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photoDr. Kathy Shoop was named as the SPU School of Education Doctoral Alumni of the Year at a recent 2014 homecoming event. She completed her doctoral studies at SPU in 2005 and currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the Northwest Education Service District 189 in Anacortes, WA. She is a high level school administrator who is well connected and respected throughout the state. She is an active member of the Washington Common Core Committee and works closely with state staff and local school districts, leaders, and teachers on implementing best practices. She is currently involved in implementation of the Washington Teacher Principal Evaluation Project (TPEP). She recently had an article published in the winter edition of the Washington Kappan about school partnerships. She was actively engaged with SPU teacher ProCert programs for many years. She previously served on the Washington Association of School Administrator (WASA) Board of Directors and won the WSASCD State Excellence Award. Congratulations Dr. Shoop!

Alex JohnLast year I decided to take the leap. I am currently a high school counselor and I was looking for the next thing in my career. At the Washington Education Association (WEA) state conference in 2012 I happened to pass a booth that SPU was at and noticed that there was a PhD program in counselor education. The light bulb went on in my head – I could get a degree in counselor education and work with the next generation of professional school counselors?! Sign me up! After dragging my feet (and brain) to the GRE testing center – I survived yeah!! – I began my journey of becoming a college educator.

The courses that I have taken at SPU have me reflecting on my practice as a counselor, educator and learner. I look forward to continually stretching myself and discovering new topics of interest. Most recently I have been fascinated with Self-Efficacy and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Studying these topics allows me to think about how I can apply them to my school program.

I look forward to working with future and current counselors throughout my PhD program and beyond. Sharing my experiences and learning from new student’s insights will bring another element to my practice and allow me to always be learning!

Alex currently serves as a School Counselor at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA. 

DaaneIt is hard to believe I am already beginning my 3rd year as a graduate student at Seattle Pacific University.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be supported by both the School of Education and the Physics Department here on campus.

My Education coursework has given me insight into the world of education beyond the classroom and my work with the Physics department has helped me hone my skills as a researcher on the teaching and learning of a specific discipline. Because I have a broad background that spans scientific research as well as classroom teaching experience, this connection to both departments helps support my growth in the Physics Education Research community.

In the past, I earned undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from Mount Holyoke College, an M.S. in Physics from Clemson University, and obtained a Physics Teaching Credential at Chapman University.  Professionally, I was a secondary educator for five years, three of which were spent teaching primarily physics courses to high school seniors. I received a fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, an incredible source of support and networking for novice teachers. It was during this time that I learned of a community that connected both research and education – the Physics Education Researchers at Seattle Pacific University.

My work now focuses on learning about energy in the context of the Physics Department’s Energy Project. I began my work by observing the K-12 professional development courses offered by the Energy Project as an Interdisciplinary Research In STEM Education (I-RISE) scholar my first summer at SPU. I found myself drawn to spontaneous teacher discussions, in which teachers brought up social and political aspects of energy that did not correspond to canonical physics topics explicitly supported in the PD. This lead me to realize that while I was a high school teacher, I also taught two units on energy that failed to connect school learning of energy with energy discussed in society. I had inadvertently been missing the opportunity to connect sociopolitical energy concerns with physics energy concepts and in doing so, I left my students with two conflicting, separated views of energy. I want to help other teachers develop ways to connect these ideas for themselves, so that they can take those resources back to their classrooms. Dr. Rachel Scherr, Dr. Stamatis Vokos, and Dr. Andrew Lumpe have supported me in identifying a worthwhile research topic on learner ideas about energy and responsive energy instruction. My aim is to help reconnect those energy ideas for teachers (and students) so that learning about energy in physics sources will be more relevant outside of the classroom. My recent work has been presented at the 2013 American Association of Physics Teachers conference, as well as the 2013 Physics Education Research Conference. Relevant publications can be found here:

http://www.spu.edu/depts/physics/EPPublications.htm

The author Abigail Daane is a current PhD student at SPU.

A doctoral program includes more than just attending and passing courses. As the highest level of formal learning, it is important to develop skills in scholarly writing, literature reviews, critical analysis, and making recommendations. These skills transfer to the dissertation process and the colloquium provides a strong foundation upon which to build.

After completing the core foundations and research courses, doctoral students are asked to begin to explore the literature about a chosen topic which will eventually lead to a dissertation topic. According to our doctoral handbook,

“This requires the student to write a scholarly paper and to present that paper in a formal, public seminar to the educational community. Presentations are scheduled each summer. The scholarly expectation is that the paper will not be simply descriptive, but will also include (the student’s and not someone else’s) analysis and evaluation. This will generally require the student to state and defend his/her own thesis about the topic.”

After multiple edited drafts of the paper, the students present their papers in formal and public forums which are held each summer. Students present their papers in a research presentation format. They are limited to 20 minutes which is followed by a question and answer period. This format is modeled after the format of a research conference.

Below is a list of the 2013 Colloquium papers being presented this year. There are a wide variety of educational topics which reflect the varied professional and personal interests of the students.

