Keystone T H E M AGAZINE O F T H E A U B U R N U N I V E R S I TY C O L L E G E O F E D UCATI O N
VOLUME XII, 2016
DR. JANE B. MOORE, LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER SPECIAL SECTION: EDUCATORS ON EDUCATION POLICY 2016 Keystone Magazine | 2
3 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Our Centennial year of 2015 seemed to fly by, and 2016 kicked off with a bang! I am pleased to report that we continue to win recognition for our efforts. We are the only college in Alabama to offer nationally recognized programs in Collaborative Teacher K-12, Mathematics Education, and Elementary Education, and we are perennially named in the top ten by U.S. News & World Report for our online graduate programs. This year we were ranked 7th-best in the country. The College itself is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and many other programs have long maintained accreditation from their professional organizations. Likewise, our external grants and awards remain at an all-time high, our research and outreach remain strong, and our annual scholarship ceremony marks a time when we recognize our many generous donors and outstanding students. You can read about these and many other accomplishments in this issue of the Keystone. But for me, this year is particularly distinguished by two separate events. One, of course, is that Dr. Jane B. Moore, one of the most inspiring and highly regarded members of the College of Education in its 100-year history, was recognized this year by the Auburn Alumni Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Collegeâ€™s reception for Dr. Moore the evening before the award ceremony, many were moved to tears by the stories and memories shared. It was a night I will always cherish, and I am so proud that she is one of ours. On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, those who understand the important role that public schools play in our countryâ€™s democracy are expressing growing concerns about persistent attacks on the institution of public education. For this issue of the Keystone, we talked to scholars, principals, teachers, superintendents, activists, and researchers about what is happening in the statehouses around our country. In a special section, we report these findings without editorial comment. We let these experts tell us what they see happening, why these things are happening, and what it might mean for the future of public education and our democracy. We encourage you to not only read what our panel of experts has to say, but to pay attention to what is happening in your own state and community. The pattern of proposed laws is alarmingly similar from state to state, and we must all decide if this is the path we want to follow. In the meanwhile, I remain thankful for our bright, hard-working students, our dedicated and productive faculty, and our loyal and talented staff. These people, along with our alumni, friends, and donors, make it an honor and privilege and delight to be the Dean of the Auburn University College of Education. War Eagle!
2016 Keystone Magazine | 1
VS TEXAS A BURN &M U A AUBURN UNIVERSITYâ€™S
College of Education
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RECEIVING OUR OFFICIAL INVITATION, PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL KELLY ROGERS WITH YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION AT KELLY.ROGERS@AUBURN.EDU OR 334.844.5792.
2 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
The Keystone Magazine is an annual publication of the Auburn University College of Education, produced and distributed to alumni and friends of the college through the generous contributions of private donors. Dean Dr. Betty Lou Whitford Editor George Littleton Director of Communications and Marketing Design Audrey Lowry Contributing Writers Molly McNulty Kristin Roberts Susan Bannon Contributing Editor Altamese Stroud-Hill Student Editor
College of Ed Launches New Website, Wins ADDY Award
Send address changes to firstname.lastname@example.org
Auburn Grad Spent Life Fighting For Children, Justice: The Sophia Bracy Harris Story
Hop To It
or by mail to the attention of George Littleton. Auburn University College of Education Communications and Marketing 3084 Haley Center Auburn, Alabama 36849-5218
Dr. Jane B. Moore, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
334.844.4468 www.education.auburn.edu email@example.com Auburn University is an equal opportunity
Educators Talk Education Policy
Burgess Takes Auburn Lessons To Classroom, Guatemala Orphanage
ÂŠ2016, Auburn University College of Education
ON THE COVER: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER, DR. JANE B. MOORE WITH MEMBERS OF THE AUBURN UNIVERSITY SOFTBALL TEAM
2016 Keystone Magazine | 3
The College of Education had 114 active endowed and annual funds in existence during U.S. News & World Report
the 2015-16 academic year
ranked the collegeâ€™s online
which provided more than
graduate education programs
$400,000 in scholarships
7th best nationally (2016).
and graduate awards.
College of Education
AT A GLANCE
Fall 2015 enrollment:
2,679 (1,704 undergrad, 975 graduate)
From data reported to U.S. News and World Report, extramurally funded research and outreach expenditures for the college in fiscal year 2015 were
4 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
The Charles Barkley Foundation, named for Auburn’s
The college has
students, the largest graduate
enrollment among the colleges at
NBA Hall of Famer,
Auburn University — 22.66% of all
$50,000 to the College of Education’s Future Scholars Summer
The college offers short-term,
and semester-long teacher education internships to more than
15 countries and on every continent but Antarctica.
Auburn’s 58,000-square-foot School of Kinesiology Building was designated as a
Training Site in 2015. Elite athletes from all over the nation can come to Auburn to train and receive science-based assessments and personalized feedback from kinesiology experts to optimize their performance.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 5
THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION CELEBRATES ITS 100TH BIRTHDAY
The College of Education celebrated its 100th birthday with a fall celebration. Approximately 60 faculty, staff, and students gathered in the lobby of Haley Center for the event. Dean Betty Lou Whitford cut the birthday cake, where she was was joined by Aubie, who posed for pictures with all of his fans and well-wishers. It was a great way to kick off the College of Educationâ€™s Centennial Year Celebration!
6 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION In the late fall, President Gogue sent out a University-wide message about the racial unrest on college campuses across the country. College of Education Dean Betty Lou Whitford followed that up with a message of her own to the College’s community. Here is that message in full: The College of Education has long held diversity as one of “The College of Education today reconfirms its its Core Values, along with a Mission to build a better commitment to inclusion, equity, and cultural future for all in a richly diverse responsiveness. Our College has and will and ever-changing world. We believe the quality of teaching continue to foster a welcoming, respectful, and human services is enriched safe, and supportive environment.” by differences in perspectives shaped by diversity. We encourage the civil and respectful discussion of differences. In the course of passionate and even volatile discussions, our differences can either enrich or fragment our community. Therefore, civility and respect should guide our words and actions. The College of Education today reconfirms its commitment to inclusion, equity, and cultural responsiveness. Our College has and will continue to foster a welcoming, respectful, safe, and supportive environment.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 7
COLLEGE OF ED LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE, WINS ADDY AWARD STORY BY SUSAN BANNON
Prior to the launch of a new Web site last September, users of the College of Education’s site were, in many ways, shouting into a vacuum. On one hand, our undergraduate and graduate programs are considered some of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Our research and community outreach efforts are excellent, but outside audiences just weren’t paying attention. If we were going to stay relevant, we needed up-to-date information and a new way to navigate it – we needed a Web site makeover. It seemed to be the right time to take a good look at re-purposing our Web site, make some compromises, and let the proverbial cream rise to the top. Dr. Susan Bannon, Associate Professor and Director of the Learning Resources Center, directed a website redesign team of faculty and staff members. “Collaboration was the key to the success of the website redesign project,” Bannon said. “Our college team worked with a NewCity team of designers and web content specialists to create a responsive Web site. We organized our Web site content and enhanced our site’s appearance while meeting our brand standards. We are pleased with our work and the positive reaction to the new Web site.” The team started working with the NewCity Media Agency of Blacksburg, Va., in April 2014, by conducting stakeholder interviews, reviewing analytics, and consolidating a number of research opportunities in an intensive, two-day discovery process at Auburn. We learned that while faculty knew where content was located on the Web site, the same could not be said for potential students or the research and outreach audiences we were trying to reach. The new site’s fresh, appealing, illustrative design on the homepage reflects its ease of use and modern navigational conventions. “The choice of colorful illustration over photography lends itself well to the goals sought by the redesign team,” said Steph Mueller, senior designer at NewCity. “It made the Web site easier to maintain while fitting in well with Auburn’s energetic brand presence.” A new responsive design accommodates our increasing mobile online traffic as younger users tend to use phones and tablets instead of traditional desktop systems to search the site. Content on the new WordPress-based Web site is organized into four main sections: • Academics section with a focus on academic programs with a dynamic program search feature. Information about advisors, program coordinators, and other information are a click away. Graduate degree pages invite potential students to “Request Information” and “Apply.” • Research section focuses on our research in a variety of fields from 8 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
reading education to cardiac health. The School of Kinesiology labs are featured here. • Outreach section showcases initiatives of our centers, institutes, and special programs and how they relate to Auburn affiliates, external partners, and provide opportunities for Involvement. • About the College section features content about our organization. Features include the following: • Header and Utility Menu located on every page. Links to the College’s News and Events are located here along with a link to the revamped College Directory now searchable by department or academic area. • Footer also located on every page with links to a full digital version of The Keystone and also to Alumni with information for our alumni and friends. The footer includes links to our social media, contact information, and Web site feedback. • Search is a new feature that makes it easier to find information on the Web site. Each content page uses search engine optimization to enhance the Web site’s content for Google searching.
In February 2016 a Best of Interactive Award was presented to NewCity’s designers by the Western Virginia American Advertising Association. Steph Mueller accepted this ADDY award and thanked the Auburn University College of Education team for taking a bold direction with the Web site redesign project to deliver what the users needed. College of Education Dean Betty Lou Whitford said, “Our college celebrated its 100th year in 2015. It continues to grow both in its quality and programmatic richness. This in turn is attracting
outstanding students to our educator preparation programs, as well as our programs in counseling, rehabilitation, administration, and the many health-related fields in our School of Kinesiology. We needed a modern, attractive design, and a site which is easy to navigate for a variety of users. We feel that we achieved all of that in our redesigned Web site.” Stop by and see us any time, follow our news, or learn about our people and programs at www.education.auburn.edu.
<< TAKE A LOOK AT THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION’S NEW WEBSITE BY SCANNING THE QR CODE TO THE LEFT.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 9
PANGELINAN’S RESEARCH COMBINES MOVEMENT, FAMILY, DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES STORY AND PHOTO BY GEORGE LITTLETON
Dr. Melissa Pangelinan, Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology, is the co-director of the Pediatric Movement and Physical Activity Lab. The lab seeks to better understand how movement ability and physical activity participation affect brain and physical development in children and adolescents – particularly those with developmental disabilities such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities. The lab is working to develop age-appropriate interventions that will promote physical activity participation, which will in turn impact the longterm development of brain and physical health in those with and without movement difficulties. A key component of this effort is a free monthly seminar in the lab for parents of children with developmental disabilities. In collaboration with Lee County Autism Resource & Advocacy and Lee 10 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
County Special Olympics, these seminars link parents with experts in movement science, education, psychology, and medicine. The seminars are held twice a month at the School of Kinesiology, which is located at 301 Wire Road in Auburn. “We have many people involved in these seminars, including our families, researchers, clinicians, and volunteers,” Pangelinan said. “We are working hard to build a community for our families right here in our area. At present, most of this type of research and activity takes place in Birmingham. Our families need this local resource very badly.” The first seminar in September welcomed approximately 60 parents and 75 children, along with a dozen or so researchers and 40 volunteers, most of whom were Kinesiology undergraduate and graduate students.
“We have many dedicated volunteers, who are interested in physical therapy, occupational therapy, special education, and adapted physical education. As such we are able to keep a ratio of one volunteer for every two children. As our program grows, we will recruit additional volunteers to maintain a similar level of support for each child or teen,” Pangelinan said. During the monthly meetings, invited speakers discuss topics of interest to parents while the children engage in age- and abilityappropriate movement activities facilitated by Kinesiology student volunteers. “Alice Buchanan and her students’ expertise in adaptive physical education is a great help in working with these kids,” Pangelinan said. “Mary Rudisill and her students have also helped us develop great activities for the younger children.” Pangelinan was part of a similar and successful effort in her doctoral work at the University of Maryland, which was supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The support group for parents at Maryland focused on three basic issues: getting support in school, understanding the impact of the disabilities on siblings and parents, and helping to promote physical DOCTORAL STUDENT MEGAN IRWIN (LEFT) AND DR. activities for the whole family. She hopes to have a similar focus in MELISSA PANGELINAN her Kinesiology lab at Auburn. “I watched the children in my graduate research at Maryland grow up into teenagers and encounter a whole host of new issues. My and Jim McDonald are interested in oxygen utilization in exercise. post-doc work in Toronto allowed me to understand those adolescent Danielle Wadsworth uses physical activity interventions, including mindfulness training, to promote health in families. John Quindry issues,” she said. “I learned a lot about the changes that are happening from childhood to adolescence, but saw a need to connect has been studying diet-related factors to prevent symptoms in children with muscular dystrophy. And these are just a few that research to help families. I saw two distinct needs, which we examples!” here at Auburn have a great opportunity to address. First, we will In order for the outreach and research programs to be be able to translate our lab work on movement and the brain to the successful, Pangelinan needs to determine if they have the necessary real world. Secondly, we will create a community between parents, commitment from area families to build a sufficient community. educators, clinicians, and researchers to support and She also needs to win grant support for her projects, based on the enrich families.” Regardless of the “THE DIFFERENT AREAS OF EXPERTISE IN THE SCHOOL disability, there are similar concerns and problems for the families, OF KINESIOLOGY CAN HELP US CREATE AN INTEGRATED Pangelinan believes. They almost always share PERSPECTIVE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY the same pediatricians, IN THOSE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES...” physical therapists, and clinicians, but lack meaningful support and community. She hopes this effort can NIH model she was part of in Maryland. With support from East address those deficits right here in East Alabama. Alabama Medical Center and others, Pangelinan is expanding the model to host a three-week day camp July 11−29 this summer. The COLLABORATIONS ARE KEY camp will focus on key areas of difficulty: riding a bike, swimming, and mindfulness training, which is an area of growing importance in Pangelinan is supported in her efforts by Kinesiology doctoral managing emotional and attention difficulties. student Megan Irwin, whose Master’s work was in disability studies “We have unique experience in these areas and parents really and her dissertation is on autism. Irwin was an integral part of want help to develop these important skills in their children,” bringing together the initial group seminar event since Pangelinan is Pangelinan said. “But to do these things we must find grant or new to Auburn. Pangelinan also sees natural collaborations between financial support.” her lab and College of Education colleagues such as Doris Hill and Pangelinan knows she will need volunteers, but also hopes to Vanessa Hinton, both of whom have strong commitments to working count on the enormous talent that could come from the College of with young people with disabilities. Education’s early childhood, special ed, and rehab and disability “There is so much that we need to understand about children programs. and teens with disabilities,” Pangelinan said. “The different areas “The most important thing we must do is show families that of expertise in the School of Kinesiology can help us create an what we are doing works for them,” she said. “The need is there and integrated perspective on the importance of physical activity in the expertise is here. Now it’s up to us to build this community.” those with developmental disabilities. For example, Bruce Gladden 2016 Keystone Magazine | 11
SERC SUMMER PROGRAM ENGAGES STUDENTS AND TEACHERS STORY AND PHOTOS BY GEORGE LITTLETON
For the entire month of June, the classrooms and halls of Richland Elementary School in Auburn are alive with the sounds of laughter and music as a unique blend of students and teachers (and even bus drivers!) dance and sing, work on academic and social skills, and engage in lively group activities and special projects. The Auburn University summer program for students with disabilities represents an innovative collaboration between the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling (SERC) and the school systems of Auburn City and Lee County. “The main focus of the summer program is to provide an Extended School Year (ESY) program for students with disabilities at risk for regression and recoupment of academic and social skills during school breaks,” said Dr. Doris Hill, director of the program and Assistant Research Professor at the Center for Disability 12 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Research and Service. “It is also an intense practicum placement for undergraduate and graduate students who train the week before on evidence-based practices prior to program implementation.” This year, 65 students (pre-K to 8th grade) signed up to attend the month-long program. Hill is assisted in directing the program by SERC doctoral student Regina Kearley. New to this year’s collaboration is the addition of master’s students from the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts. These students have an academic focus on Applied Behavior Analysis, which they can use in a clinical setting in the summer program. They work under the supervision of Dr. Sacha Pence. The psychology students provide coaching for SERC’s special education undergraduates in behavior analytic strategies for working with public school students with behavioral challenges, typically students with an autism diagnosis. Behavior analysts develop
individual programming for students to teach appropriate behaviors and reduce behaviors that are inappropriate or unsafe. Hill and Pence established this collaboration to foster partnerships between pre-service teachers and behavior analysts and to conduct research in this area. “While we have a lot of good structure and a strong basis for research in this program, we are also giving the children an opportunity to develop their social and academic skills and have fun doing so,” Hill explained. “Our rooms are separated by age and ability groups. We typically have three teachers in each room, working with eight or nine children. And these teachers really break the mold! A lot of love develops between these teachers and students and I admire the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved. Every one of our bus drivers has developed relationships with their kids, as well. They could just sit outside and check their phones, but they come into the classroom and get as involved as anyone. This
is truly a devoted group of instructors engaged in very meaningful work.” Hill said many of the students are from rural areas around Beauregard and Smiths Station, so the bus drivers still have a long day ahead of them once school adjourns around noon. “Our special education pre-service teachers are gaining valuable experience from this program, which is important for their longrange careers,” Hill said. “It is well-known that special education teachers suffer from a high burnout rate. We hope that learning from experienced educators, and gaining insight into behavior analytic strategies in the classroom, will not only help them become better teachers, but also help enable them to remain in the field for their entire careers. Autism diagnoses have skyrocketed, and we believe that every child deserves a great school experience. We are here helping to make that happen.”
“WHILE WE HAVE A LOT OF GOOD STRUCTURE AND A STRONG BASIS FOR RESEARCH IN THIS PROGRAM, WE ARE ALSO GIVING THE CHILDREN AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP THEIR SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC SKILLS AND HAVE FUN DOING SO...”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 13
KINESIOLOGY’S ROBIN MARTIN NAMED AU’S TOP ADVISOR, GOES ON TO WIN NATIONAL AWARD Robin Hinds Martin, an academic advisor in the College of Education’s School of Kinesiology, was named the recipient of the 2015 Auburn University Outstanding Advising Award — Professional Advisor Category. Martin is in her tenth year in the position. She was automatically placed into a regional university competition, which she won, and then she swept the national award from the National Academic Advising Association. The Association has over 11,000 members, making this a real coup for Martin. “It’s really great to win this national award, but what matters most to me is that I just love this place and the people I work with,” Martin said. “It’s always exciting to be here.” Martin has a unique perspective on the School of Kinesiology. She claims she grew up as part of the program. “For starters, both of my parents – Perry and Susan Hinds – were Kinesiology students,” she said. “So naturally I became a Kinesiology undergrad, and even got my MS in Physical EducationTeacher Education. I was also awarded the Kenny Howard Fellowship in Athletic Training.” Her link to the School has even deeper roots. “Sandra Newkirk, a Kinesiology legend, Auburn’s first volleyball coach and the first director of women’s athletics, was like my second mother,” she said. “She was in the room when I was born. She held me even before my mother did! My daughter is named after her. It is an understatement to say that I feel at home here.” Martin, who said she “pretty much grew up in Memorial Coliseum,” is especially excited about the growth she sees all around her in the School. “It is always exciting here,” she said. “There are always new things, the wheels are always spinning. The entire School has
doubled in size since I started here ten years ago. We have more faculty, more programs, and I would say at least triple the number of GTAs we had when I started here. And we’re still growing. Students are flooding in here in spite of our having raised entrance requirements. That means, of course, that we are getting better and better students.” In addition to the excitement that comes with growth, Martin loves the people with whom she works on a daily basis. “We have such good collegiality, and there are probably reasons for that in addition to our leadership. Most of the people here grew up playing sports and understand that teamwork means working toward the greater good of the organization. That happens here. Just look at how our new faculty work so well together.” Dr. Mary Rudisill, director of the School of Kinesiology, understands the importance of strong advising, and appreciates what Martin brings to the program, “We are very fortunate to have Robin Martin serve our students in Kinesiology,” Rudisill said. “Robin’s relationship and rapport with students is outstanding. She cares a great deal about our students and works hard to ensure that each one receives the appropriate advising services. Her advising evaluations suggest that she is an effective advisor. In the past 10 years Kinesiology has not had a student delayed for graduation because of poor advising. This is an exceptional record and something that we are very proud of in the School of Kinesiology.” Martin remains happy just to be an important part of the team. “I feel fortunate to be in this place where I truly enjoy working with students, being with my professional colleagues, and coming to work every day.”
“ROBIN’S RELATIONSHIP AND RAPPORT WITH STUDENTS IS OUTSTANDING. SHE CARES A GREAT DEAL ABOUT OUR STUDENTS AND WORKS HARD TO ENSURE THAT EACH ONE RECEIVES THE APPROPRIATE ADVISING SERVICES...”
14 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
“I am very excited about being selected for this wonderful opportunity,” McCormick said. “The Rosa Parks collection has just been donated to the Library so I will have the opportunity to work with that before it is digitized.” Along with the College of Education’s Dr. Deborah Morowski, McCormick directs a Library of Congresssponsored institute on the Auburn campus that helps Alabama social studies and history teachers develop meaningful curricula for their classes. “Dr. Morowski and I won the Library of Congress grant last year,” McCormick said. “It enabled us to host this very useful gathering on our campus last spring, and we will meet again in the fall. We focused previously on American history and this year we will work on state history, so Civil Rights and the Rosa Parks collection could not be more timely. My goal on the trip to Washington will be to develop a curriculum that incorporates the new holdings from the Rosa Parks collection for our teachers here in Alabama.” McCormick is a passionate advocate for the importance of public education and developing great classroom teachers. She also loves the opportunity to be in Washington since it contains so many important places and historical collections. “I always try to work with our teachers on the Holocaust,” she said. “It is important for them to be able to get that idea over to their students and seriously study the question of whether something like that could ever happen again.” When she is in Washington she tries to find time to visit the Holocaust Museum, which she says is one of the most powerful experiences in the world “The way that museum is organized and presented makes it almost impossible not to feel the power and the horror of that historical event. And you cannot fully experience it without coming to grips with the terrifying consequences of human action and inaction, and to question whether anything like that could happen again. Great teaching wrestles with the great questions, and that is one of them.” To be chosen for this highly competitive opportunity, McCormick had to apply for one of the very few K-12 teacher educator positions. “We will be in the Capitol Hill Hotel, right across from the Library of Congress, so for me this is like a kid getting to go to Disney World!” McCormick also notes the strong Alabama connection in this year’s session on Civil Rights. “So many of the most important Civil Rights struggles took place right here in Alabama,” McCormick noted. “These struggles still shape our state and country, and our College has a strong commitment to diversity, so I am also excited about the opportunity to expand my understanding in this area.” The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress, and their staffs. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at www.loc.gov.
