All posts by Gayla Marty

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Study on pre-kindergarten program shows strategies for reducing the achievement gap

A new study shows that successful implementation of preschool-to-third-grade programs yields benefits in increasing school readiness, improving attendance, and strengthening parental involvement in school education—strategies that can close the achievement gap for children at risk.

“Scaling and sustaining effective early childhood programs through school–family–university collaboration” was published in the September/October 2017 issue of Child Development by Arthur Reynolds, professor of child development, and colleagues in the Human Capital Research Collaborative (HCRC).

The Child–Parent Center Preschool to Third Grade program (CPC P–3) is a collaborative school reform model designed to improve school achievement and family engagement from ages three to nine. The program provides small classes, intensive learning experiences, menu-based parent involvement, and professional development in co-located sites. In the study, investigators evaluated evidence from two longitudinal studies, the Chicago Longitudinal Study, begun in the 1980s, and Midwest CPC, which started in Minnesota and Illinois in 2012.

“We found that organizing preschool to third grade services through partnerships with schools and families creates a strong learning environment for ensuring that early childhood gains are sustained, thus reducing the achievement gap,” said Reynolds, HCRC co-director.

Implementation in five Saint Paul Public Schools serving high proportions of dual language learners led to gains in literacy of nearly a half a year at the end of preschool. The gains were sustained in kindergarten with further evidence of increased parent involvement and attendance. Small classes and engaged instruction contributed to these gains.

“Thanks to the support of the CPC P-3 program, family rooms at the five Saint Paul Public School sites are vibrant and welcoming environments,” said Kathleen Wilcox-Harris, chief academic officer of the Saint Paul Public School District. “It is not uncommon to see a hub of activity in these spaces promoting the bridge between the home, community, and school environments. The program with guidance from HCRC has led to a menu of family engagement opportunities known as the Families First Menu of Opportunities that is being implemented at other sites. The small classes and preschool to third grade alignment of instruction has also been of substantial benefit.”

In collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools and other implementation sites, guiding principles of the effectiveness of program expansion are shared ownership, committed resources, and progress monitoring for improvement. The addition of Pay for Success financing in the Chicago Public School District shows the feasibility of scaling CPC P-3 while continuing to improve effectiveness. Each dollar invested in the CPC P-3 program has demonstrated a return of $10 in reduced need for remedial services and improved well-being.

Findings from the study support increased investment during the early grades. As Reynolds documented in a recent Education Week commentary, spending on early childhood development in the first decade of life is a smart investment.

“Since only about half of young children are enrolled in public preK programs, and less than 10 percent participate in P–3 programs that follow the key principles of CPC, increased access to high-quality education and family support services can make a big difference in reducing the achievement gap,” Reynolds said. “Nationally, only one third of fourth graders read proficiently on national assessments, and preschool or school-age programs alone are not enough to raise these rates to acceptable levels, especially for the most vulnerable children. CPC not only helps children be school ready, but improves reading and math proficiency over the school grades, which led to higher rates of graduation and ultimately greater economic well-being.”

Human Capital Research Collaborative, an interdisciplinary research institute in the Institute of Child Development, College of Education and Human Development, offers a multitude of resources for CPC P-3 implementation, including monitoring tools, manuals, and extensive resources on the website CPCP3.org.

Funding for the study is from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U. S. Department of Education, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Educational Equity Resource Center launches Minnesota map of resources for educators

The Educational Equity Resource Center has launched the Educator Resource Map. The map locates many educational programs provided to schools in Minnesota communities—programs with location stability and an equity component.

Just click on the map image for access to the interactive page and explore. Categories include college readiness, arts and design, early childhood, language and literacy, social studies, STEM, agriculture, and leadership.

The center will collect information and feedback for periodic updates.

Learn more about the Educational Equity Resource Center.

CEHD ranks among top 20 graduate schools of education

U.S. News and World Report has released its annual rankings of graduate schools, placing the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) No. 20 overall and No. 12 among all public professional schools of education. It ranked No. 6 among the schools of education of the 15 peer institutions in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC).

Areas within education that ranked in the top 10 of their specialty areas were special education (No. 8) and educational psychology (No. 10).

