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 quoted in a New York Times article, “With the Liberty for Sale, What’s Next for Isiah Thomas?” Kane “said that providing team stability and being committed to making the Liberty a world-class organization ‘does not excuse his past behavior.'”
The hashtag #UMNProud will be a presence at the National Council on Family Relations’ annual conference in Orlando this week.
Current students (26), faculty and research associates (13) and alumni (25, including a professor emerita) from the Department of Family Social Science and the University of Minnesota will be making presentations, moderating panels, and leading special sections dialogues, as well as discussing their research in poster sessions across the four days of the national meeting.
Their topics span the growing range of family social science research – from transgender youth and young adults in context, to familial and neighborhood influences on obesity, to military service and its impact on families. The Department of Family Social Science is among the national leaders advancing theory and practice to improve the well-being of diverse families.
In addition, grad student Samantha LeBouef will pick up her national Student Proposal Award in the Education and Enrichment Section for a paper she will present at the conference.
The University of Minnesota is also among 18 institutions promoting their family social science departments to potential grad students during University Receptions Thursday evening.
Here’s a selection of graduate student presentations, posters and papers:
Molly White Bailey, Anti-racists Identity Development – poster;
Natasha Bell, Children and Finances in Divorce Decision-making – poster;
Gretchen Buchanan, Conceptualization of What Constitutes a Strong Family – poster;
Sarah Burcher, Work or Family? A hermeneutic phenomenology qualitative meaning and value of employment from the perspective of low-income women – presentation;
Daniel Cooper, Examining Strength and Resilience with Resettled Liberian Refugee Families, presentation; and Examining biracial identity development: Key concepts and assumptions – poster;
Lekie Dwanyen, Examining Strength and Resilience with Resettled Liberian Refugee Families – presentation;
Renada Goldberg, Using CPBR in Policy Analysis: Assessing Paid Sick Leave and African Americans – poster;
Heather Hessel, Different Paths: Comparing College-Going and Non-college Youth – poster;
Emily Jordan, Barriers to Rural Mental Health Care: Clinicians’ Perspectives – presentation;
Angela Keyzers, Sensation-seeking and Emerging Adult Online Risk Behavior – presentation;
Samantha LeBouef, Near, Far, Wherever you are: Siblings and Social Media Communication – paper;
Sun-Kyung Lee, Well-Being of Emerging Adults: How Family and Friends Matter – poster;
Na Zhang, Relationships between mindfulness facets and observed anger expression: An actor partner interdependence analysis with post-deployed military families – poster;
Jingchen Zhang, Effects of a military parenting program: Inhibitory control as a moderator – poster.
About the conference
The NCFR’s annual conference attracts more than 1,000 scholars and practitioners from across the globe with the goal to highlight research, feature evidence-based best practices and critically examine policies that impact families and communities.
CEHD senior academic advisers Faustina Cuevas and Jessica Thompson presented “Becoming an Accomplice: Are You Ready for the New Wave of Allyship?” at the 2017 Overcoming Racism conference at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
Their presentation addressed how the term ally has become a “buzzword, ” and how to move beyond allyship and shift towards becoming accomplices in social justice work. “Allyship” must be re-envisioned to better serve communities and dismantle systems of oppression. Participants learned the importance of the accomplice framework and its connection to advocacy.
Senior Elementary Education Foundations major and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor, Whitley Lubeck, wants to bring her experience with diverse learners and communities to students abroad, and eventually, back to rural Minnesota.
What drove you to enroll in the TESL minor program?
The TESL minor program goes hand-in-hand with my Spanish studies major and gives me the option to teach abroad, which is one of my goals after graduation. After deciding to also pursue a degree in Elementary Education Foundations, the TESL minor has been very helpful with my teaching practicum in elementary school sites around the Twin Cities because there is a large group of English-language learners in the urban area.
How was your experience with the faculty been?
The faculty of this program are great to work with and very knowledgeable. They bring a lot of experience to inform their instruction and often arrange their class in an interactive way, encouraging students to not only learn from them but also from other students.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself working in a rural elementary school similar to the school the one I attended in my hometown. I want to bring awareness to difficult topics in education, an appreciation of diversity, and a drive to seek justice to students in less diverse populations.
Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?
The requirement to do a service-learning project as part of the course “Basics to Teaching English as a Second Language” was very valuable. I learned about the different programs that exist for ESL learners in the community and I was able to use my knowledge from class discussions and activities at my service-learning location. The hands-on experience gave me an authentic glimpse of teaching ESL and helped to prepare me for working in the field.
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
The students in the TESL minor program have a variety of backgrounds and experience in different languages. It is extremely helpful to learn about different languages and how characteristics of the language can affects learning the English language.
Yi-Ju Lai is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is driven to understand the complicated role of international teaching assistants, and the communication challenges they face in the university community.
What drove you to enroll in the Second Language Education Ph.D. program? (a little background on how you came to us).
I have a background in applied linguistics and its application to language education. During one of my projects researching how academic language is learned and used among multilingual international students in U.S. higher education, I became more and more interested in the theories of linguistic anthropology and their applications to language acquisition and language use in different contexts. I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree to sharpen my research skills and develop my knowledge of linguistic anthropology. One of the Second Language Education Ph.D. program focuses is language acquisition and language use in a range of contexts and settings, which drove me to join this research community.
What is your current research focus?
A major issue on U.S. campuses is miscommunication between university students and their international teaching assistants (ITAs) who lack knowledge of U.S. classroom interactions. My current research project uses language socialization theory–– the study of the interrelated processes of language and cultural development–– to examine: (1) ITAs’ language socialization experiences in U.S. graduate schools and (2) language use between ITAs and their U.S. university students, and the classroom interactional challenges facing them. It also looks at how institutional cultures shape those language use and classroom interactions. In addition, my current project explores how ITAs are positioned simultaneously as content experts and language novices in everyday instructional interactions with their university students.
When did you become interested in applied linguistics, or linguistic anthropology, particularly language socialization?
As a life-long language learner, I am always interested in how language is learned, how language is used verbally and nonverbally in diverse contexts, and how language shapes the way people understand the world. My first class in the field of linguistic anthropology inspired my research interest in language socialization and brought an interdisciplinary approach to my study considering language as a form of social action.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I will seek a position that allows me to continue my language socialization research and support meaningful cross-cultural communication in higher education contexts between multilingual international students and their U.S. professors and students.
Which resources have you found through the department to help with your research?
My research has been benefited from C&I travel grants, pro-seminars, emerging scholars conference/ research day, graduate student organizations, and conversations with colleagues and faculty members. In addition, the collaborative work between the department and UMN institutions (e.g., Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, Center for Educational Innovation) has also helped deepen my research.
When did you come to the United States? Has your experience affected your research?
I have been studying and teaching/working in the United States for more than ten years. My experiences have encouraged me to re-think how multilingual practices cross-cultural communication can be achieved among speakers with diverse backgrounds.
What has been your favorite part of living in Minnesota?
It is interesting and meaningful to observe and learn how languages are used in communication among diverse populations in Minnesota, and how those language varieties may represent individual’s lived experiences and reflection of the society.
Learn more about second language education research and the Ph.D. program in Second Language Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Sophomore Iftu Adem is majoring in Elementary Education Foundations with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Languages (TESL). She explains how her experience as an English-language learner inspired her to become a teacher.
What drove you to enroll in the TESOL minor program?
When I came to America I saw teachers who were very passionate about their jobs, especially teaching English to students who were learning English for the first time. They had a dedication and enthusiasm that attracted me to that profession and ever since I’ve wanted to be like them and be able to inspire someone in return.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to be able to go to my home country, Kenya, and teach the next generation and pass on the legacy of my former teachers and show them the advantages that learning a language opens up for them.
What has been your experience with the faculty?
My experience so far has been amazing. The professors that I have had the pleasure of meeting this semester have been amazing; They’re understanding and very passionate about what they do and that kind of energy reinforces in me the whole reason i decided to do this minor.
What’s been your favorite course so far?
Basics in Teaching English As a Second Language because of the community service aspect. That helped me implement what I learned in a real-world setting. That was very helpful in envisioning how I could carry out a lesson and plan lessons based on what I’m learning.
