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THE EDUCATOR Faculty / Staff Newsletter

Dewar College of Education Sept/Oct 2012

Valdosta State University

Vol. 1 No.1


The Dean’s Desk Welcome all VSU Dewar College of Education faculty and staff to the 2012-2013 academic year. Every department within the COE has exciting projects in progress and yet continues to look to the future. You are a diverse and vibrant group that makes significant impacts on the lives of students. Even in the current environment of declining financial support, your commitment to local families, schools, and the community has been unwavering. This sense of dedication to those we serve is also felt within the COE as a supportive group of professionals that enjoy what they are doing. It is this kind of collegial environment that I would like to continue to foster. So far, we are off to a great start with ECSE working together to implement a new clinical model, KSPE continuing international relationships and preparing for the new health science building

on the north campus, MSRD teaching classes in the Valdosta Early College Academy building, CLT rapidly expanding the doctoral program, CSD providing vital speech/language/ hearing screenings and therapy in the community, PC extensively involving undergraduate students in research, and ACE moving some programs completely on-line to better accommodate student needs. These are only a few examples of the many activities that set you apart from the rest of the USG schools and why you are looked upon as leaders in the state. I look forward to working with all of you and believe this will be a great year in the College of Education at Valdosta State University. Dr. Brian Gerber Interim Dean, COE

The Dean’s Desk

pg. 1

A peek at the new website

pg. 2

Center News / Updates

pg. 3-5

Recognizing two of our own

pg. 6,7

Look for the skunk

pg. 8

Walk for Phil

pg.9 this issue

Well here it is... the first issue of “THE EDUCATOR”, Dewar College of Education’s Newsletter!

In the coming months our hope is to make the newsletter a more interactive, multimedia experience that will provide not only a worthwhile source of information but maybe even provide a little entertainment. Ultimately the success of this effort will depend on its value to its readers. We are looking for COE news and entertainment. Don’t be left out. Submit early and submit often. Your constructive feedback, suggestions, ideas, and submissions are sincerely solicited and encouraged at: COENEWS@VALDOSTA.EDU

New VSU Website Is On The Way. . . In the Spring of 2012 the PBC approved funds to begin the process of redesigning VSU’s Website. As a part of the initial redesign the university purchased a new content management system called Cascade Server, a Hannon Hill product. This system has many more features than Contribute, the current content management system. The website is the university’s front door; it is most often the first place that prospective students, prospective faculty/staff, and the community at large look to find information about VSU. It is important that viewing the site leaves a good first impression. Many university websites over time become tools to serve

those who already know the campus well and so the site loses its focus on projecting the university to the larger external audience. The Valdosta State University Website (Phase 1) will go live in the first week of October. Colleges and Departments are scheduled in Phase 3, which will begin content migration in January 2013. During the transition we ask that faculty and staff be patient as the university website is very large, with over 30,000 plus pages. However, we have a very aggressive goal to complete the redesign and go live by Fall 2014. Andy T. Clark

Spotlight on the COE Center for Online Learning The Center for Online Learning (COL) is a new addition to the Dewar College of Education (COE). The COL is available to support and encourage the outstanding online initiatives that are the hallmark of the College. Center staff, Meg Moore and Amanda King-Spezzo, along with videographer, Danny Smith, are dedicated to supporting the college’s online learners and faculty. Since 2011, the Center has provided over 500 students with administrative and academic advising, responded to over 650 technical requests from faculty and staff, worked with over 200 prospective online learners, assisted faculty with instructional design consultations ,and are actively preparing for several upcoming software transitions. The 2012-2013 academic year brings exciting opportunities, and our office is here to ensure that faculty and students have the needed preparation and support.


State University’s online courses are

In January 2013, VSU’s online collaborative programs will transition to the Desire2Learn learning management system. Faculty training sessions and a training schedule are currently in development. Face-to-face and virtual trainings will be available to meet our collaborative instructors’ diverse needs and schedules. Archived training sessions will also be available for faculty who are unable to make a scheduled session. To promote student awareness and reduce student frustration with the change, we will use a communication plan targeting learners electronically and by postal mail. Student notification will begin in October. In the months ahead we will introduce a new review process for online course quality. We have received many requests for a simplified course review process. The new procedure will align with the COE’s quality initiative, and we believe it will create a more manageable procedure for faculty who wish to submit their course for review. Details will follow later this fall.


Technology Services is currently

primarily delivered through Blackboard Vista 8. Blackboard Vista 8 is commonly referred to as GeorgiaVIEW for Georgia ONmyLINE (GOML) and eMajor collaborative online courses, and BlazeVIEW for non-collaborative online courses. Recently the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) approved the selection of Desire2Learn (D2L) as the next learning management system (LMS) for the USG. The USG’s LMS task force website has information about the selection process as well as a final report from the selection task force members.

working on migrating content from GeorgiaVIEW to GoVIEW. Workshops are planned to start early October for GoVIEW instructors teaching Spring 2013. Faculty and students will be provided new account information for GoVIEW, and once accounts have been created we will disseminate what the new credentials are and how to log into the new system. BlazeVIEW courses will begin using D2L in May, 2013. Additional details and notifications about the transition process will be forthcoming.

