CEHD News Uncategorized

CEHD News Uncategorized

FSoS Professor, Student collaborate on Journal article

A professor and graduate student.
Associate Professor Tai Mendenhall and Ph.D. student Emily Jordan Jensen. Photo by Julie Michener.

An article co-written by Family Social Science Ph.D. student Emily Jordan Jensen and Associate Professor Tai Mendenhall has been accepted and published in Contemporary Family Therapy.

“Call to Action: Family Therapy and Rural Mental Health,” is a review of every article published over the past 20 years in family journals related to mental health in rural communities. The team found 18 articles.

Jensen and Mendenhall discovered that the research points to three primary barriers that prevent rural communities from accessing high quality mental health care: availability, accessibility and acceptability. In their article, they issue a “call to action” to family clinicians and researchers and provide recommendations for further contributions.

“Family social science is uniquely positioned to really make a difference in this area,” says Jensen. “I hope this article helps to build a bigger research agenda around the needs of rural communities.”

Their article is available online at SpringerLink.

DEXALYTICS™ partners with Hologic to offer body composition analysis software for athletes

Massachusetts based Hologic, Inc. announced it has signed an agreement with the University of Minnesota to be the exclusive provider of Dexalytics:TEAMS™ in North America. Dexalytics is a cloud-based software developed by Educational Technology Innovations (ETI) in the College of Education and Human Development.

Dexalytics leverages best-in-class body composition data and more than 30 years of DXA research to provide critical measurements that extend beyond the traditional metrics of body fat percentage, total lean mass, and total fat mass used in the past. DXA—short for dual x-ray absorptiometry—is the most accurate way to determine body composition.

“A lot of time and resources are spent understanding what an athlete’s body can do, without a good understanding of what an athlete’s body is made of,” said Tyler Bosch, Ph.D., co-founder and head of research and development for Dexalytics.

The software reinvents the way data is reported, using a proprietary system to look at the measurements in new ways. As a result, pages of clinical data are transformed into a manageable athlete score that can be directly connected to sport performance.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Hologic to ensure this brand new software we’ve worked so hard to develop will reach as many athletes as possible,” said Don Dengel, professor and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology in the School of Kinesiology.

Read full press release.

Read more about DEXALYTICS in the Spring 2017 issue of CEHD Connect magazine.

See the story in Twin Cities Business.

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Ozy.com profile of US Hockey’s Hilary Knight quotes Tucker Center’s Kane

Dr. Mary Jo Kane

Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., director of the Tucker Center and professor in the School of Kinesiology, is quoted in an Ozy.com profile of US Olympic Hockey star Hilary Knight, “Team USA’s Hockey Star Has A Higher Goal: Equal Pay.” Kane says “the team’s ability to convert frustration into actionable progress has major historical significance.”

Dengel presents at University of Utah

Dr. Don DengelDonald R. Dengel, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, presented at the University of Utah in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation on February 5. The title of Dr. Dengel’s talk was “Measuring Vascular Function: From Peripheral to Cerebral.”

APARC fills important need to support Asian and Pacific Islander students on campus

Students celebrate the opening of APARC’s new space in Appleby 311.

Did you know that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students are the largest minority group on the UMN Twin Cities’ campus? They make up fully 10 percent of the student population, and up until last year, there were no specific university resources geared towards those students. That has recently changed with the opening of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Resource Center (APARC), which recently moved to brand new space in Appleby 311 and is welcoming drop-ins.

The center is funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant received by Bic Ngo, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Josephine Lee,  a professor in the College of Liberal Arts. APARC fills a need on campus to create a space for AAPI students to reflect on their identities, develop their voice, find community and academic support. APARC Program Director Kong Her explains that “What we’ve been hearing from students is they feel they’re not being heard. [Asian American students] have different challenges that are often not acknowledged by the institution and need different resources than the very broad services multicultural student services provide.”

Program Coordinator Peter Limthongviratn further explains that AAPI students often are not valued in racial discourse. “Some students feel their struggle is not seen as a real struggle and that they don’t belong in students of color spaces. APARC is important because it provides a dedicated space and resources to affirm their struggle while providing help and support.”

