Category Archives: Centers

Poetz to receive National Leadership Award from AUCD

Photograph of Cliff Poetz, self-advocate for people with disabilities, at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Cliff Poetz, self-advocate for people with disabilities, at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Cliff Poetz of the College’s Institute on Community Integration will receive the Leadership in Advocacy Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) during the AUCD 2017 conference in Washington, DC on November 5-8. The award is presented to an outstanding individual or family member who has exhibited exceptional leadership and self-advocacy skills in the area of developmental disabilities.

Poetz’s self-advocacy began in 1970. Like many people with developmental disabilities at the time, he lived in a large institution and was labeled “retarded.” But his institution was in Minneapolis and “the city was alive with talk of social change and civil rights,” he recalls. Poetz protested the discrimination, people listened, and the media took notice. He has influenced social change and legislation every since. An active and effective advocate, he helped launch Advocating Change Together in the late 1970s and People First Minnesota in the 1980s. He went on to serve as a board member of numerous organizations and has had advisory roles with a number of foundations and academic centers.

“I only wish my parents could have seen how my life has turned out,” he reflects. “They would not believe how I live on my own, how I travel all over the country, how people with impressive titles and jobs know me and listen to me. Self-advocacy has given me wonderful opportunities. I see my involvement in continuing to organize self-advocacy groups as one way that I can help other people have wonderful opportunities of their own.”

NCEO receives $10 million to establish new center to support inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities

Sheryl Lazarus, principal investigator.
Kristin Liu, co-principal investigator.

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the college’s Institute on Community Integration (ICI) has been awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to establish a National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies. The new center will be called The TIES Center: Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Sheryl Lazarus will be the principal investigator and Kristin Liu the co-principal investigator.

The purpose of the TIES Center is to create sustainable changes in school and district educational systems so that students with significant cognitive disabilities can fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional activities as their general education peers while being instructed in a way that meets individual learning needs.

The TIES Center will be funded for five years, $2 million per year. Subcontractors for the TIES Center identified by NCEO are University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of North Carolina Greensboro, University of Cincinnati, CAST, University of Kentucky and the Arizona Department of Education.

“This is wonderful opportunity for NCEO and its partners to do important and exciting work on the inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities,” says Lazarus. Future project activities will support increased student engagement and improved learning outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

What the TIES Center Will Do

The primary outcome of the TIES Center is to improve the quality of instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive environments through the use of existing curriculum and instructional materials. The new center will also provide models and coaching to both general education and special education teachers to create more inclusive opportunities. In addition the TIES Center will support changes to inclusive practices and policies within partner state and local education agencies.

The TIES Center has identified five goals to support its outcomes:

  1. Develop professional learning communities in partner state and local education agencie
  2. Develop coaching models for implementation of resources, inclusive practices and communicative competence.
  3. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing resources.
  4. Support parents to become partners in the practice of inclusion for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  5. Support systems change within the leadership of state and local education agencies for implementation of inclusive practices.

Established in 1990, NCEO is a federally-funded technical-assistance center that supports states and districts on issues related to inclusive assessments, particularly for students with disabilities, English learners (ELs) and ELs with disabilities.

Ph.D. student in STEM Education travels to Japan to research STEM equity

STEM equity researcher, National Science Foundation fellowship recipient, Ph.D. candidate, and sushi connoisseur Jeanna Wieselmann shares her research agenda as she spends the semester in Japan partnering with Shizuoka University.

What is your degree program?

I am in the STEM Education Ph.D. program within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  I plan to graduate in May of 2019.

What drove you to enroll in the STEM Education Ph.D. program?

I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota and spent several years teaching for a STEM non-profit.  As a STEM teacher, I observed students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields excelling.  I wanted to learn more about how to make quality STEM education accessible to all students, through quality curricular materials and support for teachers.  The University of Minnesota has amazing faculty and an integrated STEM program that perfectly matched my research interests.

What is your current research focus?

I am currently interested in gender equity in STEM and am looking at the factors that influence whether girls are interested in pursuing STEM careers.  Girls already tend to have less interest in STEM by the time they reach middle and high school, so I’m focusing primarily on the elementary grade levels in the hopes that quality elementary STEM experiences can help foster continued STEM interest.

You are in Japan this semester working on STEM education. Tell me about your goals for the semester and how the project came about.

