how we are or aren’t effectively working toward a better tomorrow," Bimper said. "As an institution, efforts to create a culture that embraces and affirms diversity and an inclusive environment means that there must be a deep dive taken to understand how others are experiencing the world. We have to be intentional about asking vulnerable questions with a genuine interest in trying to enhance others’ experiences as well as our own."

Enhancing students’ experiences is exactly what drew Martinez to the field of multicultural education. "As a white teacher in a highly diverse classroom, I knew that no matter how much I loved and supported my African-American and Hispanic students they probably thought, 'That advice is all well and good, but you don’t really know my journey,'" Martinez said.

This video took a major step for educators interested in crossing the cultural divide. The video and downloadable lesson plans are available free at meac.org.

"I hope that African-American students in Kansas and across the country will watch these pioneers and be inspired," Martinez said. "I don’t think it’s possible to experience the stories of these trailblazers and not feel a sense of obligation to make sure the path to success that they paved is still well-traveled."


Students, faculty share importance of Student Access Center

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The College of Education has produced two new videos — one from students’ perspectives and one from faculty members’ — focusing on student need and support services on campus in collaboration with the Student Access Center.

The Student Access Center serves more than 600 students with a wide range of disabilities including learning, physical, sensory, medical and psychological.

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to work and intersect with some of the brightest and most courageous students at K-State,” said Andrea Blair, director of the Student Access Center.

The first video, Student Accessibility at K-State, tells the stories of Rutherford Sanford IV, a recent graduate in hotel and restaurant management who has dyslexia; and Allison Olive, a business administration major who was paralyzed in a car accident.

“Like Allison, any one of us could become a member of this group at any time,” Blair said. “It’s comforting for many students to know that we are here if and when they should need us. We also work with faculty to ensure their students’ needs are being met.”

The second video, Teaching Accessibility at K-State, focuses on three faculty members’ viewpoints. Brian Neihoff, associate provost for institutional effectiveness, reveals the important role faculty can play in student’s lives. Then, Ann Knackendoffel, assistant professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, and Jim Teagarden, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, explain there are many strategies available to accommodate students’ needs to help ensure their academic success.

“This is such an important topic because K-State is committed to providing access to all of our students, including information resources and technology,” Blair said. “We used to think of accessibility in terms of curb cuts and elevators. But as we solved those issues, our attention has shifted to accessible technology. For example, faculty are using technology more than ever to deliver course content so it becomes necessary to ensure that webpages are accessible, closed captioning appears on videos, and word documents, PDF’s and PowerPoints are saved in accessible formats.”

The Student Access Center is located in 202 Holton Hall. For more information, call the center at 532-6441 or visit the website at k-state.edu/accesscenter/.


Inaugural iCamp serves capacity crowd

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The College of Education hosted its first iCamp, a one-day institute earlier this month for educators at all levels interested in increasing iPad use and effectiveness in their classrooms.

About 260 educators from across Kansas attended the sessions, including Creating Materials for iBooks; Driving Paperless with Google Drive; Get Comfortable Using Edmodo; Leading with a Bold Vision; Evernote — Everything in One Place; Project-Based Apps; and The Organized, Paperless Classroom.

Cyndi Danner Kuhn, instructor of curriculum and instruction, said the sessions were both innovative and engaging and designed to give educators an immersive experience that built deep understanding of how students create, connect, share and collaborate with iPads.

Based on comments in post event surveys, iCamp was a success.

“Today was a very productive day,” one attendee wrote. “I walked away with good, useful ideas that I can implement in my classroom right away.” Another attendee wrote: “I am an elementary teacher, and we were handed iPads in August for teacher use without any additional training, except for how to set up an iTunes account. I have been looking forward to this workshop so that I can learn more about its use. There were so many things I picked up.”


Engineering, education online graduate programs move up in U.S. News & World Report rankings

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U.S. News & World Report recognizes Kansas State University as a great place to earn an online graduate degree in education and engineering, moving both programs up in its rankings released Jan. 8.

Kansas State University ranks No. 72 for best online graduate education programs, up 57 places from No. 129 in last year's survey. The university ranks No. 27 in best online graduate engineering programs, up 10 places from No. 37 in the previous survey.

The university offers online engineering master's degrees in software engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, nuclear engineering, engineering management, and operations research. Online education master's degrees include academic advising, adult and continuing education, and curriculum and instruction.

"We have experienced growth in our online programs because a high-quality education is in high demand," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "People have many online degree choices today, but the integrity of our program is rooted in a faculty who is committed to their students and advancing scholarship."

"U.S. News & World Report consistently recognizes Kansas State University as a great institution for engineering education," said Gary Clark, interim dean of the College of Engineering. "It is rewarding to see this recognition applied to our student experience whether studying in person or online."

Such online programs are administered through the university's Division of Continuing Education. "Kansas State University works hard to extend our quality programs to adults who are not able to be part of our on-campus community," said Sue Maes, dean of Continuing Education.