School Board Impact on Student Achievement: A Review of the Research on the Influence of Locally Elected School Boards, by Jon Holmen

Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) Use and Students’ CAS Self-Efficacy in Undergraduate College Mathematics Classes, by Daphne Sluys

Service-Learning and Character Development, by Owen Sallee

Discipline-Based Art Education K-8 and Student Achievement, by Patti Hayes

Passive Recipients or Active Participants: Exploring Views of Children in the Christian Church, by Heather Ingersoll

Principal Technology Leadership Attributes for Effective Integration of Information and Communication Technology in Schools, by Jon Tienhaara

Toward a Transformative History Education: Project- and Problem-based Learning, Reflective Assessment, and Academic Discussion, by Kimberly Jensen

Principal Instructional Leadership and Improved Student Growth, by Alison Brynelson

The Role of Resilience among High School Principals Leading Change, by Paige Wescott

An Application of Jerome Bruner’s Cultural Psychology Theory to Teaching and Learning in the History Classroom, by Eric Boyer

Pedagogical Reform in Tanzania: Issues Raised When Adopting a Learner-Centered Instructional Approach for Implementing the Competency-Based Curriculum of the Tanzanian Primary Schools, by Michael Msendekwa

Supporting Preservice Teachers in Preparation of Teacher Performance Assessment through Facilitating Reflective Writing in E-portfolios, by Daihong Chen

The Relationship Between Leaders’ Supervisory Behavior and Teacher Reflective Practice, by Lisa Truemper

ImageThe consistent focus throughout my career as a HS Science teacher, principal, and professor has been a passion for helping develop environments for improved learning. As a teacher, I strove to attract the struggling science student and develop  experiences and classroom systems to give under-represented children a better chance at success. As a principal, I tried to transform culture to create effective building environments. As a professor, I’ve continued that passion to help reform districts and governance systems.

District Reform

I’ve pursued the passion of helping students with my current National Science Foundation funded grant project entitled STEM Teams: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career interest, skills, and knowledge through Strategic Teaming. This initiative allows me to partner in districts with 97% African American and impoverished communities to improve the district. This is accomplished by creating teams of teachers, and school and district leaders and working to improve the implementation and sustainability of innovative curriculum and programs in the district. The current program is based in the middle school and purposes to increase the number of students of color and poverty to pursue STEM careers. This work has been presented recently at the 2012 UCEA conference and to be at the 2013 AERA meeting.  The process of district wide teaming was published in the following book chapter:

Alsbury, T. L. (2008). Promoting sustainable leadership within the reform system. In B. Hand (Ed.), Science inquiry, argument and language: A case for the science writing heuristic [177-194]. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.

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School Board Governance

Another passion has been my interest in the efficacy of local control of schools through school boards. The increased centralization of schooling is evident in national movement to standardize assessment and content, and now the policy agenda seems to be focused on removing the control of schools from local community boards to a state or national level. I am currently engaged in studies of school governance in Taiwan, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Germany, and India, to name a few. I also speak around the country debating the question, “Are school boards still relevant today?” Most recently I debated this issue the ex-secretary for the office of Civil Rights before 700 school board members, members of Congress, and USDE Secretary of Education. Reactions to the debate can be found at this link: http://schoolboardnews.nsba.org/2013/01/panel-discusses-research-and-relevancy-of-school-boards/

Some of my most recent and significant writings on the school board governance include the following:

Alsbury, T. L. (In Press, 2013). Hitting a moving target: How politics determines the changing roles of superintendents and school boards . In  B.  S. Cooper, J.  G. Cibulka, & L. D. Fusarelli (Eds.)  Handbook of education politics and policy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mountford, M.  E., & Alsbury, T.  L. (2012). School boards: Nobody does it better. UCEA Review, 52(3), 11-13.

Alsbury, T.  L. (2011). Should the K-12 organizational structure of schools in the U.S. be changed dramatically? In Russo, C. [Ed.] Debating issues in American education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Alsbury, T. L.(Ed.). (2008). The future of school board governance: Relevancy and revelation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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Dr. Alsbury has been a Professor in the School of Education at SPU since 2011. He teaches educational leadership courses and mentors many doctoral students. He is a recognized national expert in school board research and received the 2008 UCEA Culbertson award for influential researcher in educational leadership.

165705_1717079402550_1577412_nBy Daihong Chen

Milan Kundera, one of my favorite writers, claimed that life is about choices. Every choice leads to a different adventure and experience. I believe that pursuing a PhD degree is a crisis choice in life since it means a huge investment of time and effort. Meanwhile, the decision of which program to enter is a critical choice too. People around you as well as resources and opportunities you can have are essential to enhancing your knowledge, harnessing your research ability, and impacting the development of life values and personality. It sounds like a dramatic change for me to make the choice of transferring from the University of Georgia (UGA), a 33,000 student public university in a small college town to Seattle Pacific University (SPU), a less than 4,000 students private university in a comparatively big modern city. I am blessed and overjoyed that this choice has been leading me to a fascinating path of being a doctorate student.