I am interested in international perspectives on STEM, and I decided to visit Japan because my adviser, Dr. Gillian Roehrig, has cultivated a strong relationship with Dr. Yoshisuke Kumano from Shizuoka University. I was able to study through my National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This semester, I am working on two research projects.  The first project investigates middle school students’ perceptions of STEM and interest in STEM careers after participating in STEM activities through various programs.  The second project involves helping with teacher professional development focused on STEM and supporting these teachers as they implement STEM activities in their elementary classrooms for the first time.

What have you found surprising/challenging as an educator and researcher working across international borders?

This certainly hasn’t been a surprise, but the language barrier is a major challenge to conducting research across international borders.  I’m fortunate to be surrounded by Japanese colleagues who are willing to help me, but my ability to understand what is happening in a classroom is limited.  As a researcher, I’m also very aware of my positionality and am cautious about entering a new culture and pushing my beliefs and values on people. I’m working in collaborative groups with Japanese researchers to help ensure that the Japanese perspective is fairly portrayed in the research I conduct.

Which resources have you found through the department to help with your research?

The biggest resource that has helped with my research is the faculty within the department.  I learned a lot through my coursework, and I also have wonderful mentors who are willing to give advice and feedback on my work.  Every time I talk to another professor about my research, I leave with new ideas and new resources to explore. In addition, my fellow graduate students are irreplaceable for the support they provide.

And the key question: have you eaten the most delicious food in Japan?

The food in Japan is absolutely amazing!  There’s great, affordable sushi available everywhere, including the grocery store that’s a block away from my apartment.  One of my favorite meals was Okonomiyaki, a regional specialty of Hiroshima that features a savory pancake topped with cabbage and other veggies, noodles, meat, and a delicious special sauce.

Learn more about the Ph.D. in STEM Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

2017 ITR Seed Grants Announced

We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2017 Collaborative Seed Grant Program. These grants — $20,000 or less with a one-year time frame — support small research projects that advance the use of evidence-based practices in addressing pressing issues for children’s mental health. Each project partners with community organizations in Minnesota.  The goal of the program is to kickstart innovative ideas that have a likely chance of becoming larger, sustained research projects with external funding to improve mental health outcomes among Minnesota’s children.

Our mission at the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR) is to advance quality research, train practitioners in evidence-based practices, and disseminate information to help bridge the gap between research and practice in our field.

Mindfulness Training for Juvenile Diversion Youth

Community Principal Investigator: Hal Pickett, Director of Client Services, Headway Emotional Health Services

ITR Principal Investigator: Timothy Piehler, Assistant Professor, UMN Department of Family Social Science

This exciting project aims to reduce conduct disorder among adolescents in juvenile justice diversion programs. The study seeks to adapt a mindfulness-focused intervention called Learning to Breathe for this audience in order to improve adolescent self control. The project will use an experimental design known as a “microtrial” to gauge specific effects of the intervention, which could be a precursor to a full randomized control trial.

Excerpt from the abstract:

“Juvenile diversion programs serve as an important gateway in identifying youth at high risk for escalations in conduct problems. However, the vast majority of diversion programming currently being provided is not evidence-based, in part because there are few evidence-based programs developed specifically for this population and setting…The proposed research seeks to innovate conduct disorder prevention in the context of juvenile diversion through several strategies…The proposed microtrial will evaluate the ability of mindfulness-based skills training to impact self-control within an adolescent diversion population. …

The proposed research project represents a collaboration between a University of Minnesota research team and Headway Emotional Health Services, a community mental health agency that provides pre-court juvenile diversion services for youth offenders. The study will involve a randomized trial investigating an evidence-based mindfulness intervention (Learning to Breathe; LTB) for juvenile diversion-referred youth.”

Read the full abstract here.

Foundational Research for a Parenting Mobile App with Biofeedback for Latine Parents

Community Principal Investigator: Roxana Linares, Executive Director, Centro Tyrone Guzman and Veronica Svetaz, Medical Director, Aqui Para Ti

ITR Principal Investigator: Jennifer Doty, Postdoctoral Fellow, UMN Department of Pediatrics

This project will build and test a mobile app version of Padres Informados, a skills-based parenting intervention for Latine immigrants. The work will lay the groundwork for a robust app that includes wearable technology to provide biofeedback to parents as they go through the program.