“We are pleased that our college continues to move up in the rankings and that the excellence in our graduate teaching, research and outreach is recognized,” said Dean Jean K. Quam. “We are particularly excited about the new pathways to teaching we are developing within the college that are meeting the needs of the diverse student body in our state and nation.”

U.S. News surveyed 376 schools granting education doctoral degrees. It calculates its rankings based on quality assessments from peer institutions and school superintendents nationwide; student selectivity; and faculty resources, which include student–faculty ratio and faculty awards; as well as support for research.

CEHD also includes developmental psychology, a program surveyed in another report, which was last ranked in 2013 (No. 1).

 

CEHD Research Day showcases students, faculty, and staff

Overhead view photo of poster presentations
Students, faculty, and staff presented more than 60 posters at CEHD Research Day.

More than 300 people had the opportunity to see more than 60 presentations at CEHD’s Research Day March 24 in the McNamara Alumni Center. This year’s Research Day was the first to feature a collection of research projects led by students.

Quintin Hunt, a Ph.D. student in couple and family therapy, was one of them. He presented findings on suicide bereavement practices, the topic of his dissertation. Through interviews with survivors of suicide loss, Hunt identified seven different themes of suicide bereavement and classified them as helpful, hurtful, or neutral. It was his first time leading a research project.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Hunt. “Honestly, it really motivated me to get a Ph.D and to become a professor.” Research Day gave him a chance to see what his future might hold.

Student Showcase signNicolaas VanMeerten, Ph.D. candidate in educational psychology, saw Research Day as an opportunity to share the work he has been doing with the Minnesota Historical Society. VanMeerten and two other researchers collected behavioral data from elementary-aged students participating in Play the Past, a historical society field-trip experience that aims to further engage young students in museum exhibits through interactive mobile technology.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with it,” he said, “so I’m happy to tell people about it.”

VanMeerten, no stranger to leading research, spent five years as a research associate with the Veterans Health Administration before becoming involved with the Minnesota Historical Society. This research is in the early stages of what he hopes will become a longer partnership, VanMeerten said, and he is looking forward to the next steps of his project.

People’s Choice awards

Attendees explored posters detailing faculty and student research and were able to cast their votes for the best presentation in three categories: excellence in research, diversity and globalization, and technology and innovation. Winning teams receive $250 for professional development. The following posters were selected as best in their category by popular vote:

  • Excellence in Research: Jehanne Beaton, Su Jung Kim, Miranda Schornack, and Jessica Tobin for “A Dialogic Framework for the Formative Assessment of Teacher Candidate Dispositions”
  • Technology and Innovation: Mi Hwa Lee, Sohye Lee, Soo Kyoung Lee, and Hee Yun Lee for “A Culturally Tailored Text Message-Based Intervention Development to Promote Cervical Cancer Screening in an Underserved Population”
  • Diversity and Globalization: Jenifer K. McGuire, Jennifer L. Doty, Jory M. Catalpa, and Cindy Ola for “Gender, Body Size, and Body Image: A Qualitative Analysis of Transgender Youth”

Poster abstracts and PDFs of many posters are available on the Research Day page.

—Story by Ellen Fee

Urban educator calls for recognition of many gaps that impact student success

Family income is the most accurate predictor of a student’s college attendance, said University of Pittsburgh professor H. Richard Milner in a campus lecture last week. Critical of the way the term “achievement gap” puts the burden of educational success on students alone, Milner called attention to the innumerable external factors that contribute to a student’s output in school.

Milner holding the microphone to an audience member
Milner took questions in the audience after his talk.

“It’s not an achievement gap,” he said, but many things: An effective leadership gap. An adequate nutrition gap. A family income gap. An access-to-health-care gap. A parental education gap.

In order to work for positive change, Milner said, educators need to look beyond test scores, respond compassionately to students’ neighborhood conditions, and create a space of empathy and understanding in the classroom.

Milner was on campus as part of the Emma Birkmaier Speaker Series sponsored by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). An estimated 185 students and educators heard Milner speak at the McNamara Alumni Center on February 5.

Milner is the Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education and directs the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the sociology of education. His work primarily analyzes policies and methods that contribute to teacher success in urban settings.