“I really like the idea of doing work that is important and impactful and being able to get outside of the college bubble, to see and be a part of the surrounding community,” explains sophomore marketing major Mackenzie Kerry, who found a job that let her do just that as a literacy mentor with CEHD America Reads. The program trains college students of any major in reading and literacy skills to equip them to tutor K-8 students in schools and after-school programs. The CEHD America Reads program, housed in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Minnesota Center for Reading Research, partners with local schools and community organizations to improve literacy. The program employs 100 university students as literacy mentors during the school year.
“It’s an amazing job,” says Logan Haen, a sophomore biology major who has been a literacy mentor since coming to the U last year. Haen appreciates the different perspectives he has gained working with students of diverse backgrounds. “I’ve gained tons of knowledge about other cultures and the program has allowed me to explore different parts of Minneapolis.”
M.Ed. and Initial License in Elementary Education candidate, Jessica Rifley, agrees that working with America Reads was eye-opening. Coming from a small town, Rifley was eager to find a job that “allowed me to leave campus and really immerse myself in various Minneapolis communities and begin networking with nonprofit and community organizations.” Rifley, like many other literacy mentors, found a calling through the program. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I wanted to do when I graduated (I believe the total major count was five before settling on elementary education) but I knew that I wanted to work with young people in whatever capacity allowed me to make the most positive impact possible.”
“Elementary education students talk about how this is a double dose of teaching practicum. It builds on teaching experience,” says program coordinator, Megan Pieters. The program offers literacy mentors the chance to work with students in multiple settings for 6-10 hours per week and find out if education or youth work might be their career path.
For any student with a work-study award, this program has the potential to be transformative—not just for the mentees, but the mentors, as well. “America Reads has definitely impacted my understanding of what the true definition of service is,” Rifley explains. “[I learned that] it is necessary to build connections with a community and understand the resources they have to offer, rather than focus on what needs to be “fixed” or changed.”
Junior youth studies major, Choua Lee, feels the program has helped her understand the complicated factors that can affect a child’s ability to be successful in the classroom. “I have learned that every individual is going through something, and that may impact their learning.” She adds that the program has helped her to be “more patient and understanding” when working with youth.
Partner site coordinator, Sister Sharon White of the East Side Learning Center notes that the “America Reads mentors are passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference. Staff often comment on the poise of the mentors and how seriously they take the responsibility. We appreciate our ten-year partnership with America Reads!”
For students who are interested in becoming a literacy mentor, America Reads is accepting applications. Students must have a work-study award, but do not need their own transportation. Starting rates are $10.50/hour.
On Oct. 25, The Honorable Helen Meyer, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, was presented with the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
Meyer is a School of Social Work alumna, who carried out the school’s commitment to social justice through her work as a lawyer and judge.
While on the state Supreme Court, Justice Meyer led a workgroup that identified and implemented ways to improve legal assistance for families in child protection cases. Because of her efforts, children’s interests in Minnesota are better represented by having competent parental representation.
Justice Meyer also recognized that cases involving individuals struggling with addiction were not being handled effectively, and were not decreasing recidivism. She laid the groundwork for establishing addiction treatment courts in our state.
After stepping down from the Supreme Court, Justice Meyer continued her advocacy on behalf of families by helping to establish the Mitchell Hamline Child Protection Clinic at her law school alma mater.
In her remarks, Meyer recalled taking a class with Esther Wattenberg and how it made an impact on her decision to work on behalf of vulnerable populations.
The Outstanding Achievement Award is reserved for University of Minnesota alumni who have attained marked distinction in their profession or in public service; and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level.
Family Social Science Professor/ITR Director Abi Gewirtz has collaborated with current and former grad students on a new article for “Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of applied Family Studies,” published by the National Council on Family Relations.
Gewirtz, current FSOS grad student, Na Zhang, and Osnat Zamir, Ph.D., an associate professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have written “Actor-Partner Associations of Mindfulness and Marital Quality After Military Deployment.” It is currently available pre-publication at NCFR’s online library.