Excerpt from the abstract:

“The long-term goal of this research is to reduce depression, anxiety, and substance use among Latino adolescents through a mobile application with parenting content and personal biofeedback. The goal of this proposal is to build and test a baseline mobile application with a skills-based parenting curriculum for Latine immigrants, Padres Informados. …

The first aim is to build the baseline application and test the prototype that has already been developed in interviews with 20-30 parents who completed an earlier survey. … The second aim is to assess the functionality of the baseline mobile app and the acceptability of using a wearable.

The mobile app will have the potential of increasing community accessibility to evidence-based parenting programs and enhancing existing delivery of the program by providing mobile supplementary information and goal tracking capabilities.”

Read the full abstract here.

Learning Technologies Media Lab releases climate change documentary on PBS

Professor Aaron Doering and his team of explorers and educators trek across the unforgiving arctic landscape by dog sled in order to deliver a real-time educational program to millions of students who follow along on the adventure. Their efforts have been captured in a documentary, “The Changing Earth: Crossing the Arctic,” co-produced by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) and Twin Cities’ Public Television (TPT).

The Changing Earth project was conceived and led by Doering as a way to engage students in a real-world adventure by broadcasting from wherever they find themselves along the journey—on sleds, in tents, and across frozen treks to Inuit villages. “We focus on a culture, we focus on an environmental issue, and now we focus on a social issue,” says Doering of each new adventure-learning expedition.

The first arctic expedition in 2004 took six months. By the end of the trip, Doering was excited to see that they had over three million learners watching from around the world. The program introduces students and viewers to the challenges of the Arctic and the impact of climate change on its indigenous people in a way that resonates with young learners.

The Changing Earth documentary is now available for free on PBS for anyone interested in learning more about the hardships and thrills of crossing the arctic.

Consider supporting the work of LTML to continue the work of documenting the impact of climate change for all learners.

Find out more about the degree programs available in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which houses the LT Media Lab.

Promoting employment for people with disabilities

ICI's Jeffrey Nurick speaking at a conference.
ICI’s Jeffrey Nurick speaking at a conference.

Employment for people with disabilities is a growing trend and researchers and staff from the College’s Institute on Community Integration are spreading the word. For example, on June 19-22, Kelly Nye-Lengerman presented four sessions at the National APSE (Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst) conference in Portland, Oregon. They were: “Full Speed Ahead: Promoting Youth Readiness for Employment and Education with PROMISE”, “How Are We Doing with Implementing Good Practice in Employment Supports?”, “Power of 5: Moving the Needle: The Words We Use Matter”, and “Bringing Employment First to Scale: State of the Science.” Meanwhile, on June 22, Jeffrey Nurick (pictured) was in Duluth as a panelist on the discussion, “Living the Dream: Employment First in Action,” at the Minnesota Age & Disabilities Odyssey conference.

ICI’s Gulaid among panelists for Voice of America town hall on autism and vaccines

 

ICI's Anab Gulaid (in blue headscarf) is interviewed on camera at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs on July 8, 2017.
ICI’s Anab Gulaid (in blue headscarf) is interviewed on camera at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs on July 8, 2017.

Anab Gulaid, a public health expert in CEHD’s Institute on Community Integration, was a panelist for Vaccine and Autism: Myths and Facts, a recent town hall forum held to address Somali parents’ concerns about the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, autism, and the measles outbreak affecting the Twin Cities’ Somali community.

Held on July 8 at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the forum was hosted by the Humphrey School and the Voice of America news network, which broadcast the two panel discussions – one in Somali and one in English – to its worldwide audience. The gathering, which was covered by numerous media (e.g., Minnesota Public Radio,  Fox 9 News), was prompted by the measles outbreak tied to low MMR vaccination rates among Minnesota’s Somali community.

See video of the panel discussion in English (which includes a short segment on autism research by CEHD faculty Jed Elison and Jason Wolff) and the other panel discussion in Somali (which includes Anab Gulaid).

CEHD alumni honored with Outstanding Achievement Award

David Metzen, Eric Kaler, and John Haugo

 

CEHD alumni John Haugo and David Metzen received the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA)  on June 19 at an evening reception at Eastcliff.  They were recognized for their significant contributions to Minnesota’s educational system and given their awards by President Eric Kaler. The OAA is the University of Minnesota’s highest award for graduates.