When GOML and eMajor transition to D2L for Spring 2013 instruction, the environment will be rebranded as Georgia Online Virtual Instruction Enterprise Wide (GoVIEW)., 229-249-2778.

For more information about the transition to D2l, please contact Amanda King-Spezzo,

COE Student Advising Center Implements New Program The

Dewar College of Education Advising Center advises over 500 students who call the College of Education

Kelly Godfrey, a GA, is completing a new student’s folder with the help of Asst. Director Ms. Sheree Hudson in the Advising Center .

home. The Advising Center’s GAs will begin a mentoring process for new freshmen in Fall 2012. The mentoring program is an effort to help ensure that freshmen will be academically successful while at VSU, especially in the College of Education. As we strive to streamline and improve the advising process, we greatly appreciate all the support we have received from the faculty and staff. For information about the Advising Center call 229-245-3880. Mimi McGahee , Director Advising and Student & Faculty Support

SULLIVAN LITERACY CENTER Make a Difference, Volunteer . . . The Sullivan Literacy Center has multiple volunteer opportunities for all COE students. We need volunteers to be tutors in the Blazing Through Books program, to be M-CAT content (MATH) volunteers, and to become pen pals with the children in the Sullivan Literacy Center through the Dear Blazer Buddy...pen pal program. The children (70+) will be coming every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 - 4:50 starting on Monday, September 10, 2012 and will

I also want to get the word out about my Dr. D., I READ! campaign. Several of the children that we work with in the literacy center are struggling and/or reluctant readers, and I am promoting reading (any kind of reading). My goal is to get 10,000 names of readers by May 2013. A post-it-note mural of the names is being constructed in the “I READ! Hall of Fame”, which is in the hallway next to the Sullivan Literacy Center. Right now I have over 4,000 names! Say it LOUD! Say it PROUD! Dr. D., I READ! Dr. Gina M. Doepker Ed. Center rm 1168 - 229.333.5625 (SLC) COE rm 1001 - 229.333.5645 (Fax) 229-219-1225

end Wednesday, November 14th. If anyone needs more information they can contact me or my GAs in the Sullivan Literacy Center.

COE Assessment Center Accreditation Updates

News From the Office of Student Teaching and Field Experience

to make sure all faculty know, the following

The Student Teaching and Field Experience Office

five programs in the Dewar College of Education hold national accreditations: Athletic Training (CAATE), Communication Disorders (CAA-ASHA), School Counseling (CACREP), Art Education (NASAD), and Music Education (NASM). The Dewar College of Education is accredited by the Dr. Lynn Minor Director, COE National Council for Assessment Center Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This year the focus of this column will be on our preparations for the approaching NCATE/GaPSC joint visit in November 2013.

has been busy this Fall Semester! We have 166 student teachers placed for their final semester and over 250 practicum students that will begin their practicum experiences the week of September 10th! Mrs. Renee Whitmer, Student Teaching Coordinator, and Mrs. Sophi Stevens, Practicum Coordinator, have both been busy locating the most optimal placements and best mentor teachers for our university students. We anticipate great things this FALL!


Last year we submitted seven program reports to our national professional associations. Good news!!! Our results are in, and the following programs are nationally recognized: Early Childhood-with conditions (ACEI), Foreign Language Education (ACTFL), Library Media Specialist (ALA), Middle Grades Education (AMLE), Reading Education (IRA), School Psychology-with conditions (NASP), Special Education-Deaf Education (CEC). A common theme in these reports was the description of how each program made its decisions using the data it collected through our assessment system. Thanks to all contributing faculty members for their hard work in achieving and maintaining these recognitions. Dr. Lynn Minor

Our mentor training will continue during the month of September. Our goal is to provide our mentor teachers with up-to-date teaching trends in best teaching practices, provide them with requirements and responsibilities of our university students, and assist them in any way with their jobs so that all students succeed! A collaborative effort is essential in strengthening our partnerships with our cooperating schools. This is just one step in this direction. All mentor teachers may join our VSU Mentor Teacher group through Edmodo. This is proving to be a great line of communication between the university and our mentor teachers. The student teaching application for Spring Semester 2012 is available now on the COE website. The due date is this Friday, August 31. You may also check out our NEWS BOARD located outside our office doors (Room 1102 and 1104) which has updated jobs, student teaching and practicum news! A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops. Henry Adams Jamie Bird

COE Professor Named Georgia Outstanding Career & Technical Educator Dr. Charles Backes, professor of adult and career education at Valdosta State University, was recently named 2012 Georgia Outstanding Career and Technical Educator. Backes was honored during the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education annual conference held July 15-18 in Atlanta.

