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Washington State University

Are these cool faculty, or what?

You’ve probably read about Susan Finley winning the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award, and Cathryn Claussen being named the 2011 WSU Woman of the Year. But you might not have seen:

Associate Professor Susan Finley
Associate Professor Susan Finley

Susan talking about her work in a fine video that WSU’s Adam Ratliff created for the Academic Showcase presentation. Susan is featured at 3:30 and gives a spirited “Go Cougs!” at the end.

Cathy’s catchy acronyms, as described in today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News article, posted below with permission.

Washington State
sport management prof
awarded Woman of the Year

By Kelsey Husky

Cathryn Claussen is an acronym user.

When people ask what makes Washington State University’s sport management program tick, she responds, “We’ve got a good TIQR, and that’s what keeps us going.”

That stands for teamwork, integrity, quality and readiness.

Claussen was recognized as WSU’s Woman of the Year award recipient March 22 at the annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon, and she credits part of her success to PUCCOs, or “people you can count on.”

“TIQR and PUCCOs are what made that award possible,” she said. “It’s never about just one person. To be an effective leader, you’ve got to have people willing to trust you and follow and jump in.”

Professor Cathryn Claussen
Professor Cathryn Claussen

To be considered for the award, candidates had to distinguish themselves in academic work, career, leadership and public service. Also, each had to contribute to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research and public or outstanding volunteer service.

She was nominated by sport management faculty member Tammy Crawford.

Claussen said she was surprised to win the award.

“I was flabbergasted at that point,” she said. “Sometimes you get to feeling undervalued,” she said. ” … It was really humbling and I was deeply honored to receive (the award).”

Claussen has come a long way from her beginnings as a college basketball and tennis player at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she majored in physical education.

She received her master’s from the University of Iowa in sport studies, which looks into the “dark side” of sports to identify racism, violence and drug abuse of athletics. After a few years of wondering what to do with her degree, she earned a juris doctor from Georgetown.

She landed professorships at Bowling Green State University and Clemson University teaching sport law, but soon she longed for the West Coast.

Claussen, a Southern California native, took a job at WSU about 10 years ago. Although she’s far away from home, she lives with an “adopted” mother – Carol Gordon, the chair of WSU’s physical education department from 1963-83.

“She was a real leader in gender equity in sports,” Claussen said.

That’s why she dedicated her award to the 84-year-old.

“I’ve got a real hero that I’m living with,” she said. “She’s my inspiration.”

Claussen has quite the list of responsibilities, including coordinating the sport management program, being the chair-elect of faculty senate and representing WSU faculty in Olympia this semester, which she said is “absolutely fascinating.”

She’ll take over as chairwoman of faculty senate next year and has been a member for about five years.

Part of her job as chair-elect is to act as a liaison between the faculty and university administration.

“Controversial issues come up, and you do your best to represent your constituents,” she said. “It’s a side of the university a lot of people don’t get to see.”

Katherine Baril, Deborah Gracio, Amy Skinder-Meredith and Robin Woltering were runners-up and received Women of Distinction awards at the luncheon.

Mock interviews yield real benefits

You’re a principal who’s convinced that students benefit when their teachers collaborate. But one of your teachers thinks those “professional learning community” meetings are a total waste of time. He’s dug in his heels. What do you do?

Mock interview session for principal intern at WSU Vancouver
Intern Lisa Washburn, far right, is interviewed by three principals, from left: Lauren Hobson, Mary Horn, Jody ViDelco

The answer to questions like that one is the difference between those who get interviewed for principal’s jobs, and those who get hired. Which is why mock interviews are a key part of the WSU College of Education’s principal certification programs in Vancouver, Spokane and the Tri-Cities. At Vancouver, the  third and final year of the  program is a school-based internship that is packaged with “Pursuing the Position” activities: monthly seminars, frequent reflections, school visits by WSU faculty supervisors, and those mock interviews.

Some 175 principals and assistant principals have received their certification through WSU Vancouver. Every year the mock interview session brings some of those school leaders back to campus to help those following in their footsteps–and do a little socializing while nibbling Cougar Gold cheese.

This month, 21 interns were interviewed by 38 principals and assistant principals. Each mock interview lasted 75 minutes and included a review of the intern’s resume, sample letter of application, and update on major internship projects.

“The interview teams were three or four members each, simulating what an interview might be like for a school district position,” said program director Gay Selby, who explains at the end of this post how she would deal with that reluctant teacher described above. “The primary purpose of the interviews is give the interns feedback, which they get after nearly every answer.”