John Haugo was an innovative tech entrepreneur before it was cool. After working as a teacher for many years, Haugo went on to earn an M.A. (’64) and Ph.D. (’68) from CEHD. He had a specialty in information systems and, after finishing his doctorate, led the implementation of computer networks across Minnesota State University campuses.

He was later appointed to a governor’s task force to study the potential use of computers in education, which led to his position as executive director of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium, or MECC. Early on, Haugo realized the educational potential of personal desktop computers and the importance of teaching students how to use them. Because of his efforts at MECC, all public schools in Minnesota had Apple computers with instructional software, and teachers were trained how to incorporate them into their lesson plans. Haugo eventually moved on to launch his entrepreneurial career and founded several software companies focused on health care delivery and resource management. One of his colleagues said, “John could have used his entrepreneurial skills in any type of business, but he wanted to improve the world.”

David Metzen went from being a U of M hockey standout to having an exemplary career in the field of public education. Metzen has a B.S. (’64), M.A. (’70) and Ed.D. (’73) from CEHD. He started his career as a teacher in his hometown of South Saint Paul, soon advancing to the position of principal and later superintendent. A parent from that time shared, “On the first day of school, Dave took our daughter by the hand and walked her to her classroom, all the while telling her how great school was going to be. She not only believed him then, she is now a 9th grade English teacher in the Minneapolis public schools.” As a lifelong resident and passionate supporter of his community, Metzen realized the importance of strong public schools as a civic point of pride. To ensure the ongoing health of the district, he established one of the first school foundations in Minnesota, the South Saint Paul Educational Foundation.

The University of Minnesota was influenced by Metzen’s thoughtful leadership as a Board of Regents member for 12 years, including two years as chair. He wanted to ensure that college education remained affordable for all students. During his time as a regent, the board oversaw the reorganization of General College and the College of Human Ecology, bringing together several programs under the umbrella of the new College of Education and Human Development. After his regents term ended, Metzen continued his leadership for college affordability as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Higher Education.

In their acceptance remarks, both Haugo and Metzen acknowledged the importance of the University of Minnesota to their lives and to the state. We are proud to have such distinguished alumni affiliated with CEHD!

All college alumni are invited to stay connected through the CEHD Alumni Society.

Ambit Network Fall Conference: The importance of parenting in highly stressed children and families

A growing body of research has shown how working with parents can improve mental health outcomes for children exposed to traumatic stress, and an upcoming half-day conference from the University of Minnesota’s Ambit Network and Center for Resilient Families will highlight cutting edge work in this field. Reserve your spot at z.umn.edu/parenting.

The conference will take place the morning of Friday, Sept. 15, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Titled The importance of parenting in highly stressed children and families, it will feature keynote presenter Dr. Marion Forgatch, a key developer of Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model (PMTO), a landmark evidence-based prevention intervention that has been implemented around the world. Center for Resilient Families Director Abi Gewirtz and clinical psychologist Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya will also present.

Dr. Forgatch and her life partner, Minnesota-native Dr. Gerald Patterson, developed PMTO based on analysis of thousands of hours of footage documenting parent-child interactions to understand what leads children astray. PMTO is based on 40 years of research and has been shared with more than 50,000 families from all socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, and family types throughout the world. It has been adapted by other researchers to serve more specific audiences, including military parents, Latinx immigrants, and parents of traumatized children. Dr. Forgatch is Senior Scientist Emerita at Oregon Social Learning Center and founder of Implementation Sciences International, Inc.

Dr. Abi Gewirtz, director of both Ambit Network and Center for Resilient Families, is one of the many researchers influenced by PMTO and is the lead developer of After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools, a PMTO-based prevention intervention for military families. Dr. Gewirtz will present on her use of mindfulness research in parenting prevention interventions.

Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, a licensed clinical psychologist and Executive Director of the African American Child Wellness Institute, will present on an innovative culturally-specific parenting program she is involved in. The program, called Project Murua:  A Pre-meditated Parenting Boot Camp, is a 10-week intensive Afrocentric violence prevention and wellness promotion parent education and training program.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper and Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, Ilhan Omar, will make opening remarks.