THERESA MCCORMICK WINS SPOT IN LIBRARY OF CONGRESS TEACHER INSTITUTE Theresa McCormick, Associate Professor in the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, has been selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute for the week of August 3-7, 2015. Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a carefully chosen group of K-12 educators (and, in McCormick’s case, K-12 teacher educators) to attend one of its five teacher institutes in Washington, D.C. During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website. McCormick’s session is a special Civil Rights Institute. Activities will focus on items in the collections that support teaching and learning about civil rights struggles throughout American history. The primary sources will be items from the Library’s exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” (www.loc. gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/). Also, the Rosa Parks collection will be featured during the week.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 15
Since he became an assistant professor at Auburn, Dr. Roberts, his students, and his close collaborators have produced over 25 publications. Additional papers are currently being drafted or are already in review. His publications total 76 since his first publication in 2004 as a Master’s student at Baylor University. According to Google Scholar, Roberts has an H-index of 21, which means he has 21 publications cited at least 21 times each. It is a measure of your impact in the field, and Roberts’ impact is a significant one. Dr. Roberts’ journey as a researcher began at Baylor University under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Kreider. At Baylor, Dr. Roberts studied the effects of exercise and nutrition on weight loss in overweight females, and it was there that Roberts began to appreciate the powerful role that exercise and nutrition play in mental and physical health. Roberts says, “If it weren’t for Dr. Kreider, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.” Dr. Roberts went on to obtain his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma under Dr. Chad Kerksick. Roberts says it was there where he learned how to set up and operate a laboratory from the ground up. “Dr. Kerksick and I were like two deer in the headlights, but we managed to get all of the equipment in and set up research protocols. I will always be appreciative of that opportunity because it translated well for me at Auburn when I first took my position as a laboratory director.” Finally, prior to his Auburn position Dr. Roberts trained under the iconic Dr. Frank Booth at the University of Missouri, whom many regard as the father of molecular exercise physiology. Roberts says about his experience with Dr. Booth, “Frank was simply the best mentor I could have ever asked for. He taught me how to critically think, how to design well-thought out research questions, and most importantly, how to treat people the right way.” Dr. Roberts’ current research expertise examines how nutrition and exercise facilitate physiological adaptations. He wants to continue to explore novel mechanisms involving how the diet improves health. “I hope to create a legacy with the lab. The main goal is to do good research and garner respect from peers in the field. When students or other researchers outside of Auburn see a paper from MASL at Auburn, my hope is that they learned something that further advances their ideas and continues to push the field forward,” said Roberts. Dr. Roberts’ laboratory is beginning to study exosomes, which are small vesicles containing RNA and proteins. They are secreted by all cell types in culture and are found to occur naturally in body fluids, including blood, saliva, urine, and breast milk. The molecular mechanisms for their secretion and uptake, as well as their
DR. MICHAEL ROBERTS IS BUILDING A LEGACY IN THE SCHOOL OF KINESIOLOGY Assistant Professor Michael D. Roberts, Ph.D., in the School of Kinesiology has brought in over $1.3 million dollars in contracts and gifts in less than three years since he started as director of the Molecular and Applied Sciences Lab (MASL) in August of 2013. His research dollars mainly come from strategic industry partnerships. During this time, Dr. Roberts has mentored six graduate students, some of which are supported by those gifts and contracts. Roberts has also funded over a dozen undergraduate students workers who work 20 hours a week in a paid, hourly part-time job in his lab assisting with the research. In addition, he has funded a full-time technician for nearly one year. The training and knowledge the students are acquiring is some of the best in the country. “We use research models ranging from observing cells in petri dishes all the way up to performing human experiments where we can even take muscle tissue from their leg.” Roberts exclaims. “The participants think that they have a good grasp of who they are when they enter the lab and sign up for a study, but we definitely tell them things that they didn’t know about themselves by the time that they leave.” 16 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
composition and resulting functions, are only beginning to be understood. Roberts submitted his first paper on the topic recently about exosomes extracted from whey protein and their effect on muscle protein synthesis in vitro. Roberts is also beginning to collaborate with Dr. Janos Zempleni at the University of Nebraska who is a pioneer in this area, and has a long-standing relationship with Dr. John McCarthy at the University of Kentucky who specializes in exosome physiology. Regarding his body of work to date at Auburn, Roberts says, “I am thankful for all the support at Auburn University and the collaborations that have been established with other departments on campus, including the School of Pharmacy, the Vet School, VCOMAuburn, and Agriculture. I especially want to thank Dr. Mary Rudisill and Dr. David Pascoe for their unconditional support in terms of doing everything in their power to help me get the machine up and going. Also Dean Whitford and the grants and contracts team (Rodney Greer, Jeremy Gray, Julie Nolen, and Lauren Einhorn). The students (Brooks Mobley, Wes Kephart, Maleah Holland, Petey Mumford, Cody Haun, Carl Fox, Anna McCloskey, Shelby Osburn, Romil Patel and many others) have been equally as instrumental in establishing the laboratory, and it is their devotion that has allowed us to achieve success. I owe my collaborators a lion-share of credit as well (Dr. Jacob Wilson, Dr. Andreas Kavazis, Dr. Jeff Martin, Dr. Kaelin Young, Dr. Darren Beck, Dr. Dani McCullough, Dr. Raj Amin, Dr. Kevin Huggins, and Dr. Rusty Arnold). Finally, I’m especially grateful to Dr. Christopher Lockwood. He, along with Dr. Booth, was essentially responsible for funding my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri, and he has been with me like a brother since the day I stepped foot here at Auburn University.” Dr. Roberts’ most recent funding venture comes from FutureCeuticals, Inc. Roberts (in collaboration with Drs. Kaelin Young and Jeff Martin at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)-Auburn Campus) was recently awarded $140,000 for a project entitled, “Effects of a novel plant extract on cycling performance, hemodynamics and markers of red blood cell physiology.” FutureCeuticals, Inc. is in the research, development, and manufacture of fruit, vegetable, and grain-based food and nutritional ingredients with operations in Illinois, Indiana, California, Wisconsin and Europe. The company is committed to providing the highest quality ingredients and cutting edge product development for the dietary supplement, functional foods, and cosmetics industries through discovery-based research in the name of human health. “This is a match made in heaven,” said Roberts. “The folks at FutureCeuticals completely understand the power of exercise in
promoting health benefits, and a large part of their research and development is towards optimizing exercise adaptations with well-researched nutritional supplements. We are very excited to embark upon this new partnership.” The MASL lab will study the effects of a patented beet root extract on cycling performance on 30 human subjects. In the supplement group, participants will take the beet root extract in pill form, while the control group will not. The study is a crossover design where each group does both conditions, placebo and experimental, with at least one week in between. Roberts and his research team will conduct a cycling test on all subjects seven days pre-supplement and seven days post-supplement. The tests is a 30 minute time trial assessing the distance the participant can cycle over 30 minutes, as well as measuring cycling power. MASL will be looking at blood markers of oxidative stress, such as TBAR in red blood cells (thiobarbituric acid reactive), as well as red blood cell formation. They will conduct a reticulocyte count, precursors to red blood cells, and look at EPO levels. EPO, or erythropoietin, is produced by the kidneys which stimulates the bone to make new red blood cells. Additionally, they will analyze blood gas to identify blood glucose levels, lactate levels, and blood pH levels, and other markers of oxidative stress. Dr. Kaelin Young, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at VCOM-Auburn is facilitating the study by recruiting participants and performing metabolic testing, which measures the oxygen consumed and the carbon dioxide produced by the subject during exercise, known as VO2 oxygen uptake or VO2 max. Dr. Jeff Martin, Chair and Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at VCOM-Auburn, will look at blood flow and assess the hemodynamics effects of the supplement, meaning whether the arteries become more vasodilated. Martin will also measure cardiac output during exercise including heart rate and stroke volume (the amount of blood the heart pumps per beat) using Finapres, a medical device for non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring. Lastly, Martin will analyze leg blood flow pre and post cycling time trial using ultrasound. “Our hypothesis is that we will see (a) an increase blood flow which will (b) increase exercise economy and (c) reduce oxidative stress, because the extract contains antioxidant properties which reduces the production of free radicals during exercise,” said Roberts. The study begins in early May 2016 and will finish with participants by late June. The data analysis by Roberts and the lab will be completed by July, with a publication to follow.
“I HOPE TO CREATE A LEGACY WITH THE LAB. THE MAIN GOAL IS TO DO GOOD RESEARCH AND GARNER RESPECT FROM PEERS IN THE FIELD. WHEN STUDENTS OR OTHER RESEARCHERS OUTSIDE OF AUBURN SEE A PAPER FROM MASL AT AUBURN, MY HOPE IS THAT THEY LEARNED SOMETHING THAT FURTHER ADVANCES THEIR IDEAS AND CONTINUES TO PUSH THE FIELD FORWARD.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 17
hear from Auburn initiatives such as Community and Civic Engagement, develop interviewing and resume skills, and other things that will help them as they become increasingly aware of the opportunities that are out there for them. The 21st CCLC camp is made possible through funding by the Alabama State Department of Education. It focuses on skills and experiences high school students can use in out-of-school-time programs. Alabama has over 110 21st CCLC-funded out-of-school-time programs across the state. These programs provide K-12 students safe, enriching, academically challenging and fun afterschool and summer programs. The 21st CCLC AU campers will return to their school systems and volunteer in one of these programs using their new skills. It also provided them with a college experience. The students were also able to experience the great diversity of area activities, including the Raptor Center in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the ropes course for team building and bonding, and visit the Hyundai plant in Montgomery. The Auburn camps focused on enrichment activities, and subtly reinforced the “soft skills” that will help these students progress, both academically and socially. The LEAD camp co-directors were TPI staffers Chris Wooten, Tenille Gaines, and Teresa Smoot. The 21st CCLC camps were led by Rick Pavek, Chris Groccia and Jessica Cooper. “This is a great opportunity for these young people from high-poverty areas to get to see Auburn, see what we have to offer, and consider their opportunities,” Wooten said. “We look at it as a recruiting tool, and as a way to help them see what all is out there to help them have a ‘better tomorrow.’ ”
TRUMAN PIERCE INSTITUTE HOSTS CAMPS, SUMMER ENRICHMENT During the second week of June, the Truman Pierce Institute (TPI) hosted two sets of students for summer camp activities on Auburn’s main campus. One of the camps welcomed students from nearby Loachapoka, Alabama, and was called the Loachapoka Exploring Auburn Days (L.E.A.D.). The other session was the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Camp. These latter students were high school juniors and seniors from across the state who returned to their communities to devote at least 40 hours to their 21st CCLC afterschool programs. The L.E.A.D. camp, which is sponsored by the Office of K-12 Outreach, offers Loachapoka High School students a week-long residential university experience. “A big part of what we do in these camps is expose young people to a university setting,” said Chris Wooten, who is in his fifth year of directing the LEAD Camp. “We want these students to see what educational opportunities are out there for them and to get to know Auburn as well. To do this we introduce them to many, many activities on campus involving such academic programs as science and math, education, fisheries, nursing, agriculture, engineering, and several others.” With a theme of “Making Sound Decisions for a Better Tomorrow,” the students are also introduced to related activities and 18 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
EFLT FACULTY SHARE “TURNAROUND LEADERS” PROGRAM WITH BOARD MEMBERS HUNTER, MCCARTY In October, faculty members and graduate students from the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology (EFLT) welcomed Alabama State Board of Education members Mary Scott Hunter and Cynthia McCarty to campus. The board members were here to learn about the Educational Leadership Preparation Program’s efforts to develop aspiring “turnaround school leaders” as part of a $2.1 million grant from the State Department of Education. The idea is to find, train, and keep strong principals and school leaders who can successfully lead turnaround efforts in struggling schools and school districts. The grant leadership team, with input from organizations such as UCEA, ISSLC, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Turnaround School Leaders Program, defined turnaround school leadership as “a quick, dramatic, sustained change in performance of a school. Although teachers are the single most important schoolbased factor in student learning, in low performing schools, the principal’s role is paramount for dramatically improving student performance. Turnarounds do not happen without bold leadership.” (Reform Support Network, 2014). Such leadership often replaces ineffective teachers, lengthens school days, and sets a high bar for achievement and attendance. Following a visit with Dean Betty Lou Whitford, Hunter and McCarty joined several faculty members, graduate students, and education professionals for a presentation led by turnaround experts Associate Professor Ellen Reames and educational consultants Diane Murphy and Debbie Quattlebaum. “The first thing we must do is ensure that our turnarounds are permanent and sustained,” Murphy explained. “We must plant seeds that continue to grow. It is not enough to have a strong leader come in and turn a school around only to hand it over to someone who cannot sustain that success. That’s why we are here training turnaround leaders with this grant.”
Part of the presentation graphically demonstrated that, with the exception of 12 urban counties (including Lee County), Alabama is in fact exclusively rural. This alone presents tremendous challenges to our state, as 55 of our 67 counties are rural and frequently lack adequate resources and available transportation. “This grant targets rural school leadership,” Reames explained. “That had a lot to do with our motivation to seek the grant in the first place. Our history here in the College of Education has always been to work closely with our school partners. This effort is just another example of that tradition.” Specifically, Auburn is working with school districts in Coosa, Russell, and Lowndes counties as part of its turnaround program that is based in both research and experience. The program includes a turnaround internship, which allows students to spend time in schools that have experienced a turnaround, and to work directly with the successful principals who led those efforts. “Our students are also able to work with nationally recognized turnaround mentors,” Reames explained. “These mentors have led schools in Alabama and provide the kind of mentorship that can only come from experience.” Graduates from the four-semester program leave Auburn with a Master’s in Educational Leadership and a “Turnaround Seal/ Endorsement” on their certificate. Reames explained that the program is unique, but is very much at the heart of what Auburn does best. “This is exactly the kind of program that combines instruction, research, and outreach, and seeks to directly impact our citizens in a positive way. There’s a lot of excitement among our faculty and mentors in this program, and that has carried over to our students. We think this will have a lasting and positive impact on Alabama and its school systems.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 19
HOP TO IT Auburn Softball takes notes from the School of Kinesiology on the science of movement, predatory animals, and how to “hop.”
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
20 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
The School of Kinesiology’s Biomechanics labs are the science behind the Auburn University’s Women’s Softball team’s outstanding performance in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In 2015 the Tigers played in the NCAA Division I Women’s College World Series finishing fourth in the nation. Mid-way through the 2016 season, the Tigers are ranked number three in the nation. A large part of their success has been their collaboration with Kinesiology’s Wendi Weimar, Ph.D., and Gretchen Oliver, Ph.D., using science to optimize performance. Dr. Oliver, Director of the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab, and her graduate students have done a number of research studies related to softball players focusing on upper extremity biomechanics and kinematics during throwing and hitting. Dr. Weimar, Director of the Sport Biomechanics Lab, and her graduate students specialize in lower extremity biomechanics helping the team with their speed and agility.
ON THE HOP On March 2, 2016, Softball launched their video, “On The Hop,” which received over five million views on Facebook in less than four weeks. “The hop” is essentially a two-footed jump in place about three to six inches off the ground that defensive players do after the pitch, but before the hit. “What the hop does is it just allows us to minimize or eliminate… any kind of false movement, so everything that we’re doing is going directly to field the ground ball,” said Head Coach Clint Myers. “When a player hops, they take out the slack in the muscle so that when the muscle fires for them to move in a more aggressive, purposeful, ballistic motion, it is more effective, because they’ve taken any laxity that may be in the tendon and muscle structures, and it can be eliminated and they can move more quickly,” explains Weimar. “The changeover from the stretch shortening cycle from concentric to decentric is faster, the rate of force development is faster, and the first step movement is faster. In addition, it happens to be the motion that we see in predatory animals and since their lives depend upon it, we’re pretty sure that it’s a good idea,” said Weimar. The “On The Hop” video can be found on YouTube by searching “On the Hop” or by scanning the QR code to the right.
hop. This enables the players to get to the ball using a large first and second step to gain the most ground side-to-side as possible. The “How to Hop” video is available on YouTube by searching “Auburn How to Hop” or by scanning the QR code below.
AUBURN SOFTBALL’S PARTNERSHIP WITH AU BIOMECHANICS Auburn Softball highlighted its relationship with AU Biomechanics in a March 21, 2016, YouTube video. The partnership is mutually beneficial, because it allows the team to utilize the technology at the AU Biomechanics Lab and allows the School to conduct research with the athletes that will help improve the sport of softball. “When you’re scientifically putting numbers to [what you’re] saying [as a coach], it makes sense to athletes, and I think that’s why the lab is so important for us,” said Assistant Coach Corey Myers. The researchers and coaches are able to analyze each part of the player’s body when throwing or swinging. Using force plates, they analyze at what angle and how hard the hitter is striking the ground when the barrel of the bat meets the ball. They also look at the hitter’s hips, such as the direction of the hip turn during the swing. Assistant Coach Myers confides, “When you’re breaking it down in a lab and all you see is that skeletal structure, you really get a good idea of what the hitter is actually doing.” The Partnership with AU Biomechanics video is available on YouTube or by scanning the QR code below. Drs. Oliver and Weimar also work with USA Team Handball, Auburn Swimming and Diving, and Auburn Track and Field. They plan to work with more Auburn Athletics programs and other National Governing Bodies for Olympic sports.
“ON THE HOP”
HOW TO HOP After the video went viral, the coaches started receiving hundreds of inquiries on how to teach the hop. They created the video, “How to Hop,” on April 11, 2016, where Assistant Coach Corey Myers explains how it is done. The first thing is the timing of the hop. Players should be at the top of their jump when the hitter makes contact with the ball. Second is either the “creep” or the “sway” movement. The Creep method is where the player “creeps” forward as the pitcher is going through the wind up. The Side-to-Side method is where the player sways side to side as the ball is entering the hitting zone. If the ball is not hit, a good hop is one where the player lands softly, low to the ground, and not leaning in any direction. The purpose of the hop is to eliminate any false steps. Players should not anticipate where the ball is going to go once it is thrown. To practice the hop, the team uses box jumps, hurdles, and the hula hoop drill, which emphasizes the first two steps out of the
“HOW TO HOP”
“THE PARTNERSHIP WITH AU BIOMECHANICS” 2016 Keystone Magazine | 21
ANNETTE KLUCK, COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS, SHINE AT YEAR’S END As was the case last year, all six of Dr. Annette Kluck’s students in Counseling Psychology who applied for internship were successful in matching with an accredited agency for their one-year internship. The internship is a required part of the doctoral program. The students are Shari Black, Lauren David, Veronica Crawford, Theresa Chan, Meg Lee, and Erin Crozier. “Being able to land an accredited internship as part of the doctoral program is not only difficult, but very important,” Kluck said. “An accredited internship greatly expands our students’ future career options. Our graduates are employed in psychological service areas such as college and university counseling centers, private practice, and Veterans Administration hospitals. But in most cases the VA won’t hire someone who has not had an accredited internship, so we feel very good about this.” Kluck said Auburn’s Counseling Psychology program has a strong national reputation, and that this cohort of students was especially outstanding. “They all matched to excellent sites with top reputations,” Kluck said. “Obviously these are talented and hardworking students and they’re going to be missed. They are leaders in our program, and have done an excellent job of mentoring others in our program. I’m excited for them to have such a strong start for a good career.” In addition to her students being a “perfect match,” it has also been a good year for (LEFT TO RIGHT): SHARI BLACK, LAUREN DAVID, VERONICA CRAWFORD, THERESA CHAN, MEG LEE, AND ERIN CROZIER.
22 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
“AN ACCREDITED INTERNSHIP GREATLY EXPANDS OUR STUDENTS’ FUTURE CAREER OPTIONS...” Kluck. At the College of Education spring awards ceremony, Kluck won the outstanding graduate faculty award. She was also given the Outstanding Faculty Award in the interdisciplinary Women’s Studies program at Auburn, where for the past several years she has served as chair of the curriculum committee. “I helped establish the Women’s Studies graduate minor in 2008,” Kluck explained. “We now have minors for both graduates and undergraduates for the Women’s Studies program, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts. The faculty members there have had a good, long-standing relation with students in our Counseling Psychology program, so I’m very pleased about that.” Kluck has also been selected to serve as a Presidential Administrative Fellow for the Fall 2016 semester. “I am excited, too, about that opportunity to learn and help improve the reach of the University and support students across the wider University spectrum. I’ve been a program director for several years now, and I look forward to this opportunity to learn more about the way things work.” Congratulations to Dr. Kluck, and to all of our “perfectly matched” students!
university partnership. “That is yet another thing I love about being here,” she said. “I saw the strong connections here and how the university and local systems are so good for each other, especially in the area of understanding 21st century knowledge to see how we test students, collaborate, and develop thinking skills and practices that are not teacher directed. We are also both focused on things like use of technologies and ways to engage students in learning. If the students are not engaged, they are not going to work. So I saw much here that was very beneficial and that will be helpful in New South Wales.” She also noted the way Auburn University encouraged leaders of Auburn City Schools to look at professional opportunities that can support 21st learning and thinking – much in the same way the Ron Clark Academy is looking beyond traditional ‘drill and grill’ teaching methods to improve student outcomes. “In addition to being a kind of ambassador for the LEAP Program, and trying to connect principals from different parts of the globe in collaboration, I also very much enjoyed my time with Sandy Armstrong and EARIC, and the way she so successfully brings together teachers and leaders in all 15 districts. She is doing on a local scale what LEAP is trying to do on an international scale, and doing it very well.” Parke pointed out that there is also value in the very notion of cultural exchange. “It is important to have people from different parts of the world engaging one another,” she said. “I have never been to this part of the country before, so to be able to do things like the King Memorial and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute puts cultures into perspective.
AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL PRINCIPAL ‘LEAPS’ AT AUBURN EXPERIENCE In late September, Auburn’s College of Education welcomed Jennifer Parke, a school principal from Newcastle, Australia, who was here as part of the LEAP Program. LEAP is an international leadership program that connects school leaders from around the world in a collaborative peer shadowing and shared action-research experience. The innovative, popular, and very effective program allows school leaders around the planet to share and learn from each other in a way never before possible. Parke was hosted in Auburn by Lisa Kensler, an Associate Professor in the College’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology. She spent time in Auburn and Opelika City Schools both with principals and in the central office, and was also able to visit the Ron Clark Academy. Ron Clark, of course, had visited the College just 12 months earlier in a riveting presentation about the importance of passionate, inspired teachers for our nation’s children. Parke’s New South Wales (NSW) school has much in common with the schools she visited here in East Alabama. “Ours is a large, complex primary school of 630 students from pre-school to Yr6,” she said. “We are in an area about two hours north of Sydney on the east coast of NSW, centered around Lake Macquarie. The beach culture is strong there, with people living around the lake in urban sprawl. Much as you have here, we have students who come from diverse backgrounds, including a high percentage of Aboriginal and additional dialect students. They encounter many of the same challenges faced here by Hispanic and Korean children in your school systems. And like you, we engage in differentiation of learning to accommodate that. So that was a great treat to see the many ways your system deals with that challenge and opportunity. Just as I expected, I found this experience to be quite powerful,” Parke said. “I conduct action research on 21st century learning for leaders, and to be embedded into different school systems is very enlightening. I also came here to promote a program in 2016 for educators to come to New South Wales to shadow our principals and school system officials.” Parke mentioned her interest in the strong community-
ENJOYS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ‘TOWN AND GOWN’ Parke said she and her family fell in love with our community. “After our week with Lisa my daughter said that Auburn was like one big family. We have never felt so welcomed as we felt being here. What I loved about Auburn was the people. The strong connection with town and gown, the beauty of the area, and the safe, comfortable, relaxed feeling of walking through streets, to the people in the schools — that is something I will always hold dear. One thing I take home with me is the value that is placed on education and the importance of this for the children and their future. We saw beautiful facilities and well-resourced schools. You are very lucky here.” But Parke also saw something she felt needed changing. “One thing that surprised me was the early hour at which children were required to be at school,” she said. “I believe that is too early for a long day with strong learning time and little free time. In New South Wales we get there at 8:30 and start our lessons at 9:00. We let out by 3 in the afternoon and have time for play. But we do have shorter summer breaks than you do. My professional impression is that children regress if they are out of school for so long.” To learn about LEAP and Auburn’s association with Australia and opportunities for travel, contact Lisa Kensler in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology and visit the website http://www.aleap4principals.com.au 2016 Keystone Magazine | 23
COE DOCTORAL STUDENT AWARDED AURIC FELLOWSHIP TO HELP BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
Kinesiology doctoral student Brandi Decoux has been awarded an Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer (AURIC) Fellowship. Her focus will be on post-menopausal survivors of breast cancer who are prescribed a type of hormone therapy drug called aromatase inhibitors. Decoux’s project is the first known biomechanical study to investigate the relationship between lower extremity pain and movement using gait analysis in this population. Her study seeks to enhance the understanding of the physical functioning and quality of life deficits experienced by these cancer survivors. The title of Decoux’s project is “Gait Analysis of Breast Cancer Survivors with Aromatase Inhibitor-Associated Lower Extremity Arthralgias.” Post-menopausal breast cancer survivors take drugs from the family of aromatase inhibitors to combat cancer recurrence and often experience joint pain in the lower extremities as a side effect. This general pain is called arthralagia. Decoux worked in the Rehabilitation Biomechanics Lab of Dr. Wei Liu for the 2015-2016 school year. She currently works in the Sport Biomechanics Lab of Dr. Wendi Weimar in the School of Kinesiology. “Typically, these AURIC fellowships go to scholars in fields such as veterinary medicine, biomedical sciences, or engineering, usually involving some sort of clinical work with animals,” Decoux said. “But we took a different approach. We are
focusing on cancer survivorship research, and ways that gait analysis, or studying the way these survivors move and walk, can lead to improved quality of life.” Health professionals do not know what exactly causes lower extremity pain in these breast cancer survivors, so they can only treat the symptoms. Decoux will be looking for atypical gait characteristics in this population, hoping to eventually devise an exercise-based intervention strategy. The knee will be of particular interest in her study. “The knee is a crucial joint that affects a person’s walk, or gait,” she said. “We will be looking for distinct movements or actions of these breast cancer survivors as they walk that are not evident in healthy gait, taking objective measurements of biomechanical gait characteristics to add to the often-used and subjective method of patients reporting of their level of pain, commonly on a scale from one to ten. It’s a necessary step toward developing and documenting an effective intervention and promoting quality of life.” How can the intricacies of movement analysis be measured with such objectivity? Through precise and specialized equipment. The School of Kinesiology is fully equipped with a truss-mounted tencamera high-speed infrared motion capture system and two force plates embedded in a customized platform. “This amazing set-up provides us with the means necessary to collect high quality three-dimensional and force data,” Decoux said. “Based on raw data collected with our system, any kinematic or kinetic variable can be computed, analyzed, and graphically displayed using Visual3D advanced data processing software or MATLAB. Having such elaborate lab infrastructure helped us compete for this fellowship, and is just one of many unique and innovative labs we have here in the new Kinesiology Building.” Decoux, who hails from New Iberia, Louisiana, has enjoyed her past year in Wei’s lab. “Some of my professors at Louisiana Tech graduated from Auburn and they never stopped talking about how great it was here,”
“A GREAT PLACE TO DO RESEARCH, AMAZING FACILITIES, AND PEOPLE WHO WORK WELL TOGETHER. WHAT MORE COULD ANYONE WANT?”
24 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Decoux said. “I knew I wanted to continue on in this line of research, and I knew I wanted to stay in the South, so here I am! But really, having three separate biomechanics labs in one building is unheard of in the South. Plus, I love the small town feel of Auburn. Our collegiality in Kinesiology and the College of Education is amazing, so it just adds up. A great place to do research, amazing facilities, and people who work well together. What more could anyone want?”
DEAN ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON ‘SHAKESPEARE IN PRISONS’ Linda H. Dean, special projects coordinator at Truman Pierce Institute (TPI), recently attended the Shakespeare in Prisons/ Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference at Notre Dame University. Conference sessions focused on the use of Shakespeare and drama with incarcerated individuals for rehabilitation and intervention. Participation was limited to 100 attendees from throughout the world. Presenters included Rob Pensafini, professor of linguistics and drama, University of Queensland (Australia), and author of Prison Shakespeare; Jonathan Shailor, professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and editor of Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre; Laura Bates, professor of English at Indiana State University and author of Shakespeare Saves My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard; and Tom Magill, director of Mickey B., a film adaptation of Macbeth performed by prisoners in a maximum-security prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Dean attended sessions led by Meade Palidofsky, director of Storycatchers Theatre, that concentrated on working with drama in juvenile detention facilities. In 2013, Storycatchers received a National
Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which is awarded to only twelve non-profits each year. “The strategies and philosophy promoted by Palidofsky are easily applicable to any at-risk youth populations, whether they are incarcerated or not,” Dean noted. “Today’s youth are experiencing many social challenges, including cybersafety, peer pressure, and unstable homes. All of these things can get them on the wrong track. We hope to apply some of the ideas from the Shakespeare in Prisons workshops to TPI outreach programs, including our Anti-Bullying initiative. Research has shown a connection between school bullying and later adult incarceration — the school-to-prison pipeline. School bullies are often expelled or drop out, then later wind up in prison because they have undergone no formal long-term holistic intervention that changes the way they perceive and react to situations. Role playing really helps in that process.” Several former inmates were present at the conference, and described the impact that performing Shakespeare had had on their lives. Their literacy skills were strengthened through analyzing the texts, but they also developed teamwork, commitment, and responsibility. Macbeth’s famous lines, “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/ Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,” resonate especially with prisoners. But for many, the Shakespeare Prison projects open the door to a successful re-entry into society once they are released so that, in fact, their “tomorrow” will be better.
MEYER, FACULTY WIN GRANT For the second year in a row, the Rehabilitation Counseling program in the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling has been awarded a long-term training grant. This year’s $1 million award is a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Its purpose is to increase the number of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors. These counselors will fill unmet needs in state, private, and not-for-profit rehabilitation systems. The grant will provide Auburn with $1 million over the course of five years, as did last year’s similarly-purposed grant. The project’s Primary Investigator is Dr. Jill Meyer. Other department members who will help with the training are Dr. Becky Curtis and Dr. Nick Derzis. Auburn University’s Rehabilitation Counseling graduate
programs are widely considered to be among the best in the country. “The goal of Vocational Rehabilitation is to place people with disabilities into meaningful, competitive employment,” Meyer said. “Our department has a long history of winning training grants thanks to our strong standing and our reputation for quality. Master’s graduates from our program are always welcomed into the community of rehab counselors. It matters so much to a family of a person with a disability when they know their counselor came from one of the best programs in the country.” This year’s grant will train the student counselors through the College’s distance education program. The grant will fund the tuition and fees for 45 new counselors. “As we stated in our proposal to the Department of Education, our goal is to graduate highly-qualified Master’s level rehabilitation counselors with the knowledge, skills, and resources to efficiently and effectively serve individuals with disabilities. We feel very good about our ability to do just that.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 25
JONATHAN WALLACE MUCH MORE THAN A FOOTBALL PLAYER A red-hot spotlight has been shining on Jonathan Wallace lately. Wallace is the offensive captain of the 2015 football Tigers, and has become the team’s main spokesperson in a variety of media platforms. He was honored recently for his community service as a member of the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Hands Team for the work he does with local schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, among many other activities. And when Auburn responded to the viral video by the kids from Schmid Elementary in Chicago, our school’s video featured Aubie and Wallace. So who is the man behind the accolades? To his fellow students, advisors, and professors, he is Jonathan Wallace, Kinesiology student. Wallace will graduate in December with a degree in Teacher Education-Physical Education, and is strongly considering graduate school in the College’s Adult Education program. He said his heart for service and will to work came to him early. “For starters, my grandfather, father, and siblings all went to Central High School in Phenix City,” he said. “I learned a lot at that place, and from so many people. One of them was my first grade teacher, Ms. Spencer, who has known me my whole life. She knew I wanted to go into something like Physical Therapy, and that I wanted to coach, so she suggested that I work toward certification through one of Auburn’s teacher education programs. That’s how I ended up in the School of Kinesiology.” Wallace also learned a lot about life and leadership from two of his coaches at Central, Ron Nelson and Woodrow Lowe. “I looked up to both of them and spent a lot of time talking to them about how I could impact my teammates in a positive way,” he 26 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
said. “There were just so many good influences around me growing up.” As his playing days and college courses are both winding down, Wallace is doing his teaching internships at Cary Woods Elementary and Auburn Junior High School. One thing hasn’t changed: the days are still long. “I get to school early every morning, work until mid-afternoon, and then come in for football practice till about 6 pm,” he said. “I’m done with my classes, but I still go in and watch game film and work to keep my body strong and fresh for the games on Saturdays. Sometimes I still wish I was in class, because at school we are always on the go, especially at the Junior High, for seven or eight hours.” Wallace said there are upsides to teaching both elementary and adolescent kids. “At Cary Woods they just really look up to you and want to try hard to do right in class,” he said. “At the junior high the students are starting to develop and figure out who they are and what to do with their lives. It takes some time to get a feel for different kids and what kind of approach might work best for each of them. It’s really very similar to understanding what makes a team click.” Wallace said experiencing Auburn from “inside” the football program has been extraordinary, but that in other respects he feels like many other Auburn students. “Make no mistake about it,” he said. “Being part of this team has been great, one of the greatest things you could ever imagine. All the fans and students who come to Tiger Walk and tailgate are, in the end, coming to see me play. That’s my world, so it’s different in that way. But Auburn also has the feel of a family atmosphere. People
I meet and know actually care about me as a person and what happens to me. People want to see you succeed as an Auburn student, whether you are a player or not. So in that way I feel like just another member of the Auburn Family.” PROFESSORS, ADVISORS INFLUENTIAL The faculty and staff in the School of Kinesiology have been important to Wallace’s development over the past few years. “I have really enjoyed classes with Dr. Sheri Brock, learning about motor skills and how to work with kids with disabilities,” he said. “She has helped me think about how I can get them to enjoy PE classes in spite of their disability. Everyone is different, so I always have to do a little special coaching or teaching, including for those kids who must have a different way to perform in class.” He has also benefitted from the international experiences of Dr. Peter Hastie. “Dr. Hastie has traveled all over the world studying how to teach sports and essentially how to get people involved in movement through games,” Wallace said. “One of the things I enjoyed about him was the way he shared the games children play all over the world. In the end it’s all about movement and I found that all very engaging.” The lessons learned on campus helped Wallace’s transition to
for Professional Advisors. “Since the first day he walked in my office, Jonathan has been prepared and ready to go,” she said. “Teacher Education majors have a lot of checkpoints and hoops to jump through to satisfy the requirements for their certification and even with his busy extracurricular schedule, Jonathan has always been on the ball. He is just a clean-cut, great guy. His smile lights up a room and he’s somebody you just want to be around. He has been extremely focused on his major and being able to work with kids and be a mentor to them like those he has been fortunate to have. He is so deserving of all the good things that are coming his way, and I am so incredibly proud of him.” Wallace doesn’t see himself as a hero, but he knows the school kids he is with every day see him as someone special. “They are watching you every minute,” he said of “You’ve got to have education,” he said. “I his internship at the area schools. “If you step out of line they are going to act out. I just try every day to model good certainly would not be where I am without character and attentiveness during class. I challenge the kids to do four things: be responsible, be respectful, be my many teachers and coaches and the prepared, and be safe. I hold them to that standard and support of my family. I really believe in the challenge them to bring that every day while still having fun.” saying that ‘it takes a village.’ That was As Wallace contemplates life as an Auburn grad, he knows he will be working next year as a graduate true in my elementary, junior high, and assistant with Coach Gus Malzahn. But he has also been high school years. And now at Auburn I am talking with Dr. James Witte about the College’s graduate program in Adult Education. just another part of a larger village, a great “I asked Dr. Witte how the program would prepare me to achieve my ultimate goal of being a teacher village. In my life, I want to go on from and a coach. He said the program would help me learn to village to village and share with others what think, learn to speak, and learn to write. He said these are the things you really need to be able to do in this world of has been shared so generously with me.” change, no matter what field you are in. I really like that concept.” Wallace feels strongly about the nobility of the teaching profession, and the importance of education. teaching this semester. “You’ve got to have education,” he said. “I certainly would not be “Getting out there and working with the kids has been a very where I am without my many teachers and coaches and the support positive experience,” he said. “I had a good academic grounding but of my family. I really believe in the saying that ‘it takes a village.’ the day-to-day experience showed me how important PE really is to That was true in my elementary, junior high, and high school years. the larger framework of learning and being healthy.” And now at Auburn I am just another part of a larger village, a great One of the people who has worked most closely with Wallace village. In my life, I want to go on from village to village and share in the School of Kinesiology is academic advisor Robin Martin, who with others what has been shared so generously with me.” was recently selected to receive Auburn’s Outstanding Advisor Award 2016 Keystone Magazine | 27
AUBURN UNIVERSITY DESIGNATED A U.S. OLYMPIC TRAINING SITE STORY BY KRISTIN ROBERTS | PHOTOS BY AUDREY LOWRY
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Auburn University have announced an agreement designating the College of Education’s School of Kinesiology Building, Beard-Eves-Memorial Coliseum and Watson Fieldhouse as a U.S. Olympic Training Site. Elite athletes from all over the nation can come to Auburn to train and receive science-based assessments and personalized feedback from kinesiology experts to optimize their performance. Since the summer of 2013, Auburn University has hosted elite training and competition for the men’s and women’s USA national team handball programs. Auburn University is one of 18 Olympic Training Sites in the country and one of five universities nationwide to receive the designation. “This brings together the recognizable logos of the USOC, Auburn University, and USA Team Handball,” said Dave Pascoe, 28 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
a Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor and the assistant director of the School of Kinesiology. “People across the country will want to connect with this unique collaboration of spirit, science and top training facilities.” “The Auburn School of Kinesiology has been instrumental in providing a new home for USA Team Handball athletes and we appreciate the support of the Auburn-Opelika community in welcoming our athletes and coaches,” said Alicia McConnell, USOC director of training sites and community partnerships. “We look forward to a fruitful relationship with Auburn University as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site.” The official designation ceremony was held on Sept. 25 and 26, in conjunction with the College of Education Centennial Celebration and the Board of Trustee’s quarterly meeting. On Friday, Sept. 25,
at 3:00 p.m., guests gathered outside the School of Kinesiology for the Olympic Training Site unveiling and a reception. During the Auburn-Mississippi State football game on the 26th, administrators from the university and USA Team Handball and several athletes were recognized on the field. “The United States Olympic Training Site designation will provide many research and outreach opportunities for our faculty and students in the area of sport optimization,” said Mary Rudisill, a Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor and the director of the School of Kinesiology. “We want to ensure that students who attend Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology receive the best training and the most exciting experiences available in the field. Offering hands-on experiences and working with the top athletes in the country is a
great way to meet that goal,” said Rudisill. For more information about the United States Olympic Committee, visit www.teamusa.org. For more information about USA Team Handball, visit www.teamusa.org/USA-Team-Handball. The United States Olympic Committee was founded in 1894. Their headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The USOC is primarily responsible for training and funding for the U.S. Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 29
D R . JA N E B . M O O R E 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
30 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Dr. Jane B. Moore, retired professor from the College of Education, was honored this year by the Auburn Alumni Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to the ceremony itself on March 12, Dean Betty Lou Whitford hosted a wonderful reception for Dr. Moore on the Friday night before the event. She was honored there by many of her old friends and family members, and even by a former professor from Judson College. There were several toasts (and roasts!), including the words below from Dean Betty Lou Whitford. There are three major criteria for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Jane Moore seamlessly combines all three of these in her life of selfless service: professional distinction, service to Auburn, and service to others. In terms of scholarship and professional distinction, Dr. Moore was for 27 years a bedrock in the College of Education’s Department of Health and Human Performance, which is now the nationally-recognized School of Kinesiology. She achieved the rank of full professor and made many important scholarly contributions to advance understanding of both how children move, and how they learn to move. So Dr. Moore was a pioneering researcher in what we now call biomechanics, which has become a major research and grant emphasis in our School of Kinesiology.
history of Auburn athletics. Not only was she the first woman to serve on Auburn’s Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics – a position which she held with distinction for over 20 years – she is also the first woman to have an athletic facility named in her honor. Across the nation in 2015, as Auburn’s softball team was the hottest topic in the sport, the words “Jane B. Moore Field” were repeated hundreds of times by commentators and announcers. These are obvious accomplishments in the world of athletics, but they overlook the quiet, steady friendship and support she provided to countless members of Auburn’s administrative and athletics leadership team over the years. A wise counselor and confidant in times of turmoil and triumph, Dr. Moore was also a friend and supporter of thousands of athletes from every corner of Auburn’s intercollegiate athletics family. In terms of service to others, there is virtually no end to what she has given and continues to give back to our community. In her retirement she has been a great friend to the College of Education, establishing a scholarship in honor of her mother and supporting us in numerous other ways with both her presence and her purse. And this philanthropic and engaged service extends to many other areas of the university beyond the College of Education. She has served Auburn as part of Tigers Unlimited, the Athletics Department Strategic Advisory Committee, and the Women’s Resource Center. Every Wednesday she volunteers at the Food Bank of East Alabama, and has served First Baptist Church of Auburn as a Trustee. She has provided leadership in many capacities at East Alabama Medical Center, and served organizations as diverse as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County to the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Time and space limit a full recitation of her community involvement. But what thousands of friends and admirers of Jane Moore will remember about her lifetime achievements, even more than her vital contributions to any number of Auburn institutions, is her lifeaffirming spirit. Jane Moore has no prejudices. Jane Moore embraces friendship and community. Jane Moore seeks to build up rather than tear down. She has a smile on her face, love in her heart, and a spirit that is not afraid. More than almost anyone else I know, Jane Moore lives out that ancient truth that it is better to give than to receive.
