C O L L E G E O F E D U C AT I O N
From Dream to Reality
The College of Education’s newest doctoral program produces its first wave of graduates
ACCOUNTABILITY • SUCCESS • PROFESSIONALISM • INTEGRITY • RESPONSIBILITY • EXCELLENCE | Vol. 3, No. 1
C O L L E G E O F E D U C AT I O N
Middle Tennessee State University Fall 2017 / Vol. 3, No. 1
Dean Lana Sievers
University Editor Drew Ruble
Art Direction Kara Hooper
Designer Micah Loyed
University Photographers Kimi Conro, Andy Heidt, J. Intintoli, Eric Sutton
Contributing Editors Darby Campbell, Laura Clark, Carol Stuart
Contributing Writers Jimmy W. Hart, Vicky Travis
Special thanks to The staff and faculty of the MTSU College of Education, the MTSU Development Office staff, the MTSU News and Media Relations team
University President Sidney A. McPhee
University Provost Mark Byrnes
Vice President of Marketing and Communications Andrew Oppmann Address changes should be sent to Advancement Services, MTSU Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; firstname.lastname@example.org. Other correspondence should be sent to ASPIRE Magazine, Drew Ruble, 1301 E. Main St., Box 49, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.
0517-4367 / Middle Tennessee State University does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs, and activities sponsored by MTSU. The Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and can be reached at Cope Administration Building 116, 1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; Marian.Wilson@ mtsu.edu; or 615-898-2185 The MTSU policy on non-discrimination can be found at mtsu.edu/titleix.
5,000 copies printed at Lithographics, Nashville, Tenn. Designed by MTSU Creative and Visual Services.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
03 04 09 10 14 19 20 23 24 26
Those Who Rock, Teach Editor’s letter
Teaching the Teachers From professional development to statewide educational content, MTSU’s high-tech College of Education produces more than just new teachers
A Rising Tide Gifts of all sizes are creating a sustainable support structure for MTSU’s student-teachers
Cracking the Code The College of Education’s chair of Dyslexic Studies is working to bolster training and awareness of an all-too-common reading disorder
News & Notes
Caring Beyond the Classroom From Dream to Reality The College of Education’s newest doctoral program produces its first wave of graduates
Leading the Quest Data from the College of Education reveals its pre-eminence campus-wide in retaining and graduating students
Education in Your Own Backyard The College of Education’s off-campus, graduate degree cohort program improves remote schools and school districts
A Healing Presence MTSU’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services prepares the next generation of school counselors
On the Cover: Kimberly Wade Osborne, one of the first recipients of MTSU’s new Doctor of Education in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement degree, joyfully accepts her doctoral hood during the University’s summer 2016 commencement ceremony in Murphy Center. Osborne, who holds four degrees from MTSU, was the Metro-Nashville Public Schools district numeracy coach and is now principal of Reeves Rogers Elementary. COVER PHOTO BY KIMI CONRO
There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the lightbulb come on with a kid.
Julien Baker PHOTO BY ANDY HEIDT
Those Who Rock, Teach by DREW RUBLE Julien Baker is one of the most unusual student-teacher candidates you will ever meet. During her freshman year at MTSU, Baker penned a batch of heartfelt songs during late-night writing sessions in the piano closets housed in the Saunders Fine Arts building on campus. The subsequent album that emerged from those sessions, Sprained Ankle, led Rolling Stone magazine in 2015 to name Baker to its list of “10 new artists you need to know.” In overnight fashion, Baker achieved bona fide indie-music-darling status, a designation that has taken her across the globe to perform her music over the past few years. What makes Baker’s story all the more remarkable is that amidst her meteoric musical rise, she remained enrolled and taking classes at MTSU. Critical acclaim and a worldwide touring more recently led Baker to announce a break from her studies at MTSU; however, she has in no way altered her resolve to eventually return to college and continue her pursuit of becoming an English teacher. That way, she explained, if the music thing doesn’t work out for her, she’ll still get to perform (in a way). But it will be for a bunch of kids, trying, as she said, to make Chaucer interesting to them, a task she described as “something meaningful.” Baker sees a direct correlation between being a songwritermusician and the art of teaching. “It’s a performance. Your task is to engage those kids, to meet those kids where they are and to teach them—not just the material but why it’s important. If you can’t relate to your students, you can’t make it accessible and important and relevant to their lives, then why are they going to care?” Baker said. “You’re doing that as a songwriter, too. You’re sharing poetry, you’re sharing music, you’re sharing a part of yourself in a
Drew Ruble, University Editor
performance aspect where you have to relate to the audience. If you sing the same, trite sentiment with no genuineness behind it, why is anyone going to care about your songs?” A teacher’s willingness to share a part of themselves with their students is precisely what makes the teaching profession special to Baker. “Beyond just the course content, there’s a hidden curriculum, if you will, that’s not just about learning Spanish or about learning literature, but it’s building self-confidence, and saying, ‘I believe in you, I think you can do this,’ ” she said. Baker deftly compares her journey to musical success to her inspiration for becoming a teacher. “Why would I sleep in cars and drive crazy long hours, stay up until the middle of the night, and eat gas station food to go on tour? Because I love it and because it’s so rewarding when I look out in the audience and I see eyeballs light up,” she said. “It’s the same when you talk to good teachers, they tell me—and I relate to this—there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the lightbulb come on with a kid. When one of the kids I was observing while a student said, ‘I’m actually having fun,’ I felt like I might just burst into tears. . . . I was like, ‘YES!’ ” Baker specifically referenced a teacher in high school that inspired her in that way. “I didn’t get Frankenstein when I read it by myself,” she said. “But when we read it in her AP class, she would jump up and down talking about this book, because she loved it. Sometimes I’m sure it felt like banging her head against a brick wall to get us to understand her passion, but she did it because she loved her students and the subject. That’s beautiful.” As beautiful, in my opinion, is Baker’s understanding and devotion to the teaching profession. I hope this edition of ASPIRE is half as inspiring.