Ngo emphasizes that the AAPI population in the UMN Twin Cities campus is uniquely in need of support because the students “reflect the state’s large AAPI population, which has the greatest concentration of AAPI in the U.S. interior, including the largest urban Hmong population in the world at 64,442. The state’s AAPI population is strikingly different from that of the U.S. as a whole, with 50.2 percent of them identifying as Southeast Asian. This is significant, because this means half of the AAPIs in Minnesota are refugees or children of refugees. Census data shows that Southeast Asian Americans have among the highest poverty rates and lowest educational attainment rates.”

APARC is hoping to establish a relationship with the large Asian American community in the Twin Cities, especially the Hmong population. Her explains, “ In the Hmong community, the university is a renowned institution. Being able to establish APARC as resource center to support Hmong students strengthens that community connection.”  This can help establish trust with students and families that they will be welcomed at the university and thrive here.

The center supports Asian American students by focusing on three areas: academic support, identity affirmation, and community. APARC provides AAPI tutors and writing consultants for who can relate to the AAPI experience.  For instance, they often run into specific issues with AAPI students who feel torn between school and obligations at home. Often, people who are not AAPI don’t understand the obligation to family. They work with students on how to handle the pressure of family and communicate effectively with advisors and instructors.

APARC also helps students examine their AAPI identity through workshops, retreats, and lectures. “We want students to think about how to connect their identity to future careers and opportunities,” adds Limthongviratn.

The other area the center focuses on is cultivating a welcoming community for all AAPI students. “There was a disconnect of AAPI communities on campus,” says Her.  “All the students groups are pocketed; Everyone does their own thing. There was a need to come together and create one whole community and that’s what we are trying to do.”

To find out more about the services APARC provides or upcoming events, you can find them online, follow them on Facebook, or stop by the new center at Appleby 311.

 

 

 

 

MN teacher candidate grant winner, Haley Tostenson, on the challenges and rewards of training to be a teacher

Haley Tostenson is earning her M.Ed. and initial teaching license in elementary education and recently received the MN Teacher Candidate Grant to help her pursue her teaching license. She talks with us openly about the challenges she will face as a teacher, and why it’s all worth it.

Congratulations on winning the teacher candidate grant award. Did the college provide any support to help you apply for the award?

CEHD reached out to me about the teacher candidate grant award. The process was really simple and I had timely responses from the faculty members that I reached out to about it.

 

What drew you to enrolling in the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License program (ILP) in elementary education?

I decided to apply for the ILP program after an incredible four years in the undergrad program here at the U of M. I was challenged to think about elementary education in a whole new light, where diverse cultures are infused with current research to reach every child’s needs.

 

What do you think will be the biggest challenge of being a teacher?

I think there are a lot of challenges that come with being an educator, but I think the biggest challenge for me will be trying to advocate for change in my school, the district, and ultimately the system. It’s no secret that the education system is slow to change, but the change is necessary. I’ve spent the last four and a half years of my schooling learning about how schools should be making an impact in students’ lives and how they continually fall short. I know it will be challenging to be the voice that speaks out and the one who pushes back, but leaning into this tension is the only way we can make effective change.

 

What do you most look forward to?

The kids! That’s what excites me most about teaching. I love building relationships with my students and seeing their growth throughout the year, not only academically, but socially and emotionally too. One of the most important things for me as a teacher is the relationship that my students have with school; I want them to enjoy learning and feel empowered to use what they’re learning to better themselves and their communities.

 

Where do you plan to teach?

I plan to teach in an urban public school, preferably Minneapolis. I love the rich cultural environments that these schools have and feel passionate about serving students who live in my city.

 

Has anything surprised you about the program?

I wasn’t expecting to build such close relationships with my peers. We’ve truly become a family;  They’ve supported me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I owe a lot of my success in the program to their constant encouragement and guidance.

 

What is the major different between undergraduate and graduate education in your experience?

The major difference between undergrad and the ILP program is the schedule. It’s a tough transition to go from having a few classes spread out across your day to teaching on a full-time schedule (and then occasionally attending night class afterwards). I’ve had to become really disciplined in my daily routines to make sure I’m prepared and can keep up with the work load.

 

How has your experience been with the faculty?

The faculty have been extremely supportive and understanding throughout this entire journey. I feel as though they’ve invested in me as a future educator by challenging me and getting to know me personally.

 

 

Anything else you want to add?