“More than almost anyone else I know, Jane Moore lives out that ancient truth that it is better to give than to receive .” That in itself would be considered great professional distinction, but Dr. Moore combined that active scholarship with scholarly outreach and teaching. She personally impacted thousands of area children in her tenure as a professor by conducting a motor development program for children experiencing developmental delays. As she did this she inspired generations of students who worked with her on this and other outreach projects to become knowledgeable, passionate, and excellent teachers. In this way she had a profound impact not only on our university, but on our community. In terms of service to Auburn beyond her scholarly activities, Dr. Moore is perhaps the single most influential woman in the
2016 Keystone Magazine | 31
EDUCATION POLICY STORY AND PHOTOS BY GEORGE LITTLETON
32 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Editor’s Note: In this special section of the Keystone, we visit with
scholars, educators, and education advocates. In addition to learning their personal stories, we also allow these people to comment on the disturbing trend of how state legislatures across the country – including Alabama’s – are promoting bills that are widely viewed as undercutting traditional public education. The bills are remarkably similar from state to state, leading most to believe that they are being drafted by a common organization promoting for-profit charter schools. This is not to say that our panel of experts and practitioners are opposed to school choice. They’re not. Their uniform concern is a lack of true accountability for performance, and a wariness about the greed and corruption that often results when for-profit industries use public funds without carefully-structured oversight. Last year in Alabama we saw the passage of the Alabama Accountability Act, which was drafted and passed with little input
from the education community. Its fine-sounding name suggests something quite different from what the bill has now become. This year, educators rose up against a proposed bill that went by different acronyms, including RAISE and PREP, whose main intent was to emphasize high-stakes testing as the primary means of evaluating teacher performance. Largely as a result of resistance from the state’s education community, including those whom we interviewed for this issue of the magazine, the bill died a slow death before it was ever introduced. But don’t imagine that it is gone for good. We hope you enjoy reading this special section as much as we enjoyed visiting with these dynamic individuals whose insights are based on education, experience, and a genuine concern for the teachers and students in our state. We here at the Auburn University College of Education appreciate their efforts.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 33
LEADERSHIP AT OPELIKA HIGH SCHOOL RECOGNIZED AT HOME, AROUND THE STATE
Opelika High School is a big part of that East Alabama city’s remarkable success and growth. Its leadership team of Superintendent Mark Neighbors, Principal Farrell Seymore, and Assistant Principal Kendrick Myers – all College of Education graduates -- is widely recognized as innovative and inspiring. Seymore was named the state’s principal of the year in 2015, and Myers was named as the top assistant principal in 2016. The entire city system continues to grow in both size and quality. Among many other distinctions, the OCS system has been recognized with the “What Parents Want” award by SchoolMatch, the nation’s largest school selection consulting firm. It helps corporate employee families find schools that match the needs of their children. With a graduation rate of 93%, the entire Opelika school system is having great success incorporating technology into learning, and its Career/Tech programs offer students many different options to transition quickly into the manufacturing environment, which is another big part of Lee County’s growth. The Opelika Performing Arts Center on the OHS campus gives talented students a dazzling 34 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
place to perform, and its athletics program is a consistent winner in the state’s 6A classification. From top to bottom, the OCS system is a shining example of how strong leadership and great schools play a critical role in turning a city into a real community. In spite of the success of Opelika and other towns and cities across the state and region, we continue to hear bad things about public schools, school teachers in general, and the leadership and staff that support these teachers. Keystone is reaching out to researchers and school systems across the state to present another side of this story – a story that shows talented, hard-working professionals who put their students first. By doing so, they help make their communities great.
EDUCATE EVERY CHILD EVERY DAY-- OCS SUPERINTENDENT DR. MARK NEIGHBORS, COE GRAD, FOCUSED ON STUDENTS For Opelika City Schools superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors,
Auburn and the College of Education are just part of the family. In addition to his three Auburn degrees, Dr. Neighbors’ father earned a doctorate at Auburn, and was also a superintendent. “All of my family comes from Coosa and Tallapoosa counties, in the rural area around Nixburg,” he said. “My father’s high school principal encouraged him to go to college, so he hitchhiked to Auburn and finished his undergrad program there in three years. He continued his education while working first as a teacher, and later as the superintendent of Tallassee, Jasper City, and then Jefferson County school systems. He spent 42 years in education, mostly as
the middle school, then assistant superintendent, and becoming superintendent in 2007. “We have experienced a lot of success in our system because of the excellent support we get from the total community,” Neighbors said. “That support starts with our board of education members. They are informed and engaged, they care, they are connected to the community, and they want to do right by our students. In everything we do we put students first with our teachers as a close second, and our board fully supports that. I can’t overstate how important that is.” Neighbors and his colleagues developed a mission statement as part of their strategic plan. It was clean and clear: Educate every child every day. “The consultants we were working with told us our mission statement was too simple but the more they thought about it the better they liked it,” Neighbors said with a laugh. “But it’s the truth. Our goal is to create a culture where we have high expectations for our students. And as for our teachers, we coach and support them in every way we can. We want our teachers to be respected by their peer teachers rather than just trying to please the principal. The focus must be on educating our kids.” Challenges abound Neighbors is an idealist in terms of wanting the best for every student, but he also has a firm grip on the reality his system faces every day. “A big part of our community support comes in terms of having adequate revenue to do some good things here,” he said. “We always prioritize our classrooms, but to run a system you need a good bus fleet and drivers, cooks and nurses, and all the things that make a system work. We recently won the State Attorney General’s Alabama Safe Schools Award of Excellence, so safety is also a priority. And we do these things in spite of economic challenges at every turn.” The Opelika City School poverty rate runs anywhere between 62
a superintendent, and my mother was a student at Auburn when I was born. She went on to work with special needs students. So both Auburn and education run in our blood.” Neighbors’ roots in education stretch back even further, to when his great-grandfather taught 62 students in a one-room school house in Hackleburg. “We knew that our life on the farm and running little country stores was good in many ways, but we also knew that education meant opportunity.” Support from the community Neighbors came to Opelika over 25 years ago, starting off as a teacher, moving up to administration at
RIGHT: PRINCIPAL FARRELL SEYMORE, SUPERINTENDENT MARK NEIGHBORS, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL KENDRICK MYERS
2016 Keystone Magazine | 35
and 65 percent. “We face that challenge every day, but we face it with a plan to keep offering our AP classes and our Career/Technology program and all of the extracurricular and athletic activities that give every student a way to fit in and stay engaged. We value every one of our kids and all of our programs. Not many schools are able to maintain our high level of quality while also meeting the needs of our AP kids as well as those from difficult or severe backgrounds, with additional challenges at home. That’s what I mean by emphasizing our supportive culture. I want every kid to have a positive experience every day. But some kids need special help to make that connection.” Neighbors said the spirit of finding a place is exemplified through a former OHS student, Will Palmer. “Will graduated about eight years ago, and he was really strong in the classroom and in our theater program,” Neighbors recalled. “He’s still a good student. He just got accepted into the Ph.D. program in American Literature at Ole Miss. I’m sure he’ll succeed there. Along with being a soccer player and wrestler, Will played football for five years with a bunch of guys who were really, really good. Will was never a starter, but he never quit. Late in the season, his senior year, Will caught a pass in a game. I was on the sideline right at the catch and it just hit me. This is a place where you are accepted, where you can find a place, if you just go out there and get involved.”
Neighbors is equally harsh toward bills that would evaluate teachers based on a single, standardized test, such as the ACT Aspire. “Let me make this real simple, and put it in terms that most people can grasp,” Neighbors said. “When you take out field trips and PE and subjects like art and music, you end up with 51,000 minutes of core academic time every school year. So if you administer the ACT Aspire in the third grade, and it takes about 130 minutes, you are basing a teacher’s annual performance on 0.25
“...YOU ARE BASING A TEACHER’S ANNUAL PERFORMANCE ON 0.25 PERCENT OF THE TIME HE OR SHE IS WITH THAT STUDENT.”
No fan of education bills coming out of Montgomery Neighbors wastes no words saying what he thinks about the evolving RAISE/PREP bill to evaluate teachers based on a single test, or the Alabama Accountability Act that passed last year. “For anyone to say that we are not accountable is misleading,” Neighbors said. “Every day we are accountable to our students and their families, our teachers and staff, to the courts, our community, our board, our City Council, and the Department of Justice. And we do it by serving the entire community, including hundreds of children with special needs.” In a recent discussion with a prominent legislator, Neighbors asked him to name the best high school in the state of Alabama. His answer was the Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP) High School in Montgomery. “Now why is that?” Neighbors asked rhetorically. “LAMP is a magnet school that is allowed to select who they want to come there through an application and selection process. We can’t do that. We serve every child in our community.” 36 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
percent of the time he or she is with that student.” Neighbors further illustrated his point with a subject that even the people passing these laws could understand: college football. “Conservatively speaking, in a 12-game season, and assuming an average play takes 25 seconds, you can do the parallel math. If you are going to assess our teachers on a single ACT Aspire, that’s the same as judging an entire Auburn or Alabama football season on 4.32 plays! It’s just ridiculous. Education policy should be developed by educators, not politicians who are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from charter school lobbyists based in California. That’s what we’re dealing with. That’s another reason we couldn’t do what we do here without the support of our entire community.” College of Education made its mark Neighbors said the College of Education benefitted him in terms of his development as a thinker and a leader. The College also continues to provide some of his best teachers.
“The students we hire from Auburn are always prepared, and ready to take a leadership role in their classroom from the first day,” he said. “Teachers are becoming more and more reflective on their instructional style and are always working to do what works best. That’s certainly true of the teachers we hire out of Auburn.” Neighbors remains concerned about a teacher shortage, especially in the STEM disciplines, and knows the laws being passed in Montgomery and elsewhere are not helping. “My experiences at Auburn as an undergrad and in the Ed Leadership doctoral program were both rich and rewarding,” he said. “It was an arduous scholarly process, but through instruction and research it really led me to be able to think. I experienced great role models in Dr. Fran Kochan, Dr. Terry Ley, and Dr. Dennis Sabo.” The lessons learned have paid off well for both Neighbors and the nearly 5,000 students, staff, and teachers he goes to work for every day. And it’s not just the local folks who realize that. “Dr. Neighbors is top of the line, and one of the most respected superintendents in our state,” said Dr. Eric Mackey, Executive Director of the School Superintendents of Alabama. “He is also a class act. Opelika is very fortunate to have such a strong leader, and to have a superintendent who truly lives out his system’s mission statement: Educate every child every day.”
FARRELL SEYMORE, OHS PRINCIPAL, ‘ALL ABOUT PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS’ For Dr. Farrell Seymore, principal at Opelika High School, education was always a focus for his family. “I grew up on a family farm in Cullman,” he said. “Our life together on the farm provided a great early experience, but the importance of education was always there.” Seymore knew he would be expected to go to college. He always believed he would follow his farm passions and attend his preferred school, Mississippi State, to study veterinary medicine. “But things have a way of happening that are meant to happen, and I became a substitute teacher in my first year of college,” Seymore said. “I loved it. I knew it was a calling and I felt like it was God’s will for me to become a teacher. So I went to Auburn and just loved everything about my experience there in the College of Education. I double majored, receiving a BS in Education with emphasis in English and Biology. I had great teachers who inspired me to become a great teacher. These include Drs. Terry Ley, Barbara Ash, Bob Rowsey and Bill Baird. They and many others were very influential and created in me a desire for lifelong learning.” In the spring of 1997, as he was preparing to graduate, Seymore attended a College of Education job fair and ran into Dr. Mark Neighbors, Superintendent of the Opelika City Schools. Seymore was hired as a 7th grade science teacher at Opelika Middle School, which is where he spent the next several years. “I had some great work colleagues in that first job who helped me learn what it really means to become a teacher,” Seymore said. “I will always be grateful to Cathy Buckhalt, Jeannie Murphy, Pat Reeder, Jean Heath, and Bonnie Harrison for the help they gave me.” Seymore earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2001, at which time he became Assistant Principal at OMS. He was later promoted to principal. During this time he continued on with the doctoral program in the College’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology. “My graduate work in Educational Leadership had a powerful impact on me and my career,” Seymore said. “It taught me to explore learning and leadership in a holistic fashion, and to conduct research. I am very much indebted to Cindy Reed and other faculty members at Auburn for training me to see the big picture in education and in life.” In spite of his stellar academic background, Seymore’s educational philosophy is “all about people and relationships,” he said. “Here at Opelika High School, and everywhere I have been 2016 Keystone Magazine | 37
within our school system, I am blessed to work with great people, starting with our students and teachers, as well as our students’ families and all of our support staff. I believe what makes our system so special is that the entire city of Opelika supports progressive growth in our schools. Here we have a real opportunity to think outside the box and take some risks. Our Career/Technology and our Advanced Placement programs have tripled in size over the past few years. We have tried to direct the structure of our system toward keeping our focus on the whole child, and in that effort we have enjoyed tremendous community support.” Although he has experienced great career success, Seymore deflects the credit for what makes Opelika High School such a good place to learn and to work. “We are successful here because we hire and retain the best teachers,” he said. “We have great vision from our school board and from Dr. Mark Neighbors, our superintendent. Our teachers really get it done and my job is to help them have a solid structure in which to work and succeed.” With the great importance Seymore places on partnerships with the community, he said he has some concerns about the proposed RAISE/PREP Act that would affect tenure and teacher evaluations. “My concern with legislation like this is that decisions are being made that would impact education statewide, but it was developed with no input from the educational community,” he said. “If we start an endeavor we must think how it would impact children and their families, our teachers, and our budgets. We all have a goal of producing successful graduates, but it is disconcerting that there was so little input sought from school leaders.” Meanwhile, Seymore said he keeps having new reasons to love Auburn. “We hire Auburn graduates every year,” he said. “Actually, Auburn grads are our main source for hiring new teachers, and we are very pleased with them, especially the way they are ready to go to work on day one.” “I feel very fortunate to be in what I consider the best school system in our state. You’ve got to love what you do in order to do it well, and we enjoy support from the entire community.”
KENDRICK MYERS, OHS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, KEEPS STUDENTS INVOLVED, ENGAGED Kendrick Myers, Assistant Principal at Opelika High School, and the 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year in Alabama, still finds it amusing how he 38 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
found his way from Toledo, Ohio, to Opelika, Alabama. “When I was growing up in Toledo, on the shores of Lake Erie, there was a real economic boom in manufacturing,” he said. “Everyone around me was working in the factories, and that included my parents. But they also kept education as a primary focus so I always knew I would go to college. The only question was, would I go to Ohio State or the University of Michigan?” On a recruiting trip to Ann Arbor, Myers found himself trudging through snow and somehow said to himself that he didn’t want this. A cousin had gone to Alabama State University in Montgomery and asked Myers to consider it. That’s where he ended up. “I planned to study English and become a lawyer,” he said. “But then I fell into English Education and realized this is what I loved. The day of my graduation I was hired as an English teacher at Lanier High School in Montgomery.” Myers worked to inspire his students to love school and used himself as an example. “I told my students that I was here all day every day and really loved it,” he said. “But my students said, ‘Of course you’re here. You’re at work!’ I realized then I had never thought of this as work, so I knew I was in the right place.” With an eye toward moving into administration, Myers earned a Master’s in Secondary Language Arts at AUM while he was at Lanier.
“I CAN BEST SUM UP WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE BY SAYING THAT WE ARE A TEAM,” MYERS CONCLUDED. “WE WANT TO PREPARE OUR STUDENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE. I WISH ALL OF OUR LEGISLATORS COULD COME AND VISIT US HERE, SO THEY CAN SEE WHAT A GREAT SCHOOL CAN REALLY DO FOR A COMMUNITY. IN MY OPINION, IT DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE IN OPELIKA.” He then decided to go for his doctorate as well. He had a scholarship to Emory University in Atlanta but an issue with housing required him to postpone enrollment for a semester. “That was when I was contacted by Dr. Lynne Patrick in Auburn’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology,” Myers said. “After hearing her passion for what they were doing there I was compelled to try Auburn. Fortunately, I was able to get on the English faculty at Auburn High School at that same time so everything worked out just right.” As he excelled in the classrooms of Auburn High School, Myers saw a role model in the next town over. “From leadership meetings I had attended, I knew Dr. Seymore, the Opelika principal, but he did not know me. He was always humble, but everyone I knew told me how great he was. I paid attention to that.” When the assistant principal job at OHS came open in 2012, Myers applied, interviewed, and won the job. Now he works closely with Seymore every day. “The people here in Opelika are just amazing,” Myers said. “It’s hard to explain how much they value the relationships in our school system, and the focus that we put on helping our students succeed. Unless you see it every day it is almost inexplicable.” Myers is continuing to work toward his doctorate at Auburn. He has completed all his classes and has begun writing his dissertation. “Many of my professors there, including Drs. Kochan, Patrick, and Kensler, have truly helped me develop my educational philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of partnerships,” Myers said. “That includes the close relationships I have with my
fellow assistant principals here at the school, Russ Hardwick and Amanda Inabinett. In fact, Amanda is the one who told me about the job opening here, so I am forever grateful to her for that.” People often think of the assistant principal as the “heavy,” but Myers takes a different approach. “There is so much more to school success than just books,” he said. “We have over 80 programs, clubs, or activities here at the high school and I truly believe that every kid has a way to fit in. It is important to me for every student to belong and feel welcome.” In addition to its many activities and academic opportunities, Opelika High School also runs an innovative program that puts a group of students together with an adult for one 30-minute class per week. The group’s membership stays the same throughout the school year so they all get to know each other. Its purpose is to check on how things are going, discuss grades and attendance, and to develop real relationships. “Since we started this program we have seen a 25 percent decrease in discipline issues, 16 percent fewer academic failures, and a much improved attendance rate,” Myers said. “And besides the accountability review every week, we emphasize character education, etiquette, and just what I call solid life lessons. It’s a maximum of 12 students per group. And always with the same teacher.” As a result of these and other innovative programs, many of which are led by Myers, Opelika High was recognized as a Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) Banner School Award winner in 2015. OHS was one of four schools to receive the distinction, out of over 200 applications. “I can best sum up what we are doing here by saying that we are a team,” Myers concluded. “We want to prepare our students for a successful future. I wish all of our legislators could come and visit us here, so they can see what a great school can really do for a community. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than what we are doing here in Opelika.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 39
LARRY LEE, AU GRAD, ADVOCATE FOR STATE’S TEACHERS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS Larry Lee is a 1966 graduate of Auburn University, where he received a “hybrid” degree in Agriculture and Journalism. Lee is best known around the state for his passionate advocacy for Alabama’s public schools, their teachers, and administrators. Although he has never held any official position within the hierarchy of the state’s educational system, his website, www.larryeducation.com, has attracted well over 150,000 views and commands a devoted following among the state’s education community. His regular blog posts – typically highlighting the good work being done in our schools, or the impediments being placed before them by the State Legislature -- are must-reads for legions of loyal followers. He has even attracted the admiration of Diane Ravitch, renowned educational historian and Assistant Secretary of Education to President George H.W. Bush. So how did this self-described “country boy from Mobile County” end up with such wide-ranging influence? It all goes back to the year 2008 when he ran the Center for Rural Alabama at the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries. “I grew up on a farm in Irvington and graduated from Theodore High School,” Lee said. “My daddy wanted me to be an engineer but after a year at Auburn I told him that would only happen if he bought a railroad. So I was able to follow my natural inclinations to study agriculture and journalism, and worked 20 hours a week in the Extension Service information office.” In February of 1966, Lee became an editor at Progressive Farmer Magazine, and continued to work at various agricultural publications until he got into economic development in rural south Alabama. This led him into close contact with many people around the state. In 2007 he was hired by Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks to run the Center for Rural Alabama at the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries. It was here that Lee set out on a project that would change his life. Lessons Learned from Rural Schools “With a couple of excellent colleagues, I led a project to study 10 high-poverty, high-performing rural schools,” he said. “We spent months trying to figure out why they did so well in the face of so many challenges. We drove thousands of miles and interviewed hundreds of people in communities from one end of the state to the other. What I saw – hard-working teachers and principals who cared deeply about their schools and their students – contradicted everything I was constantly hearing about how poor our schools are, how lazy and unmotivated our teachers are, and how our educational system was in total collapse.” 40 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
The number one factor that Lee noted in these schools was having a strong principal. “Not all of these things are quantifiable,” $ he said. “”The $ principal must have a gift. These principals we $ saw were ‘people persons’ who emphasized teamwork. We also noted that each of these schools had what I call a culture of expectation, where students were expected to do well in spite of the built-in challenges. Remember that all of these were poverty schools, which reflect the majority of schools in our state, and some of these students had tough home lives. But in spite of this, the teachers said to the students, ‘I am sorry about your situation at home but we are going to fill your brain with knowledge.’ And they did.” The study was published as Lessons Learned from Rural Schools. Lee retired soon after the project ended and decided to continue telling that story in whatever way he could. To this day he drives thousands of miles a year, visiting schools and educators across the state, and speaking about these experiences wherever he is welcome. And he does it on his own, without financial backing from any group, organization, or individual. “The education industry is driven by money,” Lee said. “That means $700 billion a year in our country. Look at the economic impact that has, all those teacher and support staff salaries, buses and buildings, it all adds up. And I think it’s pretty obvious that a lot of these policies coming from the political class are driven by a desire to get a piece of that money.” Lee’s greatest concern is that education is being run by professional politicians instead of professional educators. He feels strongly that no good can come from this. “I am astounded that these politicians have the nerve to dictate education policy,” he said. “It’s like they think that since they went to school they should run the schools. If they go see a doctor, does that