He identified five major issues that can either divide or unite a school community: obsession with test scores, a narrow curriculum that eliminates the arts, socioeconomic status and poverty, school counseling and psychological services, and race.

After his lecture, Milner answered questions about diversity in education and how it affects student achievement.

Increasing racial diversity in teacher education

In addition to the public lecture, Milner led a workshop Thursday morning with area educational professionals about recruiting a more diverse pool of teachers to better fit local districts’ needs.

Milner standing in front of workshop participants
Milner led a workshop with education professionals.

Milner described the history of and esteem for the teaching profession in the African American community. He also presented a theoretical approach for understanding the impact of hurtful interactions in school settings and what can be done to address them.

Shuji Asai, a licensure officer in CEHD’s Office of Teacher Education, attended the workshop and concurred with Milner’s case for teacher recruitment efforts.

“Recruitment efforts need to be tied to the needs of a particular community or schools in order for a partnership to work,” said Asai. “And [we need to] start early, when our future licensure students are in a middle school or high school.”

The Emma Birkmaier Critical Literacy and Urban Education Speaker Series is a program dedicated to bringing leading voices in education to the U to address the experiences of youth in urban schools and the power of literacy education.

In addition to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, cosponsors of Milner’s visit included CEHD’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, and associate dean for undergraduate, diversity, and international programs; and the University of Minnesota Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development.

—Ellen Fee; photos by Claire Rasmussen

Educators examine policy to support literacy

Alfred Tatum
Alfred Tatum

Literacy is a powerful “tool of protection,” especially for underprivileged or at-risk students, Chicago educator and researcher Alfred Tatum said at the CEHD Policy Breakfast at the University of Minnesota. More than 100 educators, researchers, and local professionals gathered January 20 to discuss literacy development and educational policy with their metro area colleagues.

Tatum, dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois–Chicago, has spent the last 18 years researching the literacy development of African-American male students in Chicago public schools. In his presentation, he gave moving examples of student responses to rigorous classroom assignments and methods.

Tatum applied his findings to the policy environment and literacy improvement efforts in Minnesota. He quoted the recent State of the State address and, as an example, cited Minneapolis Public Schools’ current goal to increase reading proficiency annually by five percent overall and eight percent for students of color.

Tatum questioned the effectiveness of gradual-growth plans, calling attention to the number of students that a slower rate of improvement leaves behind each year.

“Is it a literacy plan,” he asked, “or a poverty-illiteracy-dropout-unemployment plan?”

He urged educators to take a more dramatic approach to literacy development in their classrooms. He explored why many students hold severed relationships with reading and writing, both academically and creatively. He also spoke about “textual lineages,” illustrated with photos of male writers of Africa descent that he uses in his classrooms, reminding the audience that literacy in Africa dates to ancient times.

Building literacy skills builds long-term confidence and capacity, Tatum explained. “It’s not just about students’ literacies. It’s about their lives.”

Tatum’s keynote was followed by remarks from four panelists. Gevonee Ford, founder and director of the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent, a family education center in St. Paul, asked the audience to consider ways to expand ownership of policy. “The question is ‘Who gets to be the educational authority for my children?’” he said. “Literacy has always been a political act for African people.” Ford asked the audience to look for places where African Americans are educating themselves and learn from them.

Literacy panel at Policy Breakfast January 2015
Left to right: Jonathan Hamilton, Tina Willette, Michael Rodriguez, Alfred Tatum, Lori Helman, Gevonee Ford

Jonathan Hamilton, research director for the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP), stressed the importance of school leadership and agreement on common language, such as the concept of equity. Hamilton joined the panel when Rep. Carlos Mariani, MMEP’s director, was not able to attend due to responsibilities at the Legislature.

Tina Willette, principal at Salem Hills Elementary School and Athanaeum in Inver Grove Heights, described her school’s efforts to help all—instead of most—students meet literacy goals. “That word ‘all’ makes all the difference,” she said, and it requires adaptive rather than technical changes.

Lori Helman, professor and director of the Minnesota Center for Reading Research in CEHD, cautioned against the “magic bullet” approach and urged educators and U researchers to push each other. “The ‘solution’ involves all of us,” she said.