The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Hyundai Club room at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Accessible parking is available near the stadium. Refreshments will be served and an optional stadium tour will take place afterward. The registration fee is $25 and space is limited – reserve your spot today at z.umn.edu/parenting

The conference is part of the Center for Resilient Families’ mission to implement parent-focused interventions and raise awareness about the importance of parenting in children’s mental health. Both the Center for Resilient Families and the Ambit Network are part of the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health at the University of Minnesota. Learn more at http://itr.umn.edu.

Announcing ITR summer fellowship recipients

The Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR) is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2017 Translational Summer Research Fellowships. The four (corrected from an earlier e-mail, which stated three) fellowships help graduate students pursue collaborative research projects involving the development or expansion of evidence-based prevention or treatment interventions in children’s mental health.

The fellowship program supports ITR’s mission to bridge the vast gap between research and practice in children’s mental health. The range of the four projects reflects ITR’s commitment to bringing together researchers from across disciplines to solve problems.

One project will look at the effects of the “Early Risers” intervention on homeless families and identify which family characteristics predict differential responses. In another researchers will examine parents’ cognitive emotion regulation and its impact on child functioning. Using data from the military-parent-focused ADAPT intervention, one fellow will examine how parents’ inhibitory control might boost or lessen benefit from the intervention. A fourth project will investigate how treatments for major depressive disorder affect brain circuits.

Parenting trajectories of homeless parents in Early Risers intervention
Student: Sun-Kyung Lee | ITR faculty advisor: Timothy Piehler

Background: Homeless parents’ life stressors include negative parenting and high risk of exposure to child maltreatment, violence, mental illness and substance use (Gewirtz, Hart-Shegos, & Medhanie, 2008). The behavioral and emotional problems of children in homeless families are greater than children with low socioeconomic status and those in permanently housed communities (Lee et al, 2010). The purpose of this study is to examine intervention effect and identify what family characteristics predict differential responses to the parenting practices outcome in a preventive intervention. (Full proposal)

Parent self-regulation, parenting quality, and child behavioral outcomes in homeless families
Student: Alyssa Palmer | ITR faculty advisor: Daniel Berry

Background: The goals of the proposed project are to determine (1) whether parent adversity is related to parent cognitive emotion regulation and parenting quality in families experiencing homelessness, (2) whether parent cognitive emotion regulation moderates the relationships between adversity and observed parenting quality, and (3) whether the aforementioned associations impact child functioning in addition to the predicted direct influences of parent emotion regulation. This project involves secondary data analysis and behavioral coding of parent child interactions. The sample includes 105 caregivers and their 4- to 7- year old children who were recruited over a summer from two urban homeless shelters for a study on parenting and school readiness. (Full proposal)

Effects of a military parenting program: Inhibitory control as moderator
Student: Jingchen Zhang. ITR faculty advisor: Abi Gewirtz

Background: The goal of this study is to examine how parents’ inhibitory control might boost or lessen benefit from a military parenting program. Children in military families in which a parent has been deployed may be at increased risk of depression, anxiety and externalizing behavior problems (Chartrand, Frank, White, & Shope, 2008). After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT; PI: Abigail Gewirtz) is a parent training program tailored to the specific needs of military families whose goal is to enhance effective parenting practices, thus reducing children’s adjustment problems (Gewirtz, & Davis, 2014). (Full proposal)

Pre-post medication brain functional network changes in adolescent MDD
Student: Shu-Hsien Chu. ITR faculty advisor: Bonnie Klimes-Dougan

Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious illness that occurs in 11% of adolescents (Avenevoli, Swendsen, He et aI JAACAP, 2015) and is associated with tragic outcomes including chronic adult disability and suicide. While some evidence-based treatments are available such as antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, these interventions are only successful in reducing depression in about half to two-thirds of cases. Research is urgently needed to better understand the biological roots of adolescent depression and to develop improved treatments. This project will explore functional network changes exerted by currently-standard treatments. (Full proposal)

STEM education group forms partnership with educators in Japan

Gillian Roehrig, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I), led a team of STEM educators to Japan for a one-week visit funded by 3M to initiate STEM education partnerships in Japan. The team included Assistant Professor Julie Brown, Ph.D.; candidate in STEM education Jeanna Wieselmann; Doug Paulson, Minnesota Department of Education STEM Specialist); and Tom Meagher, Ph.D. , the Owatonna K-12 STEM Coordinator and C&I alumni in Science Education.

