Ravyn Gibbs, an M.S.W./M.P.H. student, was selected for the 2018 Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship Program. She will be interning with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Gibbs is Anishinaabe. She is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and a direct descendant of the Red Lake Nation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is enrolled the dual-degree master’s program in social work and public health at the University of Minnesota. She works at the American Indian Cancer Foundation as a graduate research assistant. After graduation, she intends to advocate for and develop policies that positively impact the health and well-being of American Indian communities. During the internship, Gibbs hopes to gain insight and better understanding of how federal policy is developed and its relationship with tribal sovereignty and tribal development.
The Udall interns will complete an intensive, 9-week internship in the summer of 2018 in Washington, D.C. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decision makers. From 1996 through 2018, 267 Native American and Alaska Native students from 120 Tribes will have participated in the program. Seven Udall interns have been students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Would you compare your marriage or current romantic relationship to the I-35 bridge collapse? That was one of Dr. David Olson’s compelling questions during his Family Social Science Cornerstone Symposium Lecture April 5.
Olson, a Family Social Science professor emeritus, used the metaphor to illustrate how PREPARE/ENRICH, a relationship assessment tool that he developed, can provide critical insights into the quality of a relationship and help couples be proactive in heading off issues that could turn into major challenges.
In his illustration, Olson outlined some of the major facts that emerged in the investigation following the I-35 bridge collapse and how close they are related to what happens when a relationship begins to degrade.
Lack of meaningful assessment
Band-aide and inadequate fixes on key structures
Resistance by those involved to acknowledge issues
Too much stress
Olson used this sobering comparison because the statistics are sobering. The divorce rate in the United States still ranges from 40 to 50 percent of all marriages with an annual cost to society of over $110 billion. Not to mention the untold impacts on family health and well-being.
These are numbers that Olson has dedicated his life to reducing. Bridging research, theory, and practice was not only the title of his Cornerstone address, it has been the theme of his career’s work defining and conducting research around his Circumplex Model of family systems.
From hockey to larger arenas
The native Minnesotan’s journey began with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Olaf College, a master’s degree in psychology from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. in Family Relations and Child Development from Penn State.
Olson said his experiences playing high school hockey illuminated his professional path to his early discoveries. Hockey helped him learn the value of diverse skills and understand the power and energy they can bring to a project.
As co-director of a longitudinal study of early marriage and family development at the National Institutes of Mental Health, he observed that there was very little information sharing between different teams of mental health researchers. They were all playing within their narrow silos and each had their own vocabulary for describing what they were learning in their research studies – even though they were all drawing from the same case studies of families.
When he began digging deeper into the work of the research teams as a whole, the dimensions that would form the conceptual foundation of the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems began to emerge to him. Joining the U of M’s Department of Family Social Science in 1973, he continued his research into developing the three dimensions of the Circumplex model: cohesion, flexibility and communication. Olson hypothesized that couples and families exhibiting balance on cohesion (closeness) and flexibility (ability to adapt) will experience fewer relationship problems and communicate better, resulting in higher levels of satisfaction.
Olson developed ten inventories/measures for research and clinical work with couples and families that assess satisfaction in a number of relationship categories and give participants insights into their relationship dynamic, commitment level, spiritual beliefs and personalities. Research around one of his assessments – PREPARE (Premarital Personal and Relationship Evaluation) – would disrupt the field of marriage and family therapy and draw widespread media attention.
In the early 1980s, working with several of his doctoral students, Olson conducted a research study that demonstrated his premarital inventory could predict divorce with an accuracy rate of 80 to 86 percent.
Olson’s findings were so radical that editors at the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy wouldn’t publish the results. They asked Olson to re-do the study – which he did – with similar results. JMFT published the report in its October 1986 issue.
But even before the report was published, Olson’s compelling work was attracting the attention of colleagues and the media. He was invited to discuss his model at the 1985 International Congress on Families in Zurich, Switzerland, among others, and helped NBC Today Show Medical Expert Dr. Art Ulene create a 20-part series on family wellness in 1984.
Following the JMFT’s release, the New York Times highlighted his PREPARE assessment’s predictive quality more than once in articles about relationships and marriage. Geraldo Rivera featured him on his daytime talk show and Oprah brought in an entire audience of premarital couples to devote a show to PREPARE’s efficacy.
Olson himself has authored 20 books and contributed numerous chapters to colleague’s books as well as peer-reviewed articles and presentations. His relationship inventories – both for premarital and married couples – became so popular that Olson and his wife Karen founded a company (PREPARE/ENRICH) in 1980 to distribute them. Currently the relationship inventories have been translated into 12 languages and used by 2.5 million couples and families globally. Another measure, FACES (Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales) has been used in over 1,200 professional research studies.
