All posts by Steve Baker

About Steve Baker

Communications Director

Mom Enough, U of M College of Education and Human Development team up to help kids, parents

Two organizations that are committed to healthy child development and parenting have formed a partnership to expand their promotion of easy-to-understand tips and resources for moms, dads, and professionals.

Mom Enough®, founded by Twin Cities child and family health professionals Marti and Erin Erickson, and the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) are joining forces to present evidence-based research on effective child-rearing at a time when myth-busting and innovative solutions are needed more than ever.

The Mom Enough/CEHD partnership will expand the dissemination of world-class research from the University of Minnesota through all Mom Enough communications, including CEHD experts featured in weekly podcasts (available on iTunes and MomEnough.com), e-newsletters, events, and social media. CEHD experts also will create new tips and resources that will be available through both University and Mom Enough websites, social media, and in print.

Mom Enough aims to provide reliable, research-based information on child development, parenting, and maternal health and well-being. Often delivered with personal anecdotes from the mother-daughter co-hosts, the information is accessible and useful for helping all moms and dads become the parents that their children need.

CEHD is focused on the value of every child as an individual with unique talents and challenges. The college features more than 180 faculty members engaged in research, teaching, and service across Minnesota and around the world. They are represented in the departments of child development; curriculum and instruction; educational psychology; family social science; kinesiology; organizational leadership, policy, and development; and social work.

“CEHD is uniquely positioned to address many of our toughest challenges in society, such as teaching and learning innovations, children’s mental health and development, family resilience, and healthy living across the lifespan,” said Dean Jean K. Quam. “This partnership with Mom Enough is another step in our efforts to collaborate with important community organizations that are dedicated to improving lives.”

Mom Enough’s Marti Erickson, who earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from CEHD, said, “CEHD was my academic home throughout my long career at the University of Minnesota and is where I developed my passion for bringing research-based information to parents and other caring adults. So it is especially exciting for me to enter into this formal partnership to help Mom Enough’s large and diverse audience tap into CEHD’s extraordinary resources.”

For more information on this new partnership, contact Steve Baker (s-bake@umn.edu, 612-624-3430) or Stacy Downs (stacy@momenough.com, 763-234-4054).

U of M Twin Cities education program ranks #1 among public universities in the world

The University of Minnesota’s education program in the College of Education and Human Development ranks #3 in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2017 report. Only prestigious private universities Harvard and Stanford are ranked higher, making CEHD the highest rated public education program in the world.

The results are produced by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, an independent organization dedicated to research on higher education that has published rankings since 2009.

ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Reuters, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance of a university.

More than 1,200 universities are ranked by ARWU every year and the best 500 are published. See more ARWU education rankings.

CEHD embeds educational equity skills in teacher education curriculum

The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) created the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative (TERI) in 2010 to better prepare teachers for the challenges they face in a 21st century classroom. In the seven years since TERI began, CEHD has made important changes to the teacher preparation curriculum. One of these changes is a new emphasis on teaching “dispositions,” which describe the relational skills that teachers need to connect with their students, families, and communities.

By teaching relational skills, helping teachers understand the impact of their own racial identity on their students, CEHD helps teacher candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and mindsets they need to foster educational equity in their classrooms.

Learn more in this blog post from Misty Sato, associate professor and Campbell Chair for Innovation in Teacher Development.

CEHD in top ten on student satisfaction for education schools

A new report from SR (Student Review) Education Group has the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the top of the college rankings in student satisfaction for education schools. Based on the reviews of current and former students, CEHD was rated 8th best among 19 ranked education colleges offering master’s of education degrees in the United States.

SR Education has created a standardized method to assess institutions based on student satisfaction data. The goal of SR Education is to help prospective students find a college suited to their individual needs.

Read more.

Marion Barber Jr., Gophers Hall-of-Fame running back, earns his degree at age 57

Marion Barber Jr. at commencement ceremony

Marion Barber Jr. is persistent.

As an All-Big Ten running back for the Golden Gophers football team in the late 1970s, Barber was a record-setting player. In 2017, at age 57, Barber’s determination off the field culminated May 11 when he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota as part of the commencement ceremonies for the College of Education and Human Development. He graduated with a major in youth studies from the School of Social Work.