The group was hosted by Professor Yoshisuke Kumano and Dr. Tomoki Saito of Shizuoka University. Dr. Saito spent time as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction as a visiting scholar last year. Professor Kumano’s team had recently visited the STEM education center to learn about K12 integrated STEM curriculum and research. This visit cemented the partnership, as the STEM education experts from the department presented research on integrated K-12 STEM education and provided a K-12 STEM workshop for principals and teachers from local schools.

The UMN STEM delegation also visited the RuKuRu STEM student camp at the Shizuoka Children’s Musuem,  the Shizuoka Prefectural High School of Science & Technology, and Sagano Super Science and Global High School Kyoto to explore possible exchange opportunities for STEM high schools students and teachers.

This fall, Wieselmann will spend three months studying at Shizuoka University as a visiting scholar, where she will be extending her research on gender issues related to STEM teaching and learning at the elementary level in Japan. Roehrig will also be returning in August to present with the Shizuoka STEM group at the Japan Society for Science Education. In addition, a research project has been established with Dr. Takahiro Kayano that explores argumentation in K-12 STEM classrooms in Shizuoka and Owatonna, cementing the fruitful partnership between the two the STEM education area in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and their colleagues in Japan.

Learn more about the STEM education Ph.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Consider making a gift to support ongoing partnerships in STEM education.

CEED to establish international center for reflective practice

The Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) in the Institute of Child Development has received a $1 million grant from the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation to establish a center that will focus on reflective practice in infant and early childhood mental health.

Reflective practice is a professional development approach that encourages individuals to pay attention to relationships as they examine behavior and their responses to behavior. In the infant and early childhood mental health field, reflective practice asks practitioners to explore how they relate to the children and families they work with, who may be facing multiple challenges and risks. Practitioners engage in reflective practice in partnership with a supervisor or consultant.

The new CEED center will serve as an intellectual home for high-quality, cutting-edge research in reflective practice. It will also disseminate knowledge about reflective practice, help professionals incorporate reflective practice principles into their work, and inform policy dealing with infant and early childhood mental health. The center will be the first of its kind internationally.

“We are grateful to the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation for their support as we work to impact infant and early childhood programs and providers, both in Minnesota and across the country,” says Christopher Watson, Ph.D., IMH-E®[IV], director of the new center at CEED. “This generous gift will allow CEED to bolster its work in reflective supervision and to better support staff who serve families facing complex challenges. We look forward to carrying out this work in an effort to improve developmental outcomes for infants and young children.”

C&I PhD candidate Jeanna Wieselmann receives WPLC award

Jeanna Wieselmann2

Jeanna Wieselmann, a doctoral candidate in STEM Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction was selected for the 2017 Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Award (WPLC) as a “Rising Star” graduate student.

Wieselmann’s research is focused on gender equity in STEM education at the elementary school level. She is interested in gender equity in STEM, particularly in maintaining girls’ interest in STEM in the elementary years and beyond.

Wieselmann will be traveling to Japan this fall to work with colleagues there as they begin to introduce integrated STEM instruction in the classroom.

“I’ll help with STEM curriculum development and implementation, and I’ll study student perceptions of self and STEM, likely examining differences across contexts,” she says, including both different settings within Japan and as compared to the U.S.”

“I’m fortunate be at institution where women are well represented in the STEM fields, in my department in particular,” Wieselmann says of Department of Curriculum & Instruction where both of her advisors, Gillian Roehrig and Julie Brown, are female STEM faculty. “I would like to be a professor at a research institution, so seeing women in that role has definitely inspired me.”

Find out more about the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the doctoral program in STEM Education.

ICD hosts community symposium on play

ICD faculty member Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., presents at the community symposium.On May 15, the Institute of Child Development (ICD) hosted a community symposium on the importance of play for learning.

For the symposium, which was co-hosted by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, ICD faculty and staff presented cutting-edge research on play and discussed why it is critical to child development.

Presentations covered topics including play’s impact on a child’s understanding of math, how play influences the development of executive function, and how the Children’s Theatre Company is incorporating research into a preschool storytelling program. Each presentation was followed by a play-based activity that asked participants to explore what they learned.

