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Posts Tagged ‘faculty’

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.

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by Melike Yucel Koc

In 2008, with three years of teaching experience at a state secondary school and a master’s degree in English Language Teaching, I decided to come to the U. S. to explore the American culture. My journey in the States started as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Portland State University (PSU), Oregon. After teaching Turkish at PSU for one academic year, I decided to take classes from the Applied Linguistics Department. In 2009, I was accepted to the master’s degree program in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Applied Linguistics. As a bilingual, my research interest was on bilinguals and their use of emotion language. I completed the degree in TESOL in two years with a thesis topic focused on Emotion Language of Turkish-English Bilinguals.

After completing the master’s program, I started looking for doctoral programs in the Portland and Seattle area. I always wanted to pursue a Ph.D. degree in language education. My master’s degree experience at a university in the U.S. encouraged me to stay in the country and continue my studies. When I couldn’t find Ph.D. Programs in Applied Linguistics in the Pacific Northwest, I started to look for professors with similar research interests and I found Dr. Nagy at SPU! I thought working with him would be a great opportunity for me – and indeed it is!

Since starting the program in 2011, I completed three quarters of coursework and I learned much about research and educational theories in the core courses. Writing a colloquium paper gave me the opportunity to focus on my own research interest which is morphological awareness and academic reading of adult second language learners. Working as a graduate assistant in School of Education at SPU provides me with the opportunity of conducting research. In short, SPU has been a great learning environment for me. Through a teaching practicum that is part of the doctoral program, I was able to teach second year Turkish at the University of Washington in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. I had 8 students – 7 were American and one Albanian. Preparing the course syllabus and materials, keeping a reflective journal, and being formally observed all contributed to my learning and teaching to a great extent. Furthermore, I gained teaching experience at the university level.

After completing the Ph.D. program at SPU, my long-term goal is to get published and teach at the university level in a TESOL program while training future language teachers.

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Melike is a student in the Ph.D. Program in Education at Seattle Pacific University. She currently serves as a Graduate Assistant at SPU and as an Instructor at the University of Washington’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization

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ImageI have always been interested in how children learn words and how vocabulary can best be taught, and over the years I have often tried to synthesize what I know about effective vocabulary instruction.  My most recent publication (Nagy & Townsend, 2012) is the latest such attempt, focusing in particular on the challenges students face in understanding academic language.  I am also interested in how students’ awareness of language contributes to their reading ability.  In particular, I have been investigating morphological awareness – students’ knowledge about morphemes (prefixes, roots, and suffixes).  In my recent work with Dr. Scott Beers, I have also begun dealing with another aspect of literacy, writing.

Everything I know about these topics is going to be needed for my upcoming research.  Dr. Beers and I are now part of the research team led by Dr. Virginia Berninger at the University of Washington in the new Center for the Defining and Treating Specific Learning Disabilities in Written Language.  This center is part of the Learning Disabilities Research Centers Consortium funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  (For a press release, see http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/011712-learning-disabilities-centers.cfm).  We’ll be part of an interdisciplinary team, including not only educators, but computer scientists, geneticists, and experts in brain imaging.  Our work will range from basic research on the nature of writing disabilities to very applied work on developing interventions to help students who struggle with writing.

Nagy, W.  & Townsend, D. (2012).   Words as tools:  Learning academic vocabulary as language acquisition.  Reading Research Quarterly, 47(1), 91-108.

Dr. Nagy has been a Professor in the School of Education at SPU since 1996. He teaches literacy and research courses and mentors many doctoral students. He was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in vocabulary development. 

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by Amy Vaughn

As a math teacher in California, I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach at a Catholic high school that openly honored the values I felt called to demonstrate.  I immediately felt that I was a part of a unique community and wholly embraced the hallmarks of the school, particularly that of community service.  In the classroom, I felt that I had much more impact on my students’ emotional and spiritual growth because we could openly discuss our shared values.  But beyond this, I believe my students also participated in learning at much deeper levels because of our trust in each other and their willingness to take risks.             

During my time teaching in California, I felt called to continue my education to the doctoral level, and these same principles became part of the criteria in my search for a university.  I searched the nation for a school that I believed would best suit my needs as a student, a professional, and a Christian.  I wanted a school that was small enough to have a family feel, but large enough to have a powerful presence in the education community.  In fact, during my first visit to SPU, I could feel the same sense of community, rigor, and spiritual connectedness that I felt at the Catholic high school where I was teaching.  I genuinely feel fortunate to have found SPU as a fit for my educational, professional, and personal goals.