This program is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things I’ve done. I’ve learned more about myself as a person and as an educator throughout this journey. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Learn more about the teacher education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

C&I Ph.D. candidate Kay Rosheim challenges traditional ideas about student engagement in JAAL publication

Kay Rosheim, a Ph.D. candidate in the Literacy Education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and sixth-grade teacher, recently published an article “A Cautionary Tale About Using the Word Shy: An Action Research Study of How Three Quiet Learners Demonstrated Participation Beyond Speech,” in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy which summarizes her research conducted over the course of a year on quiet learners.

This research challenges the common perceptions of students who are often silent in the classroom. Rather than labelling students as  shy or disinterested, Rosheim encourages teachers to work with quiet students and find new ways to engage with them outside of just talking. Acknowledging the different ways students engage in class beyond verbal communication is crucial to supporting their success. Students are often judged, or misjudged, if they are quiet as not comprehending coursework or as disengaged. There should be room made for students who prefer to observe and write versus talk in a group setting.

Learn more about the literacy education programs and literacy research in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

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RJUS minor, Hsakushee Zan, is driven to support educational equity for immigrant students and their families

Hsakushee Zan is a political science major and Racial Justice in Urban Schooling (RJUS) minor committed to creating a more equitable schooling system. As a refugee immigrant from Myanmar (formerly Burma), she has a deep understanding of the challenges immigrant children face. As a parent, she wants a more equitable education for her children and using her education to make that happen.

Why did you enroll in the RJUS minor?

I am interested in and educational equity and the educational side of public policy. This minor will help me to go on to graduate school in education policy and will also help me to advocate for my fellow immigrant families in public schools with knowledge I gained from my urban education class.

I went to school in refugee camp on border of Thailand and Myanmar due to the conflict in Myanmar. I moved to the U.S. in 2007. My kids were born in this country and are U.S. citizens, but still face inequities in our school system.  I am especially interested in immigrants and immigrant education and am part of a parent advisory group in my community.

What issues do immigrant children face in the schools?

We talk a lot about equity and shortages in teachers of color. There is only one person from our community that speaks our native language that is licensed to teach. The Karen [an ethnic group living on the border of Myanmar and Thailand] community in the Twin Cities is about 12,000 people. This creates a problem when a parent is new and doesn’t know the language.

What has been the most valuable experience in the minor so far?

I love working with every student from diverse backgrounds, especially my service learning experience with the Early Childhood Family Education Program. My assignments included parent involvements in schools. I worked in family literacy with  immigrants from all over the world.

What do you hope to do as a career?

My first goal is to advocate for the quality and the equity of public education for every child. As a refugee immigrant, I always hope to stand for the children of minority and immigrant backgrounds and be the voice for the voiceless as all children have the right to education.

Learn more about education programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and our commitment to equity and social justice.

 

 

 

 

 

Marvin Bauer

Marvin Bauer.
Professor Emeritus Marvin Bauer.

Marvin Bauer is professor emeritus of remote sensing in the Department of Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota.

With degrees in agriculture and agronomy from Purdue University and the University of Illinois,  he was a research agronomist from 1970 – 1983 with the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing at Purdue University where he had key roles in the design, implementation and data analysis of major agricultural remote sensing experiments with NASA and USDA.

In 1983 he moved to the University of Minnesota as a professor in the Department of Forest Resources and director of the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory.  He taught courses on remote sensing of natural resources and environment, helping hundreds of students to understand the techniques, applications and value of remote sensing and geospatial information, and was advisor to students in Natural Resources and the Master of Geographic Information Science program who have gone on to work in geospatial information science and applications, providing expertise to government, academia, and the private sector.

As a researcher, he is recognized for developing applications of satellite sensing for resource inventory and monitoring.  His research has emphasized the development of quantitative satellite remote sensing for crop and forest inventory, monitoring lake water quality, and classification of land cover and impervious surface mapping, change detection and analysis.  He has been principal investigator of several NASA grants, including projects on regional and forestry applications of satellite remote sensing, as well as State of Minnesota contracts for mapping and monitoring land cover, impervious surface area and water quality of lakes and rivers. He applied his research in partnerships with state and local agencies to help resource managers with management decisions. The results of his land cover classification and water quality monitoring projects are available in web-based mapping applications. For example, the “LakeBrowser“enables resource managers, researchers and citizens to access water quality information on lakes across the state and has over 8,000 visits a month.

