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Pondering among the posters

Adisa Anderson greets a visitor at the Academic Showcase
Adisa Anderson greets a visitor at the Academic Showcase

It’s fun to wander around the annual WSUPullman Academic Showcase and ponder studies that are outside the range of most mortals (“Jump Frequencies of CdProbe Atoms”) and others that are charming as well as elucidating (“Shadow Play and Romance: The Oboe in Southeast Asia”).  The giant poster session is a great place to eavesdrop, too.  At Friday’s Showcase, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about research being done at the College of Education, such as “Academic Achievement Among Native Americans: Performance or Data Gap?” Grad student Adisa Anderson explained to me, with passion, the findings displayed on a poster that featured striking Native art.  Did you know that almost 75 percent of Washington school districts that have Native students do not report their test scores? That’s to protect the privacy of students, who comprise a tiny minority, but clearly makes it hard to gather data about how Native students are doing.  Adisa worked on the research with recent Ph.D. graduate Jason Sievers, student Lisa Bruna, and Assistant Professor Lali McCubbin.

Got perspective? Students, faculty and staff in Pullman still have time this semester to sharpen their intercultural skills and earn a certificate confirming the fact.  Christian Busnardo, who is finishing his master’s in higher education, is one of the presenters at the Global Perspectives Workshop, which “provides participants with a working knowledge of different cultural values, norms, behaviors and expectations that are critical in today’s multicultural workforce. ” The hour-long workshops sponsored by the Cougar Leadership Program are tailored to fit each group’s specific needs. Interested? Contact Christian at cbusnardo@wsu.edu.

Alumni success: Gene Schmidt (’08 Ph.D. education administration, ’73 teaching certificate) is superintendent of the Bridgeport, Wash., School District, which is a grand prize winner in the American School Board Journal’s 15th annual Magna Awards program.  The district will receive $4,000 in scholarship money during a presentation at the National School Boards Association’s conference in April. Bridgeport was recognized in the under-5,000 enrollment category for “College in the High School,” which offers college-level classes to high school students in the tiny district. Students from the past five graduating classes have completed high school with up to 45 college credits and many now attend colleges and universities throughout the nation. The college-level classes also have helped increase scores on state reading and writing graduation tests.  Read other success stories on our alumni news page.

Happenings:
Healthy Schools Summit, May 28-29, Seattle, co-sponsored by WSU Extension.

Reading matter:
Lessons from the Ivory Tower. K-12 learns from higher education’s online experience.
Idaho teacher sells advertising space on tests. Good morning, class, and welcome to U.S. history, brought to you by Molto Caldo Pizzeria.

Book news & more

coverpage1All in the family: There was celebrating at the home of Vancouver professors Gisela Ernst-Slavit and David Slavit when copies of their latest books arrived three days apart.

David’s book, co-edited with Associate Professor Tamara Nelson and Anne Kennedy, is Perspectives on Supported Collaborative Teacher Inquiry.  Gisela’s book, regarding the daunting task of teaching English language learners, is Paper to Practice: Using the TESOL ELP Standards in PreK-12. Her co-authors are Anne Katz of San Francisco and Margo Gottlieb of Chicago.

Meanwhile, in Pullman, Clinical Assistant Professor Kimberly Robertello is awaiting a copy of her new book, Evidence-Based Practices in Alcohol Treatment: The Robertello Evaluative Tool for Assessment and Evaluation. It’s based on Kimberly’s dissertation research, which grew out of her concern about revolving-door nature of  many substance abuse programs.

Sharing expertise: Professor Linda Mabry of Vancouver is a keynote speaker at this week’s educational technology learning institute, “TechPraxis 2009,” at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Read about it here.

Reaching OutArt report:  Three examples of light photography by Assistant Professor Pauline Sameshima are on display as part of the “Reinterpreting Reality” exhibition under way at various venues in the Palouse region.  Pauline’s works can be seen at the Market Square Building, 107 S. Grand Ave., in Pullman.  They include Reaching Out, shown here. Says the artist: “These photos are part of Ann-other’s Dreams, a book of poems by the same name. The poems and art look at a woman’s search for the space between being Ann and Ann-other. Her stories of love, no matter how real, always weave themselves into dreams where she is seeing in from the outside; being in, and yet watching the dream.”