Hope for the future
At the Cornerstone Symposium, Olson wasn’t resting on his considerable laurels. Even though he is stepping back from CEO duties as PREPARE/ENRICH transitions to its new parent company, Thrivent Financial, he was already looking forward to a new slate of initiatives that will be distributed digitally. The assessments will be available on the web and couples and families can assess their relationships on their own and access a variety of resources.
Although he believes couples are best served using his inventories in concert with a trained professional, he has faith that even with a semi-structured online version, there will be benefits.
Olson told the assembled audience that thinking and talking about their relationship is the most important thing a couple can do. They can identify their strengths and areas where they need to grow as well as improve their communication and conflict-resolution skills. He noted that balanced families have better health outcomes over the long term and that children have the strongest opportunity to grow up well-adjusted.
Olson said he’s a believer in prevention because without regular maintenance and care – marriages and relationships – just like the I-35 Bridge – can experience catastrophic failure.
FSoS Professor Tai Mendenhall is among a team of editors of the new book, Clinical Methods in Medical Family Therapythat outlines research-informed practices and applications of Medical Family Therapy (MedFT) across a range environments and clinical populations. This comprehensive resource is for any behavioral health student, trainee, or professional seeking to understand and gain skills requisite for entering the healthcare workforce.
University of Minnesota faculty, alumni, students and community partners were among the collaborators for the book, including Professor Bill Doherty (Family Social Science) and Dr. Macaran Baird (Family Medicine & Community Health).
Family Social Science Alumni included:
Katharine (“Kit”) Didericksen
University of Minnesota Community Partners included:
Elizabeth (“Nan”) LittleWalker
Mendelhall also engaged two FSoS Undergrads in copy-editing and manuscript-prep: Therese Nichols (now an alumni) and Catherine Futoransky.
The book was written to be applicable for a wide variety of healthcare disciplines, including family therapy, counseling nursing, medicine, psychology and social work.
Demaris Johnson changed her major to Elementary Education Foundations when she realized that connecting with children in the classroom was the best way she could make a positive impact in their lives. Through her practicum experience, she found a job that let her grow professionally and prepare for her own classroom.
What drove you to enroll in the program?
I previously attended two other institutions before UMN and when I was looking to leave my last school I saw how amazing the curriculum was for this program and the offering of the grad year was a huge opportunity so I immediately applied.
When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?
I realized it my freshman year of college when I started a degree in biology and sociology to be a child psychiatrist. I realized It was not the science of it that mattered as much as the connections with children and making an impact. I knew I could make more of an impact with a larger group of children and could work more with the demographic of students I want to be working with.
What do you hope to get out of your educational experience?
I hope to get a lot of great teaching strategies and make connections at a variety of schools. It is nice being able to work at several different elementary schools in the Minneapolis area.
Were there any surprises and challenges along the way?
My first semester here I was able to do a practicum at a school that actually offered me a part-time job the following year. When I decided to take a year off they actually offered me a full-time job and let me create my own position. That allowed me to cater my job to the areas that I wanted to grow in. I could tell that this school was partnered with UMN for a reason and they really want to help you through all steps of your journey. It has been amazing seeing how the program supports students through their school connections.
What has been your experience with the faculty?
I have had so many amazing professors and instructors. I can tell they all really care about their field and are dedicated to the teaching profession. When I first came to UMN a group of faculty members actually asked to meet with me before school started. They asked me questions and were genuinely interested in me as a student and why I wanted to be a teacher. Everyone has been so supportive.
Do you feel the coursework and student teaching helped you to begin teaching in your own classroom?
Yes, absolutely. I am able to see a wide variety of teaching styles; Nno one tells you exactly what type of teacher to be. They offer suggestions and show their own way and point out important things to remember. I like that everything is not overly structured because it is not going to be that way when we are really teaching.
Scott Glew, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Salk Middle School in Elk River graduated in 2006 with his M.A. in Social Studies Education and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Social Studies Education in C&I.
Margaret Riley (M. Ed. ’85) passed away at the age of 78 on March 22, 2018. Margaret was a teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin School District for 27 years and a Fulbright Scholar who has taught in several countries around the world.
The Pam Borton Endowment for the Promotion of Girls and Women in Sport Leadership fund, established in 2014 and housed in the Tucker Center for Girls & Women in Sport, recently received a $10,000 gift in support of the Borton Fellowship. The purpose of the Fellowship is to promote leadership among girls and women within a sports context. Since its inception, three outstanding Kinesiology and Sport Management graduate students have received the Fellowship: Marnie Kinnaird, Caroline Heffernan, and Matea Wasend.