mean they should run the hospitals? It’s the same thing!” Although similar policy movements are happening across the country, Lee’s focus is on Alabama. Disdain for the Alabama Accountability Act “Let’s start with the Alabama Accountability Act,” he said. “That was LEFT: LARRY passed with no input whatsoever from the education community. LEE, 1966 It was originally supposed to help kids stuck in failing schools. But GRADUATE what did it really do? It diverted $66 million from the Education OF AUBURN Trust Fund to pay tuition for more than 1,000 students who were UNIVERSITY already attending private schools! I call it the Private School Relief Act. But only certain schools will take these kids, and these do not include the more elite schools. Montgomery Academy won’t will be for-profit schools, run by those businesses who are paying take these students. Briarwood Christian won’t take them. Neither off our politicians. It’s as simple as that. It’s all about money. Here will St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile. Many of the better-off public in our state this agenda is being pushed by the Business Council of school districts won’t accept these kids, either. Of course, most Alabama. They are the big backers of Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, of the students in these failing schools don’t have the money or who wrote both the Alabama Accountability Act and the RAISE Act.” transportation resources to travel to a better school district even if Of the schools on the original list of so-called failing schools, 91 they were allowed to attend. The Alabama Accountability Act is percent were high-poverty schools, and 87 percent of them were all nothing more than a loss black or majority black. leader for charter schools.” “The Alabama “LET’S START WITH THE ALABAMA Lee explains his Accountability Act belief by using a military was passed by 51 white ACCOUNTABILITY ACT,” HE SAID. metaphor. Before the Republicans in the House, “THAT WAS PASSED WITH NO INPUT infantry comes in, planes and 22 white Republicans fly in to bomb the enemy. in the Senate,” Lee pointed WHATSOEVER FROM THE EDUCATION He says the Accountability out. “”How many of these COMMUNITY. IT WAS ORIGINALLY Act is a carpet bombing failing schools did they maneuver that’s clearing represent? The answer is SUPPOSED TO HELP KIDS STUCK IN the way for charter not one. We have identified schools. He has similar the failing schools, but FAILING SCHOOLS. BUT WHAT DID IT feelings about the RAISE are doing nothing to help REALLY DO? IT DIVERTED $66 MILLION Act, which calls for them.” evaluating teachers based Against all odds, FROM THE EDUCATION TRUST FUND on standardized test scores Lee continues his visits TO PAY TUITION FOR MORE THAN and unfunded mandates to schools across the to fulfill its pay-raise state. His website and 1,000 STUDENTS WHO WERE ALREADY promises. blog posts continue to ATTENDING PRIVATE SCHOOLS! I CALL “Why does a report on remarkable California organization achievements being made IT THE PRIVATE SCHOOL RELIEF ACT.” called StudentsFirst have in these schools in spite of eight registered lobbyists attempts at public shaming in Alabama?” Lee asked. “Why did StudentsFirst spend $200,000 on and little support from the state. He rattles off success stories from legislative races in Alabama? StudentsFirst is an organization that places as remote as Fruithurst and Winterboro, Tallapoosa County supports school choice, which is another name for charter schools. and Baldwin County. He cites stories of pride and inspiration from It is backed by big players in the business community. For their plan principals and superintendents and teachers all across the Heart of to work they must convince the people that public schools are failing Dixie, including many of those in high-poverty areas like those in his and that our teachers are lazy and our principals incompetent.” 2009 report, Lessons Learned from Rural Schools. Many question why such powerful forces would be aligned “One thing I have noticed,” Lee concluded. “I think it is telling behind what Lee believes is a nefarious agenda aimed at punishing that in all of my many visits to high-poverty schools, I have never run “the least of these.” across one of the politicians who would have us believe they have all “Why are they doing all of this? To get a piece of that $700 the answers.” billion that we spend on education. Their charter schools 2016 Keystone Magazine | 41
COE PROFESSOR JONI LAKIN RESEARCHES DANGERS OF “HIGH STAKES” SCHOOL TESTING President Obama, a long-time advocate of school accountability with a heavy emphasis on testing, recently made a surprising announcement — American students are tested too much and we should re-examine our emphasis on testing. The United States Department of Education released a plan calling for “fewer and smarter assessments.” Dr. Joni Lakin, an Assistant Professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology, took notice of this unexpected event. Lakin is a testing expert, and conducts research into the use and misuse of testing. Before coming to Auburn Lakin worked at Educational Testing Service. “I am a validity researcher,” she explained. “I do foundational and fairness research. In other words, I evaluate tests in order to see if they are biased in some particular way, or perhaps whether the test is asking the right questions to the right audience. Professionals in the testing world think tests have a place and are valuable, but they can be misused.” “When I was in graduate school, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was the nation’s educational policy for public schools. We focused on how that bill took high-stakes testing to another level,” she said. “NCLB put a lot of pressure on teachers and tied school appropriations to the success of test results, which was a major way teachers and administrators were then evaluated.” However, these test experts began noticing that instead of focusing on no child being left behind, the focus was on a very narrow slice of the student population. “The talk was all ‘bubble students,’” she said. “The idea was to move everyone up between categories of proficiency, so the kids who were on the bubble got all the attention to get them over the cut score. That’s good in one way, but if you were far above or far below the cut, you were basically irrelevant. Ultimately, the people who designed NCLB knew full well that not every school could hit 100 percent. So teachers had to tread water and teach to the test and wait and see when the law would change.” At this point, all of the states have waivers to use the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top-type systems instead of NCLB. Instead of proficiency, the focus now is being on track. “In the world of developing tests, we want to write a test that is worth teaching to,” Lakin said. “Great tests engage students, of course, but you also must create a test that cannot be gamed and that leads teachers to focus on real skills.” For example, Lakin cites how teachers can “game” a question on the Pythagorean Theorem. Instead of teaching the theorem, teachers 42 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
started teaching the 3-4-5 triangle. Students knew the answer was 5. In this case, students are not learning critical math skills, but narrow test-taking strategies. “Why would a teacher do this?” Lakin asks rhetorically. “Because they are being evaluated on how many students answer the question correctly on the test! So there are problems all over the place with such high-stakes testing.” Then there are pressures to change test answers, most notably in the Atlanta testing scandal. During so-called “clean up parties” teachers and principals actually changed answers so they would be rewarded for high test scores. Obama’s statement deliberately vague Lakin said it’s likely that testing companies are really working over Obama’s statement, in which he says students are spending too much time in test preparation. He proposes 2 percent testing time, which equates to about 21 hours a year in Alabama. “We’re not talking here about subject matter classroom tests, but the federal policy that requires state testing,” Lakin said. “Obama’s comments are intentionally vague. I support his big idea – that we want to change the motivation to be testing all the time. What he said is a policy statement, not a guideline. Obama is suggesting that we ought to have a law capping testing time. Nothing is really in place in terms of rigid policy right now.” Lakin said test specialists have developed tests that might actually show real achievement. “Because of the Common Core Assessment Consortia, we now have better tests that take longer to complete,” she said. “These are tests that may be worth teaching to. For example, an open-ended writing test can take a long time. The Common Core has long reading passages and takes four times as long as old-school multiple choice tests. Better tests take longer. I am definitely in favor of reviewing testing practices, but the devil is in the details.” Congress must continually reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary School Act. The 2001 re-authorization was NCLB. Now it is Obama’s Race to the Top. The recent reauthorization, which returns most oversight to the state, is the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is likely, according to Lakin, that the future Secretary of Education was involved in developing Obama’s policy statement on fewer and
better tests. Conspiracy Theories Abound
LEFT: DR. JONI LAKIN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION’S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS, LEADERSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY
“One of the big issues out there in terms of testing is that public schools must test all of their students, whereas certain charter schools might find ways to exclude English learners, for example, or students with disabilities,” Lakin said. “The big conspiracy theory behind NCLB, of course, was that it was designed to discredit public schools and push charters and other forms of school privatization,” she added. “Everyone knows that you can never reach 100 percent proficiency, especially in poorer school the way Alabama school teachers are compensated. But in terms districts. But in an exclusive school you can reach 100 percent. And of testing, a great deal of a teacher’s evaluation – perhaps up to 50 sometimes schools in bad neighborhoods get to the top by expelling percent — would come from student performance on standardized problem students. Policies like Every Student Succeeds make it testing. easy to give public schools a black eye. And who can argue with the A petition against the bill has been signed by over 5,000 people, name?” mostly teachers, who say things like this: But Lakin likes certain ideas in these rigid structures. “It is ridiculous to base pay raises on student performance. That “Honestly, as much as the old system had problems, I liked would be like having our legislators have their pay raises based on NCLB’s move towards consistency across states in terms of how well our country is functioning at the present level. When is the assessments, standards, and educational accountability,” she said. attack on teachers in Alabama going to stop? Enough is enough! We “Common Core was an even better step in this direction. The best are not the enemy!” school systems in the world mostly have a national system where Also of concern to higher education in the state, Marsh’s bill all students are taught based on the same standards. Consistency would cease to compensate teachers who acquire graduate degrees. across states There are many other concerns being voiced by ensures all the education community, which seems united in its “...POLICIES LIKE EVERY STUDENT students are opposition to the bill, but the heavy reliance on highSUCCEEDS MAKE IT EASY TO GIVE held to high stakes testing is a big part of it. standards, “This act seems to be modelled on NCLB—like PUBLIC SCHOOLS A BLACK EYE. AND NCLB for the state,” Lakin said. “Breaking down the it makes comparison tenure system is definitely a problem. Furthermore, WHO CAN ARGUE WITH THE NAME?” of different it seems the raises based on performance will come school from local funds. So that means that many poor systems more straightforward, and it doesn’t disadvantage kids who districts may not be able to pay out these promised funds, meaning move between districts.” they will have more trouble recruiting the best teachers and they On Wednesday, December 2, the U.S. House of Representatives will not be able to incentivize strong performance because there’s no approved a final bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act, that reduces money for the rewards.” the federal footprint in education and replaces the controversial No But Lakin’s biggest concern remains the heavy reliance on Child Left Behind Act of 2002. student test scores. “I wish the new legislation kept some of the cross-state “All of those issues about gaming and cheating we talk about consistency while also fixing some of the excessive focus on here are greatly increased when teacher and administrator pay is tied proficiency testing in the old system,” she added. “It is good that to test scores. This was seen to be a major motivator for the Atlanta the new policy includes protections for subgroups of students. cheating scandal.” Some people were really worried a new system would not require The evaluations would be in the form of what is called a Value accountability for racial and linguistic minorities.” Added Model (VAM). “I’ve done some work on student growth models for RAISE/PREP Bill Raises New Concerns In Alabama accountability and they are highly problematic,” Lakin said. “Depending on the test, we sometimes see that the most able Even with all the federal activity about evaluation, a new bill, drafts students don’t show any growth year-to-year because they are already of which are floating around the Alabama Senate, may dramatically scoring highly on the test. A Florida teacher recently made very impact the future of high-stakes testing in the state. The Rewarding compelling testimony about this. These VAM scores are also found Advancement in Instruction and Student Excellence (RAISE) to be highly unreliable. Multiple years of data would be needed to Act, now renamed the Preparing and Rewarding Educational make reasonably reliable decisions. There’s just a lot that doesn’t Professionals (PREP) Act, would, at its root, change tenure laws and work about VAM models.” 2016 Keystone Magazine | 43
COE’S BRITTANY LARKIN NATIONAL LEADER IN EDUCATION FINANCE THEORY AND PRACTICE
Dr. Brittany Larkin, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology, is one of just ten American scholars to be recognized for distinguished research in education finance. She will be presented with an award at the National Education Finance Conference on February 10, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida. Larkin will also present three separate papers at the conference, all focused in some way on her research specialty: education finance theory and practice, and the equity and adequacy of such practice. “Much of the country, and certainly Alabama, is regressive in the way that education is funded,” she said. “In other words, students who need the most resources get the least amount of money for schools. A big part of my research is to develop alternative funding formulas. At the conference I will present a funding formula I have developed for Alabama.” Larkin’s master’s degree is in special education, which gives rise to her concern about equity and adequacy in education funding. “It’s important to me to see that ‘the least of these’ are not shortchanged simply because they do not have strong political influence.”
there is often a lack of accountability as to how that money is spent,” she said. “Another unfortunate aspect of the charter school movement is that teachers in traditional public schools are being vilified. That is a big part of the marketing being done by those behind charter schools. My research shows that it is very important for charter school organizers and supporters to paint traditional schools in a bad light.” Such stark marketing messages are deceiving, Larkin said. Most public schools can already apply for the kind of autonomy that characterizes charter schools, and make adjustments year by year as conditions change. She feels strongly that school leaders should apply for these waivers as there really is no ‘one size fits all’ model in education. “I am focused on conducting research that drives legislation to be drafted that affects the broad spectrum of education,” she said. “As it pertains to funding, I advocate writing laws that promote accountability and equity. The majority of all charter school litigation across the country centers around funding. Charter schools are suing states saying they do not receive enough funding, and public schools say that charter schools are draining money away from traditional school districts.” The takeaway, Larkin believes, is that more care needs to be taken in how charter school contracts are written. “The theory behind charter schools is excellent,” Larkin explained. “Such schools would be established in districts that have kids who are falling through the cracks. These charter schools would receive the per-pupil allocations for those students they serve and hire specialized teachers and develop curricula that would address these shortcomings. This of course helps the school district because these failing students now have someplace to go and it helps the kids make huge gains. So in theory, these are great partnerships and we have many good examples of charters working well within a traditional school district, including one in nearby Newnan, Georgia.”
The rise of charter schools Greed and cronyism Closely related to Larkin’s focus on education finance is the rapidlygrowing influence of charter schools, vouchers, and Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) in the national education conversation. She states that there is no evidence that charter schools are any better or worse than traditional schools. “The difference is that the money goes to a different place, and 44 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
The problem comes with greed and cronyism. All too often, forprofit management companies come into a district and open up cookie-cutter charters that do not meet specialized needs. This hurts a district because students with specialized needs are not being helped.
“The bottom line is that money follows the student,” Larkin said. “Whether the charter school is good or bad, it takes money from the school district. We have discussed good partnerships, but all too often the for-profits come in and their goal is to make money. One way they do this is to buy land or a building and receive tax breaks for depreciation of the buildings, and then rent their building to the school. This is on top of the management company billing the school for their services and paying themselves to be the independent board members. Once you scrape those fees off the top of the base allocation, there’s really not much money left to educate students, so the per-pupil expenditure on instruction is often less than the original school district.” Larkin said most of the large for-profit charter school management companies have little background in education. There are several of these national companies, such as White Hat, which has been involved in controversial funding lawsuits with school districts in Ohio.
LEFT: DR. BRITTANY LARKIN, AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION’S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS, LEADERSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY
The AAA originally permitted a $25 million cap on SGO donations. In June that amount was raised to $30 million. The amended law also declares that scholarships can now go to students attending private schools. The 18 Alabama senators who voted in favor of the legislation received over $1 million in campaign donations from PACS and organizations supporting charter schools and vouchers.
School choice in Alabama Susceptibility to corruption The large umbrella of school choice includes both charter schools and Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs). “Both charter schools and SGOs go under the mantle of school choice,” Larkin explained. “The idea that was originally put forth in Alabama was the students in failing school districts could use an SGO to go to a better school district. In reality, school choice and access to different schools are often limited by geography, transportation, and a family’s financial resources. And many of these schools, whether private academies or public schools in wealthy suburbs, have their own ways of seeing who actually gets into these schools. In Alabama, SGOs are the big issue before us now. We don’t have charter schools yet, although that law has been written. We’ll probably see our first charter schools in 2017.” The Alabama Accountability Act Scholarship Granting Organizations, or SGOs, were established in Alabama in 2013 as part of the controversial Alabama Accountability Act (AAA). These SGOs are funded through private contributions, which are tax deductible. For example, if a wealthy donor contributes $25,000 to an SGO, that amount can be deducted from the donor’s taxes. That $25,000 would otherwise have gone to the state’s Education Trust Fund (ETF). The net result is that tax dollars are being circumvented from the ETF and are going instead to SGOs. “The money and influence behind these SGOs is well known,” Larkin said. “The most prominent SGO in Alabama, the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund (AOSF), is headed by former Governor Bob Riley. The AOSF’s parent company is Florida-based Step Up For Students, Inc. (SUFS). It has been reported that SUFS has over $360 million in net assets, and cleared nearly $50 million in net profit in 2014 alone. The group contributes heavily to political races, and is closely aligned with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which develops ‘model legislation’ funded primarily by corporate partners.”
“Research and experience shows that systems such as these are inherently susceptible to corruption,” Larkin said. “Typically these organizations are headed by the wealthy and powerful political elite. This is the real drawback in what could be an excellent vehicle to help our students.” For Larkin, it’s all about real accountability. “I am truly an advocate for school choice, including charter schools and certain voucher programs, but such programs must come with accountability,” she said. “Too many of these operations have large and obvious avenues for personal and corporate profit, as opposed to focusing on the unique needs of a particular school. In fact, hedge funds have even been set up that are betting on pending legislation promoting these policies. In other words, people are building their financial portfolios on these for-profit management companies that depend on state legislatures doing their bidding. The most widely-read commentator on this trend is Diane Ravitch, especially her book Reign of Error.” Larkin is currently attending meetings of the Charter School Commissioners in Montgomery as they develop standards for our state’s forthcoming charter legislation. She hopes to work with the State Superintendent of Education and the commissioners to share her research on the topic. “Generally, I am advocating to avoid any sort of structure in our charter legislation that would lend itself to corruption or personal profit,” she said. “A strong school leader from a charter school can be a great thing, but there must also be a strong partnership with the local school district. When charter schools open under independent management groups, one must ask whether that organization is still an entity of the state. The answer to that question will drive first the constitutionality of independent groups, as seen recently in Washington State, and second, the accountability of those funds. Private entities should not receive taxpayer money without being accountable for how that money is spent. That’s the bottom line.” 2016 Keystone Magazine | 45
HARRIS SPENT LIFE FIGHTING FOR CHILDREN, JUSTICE STORY AND PHOTO BY GEORGE LITTLETON
to represent our people well and succeed at the school. But two memories of that time stand out that reflect a truth that remains with me today.” One episode involved Debra Bracy, who was expelled from the school for fighting back against a white boy who had hit her with a slingshot. She was hauled off to jail, though the boy was not punished. The night before Debra was scheduled to return to school was the night their home was firebombed. “The second thing that stands out was in an English class,” Harris said. “I did not know the meaning of the word ‘utopia.’ The teacher called me out on it. She said, ‘You don’t know the meaning of this word, yet you think that you people deserve to be here in our school!’ From that one episode, from that very public shaming, I developed a life-long teaching philosophy. We must nurture our children and do all in our power to help them fend off the notion of inferiority that has been ingrained in them since the times of slavery. These experiences really began making sense for me in the next few years at Auburn.”
LEAVING HOME FOR A NEW WORLD
On New Year’s Night, 1966, a teenaged Sophia Bracy and her sister Debra returned to their rural Elmore County home following a cherished annual tradition in the black community: the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. They told their family – which included parents Roosevelt and Marie Bracy and their other brothers and sisters and a cousin – about the powerful message of the guest preacher and their excitement for their own futures. It was after midnight, and soon everyone in the house was asleep. The peaceful, pastoral setting was soon shattered when a series of home-made firebombs crashed through the windows, causing the small cinderblock Bracy home to explode into flames. All eleven family members escaped, but they lost everything in the fire. “Our local paper reported that there was no foul-play involved, even though my father found one of the unexploded firebombs in the bed of his truck,” Harris recalled. “We were already a poor farming family. Now we were destitute.”
COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION Although they were poor, the Bracy family was strong. Marie, especially, had a passion to see her children educated, and allowed Sophia and Debra to be among the first few black students to integrate the previously all-white Wetumpka High School. “We were treated with hatred and disdain,” Harris recalls of that difficult time. “We very much felt that it was our sacred obligation 46 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Upon her graduation from Wetumpka High School in 1968, Bracy had the opportunity to attend college on a scholarship. Since the family had no income at all, she was also able to get Pell Grants, loans, and a partial scholarship from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. But the scholarship stipulated that she must attend a majority-white school. “To all of us growing up, Tuskegee was the pinnacle of success,” she said. “That was always my aspiration but many of the people from our community, including my brother, had not been able to succeed there. It was my dream to be at Tuskegee, but the scholarship requirement caused me to look at the two-year Alabama Christian College and at either Auburn or Alabama.” She felt drawn to Auburn because of something from her past. “As a young teenager, I had visited Auburn as the guest of Jerry Roden, a white man who was an English Instructor at Auburn,” she said. “The American Friends Service Committee had gotten Jerry, who was a progressive and a leader in the Alabama Council on Human Relations, to serve as a tutor for me and Debra. Our mother would drive us to Auburn and we would spend the weekend in the home of Jerry and his wife Rebecca. Jerry saw that I had a knack for writing and he encouraged me in the same way that I now try to encourage children from vulnerable backgrounds.” Upon enrolling at Auburn, Bracy lived in Cox Dorm on North Donahue Drive. Her first impression of the campus was how large it was. As she sifted through different options for her major, she eventually settled on Family and Child Development. “I was arrogant,” she said. “I had been raising my younger siblings since I was six years old and was used to discipline and authority. But at Auburn I became fascinated by how much a child learns at an early age, and fascinated by my teachers, especially Mary Lynn Porter. She was staunch. In our work with children at the Child Study Center, she did not allow us to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ to a child. If you did that you failed that day.” Bracy’s exploration into child learning, school settings, and how these things impacted a child’s self-esteem, were all life-changing. She began making the total connection between her new knowledge of child development and the public shaming she had received at Wetumpka High School. “At Auburn I had an African-American roommate; our
suitemates were white,” she said. “We ate together, but did not socialize together. Through my roommate, I made connections in Auburn’s black community, and I had that longstanding relationship with Jerry Roden that helped me in many ways.” Harris said although there was a clear understanding that Auburn was a white institution, she did not experience overt racism from her professors. In addition to Mary Lynn Porter, Harris also developed a strong relationship with Dean June Hinton. “In my last quarter at Auburn someone explained how I could take just a few more courses and get a degree in early childhood education, but I was less focused on the curriculum and degree than I was on sharing my new-found knowledge and understanding with others from my community. Little did I know that I was about to get that chance, and the chance of a lifetime.”
“At Auburn I became fascinated by how much a child learns at an early age, and fascinated by my teachers, especially Mary Lynn Porter. She was staunch. In our work at the Child Study Center, she did not allow us to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ to a child. If you did that you failed that day.”