Barber finished his Gophers football career as the all-time record holder for rushing yards (3,094), rushing touchdowns (34), and 100-yard rushing games (12). Those records have since been broken, but he still ranks sixth all-time in program history for total rushing yards.

All of Barber’s sons have played football for the Gophers, including former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl running back Marion Barber III, former Houston Texans safety Dominique Barber, and current Gophers linebacker Thomas Barber.

In fall 2015, Marion Barber Jr. started back on his academic career at the U of M, knowing he would need two years of credits to complete his degree this spring.

“Once I saw the commitment required, I decided it would be worth it,” Barber said. “And, believe it or not, the time has gone by fast and been enjoyable. I have really appreciated all of my classmates, professors, and advisers who made me feel welcomed.”

Marion Barber Jr. with his grandchildren

Barber, a Maple Grove resident, is particularly proud of his perfect attendance in all of his classes, as well as his record of mostly A’s (and a few B’s). Outside the classroom, Barber worked as an educational intern at Armstrong High School. He now has a full-time position as a special education assistant at the school. He is also an assistant football coach there.

Barber said he has always been interested in youth development and children. After nearly 40 years since beginning his time at the U of M, he feels that he has something to offer young people — especially lessons about reaching high for goals and maintaining perseverance.

See more on Marion Barber Jr. in the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, and on KARE 11KSTP TV, and CCX Media.

Karen Miksch wins President’s Award for Outstanding Service

Karen Miksch, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), is one of 11 people honored with the 2017 President’s Award for Outstanding Service from the University of Minnesota.

This award recognizes exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units by an active or retired faculty or staff member. Recipients of this award have gone well beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the University community.

Miksch’s contributions to the college and University have been extraordinary through her work and consultation on legal issues, academic freedom, student admissions, and fostering diversity and inclusion in graduate education.

She will be honored at a reception at Eastcliff on June 15, and the Board of Regents will recognize her at their meeting on May 12. See all of this year’s winners.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors Megan Gunnar

Megan Gunnar

Megan Gunnar, director of the Institute of Child Development in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), has been elected to the 2017 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is one of three University of Minnesota professors and 228 national and international scholars, artists, philanthropists, and business leaders elected this year.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. This is the 237th class of members elected. It includes winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize, MacArthur Fellows, Fields Medalists, Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients, and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

Gunnar is one of the nation’s leading researchers in child development and developmental psychobiology. Her work focuses on understanding how stress early in life “gets under the skin” to shape the body’s stress response systems and neurobehavioral development.

“Professor Gunnar is an exceptional faculty member whose research and leadership in her field has improved the lives of many children,” said Jean Quam, CEHD dean. “The University of Minnesota and the College of Education and Human Development are extremely proud of her accomplishments.”

Gunnar holds the University’s highest faculty honors as both a Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor. She was recently elected to the National Academy of Education and has been honored with lifetime achievement awards by the American Psychological Association, Division 7 Developmental Psychology, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Association for Psychological Science. Gunnar has a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

The 2017 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, MA.

CEHD’s top rankings reflect innovative programs, district partnerships

The University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is ranked 12th among public professional schools of education, 21st among all schools, in the 2018 U.S. News and World Report rankings of graduate schools. CEHD maintains a #8 ranking in special education and moves up to #9 in educational psychology. CEHD’s developmental psychology program (Institute of Child Development) is #1 in the country.

CEHD is a world leader in developing innovative programs to address opportunity gaps in child development, teaching, and learning. Consider its outstanding partnership programs with school districts in Minnesota that apply evidence-based teaching methodologies to strengthen schools. Note also the impact of recent groundbreaking research on autism, which has uncovered new patterns of brain development in infants. CEHD’s productivity last year included $44.3 million of externally funded research.

“Our college continues to reach new heights of excellence in graduate teaching, research, and outreach,” said Dean Jean K. Quam. “We are focused on improving the lives of students across Minnesota, the nation, and the world.”

Learn more about CEHD’s top-rated master’s and doctoral programs.