Educators in the audience sought advice from the speaker and panelists on ways to bring Tatum’s research into their own classrooms and their students’ daily routines. Campbell Leadership Chair Michael Rodriguez, professor of educational psychology, facilitated the conversation.

Tuesday’s Policy Breakfast was the fourth installment in an ongoing series sponsored by CEHD, which is dedicated to discussion and analysis of research and policy regarding Minnesota’s achievement gap and efforts to close it. This semester’s topic, framing responsive literacy instruction in the national policy context, was planned in partnership with the Minnesota Center for Reading Research.

Materials from the presentation will be available on the Policy Breakfast website.

– Ellen Fee and Gayla Marty; photos by Seth Dahlsheid

Southeast Asian studies conference brings scholars to Minnesota

About 175 scholars came to Minnesota from across the country for the fourth States of Southeast Asian American Studies conference October 2-3. Over two days, students, faculty, and community members talked about literature, culture, activism, health, and many other topics, and enjoyed arts performances. School of Social Work alumna Pa Der Vang, ’07, now coordinator for the critical Hmong studies minor at St. Catherine University, delivered the keynote, “On Being Hmong American.”

“It was a huge success,” said conference co-organizer Vichet Chhuon, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum of Instruction. “We exchanged ideas, developed partnerships, and set out new research directions.”

The next conference is scheduled to be hosted in Massachusetts in 2017.

Read more at States of Southeast Asian Studies conference.

Renowned children’s author Nancy Farmer tells her story

Award-winning author Nancy Farmer, a master of fiction for young adults, spoke about her path to becoming a writer before an audience of book lovers on October 6. Farmer is known for taking on difficult subjects that draw on her expertise as a scientist and global citizen in books that inform and empower young readers.

With humor and her trademark storytelling skill, Farmer described the influences of colorful characters in her Arizona hometown, from her parents and the local librarian to teachers and classmates, as well as years as a lab researcher in Africa. She also signed books, including the award-winning The House of the Scorpion and its recent sequel, The Lord of Opium.

Farmer came to Minnesota for Book Week, CEHD’s longest-running signature event, dating to the 1940s. Learn more about her books and watch for highlights of her visit to be posted in coming weeks at Book Week.

CEHD welcomes class of 2018

Fall semester got off to a great start August 28 as the college welcomed 435 first-year students at the annual CEHD Block Party. Despite a few raindrops, faculty, staff, and returning students—many with family members in tow—joined the festivities on the lawn between Burton and Shevlin halls.

Earlier in the day, alumnus Profit Idowu, ’14, gave an inspirational speech to all 5,000 Twin Cities campus freshmen at convocation in newly renovated Northrop Auditorium. Then CEHD’s first-year students went to Coffman Union to receive their new iPads, followed by their first class with the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning faculty.

From the block party, students continued to TCF Bank Stadium, where the Gophers won their first game of the year.

Watch 2014 iPad distribution.

Green Team for the all-stars

When the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game came to Minnesota in July, a local team swung into action. Sporting Green Team hats, t-shirts, and gloves, 36 U students grabbed color-coded waste bags provided by MLB and worked the aisles between innings, helping fans recycle and manage their recyclable and compostable waste. Game-time action was part of a two-week online course, KIN 4520, Soup to Nuts: MLB All-Star Game, taught by School of Kinesiology’s Tiffany Richardson. She worked closely with the league, designing the course so students could get experience working directly with MLB. Read more at cehdvision2020.umn.edu.

20th annual Dream Ceremony honors first-generation college students

1aeventThe 20th annual Dream Ceremony on July 19 honored 27 high school graduates in the TRiO Upward Bound program who are going to college this fall supported by Minnesota I Have a Dream Scholarships.
Also honored were 14 new grads of the U and five other Minnesota colleges who fulfilled the dream of becoming the first in their families to finish college. Dozens of Upward Bound students still in high school and Dream Scholars still in college also attended to be part of the milestone celebration. The event included student performances (see photo).
The Minnesota Dream Scholarship program was founded by Karen Sternal and her late husband, Bill Lahr, in collaboration with the U of M TRiO programs. TRiO is a federally supported initiative whose U of M presence is located in CEHD. More than 450 Dream scholarships have been awarded since 1991.
Read more in “Legacy of a dream,” a feature in CEHD Connect magazine, and on the TRiO website.