He is a fellow of the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and has received the USGS-NASA William T. Pecora Award, NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, ASPRS SAIC Estes Memorial Teaching Award, and Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium Lifetime Achievement Award. He was editor-in-chief from 1980 – 2014 of Remote Sensing of Environment, the #1-rated remote sensing journal for 25 years.

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Bellcourt wins Tate advising award

Mark Bellcourt photoCongratulations to Mark Bellcourt, senior academic adviser in CEHD Student Services and CFANS Student Services, for winning a 2018 U of M John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. The Tate award recognizes high-quality advising at the University and honors contributions that academic advising and career services make in helping students formulate and achieve their intellectual, career, and personal goals.

In Bellcourt’s nomination, students described his advising style as open, approachable, responsive, supportive, and welcoming. Bellcourt was also recognized for his commitment to serving and advocating for historically underrepresented students and helping students in financial crisis seek and find financial resources. One of four 2018 Tate award winners, Bellcourt will be honored at the John Tate Professional Development Conference & Awards Ceremony on March 8 at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Dr. Jean Bauer

Jean Bauer
Dr. Jean Bauer

Former Family Social Science professor Dr. Jean W. Bauer began her career in 1966 with a degree in home economics education from Indiana State University. She taught high school home economics, earned advanced degrees from Purdue University and the University of Illinois, and in 1983 moved to the University of Minnesota.

As an Extension specialist, first at Purdue University, and then with the Minnesota Extension Service, she led outreach and education programs in family resource management, including development of Dollar Works, a nationally recognized curriculum. She received more than $2.1 million in grant funding, and published more than 48 Extension publications and more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.

In the 1990s Dr. Bauer began research on how policies, such as welfare reform affect rural families, which led to the “Rural Families Speak” project, a multi-disciplinary research effort on the lives of rural, low income families involving more than 50 faculty and extension researchers from 17 states. Its objective was to analyze the interactions among public assistance and informal social supports, community context, and individual and family characteristics and their relation to the functioning and well-being of rural low-income families with children. She led preparation of the original proposal for a grant from the USDA National Research Initiative and guided it from its genesis to its successful completion 10 years later. The project culminated with the book, co-edited by Dr. Bauer and Elizabeth Dolan, “Rural Families and Work: Context and Problems” (Springer 2011).

During her academic career, Dr. Bauer mentored more than 30 graduate students. She served for eight years as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Family Social Science and was particularly interested in fostering the graduate experiences of international students.

Dr. Bauer was highly respected for her work in faculty governance at the University of Minnesota, including serving as chair of the University Senate’s Faculty Consultative Committee. She was often called on to provide University and collegiate leadership because of her effectiveness in aligning solutions with University policy. A colleague who served often with Dr. Bauer in faculty governance stated, “Jean Bauer has spent her entire career as a “citizen” of the higher education world. She is the sort of academic who seems to be harder and harder to find: concerned about the world beyond her office door, including those we teach and mentor, in a way that recognizes there is something bigger than an individual professional career at play here.”

In 2011 Dr. Bauer received the President’s Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of exceptional service to the University and significant contributions made to its people and communities. Dr. Jean Quam, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, wrote in her supporting the award nomination, “Jean Bauer is one of those faculty members who does exceptional work no matter what you ask of her. She does it with skill and with a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect with her colleagues. Her leadership skills are legendary. Her contributions to the University of Minnesota far exceed what we might expect of any individual faculty member.”

Dr. Bauer passed away in July of 2012, leaving a legacy of research, teaching, and outreach in family economics and policy at the University of Minnesota and beyond.

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Leon co-author on Alzheimer’s study

Art Leon, M.D., professor of exercise physiology in the School of Kinesiology, is a co-author of a study recently published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. The article is titled “Determination of Aerobic Capacity via Cycle Ergometer Exercise Testing in Alzheimer’s Disease.” The study investigated older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to determine individualized aerobic capacity and ability to perform treadmill testing due to balance or gait issues.

First author of the publication is Leon’s former doctoral student Ulf G. Bronas, Ph.D., ATC, associate professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing, at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

 

Sport Management Graduate Student Madeleine Orr interviewed for CEHD’s Vision 2020

Madeleine Orr, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology with the emphasis on sport management was recently interviewed for the CEHD Vision 2020 blog about her research on the economic, social and environmental impact of large-scale international sporting events.