Backes was nominated for the award by Corey Nawolski, an automotive technology teacher at Lowndes High School and part-time lecturer at VSU, on behalf of the Trade and Industrial Educators of Georgia. “This award means a lot to me because it comes from my peers,” said Backes. “I have worked with career, technical and agricultural education teachers throughout the state and with other training professionals across the nation. Winning this award validates the contributions that I have made in my efforts to provide career and technical educators with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be success-

ful in their classrooms and training programs. I believe that workforce education and training is the key to a successful future and to personal satisfaction as a productive member of society. Backes holds 30 years of experience as a technical educator, preparing students to enter or advance through the technical workforce. He has been with VSU for almost two decades and also serves as the director of professional education for the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC) and as an honorary command chief with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing (AGOW) at Moody Air Force Base. He has a Ph.D. in Vocational Education from Louisiana State University. He is married to Lora Backes, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The Georgia Outstanding Career and Technical Educator award is presented annually to recognize career and technical educators who have recently provided or currently are providing significant contributions to professional associations and career and technical education programs for youth or adults in their fields, communities or states. GACTE is the second largest state affiliate of the national organization, Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE). Georgia’s 2,700 members represent high school, technical college and university faculty and administrators who are associated with career, technical and agricultural education. Malynda Dorsey Communications Specialist

World Traveler Ms. Elizabeth Omiteru Brings Her Experience and Technical Skills to the Dewar College of Education Living 5,780 miles from her homeland of Oyo State Nigeria, Instructional Tech Specialist Ms. Elizabeth Omiteru has had quite a journey on her way to Valdosta, Georgia. At the age of 25, Elizabeth left Nige-

loans, or any type of loans for that matter”. In Nigeria, Omiteru noted, “Loans are not taken out to pay for school; it is the parent’s responsibility to provide for their children. Unlike in the United States where debt is common, Nigerians don’t buy things on credit. “ Five years ago Elizabeth began working at Valdosta State University as a volunteer in the IT department. She can now be found in the Assessment Center in the Dewar College of Education, operating the LiveText software and helping students with technical problems. It has been twelve years since Elizabeth’s last visit to

ria with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and moved to London where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Science. While Omiteru had intended to work on solving air pollution and waste problems, she soon found herself volunteering in a Women’s Environmental Program. As a volunteer she helped in various ways, including building and maintaining the program’s database. As a result of this experience, Omiteru discovered an interest in information technology. When she left London, she moved to New York and later to Colorado. During her stay in New York and in Colorado she continued her studies. She eventually completed a second Master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Regis University. According to Omiteru, when it comes to education, “There are very few differences between Nigeria and the United States. For example, Nigerian children begin in primary school and finish their education in a university. However, one key difference that sets the two countries apart is the use of student

Nigeria. The meals made from scratch and her hospitable family have often been missed since she left her homeland. She hopes one day to return home to visit with family and friends. Ms. Courtney L. Stephens

The COE Doctoral Program Needs You! Looking for a way to catalyze your research agenda? Looking for an opportunity to collaborate with doctoral students and colleagues? The COE doctoral programs are a way to do both. The College offers doctoral degrees in Adult and Career Education (ACED), Curriculum and Instruction (C&I), and Leadership (LEAD). With over 300 students enrolled, our programs have more than tripled in size since 2008. You are invited to serve as chair, researcher, or member of dissertation committees.

Working with doctoral students is a great opportunity to extend or expand your research agenda by directing a guided independent study or by working with candidates on their research interests. These activities often lead to collaborative publications with candidates and colleagues. If you are interested in serving on committees, teaching, or directing research see one of the program coordinators, Dr. Ellen Willey (C&I), Dr, Rey Martinez (ACED), or Dr. Jerry Siegrist (LEAD). I would also enjoy discussing the many opportunities to engage with our doctoral candidates. Whether you’re in the initial stages of your career at VSU or a veteran scholar, there is not a better time than now to start making connections to our doctoral programs. Dr. Don Leech

You may also wish to become engaged by teaching in the programs.

Watch for Skunkworks . . . Coming in September.

Walk For Phil . . . Join The Lowndes Heart Walk 2012 We

lost a fast walker this year, our friend and colleague, Phil Gunter! Now it's our turn to walk for Phil in the 2012 Lowndes Heart Walk. The Dewar College of Education is looking for coworkers, friends and family to walk in memory of Phil and support the American Heart Association’s (AHA) funding of life changing and life saving research and educational programs. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men AND women in the U.S. Being a walker is fun and easy. Registration is easy, simply go to: Once you get to the home page, click the REGISTER button and follow the prompts to join the Valdosta State University team. The AHA provides great tools and tips, including the website where you can solicit donations quickly online!

I have some additional tools and tips once you sign up that I can share with you. We need you! You can participate even if you are unable to be at the walk on November 3, 2012. Dr. Julie Reffel

Hope you enjoyed the first issue of the COE Newsletter. A special thanks to all who submitted articles and to Mr. Danny Smith for sharing his photography. The next issue is planned to arrive in November. Some of the coming articles include: 

Happenings in the COE Departments

Stories from the field


If you have ideas or content you would like to include in the next issue contact:

The Educator Vol. 1 No. 1  

Newsletter of the Dewar College of Education

The Educator Vol. 1 No. 1  

Newsletter of the Dewar College of Education