Now, as a professional pursuing a doctoral degree, I am committed to innovation and change in terms of teacher preparation and support, especially in light of the high attrition rate of new teachers.  This means raising the standards within the profession and teaching teachers as they should teach their own students.  I am committed to producing better teachers by maintaining my own research and modeling the latest instructional techniques. SPU has allowed me to pursue these goals.  Additionally, the faculty members at SPU have always treated me as a respected colleague and I greatly value their expertise.  SPU and the School of Education have far exceeded my expectations and I would recommend this institution to anyone seeking more than an academic degree. 

Amy is a student in the Ph.D. in Education program at SPU. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, post-baccalaureate teacher certification in mathematics at Texas Tech University, and a Master’s of Arts from Notre Dame de Namur University. She taught high school mathematics in Texas and California and currently serves as an Clinical Instructor of Teacher Education at SPU.

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By Robin Henrikson

The coursework at SPU for my doctoral program has been quite fulfilling. To be perfectly honest, I have learned more than I thought I would and have been challenged to grow in many ways, including improvement in my knowledge about my specialization, growth in my writing skills and in my ability to understand statistics. Perhaps most important has been growth in my self-confidence and in my ability to critically examine new research, initiatives and programs to help advise and support educators in making decisions about programs for their schools.

My area of specialization is in professional development and pre-service teacher preparation. I have been able to design a doctoral program that met my needs with a combination of coursework, independent study and hands-on experiences that will enable me to be prepared to work in a variety of positions within my area of expertise once I have completed the program. One of the main reasons I wanted to pursue my Ph.D was to help support leaders in the improvement of their schools and to support pre-service, novice and experienced teachers so they are competent and prepared to be effective teachers.

This program has been challenging and I have had to learn how to be disciplined. Balancing school, part-time work as a math and professional development specialist as well as a wife and mother of three young children is no simple task, not to mention the more than two hour commute one way just to take classes. However, throughout my time in this program so far, I have had support from different professors, each offering me a different way to grow through their unique teaching styles. I have also built great relationships amongst other doctoral students. The flexibility of taking night, weekend and online classes has allowed me to pursue my degree whereas I would not have been able to without that type of coursework design.

I am happy with my experiences at SPU and once I am finished with my program I will be a stronger person in many ways including academically, emotionally and professionally. I thank God for the support He has given me throughout the past two years.

When I am finished with this program my goals are to pursue a career working at a university where I can continue to support teachers, whether they are at the beginning of their career or a veteran. I feel confident that this program has prepared me to do that.

Robin Henrikson is a student in SPU’s Ph.D. in Education program. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Seattle Pacific University. She holds Washington state certification in Special Education K-12, General Education K-8, and Building Principal. Robin served as a middle school special education and mathematics classroom teacher before becoming a teacher leader. She currently works as a Professional Development Specialist for the Olympic Educational Service District 114 in Bremerton, WA. She is married and the mother of three children.

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Since the inception of doctoral programs at SPU, there have been a number of graduates who distinguished themselves professionally. In this post, four of our graduates are highlighted.

Dr. Gary Newbill earned a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) from SPU in 1999. He currently serves Northwest University as Professor of Education and Dean of the School of Education. He previously served Washington school districts in a variety of roles including as teacher, personnel director, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Gary Newbill joined the graduate faculty of educational leadership at Seattle Pacific University, preparing principal and superintendent candidates for state certification and graduate degrees. He then moved to Northwest University to head its teacher preparation program. http://www.northwestu.edu/faculty/newbill/

Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel earned the Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) degree from SPU in 2004. She currently serves as superintendent of the Renton School District. She was previously Deputy State Superintendent for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for six years. Dr. Heuschel also served as a school principal, assessment specialist, and classroom teacher. Mary Alice was awarded the 2011 Washington Superintendent of the Year.

http://www.rentonschools.us/FILES/DISTRICT/Superintendent/MAH_Bio_updated_1-6-11.pdf

Dr. Duane Baker is the founder and president of Baker Evaluation, Research, and Consulting, Inc (The BERC Group). Dr. Baker served as a classroom teacher, school administrator, and assistant superintendent in K-12 schools. The BERC group is currently working on research and evaluation projects at the national, state, regional, district, school, classroom, and student levels in over 1,000 schools nationally. He earned a doctorate from Seattle Pacific University in 1999.

http://www.bercgroup.com/

Dr. Shannon Harvey is currently the Principal of Cascade Elementary School in the Renton School District, Renton, Washington. She previously served as an elementary school teacher. She earned a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) from SPU in 2000. In 2008, she was given the $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

http://cascade.rentonschools.us/PrincipalsMessage

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The core doctoral faculty in the School of Education at SPU are active researchers. We believe that pursuit of an active research and publishing agenda is critical for mentoring doctoral students. Below is a sample of some of our most recent publications. Detailed information about our research interests and copies of our curriculum vita can be found on the School of Education’s website.