As Minneapolis prepares for the upcoming Super Bowl events, Orr talks in the article titled “Does Hosting Sports Events like the Olympic Games or Super Bowl Really Benefit Cities?“, about how Minneapolis prepares for the upcoming “Big Game” events, as well as the impact that hosting the Olympics can have on cities.

 

Elementary education major finds a deeper understanding of marginalized communities through RJUS minor

Michael Kroymann is a senior Elementary Education Foundations major who is earning the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling (RJUS) minor to better support marginalized students and families, and gain a deeper understanding of the conditions that affect their lives. As a queer, non-binary individual Michael has a unique understanding of the important roles that empathy, trust, and understanding play in building community with groups often ignored by mainstream education.

What drove you to enroll in the RJUS minor program?

Understanding and empathy are central to the way I walk through the world, especially in my teaching practice. I felt it was essential for me to engage in coursework that expanded my knowledge of the students and families I interact with in metro-area schools. I felt that my major program did not offer enough content in that area, and I decided to pursue the RJUS minor to further engage with diversity and justice.

Which part of the program have you found the most valuable?

I think a fundamental part of the program is inward reflection. I truly believe that I am able to learn and better myself through reflection, and my coursework definitely supported this. I also found there to be a constant free exchange of ideas and experiences through conversation, which has been invaluable in furthering my education.

How was your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty involved in the RJUS have been such an important part of my experience. Never before have I felt so understood and supported in my classes. My interactions with faculty were all built upon a foundation of trust, empathy, and genuine care, qualities which are frequently hard to find in a university setting.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

Things are a little bit up in the air right now. I realized this year that I don’t feel able to support an entire classroom of my own at this stage of my life, so my plans have been totally revamped. I would still love to work with youth, and I am also really interested in nonprofit work and community organizations.

What do you hope to get out of the minor? How will it help you in your career path?

In completing the RJUS minor, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the world and develop skills that help me to engage critically with the institutions and conditions that affect the lives of marginalized communities. This will enable me work with diverse groups of people in a manner that is sensitive and responsive to their lived experiences.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

As a queer, non-binary individual, learning and working in academia is frequently a draining experience. I have felt invisible in so many of my classes, especially in the education courses. My time in the RJUS minor has never felt this way; I have always been welcomed and made to feel safe and valued as my whole self. This has been such a positive part of my undergraduate experience, and I am forever grateful.

Learn more about the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling minor, including how to apply.

Award-winning Zenon Dance Company artist finds new career through C&I’s dance education program

Mary Ann BradleyMary Ann Bradley is ready to start a new chapter of her life. As a member of the prestigious Zenon Dance Company for 12 years, a two-time recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for dancers, and one of Dance magazines “25 to watch” in 2014, Bradley has been a luminary of the Twin Cities’ dance scene for over a decade. She is now focusing on bringing her considerable talents to the classroom. Bradley began the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching license program in Arts in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction this past summer and is finishing up her final season with the Zenon Dance Company.

Zenon’s artistic director, Linda Andrews, said that Bradley “excelled in teaching troubled and disadvantaged youth” as part of the company’s outreach program. “She gave them her full attention and care.”

The award-winning dancer chose to earn her teaching license in dance education to offer more students the opportunity to experience dance as an art form. “The public schools are the most effective way to reach students who might not otherwise have access. Obtaining my teaching license was a practical necessity towards this goal,” said Bradley, adding that “the fact that the program was able to be completed in one year was also appealing.”

 

Bradley found out about the program after attending a talk by program faculty, Betsy Maloney. She was impressed by Maloney’s “candid personal storytelling and thoughtful approach to dance education.” Additionally, Bradley felt the program aligned with her belief in “the capacity of dance to offer direct experience with collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.”

While she still hopes to continue her work with the Zenon Dance Company on a project basis, Bradley’s career goals have shifted. She now is focused on sharing her love of the art form by “teaching students the joy of moving freely and expressing themselves through dance.”

Learn more about the teacher licensure programs offered in dance, theatre, and the arts.