CEHD ties to China highlighted as part of University delegation

1Ji_and_Bartlett_at_TUSIn a University of Minnesota delegation to China led by President Eric Kaler June 25-July 5, programs and alumni of College of Education and Human Development were highlighted, relationships strengthened, and opportunities explored. The trip coincided with the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Chinese students to the U of M-Twin Cities.
CEHD representatives in the delegation (see photo) were Ken Bartlett, professor and associate dean for graduate, professional, and international programs, and Li Li Ji, professor and director of the School of Kinesiology and the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science. Both traveled to Beijing and Tianjin; Ji also accompanied the group in Shanghai and Barlett in Taipei.
Bartlett and Ji were welcomed at the Tianjin University of Sport (TUS). Ji played a key role in establishing the U.S.-China Center for Sports Culture Exchange at TUS last year shortly after he came to Minnesota. It is one of several American cultural centers supported by a grant from the U.S. State Department and the only one devoted to the role of sport in the two nations.
“It was thrilling to see first hand the strength of our relationship with the Tianjin University of Sport and the extremely high regard for Professor Ji’s scholarship and our School of Kinesiology,” said Bartlett.
Ji and Meredith McQuaid, the University’s associate vice president and dean for international programs, met with a group of former Chinese Olympians and representatives from the Beijing University of Sport. Ji, the first Chinese national to pursue U.S. graduate study in exercise physiology, started the Chinese Champions program to bring top athletes from China to the United States for graduate study.
“It was a rewarding and productive experience,” said Ji. “We strengthened many relationships with our Chinese partners, and created new ones. The School of Kinesiology looks forward to the research, scholarship, and outreach opportunities that will ensue from these partnerships. Our international strategies keep us competitive in a global market, extend our educational outreach, and provide global competency for our students as well as our international guests.”
During the trip, the delegation also met with alumni. Bartlett even got to reconnect with one of his first graduate students, Dr. Yu-Wen Liu, in Taipei.

Commencement ceremonies honor CEHD graduates

1quincyMore than 550 undergraduates and 430 graduate students were honored in CEHD commencement ceremonies May 16.
Quincy Lewis (see photo), associate development officer for the Golden Gopher Fund, received his M.Ed. during the graduate ceremony in the afternoon and gave the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony in the evening.
Youth studies graduate Xue Xiong gave the student address to her fellow undergraduates.
See more photos in the slideshow at CEHD Commencement.
Photo by Greg Helgeson

Early-education project leaders meet in St. Paul

A powerhouse of early childhood education leaders from Illinois and Minnesota met in St. Paul May 9 to work together on the Midwest Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program Expansion. The program strengthens pre-kindergarten education and the transition to school through third grade and includes such components as greater parent involvement.
1aSteeringCommittee002A longitudinal study conducted by Institute of Child Development professor Arthur Reynolds has shown lifelong benefits of the first CPC, founded in Chicago in the 1960s. The expansion is now putting the model to the test in more settings–five school districts and 30 sites from Chicago to St. Paul–funded with a five-year federal innovation grant.
The steering committee is a large group of representatives from all the schools, including head teachers, parent resource room teachers, and more. St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva was among those who joined discussions with Reynolds and former Federal Reserve research director Art Rolnick from the U and Barbara Bowman from Chicago’s Erikson Institute.
Read more about the Midwest Expansion of the Child-Parent Center and the i3 grant to the Human Capital Research Collaborative.
Photo by Greg Helgeson