Rankings methodology: U.S. News surveyed 379 schools granting education doctoral degrees. It calculates rankings based on quality assessments from peer institutions and school superintendents nationwide, student selectivity, and faculty research and resources, which includes student/faculty ratio and faculty awards as well as support for research.

Large CEHD delegation travels to Cuba for conference and educational exchange

College of Education and Human Development faculty, staff, alumni, and school-based colleagues will be in Havana, Cuba, January 25 to February 4, to meet with Cuban educators and present research papers at the Pedagogía 2017 International Conference for the “Unity of Educators.” The delegation, the largest U.S. academic group to date to travel to Cuba and present at a conference, includes 17 experts in reading and literacy, second languages and culture, dual language and immersion, bilingual education, special education, access and inclusion, multicultural education, immigrant youth, and pathways to diversifying the teaching force.

Goals for the visit include sharing research and practical knowledge, and engaging with colleagues on Cuban initiatives presented by local advocates, educators, and policy makers; presenting research at the conference; and making visits to educational spaces such as the National Literacy Museum.

“When we return, we will be sharing our insights from this trip with educators across Minnesota,” said Deborah Dillon, delegation leader and associate dean for graduate and professional programs in the college.

Other members of the delegation include Laura Coffin Koch (conference organizer), Stephanie Owen-Lyons (assistant to the delegation leader), Alexander Giraldo (graduate student), Julio Cabrera Morales (graduate student), Michelle Benegas (alumna), Amy Hewitt-Olatunde (St. Paul Public Schools), Karina Elze (Minneapolis Public Schools), and the following faculty and staff from CEHD: Heidi Barajas, Martha Bigelow, Blanca Caldas Chumbes, Panayiota Kendeou, Keitha-Gail Martin-Kerr, J.B. Mayo, David O’Brien, Karla Stone, and Rose Vukovic.

The impetus for the trip came from State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, who contacted CEHD dean Jean Quam and Dillon requesting that they secure a group of diverse scholars and practitioners from the college and community for the trip. Senator Torres Ray planned to join the delegation but was unable to leave her work at the statehouse to travel during the legislative session.

View photos and read more about the trip in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Connect.

Lee receives CDC grant for app to aid HPV vaccine completion

Professor Hee Yun Lee, School of Social Work, is principal investigator for a $450,000 Special Interest Project Research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The grant will fund a mobile application intervention for low-income Hmong adolescents to facilitate completion of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine series. The research team includes community co-principal investigator Kathleen Culhane-Pera, M.D., medical director of the Westside Community Health Services, and co-investigator Jay Desai, Ph.D., research investigator at HealthPartners.

The team will use community based participatory action research to design an app tailored culturally and cognitively to low-income Hmong adolescents aged 11-17 years and their parents. HPV causes several types of cancers, but vaccines can prevent infection with the most common types of HPV. The vaccine is given in three shots over seven to eight months.

The app will be highly interactive, with multiple levels of participation. The researchers will also test the app’s effectiveness and establish a protocol to aid health care providers in identifying and engaging Hmong adolescents and their parents in its use.

CEHD faculty address issues of politics, policy, and discourse in U.S. democracy

PrintFaculty in the College of Education and Human Development are engaged in diverse areas of research, teaching, and service in the community. As they look ahead, many of them are expressing insights and creating communities of discussion to improve all lives in this country and around the world.

Here is a sampling of some of their viewpoints that have been published:

CEHD tennis racket study leads to new product for Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

Global sporting goods manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods Company introduced a new line of high-technology performance tennis rackets that were field-tested in the School of Kinesiology’s Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) directed by Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D. The participants were experts recruited from the U of M varsity tennis men’s and women’s teams, and testing took place at the U of M Tennis Center.

UofM Varsity tennis player during data collection.
U of M varsity tennis player monitored by HSCL.

In tennis, the ball hitting the racket during tennis strokes induces a vibration of the racket frame, which transfers to the arm of the players. High vibration transfer may cause discomfort, induce earlier onset of fatigue and, with repeated exposure, increases injury risk. A racket design that can effectively reduce vibration transfer from the racket to the player’s arm should mitigate these negative vibration effects and aid to stabilize or improve a player’s performance.