LICENSING LAWS COMPLEX, ARBITRARY Shortly before her Auburn graduation, Bracy was invited by Winifred Green to attend a meeting at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma. There, African-American childcare activists gathered to explore shared concerns over a new Alabama law that required a complicated – and often arbitrary – licensing process for childcare facilities. “This was right in the middle of finals, but I knew that I had to be there,” Harris said. “The people there were so reminiscent of the teachers and Sunday School leaders who inspired me as I grew up in Elmore County. And now, all these years later, they were facing hardships that I understood and could help with. A new law requiring every child care facility to obtain a license was being arbitrarily enforced. Many of the women who traditionally took care of the children were being denied a license. So at the meeting in Selma the question was where this was going. As integration was beginning there was so much displacement of African-American teachers and principals. How could our children be nurtured and protected by teachers who considered them to be less than human beings?” This culmination of new learning and past experiences gave Harris a transcendent feeling. “I felt that God had placed me here,” she said. “I thought of everything those people in Elmore County put on the line for me, how they took risks for me. I knew that I could not let them down. I knew I had to wade into this fight.” Along with these restrictive laws, this was also the time of the War on Poverty and the beginning of Head Start. Congress also passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1972. If the bill had become law it would have provided a national daycare system to help single parents work and raise children. But the bill was vetoed by President Nixon, who tied it to elements of Communism. Southern conservatives reacted negatively to these programs, and Congress failed to override the veto. Bracy understood that it was a critical moment in history.
THE BIRTH OF FOCAL From the Selma meeting, Harris was able to meet and intern with child care advocates like Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund. She learned the principles of community control, the importance of training teachers and advocates, and how to provide technical assistance to meet the
demands of the law. With these tools, and a pervasive belief that it’s not enough to just tell people things as opposed to working with them in their own communities, the young Sophia Bracy joined with those attending the Selma meeting to form the organization in 1972, now known as FOCAL, the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama. As it grew, FOCAL’s mission broadened from providing day care for low-income families, to establishing child care standards, providing professional development for teachers, and working for economic development in black communities. She has also lobbied successfully for increased funding for childcare. For her success in these and other areas, especially for overcoming, against all odds, a systemic plan to prevent the implementation of community-based child care centers in poor communities, Harris was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1991. How did Harris rise above abject poverty, and the Wetumpka shaming episode that was so central in her life, to achieve such success and empower thousands of other poor people? “I made a commitment to not give my power over to evil and ignorance, and instead to educate ourselves and push back against a deeply-ingrained belief, from slavery, that we aren’t equal. I was determined to help others see that we don’t have to stay in that place. I try to live that every day.” Harris retired in 2015 after 43 years of living that truth and leading FOCAL. “I feel satisfied that I have given with passion and gusto as best as I could,” Harris said. “My granddaughter said recently that I didn’t know how to have fun - go to a movie, or spend the day in the park. I need to ask her how I can learn to do that.” “But I also feel a need to share with the next generation the effort it takes to create a better world, and to help them see that every generation must fight for its own freedom. The residuals of slavery continue to impact our country through the mass incarceration of black men. But this is even more true in the minds of our kids with poor educations. This situation will continue to produce people of all races who are ill-equipped to move our democracy forward. Education can change all of that. Schools can and should play a central role in combatting the problems within our democracy.” Even as Harris was saying these things, the Alabama House of Representatives was debating an $800 million bond issue for new prisons while an insurance board voted to raise fees on public school teachers. The contradiction was not lost on her. “What I learned at Auburn, including my graduate classes in the College of Education at AUM, allowed me to make the connection between what I heard that transformational day in Selma and what happened to me in a Wetumpka class room. That understanding led me to do the things that I have been able to do. And I thank God for it.” 2016 Keystone Magazine | 47
NOW IN ITS 27TH YEAR
SUMMER ENRICHMENT DEVELOPS TEACHING SKILLS, TIES AUTHOR VISIT TO PROGRAM THEME STORY AND PHOTOS BY GEORGE LITTLETON
A longstanding and very successful summer practicum for preservice teachers continues to help the Department of Curriculum and Teaching achieve one of its primary goals: developing wellprepared graduates who are ready to lead and excel when they enter the classroom. “This outreach program for pre-school students gives our undergraduates their first real opportunity to teach,” said Dr. Sean Durham, an assistant professor in Auburn University’s College of Education and director of the enrichment program. “These students plan and lead their own small group activities in the areas of art, reading, writing, physical knowledge, music, and several other areas.” This year’s program attracted approximately 50 children from in and around Auburn. The classes met in Haley Center every day for three weeks in June, and included various field trips. “This year we built our many learning activities around a general theme of swamps and mud and water and reptiles,” Durham said. “There were several ways we could go with that theme in art, building and design, and reading and writing. For example, we spent time every day creating large-scale papier mache figures. The most 48 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
prominent one of these was a full-sized alligator, which had life-like textures and was painted to look like something that would crawl up out of a Louisiana swamp!” One of the children told Durham about a book he had at home entitled Trosclair and the Alligator. When he brought the book to class, Durham realized that its author, Peter Huggins, was an Instructor in Auburn’s English Department. Huggins was promptly invited in for a reading. “Our author event went over amazingly well,” Durham noted. “The book follows a classic story line of a young boy and his dog finding themselves trapped by a man-eating alligator in a remote Louisiana bayou. Trosclair is clever, and tricks the alligator into biting into a live hornet’s nest so they can make their escape. The story has elements of Odysseus tricking the Cyclops, as well as the Fox and the Grapes from Aesop’s Fables. The children absolutely loved the reading, learned a lot about Louisiana language and culture, and saw the marvelous illustrations that brought the story to life.” Durham also remarked on Huggins’s patience and humor and ability to engage the children, leading them to ask several questions
and think about different situations. “It was really funny how, on our last day of class, we had an open house for the parents,” Durham said. “We placed the papier mache alligator at the front of the main activity room, but the children wouldn’t be satisfied until we put the hornet’s nest into the alligator’s mouth!” The seminar also benefitted from a visit by Mr. Jason Ransbottom, a public affairs specialist from Power Tech America, the Hyundai Motors supplier that made a $40,000 donation to improve the program’s physical space over the course of five years. The gift was conceived by the wife of Power Tech CEO Seongho Baek, who herself has an abiding professional interest in early childhood education. “This generous gift continues to make a positive impact on our program,” Durham said. “Our block-building area used to be wide open but is now a ‘structured’ space with its own arched entrance. The blocks used to only interest boys but now the little girls are coming in and learning through block construction. We’ve also used the money to purchase high-end sand and water tables and many other learning tools that contributed toward our swamp theme. We wouldn’t be able to afford these without the support of Power Tech.” In addition to the morning sessions with the children, the preservice teachers were also in afternoon classes with their professors exploring the literature on child development, developing innovative teaching practices, and learning about multicultural education.
“We have excellent pre-service teachers here at Auburn who will make a positive impact on thousands of children and on our society at large. It is rewarding to be able to work with them year after year.”
About half of the children in the program are Korean and Chinese, many of whom speak little or no English. “Respect is a critical part of everything we do and we ensure that each child and his or her work is respected as well,” Durham said “When we respect them they respect each other and we have fewer discipline problems. We want the children to learn to solve their own problems instead of letting their teachers do that for them.” Durham emphasized that respect and problem-solving skills are all part of learning to impact a civil, democratic society, a core principle and value in all classes taught in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. “Overall, we had another great summer session,” Durham concluded. “We have excellent pre-service teachers here at Auburn who will make a positive impact on thousands of children and on our society at large. It is rewarding to be able to work with them year after year.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 49
COE CONGRATULATES ITS FIRST-EVER AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP GRAD Katie M. Sowell of Prattville, Alabama, is set to become the first-ever graduate in the College of Education’s new Master’s of Agricultural Leadership program. Following an undergraduate career in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Business, Biology, and Animal Science, Sowell had an internship with the Alabama Cattleman’s Association. She was drawn by this experience to want to stay in the agricultural field but was uncertain how to proceed. Someone suggested she talk to Dr. James E. Witte, a COE professor who specializes in Adult Education and is the program coordinator for Agricultural Leadership. “The first thing Katie asked me was what she could do with an M.S. in this field, and I told her she could hang the degree on the wall!” Witte said with a laugh. “But I also told her that if she was looking to develop the kinds of knowledge and abilities that would apply to a broad range of agricultural-related jobs, this was the place for her. We want our graduates to leave here with a breadth of skills and rise to meet opportunities that come available, regardless of any specialized niche. Katie is that kind of student and that kind of person and I know she will be successful.” Sowell did not grow up with a family background of agriculture but, in her words,“fell in love” with agriculture through her classroom and field experiences. This was especially true of animal science. “I’m not sure where this degree will lead me but I can say it has been a wonderful experience,” Sowell said. “In addition to my agriculture classes, I was also able to delve deeply into adult education theory and research methods, both of which have improved my level of comfort with presentations and general articulation. I feel that I learned to relate well to many kinds of people, and to understand and interpret a wide range of issues and problems. I also learned a lot about teaching, which of course opens the doors to many areas, whether that is in a corporate boardroom or representing an ag-related product or service to the industry. I would just recommend this program to anyone who loves agriculture but also wants to broaden their experience.” Witte believes his first graduate is setting a standard that many 50 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
will follow. “We are pleased and proud to have an excellent first graduate, not only in her ag concentration but also someone who was quick to adapt to adult learning methods. Katie is indeed a fine, fine representative for our program.” Congratulations to Katie Sowell, a real “ground breaker!”
“WE ARE PLEASED AND PROUD TO HAVE AN EXCELLENT FIRST GRADUATE, NOT ONLY IN HER AG CONCENTRATION BUT ALSO SOMEONE WHO WAS QUICK TO ADAPT TO ADULT LEARNING METHODS. KATIE IS INDEED A FINE, FINE REPRESENTATIVE FOR OUR PROGRAM.”
ANNE ROGE WINS MADISON FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP Auburn University College of Education graduate Anne Roge has been awarded a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship, which assists teachers earning a master’s degree with a focus on Constitutional studies. Named for the nation’s fourth president, the fellowship will fund up to $24,000 toward Roge’s graduate studies in American history at Auburn. This is the third consecutive year that an Auburn student has won the fellowship. The award goes to just one outstanding student in each state and supports the graduate study of American history by both aspiring and experienced secondary school teachers of American history, American government, and social studies.
Roge, an Atlanta native, has already begun her graduate work in general social science education at Auburn under Associate Professor Jada Kohlmeier and Alumni Professor John Saye in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching in the College of Education. Roge cites the two professors as having been particularly important to her academic career. “Dr. Saye and Dr. Kohlmeier are both great teachers, leaders, and practitioners,” she said. “They have helped me and encouraged me along the way. They have taken the time to help me understand what it takes to be a better teacher, whether in a practicum or in a classroom. They are actually the ones who suggested I apply for this fellowship, and I’m excited to be back doing my graduate work with them and at Auburn.” Roge completed her internship at Opelika Middle School, and is teaching a design and modeling class at Opelika High School. Roge originally wanted to study interior design at Auburn, so that background helped prepare her for the work she is doing now. “I started off in design but realized I wanted a different career,” she said. “I was involved with Young Life in the Auburn City Schools system and I built a strong rapport with middle schoolers there. That’s when I knew that education was my calling. That’s what led me here.” “In the design class I’m an emergency fill-in, but I’m looking for a history job next year,” she said. “I have interviewed at the middle school and would love to keep teaching in Opelika. It’s a great school system.” Roge’s favorite subject is anything to do with government, so the Madison Fellowship is a perfect fit. “Being in a classroom can be a little like a reality television show in terms of sometimes you never know what’s going to happen, but that helps to make the job fun and exciting,” she said. “We have great collegiality in the school and the other teachers are doing all they can to help me, so that’s really great. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to being with my great teachers at Auburn as I work toward my Master’s, so I have a lot of positive things going on right now. I feel great about the fellowship, and appreciate everything the College of Education has done for me. I’m looking forward to giving back.”
“I FEEL GREAT ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP, AND APPRECIATE EVERYTHING THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION HAS DONE FOR ME. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO GIVING BACK.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 51
INITIATED AT AUBURN BY ROTARY INTERNATIONAL IN 1987 — STUDENTS EXPLORE POLITICAL, CULTURAL ISSUES IN WORLD AFFAIRS YOUTH SEMINAR For a week in early July, the College of Education’s Secondary Social Science Education Program hosted 26 high school students from around the country in an outreach camp designed to help them understand international issues. Led by Jada Kohlmeier, Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, the camp followed a Model UN format, but there were also classroom and research sessions where Kohlmeier’s pre-service teachers introduced the campers to the value conflicts that are inherent in international issues. The camp has a storied history, and is generally considered as the oldest educational outreach camp at Auburn University. “The camp was initiated by the Sunrise Rotary Club here in Auburn nearly 30 years ago,” said Dr. Sue Barry, also an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and a longtime Rotarian. “Rotary has offered scholarships to outstanding students every year since the camp’s inception. It originally came about when one of our charter members, the late Rod Wiley, approached Auburn University in 1986 with the idea to initiate a World Affairs Seminar similar to the one already in existence 52 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
in Whitewater, Wisconsin, with which he had been previously associated.” This longstanding support from the Rotary Club has not gone unnoticed. “We have long enjoyed the support of the Lee County Sunrise Rotary Club, to whom we are most grateful,” Kohlmeier said. “Their support includes scholarships for many of the students, as well as paying for some of the field trips and activities we provide for our campers. For example, this year’s seminar included lessons on conflict zone refugees, human trafficking and slavery, and poaching. We were able to help our students gain insight into these issues through presentations by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the Alabama chapter of the International Justice Mission. We also learned about birds of prey and protected species at Auburn’s Raptor Center.” The World Affairs Youth Seminar includes students from grades 9-12, and serves as an outreach effort for the College of Education. It is also a teaching lab for pre-service students in secondary social science education. Each camper is assigned a country which he or
she will represent as a UN Ambassador. Auburn’s pre-service teachers present lessons on the various issues and guide the students in library research so they learn about their country’s positions on a variety of international issues and respond accordingly when the Model UN is in session. “In our research sessions we help the high school students seek out credible sources to learn about their country, and to learn multiple perspectives, especially the perspectives of other countries they may be working with,” Kohlmeier said. “As they develop knowledge we move into UN-style debates, following Parliamentary Procedure under the leadership of Secretary General Drew Morgan, who in ‘real life’ is the History Department chair at Auburn Junior High School, and a graduate of our program. Drew does an excellent job.” In addition to research and debate, the students also got to shop in downtown Auburn, stay in the dorms on campus, and engage in some service work. The Seminar serves as an engaging recruiting tool for Auburn. Kohlmeier said it is one of the few humanities-related camps on Auburn’s summer calendar, as opposed to the many STEM-related outreach efforts. Karlie Burrell, a camper from San Antonio, Texas, represented Japan in this year’s Model UN. As a result of her visit, the outstanding student now plans to come to Auburn for college. Both of her parents are Auburn grads. “I am very interested in international studies so I knew this would be a good experience for me,” she said. “We are getting a good balance of serious academic training and doing fun things like seeing downtown Auburn, swimming, and visiting the Raptor Center. We are not only learning from our spirited debates on issues, but we are also inspired by our speakers. The session on human slavery really got to me and makes me want to become more involved. It is worse now than ever, and all the international complications make it a huge for-profit business, which is a horrible thing.” But Burrell realizes that in the Model UN, she must represent Japan’s positions, and not her own. “Japan turns a blind eye to slavery, which I very much oppose, so it is important for me to keep the country’s focus in our debates.” Jade Johnson, from Florala, Alabama, has a dual enrollment in his high school and at Wallace Community College in Andalusia. He plans to join the Marines upon graduation from college. “For me, it’s important to understand how countries react to these pressing issues,” he said. “I represent Nigeria in the UN, and that country is big into human trafficking so it’s a struggle at times. But I have learned that Nigeria is much more progressive than I would have thought.” Developing qualities of leadership is also important to Johnson. “I plan to go the Naval Academy so leadership is everything to me,” he said. “What we do here has a lot in common with what I will experience as a Marine. We have a lot of good teamwork to develop and present our resolutions. Through these experiences this week I have made a lot of friends.” The range of issues that come up when seeking solutions to pervasive world problems is almost endless. For example, when exploring ways to prevent corruption in regard to refugee camps,
“IN OUR SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSES, WE TRY TO DEVELOP THE SKILL AND ABILITY TO HOLD PASSIONATE PERSONAL OPINIONS, BUT STILL BE ABLE TO HEAR RATIONAL OPPOSITION,” HE SAID. “THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO DEVELOP THAT ABILITY. THE CAMPERS GET A REAL SENSE OF HOW VERY DIFFICULT IT IS TO GATHER CONSENSUS ON COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL ISSUES. I TRULY FEEL THEY LEAVE HERE AS BETTER THINKERS AND STRONGER CITIZENS.” students debated whether body cameras should be required for facility guards. This led to the issue of financial inequity, since such a requirement would be especially difficult for poorer countries. “The reason everyone seems to know so much about so many issues is that Dr. Kohlmeier’s students have prepared excellent sites for our respective countries,” Burrell explained. “We may not know much about that country when we arrive, but we definitely do by the time we start in on model debates.” Program graduate Drew Morgan, who serves the assembly as Secretary General, agreed that the seminar is excellent preparation for future teachers and scholars. “In our social studies classes, we try to develop the skill and ability to hold passionate personal opinions, but still be able to hear rational opposition,” he said. “This is a great way to develop that ability. The campers get a real sense of how very difficult it is to gather consensus on complex international issues. I truly feel they leave here as better thinkers and stronger citizens.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 53
COE GRADS, LIFELONG EDUCATORS, LIVE LIFE OF AUBURN LESSONS Stan and Cindy Aman, both graduates of Auburn University’s College of Education, have a unique shared story. In one sense, they have much in common with generations of other Alabamians. They learned the value of hard work growing up around the farming, timber, and textile industries, and both of their families made education a priority. As a result they both enjoyed rich and rewarding careers. But their story is also special in the sense that they always knew they were meant for each other. “We both grew up surrounded by our families, but our families knew each other in the small communities of Ardilla and Ashford, in rural Houston County,” Stan said. “I had grandparents, cousins, and uncles and aunts living on all sides of me. They were all involved in farming. We were a very close family, but I also knew Cindy’s family. Farming was a way of life, so we both grew up in a very similar culture.” Along with the crop dirt, though, there were always traces of chalk dust in the air. Stan’s grandmother was the principal of Ardilla School, and both families emphasized education to their children. Stan became the first college graduate in his family. Cindy had two older brothers, both of whom graduated from Auburn; one from the last graduating class of API (College of Agriculture) and the other from the first graduating class of Auburn University (College of Business). Her older sister graduated from Troy. “I’ll admit that I wasn’t focused on school growing up, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” Stan said. “We were surrounded by trusted friends and terrific teachers, and in our spare time we enjoyed
54 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
outdoors activities, especially hunting and fishing. It was just a way of life that you don’t see as much anymore.”
FROM SOUTH ALABAMA TO THE LOVELIEST VILLAGE Stan and Cindy were married in 1968, after Stan completed a course of study at Wallace Community College in Data Processing. He worked as a computer operator and programmer for four years after their marriage. While Cindy was finishing up her education degree at Troy State University, Stan decided to pursue a B.S. degree in Industrial Arts Education through Auburn’s College of Education. “I had grown up as a big Alabama fan, but that all changed when we came to Auburn in 1972,” Stan said. “Cindy had finished her BS by then. She worked as a teacher while I was completing my Auburn degree.” At the same time Cindy worked full-time as a teacher, she enrolled in the master’s program in Library Media Education at Auburn, graduating in 1974. Stan completed his B.S. degree that same year. Cindy gained a quick insight into the region’s rapidly-changing history, when she served as one of just three white teachers at Tuskegee Institute High School. “This was in the 1972-73 school year,” Cindy recalled. “I was commuting to Tuskegee from Auburn and to me it was just fine. The students and fellow faculty members were not much different from others I had worked with. I do recall a cold January day applying for a job at Wacoochee School in rural Lee County for the next school
year, and the Lee County Superintendent wanted to know why I wasn’t in school that day. Well, it was Martin Luther King’s birthday, and that was a holiday for all of us at Tuskegee!” Upon his graduation, Stan took a job teaching Industrial Arts in different schools, including those in Pine Mountain, Brewton, Dothan, and LaGrange. Wherever Stan taught, Cindy was able to work as a school librarian.