The Fellowship is named after former University of Minnesota head women’s basketball coach, Pam Borton, who was named to the position in 2002. Borton created a culture of excellence within the women’s program both on and off the court. Averaging 20 wins per season in her 12-year tenure at the U of M, Borton guided the Golden Gophers to a Final Four, three Sweet Sixteens, six NCAA Tournament appearances and three seasons of 25 or more wins. She is the winningest head coach in the program’s history. Under Borton’s guidance, female student-athletes achieved unparalleled academic success: Her teams earned an overall 3.0 grade-point average every year of her tenure. Borton’s Gophers also garnered a league-best 88 Academic All-Big Ten honorees over the span of her coaching career.
Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, is an invited panelist at an April 16 lecture by Dr. Richard Lapchick, author, human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality and internationally recognized expert on sports issues. Lapchick is a professor in the College of Business at the University of Central Florida, the founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport, and president and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport (NCAS). The event takes place from noon to 1:15 pm at the Humphrey Forum in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the U of M West Bank Campus, with the panel follows Lapchick’s lecture, “Sport as a Catalyst for Racial Progress & Gender Equity.” Both are sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG). With introductions by Dr. Larry Jacobs, the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and professor in the Department of Political Science, and moderated by Dr. Doug Hartmann, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Kane will be joined on the panel by Lapchick and Dr. Leo Lewis, School of Kinesiology alumni and Sport Management program adjunct professor. Registration requested; the event is open to the public.
Shepard-Carey’s proposal explores the inference-making processes of second-grade English learners in her English-as-an-additional language classroom. Her results highlight the interactions between peers and teachers and the context of their inferences in the literacy classroom. Her research has implications for culturally-sustaining approaches to teaching and assessing reading comprehension.
Previous University of Minnesota winners include Karin Goettsch (1999), Noriko Ishihara (2004) and Beth Dillard Paltrineri (2016).
Casselle plans to earn his M.Ed. and teaching license in communications arts in order to continue to teach spoken word poetry in urban schools which he has been doing as a community teacher at the FAIR School Downtown in Minneapolis and as an artist-in-residence with COMPAS. He is a long-time Minneapolis resident, parent, and community artist. His multiracial identity is central to his work with youth, writing, and performance.
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction is very excited to welcome Casselle to the English Education program with additional support from the C&I Teachers Scholars of Color Program. He was nominated by Teaching Specialist & Licensure Program Lead for English Education Abby Rombalski.
FSoS Professor Bill Doherty welcomed a BBC documentary crew into his home last Thursday. His work helping communities bridge the political divide attracted the attention of Anisa Subedar, a senior producer for BBC Trending. She asked Bill if he could do a one on one version of the community group sessions he facilitates for the national non-profit, Better Angels. Doherty connected with Minnesotans Deborah Mosby and Tom Chamberlain who agreed to work with him on camera. Subedar and Natalia Zuo, a video journalist, also taped a lecture Doherty delivered the previous evening. While in Minnesota they also enjoyed Matt’s Juicy Lucys and visited Paisley Park.
Prepare2Nspire is a tiered tutoring program that prepares underserved middle school and high-school math students to succeed. The program connects math students in urban classrooms with undergraduate mentors at the University. The tutoring sessions take place in North Minneapolis and provides free bus fares and food to the students and mentors. The students served are primarily African-American, historically the group that has the lowest scores on national and state assessments. Through the program, she has seen ACT and standardized test scores rise.
Curriculum and Instruction department chair Cynthia Lewis says that “Lesa has developed and implemented a program that not only provides students with support in mathematics but also creates a culture of excellence and high academic standards…Lesa strives to provide underrepresented populations with the power of math as a tool for social justice.” Clarkson’s commitment to educational equity and social justice is an outstanding exemplar of the department’s mission.
Education Minnesota was nominated by faculty advisor Cheryl Rosebrook who said, “This vibrant student group epitomizes the importance of small ‘d’ democracy, professional leadership, and the ability to empower others.”
Over the past year, Education Minnesota’s UMN Student Chapter participated in and hosted events both on campus and in the surrounding community. Their goal is to be an ally for Minnesota students in PK-12 and their communities while serving as proponents of education as a profession.
Susan H. Stephan was an adjunct law professor when she entered the Online Learning certificate program. Her experience in the program helped her to successfully teach online courses, then enter a new position as the Associate Dean of Graduate and Online Programs at the NSU Shepard Broad College of Law in Fort Lauderdale.
What drove you to enroll in the program?
I am very interested in online graduate education, particularly in the legal arena. When I enrolled in the program, I had been teaching as an adjunct professor of law since 2001, and starting two years ago I had the opportunity to start teaching online. I had not had exposure to pedagogy related to online education, so I thought the certificate program would be a good start.
How did the program help with your career and/or professional development?