Thus Wilson used Countervail technology, a one-of-a-kind layered carbon fiber that was originally designed for the aerospace industry to dissipate vibrational energy in airplanes. Strategic amounts of this material were incorporated into their new Blade performance tennis racket. HSCL measured the vibration in the rackets and determined how much these vibrations transferred to the arm, then compared the vibration behavior of this new design to another commercially available racket. In addition, the electrical signals from several  arm muscles  were recorded during the play to obtain electrophysiological markers of muscle fatigue.

A main finding of the study is that the new Countervail technology effectively reduces the vibration at the racket, which potentially can help players play longer while maintaining the precision of their strokes.

Read about the announcement on the 10sBalls.com blog.

HSCL Tennis Racquet Study – 20161209 from CEHD Academics on Vimeo.

J.B. Mayo wins Josie Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award

mayojr-2011J.B. Mayo, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, received the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award at the University of Minnesota Equity and Diversity Breakfast on Nov. 17.

The Josie R. Johnson Award was established in honor of Dr. Josie R. Johnson in recognition of her lifelong contributions to human rights and social justice, which guided her work with the civil rights movement, years of community service, and tenure at the University. The award honors University faculty, staff, and students who, through their principles and practices, exemplify Dr. Johnson’s standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.

Mayo was recognized for his dedication to equity and social justice in schools. Colleagues noted, in particular, his scholarship and outreach related to LGBTQ youth and teachers and his support for LGBTQ communities of color in school and community settings. Read more about Dr. Mayo.

Learn more about past award recipients.

University autism expertise leads to earlier diagnosis

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Jed Elison and Jason Wolff

CEHD researchers Jason Wolff and Jed Elison are detecting objective differences in the brains of children who have autism spectrum disorders as early as six months old. And their work is contributing to a national effort to understand this complex array of developmental disorders.

“We know from intervention studies that the earlier you intervene, the better the outcome,” says Wolff in a U of M Medical Bulletin feature story.

Read more about the work of several U of M researchers who bring a spectrum of expertise to their autism research, including prevalence studies led by Amy Hewitt, director of CEHD’s Research and Training Center on Community Living in the Institute on Community Integration.

CEHD researcher improves deaf education through visual learning

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Debbie Golos

When I taught reading and writing to sixth grade students at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, CA, I began to notice a pattern that supported research I had previously read. My students who had parents who were deaf or hearing parents who signed fluently in American Sign Language (ASL) typically read on or above grade level, while those whose families had not signed with them from birth typically lagged behind. This observation made me want to investigate how we might better improve literacy development in young deaf children. Both my research and classroom experience supports an increasing body of research that indicates we can improve outcomes in deaf education through a visual-learning based approach. Read the full article.

New research shows health benefits of yoga for African American women

Daheia Barr-Anderson
Daheia Barr-Anderson

Potential health benefits of yoga were revealed in a pilot study of African American women by Daheia Barr-Anderson, assistant professor in CEHD’s School of Kinesiology.

African American women, as a demographic group, have serious health issues, according to Barr-Anderson. “Over 80 percent of us are overweight,” she said. “African American women have high rates of diabetes and 40 percent of African American women are hypertensive.”

Barr-Anderson, a certified yoga instructor, is introducing more African American women to yoga because of its potential to improve health outcomes, and she is studying the results.

This three-month study took several baseline measures of health in 59 African American women and divided them into an intervention group of 30 and control group of 29. The intervention group attended multiple yoga classes each week for three months; the control group did not.

The data is still being analyzed, but Barr-Anderson is “confident that we will see that yoga helped our participants enact some very powerful changes in their physical and mental health.” She noted that some of the most committed participants showed significant changes, including weight loss and improved blood pressure.

Read more about the study in Barr-Anderson’s Improving Lives blog post.

Brain scan research promises new insights on child development with $4 million NIH grant

Researchers at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) have been awarded a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to launch the Baby Connectome Project (BCP).

The BCP aims to provide scientists with unprecedented information about how the human brain develops from birth through early childhood and will uncover factors contributing to healthy brain development.

