News - 2011

News - 2011


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Sara HeilSara Heil, a 2003 alumna and Portage Central French teacher was honored by Fox 17 news as their Teacher of the Week. Madame Heil was nominated by a former student and selected to receive the award by the West Michigan news organization. Fox 17's Jon Shaner went to Portage Central in December to interview Madame Heil for her accomplishments. Congratulations, Madame Heil!
Posted December 22

Alumna Angela Knapp (class of 2003, B.S. Elementary Education, minors in English, science, early childhood education) earned the prestigious title of National Board Certified Teacher. Knapp, a teacher at John Burroughs Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District has earned the highest credential available to American educators by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). National Board Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment of a teacher's pedagogical skills and content knowledge. The certification takes one to three years to
Posted December 20

James MuchmoreDr. James Muchmore, Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Studies, has been selected as one of four candidates for the Special Interest Group (SIG) Executive Committee of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).  Based in Washington, D.C., AERA is the world's largest and most prestigious professional organization for educational researchers.  The SIG Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing all of the SIGs within the organization (currently numbering more than 150). The election will be held in January, 2012.  All members of AERA who belong to at least one SIG are eligible to vote.
Posted December 16

Allison Downey, Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Studies, presented her paper, "New York Stories: Perspectives from the New York City Storytelling Scene" at The American Folklore Society's Annual Conference at The University of Indiana at Bloomington. This paper is based on findings from her sabbatical research in New York City 2010-2011 where she conducted a comparative analysis of contemporary American storytelling formats, and primarily focuses on The Moth storytelling organization, which boasts more than a million downloads of stories weekly. Downey performed for The Moth's Mainstage tour of Michigan this summer for sold out shows in Grand Rapids (Royce Auditorium) and Ann Arbor (The Power Center).
Posted November 14


Anthony Haduch and Kyla MarshallCoEHD Students in Homecoming Court
Reporter, Ambrosia Neldon

Kyla Marshall is a fifth year student studying early childhood education with emphases on language arts and social studies. Marshall was nominated by Omicron Sigma Lambda. She also participates in First Year Seminar, Fall Welcome, Orientation Student Leadership, the Michigan Education Association, Spring into the Streets and Spring Retreat.

Anthony Haduch is a junior studying early childhood education with emphasis in language arts and social studies. He was nominated by Omicron Sigma Lambda. Haduch is a New Student Orientation Intern, a First-Year Seminar Instructor, publicity chair of College Students Against Cancer, a resident assistant, a student orientation leader and a student orientation coordinator. “I should be king because of my interactions with people on campus and my drive to ease the transition onto a university campus for both freshmen and transfer students,” said Haduch.
Posted October 17


Western Michigan University and the College of Education and Human Development were well represented at the International SELF Research Conference this summer. This gathering of researchers in education and social psychology was held in Quebec City, Canada. Heather Highhouse (CECP) and Dr. Allison Kelaher-Young (TLES) presented findings from a study of self-determination, pre-service teacher beliefs, and the decision to enter the teaching profession. Bethany Warnaar and Joshua Bench (CECP), working with Dr. Jeffrey Jones (TLES), reported on psychosocial outcomes that result from participation in community service and social action.Self conferenc self conference
Posted Septmeber 26

Dr. Allison Downey

On June 22, storytellers for 'The Moth', New York's hottest literary phenomenon and non-profit organization dedicated to storytelling, came to Grand Rapids.

Five storytellers shared their short stories of comedy and calamity with a packed house at Royce Auditorium. Among the storytellers was Dr. Allison Downey, Assistant Professor in Elementary Education.

The shows are part of a larger effort to bring real life tales and storytellers to different spots across the country instead of just having their stories broadcast over the radio. 'The Moth' can be heard in West Michigan on NPR and Michigan Radio. Since it sprung up in New York in the mid-nineties the short storytelling has become wildly popular.

"One of the reasons the radio show is so popular, it just won a Peabody award this last year... and almost everyone interviewed talked about the need in this digital world to have a person sort of face to face" said storyteller Allison Downey.