Gov. Dayton names Dec. 8 “Vanessa Goodthunder Day” after C&I student for her work on Dakota language advocacy

Vanessa Goodthunder and Mark Dayton
Vanessa Goodthunder (left) and her mother present Gov. Dayton with a star quilt.

Vanessa Goodthunder, an M.Ed. candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and has gone on to make major strides in tribal issues advocacy and language revitalization in Minnesota and beyond. Governor Mark Dayton heard Goodthunder speak about her work to revitalize the Dakota language and asked her to serve as assistant to the chief of staff focusing on tribal issues, reports the Redwood Falls Gazette.

“During the seven months I was in the governor’s office I learned a lot about government and what it means to be a leader,” said Goodthunder. “I never imagined I would work in government, and even though the role was a short one I think I was able to make a difference for the tribes.”

Dayton recognized her work by declaring December 8 as Vanessa Goodthunder Day in Minnesota. Gooddthunder tweeted in response to the honor, “Happy Vanessa Goodthunder Day in the State of Minnesota. Pidamayaye Governors Office for helping me grow my confidence in my voice and perspective. I’m so honored to have been on this team and now to help open up a 0-3 Dakota Immersion School at the Lower Sioux Community. Wopida.”

Goodthunder will continue her work in the Lower Sioux Indian Community as director of the Head Start program where she received a $1.9 million grant to launch an early childhood Dakota language immersion aimed at revitalizing the Dakota language.

In addition, Goodthunder, helped to launch a Dakota language app with a grant from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, which is expected to be launched publicly this year, according the Star Tribune.

“My language is part of me,” she said. “Without it I am not whole.”

Read the more about Goodthunder in the Redwood Falls Gazette.

Learn more about the M.Ed. and teacher licensure programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

TESL minor Aaron Nakamura is driven to support English-language learners with psychological trauma

Psychology major/TESL minor Aaron Nakamura wants to use his language teaching skills and psychology degree to help children learning English as a second language who need extra support.

What drove you to enroll in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor program?

My goal is to help children in third world countries who are in need of both psychological and educational support. I enrolled in the TESL minor program to equip myself with the necessary skill set to support those children through language education.

I came here from Japan five years ago and it was every hard to learn the language and get acclimated to a new country. My friends helped me a lot, and I would like to pass on that help to children struggling with both language skills and psychological trauma.

How has your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty members in this program are very knowledgeable and supportive. While learning how to teach English, I had to improve my language skills because English is my second language. The faculty were always there to help guide me through my struggles as a non-native English speaker.

Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?

All of the requirement courses for this program are very well-structured. I gained fundamental ideas and knowledge about linguistics and had the opportunity to train as an educator through a service-learning practicum. I also learned actual techniques and knowledge about teaching ESL that allowed me to strengthen my teaching abilities. Plus, I expanded my intercultural understanding which allowed me to gain insights about the amount of resources that are available in different parts of the world. Our discussions made me want to be an individual that is able to make a difference in our world.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

I have enjoyed meeting and sharing experiences with people in the TESL minor program who have multicultural backgrounds. People in this program understand and appreciate cultural differences, which allowed me to fit into the environment and feel respected as an individual. I made valuable friendships with my classmates that I will cherish throughout my lifetime.

Find out more about the TESL minor and other programs in second language education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

New math teacher and M.Ed. candidate, Manju Connolly, shares her first-year teaching experience

New math teacher and M.Ed. candidate Manju Connolly shares her experiences in the initial teaching license program and what she’s learned the first year on the job.

What drove you to enroll in the program?

I participated in the DirecTrack to Teaching program as an undergraduate, which allows students interested in teaching to take course and  engage in service-learning teaching to fulfill prerequisites for the M.Ed and Initial Teaching License (ILP) program. I had two positive experiences with student-teaching placements in Minneapolis Public Schools. That, along with the reflective discussions we shared in the class solidified my interest in teaching. I also gained relationships with Minneapolis Public School teachers and mentorship from our DirecTrack teacher. Knowing that the M.Ed/ILP program would allow me to stay connected to these resources and maintain relationships I valued with other professors and peers, I decided to enroll.

Were there any surprises and challenges along the way?