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Jed Elison

“The UMN/UNC team is uniquely suited to perform this challenging, but critical task, and we expect the data collected and results that come from the BCP to have broad implications for understanding the most dynamic period of human brain development,” said Jed Elison, Ph.D., a co-principal investigator of the BCP and UMN assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development’s Institute of Child Development (ICD). Elison, a McKnight Land-Grant Professor, and Kamil Ugurbil, a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Professor, are leading the effort together at UMN.

The BCP is a four-year research initiative of NIH, supported by Wyeth Nutrition through a gift to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).

Kamil Ugurbil
Kamil Ugurbil

The collaboration brings together ICD and the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at UMN, and the Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC) at UNC, both of which include substantial expertise in infant/pediatric neuroimaging and behavioral assessment.

The project will characterize human brain connectivity and map patterns of structural and functional connectivity to important behavioral skills from infancy to early childhood. Additional biological (e.g., genetic markers) and environmental measures (e.g., family demographics) will also be collected and examined to provide a more comprehensive picture of the factors that affect brain development.  Findings from this study will provide other scientists with a definitive foundation to inform new questions about typical and atypical brain and behavioral development. Additionally, this study promises to inform policy decisions that could directly or indirectly affect healthy brain development during early childhood.

“This is an unprecedented effort to map the development of brain circuitries during a stage when our brains undergo highly dynamic changes that have life-long impacts on cognitive development.  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to carry out this exciting project,” said Weili Lin, Ph.D., Dixie Soo Distinguished Professor in Neurological Medicine, director of BRIC, and co-principal investigator of the BCP.

“Wyeth Nutrition is excited to support research at UMN and UNC through our partnership with the FNIH,” said CEO of Wyeth Nutrition Mike Russomano. “This innovative research — led by two institutions at the forefront of studying brain development in children — will add to a better understanding of what is needed to support the brain development and overall health of infants and children in the critical first years of life.”

For the project, researchers at UMN and UNC will perform safe and non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of 500 typically developing children, ages 0-5 years, over the course of 4 years. Of these 500 children, 175 will come from two other brain imaging studies already underway, one from UNC (“Early Brain Development in 1 and 2 Year Olds”, led by John Gilmore, M.D.) and one from UMN (“Infant Brain and Behavioral Signatures of Later Emerging Risk for Psychopathology,” led by Elison). All of the data collected will be shared with the broader scientific community to accelerate discovery.

The project will include longitudinal groups, where children will be scanned four to six times at different ages, and cross-sectional groups, where children will be scanned once at distinct points in their development. In addition to the imaging data collected, researchers will also obtain parent reports and direct assessment cognitive and behavioral development in the participating children.  All of the collected information will inform a more comprehensive picture of how emerging patterns of brain connectivity shape behavioral development in children under the age of 5.

UMN and UNC will leverage technological innovations developed through the original Human Connectome Project (HCP), a scientific endeavor funded by the NIH to create a map of the circuitry within the human brain, to investigate the structural and functional changes that occur during typical development. This project will be part of the Lifespan Human Connectome Project (LHCP), which aims to extend the HCP to map connectivity in the developing, adult, and aging human brain. (See the UMN role in the LHCP.) It is funded by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a collaborative framework through which 15 NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices jointly support neuroscience-related research, with the aim of accelerating discoveries and reducing the burden of nervous system disorders.

Researchers from UMN include Jed Elison, Kamil Ugurbil, Essa Yacoub, and Jason Wolff.

CEHD start-up joins with national Montessori center to assess and improve kids’ kindergarten readiness

1apicThe National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) in Washington, D.C., and Reflection Sciences, a Minnesota start-up educational technology company started by two CEHD professors, has announced a new partnership to measure Executive Function in Montessori and developmentally based education.

Executive Function (EF) capabilities are key developments in the preschool years. Sometimes called the “air traffic controller of your brain,” EF is the set of neurocognitive functions that help the brain organize and act on information. These functions enable us to pay attention, control behavior, and think flexibly — essentially, the tools that are necessary to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

In this new program, NCMPS will work with Reflection Sciences to offer training and tools to measure these essential skills using the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS). The MEFS is a valid and reliable measure of EF that is based on the latest neuroscience, delivered on touch-screen tablet, and takes less than five minutes.