Hear more about 'The Moth'
Posted June 29

Jeff JonesDr. Jeffrey Jones is studying motivation in alternative education and school practices that promote student engagement. His article, "Narratives of student engagement in an alternative learning context," is forthcoming in the Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk (JESPAR). This research presents narratives that describe how students construct stories of transition in their schooling. Dr. Jones is also preparing an article for an edited volume on student engagement that examines how the affordances of the learning environment interact with motivational processes through student perspectives.
Posted June 8

Dr. Tetyana Koshmanova, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, recently had an article published in a peer-reviewed, refereed Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, edited by Pentti Hakkarainen, University of Oulu, Finland and Michael Cole, University of California, San Diego.

Koshmanova, T.S. (2011) The School of Dialogue of Cultures: Legacies and Prospects. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 49 (2), March-April 2011, 23-29.
Posted June 7

Dr. Regena Nelson had a book chapter published in May.

Nelson, R.F. (2011). The school readiness of preschoolers from urban backgrounds. In D.M. Laverick & M.R. Jalongo (Eds.), Transition to early care and education: International perspectives on making schools ready for young children (pp. 107-115). Springer International:New York
Posted June 7

In the Service of Learning

In the Service of LearningFor the last two years, students at WMU have been participating in academic service learning through a program organized by the Division of Multicultural Affairs and funded by a grant from the Michigan Campus Compact. Teacher candidates in the Secondary Education Program working with Drs. Allison Kelaher-Young and Jeffrey Jones, and Spanish students working with Dr. Michael Millar, are engaged in local schools and community organizations to provide academic and social support to K-12 students.

In the Service of LearningThis opportunity allows Western students to make important connections between course concepts and youth experience, and an evaluation is identifying positive outcomes. Many education students note that academic service learning has changed their views on teaching and learning. One student reported that "I have to learn to deal with each student in a different way." A high school student shared that the program makes her feel better prepared for college, "because I was taught how to take notes and choose what I need."

Dr. Erika Carr and Diana Hernandez, the Associate Director and Director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs, are assisted by a number of graduate students and community practitioners in implementing this program, including Ashley King, Derek Andree, Walter Malone, Tania Echavarria, Lori Mercedes, and Angelita Aguilar-Nivala. This working group recently presented this service program at the annual Governor's Education Summit in Lansing.
Posted May 24

A metallurgical engineer with 15 years of industry experience and a minister with a background in anatomy and physiology are among 12 people who will begin their studies at Western Michigan University soon as part of a statewide initiative to prepare and place top-quality new math and science teachers in Michigan's public schools.

A dozen students headed to WMU are among recipients of the highly competitive W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowships announced today in a ceremony in Gov. Rick Snyder's office at the Capitol.

WMU is one of six Michigan universities invited to recruit both recent college graduates and those seeking a different career for three-year fellowships designed to attract promising educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics--known as STEM disciplines. Fellows receive $30,000 to pursue a customized master's degree program that prepares them to teach in high-need urban or rural secondary schools in seven local districts across the state.

The inaugural class of WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellows who will study at WMU includes newly minted college graduates from colleges across Michigan as well as veteran science professionals who earned their degrees around the nation and as long ago as 1979.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched the statewide fellowship program in 2009 with $18 million in support. Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, joined Gov. Rick Snyder and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation President Arthur Levine in announcing the inaugural class of fellows. The fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of 1,500 applicants hailing from a variety of experiences and former careers in math- and science-related fields.

Loretta Vaara of Holland, Mich., says she's a perfect example of the kind of career change the fellowships make possible. She has a mathematics degree, an MBA and a track record as an engineer and project manager in the automotive industry. She was also ready to return to the work force after time off to focus on her family.

"Teaching was always in the back of my mind, even in college," Vaara says. "But I knew what a teacher did and I wanted to try something different. I loved my career, and in hindsight, I know it will make me a better teacher. I was a math major in college and ended up in engineering and project management--areas I didn't even consider in high school. I'll be able to tell students about the career paths that will open up for them with a technical background."