CEHD Research Day showcased 49 teams

-1More then 200 people attended CEHD Research Day at McNamara Alumni Center on March 26, where 49 college research teams showcased their work.Topics ranged from family education to entrepreneur development to understanding Parkinson’s Disease. Projects came from every CEHD department and college-wide center.
About 40 alumni who attended also heard short presentations from faculty members Phil Zelazo, Institute of Child Development, and Martha Bigelow, Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Professional development prizes of $250 were awarded to the best poster in each of three categories:
Technology and Innovation – “CEHD iPad Initiative: Student Perspectives on Use and Engagement,” by Alison Link, Rhiannon Williams, and David Ernst, Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning
Diversity and Globalization – “Youth Who Cross Over from the Child Welfare to the Juvenile Justice System: Perspectives from the Field and New Directions,” by Jane Marshall, Laurel Bidwell, Parmananda Khatiwoda and Wendy Haight, School of Social Work
Excellence in Research – “From Efficacy Towards Scale-Up: The Midwest Child-Parent Center Expansion Project,” by Arthur Reynolds, Momoko Hayakawa, Rayane Alamuddin, Allyson Candee, Michelle Englund, Erin Lease, Suh-Ruu Ou, Niyantri Ravindran, Brandt Richardson, Nicole Smerillo, Molly Sullivan, Judy Temple, and Mallory Warner-Richter, Institute of Child Development
Read more about CEHD research.

Anderson named U associate dean of graduate education

AndersonMW-PrefMelissa Anderson, professor of higher education in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, has been named associate dean of graduate education in the Graduate School effective April 1.
The new position is a 50 percent, 9-month appointment. Anderson will continue in her faculty position in OLPD, where her academic career in the field of higher education has focused on graduate education, scientific integrity, research collaboration, and academy-industry relations.
As associate dean of graduate education, Anderson will be responsible for developing and promoting initiatives aimed at improving the quality of graduate education. She will also review and provide input on academic programs and graduate education policies.
Read the announcement.

CEHD students rally at the Capitol for Support the U Day

A dozen students from CEHD were in the statewide delegation that descended on the Minnesota State Capitol February 7 for Support the U Day. Several played key leadership roles. They rallied in the rotunda and met with legislators.
The Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition (MSLC), a coalition of students from all five U of M campuses, launched last year. Key issues for the session include supporting efforts to increase availability of open-access textbooks, something supported by an initiative in CEHD.
Alfonso Sintjago, a doctoral student in comparative and international development education, was among those who made a presentation to the Senate Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development on behalf of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly along with GAPSA president Brittany Edwards. They focused on graduate and professional student concerns included in the MSLC platform.
“Overall, Support the U Day was a great experience,” said Sintjago.
Nora Jones, an M.Ed. student in work and human resource education, is also a U employee who works in student services.
“It was an added plus that I’m staff and a student at the U,” said Jones. “I work at One Stop, so I reported back to our staff. We like to stay on top of current issues and what’s happening since it impacts our day-to-day jobs.”
Read more about Support the U and GAPSA’s platform.
See also the Minnesota Daily coverage of MSLC (Dec. 5) and Support the U Day (Feb. 11).
March 29 update: Since Support the U Day, GAPSA student efforts have focused on issues in addition to the MSLC’s platform that have been passed as resolution into GAPSA’s platform. Sintjago reports that they have followed up with legislators to promote the Open Education Resource Council Bill (HF 789/SH 824) and the Prosperity Act (HF 875/SF 723).

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Redesigned curriculum for teacher candidates debuted this summer

Great-Lesson-June-13-2012New Common Content courses for CEHD’s initial licensure students debuted this summer as part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative (TERI).
The new courses were redesigned from “foundation” courses that teacher candidates typically took before clinical work and student teaching. Common Content courses now span two to three terms, so field experience is embedded in each. Teams of faculty across CEHD departments are developing the courses.
Initial licensure teacher candidates gave positive reviews as they completed the first sequence of three of the redesigned courses this summer:

  • EDHD 5000 Cultures, Schools, and Communities
  • EDHD 5013 Child and Adolescent Development
  • EDHD 5015 Teaching Special Needs Students in Inclusive Settings

EDHD 5000 Cultures, Schools, and Communities, for example, is an energetic, student-focused, active-learning experience. On the first day of the class in June, part of the lesson was delivered by Harriet Bishop, Minnesota’s first public school teacher (played by historical re-enactor Kathryn McKee, in the photo, from the Minnesota Historical Society). Bishop brought the 150 teacher candidates back to her makeshift classroom of 1847, where her students’ languages included English, French, and Ojibwe.
“Teachers are joining a profession with a long history,” says Michael Goh, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, part of the team that developed the course. “We ask the questions: Why schools, and why teach? And how can a teacher lead in a culturally diverse classroom? The course reflects what we believe to be the foundational philosophy of teaching and human relations qualities and behaviors that will be the hallmark of teachers who graduate from CEHD.”
Learn more on the TERI blog about curriculum redesign and the new Common Content courses.

