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Washington State University

Ph.D. student wins WSU Woman of Distinction Award

By Breck Smith – College of Education intern

Washington State University President Elson Floyd presented doctoral student Lynn Becerra with the annual Graduate Woman of Distinction Award on March 24, 2015.

Becerra is currently a doctoral student in the College of Education’s Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education program.Bree Berg interview stills

Becerra was nominated for this award by, Dr. Linda Heidenreich Zuñiga (Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies) and Becerra’s fellow student Veronica Sandoval. These two women highlighted Becerra as someone who goes the extra mile in order to improve herself and others around her, regarding education.  Specifically, Becerra’s primary focus has been students who do not receive the justified representation, when achieving both bachelor and doctoral degrees. In addition to her course load, she has managed to create time to provide lectures and classroom visits, presenting information about how to translate collegiate degrees into future success. Her passion and the success regarding younger generations have made her a role model for first-generation college students, in addition to being a role model for female students. Being the primary organizer for Latino Education and Advocacy Day, she exemplified this drive to go above and beyond in helping underrepresented students become collegiate scholars.

Her exceptional leadership ability has caused a powerful social change and has inspired students to become successfully driven individuals. Within the Washington State University community she has found time to be an inspired leader for those looking to make a difference and to realize their maximum potential as people. These actions have caused students to believe that anything is possible when there is a goal and 100 percent effort towards a cause. Her consistent volunteering efforts demonstrate the type of dedication it takes to make a significant change on a relatively difficult landscape. Being selfless and assertive towards a goal, which benefits the next generation are qualities that exemplify this type of award.

Overall Becerra’s ability to benefit the people around her and be a positive role model to younger generations is why she was nominated. The countless hours of balancing her school work and volunteering in regards to representing all students throughout the collegiate landscape is something to be admired. The award represents the gratitude and admiration of all the hard work that Becerra has demonstrated over her time at WSU. She has molded her community into a more enjoyable, productive, and justified place where education will be able to thrive into the future for all generations and people to come.


Successful trip to Legislature

Update by Gay Selby
Feb. 16, 2015

We had a great day at the Legislature today — nearly 40 students from Puyallup and Vancouver!  capitol

We had an informative tour of the Legislative Building.

We had a super catered lunch in the Senate Rules Room in the Lt. Governor’s area with guests Marcie Maxwell, Gene Sharratt, and Jerry Bender (AWSP Lobbyist). We also had a special guest in Lt. Governor Brad Owens.

We attended an interesting Senate Early Learning, K-12, Higher Education Committee policy hearing with a number of bills directly related to the work our students do in their districts.  Senator Rivers recognized our students which was a perfect way to top off the day — a warm, spring-like day with the daffodils coming into bloom.

Taking the Emerald City by storm

By Trevor Havard
WSU Sport Management Club

About 30 students from the WSU Sport Management Club traveled to Seattle for its fall semester trip Sept. 27-28 to visit Safeco Field and see the Seattle Mariners face off against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The trip included an exclusive pregame tour of Safeco Field, including the chance to see executive offices, press boxes, luxury suits, and more.

The club members also held a thorough Q&A session with the Seattle Mariner’s director of ticket sales where they received valuable advice and got an inside look at what working in professional sports is like. The students asked a ton of questions and many said the experience was great.

At the game, the students sat in Safeco Field’s Terrace Club thanks to a great group deal given to the club. The game itself was a nail-biter, as the Seattle Mariners won in extra innings with the season hanging in the balance.

The trip was such a success that many of the students went back to Safeco Field the next day and watched the Mariner’s final game of the season before returning to Pullman. Great job WSU Sport Management Club and thank you for representing WSU Sport Management so well.

Here are some photos from Safeco Field:

3 1 4 2

Retrospective: EdM collaboration

There are seven outstanding Master of Education (EdM) students doing their course work in Puyallup. For four of them, it wouldn’t truly be summer without a road trip.

Students from Puyallup's EdM program recently joined up with those from Vancouver.
Students from Puyallup’s EdM program recently joined up with those from Vancouver.

Those four recently traveled south, rented a cabin at Battle Ground Lake State Park, visited WSU’s Vancouver campus, and meet the instructors and other students face to face.

It was a good experience for all involved.

The Ed.M. degree program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who have an interest in deepening their knowledge in a specific content area (inside or outside the College of Education), as well as educational research in curriculum and instruction.

More information on all of the college’s graduate programs can be found on the Office of Graduate Education webpage.


Previous article: Educational leadership expands to south Puget Sound


Communicating Korea

Tandem to stay in touch with those in the states

By C. Brandon Chapman
College of Education

They have a packed agenda. They plan to blog. They plan to vlog. They plan to podcast. They plan to tweet.

The only question now is when they plan to sleep.

