Michael Goh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) and Mike Stebleton, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning (PSTL) presented at the April 26, 2013 Diversity Through the Disciplines Symposium organized by the University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity. Goh and Stebleton were featured as recipients of the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA) Multicultural Research Award. Goh's presentation was titled "Decoding and encoding culturally competent mental health practices" and Stebleton's presentation was titled "Space matters: Immigrant college students at 4-year research institutions."
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Ezra Hyland, teaching specialist in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, is pleased to work with Best Academy serving as chair of the school's Board of Directors. Best Academy is a K-8 Minneapolis based school and one of five schools to be awarded the 2013 Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) School Award. COSEBOC is a national organization of schools and respected educators, researchers, policy makers, and advocates who focus on promoting and sharing innovative approaches that improve education at schools with significant populations of young men of color. The annual COSEBOC School Awards are awarded to schools with proven success for closing the achievement gap among boys of color. In the award announcement, it was noted that "Best Academy has succeeded in creating an environment that promotes academic success, self-respect, and self-determination for its male students of color". Using a "gap-closing" educational framework, 82% of Best Academy's male students scored proficient in reading and 83% scored proficient in math. Best Academy was also recognized because it considers student learning a high priority and a school-wide matter. Everyone takes responsibility and initiative to ensure the well-being of the entire school community. In addition to the award, Best Academy will receive a $10,000 grant. Congratulations to Ezra, the students, and the many stakeholders who have made Best Academy the successful school it is.
Murray Jensen, associate professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, recently hosted the spring 2013 Golden Femur competition. The competition is a culminating event for students participating in the PsTL 1135: Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology College in the Schools program. The UCare grant supported program is a year-long curriculum designed to raise awareness about how dietary and life style choices impact health and disease. Nearly 600 juniors and seniors from 20 high schools across Minnesota gathered at the University to compete for the coveted Golden Femur Award. Teams of students presented to judges via table-top displays on the relationships between food choices, obesity, and public health issues such as type II diabetes and atherosclerosis. After evaluating each team's work, the judges announced the winners. Congratulations to Dover-Eyota High School, the 2013 Golden Femur recipient. Eastview High School was awarded the Silver Scapula and Minnehaha Academy was awarded the Bronze Ulna.
Simone Gbolo, MA student in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, presented her thesis research, "Improving student experiences in school: The African American Student Network," at the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) Annual Convention. The African American Student network (AFAM), originally developed to support African American students at the U of MN, was implemented at the high school level to support and create a stronger sense of belonging for African American students. AFAM provided space for 9th-12th grade African American students to discuss their experiences, address concerns, and build community. AFAM participants met once a week for 45 minutes in group discussions that were facilitated by African American administrators. The core outcomes that emerged from the qualitative data suggest that AFAM supports students in a way that affects their ability to cope in their school environment. The data also indicates that AFAM creates a strong sense of belonging for African American students that could potentially influence their academic outcomes.
Associate Professor Sue Staats is the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning's most recent winner of the Horace T. Morse University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Staats is recognized and respected by her colleagues as a highly innovative and creative scholar, researcher, and instructor.
"Creating pathways for students to discover a personal connection, and then seeing the path they take, is the greatest joy for me as a teacher," says Staats. "When students can create and explore on their own using math, I know that they've learned something."
Colleagues describe her knack for building assignments that weave skills from different disciplines and give students the chance to experience integrative learning. This, along with her personal warmth, says a former colleague, has a way of "building the confidence of immigrant and refugee students who often [have] difficulties and needs beyond those of other freshmen." One of the nominators noted that "Sue Staats is a remarkable educator whose teaching is informed by research and whose impact on students goes far beyond the mathematics she helps students learn."
One of Staats's many contributions to student success is her work with students in PsTL 1006: Mathematical Modeling and Prediction. "Most of my students are not pursuing a STEM major," she says. "There is a special responsibility that comes from working with students at the end of their formal mathematical education. For me, the most important experience for these students is to make mathematics personal, to discover ways in which mathematics contributes to their understanding of their own passions."
Her passion for teaching transcends "a wide range of venues, from personalized classroom activities, to teaching a wide range of classes, to department program development, and increasing statewide opportunities for less-prepared students to enter college," according to her nomination letter.
"Moments that give me the most happiness are when students find a reason to care about mathematics," says Staats.