CEHD announces open textbook catalog to reduce student costs

eBook - eLearning ConceptIn an effort to reduce higher education costs for students, the University announced today that CEHD has created a tool to help faculty find more affordable textbook options. The Open Academics textbook catalog is a searchable online catalog of “open textbooks” that will be reviewed by U of M faculty.
Open textbooks are published under a license that enables students to get free or low-cost versions of their textbooks online, electronically, or in print. The Open Academics catalog is the first of its kind hosted at a major research institution. It is available to faculty worldwide.
“The catalog will benefit not only the University of Minnesota but has the potential to help improve access and affordability beyond our institution,” says CEHD dean Jean Quam. “That’s part of our role as a national leader in educational innovation.”
Reducing student costs
College students will spend an average of $1,168 on course materials for 2011-12. Concerns over textbook costs have fueled a growing movement toward open textbooks and other open educational resources. The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) found that using open textbooks saves students 80 percent on average over traditional textbooks. The Open Academics textbook catalog empowers faculty to bring those savings to U of M students.
“High textbook costs are one of the many factors that are contributing to the increasing financial burden that students are facing,” said Lizzy Shay, U of M undergraduate student body president. “Affordable open textbooks would go a long way in relieving that burden.”
Faculty review
The catalog currently lists 84 open textbooks that are currently in use in classrooms across the country.
Over the next year, CEHD will work with U of M faculty to review the texts in this collection, making it easier for users to judge textbook quality. CEHD will support faculty who choose to review and adopt open textbooks with $500-$1,000 stipends.
“Faculty share student concerns about high textbook costs and are willing to consider high-quality, affordable alternatives like open textbooks,” says CEHD associate professor Irene Duranczyk. “The Open Academics textbook catalog makes it easier by collecting the best peer-reviewed open textbooks in one place.”
Nine CEHD faculty members are already exploring open textbooks through the catalog. Replacing their current course materials with open textbooks will potentially save over $100,000 in textbook costs next year.
Leadership in technology and innovation
“The University of Minnesota should be a leader in enabling faculty and students to benefit from open content and electronic textbook options,” said Provost Karen Hanson. “This CEHD initiative is one of a number of our initiatives in e-learning that will help students obtain a high-quality education that is also affordable.”
The catalog is the latest of several noteworthy educational technology programs at the University of Minnesota. All incoming freshmen in CEHD receive iPads, which will enable students to use the less expensive and free digital formats of open textbooks. The U of M is also participating in a multi-university e-textbook pilot program, which offers e-books at a significantly lower cost in selected courses.
More information
Learn more about the Open Academics textbook catalog on the website or by contacting Dave Ernst, project leader and CEHD director of academic and information technology, 612-624-2760.
Ernst was featured in “U of M opens up to open source textbooks,” by Stephen Smith, on Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition show April 23 and in The Minnesota Daily on April 30. A supportive editorial appeared in The Minnesota Daily on May 2. And see this Inside Higher Ed story.
The release is posted on the U news site.

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Project ADAPT seeking more MN National Guard and Reserve families to evaluate parenting resources

Associate Professor Abi Gewirtz and her team at Project ADAPT are recruiting more than 300 Minnesota National Guard and Reserve families to participate in an ongoing study that provides and evaluates parenting resources for children’s resilience as parents deploy and return home from military service. Military families with children between the ages of 4 and 12 who have experienced one deployment since 2001 and live in the Twin Cities, Mankato, and St. Cloud are eligible to join the study.
Since Project ADAPT (After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools) launched last year, nearly 100 families have participated. Groups are now forming for this spring. More groups will follow with the next wave of returning parents–about 2,500 soldiers are expected back in Minnesota in May.
Read the news release.