With slightly less than two weeks before College of Education professors Yong Chae Rhee and Chris Lebens take a small group of sport management students to South Korea for a six-week study abroad, the duo has outlined some of their plans for communicating back to the states.

The two main highlights include:

  • Frequent updates here on the college’s blog, EduCoug. Rhee and Lebens will both write and embed video. They’ll be taking a GoPro Hero 3+ to visually document the trip, and they’ll embed videos in the blog. There’s an off chance Lebens may run a half or full marathon with the GoPro attached.
  • They’ll be tweeting like there’s no tomorrow. They’ll be using #CougsInKorea to join people together in common discussion.

Here’s a previous WSU News article that was written about the trip:

EduCoug back up and running!

By C. Brandon Chapman
College of Education

A blog doesn’t do anyone any good if nobody posts to it. And, when the account information (and password) are tied to an individual, instead of the organization, you risk losing all log-in info when that person seeks new occupational opportunities elsewhere.

Brandon Chapman, Director of Marketing and Communications

Yeah, that happened to the College of Education. -1 for us.

We’re back now! It took six months, two hackers, 14 toothpicks, a corn-fed harvest mouse, three separate web algorithms, and an in-person visit from Snoop Dogg (long story).

But we digress. The main point to be made is we’re back, we’re happy about it, and we’re going to use this as a way to communicate things that maybe need a little extra communicating. Or maybe we want to speak to the masses and not sound so darned formal.

It’ll be a concerted effort to post frequently enough to capture some interest, but not too frequently that you want to disassociate yourself from us! We’ll cross departments and programs, new initiatives with long-standing traditions.

Maybe it’s something about research, maybe our development efforts, maybe diversity efforts. We’ll just mix it up.

As cool as this sounds, this blog is not to be confused with the dean’s blog, aptly named Dean’s Perspectives, in which our trusted leader simply wows us with his awesomeness.

Enjoy the ride!

A service for faculty: Help with grant writing, article submission

By Laura Girardeau
Faculty Research Development Coordinator

Laura Girardeau

I would like to extend a warm welcome to new College of Education faculty at all campuses of Washington State University. You — and even some not-so-newcomers — may be surprised to learn that our college offers support for all faculty members who are seeking and writing grants or submitting journal articles. I am fortunate to be able to provide this service, which is relatively rare at institutions like ours.

I’m here to help you find appropriate grants for your research interests, network with collaborators, coach you in the writing process, and offer suggestions on drafts and final submissions. Most faculty are excellent writers when it comes to academic writing style, but many don’t realize that grant writing style can differ significantly. Therefore, coaching during the grant writing process can make the difference between a winning proposal and the usual “practice” proposal.

In January, 2013, when Mike Trevisan took the position of interim dean, I offered to take over a service that he previously provided: journal manuscript review. I would like to use my experience co-authoring articles at the University of Hawaii and editing faculty and graduate manuscripts at WSU’s Graduate & Professional Writing Center to give you thoughtful, encouraging support on your drafts.

We can work together online, so you can save time by emailing me your article manuscripts and grant proposal drafts at any stage in the writing process.

The ball is in your court, and any changes are up to you. I look forward to hearing from you at, or 509- 335-6232. Happy writing!

My visit to Shanghai Normal University

Last week my wife Fran and I visited Shanghai Normal University. I provided a keynote address for the Family, Society, and Education Summit on the role of evaluation in preschool programs. Mike Trevisan, Associate Dean for Research and External FundingThe summit was sponsored by the university’s Early Childhood Education Department. My contact there is Washington State University alumna Dr. Huihua He (Ph.D. ’07). Some of you will remember Huihua from her time as an educational psychology doctoral student. She was a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral research associate for me.

In addition to the presentation, I had several meetings with students, faculty, and administrators to discuss the possibility of partnerships and research collaborations. Shanghai Normal is eager to collaborate with universities from the West as its leaders further develop its university system. International collaboration is a WSU priority, so a connection to Shanghai could play well for the College of Education.

According to our hosts, Shanghai has a population of 27 million people. Half of the people, referred to as immigrants, are from rural China and other provinces who have come to Shanghai to find work. Given the expense of living in the city, many have come without their children. These children are referred to as “left behinds.” they are raised by anyone in their previous community who is willing to provide care, a situation that poses a significant social challenge for China. China sees education as a key factor in addressing that challenge.

Mike Trevisan and Huihua He

Our hosts were gracious, the food delicious, and the city of Shanghai interesting. Should anyone be interested in establishing collaborative work with Shanghai Normal University or any other international university, particularly from a developing country, please contact me. I will try to find ways to support your work.

COE’s first-ever writing retreat – a success by any measure!