A MOVE INTO HIGHER EDUCATION During this period, Stan had continued to work on his graduate degrees at Auburn. “By 1981 I had graduated with my doctorate in Higher Education Administration,” Stan said. “I was hired right away at Illinois State University at Bloomington/Normal. Although it was a different part of the country than anything we had seen before, we felt right at home because it was a big farming community. I got off to a really great start in my second career, working as an assistant professor teaching forest products technology and computer integrated manufacturing systems.” While Stan spent seven years in Bloomington/Normal, achieving the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, Cindy worked in both rural and suburban school districts in the area as a school librarian. But the Amans were ready to return to the South. “I loved my work in Illinois but agreed to go to LSU in Baton Rouge and put my Higher Ed Administration degree to work,” Stan said. “I became the Coordinator of Industrial Technical Programs and pretty much had the opportunity to develop the entire curriculum myself. I got a big Department of Labor grant and approached people in the petro-chemical industries and the pulp and paper industries, and suggested we develop a Rapid Response Retraining Center. The idea was to determine what those industries needed in their workers, and we would develop the curriculum to retrain those workers. It worked out extremely well.” “Extremely well” is perhaps an understatement. Just as he was thinking about moving on from LSU, Stan was taken to lunch by the executive director of the professional organization representing these industries. He didn’t realize that he was about to meet Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, along with the top executives from Louisiana industry, who were there to let him know that they loved his retraining innovation. In spite of all this, and his genuine love for LSU, Stan answered a call to become a department head at Jacksonville State University in northeast Alabama.
home design to work and designed a house using 3D Home Architect software. Stan, who had always enjoyed complex projects, decided to build the house himself, utilizing skills he had learned from working as a young man with his home-builder uncle. “I don’t mean he contracted it out himself,” Cindy said. “Stan cut the boards and drove the nails. It felt good to know we were back here to stay, literally and metaphorically making a home for ourselves.” A few years after completing their home and enjoying retirement, Stan was called into service by Wallace Community College’s president, a former colleague and friend, to serve on an interim basis as Dean of Instruction and Health Sciences for 15 months. But the Amans had found a fulfilling life outside of work. Both have continued to do good work in their community. Cindy recently finished a five-year term on the Dothan/Houston County Library System Board, helping oversee the construction of two branch libraries. Both have been deeply involved in their church, and Stan’s skills honed in the areas of economic development, job training, and quality improvement have benefitted several local nonprofit boards on which he has served. In his “spare time” Stan is an accomplished woodworker. In addition to their beautiful home and grounds, Stan has constructed a magnificent workshop where he spends many happy hours turning beautiful creations in wood. The Amans also enjoy traveling around the country, having visited all 50 states. They also enjoy traveling abroad. “We have been blessed with good work and much happiness, but none of this would have happened if it had not been for Auburn and the College of Education,” Stan said. “We have amazing memories of Auburn, and deep connections to the town itself and the many outstanding professors and mentors we had there. I am thankful every day that we both enjoyed our childhood surrounded by close family connections in the local community and that we both ended up with great Auburn educations. Ultimately, it was that time at Auburn that gave us the tools to succeed wherever we went.”
RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS “We just wanted to be back in Alabama,” he said. “We had mixed emotions about leaving because LSU was a fun, unique, and exciting place. But we found great fulfillment for the next ten years in Jacksonville. Cindy continued working as a school librarian, and I continued to teach in addition to my full-time duties as an administrator. I also served 18 months as the Interim Dean in the College of Education and Professional Studies.” By now Stan was thinking of retirement, and made the move from university to community college administration. He served as Dean of Instruction at Snead State and retired out of Alabama with 25 years of service. But Stan agreed to one more stint, this time in Carson City, Nevada, as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Western Nevada College. In 2002 the Amans finally decided to retire and return to Alabama. They settled on a beautiful plot of land in rural Houston County. Cindy put her avocational interest in 2016 Keystone Magazine | 55
COUNSELING GRAD, STATESMAN, GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN LEADS AU WORLD AFFAIRS FORUM On Friday, November understanding. For example, it is more important in this region to 13, Commander of U.S. identify as a Shiite or Sunni Muslim, as opposed to identifying as an Central Command Iraqi or an Iranian. Within the different religions there are struggles Gen. Lloyd Austin, between moderates and extremists. And there is a youth bulge there, who is also a College of with lots of frustration. This is not simply a military problem. We Education counseling have the military capacity to do almost anything. But these are issues graduate, was joined that they must address. A large part of our role is to work with the by U.S. Rep. Martha region’s leadership.” Roby of Montgomery Gen. Austin’s Central Command consists of 20 countries in the for Auburn University’s “central” area of the globe, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, second annual World Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, among others. Affairs Forum at the In response to a question on the Syrian refugee crisis, Gen. Auburn Hotel and Austin noted again that this would ultimately require a political Dixon Conference solution. He added that the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil Center. The event was war is really just an effort to prop up President Bashar al-Assad. moderated by Gen. “Russia’s extending this despot’s hold on power in Syria could Ron Burgess, Auburn make a dangerous situation even worse,” Austin warned. University’s Senior He noted that the Russian intervention made “a very complex Counsel for National situation even more complex,” and that even if Bashar were deposed, Security Programs, Cyber Programs, and Military Affairs. the power vacuum created would have unknown ramifications. In spite of being one of the country’s top soldiers and statesmen, Meanwhile, Russia’s military intervention there is strengthening Gen. Austin began the event by showing his true colors – his orange the Iran-Hezbollah alliance, essentially in opposition of the entire and blue colors. Middle Eastern Sunni world, making it just another instance of “It is always great to be back in Auburn,” he said. “My wife shifting and dangerous uncertainties. Charlene and I are both graduates of the College of Education’s “Again, this requires a political situation. These are alliances and excellent counseling program. We were attracted to the program conflicts that go back hundreds of years,” Gen. Austin said. because of its top rating, and it has been a positive force in The wide-ranging discussions covered questions about the my career.” security of Israel, the effect of lower oil prices on Middle Eastern He also gave a shout-out to the football team and encouraged economies, and the United Arab Emirates’ challenge of Iran’s Tiger fans to help beat Georgia the next day, where he would be sovereignty over two islands in the Persian Gulf. General Austin in attendance. Gen. Austin was honored as the College of Education’s “WE TEND TO LOOK AT EACH CHALLENGE THROUGH Keystone Leader-in-Residence A SODA STRAW,” HE SAID. “BUT IN THE CENTRAL in 2012. He received the Alumni Association’s Lifetime COMMAND REGION THERE ARE UNDERLYING Achievement Award the CURRENTS OF SECTARIANISM THAT REQUIRE A same year. Gen. Lloyd and Charlene BROADER VIEW AND UNDERSTANDING.” Austin led a presentation as Keystone Leaders in the College of Education in 2012. The forum had a question-and-answer type format. In general, demonstrated encyclopedic knowledge of these and other regional Rep. Roby played more the role of a politician, speaking out on the and world complexities, answering each question with a balance of threats posed by our rising national debt, and calling for a clearlycandor and diplomacy. defined plan for combatting extremists in the Middle East, where she The event was held on a day that will long live in history. Friday has visited several times. the 13th was the day that coordinated attacks in Paris, attributed to Gen. Austin was more pragmatic, noting that the challenges ISIL, left at least 129 people dead and hundreds injured. posed by the so-called Islamic State, or ISIL, and the shifting “One positive sign of U.S. efforts can be seen in Afghanistan,” alliances in the Middle East are complex almost beyond Austin said as the standing-room-only event wound down. “Things the imagination. are much better there than they were just two years ago. Our greatest “We tend to look at each challenge through a soda straw,” he weapon in Afghanistan is not military, but literacy, especially among said. “But in the Central Command region there are underlying women. This change will have effects that are irreversible.” currents of sectarianism that require a broader view and 56 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
BURGESS TAKES AUBURN LESSONS TO CLASS ROOM, GUATEMALA ORPHANAGE Jenna Burgess is a 2015 graduate of the College of Education’s Early Childhood Education program. She grew up in Madison, Alabama but always knew she would be an Auburn Tiger and a teacher. “It’s funny, but ever since I was in kindergarten I knew I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher!” she exclaimed. “My cousins and aunts are all teachers, as is my grandmother, and I have always loved teaching. I have also always loved Auburn because my father and sister went there before me. So you’d have to say that Auburn and teaching are in my blood.” Burgess found her time in the Early Childhood program both inspiring and informative. “I was close to all of my teachers, especially Dr. Kathy King and Dr. Angela Love,” she said. “The faculty cared deeply about us and the kind of teachers they wanted us to become. I’d say the main message was that you must teach your children in the way that they need to be taught, even though each child is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ prescription for being a great teacher. But we received a thorough understanding of the different philosophies and pedagogical methods to make us be ready to lead and excel on our first day in the classroom.” Immediately after her graduation last May, Burgess took a different kind of trip than did typical college grads. She got on the internet and studied places in Central America until should found an orphanage in Guatemala – Casa Shalom – where she could volunteer her time and talent and bond with the orphans. She took her graduation money and flew down there alone, not knowing a soul. “It was great,” she said. “Someday I’d like to go there on a permanent basis as a teacher of young children.” She is not yet fluent in Spanish, but she is fluent in music. “I was in Dr. King’s music ed class and learned to play the ukulele,” she said. “I was able to share the gift of music with the kids there and it really bonded us.” Her love of Central America began in high school when she went on mission trips with the Central Church of Christ. At Auburn she did the same thing with the local Church of the Highlands. But for now she is settled in Huntsville at a low-income, high-risk kindergarten at
Rolling Hills Elementary. “I’m doing what I always wanted to do as a teacher,” Burgess said. “I want to teach kids who really need me and maybe get the love that they’re not getting anywhere else.” Although her pre-service teaching in the Notasulga schools prepared her for the kind of poverty she experiences in her current classroom, she still feels that her job is “different and harder” than she was expecting. “I wake up excited about the opportunity to teach,” she said. “I get here every morning at 6:45 to prepare for class and get my mind right. Every day is absolutely amazing. We are like a little family. The kids are excited when Monday morning rolls around and they are sad to have to leave on Friday afternoon.” Rolling Hills serves the children three meals a day, and sends food bags home on the weekend. “We know they don’t get much food at home so we do what we can,” she said. “We are on fall break this week and I am so worried that they may not be getting much to eat. So that is hard.” Burgess said Early Ed grads must focus on the children. “Just remember that you are in it to serve the kids and not yourself,” she said. “It’s rewarding, yes, but it’s also hard. Teachers must love their students in spite of what you have to deal with. It might be a cold day and they come to school in flip flops. They might nonchalantly say that their power has been cut off. It’s pretty obvious that they see things at home that we wish they did not have to endure. But I am here to give them the love they need and to give them a chance at a good education. Those are the best gifts I can give.” 2016 Keystone Magazine | 57
PEACE CORPS PRESENTATION SHINES LIGHT ON SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES
Dr. Paul Jhin, who received his doctorate in Mathematics Education from the College of
On November 17, 2015, more than three dozen Auburn undergrads enjoyed a presentation on opportunities in the Peace Corps, featuring former Director of Peace Corps’ Special Initiatives, Dr. Paul Jhin. Jhin was appointed to his position by President George W. Bush. Also present was Atlanta-area Peace Corps recruiter Erica Wherry, who spent 27 months serving as a Peace Corps English teacher in Madagascar. The event was sponsored by the College of Education and Dean Betty Lou Whitford, who introduced the speakers. Dr. Jhin kicked off the event, sharing his personal history of growing up in South Korea but finding his way to America through the generous graces of a private citizen who won him a scholarship to Freed-Hardeman University in Hendersonville, Tennessee. From there, Jhin went on to attain five college degrees, including a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the College of Education at Auburn University in 1971. His subsequent career was phenomenally successful, and he said he owes much of that success to Auburn. “Wherever I go I share Auburn,” Jhin told the students. “I saw an abalone farm in Korea, and thought back to the outstanding Fisheries research I saw in my time at Auburn. So I am here to collaborate with the College of Agriculture, and encourage them to share their expertise in fish farming with communities in Africa and South America. By feeding poor people we can also share the power of education.” In a motivational manner, Jhin encouraged the students to follow six rules in everything they do: Dream Big, Do It Right, Do It More, Be Grateful, Pray, and Do It Now. In a series of photos and anecdotes, Jhin showed the students how following these rules of life can lift them to great heights. He demonstrated this with events from his own life. “I have been appointed to positions by both President Bushes, President Ford, and President Reagan,” he said. “Through persistence I was appointed as the first Asian-American on the Civil Rights Commission with President Reagan. I have also become friends with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. If I can do these things, by following these rules, you can, too!” As Dr. Jhin wound down his presentation, he reflected on the world travels and experiences the Peace Corps made possible to him, and told the students how Peace Corps veterans typically have high rates of success. He concluded by asking the students in attendance to do one thing when they left the presentation: “Call your mom and dad and tell them thank you!” At that point Erica Wherry came on and shared how her life was enriched as a Peace Corps volunteer, and explained the mechanics of application, interviews, and placement in the Peace Corps. Although it is a very selective process, she encouraged those in attendance to consider whether it might be right for them and to stay in touch with any questions. She was then surrounded by students who asked specific questions about their own situations. Overall the event was both inspirational and informational. Thanks to Dean Whitford and the College for sponsoring the event, and to Dr. Jhin and Ms. Wherry for their excellent presentations. For more information, feel free to reach out to either of them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. 58 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Education in 1975, has had a remarkable career. “Throughout my life I’ve been trying to help people,” he said. “Our purpose here on earth is to serve the needs of others, feed those who are hungry, and bring hope wherever we can.” For the past 22 years Jhin has lived in Malibu with his wife, but has traveled widely both in the U.S. and abroad. One constant has been staying in touch with Auburn. “I had great mentors in Dean Truman Pierce and Dean Fran Kochan, and Dr. Ken Easterday,” Jhin said. “I hosted teachers’ conventions and mathematics conventions which they attended and supported. At one event there were over 200 teachers in attendance and it gave Auburn a big boost. When I was serving as a Peace Corps director, Dean Kochan invited me to speak at Auburn. So they’ve all been big supporters for me. I still call Dr. Easterday every football Saturday just to say War Eagle!” Although he has degrees from five universities, Jhin said he stays in the closest touch with Auburn because it’s family. “My mentors at Auburn weren’t like professionals while I was there. It was more like they were big brothers and sisters. They helped me and wanted me to succeed. After I left Auburn I told people about it wherever I went.” In spite of his many successes, Jhin has remained humble. “My greatest achievement was being able to take advantage of opportunities in America through God’s help,” he said. “Throughout my career I found opportunities to speak to young people and challenge them to dream and to be successful and serve their fellow man and God. I will continue to do that for the rest of my life. I feel like I owe that to the world, and thank Auburn for making me who I am today.”
FAMILY COMES FIRST
JARED RUSSELL NAMED PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATIVE FELLOW Dr. Jared Russell, Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of Student Development in the College of Education, has been named as a 2016 Presidential Administrative Fellow. The goal of the program is to provide senior administrative experience to faculty and provide them the opportunity to appreciate and understand higher education administration. Russell was born in Rochester, New York and moved to Atlanta at the age of 11. He received a track and field scholarship to Morehouse College where he studied health and physical education. “I loved being able to encourage young children to be physically active and engage in team and individual sports, so after completing my undergraduate degree I went to the University of Georgia for my Master’s and doctoral degrees,” he said. “This is where I was able to combine the joy of conducting research with my focus on encouraging appropriate physical activity and wellness habits in young adults.” Russell was recruited to Auburn in 2002 as an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology in the area of physical education teacher education (PETE). His research focus is the doctoral education experience and how academic units can appropriately support the socialization and professional development of students. He also has a complementary research focus examining effective strategies for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented student populations. The Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program, which
Russell directs, has had great recruiting success in this area. The College is well on its way toward fulfilling Russell’s goal of graduating ten minority doctoral students in ten years. “The Fellowship this semester will allow me to work with many administrative and faculty units that help Auburn meet its landgrant mission and strategic goals. Long-term, I want to eventually obtain an executive leadership position at an institution like Auburn University.” FAMILY COMES FIRST Balancing the roles of faculty member and administrator is tough for anyone, but for Russell it is “all about family.” “For me, always, family comes first,” he said. “My wife Melody is a faculty member in Curriculum and Teaching, focusing on STEM education with a research focus on preparing nontraditional students for the professoriate. We have a ten-year-old son who has his own busy schedule of activities, so that also makes our lives fun and exciting. There is always something to do or work on whether as a family man, faculty member, or administrator. I try my best to leave time for unexpected drop-ins by students and opportunities to just hang out with friends and family. My goal is to have a balanced and fulfilling life with my family, friends, and professional colleagues. I’ve had a fantastic and fulfilling career at Auburn and I’ve been supported by a number of people in my development as a faculty member and administrator. I look forward to what the future brings.” Congratulations Jared, on your Fellowship appointment!
1915 SOCIETY Named for the year in which the Department of Education (now College of Education) was established at Auburn University, the 1915 Society recognizes donors whose lifetime contributions, pledges and planned giving arrangements to the college are at the $25,000 level and above. To view a listing of these honored donors, visit education.auburn.edu/giving/societies/1915 society
2016 Keystone Magazine | 59
ALUMNI NOTES worked in the office of Dean Truman Pierce. Following his own graduation with a BS in Education in August, 1972, Schuessler taught school in Decatur County, Georgia, served Harper & Row Publishers and Diversified Products as a sales representative, and became Manager of Team Sports at Gatorade Sports Marketing. He served 27 years prior to his retirement in 2015. He was succeeded in the Gatorade position by another COE grad, Jarod Grace, whose wife, Becca, also graduated from Auburn University College of Education, and now works in the COE. SUSAN HARPER (1972), retired from BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama on July 31, 2015. MARTHA DOUGHTIE LONG, (MS IN EDUCATION 1972, ED.D. IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP 1984),
KEN RINGER, long-time member of The
Dean’s Circle and husband of Joyce Ringer, College of Education ‘59, is the author of the book Lorendo. The book is now out on Amazon and available in local book stores. It is the biography of legendary AU football coach, World War II veteran, and recordholding athlete Gene Lorendo. Reviews of the book are on Amazon, in the Auburn Magazine, and Inside the Auburn Tigers. We here at Keystone have read this excellent account of not only Lorendo’s life, but of the “good old days” of Auburn football. The book is filled with previously unknown stories and anecdotes from coaches and players, from the time Lorendo joined Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s first Auburn staff in 1951, through the Sullivan-Beasley years, to the 1972 Amazins’. In his Foreword to the book, David Housel writes, “Ken Ringer has done a great service to all who love Auburn football, to the SEC, and most especially, to days of old.” Feel free to contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org. ELLIOTT MARVIN “SKEETER” SCHUESSLER III (1972) moved to Auburn
in 1961 when his mother, Virada Kitchens Schuessler, accepted a position in the School of Education. She received her MS in Counselor Education from Auburn, and 60 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
is retired and living in Louisville, KY after many years working with the Ohio Valley Ed. Cooperative in Louisville and the Black Hawk Area Special Ed. District of the Quad Cities of Illinois. She enjoys volunteering in church/civic activities and working to help new immigrants from many countries settle into Louisville through the KY Refugee Ministries. She also enjoys attending an Auburn ballgame when we play in Kentucky. WAR EAGLE everybody! WRIGHT L. LASSITER, JR. (ED.D. 1975), served as Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District from 2006 until his retirement in 2014. As a result of his excellent record of service and many notable achievements, he was named Chancellor Emeritus upon his retirement. Two separate buildings in the district have been named in his honor, and he serves as a trustee for two separate private universities. O.Z. (ZAN) SELLERS (1976) graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 1981 with a Master of Religious Education with an emphasis in Social Work and in 1983 with a Master of Divinity. He served several churches in California as an Associate Pastor, usually as Educator. He was also a hospital chaplain at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham and Lower Cape Fear Hospice in North Carolina. In 1987 he joined the Air Force Reserve as a chaplain and served in
California, Georgia, and South Carolina. Since 1998 he has been an Active Duty Army chaplain with deployments and stations in several areas, both home and abroad. He was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel. He is married to the former Dian Dye, class of ‘79. THOMAS MORRIS (EDUCATION/ HISTORY, 1977) will be retiring after 39
years from Volusia County, Florida. He taught all of his years at T. DeWitt Taylor Middle/High School, Pierson, FL. During this time he taught American History, Civics, World History, and Economics. For the past 25 years also served as the school’s Athletic Director, coached football for 20 years (12 as head coach), and softball 8 years as head coach. Morris had this to say about his career: “All of this becAUse of my education degree from Auburn. War Eagle!!” CINDY HADDEN, (SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, 1986), is
retiring after 30 years of teaching students with severe emotional behavior disorders for the Georgia Psycho-Ed Network. LINDA FENTY (DOCTORATE IN IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, 1987), served as an executive in several
Fortune 100 companies, then ran her own consulting company specializing in training and education. After a project working with the military combatant commands from 2006 to 2012, she spent two years in Germany (2012-2014) working for US Africa Command implementing staff officer training. She is currently the program manager for the HQ US Marine Corps Logistics Training Project, where she leads a team developing sixty hours of on-line training. She married to retired Army Colonel Alan Fenty and has lived in Panama, and Argentina. She won a State Department Volunteer Award while in Buenos Aires, and was selected as one of Auburn’s Outstanding 100 Women Graduates for Auburn’s Centennial celebration. DEBORA L. LIDDELL (ED.D., 1990) was promoted to Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of Iowa, where she chairs the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership. Dr. Liddell began a five-year term as Editor of the Journal of College Student Development,
effective August 1, 2015. LYNN HUNT LONG, (1991, M.ED. KINESIOLOGY) is working as an Assistant
Director of Academic and Student Affairs with the Florida State University System Board of Governors in Tallahassee, Florida. JANET WOMACK, (1994 M.ED., 2004 PH.D., 2004) is the Superintendent of
Florence City Schools. She was named the 2016 Alabama Superintendent of the Year. MARGARET RANKIN (1999, ELEMENTARY EDUCATION WITH A MINOR IN SPANISH) works as an AMSTI
(Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative) math specialist in the UA-UWA region of the state. She also recently celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary with her husband, Robert Fitzhugh Byrd. TRACY CHILDS (2000, M.ED SECONDAY EDUCATION) has served
as the Director for Academic Support at Spring Hill College since August 2014. She also leads the retention and persistence task force and teaches courses in first-year composition, study strategies, and peer tutoring. Previously, she served as Academic Student Advocate at Spring Hill College, working primarily with first-generation college students from underserved populations, after serving as the coordinator for student involvement and the associate dean of students. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of South Alabama. Her research focuses on the effects of early alert systems on first to second year retention at small, liberal arts colleges. In May 2016, she will present data from her action research dissertation. She will discuss the study’s findings as well as plans for future research. DIANNA TULLIER (2000) became the First Teacher Home Visiting Program Manager for the state of Alabama in 2015. This program is part of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education in Montgomery. LORA BAILEY (PH.D 2002), is a threetime Auburn alum. She is the new Dean of the School of Education at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM, where she is also a Professor of Early Childhood Education. BROOKE A. BURKS (2002, 2010), has been tenured and promoted to Associate
Professor of Secondary Education at Auburn University at Montgomery. JESSICA KOCH (2003) graduated with a doctorate from Union University in July 2014. On March 21, 2015 in Shawnee, Oklahoma she married Chris Koch, and accepted an Associate Professor position at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma where she teaches various education courses to undergraduate and graduate students. KIMBERLY O’DELL (2003, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, EDS ADULT EDUCATION)
released her third history book, Images of America: Anniston Revisited, in October 2015 through Arcadia Publishing. This new work is a companion to Ms. O’Dell’s previous books Images of America: Calhoun County (1998) and Images of America: Anniston (2000). In February 2016, a new website (http://kimberlyodellauthor.wix.com/ kimberlyodellauthor) about Ms. O’Dell and her work went live. LAURA DESHAZO (2004, SECONDARY BUSINESS EDUCATION) joined her sister
in Salt Lake City, Utah where she began teaching Business and Marketing courses at Murray High School. In her interview, one member of the panel said, “We have another teacher that graduated from Auburn and she is great.” After eight years at Murray she advanced to a leadership role at the Utah State Office of Education where she now serves more than 700 teachers in the State of Utah overseeing the Business, Marketing, Digital Literacy, and Keyboarding programs. She also writes curriculum and update standards for 32 courses that meet the demands of local industry and students. She implemented a program that allows students to obtain industry level technology certifications. Over 25,000 student certifications have been obtained in Utah, “I am forever grateful for my preparatory experience at Auburn University. I might be across the country, but I’m proud to be an Auburn graduate! War Eagle!” KIMBERLY MACDONALD (2005) taught 4th grade for five years in Hoover City Schools in Alabama before moving abroad. She lived and worked for four years at an international American school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, teaching 3rd grade, then 5th, and finally back to 4th grade for the final two years. She was married last summer in Scotland and now lives and teaches at two different international schools in Kyoto, Japan as an EAL teacher to elementary
students at Kyoto International School. She says “thanks to the College for preparing me so well for my life of teaching and travel!” DR. SYDNEY FREEMAN, JR. (2008 M.ED, 2011 PH.D) is associate professor of
higher education at the University of Idaho. He is a former National Holmes Scholar, a certified faculty developer through the Learning Resources Network, and an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions. His research investigates the challenges facing higher education administration programs, specifically, higher education as a field of study and the university presidency. Dr. Freeman has published numerous journal articles and is the lead editor (with Linda Serra Hagedorn, Lester F. Goodchild, and Dianne A. Wright) of Advancing Higher Education as a Field of Study: In Quest of Doctoral Degree Guidelines (Stylus Publishing, 2014) which received the 2015 Auburn University Graduate School Book of the Year Award. Last year he was named to the Board of Directors of the American Association of University Administrators and was honored with the 2015 Emergent Leader of the Year award by the same professional society. He recently was named to the board of advisors of the University Council of Education Administration’s (UCEA) Center for the Study of Academic Leadership. He serves on multiple academic journal editorial and review boards, including serving as managing editor of the Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education at jspte.org. HENRY H. MCCLADDIE (M.ED. 2011, KINE) was named Dean of Students of the
DeKalb (GA) Academy of Technology and Environment.