I still clearly remember the most struggle-filled midsummer I have ever had. Every day I prayed for the clues and guidance from God, consulting pastors and experienced senior scholars, talking with family and friends, so as to figure out an answer to whether I should move to Seattle or stay at Athens. Most of my Chinese friends suggested that I stay at UGA without any hesitation because they even didn’t hear about SPU and obviously the program of the Learning, Design, and Technology at UGA enjoys a strong reputation. I wrote many emails to Dr. Lumpe asking many questions about the transfer and he was always very patient in answering any question.

Time flies! Now I have started my second quarter in the PhD of Education program at SPU. The journey of exploring and adventuring at SPU in the past half a year has provided me sufficient insights and experience to give answers to my questions and concerns before I came here.

My experience in the past six months tells that ranking doesn’t matter as much as you think. Being educated from kindergarten to graduate school in China, I cannot be clearer about the importance of the ranking of schools which is closely associated with the quality of education and the future career development opportunity in China. I have to say it was the biggest struggling I had. UGA is well known in China and the program I was in has been top ranked in the field of educational technology.

I talked about this concern with two Chinese professors working in UGA; however, they told me that, ranking doesn’t mean so much in USA because big public schools definitely have more resources and advantages regarding these standards for evaluation, but these standards for assessing a school usually are not too much associated with your personal learning experience and growth. What really matter is how much personal care, direction, assistance, support and resources you can have from professors and the school.

Now I can say that, the direction, care, help and support I gained from SPU is not less than I had in UGA, and is even more customized and personalized as it is a small group in which students can obtain more attention and assistance. For example, I was impressed that after the international student orientation, every international student has an individual meeting with the coordinator for personal issues or requirements. Because the program is small, everyone knows everyone very well and the acquaintance makes me feel comfortable and encouraged everyday. I have never met the dean of the College of Education at UGA in person, but at SPU, you can talk with the dean, faculty and staff frequently and they are always very happy to help. In this small school, actually, you can reach more resources and have more assistance.

The other main concern I had for the transfer was if there were opportunities to be involved in research and academic practice in the doctorate program at SPU. As we know, research is a critical part through the journey of the doctorate education. Now, I would say that the doctorate program in the School of Education at SPU provides many opportunities involving me into real research project and practice, conference presentation, and journal or book chapter publication. I have started to work in the bPortfolio project since I registered in the school. Benefiting from this ongoing project so far, I was listed as the fourth author of a presentation in at the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning in Orlando, Florida in October, 2012. Additionally, a full paper coauthored by Dr. Lumpe and I has been submitted for the AACE conference presentation in the coming June. The effort of coding data and writing a paper for this project is a rather valuable experience in terms of improving research skills and academic writing. Additionally, I am blessed to get involved in writing a book chapter in terms of “teacher reflection” with Dr. Lumpe and Dr. Bishop. I believe my knowledge has been broadened and enriched greatly in terms of teacher education, educational technology and research methodology in the past half a year.

Above all, I do enjoy my new journey in the school of education as a doctorate student. I like the fact that SPU places a huge emphasis on students’ development and individual needs and builds a harmonious and collaborative community.

In closing, I would like to use what my friend in my previous program at UGA told me about my choice. When I told her what I am studying and learning, she said that, I think you made a right decision for the transfer to SPU.

About Daihong Chen:

I am a current doctorate student in the PhD of Education program at Seattle Pacific University. I am originally from China. I graduated from Beijing Normal University with the Bachelor degree in Education and Master degree in Education majoring in Curriculum and Instruction. Before I came to USA, I was a high school teacher teaching Moral and Political Education for three years and then worked for the China National Curriculum Resources Center for two years. I finished my first year of PhD education in the program of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Georgia in which I was a graduate assistant working for the coordinators of Master programs of Learning Design and Development and School Library and Media. I also co-instructed the course of Introduction of Instructional Design with Dr. Clinton in the summer semester of 2012 at UGA. I transferred to Seattle Pacific University in August, 2012. My research interest is technology integration and teacher education.

by Jon Tienhaara

Twelve years in a small, rural school district have provided me a variety of educational experiences.  A native of Naselle (pronounced nay-sell), I have done everything from mowing the grass and fixing computers during my college summers, teaching science and mathematics to elementary, middle and high school students, to my current position of business manager and serving as one of the principals in the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District.

I have always had a passion for technology and its implications for both teaching and learning.  For example, two years ago I wrote a grant which funded a 1:1 iPad initiative for Naselle’s ninth and tenth grade classes.  Today grades 9-12 are 1:1 with iPads.  Students utilize the iPad in most all of their classes and technology is very much integrated into the school.  I also oversee our online Alternative Learning Experience school which has a larger student population than our regular brick and mortar school.  Currently, I am working with Michigan State University to bring online Mandarin Chinese to students across Washington.  

Technology plays an important role in student learning, and principals have great ability and responsibility to influence technology utilization in their schools. This is one of the reasons I am pursuing a doctorate degree at SPU.  My research interests include the role principals and superintendents play in positively and effectively integrating technology into K-12 education.  My future educational goals include a superintendency and/or professorship working in education technology leadership.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two quarters at SPU.  The doctoral program continues to be a great experience.

Follow Jon’s work at http://mrt-naselleschools.blogspot.com/

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