I have been extremely happy with my decision to complete the Certificate in Online Learning. I learned so much in each class that I took, and I use aspects of my certificate education every day. In large part due to the background the program provided, I have had several opportunities to speak at local and national conferences regarding topics of online learning, particularly as it relates to legal education. The program also was invaluable preparation for my new role as Associate Dean of Graduate and Online Programs. The foundation I received in distance education has made me a much better administrator and instructor.
Were there any surprises and challenges along the way?
One surprise was how comfortable I felt as part of the community of graduate students in my courses. The diverse backgrounds of the other learners made for a rich online classroom environment. Although keeping up with coursework remotely while working full time and teaching was a challenge at times, I so enjoyed the classes and assignments that I always found time to engage and stay focused on my education.
What has been your experience with the faculty?
I truly enjoyed working with every faculty member in my classes. Each one brought a different background, style, and perspective to the subject matter, and I feel that this created a well-rounded education. I have to give a shout-out to Dr. Angel Pazurek, who taught the first course in which I enrolled; her exemplary engagement, content knowledge and positive support set the tone for a successful and enriching experience. But I learned so much from each professor, and I was impressed with all of them.
Which aspect of the program or course did you find most valuable?
Going into the program, I was thinking that the end result of a certificate would be most valuable, in terms of my career goals. But as is turns out, it was the day-to-day learning process and the experience of immersion in the online community that contributed most to my professional development.
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
A good indication of how much I enjoyed my experience is that I immediately joined the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. I look forward to continuing involvement with the U!
Would you recommend this program to others?
I would highly recommend the Certificate program in Online Distance Learning to anyone who will be involved in designing, teaching in, or otherwise administering online educational programs. I found the educational experience at the University of Minnesota rewarding and valuable.
“The college is uniquely positioned to address many of our toughest educational challenges,” said Dean Jean K. Quam, “especially in areas such as educational equity, teaching and learning innovations, and children’s mental health and development.”
Learn more about the Department of Educational psychology’s top-rated master’s and doctoral programs.
The annual C&I Emerging Scholars conference, sponsored by C&I’s graduate student group, CIGSA, continues to grow as it meets a need to showcase student research. This year’s conference on Friday, April 6, will offer 65 research presentations ranging from roundtables to posters to talks that highlight student research in any aspect of curriculum and instruction. Students, faculty, and staff outside of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction are also presenting and encouraged to attend.
The conference theme is “Reimagine Education: A Collective Responsibility.” Keynote speaker, Peter Demerath, an associate professor in OLPD, will kick off the conference followed by breakout sessions and a poster presentation. The day will wrap up with networking and an ice cream social.
Formerly, the C&I conference was known as C&I research day and organized in a poster presentation format. Reconfiguring the event as a conference has helped graduate students build their professional CV’s and gain presentation experience while building a student support network and research community. However, the conference is not just for graduate students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to attend and submit research. (The submission deadline has passed for this year’s event).
Registration is freeand includes a catered lunch and access to all events and presentations. The conference start at 11 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m., but attendees are not required to be there for the entire program. Keynote is in Peik gym, poster session in Peik 45.
What drove you to enroll in the RJUS minor program?
I enrolled in the minor after taking CI 3101 “Issues in Urban Education” as a recommendation from my advisor. The course material was extremely interesting and left me wanting more. I was easily able to relate the topics learned to other courses I took for my major in elementary education. Overall, I think it goes hand in hand with my major.
Which part of the program have you found the most valuable?
So far I have found the service-learning experience the most valuable. While taking CI 3101 I was placed in a high school after-school program where I had some of the most meaningful and engaging conversations about current issues in society and education in urban schools. The group of high schoolers and cooperating teacher I worked with were extremely passionate about team building, empowerment, and creating future leaders. They welcomed me into their group and taught me that age does not matter when it comes to creating awareness. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to find a job at a school in the city. I also plan on returning to the U to complete my master’s degree.
What do you hope to get out of the minor?
The most important thing I hope to get out of this minor is understanding how to be sensitive with issues that could be affecting my future students’ lives outside of my classroom. It will help me create meaningful relationships with my students and their families to be educated on these issue so I understand where they are coming from and if there is anything I can do to make their experience in my classroom the best possible.
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
My experience so far with not only the courses, but also the service learning component in the minor, have been great. I think it really helps to volunteer at a school while learning about issues in urban schooling because you get firsthand experience. I also think that these courses and the minor are great for everyone that will be either in the education fields or simply a part of the urban community. It truly is a great minor for all who are interested in racial justice.
Sung Tae Jang has been selected to receive the 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Special Interest Group: Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans (REAPA) for his dissertation, Student Experiences and Educational Outcomes of Southeast Asian Female Secondary School Students in the United States: A Critical Quantitative Intersectionality Analysis.
This award recognizes a scholar whose dissertation has had a significant impact on our understanding of Asian American and/or Pacific Islanders in education and will be presented in April at the annual business meeting in New York City.