MARLAYNA ARMSTRONG (MS REHAB COUNSELING, 2011) is in her third year
as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor specializing in Deaf services. For the past two years, Marlye has helped coordinate Deaf College Prep and Summer Transitions Programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students throughout the State of Alabama. Marlye was awarded the “Jiminy Cricket” by the ADRS Deaf Services Unit for her success in creating a working alliance with a consumer and enabling them 2016 Keystone Magazine | 61
to reach their maximum potential. She was also recognized by the Montgomery Area Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities for a Collaboration Award, where she worked with a consumer, ADRS Staff Audiologist, and the consumer’s short-term disability insurance provider to provide counseling, assistive technology, and communication strategies to assist the consumer in maintaining his job that was in jeopardy due to his hearing loss. This successful rehabilitation case is now in the running for Collaboration Case of the Year at the state level of the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. DESMOND W. DELK (PH.D. 2015, M.ED. 2010, KINE) is an Assistant Professor of
Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at Langston University (OK).
As we prepare for the 2017 Keystone Magazine, we want to hear from our alumni. Please send in news and notes of interest to Keystone editor George Littleton at the following email address: email@example.com.
1967 COE GRADS HAVE MUCH IN COMMON Anne Carpenter and Carolyn Dunaway have a lot in common. They both earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Auburn University College of Education. They both had an uncle and grandfather to graduate from Auburn. They both had long and distinguished careers in higher education. And they are
Be sure to include your graduation year, degree, and major along with your news. Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you!
both from Eufaula. It’s unusual that two people would have so much in common, until you learn that they are identical twins. “Our father was a small-town family physician and instilled in us the concept of service to others,” Anne said. “We started out at Huntingdon but transferred to Auburn as part of our family tradition. I retired from Auburn with over 20 years in teaching, research, and working with the Cooperative Extension Service. Carolyn had a 25-year career as a professor at Jacksonville State. She was named Professor Emeritus in her retirement.” The twins now live together in Opelika, but remain great supporters of their Auburn Tigers. “We love Auburn and are just happy we were able to carry on a family tradition of service and being part of the Auburn Family.”
62 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
2016 TIGER GIVING
TIGER GIVING DAY On December 1st, the College of Education participated in Auburn Universityâ€™s first-ever Tiger Giving Day! This 24-hour fundraising event highlighted International Travel and Outreach programs within the college, from Costa Rica to Australia. Through the generosity of our alumni and friends, over $15,000 was raised to ensure our efforts of building better futures for all has a global impact!
DAY IS COMING! NOVEMBER 29TH
<<TAKE A LOOK AT THE 2015 TIGER GIVING DAY VIDEO BY SCANNING THE QR CODE TO THE LEFT.
2016 Keystone Magazine | 63
64 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
2016 Keystone Magazine | 65
66 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF DEVELOPMENT Julie Nolen Executive Director of Development firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly McNulty Development Coordinator email@example.com
Kelly Rogers Development Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP TEAM The College of Education is honored to have an outstanding team of volunteers who are dedicated to advancing the college’s mission during the “Because this is Auburn” capital campaign.
Wayne Smith ’68, Chair Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Community Health Systems Nashville, TN Gordon Sherman ’57, Vice-Chair Retired Senior Executive, Social Security Administration Atlanta, GA Dr. Jo Anne Hamrick Coggins ’75 Owner, The Hamrick Group & Associates Birmingham, AL Jennifer Dugan ’97 Director of Assessment and Testing, Minnesota Department of Education Saint Paul, MN Michael Dugan ’97 Independent Innovation Consultant Saint Paul, MN Nancy Fortner ’71 Retired Educator and School Counselor Brownsboro, AL Ed Graham ’86 Founder & CEO, Silver King Capital Management Birmingham, AL
Lynn Graham ’84 Founder, Culinary Creations Birmingham, AL
Sarah Newton ’74 Retired Principal Auburn, AL
Dr. Virginia Hayes Retired Administrator Auburn, AL
Woody Norris ’80 President of Business Development, Acosta Sales Jacksonville Beach, FL
Ken Johns ’57 CEO, The Hampshire Management Group, Inc. New York, NY
Danny Sanspree ’74 President, Seminole Sales Corporation Birmingham, AL
Sharon Lovell Former Member, Vestavia Hills School Board Birmingham, AL
Dr. Mary Jean Sanspree ’74 Research Professor, UAB School of Optometry Birmingham, AL
Dr. Imogene Mixson ’63 Retired Administrator Ozark, AL
Jerry Smith ’64, Ex-Officio CEO, J.F. Smith Group Auburn, AL
Dr. Jane B. Moore Emeritus Faculty Member, School of Kinesiology Auburn, AL Dr. Joan Newman ’78 Financial Advisory, Edward Jones Enterprise, AL
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR EFFORTS, VISIT BECAUSE.AUBURN.EDU/EDUCATION. 2016 Keystone Magazine | 67
IMPACT OF DONORS 14th Annual Scholarship Ceremony Through the generous philanthropy of our donors, the College of Education was able to award over $400,000 to students in the form of scholarships and graduate awards at the 14th Annual Scholarship Ceremony and Reception held on August 22, 2015. “Year in and year out, student support is the most heavily-funded area from our alumni and friends. These awards do more than just recognize the academic achievements of our students. They also inspire students who commit themselves daily to making a powerful and positive impact on our society. Those are the leaders we prepare in the College of Education.” - Dean Betty Lou Whitford
“ ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’ By William Butler Yeats. I thank my donors for giving me the match.” – Laura Beth Bentley, Elizabeth H. Russell Endowed Scholarship Recipient
“This scholarship and the amazing donors behind it remind me why I decided to join the Auburn family. I am so thankful for the opportunity that it provides for me to continue my dreams within the College of Education.” – Shannon Reilly, Theodore Franklin and Winnifred Phillips Yancey Endowed Scholarship Recipient
The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Outstanding Teaching Awards These awards were established in 2001 through the generosity of Gerald and Emily Leischuck. Recipients are nominated and selected by their students and peers within the College of Education. These awards recognize faculty members who have consistently shown evidence of superior teaching excellence. These individuals have gone above and beyond the call of duty by engaging their students in the classroom and instilling a love for life-long learning.
2016 Gerald and Emily Leischuck Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award Recipient
2016 Gerald and Emily Leischuck Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award Recipient
Dr. Brandon Sams Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Teaching
Dr. Annette Kluck Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling
68 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
CHARLES BARKLEY FOUNDATION MAKES GENEROUS GIFT TO COLLEGE OF EDUCATION The Charles Barkley Foundation, named for Auburn’s legendary goodwill ambassador and NBA Hall of Famer, recently made generous gifts to the College of Education’s Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program. The gifts totaled $50,000. Specifically, the gifts will support six Kinesiology students for the Summer Bridge Program, three Engineering/Science-based students in the Summer Bridge Program, and one Summer Bridge Program graduate student (the Charles Barkley Fellow) for 2017-18. According to Dean Betty Lou Whitford, the gifts have a value that goes beyond their dollar amount. “Not only does Charles’s generosity make our College a better, more inclusive place to learn and work, it changes lives,” she said. “Many of us work closely with our Bridge scholars as they progress through graduate school, and they are thriving. The Bridge program makes us a stronger college. These students go on to careers in academia, research, medicine, physical therapy, and many other health-related careers. They also form a bond with Auburn that will last a lifetime.” “Dr. Jared Russell, an associate professor in Kinesiology and a graduate of Morehouse College, has recruited non-traditional and
first-generation students into the College’s graduate programs where they are adding greatly to all that our College is trying to do,” Whitford added. “We are very close to achieving Dr. Russell’s goal of graduating at least one minority doctoral student every year for ten consecutive years.” Barkley was recently an honoree at the College of Human Sciences Quality of Life event at the United Nations Building in New York, which was attended by Dean Whitford, COE Development Director Julie Nolen, and former faculty member and Auburn Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dr. Jane Moore. At the event, which also honored Congressman John Lewis, Barkley delivered a moving address about what Auburn has meant to him. Many in the room, including Dean Whitford, said they were moved to tears. The Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program was began by Russell following his own experiences of moving from Morehouse College to graduate school. “When I was a senior at Morehouse College in 1997, I told an advisor I wanted to try graduate school, and she gave me a big book that listed all the schools. That was it. I went to the University of Georgia and had a great experience, but I thought that was a bad way to encourage people and I never forgot it. I wanted to do something about it so several years ago I went to Morehouse and told some students there about Auburn. A few came to visit us here, and one guy enrolled. The next year four or five more came to visit, and two people enrolled. We were starting to see results and felt good about it.” As more people from Morehouse came to Auburn, Russell began visiting Spelman and had similar results. “After that, we received help from Graduate School Dean George Flowers and then one of our top development people reached out to Charles Barkley, who also believes very deeply in the importance of diversity at Auburn. Charles has continued to love and support his university for many years. After much discussion, Charles decided to fund this program. We are grateful to Charles for his generosity and belief in something that we in the College embrace as one of our core principles.”
“Charles has continued to love and support his university for many years...We are grateful to Charles for his generosity and belief in something that we in the College embrace as one of our core principles.”
2016 Keystone Magazine | 69
National Advisory Council The National Advisory Council works to promote the outstanding work of the college’s faculty, staff, and students, as well as the achievements of its alumni. The council consists of three committees. The Academic Affairs Committee reviews nominations and awards the NAC Faculty Research Mini-Grants. The External Relations Committee cultivates alumni involvement through communications and events, as well as reviews nominations for the college’s Outstanding Alumni Awards. The Internal Relations Committee coordinates service grants for Student Outreach and manages sustaining membership of the NAC. Current members are listed below by committee.
COUNCIL CHAIR Kym Prewitt ’86 Board Member, Vestavia Hills City Schools Birmingham, AL ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE Dr. Ron Saunders ’70, Chair Retired School Superintendent Winder, GA Dr. Paul St. Onge ’07, Incoming Chair Research Analyst, QinetiQ North America, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Enterprise, AL Dr. Suzanne Freeman ’88 Superintendent, Pike Road School System Pike Road, AL Meredith Hanson ’94 Principal, Pizitz Middle School Vestavia, AL Dr. Chuck Ledbetter ’89 Superintendent, Dothan City Schools Dothan, AL Dr. Joe Morton ’69 Retired State Superintendent of Education Sylacauga, AL Dr. Stephen Pruitt ’10 Commissioner of Education, State of Kentucky Louisville, KY
Susan Stanley ’73 Retired Educator Opelika, AL Dr. Janet Womack ’94 Superintendent, Florence City Schools Florence, AL EXTERNAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE Suzette Doepke ’73, Chair Retired Elementary Educator Auburn, AL H. Gray Broughton ’05 CEO/Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Broughton Associates, Inc. Richmond, VA Suzanne B. Culbreth ’82 Master Teacher, UAB Teach Birmingham, AL Dr. Karen Teague DeLano ’73 Superintendent, Auburn City Schools Auburn, AL Dr. Glenda Earwood ’74 Retired Executive Director, Alpha Lamda Delta Honor Society for First-Year Students Macon, GA Dr. Charles Farmer ’97 Assistant Superintendent of Middle and High Schools, Williamson County, TN
Nancy Fortner ’71 Retired Educator and School Counselor Brownsboro, AL
Dr. Larry DiChiara ’81 President, SOY Education Associates, Inc. Auburn, AL
Sharon Lovell Former Board Member, Vestavia Hills School System Vestavia Hills, AL
Dr. Denisha Hendricks ’01 Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, Chicago State University Tinley Park, IL
Lynn McWhorter ’70 Retired Principal Roswell, GA
Dr. Jeffrey Potteiger ’90 Dean of The Graduate School and Research Integrity Officer, Grand Valley State University Grand Rapids, MI
Katie Scruggs ’99 4th Grade Teacher, Heritage Elementary School Madison, AL INTERNAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE Susan McIntosh Housel ’73, Chair Retired Elementary Educator Auburn, AL Dr. Roderick Perry ’95, Incoming Chair Director of Athletics, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN Dr. Susan Boes ’91 Professor, College of Education, University of West Georgia Salem, AL Laura Cooper ’02 Executive Director, Lee County Youth Development Center Auburn, AL
Libba Russell ’64 Retired Educator Columbus, GA Dr. Silvia Scaife ’91 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, J.F. Drake Middle School Auburn, AL Beth St. Jean ’70 Retired Educator Marietta, GA
William Langley ’63 Business Owner, Sidewinder Inc. Columbus, GA Bestowed March 2012 James Manley, Jr. ’60 Retired Banker, SunTrust Bank Decatur, GA Bestowed March 2012 Dr. Byron Nelson, Jr. ’57 Retired Superintedent Union Grove, AL Bestowed March 2012 Dr. Carlton Smith ’67 Retired Superintendent Birmingham, AL Bestowed March 2012 Dr. Joyce Reynolds Ringer ’59 Retired Executive Director, Georgia Advocacy Office Auburn, AL Bestowed May 2009
Thomas Taylor ’97 Vice President, Brand Activation Bespoke Sports & Entertainment Belmont, NC NAC EMERITUS MEMBERS** Dr. Tom Taylor ’60 Retired Superintendent Clinton, MS Bestowed March 2015
**The honor of “emeritus membership” is reserved for council members whose service to the college through their council membership is
exemplary and worth recognizing in a special way. Such honor is bestowed by recommendation of the council’s Executive Committee to the dean following the conclusion of the council member’s final term of service. 70 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARDS Each year, graduates of the College of Education who have made outstanding contributions to the profession or the college are recognized at the Spring Awards and Recognition Ceremony. The four categories are:
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD
OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD
Recognizes a graduate of the college who has made outstanding contributions to the profession or college.
Recognizes a graduate of the college who is a practitioner directly engaged with students; e.g., teacher, counselor, librarian; can be from a school, university, agency or community setting.
2016 Outstanding Alumnus Award Recipient
2016 Outstanding Educator Award
OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATOR AWARD
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD
Recognizes a graduate of the college who is in an administrative/ supervisory role; e.g., superintendent, principal, director, supervisor, coordinator; can be from a school, university, agency or community setting.
Recognizes a graduate of the college who has made outstanding contributions to the profession or college.
2016 Outstanding Administrator Award
2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Dr. Imogene Mathison Mixson ’63 Retired Administrator Ozark, AL
Dr. Andre’ Harrison ’06 Superintendent of Education, Elmore County Board of Education Wetumpka, AL
Delane Bickelhaupt ’94 Counselor, Mableton Elementary School Mableton, GA
Dr. Loraine St. Onge ’98, ’08 Research Administration Manager, US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory Ft. Rucker, AL
Nominations for the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Awards will be accepted starting June 1, 2016. For more information, please contact Molly McNulty, Development Coordinator, at email@example.com or visit our website, www.education.auburn.edu. 2016 Keystone Magazine | 71
STUDENT AMBASSADORS As student ambassadors, we not only represent the College of Education but we also give back to our community. As education majors, we strive to enhance the education experience others receive to help provide them with a better future. This year we adopted our local chapter of Reading Is Fundamental, Jean Dean RIF, as our service project. The RIF mission is to put quality, ageappropriate books into the hands and homes of at-risk young children before they start kindergarten. Until I became involved with RIF, I didnâ€™t realize that literacy was such a big issue. RIF has taught me that 1 in 4 people in the United States are functionally illiterate. In a three-hour time slot on one Saturday this past year, our group helped sort over 2,000 books which means that we helped that many children across the state gain access to a book of their very own. Slowly but surely we are working -- and will continue to work -- to close the literacy gap in our state. Ashley Roberson, President â€˜16
Katie Jo Clark
Junior, Early Childhood
Senior, Physical Activity
Senior, Exercise Science
Smiths Station, AL
Junior, Special Education
Disabilities Studies Cumming, GA
Education Marietta, GA
Education Hoover, AL
Senior, Physical Activity
Senior, Exercise Science
Fort Payne, AL
Masters, Social Science
Senior, Early Childhood
Junior, Exercise Science
Education Hoover, AL Katie Boyer Junior, Early Childhood Special Education Mars, PA Katie Gray Carlson Sophomore, Elementary Education Pike Road, AL Michaela Charles Junior, General Science Education Albertville, AL
72 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Stephanie Sorrell Junior, Mathematics
and Health Albany, GA
Education Burke, VA
Education Hoover, AL Destiny Taylor Senior, Physical Activity and Health Oxford, AL
Junior, Exercise Science
We believe in education.
And we believe in the impact of a great education.
Your support ensures that we will continue to prepare students to make a difference regionally, nationally, and globally. Supporting the Auburn University College of Education means: Providing financial support to deserving students in need Presenting faculty with resources to enhance student learning through teaching, research, and outreach Promoting the college’s vision of building a better future for individuals, our state, our nation, and our world Please consider supporting the college by joining the Dean’s Circle as a Patron of the Keystone. Each year, Dean’s Circle funds provide flexible support to students, faculty, and programs within the College of Education. Numerous scholarships are awarded each year to students who have excelled academically. Faculty members receive support in their efforts to build professionals who can serve as change agents.
How to Make A Difference
Each alumnus and friend of the College of Education is invited to become a Patron of the Keystone by joining the Dean’s Circle. There are three levels of Dean’s Circle commitment, each requiring a minimum of a three-year pledge.
Distinguished Patron of the Keystone pledge at least $2,500 per year Honored Patron of the Keystone pledge at least $1,000 per year Patron of the Keystone (for alumni within ten years of their graduation date) pledge at least $500 per year All Patrons of the Keystone are recognized within the College of Education and on the college’s website. Patrons are also invited to attend various college events throughout the year. Distinguished and Honored Patrons are invited to an annual event with the Dean. Dean’s Circle contributions are fully tax deductible and are processed through the Auburn University Foundation. For more information, contact Molly McNulty at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view a current listing of members, visit education.auburn.edu/giving/societies/patrons
Non-profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 9 Auburn, AL 36830
College of Education 3084 Haley Center 735 Extension Loop Auburn, AL 36849-5218 Address Service Requested
Teachers T HE H ON
shape the future. WHO SHAPED YOURS? 1 | 2016 Keystone Magazine
Education isn’t isolated to the classroom. “Teachers” exist in schools and in all walks of life— challenging, encouraging, and inspiring others to fulfill their highest potential. The College of Education invites you to honor those who have laid the foundation for you—or for those in your family—academically, professionally, and personally. With a gift of $500 to the College of Education—a gift that will enhance our efforts to equip tomorrow’s educators—you can honor that special person who has made a difference in your life. Honor Roll inductees are listed on a plaque within the College of Education and on the college’s website. Each inductee also receives a certificate, letter from the dean, and membership lapel pin. Contact Kelly Rogers, Development Coordinator, for more information: kelly.rogers @auburn.edu or 334.844.5792.