How important is Executive Function? Recent studies have shown these skills are more predictive of academic success than IQ. And like many skills, EF develops through practice. That is why it is crucial to nurture these skills at an early age.

“The MEFS gives us a simple, reliable, non-intrusive way to prove something we’ve suspected in Montessori for decades — that Montessori prepared environments, trained teachers, and learning materials support optimal child development,” said Jacqueline Cossentino, research director of NCMPS. “Now we can measure and compare Montessori’s effectiveness.”

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Stephanie Carlson

Stephanie Carlson, child development professor and co-founder and CEO of Reflection Sciences, agrees with the Montessori approach. “We are so impressed with what Montessori does to promote Executive Function. By cultivating reflection though nearly everything they do in the classroom, the Montessori approach embodies best practices for building EF skills,” she said. “This is such an important part of early childhood education and they are embracing it. This is likely to have lasting positive impacts for their children, and now they will be able to measure these results.”

NCMPS is introducing the new program at eight training locations, beginning in October 2016. They will offer the MEFS to their partner schools, while Reflection Sciences will facilitate the onboarding of new schools to its cloud-based web portal and continue to offer support and additional services, such as professional development about EF and assistance with data analysis.

“With this new partnership, our educators will be more intentional in nurturing Executive Function skills, so that our students are better prepared to learn, socialize, and handle any situation that may develop in elementary school,” added Cossentino.

Founded by Carlson and professor Phil Zelazo in CEHD’s Institute of Child Development in 2014, Reflection Sciences provides professional development, training, and tools for assessing and improving Executive Function skills. Their Minnesota Executive Function Scale is the first objective, scientifically-based, and normed direct assessment of executive function for ages 2 years and up.

Collaborative Online International Learning Pilot earns eLearning Summit award

1COIL eLearning Summit Award (2)Digital Education and Innovation (DEI) was recognized at the 2016 Minnesota eLearning Summit Excellence Awards. Melissa Falldin, Thomas Nechodomu, and Treden Wagoner were awarded in the collaboration category for their work on the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Pilot. The collaboration award is given to organizations or individuals who demonstrate exceptional collaboration within a course, department, institution, or system.

The DEI team worked with CEHD’s International Initiatives and the University’s Global Strategies and Program Alliance and Center for Education Innovation to develop the two-year pilot. The pilot is an opportunity for CEHD instructors to integrate a new teaching model that gives their students international experience. The pilot also seeks to establish and document best practices for course development using the COIL model and related faculty development. DEI has developed a COIL workbook for faculty partners and is available for anyone interested in COIL.

The workbook is available for download from the team’s web site.

CEHD hosts 2nd summit to improve student success with open textbooks

Using open textbooks can save students hundreds of dollars per semester. Making faculty aware that they are an option, though, remains a challenge, which is why the University of Minnesota is hosting a meeting of its Open Textbook Network (OTN), Aug. 9-12.

The OTN, an alliance of nearly 250 colleges and universities across the country, will convene on the Twin Cities campus to develop strategies for advancing open textbook programs on their campuses. Participants will also gain expertise in helping faculty understand the negative impact high textbook costs can have on students’ academic performance. Over the last year, the OTN has grown by nearly 175 members.

Published under a Creative Commons license, open textbooks are available to students for free. Faculty can custom edit the textbooks to meet their needs. By using open textbooks, students can save thousands of dollars over a college career. The OTN has already saved students an estimated total of $3.1 million in textbook costs.

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David Ernst

“Open textbooks eliminate the cost barrier between students and their learning,” said David Ernst, director of the Center for Open Education and executive director of the OTN. “The institutions in the Open Textbook Network are all committed to improving student success through the use of these textbooks.”

The Open Textbook Network also hosts the Open Textbook Library, the first searchable online catalog of open textbooks, many of which are reviewed by faculty at OTN institutions. Currently, more than 260 textbook titles are available for use.