‘Even worth missing the first half’

Intern Susan Watson’s feedback on the feedback was glowing. She wrote: “My resume got 100 percent approval and I have a little tweaking to do on my letter of interest. I may feel ready for the new role of principal in my head and heart, but I have much to learn about how to communicate that readiness.”

Ryan Theodoriches, another intern and a Gonzaga basketball fan, described the experience as so great that it was “even worth missing the first half of the Zags game.”

The Vancouver principal interns also get to see the flip side of the process. They volunteer to interview WSU students who will soon be heading out to find their first teaching jobs.

In Spokane, the mock interviews have been happening for ten years.  Program director Jim Howard says he’s moved by the willingness of busy administrators, including school superintendents, to devote an entire evening each spring to give feedback to WSU principal interns.

The Tri-Cities program, like Spokane’s, lasts two years and the internships are simultaneous with the course work. “We do the mock interviews a little differently,” says Tri-Cities director Danny Talbot. “Our interns interview prospective teachers  along with principals and human resources people from the school districts–and then are interviewed themselves. It’s great practice. We do it spring and fall.”

Practice makes perfect at the undergraduate level, too. In Pullman, the Future Teachers and Leaders of Color organization offers mock interview sessions to prepare students for the teacher education program admissions process. This spring, organizers expected ten participants. Forty showed up.

Gay’s answer to the question

So how should a principal deal with a teacher’s resistance to professional learning community (PLC) meetings?  Here’s what Gay Selby would do: “I would start by asking him why the meetings aren’t helpful. Then I would tell him what assets I think he brings to the PLC and why his contributions are important. I would seek his commitment to attend the next meeting. Finally, I would ask if he would like me to attend as an observer–and then we would talk again.”

Showcase turns spotlight onto research

Cartoon of Indians watching Pilgrims arriveThe elements of a good research poster session range from comfortable shoes (if you’re a presenter on your feet for hours) to free refreshments (great coffee, those miniature chocolate cupcakes). Even more important, though, is a catchy poster image.

This cartoon, with its message about different cultural perspectives, will be on the poster presented by Professor Gisela Ernst-Slavit at this Friday’s WSU 2011 Academic Showcase in Pullman. The title of her presentation: “Othering” in Elementary Social Studies: A Critical Analysis of Teacher Talk. Gisela’s research partner, doctoral student Michele Mason, won’t be on hand, but Michele explained their work for the WSU Today article, “Teacher’s word choices can reinforce stereotypes.”

Other College of Education presenters will be:

  • Kristin Huggins: The Emergence of the Hybrid Teacher Leader to Facilitate District and School Reform
  • Olusola Adesope with Tracy Lavin, Terry Thompson, and Charles Ungerleider: Meeting the English Literacy Needs of ESL Immigrant Students
  • Brian French with graduate student Chad Gotch: Elementary Teachers’ Knowledge and Self-Efficacy for Measurement Concepts
  • Brian McNeill with graduate students Arlene Carrasco, Laura Preciado, and Dan Neighbors: Indigenous Healing in Mexico
  • Timothy Church, Brian French, Marcia Katigbak, and Fernando Ortiz with graduate Students Juan Alvarez and Nhu Mai: Are Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Personality Profiles Meaningful? Differential Item and Facet Functioning in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory
  • John Wong and Bob Rinehart: Physical Prowess, Body, and National Identity: The Bruce Lee Story
  • Susan Finley: The AHAS EPortfolio: Educational Technology for Highly Transient Students
  • Sarah Ullrich-French with undergraduates Eric Anderies, Cassaundra Bergman and Timothy Rasmussen: Yes Wii Can: Undergraduate Student Mentors in a Physical Activity Intervention
  • Robert Hougham: Palouse Pollinators: Growing, Learning and Being in Community
  • Xyanthe Neider: Complicating Campus and Community Ecologies: Disruptions, Interactions, and Experiences of Students of Middle Eastern Heritages
  • Richard Sawyer: Duoethnography as Dialectic Narrative Research
  • Richard Sawyer: Educational Resistance at the Crossroads of Tension and Change: An Investigation of the Impact of Globalization in Southern Mexico and Palestine
  • Jenny Lee (graduate student) with Timothy Church, Alicia Del Prado, Marcia Katigbak, Jose de Jesus Vargas-Flores, Joselina Ibanez-Reyes, Guy Curtis, Monica Whitty and Fernando Ortiz: Cultural Differences in the Content of Self-Concepts: Agentic and Communal Traits
  • Dana Fairbrother (graduate student) with Timothy Church: Differential Prediction of Life Satisfaction Across Cultures
  • Heidi Stanton Schnebly (graduate student): Writings from the Margins: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Voice, Presence, and Agency
  • Jared Karstetter (undergraduate) with Kasee Hildenbrand and graduate students Lee Martin and Keith Schlect: Do Neck Strength Deficits Correlate to the Incidence of Concussion?
  • James Johnson (undergraduate) with Lawrence Bruya and Dan Peterson: Childhood Nutrition Habits
  • Loren Meador with Lawrence Bruya: Aggression Levels in Combat Veterans
  • Jennifer Beller with Erika Lund (undergaraduate): Moral reasoning differences between intercollegiate athletes and kinesiology majors relative to doping in sport.