Experts from the Minnesota Children’s Museum also provided a sneak peek of their new facility and exhibits, which will open to the public on June 7.

To learn more about why play is critical to learning and child development, read the following articles from Connect, the College of Education and Human Development’s alumni magazine.

  • The power of play:” Play is essential for learning and growing, but it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. New research is changing that.
  • Play lab:” Children lead at the U’s laboratory preschool
  • Setting the stage for learning:” Supporting early literacy through theater arts

2017 UMAI Day highlights current ASD research

The University of Minnesota Autism Initiative (UMAI) welcomed an audience of 250 people for the third annual UMAI Day: Research to Practice Update. The event, held May 5 at the Masonic Children’s Hospital, featured current University of Minnesota research collaborations relating to autism.

Veronica Fleury, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Tami Childs, MN Autism Project coordinator, spoke on implementing evidence-based practices in school settings. ICI’s Jennifer Hall-Lande and Anab Gulaid led a presentation titled ASD Prevalence Research and Community Engagement with Somali and Immigrant Families. See complete list of speakers.

UMAI represents an interdisciplinary collective of researchers, educators, and providers focused on improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder in the state of Minnesota. Their mission is to unify stakeholders toward the ultimate goals of collaborative research, excellence in education and training, and community partnerships.

Registration open for MCRR 2017 Summer Literacy Workshop

MCRR 2017 Summer Literacy Workshop
Systematic Literacy Improvement: Putting the Pieces Together

Monday, August 7, 2017
8:15 AM – 3:00 PM | U of MN St. Paul Campus

Registration open now!

Cost: $89 early-bird registration through June 30! ($99 after June 30, $55 student rate)
(Includes breakfast, lunch, materials & CEU’s. Parking & lodging not included.)

Keynote Address

Kim Gibbons, Associate Director of Innovation & Outreach, CAREI, University of Minnesota
On the topic of systematic literacy improvement

Overview

MCRR hosts this annual workshop for teachers, staff, and educational leaders, and others who work with PK-12 students in their literacy instruction. Sessions throughout the day connect participants to the latest literacy research findings and their applications to direct work with students.

The workshop will feature a keynote address along with breakout sessions led by U of M faculty and staff from the College of Education and Human Development. Workshop presenters share findings from their recent literacy reserach projects.

Workshop Goals

  • This day-long professional learning event provides an opportunity for educators to:
    find ways to put research into practice
  • get new ideas and set productive goals for the 2017-18 school year
  • re-group, re-focus, and reflect on classroom and schoolwide instructional practices
    network with other literacy professionals
  • learn about resources to help your school move forward in student achievement in literacy

Target Audience

K-12 teachers, ELL and special education teachers, principals, literacy coaches, reading specialists, and teaching support staff. Others might include community-based literacy program coordinators or volunteers, K-12 education students, district literacy personnel, or staff and faculty from other colleges or universities with a Teacher Education / Reading Licensure program.

Click here for more info & registration

CE+HD Connect Magazine highlights CEED research on children’s theater program

A recent article in CE+HD Connect magazine discussed research by the Center for Early Education and Development that is examining the effectiveness of a children’s theater program. The story is one of three articles about play that appear in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

Early Bridges is a preschool theater arts outreach program developed by the Minneapolis-based Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). Early Bridges aims to build early literacy through interactive storytelling and theater arts.

Through a research collaboration with CTC, CEED evaluates Early Bridges’ impact, such as whether students show improvement in certain areas. CEED also has helped develop new measures and rubrics for the program, which incorporate both theater arts and child development theory.

To learn more about Early Bridges and CEED’s research, read the full story, “Setting the stage for learning,” or register for ICD’s Community Symposium on “The Importance of Play for Learning.” The symposium will take place on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.

Ambit Network releases simple, accurate trauma screening tool

The Ambit Network works to improve access to quality care for traumatized children by giving practitioners the skills and resources they need to address mental health issues with evidence-based practices.

One of the common requests Ambit receives from practitioners is a tool to quickly and accurately screen children for possible child trauma. With that in mind, Ambit developed and released the University of Minnesota Traumatic Stress Screen for Children and Adolescents (TSSCA) that:

  • Has high sensitivity (it screens in those children and youth with trauma symptoms)
  • Has high specificity (it screens out those children and youth who do not have trauma symptoms)
  • Is brief and easily administered by professionals and paraprofessionals in child serving systems.