Writing workshop participants

Last weekend, nine newer assistant professors from the college met on the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus to work on their writing and learn about ways to increase scholarly productivity, enhance their writing skill, seek grant opportunities, and make connections with colleagues. While writing retreats as a concept are not new, pulling together assistant professors in a college of education for a writing retreat could be unique.

The workshop was facilitated by college Research Development Coordinator Laura Girardeau, myself, and Dean A.G. Rud. Those in attendance were:

Olusola Adesope, Educational Psychology
Chad Lochmiller, Educational leadership
Kristin Huggins, Educational leadership
Eric Johnson, Bilingual education
Kristin Leissig, Mathematics Education
Sarah Newcomber, Literacy
Kelly Puzio, Literacy
Yong-chae Rhee, Sport Management
Sara Ullrich-French, Kinesiology

Faculty were asked to bring one or more writing projects to work on. Book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, a grant proposal to NSF, and a dissertation were some of the projects people brought. Some reported entire sections of a manuscript were completed during this time. Yong-chae Rhee completed, submitted, and had accepted an expert column on the U.S. Open tennis tournament in the top Korean portal site, “Daum.” The column is titled “The U.S. Open, the festival for tennis-crazed fans.” The daily traffic for this portal is approximately 3,650,000 people. This  column could have quite an impact.

We spent time discussing challenges to writing, ways to overcome them, and each offered to the group, something they would work on or incorporate into their writing routine.

Time was also spent on seeking grant opportunities, strategies for developing ideas, building collaborations, and ways to promote projects.

We also had some fun in the evening. Assistant Vice Chancellor Liza Nagel had us over to her place for a wonderful dinner and social gathering.

As we broke on Sunday afternoon, one faculty member mentioned to me that while it was understood that improvement of writing was the main outcome for the retreat, getting to know colleagues and making connections that might not be easily done without the retreat, was also a key outcome.

We obtained feedback on what worked well and what could be improved. Planning is already under way for another retreat next year with a different group of faculty.


How news from D.C. affects the College of Education here at home

By Mike Trevisan

Last weekend I attended the annual meeting of the Organization of Institutional Affiliates (OIA) in Washington DC, sponsored by AERA. This educational research and policy meeting is attended by deans and associate deans in order to connect research-oriented colleges of education to current national and legislative issues.

Presenters included prominent researchers such as Andy Porter, now Dean of the College of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Presenting work on the Common Core Curriculum Standards, he made the case that despite national investment and involvement by many states, these standards are only marginally better than most state standards. Sure to cause a stir, a recent article in Educational Researcher provides the data, analysis, and story behind his claims.

Michael Feuer, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at George Washington University and former Director of the National Research Council’s Center for Education was another lively speaker. To demonstrate how research universities can become engaged in education policy and politics, he described a unique collaboration between his school and the Washington, D.C. public school system to conduct ongoing system evaluation and research. He noted that the Washington, D.C. school system is widely known to be fraught with cronyism, and is seen as an embarrassing example of some U.S. school systems’ history of poorly serving underrepresented groups, particularly the African-American community.

Fortunately, the Education Reform Amendment Act was passed in 2007, which greatly assisted the Washington, D.C. school system and community in addressing these problems. This bold move shifted control from an elected school board to the mayor. The provisions of this act call for transparency and accountability in the school system. The act calls for independent evaluation, which provides a unique opportunity for the Graduate School of Education at George Washington University. Michael Feuer articulately suggested that colleges of education throughout the nation can become involved in this type of powerful work. However, this requires a tolerance for ambiguity, a thick skin, and a sense of humor. There will surely be more for our own College of Education to learn from this work.

More attention-grabbing presentations were led by congressional staffers from the House and Senate education subcommittees, including “majority” and “minority” staffers. To say that the atmosphere in the room could be “cut with a knife” is an understatement!

Republicans and Democrats differ significantly in regard to the role of the federal government in education, which was clearly reflected in their presentations. These talks also provoked controversy by suggesting that colleges of education at research universities produce research that is inaccessible to most stakeholders, potentially irrelevant to “people on the ground,” as one staffer put it, and not very useful to staffers who need “bulleted items that can be quickly read and digested.”

Budget gridlock, the possibility of sequestration, and the conjectures of what might happen if one or the other presidential candidate is elected were major conversational themes throughout the meeting, particularly among the staffers in attendance. This part of the meeting was both interesting and sobering.

Whatever the outcome of the November elections, WSU’s College of Education appears to be on a roll. We have approval to hire several new tenure-track faculty. Our new science educator, Andy Cavagnetto, is a co-PI on an Institute of Education Sciences grant and brought some of that money with him when he arrived this summer in Pullman. Within the last few months our faculty have submitted several large grant proposals, produced a variety of scholarly works, and is teaching some innovative new classes this semester. In short, the College of Education is well-positioned to compete and do good work for Washington State and beyond.