Sue was honored with other University 2012-13 distinguished teaching award winners at a ceremony on April 30 at the McNamara Alumni Center. The award also includes induction in the University's Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
Tabitha Grier-Reed, Associate Professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, had students from her PsTL 1281 Principles of Psychology class have their research accepted and presented at the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) Annual Convention. The group of students conducted a project titled "Student Perceptions of Prescription Drug Use to Improve Academic Performance: Survey Research Project" as part of Grier-Reed's PsTL 1281 course. The team developed an online questionnaire and surveyed college students about using someone else's prescription drugs to enhance academic performance. They hypothesized that most students would believe that using prescription drugs without a prescription to enhance academic performance was not wrong, and at that least half would admit to engaging in this practice. Grier-Reed was extremely proud of this group as she heard them discuss the importance of cultural differences and changing norms regarding prescription drug use. This innovative study echoed findings by Dodge, Williams, Marzell, and Turrisi (2012) recently highlighted in the APA Monitor.
Do you know what it means to eat a healthy breakfast? Do you know why that's important? The University of Minnesota is helping the next generation answer questions like these about the relationship between eating and health.
Nearly 600 juniors and seniors from 20 high schools across Minnesota will compete at the University on April 30 for the coveted Golden Femur Award. As participants in College in the Schools, a concurrent enrollment program between the University and Minnesota high schools, the students will show off their knowledge of public health issues through participation in a college-level human anatomy and physiology course.
Teams of students will present to judges via table-top displays on the relationships between food choices, obesity, and public health issues such as Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis during the field day event, which is supported by a grant from the UCare Fund. After evaluating each team's work, the judges will award the Golden Femur to first-place winners. Second and third place finishers will be awarded the Silver Scapula and Bronze Ulna, respectively. All students competed first at their high schools to qualify for a spot at the University event.
The all-day event, which starts at 9 a.m. in the Great Hall of Coffman Union, includes University speakers and other group activities on health, lifestyle, and dietary choices. Students also have the opportunity to interact with a diversity of students from urban, suburban, and out-state schools.
Murray Jensen, associate professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, began offering the course six years ago. "We expect a lot of these kids," Jensen says. "We want them to experience not only what it is like to be college students, but also to begin to take on the role of health care advocates."
This event and related course trips and materials for high school students and teachers are sponsored by the UCare Fund under a theme of Smart and Active Students, Strong and Healthy Communities. "The UCare Fund's sponsorship of the College in the Schools program is a great example of how we like to support the education of tomorrow's health care leaders," says Ghita Worcester, UCare's senior vice president of public affairs and marketing. "We are pleased to be a part of this event that brings together high school students from across the state to promote healthy communities."
College in the Schools courses provide both high school and university credit. All teachers are selected, prepared, and continuously supported through discipline-specific, University-led professional development workshops and through classroom observations by University faculty.
The Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning continued its monthly research series with Associate Professor David Arendale presenting on "Professional Identity Development of Peer Study Group Leaders". The presentation was based on research by Arendale and Graduate Research Assistant Amanda Hane from their study of personal and professional outcomes for University student study group leaders where professional identity development models for teachers were applied to understand how student leaders develop their teaching identity. The research project involved understanding how these group leaders made choices on how to conduct their study review sessions. Sometimes they act as discussion facilitators for less difficult material and other times adapt their role to a traditional Teaching Assistant for material students struggled with. Research outcomes left many implications for the coaching and training of future student leaders, one of which is endorsement of providing more answers for appropriate situations.
Margaret Delehanty Kelly, senior teaching specialist in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, is being awarded the Civic Engagement Steward Award. Given by the University Community Service Learning Center, this award recognizes Kelly's use of service learning in her courses including CEHD's First Year Experience course PsTL 1525W: First Year Inquiry: Multidisciplinary Ways of Knowing.
This award is given to individuals or groups who have "significantly advanced their campus' distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others' civic engagement, and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement." Kelly embeds service learning in each of her courses as a "living text". Students not only apply theory and concepts learned in class but deepen their understanding of how diverse organizations are committed to social justice in the United States. Kelly will receive the award at the Minnesota Campus Compact's Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony on April 1 at Hamline University. Congratulations!
Assistant Professor Mike Stebleton from the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning and Marina Aleixo, recent PhD graduate in Curriculum and Instruction, presented their research at the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) national conference. Entitled, "Space Matters: Immigrant College Students' Perceptions of Belonging at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs)", the presentation explored "how ethnic minority, immigrant students perceive physical space as a symbolic representation of their experiences at PWIs". Stebleton and Aleixo applied an ecological model in order to highlight a contextual framework that would help the audience better understand immigrant students' experiences. After reviewing student narratives, participants actively discussed various issues "of belonging and intersecting identities". Stebleton and Aleixo aimed to focus on sharing high impact educational practices to help create spaces that promote belonging and social and academic engagement throughout university campuses.