The screening tool is already in use at agencies within and outside Minnesota. It is available to clinicians, case workers, educators, and any other staff who work with children ages 5 to 18 that may have experienced a traumatic event and are in need of services. Learn more and download the tool here.

An extensive review of existing trauma instruments went into developing the tool, combining common criteria and distilling down into the five most powerful and predictive items. For more information on the methodology behind the tool, contact ITR’s Chris Bray at bray0021@umn.edu or (612) 624-3748.

Ambit Network is housed within CEHD’s Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health, one of the several ways ITR is working to bridge the gap between research and practice in children’s mental health.

Billington collaborates on NSF-funded grant to create interactive science education games

Barbara Billington, a science lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will collaborate with University of Minnesota colleagues and educational technology company Andamio Games on a project funded by the National Science Foundation to produce a series of tablet-based lessons and challenges to help high school students master concepts related to photosynthesis and cell respiration. This project will enable students to learn difficult science concepts using a collaborative gaming approach that aims to significantly increase student engagement and understanding.

As part of the grant, Billington will partner with life science teachers from Saint Paul Public Schools to conduct a classroom study in the second year of the project. Lessons will be designed and research directed by both Billington and her colleagues Sehoya Cotner, associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences, and Christopher Desjardins, research associate at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement.

“Science teacher feedback in Phase I of the project reconfirmed the value of our multi-player approach and also led us to the addition of a virtual biology lab,” said Andamio Games president Adam Gordon. “Teachers wanted their students to get a practical experience of scientific experimentation — including when it doesn’t go quite as expected — independent of the usual costs and time commitments for conventional lab experiments.”

Billington has a unique understanding of science classrooms after seven years teaching high school biology. She earned both her teacher licensure and Ph.D. in science education from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where her current research focuses on training pre-service teachers and gender equity in STEM education.

Find out more about the science education programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

 

Hewitt accepts University’s Innovation Award

Amy Hewitt, holding the award, accepting it on behalf of the DirectCourse team, who are also in the picture.
Amy Hewitt (fifth from right) accepted the award on behalf of the DirectCourse team (pictured).

Crediting her colleagues at DirectCourse, the Institute on Community Integration’s Amy Hewitt accepted a Committee’s Choice Award at the University of Minnesota’s 2017 Innovation Awards on March 28.

Hosted by the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office for Technology Commercialization, the event at the McNamara Alumni Center recognized 220 University inventors whose technology had been licensed or patented between July 2014 and June 2016. Hewitt’s award was one of only four Innovation Awards presented, all of which recognize the accomplishments of outstanding University innovators who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, are actively engaged in developing new innovations and transitioning those technologies to the commercial market, and have made an impact on society.

DirectCourse is an online training curriculum designed to empower support and care professionals to help people with intellectual, developmental, physical, and psychiatric disabilities, and older adults, lead meaningful lives within their communities. During last year alone, it provided more than 6 million hours of training to over 500,000 learners in 41 states and abroad.

Hewitt has led the research, development, and management of DirectCourse over the past 15 years, working with a team of staff at ICI, its business partners at Elsevier, and its community roots. “I am delighted that this award recognizes an ‘invention’ that was created by and for the community in alignment with our university’s land grant mission to promote education and collaboration that advances knowledge which benefits communities, the state, and the world,” Hewitt told the gathering. “DirectCourse was not created in a laboratory on campus: the community was its laboratory and this has made all the difference. The learning provided by DirectCourse has had an immediate and lasting effect on hundreds of thousands of direct support professionals and the people with disabilities they support.”

Image of Amy Hewitt in a short video about DirectCourse.
Amy Hewitt speaks about DirectCourse in this short video.

The photograph (at top of post) was taken at the awards ceremony. Pictured, from left to right, are Bill Waibel (Elsevier), Barb Kleist, Jennifer Hall-Lande, Macdonald Metzger, Mark Olson, Barbara Cullen (Elsevier), Merrie Haskins, Susan ONell, Claire Benway, Kelly Nye-Lengerman, Amy Hewitt, Dan Raudenbush (Elsevier), Kristin Dean, David R. Johnson, and Bill Tapp (co-founder). Click here for more information about the awards and a short video.