At WMU, the program will be a strong field-based effort focused on preparing teachers for work in urban settings. The University has partnered with two large school districts--Benton Harbor Area Schools and Kalamazoo Public Schools--to ensure fellows have a wealth of experience in the classroom.

The fellowship program at WMU will lead to certification in mathematics, chemistry and physics. Certification will be earned during the first year, and the program will ultimately lead to a master's degree.

Fellows, who will begin their studies in the coming weeks, make a three-year commitment to teach in one of Michigan's high-need districts as part of the fellowship program. The first cohort of fellows will seek teaching positions for fall 2012 employment. Through the fellowship program and during their first three years of teaching, they will receive intensive support and mentoring to encourage them to continue their professional development and work with Michigan youth.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows who will study at WMU are:

  • Shanda Bennett of Wyoming, Mich. She is a 2009 graduate of Grand Valley State University who majored in cell and molecular biology and was involved in undergraduate research on orchid embryos. She is a certified phlebotomist.
  • Karen Deppe of Marshall, Mich. She is a 1979 graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in metallurgical engineering. She has 15 years of experience in a laboratory and manufacturing environment and has been a volunteer math tutor and teaching assistant in three schools as well as a substitute teacher
  • Mark Garrod of Lansing, Mich. He is a 2011 graduate of Michigan State University with a major in mathematics and a track record as a college teaching assistant and a volunteer coach for high school quiz bowl and Science Olympiad teams. He also has taught English as a second language.
  • Helen Hale of Kalamazoo. She is a 1988 graduate of Mississippi Valley State University who majored in biology and has experience as a laboratory technician. She is the director of a childcare center and youth program and has been working with young people for more than 15 years.
  • Sarah Jenzen of Grosse Pointe, Mich. She is scheduled to graduate in June from Kalamazoo College with a degree in mathematics and psychology. She has been a peer consultant in K College's Math and Physics Center, a math mentor and an elementary school math tutor.
  • Melanie Kapolka of Pleasant Ridge, Mich. She is a 2011 graduate of Albion College who majored in biology and minored in chemistry. She has been a teaching assistant for an introductory biology lab, a coach and swim instructor, and a community volunteer.
  • Mitchell Overway of Holland, Mich. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in health sciences from Grand Valley State University in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He is a full-time minister who works with at-risk teens and adults and has been a teaching assistant, tutor, and lab instructor in human anatomy and physiology as well as a youth coach.
  • Onika Powell of Kalamazoo. She is a 2006 microbiology graduate of the University of Florida who majored in microbiology. She has been a clinical researcher and lab mycologist as well as an elementary school tutor, a chemistry teaching assistant and a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Travis Smith of Kalamazoo and Greensboro, N.C.. He is a 2010 graduate of Kalamazoo College who has a degree in mathmatics. Fluent in Spanish, he has been an assistant high school math teacher in Ecuador, an algebra camp counselor and a pre-calculus tutor for high-need students and a study host for the Caribbean Society of Kalamazoo.
  • Trevor Stefanick of Kalamazoo. He is a 2004 WMU alumnus who has just completed a master's degree in physics, also from WMU. He has served as a part-time faculty member at both WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College and as a theatre volunteer with high-risk high school students.
  • Kerry Steinke of Kalamazoo. She is a 2009 WMU alumna who majored in biomedical sciences and Spanish and minored in chemistry. She has been a lab technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working on plum pox virus, and a quality control lab technician at Perrigo, testing finished products.
  • Loretta Vaara of Holland, Mich. She is a 1988 alumna of WMU who majored in mathematics, and she earned an MBA at Wayne State University in 1994. She is a former program manager, quality engineer and systems engineer for the automotive industry and is an active volunteer with school and community youth.