Student teaching is challenging! It is one thing to practice making lesson plans and analyze the effectiveness of lesson plans through methodology classes, but it’s another thing to implement plans live with a group of students whose learning (and grade!) is directly affected by your performance. The experience has been terrifying, difficult, and thrilling. I was lucky to have two very supportive cooperating teachers, who provide me with clear expectations and ample feedback to help me improve my work.

What has been your experience with the faculty?

There are many faculty and staff that contribute to our cohort’s success, and I am especially grateful for our math education professors. Erin Baldinger always encourages us to think critically about how to maximize student learning. She also helped us be intentional about analyzing tasks and lesson plans for effectiveness. In terms of our claim to fame, it’s hard to find a math teacher in the Twin Cities (or maybe statewide…nationwide???) who doesn’t know about Terry Wyberg. His connections and positive reputation reach each aspect of our training, from getting us school observation opportunities to landing student teaching placements to networking with districts as we navigate the job search process.

How have you felt about the cohort model and experience?

I feel like we each had an important place in our class discussions, and would like to recreate the collaborative environment of sharing ideas, asking questions, and even arguing, that we experienced in the cohort model. As I have transitioned to being a teacher, having the cohort peers is invaluable for getting new ideas, sharing practices, and having an ear for when you just want to vent to someone else who cares as much about teaching as you do.

Has the student teaching helped you feel prepared to enter your own classroom?

I could not have been luckier with my placement. I had two cooperating teachers who were constantly seeking ways to connect the learning targets to the knowledge and experiences students bring. Our topics and projects were often motivated by videos, images, or students’ personal reflections. Most importantly, I got a chance to see how a collaborative group of teachers function within the math department; My teachers established early on that they would be direct with their feedback, and as a result I felt comfortable suggesting tasks or tweaks for our lesson plans because my ideas are valued, whether they are implemented by the team or rejected with justification.

What were your goals post-graduation? How did your first year live up to your expectations?

After graduating the licensure program in May, I finished up the semester at my student teaching placement and interviewed for high school math teacher positions. My goal had been to teach in the Twin Cities in an urban high school where I could support Spanish-speaking students and collaborate with an enthusiastic math department. I am very happy with the school I chose because it has a diverse student body, reminded me of my own high school in Chicago area, and has an immensely supportive math department team. We share resources, troubleshoot, and communicate weekly. This support has been the most valuable part of my new school, and I would be having a much tougher first year without it.

After this first year, I will recuperate, reflect on what worked and what did not, tweak or overhaul lesson plans for the upcoming year, and complete the final three classes of the M.Ed degree as I teach my second year.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

Teaching should not be an individual or isolated profession, and I know I need a lot of moral and professional support in my first few years. My teachers helped me apply for a fellowship, the Knowles Teacher Initiative, and I am thankful to count on that for continued support for my first five years and beyond. I am also thankful to reflect on my experience and have no regrets on choosing this program. I hope to maintain lifelong relationships with several faculty and cohort members because I believe it is an essential part of well-being. I plan on participating in local, state, and national math conferences to stay connected with them and motivated in the classroom.

Teaching will always be challenging, but I am ready to embrace the challenge and enjoy it because I now have a great group of people on my team.

Find out more about the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License program in Mathematics Education.

C&I staffer joins relief brigade in Puerto Rico, organizes to reopen schools

Sigal joined aid brigades to clear debris caused by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Brad Sigal, a staff member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, recently returned from an aid trip to Puerto Rico where he assisted the Puerto Rican Teacher’s Federation (FMPR) with their disaster relief work and educational advocacy to reopen public schools. He saw the devastation of hurricane Maria firsthand and witnessed the resilience of the communities one month after the hurricane hit while they were still dealing with power outages, food shortages, and a breakdown of infrastructure.

Sigal decided to go down to help after seeing the FMPR’s calls for help on Facebook. “They were organizing work brigades to clear roads and fix houses. I wanted to support the efforts,” he says.

The capital of San Juan, Sigal reported, was mostly without electricity and using generators to keep some homes and businesses electrified, including the international airport. The outlying cities were completely in the dark and still had roads covered in debris and homes with holes in the roofs or walls.

Sigal and FMPR president Mercedes Martinez.