Zhang, a fourth-year doctoral student in Family Social Science, is a native of China and began examining the effects of mindfulness as a master’s degree student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she stood out to Gewirtz, who was there teaching a graduate course in prevention science.
Dr. Gewirtz supervised Zamir’s post-doctoral appointment (2011-2016) in FSoS and ITR where she joined Gewirtz’s ADAPT research project. Zamir had been recommend by Dr. Yoav Lavee, a FSoS alum and CEHD Distinguished International Alumnus Awardee. He is currently is on faculty at the University of Haifa, Israel, where Zamir received her Ph.D. degree. Gewirtz served on the CEHD award committee that honored Dr. Lavee.
Reflection Sciences, a Minnesota start-up founded by two CEHD professors, has announced a new partnership that aims to measure and improve school readiness through games developed specifically for early learners. The collaboration pairs an Executive Function (EF) measurement tool developed by Reflection Sciences with Kiko’s Thinking TimeTM games in order to track students’ progress in EF as they play.
Executive Function 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—abilities necessary for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Kiko Labs, which worked with University of California–Berkeley and Harvard neuroscientists to develop educational games for young learners, offers activities targeting skills essential to cognitive learning and school readiness for children ages 3 to 7.
Reflection Sciences—founded in 2014 by child development professor Stephanie Carlson and professor Phil Zelazo of the Institute of Child Development—provides professional development, training, and tools for assessing and improving Executive Function skills. Their Executive Function measurement tool, called the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFSTM), is the first objective, scientifically based, and normed direct assessment of executive function for ages 2 and up.
MEFSTM is already used by educators in 32 states to track growth in EF and effectiveness of methods and curriculum. This new partnership hopes to bring schools and early child advocacy organizations a complete solution for building and measuring skills essential to school success.
“We pride ourselves on having the first nationally normed objective measure of EF for preschool children, but caregivers also want solutions they can try to help improve children’s EF skills and prepare them to succeed in school,” Carlson says. “I am delighted to be able to recommend Kiko’s Thinking TimeTM games as a natural complement to the MEFS.”
Grad student Samantha LeBouef has won a national award from the National Council on Family Relations. She won a Student Proposal Award in the Education and Enrichment Section for her paper, “Near, Far, Wherever You Are: Siblings and Social Media Communication” that she’ll be presenting at the NCFR annual conference later this month. The award recognizes students’ quality proposals and comes with a cash travel award to the annual conference. LeBouef will also present at the annual conference for the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood in Washington, D.C.
LeBouef, is co-president of the graduate student organization, SHARK, and her advisor is Jodi Dworkin, professor and associate department head of Family Social Science.
A recent keynote presentation by Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, is covered in Illinois State University’s WGLT 89.1FM Radio’s online newsletter article, “ISU Guest Speaker: Title IX Has Absolutely Helped Female Athletes.”
More than 200 civic-minded Minnesotans gathered for the first Minnesota Symposium on Civic Renewal, hosted by CEHD with funding from the Spencer Foundation. Panels and discussions at the event focused on topics such as depolarization, equity in education, and immigration.
“Lots of people have good communication skills but struggle to use them in political conversations,” said family social science professor Bill Doherty, who gave a lunchtime address. Doherty cofounded the organization Better Angels, a bipartisan effort to bridge the United States’ red–blue political divide.
“We can all aspire to the habits of political friendship,” said keynote speaker Danielle Allen, a leading political theorist at Harvard. “In a democracy, people lose all the time, but the same people should not be losing again and again. We need to learn to be good losers and also to recognize that loss has weight—good winners are needed, too.”
Learn more about Bill Doherty’s work.
As part of their “100 Women Challenge” series, the BBC News quotes School of Kinesiology professor and Tucker Center co-director Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., in a recent online piece, “100 Women: Is the gender pay gap in sport really closing?“
Five graduate students from the College of Education and Human Development, four of whom are Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction , presented papers at JCT Online‘s 38th Annual Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice in Dayton, Ohio last weekend. Hillary Barron, Meghan Phadke, Rachel Schmitt, Ramya Sivaraj, and Weijian Wang were joined by Professor Nina Asher of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
The students sat on the panel “Seeking Sites of Resistance: Engaging Identity, Culture, and Belonging in the Classroom.” They discussed the possibilities for equitable educational practices through an interrogation of their own identities and lived experiences based on research conducted with Professor Asher in a graduate seminar focusing on postcolonialism, globalization, and education.