The first round of fellowship recipients also included a WMU alumnus who will go to the University of Michigan for his fellowship work. Richard Ostrowski of Byron, Mich., is a 2009 WMU graduate who majored in anthropology and environmental studies.

In addition to WMU and the U of M, other Michigan universities hosting WWKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellows are Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. The universities are partnering with seven public school districts.

The inaugural 2011 fellowship competition generated some 48,000 inquiries and more than 1,500 applications. The selection process included initial screening, a full-day of interviews driven by a team of veteran STEM researchers and an admissions review process by the partner universities.
Posted May 23

Congratulations to WMU alumnus Matthew McCullough, a social studies teacher at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo, MI for receiving an Excellence Award for Educational Excellence at MEA's Human Rights & Excellence Award Banquet April 29. The award is reserved for educators with a demonstrated commitment to educational excellence and a concern for the improvement of education focusing on the student.

Dr. Dini Metro-RolandDr. Dini Metro-Roland's article titled, "Theories and Concepts of Michel Foucault," has just been published in B.A.U. Levinson (Ed.), Critical Social Theories and Education: Questions and Perspectives. This work serves as an introduction to social theory for graduate students of education. It defines and situates critical social theory in relation to other kinds of social science and educational theories. A chapter on "foundations and forerunners" discusses the origins of a critical social theory tradition in the work of Karl Marx, Max Weber, G.H. Mead, and others. Full chapters explicate the life trajectories and key concepts of Antonio Gramsci, members of the Frankfurt School and Jurgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault and post-structuralism, feminism, and critical race theory. These chapters also feature a section that traces and maps out some of the education scholarship employing these critical social theories - with accompanying bibliographies - as well as a section that more closely examines a few key examples of such scholarship, identifying the ways that critical social theory concepts get taken up in research. Finally, not content to limit the discussion to conventionally acknowledged critical theories, a final chapter, called "Friendly critiques and fellow travelers," introduces and discusses a number of related theories, assessing their potential to contribute to education for social transformation. Among the theories discussed here are liberalism, pragmatism, world-systems, critical globalization and postcolonial theories , Latin American critical thought (liberation theology, dependency theory, Fals Borda and Freire, participatory democracy), deep ecology and spirituality, and practice-centered critiques of power (Flyvbjerg, Holland, Erickson).
Posted April 1

Marjorie StoneMarjorie Stone was named a Presidential Scholar in Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. She knows a lot about children because she has three of her own. She received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Aquinas College in 1985. She worked in research and development for 19 years for The Upjohn Company/Pfizer but when her department was eliminated, she decided to pursue a second career in teaching. Margie has been very successful in her studies at WMU with a 3.95 GPA. She hopes to secure a job teaching science at the middle or high school level in the Kalamazoo/Portage area while pursuing a master’s degree. Margie enjoys volunteering at her children’s school and hopes to be involved in the Girls on the Run/Girls on Track programs in Kalamazoo.
Posted March 9

Alum Lesley Hagelgans, a teacher in Marshall, joins reform debate
See abstract

book fair

Two WMU members of the Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA) volunteered at the 2011 Scholastic Book Fair. Pictured are SMEA e-board members Sara Coleman (left) and SMEA member Kyla Marshall (right). SMEA will also host a read-a-thon at Northeastern Elementary School on March 2nd.
Posted Feb 15

Dr. Paul FarberDr. Dini Metro-Roland

Drs. Paul Farber and Dini Metro-Roland from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies recently published an article in the Philosophy of Education Society Yearbook (2010) called, "Lost Causes: Online Instruction and the Integrity of Presence." In this article they examine the emergence and character of online instruction in higher education. In particular, they focus on two different forms of presence, virtual and embodied, and the modes of possibility and educational ideals to which they gravitate. While online instruction tends to focus on the ideal of utility of presence, the redeeming quality of traditional instruction emerges, in their view, from what they call the integrity of presence. Examining such presence, they contend that there are vital forms of educational experience that are more characteristic to, and may even require, the embodied presence of face-to-face instruction.
Posted Feb 15


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