Sigal met teachers and families who were concerned that schools still weren’t open a month after the hurricane. He helped the FMPR organize to reopen schools, a defense against growing fears that schools would be privatized in the wake of hurricane Maria in a similar turn of events that saw 7,000 teachers fired and public schools shut down and converted to charter schools after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Many schools have opened since he returned from his visit, Sigal says, largely because of the political activism by teacher’s union and a legal injunction where they forced the Department of Education to give a tally of which schools not open and why. He explains that schools were remaining closed because officials said there was infrastructure damage, but people had been using the cafeterias and schools as relief centers and were holding up well in that capacity. “Saying that the schools are not in condition to reopen didn’t make sense,” Sigal said of the situation.

Around 100 schools are still not open 70 days after the hurricane and so the work continues to save those schools and get them reopened to the students.

Sigal noted that most teachers still decided to go to their closed schools and help families in the buildings in order to maintain a connection with the community and continue to work.

“ I was amazed by the teachers and others I met. In the face of having to deal with their own personal crises of not having housing or food or electricity, they were also battling political issues with the school,” Sigal recounted. “The ability to do all that incredible.”

 

 

Project to help first responders wins MN-REACH grant

Professor Tai Mendenhall.
Tai Mendenhall, professor of Family Social Science.

Family Social Science Associate Professor Tai Mendenhall’s project to help first responders, called “Preventing Compassion Fatigue in Disaster-Responders: Advancing and Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mobile Self Care App,” has been selected for MN-Reach funding.

The University of Minnesota launched MN-REACH in 2015 to help researchers with new health-related discoveries navigate the complex path(s) from laboratory to market. MN-REACH is also one of three sites in the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs.

Mendenhall is principal investigator (PI) on a team that created a self-care app for trauma-responders, the UMN Responder Self-Care App. In 2012, providers and researchers from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, Academic Health Center (Office of Emergency Preparedness), and Department of Family Social Science collaborated with colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to develop the innovative self-care app for emergency responders in-the-field.  They pilot-tested an early version of the app with volunteer members of the UMN’s Medical Reserve Corps (Behavioral-, Biomedical-, Veterinary-, and other teams) and MDH.

“These volunteers assisted us with understanding their use-cases, so that we can refine and revise this early version across both content and organization,” said Mendenhall, who earned his Ph.D. in Family Social Science at the U of M in 2003. “We are now working toward widespread use and rigorous (randomized) empirical testing.  This is very timely and important work!”

Mendenhall’s co-investigators include Andrew Morrow, in the U of M’s Office for Technology Commercialization, and two professionals from the MDH’s Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response: Nancy Carlson, a doctoral student who also works as a behavioral health and community resilience program coordinator, and Tom Garcia, a medical countermeasures planner.

The interactive smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) engages responders in a variety of ways before, during, and after deployments. The personally-customizable tool serves to promote and aid responders’ attention to their own physical, emotional, and social well-being.

High stress – high risk 

Disaster-responders are already a high-risk group for compassion fatigue and – paired with the high-risk nature of fieldwork, itself – they are also at high-risk to become impaired. This puts both providers and the families they serve at risk. A 2016 Survey conducted by the National EMS Management Association (NEMA) described in detail the current needs of the responder community, including a call to action: “There is a significant mental health and wellness problem among the EMS workforce in the United States. Insufficient data exists to fully describe the extent and impact of this problem across the 800,000+ professionals that serve around the clock each day.”

Currently organizations address compassion fatigue during after-action processing and/or debriefing sequences, which do not sufficiently address the personal health and well-being of responders. This gap is partly connected to the cultures of medical education, law-enforcement, and emergency services institutions (e.g., rigid hierarchies between classes and specializations, long working hours, and an ethos that does not support or encourage asking for help or appearing vulnerable).

The risks associated with compassion fatigue have personal consequences for emergency responders, including physical and mental illnesses, relationship stress, and professional consequences for the individuals and families that disaster response personnel serve (ranging from missing important cues, to ineffective teamwork and/or straightforward medical errors).

“The opportunity to use the UMN Responder Self-Care App in real-time – privately or in coordination with assigned team-members – will help responders with self-care during times when doing so is most needed, while also capturing much needed data to support long-term research so crucial in this field,” said Mendenhall.

Early development of the UMN Responder Self-Care App was supported by University of Minnesota: Simulations, Exercises, and Effective Education (U-SEE) funding to investigate the effectiveness of public health preparedness training methods with the goal of developing training models that build system capacity.