The students presentation abstracts and panel received high praise from attendees and they were invited to return to present at future conferences.
Learn more about the doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
On Oct. 19, Jan Ormasa was recognized with a University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award. Jan has a master’s degree in educational psychology and a Specialist Certificate in educational administration, and worked as a special education teacher and administrator for the Hopkins Public Schools for over 40 years.
Jan’s passion for education and advocacy is apparent in her daily life as well as in her past leadership of the College of Education and Human Development Alumni Society Board and the CEHD Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle. For both organizations, she implemented strategic planning and inspired members to do more to meet annual goals. In addition, she is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and PACER Center boards.
The UM Alumni Service Award recognizes a volunteer who has had a major impact on the University, its schools, colleges, departments, or faculty.
Owen Marciano, associate director of recruitment and admissions in CEHD Student Services, has been awarded the University’s 2017 Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award. The award recognizes University faculty, staff, and students who are creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments. He will be honored at the University of Minnesota’s Equity and Diversity Breakfast on Nov. 16.
Owen has spent more than 15 years serving, supporting, and advocating for underrepresented students in higher education. He leads CEHD’s undergraduate recruitment, communications, and admissions, and brings social justice to the forefront in all of this work. For example, Owen identified and changed policies that serve as admission barriers to marginalized and oppressed individuals and groups. Colleagues noted his unwavering commitment to social justice has a far-reaching, positive impact on them personally, and impacts their work across CEHD and the University. Owen also delivers anti-oppression training on campus and in the community, is a member of the Campus Climate Engagement Team, and a community activist.
Learn more about past award recipients.
Senior Teaching Specialist Linda Buturian of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been awarded a fellowship to become an IonE educator with the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE).
IonE’s Faculty Leadership Council selects between three and five educators for a fellowship each year. As an IonE educator, Buturian will work with other educators on a year-long project surrounding sustainability efforts. The project team will “develop curricula related to education, storytelling, art, and creativity which focuses on the Mississippi River, and local and global sustainability issues,” says Buturian.
Her team will also “forge connections with CEHD faculty, staff, and students who are addressing, researching, or interested in environmental issues in order to move toward a dialogue about sustainability issues and mission as they relate to respective departments represented in the college,” adds Buturian. During her 14-month fellowship, Buturian will have the opportunity to present on her research at the statewide Sustainability Education Summit.
For more information or to become involved with the sustainability project, contact Linda Buturian.
Consider donating to this project or continued projects in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Angelica Pazurek, a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction presented a workshop on “Global Perspectives on Design Thinking for Technology Supported Learning” at the annual eLearning Africa conference in Mauritius, Africa. The conference is the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT-supported education and training professionals in Africa, enabling participants to enhance their knowledge and expertise while also developing multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships.
Pazurek also led a panel discussion on effective practices and the importance of context in online teaching and learning.
Annie Mason, Program Director of Elementary Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, published an op-ed in the Star Tribune as a counterpoint to Katherine Kersten’s article, “Racial identity policies are ruining Edina’s fabled schools,” on the Edina school district’s new “All for All” plan, which Kersten blames for lowered test results in Edina schools.
Kersten alleges the new plan shifts the district leaders’ educational philosophy from “academic excellence for all” to ensuring “that students think correctly on social and political issues.” She argues that the new racial justice-geared agenda creates a hostile environment for students with “nonconforming views,” and does nothing to improve test scores or foster high academic performance in the district.
Mason challenged these ideas in her op-ed, ” Counterpoint: Edina schools: why it’s crucial to unlearn racism.” She discusses the way white privilege has shaped our country’s education system since its conception, the learning limitations placed on students of all races, and the importance of maintaining a dialogue about race in our schools. “[Students] know that to change the future, we have to reckon with the past,” Mason writes. “To unlearn racism, we have to be willing to face what it is, what it has created and how we are all implicated in it.”