Recent work by Dr. Lumpe

Lumpe, A. T., Czerniak, C. M., Haney, J. J., & Beltyukova, S. (2011). Beliefs about Teaching Science: The Relationship between Elementary Teachers’ Professional Development and Student Achievement. International Journal of Science Education. (PDF)

Abstract

Because of increasing calls for school accountability, an increased emphasis placed on the role of the teacher, and theoretical connections between teacher beliefs and classroom action, a critical need exists to examine teacher professional development programs to determine their impact on teacher belief systems, teaching practices, and student learning. The primary goal of this study was to assess elementary teachers’ science teaching efficacy as they participated in a large scale professional development program and to determine the relationship of these beliefs with student learning. It was found that elementary teachers who participated in a long-term, intense (over 100 contact hours annually) science professional development program displayed significant gains in their science teaching self-efficacy. Several background variables were found to be predictive of teacher beliefs including how often teachers spend teaching science. Males tended to display more positive beliefs than their female counterparts. Although a small portion of the variance was explained, teacher beliefs and the number of hours participating in the research-based professional development program were significantly predictive of students’ science achievement. Other factors may be involved in teachers’ beliefs and their connection with student learning including classroom practices, curriculum materials, support systems, and student background variables. These factors should be the target of future investigations.

Butler, K., & Lumpe, A. T. (2009). Student Use of Scaffolding Software: Relationships with Motivation and Conceptual Understanding. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(5), 427-436.

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Recent work by Dr. Sink

Sink, C. A. (Ed.). (2011). Mental health interventions for school counselors. Belmont, CA: Brooks-Cole.

Webb, M. Sink, C. A., et al. (2010). The Suffering with God Scale: Theoretical development, psychometric analyses, and relationships with indices of religiosity. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 21, 71-94.

Abstract

Religion provides resources to cope with negative life events, yet people may still struggle with God. The Suffering with God Scale (SWG) was developed to assess schematic representations of, and affective responses to, God in light of negative life events. Exploratory factor analysis resulted in a two-factor solution reflecting two underlying dimensions: Struggling with God and Enduring with God.  Struggling with God was negatively associated, and Enduring was positively associated, with theism, religious participation, personal devotions, and intrinsic religiosity.  Persons who were unsure of their faith in God reported greater struggle over issues of suffering than those who reported high or low faith. Results are interpreted in light of psychology of religion research and philosophical and theological reflection regarding the problem of suffering for sustenance of faith.

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Recent work by Dr. Ellis

Ellis, A. (2010). Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Together: Reflective Assessments for Elementary Classrooms. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Zirkle, D., and Ellis, A. (2010). Effects of Spaced Repetition on Long-Term Map Knowledge Recall. Journal of Geography. (5) 109.

Abstract

Sixth-grade students studying Latin America were placed in experimental and comparison groups to test the effects of map-study repetition on long-term memory. Mean scores on a place-name test of the region indicated that the experimental (repetition) group outperformed the comparison group at a statistically significant level with respect to both posttest and retention-test outcomes. The tentative conclusion of long-term potentiation principles in the classroom modestly suggests that a salient step in creating more persistent declarative memories is protein-synthesis dependent repetition.

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Recent work by Dr. Nagy

 

Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Nagy, W., & Carlisle, J.  (2010). Growth in phonological, orthographic, and morphological awareness in grades 1 to 6. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 39, 141-163.

 

Nagy, W., & Hiebert, E. (2011).  Toward a theory of word selection.  In M. L. Kamil, P. D. Pearson,  E. B. Moje, & P. P. Afflerbach (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Volume IV (pp.388-404).   New York:  Routledge.

 

Beers, S. F., & Nagy, W. E. (2011). Writing development in four genres from grades three to seven:  syntactic complexity and genre differentiation.   Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 24, 183-202.

 

Berninger, V. W., Nagy, W., & Beers, S. (2011).  Child writers’ construction and reconstruction of single sentences and construction of multi-sentence texts: contributions of syntax and transcription to translation.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 24, 151-182.

 

 Abstract for Nagy & Hiebert, 2011:

 

One of the tasks facing educators is deciding which of the many potentially difficult or unfamiliar words in a text students are about to read need to be taught.  The purpose of this chapter is to provide a principled basis for making these choices.  The use and limitations of eight features that can play a role in word selection are discussed:  The frequency of the word in the language, dispersion (distribution of the word across different subject areas), morphological and semantic relatedness to other words, familiarity of the word to students, conceptual difficulty, the role of the word in the particular text, and its role in the larger curriculum.

Nagy, W. (2010). The word games. In M. G. McKeown & L. Kucan (Eds.). Bringing reading research to life (pp.72-91). New York: Guilford.

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