Web update: Click here to see the School & Community Collaboration Center’s impressive list of partners and projects.

Reading matter:
Where Education and Assimilation Collide
. A record influx of immigrants has put classrooms on the front lines of America’s battles over whether and how to assimilate the newcomers and their children. 
Reinventing Professional Development in Tough Times
. Many experts don’t see the current financial crunch in schools as necessarily being all bad when it comes to teacher professional development.
Title I Turnaround Programs Due for Big Cash Boost
. In the seven years since enactment of No Child Left Behind Act, the number of academically troubled schools identified for turnarounds has grown steadily. The federal money for the work of turning around them hadn’t—until now.


A really good week

A big “Wahoo!” was the reaction for many faculty and staff, when state and national accreditation teams gave the college glowing preliminary reports on Wednesday.  At Thursday’s celebration, Dean Mitchell noted that, while we all know our programs are good, it is wonderful to have that confirmed by 18 very qualified outsiders.  The visitors repeatedly noted the collegial atmosphere they found, what one called “a small university feel” uncommon at a big university. Many folks worked tirelessly before and during the teams’ five-day joint visit, under the direction of college accreditation czar Ed Helmstetter. For his efforts, Ed, former chair of the Department of Teaching & Learning, was honored with a leaf on the Legacy Tree.  See some photos from the accreditation visit here.

Woman of the Year
joan.o'sa oviawe and President Elson S. Floyd

A big “Wow!” On Wednesday, doctoral candidate joan.o’sa oviawe became the first student in the 12-year
history of WSU’s Women of Achievement Awards to win the top “Woman of the Year” accolade.  Joan, whose homeland is Nigeria, is specializing in cultural studies and social thought in education.

WSU Tri-Cities award winners: Lindsay Lightner, academic coordinator for T&L, is winner of the Region 8 New Advisor Award, given by the National Academic Advising Association.  She’ll pick up her prize at April’s regional conference in Missoula, then it’s on to the national competition.  … Barbara Ward, visiting assistant professor, will receive the Literacy Award from the Washington Organization for Reading Development for her significant literacy contributions at the state level.  Barbara was nominated by the Benton-Franklin Council of the International Reading Association.

Headline of the week:
Obama Outlines Plan for Education Overhaul

Coug alumnus quote of the week:
“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.” — Edward R. Murrow


Tapping our faculty expertise

Kudos to Joan: You’ve read about WSU Spokane’s partnership with the Spokane Public Schools, funded by the Stuart Foundation.  Now, the foundation has invited Academic Director Joan Kingrey to become a stuartfounding member of its Leadership Advisory Council, which is being established to advise the foundation’s staff.  The council will be composed of a dozen educational leadership experts from California and Washington.

Vancouver public forum: Associate Professor Susan Finley, an expert in education for the homeless, will be among WSU faculty panelists taking part in a March 12 public forum about the financial crisis and policy responses for the Southwest Washington community. The forum will focus on the social impacts and opportunities created by the crisis.

Distinguished guests: Pullman has some important visitors March 7-11: a team from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.  The visit culminates many months of hard work by faculty and staff, an effort spearheaded by Ed Helmstetter.

wsu.edu update: WSU has launched its new Web home page. While the update won’t affect the College of Education’s pages directly, it provides opportunities for those of us who work across the university system to tell WSU’s stories in a multimedia fashion.  If you have ideas for slide shows, videos, photos and just plain old good yarns, please send them my way.

Continuing education: A WSU co-sponsored Parenting and Family Education Conference, March 25-27 in Lynwood, will offer teacher clock hours and continuing education credits.

Interesting links:
High school reforms: Take your time
In Search Of Answers, Teachers Turn To Clickers

Did you know?
(a stimulating video on the progression of information technology)

Finally, if you’re a Simpsons fan you won’t want to miss the view of American education as seen from Bart and Lisa’s school. Watch the video here.

Washington State University