TV story highlights WSU Tri-Cities math, science education

Associate Professor Amy Roth McDuffieMathematics and science education for teachers was the focus of a good television news feature produced by KNDO/KNDU last week in the Tri-Cities. Text below … see the video on the station web site. Go Edu-Cougs!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Once a week, you’ll find the next generation of teachers here at W.S.U. Tri-Cities. Men and women of different ages and backgrounds learning elementary math education. Many are still not sure what grade they want to teach, but for some students, math and science is their passion.

“I just figured since there is a shortage of teachers who teach math, it would be something good to get into and I’ll be able to get a job easier that way, ” says Shanelle Skells, who hopes to be a math teacher.

For Damion Miller, who’s hopes to be a environmental science teacher would like to combine his interest with his career, “It’s kind of been a passion of mine in the last 10 to 12 years. I’ve been involved in bicycling advocacy issues and I see that there’s a demand for science teachers and it kind of coincides with my interest.”

The students will fill a void that many school districts, including those in our area are trying to fill. While none of the three school districts in the Tri-Cities has vacancies for math or science teachers, each says it’s hard to find the right person.

Of the ten students in the education class, only two are considering careers as math or science teachers.

“Again we know from national level research that many elementary math teachers themselves don’t feel confident and competent about mathematics and they then avoid teaching it,” says education professor Amy Roth McDuffie.

McDuffie says that mindset leads to a cycle where students grow up lacking confidence in math skills and students like Skells hope to change that.

“I think that by choosing to go in that direction, I’m setting an example for future teachers because if more people go out and do it then they might not fear it as much,” says Skells.

But McDuffie feels fixing the problem begins early,  “I think it starts with developing more teachers that have a love of mathematics and developing more students that love mathematics.”

In the meantime, she hopes to increase that love for math among her students every week.

Globalization conferees find good conversation, energy

Overheard at WSU Spokane last weekend: “I like this conference. You get to talk.”

You get to sing, too — especially if you’re a professional performing artist like Veronique Medrano, who gave a rousing dinner-hour performance at the 7th annual Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference. Veronique is also a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She and her adviser, Elizabeth Sierra-Zarella of SUNY Farmingdale State College, gave a presentation titled El Arte de Memoría: Sexual Trauma, Existentialism, and Installation Art From the Borderlands. (You’ll find the entire schedule of presentations on the conference web page, and photos here.)

Personal communication and delightful surprises are hallmarks of the conference, which is hosted by the WSU College of Education’s graduate program in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. Although small by the standards of academic gatherings, it definitely reflects the university’s  “Because the world needs big ideas” theme.

Conference chair Mike Hayes offers these thoughts:

“As I reflect on the 7th annual Globalization conference, I am struck by the tremendous energy that participants brought to the two days of meetings. Filmmaker and activist Jen Marlowe tapped into the raw emotion of Palestinian struggles in her films “One Family in Gaza” and “Peaceful Thoughts.” Animated conversations spilled out from the presentation rooms and into the breaks, meals and the hotel lobby, magnifying their effect. Who can forget Denise Taliafero Baszile’s performance that had the audience dancing to Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” as a reminder of our commitment to social justice. Not your usual academic conference fare, but what we have come to expect at the globalization conference.

“I have watched the conference evolve over the years, and I feel it is uniquely positioned to push education research and practice to the intersection of the head and the heart and create educational experiences for all students that are meaningful, fulfilling and just. I look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s conference, and continuing our tradition of deep engagement with ideas that enhance education in our global society.”