teaching the teachers
From professional development to statewide educational content, MTSUâ€™s high-tech College of Education produces more than just new teachers by DREW RUBLE and VICKY TRAVIS
4 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
Mitch Pryor, director of TV and video production for Audio Visual Services within the Center for Educational Media, produces a broadcast for the College of Education. PHOTO BY DARBY CAMPBELL
he Tennessee legislature created what is today MTSU in 1911. It did so specifically for the purpose of training new teachers. Nowadays, MTSU’s more than century-old history of grooming educators is bolstered by an in-house, high-tech, educational media operation aimed at further strengthening Tennessee’s PreK–12 education. It does so by providing seasoned teachers with continuing education and school districts with a steady flow of educational content. In that respect, MTSU’s modern-day College of Education is more than simply one of the largest producers of teachers in the mid-South (which it is). Boasting capabilities ranging from onsite and online professional development to TV and video production, the college offers a decidedly new-age approach to its now 106-year-old mission. Mind you, being high-tech and cutting edge isn’t new to MTSU’s College of Education. For nearly two decades, the college’s satellite capability alone placed it among the rare colleges of education nationwide with the ability to broadcast timely educational content to school districts from Mountain City to Memphis desperate for it. In 2017, though, the college’s arsenal of media offerings has been fine-tuned in such a way as to become a crucial resource to PreK–12 educators statewide. In doing so, MTSU’s College of Education—and specifically the staff of its Center for Educational Media (CEM)—serves economies across Tennessee without themselves being teachers or educators. One might say the college achieves all this through adherence to a simple mantra: Because teachers never stop learning, MTSU never stops teaching.
Professional Development The College of Education frequently hosts hundreds of veteran teachers on campus, providing the region’s educators the opportunity to convene and to focus on the newest methodologies and standards in teaching.
The recent creation of several new campus spaces for teacher training has further cemented MTSU’s reputation for teacher improvement in Tennessee. The College of Education recently unveiled a massive renovation of the Learning Resources Center (LRC) that culminated in the creation of a 150-seat Professional Development Center for use by veteran teachers and teacher candidates alike. “It offers even more of an opportunity to expand our outreach and extend our hand to PreK–12,” Dean Lana Seivers said. “We always have our hand out to them to ask, ‘Would you take a student in residency?’ But now we can offer this back to them in a larger setting than in the past.” Beyond bricks and mortar, though, it is the College of Education’s aforementioned cutting-edge technological capabilities that truly provide teachers statewide (especially in remote and economically challenged districts) with the kind of support and ongoing training they need. The high-tech aspects built in to the 150-seat auditorium, which has been up-andrunning since May of 2015, serve as a sterling example. Events held there can be streamed, Skyped, recorded, and sent out—whatever school districts need.
Because teachers never stop learning, MTSU never stops teaching. Tennessee requires 30 hours of in-service professional development for public school teachers each year. Many districts also require extra training. That could be in the form of a local seminar with specific content, a college course, or online education about an academic subject or pedagogy. Completing that work takes time and, often, money. And, not unlike in corporate America, budget-conscious districts find it increasingly harder to fund a seminar or travel to a conference. To meet that need, the CEM produces, edits, and curates relevant educational videos (including original content far beyond what can be recorded onsite at the LRC). By doing so, it has created a niche for itself as a provider of free content
Professional Development • 865 users across the state in a semester • 200+ professional development videos available online • 17.3% more videos produced year-over-year • 18+ years producing K–12 educational programming • Thousands of K–12 teachers and students from over 100 Tennessee school districts participating in CEM broadcasts or webcasts • Produced videos for $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant
6 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
• 29 seminars, trainings, and meetings in a year serving PreK–12 educators and students locally, statewide, and regionally • 2,500+ participants over 44 days hosted last year in professional development and training seminars for PreK-12 educators and students • 350 professional development videos produced and archived by CEM accessed 780 times by teachers in 14 school districts • 15 webinars on video accessibility hosted last year in support of MTSU’s Information Access team initiative
that can be used by any teacher in the state as part of required professional development hours. (After a teacher logs in and completes a video, the center sends a report to the district to confirm credit.)
Videos for the PreK–12 educator audience run the gamut from math assessment to digital media’s impact on child’s play. Programs on topics such as current policy shifts, bullying prevention, STEM education, and literacy stay in high demand. Recently, the CEM worked on video content related to dyslexia studies (see related article on the college’s Center for Dyslexia on page 10). The emphasis on developing more original professional development video using resources available on campus can be seen most recently in a brand-new English language learner video series created, directed, and produced in-house by CEM staff. The project provides needed support to teachers who are not certified through ESL but who have English learners in their classes (which is basically everyone), even in a math class. “Professional development budgets don’t always allow for all the different experiences we’d like,” said Terry Sue Fanning (’84, ’92), supervisor of instructional programs for Lincoln County Schools. “What MTSU does is low- or no-cost and high-quality, so it’s a win for the budget, a win for the teacher—a win for all of us.”
Television Much of that educational video production accomplished by the CEM staff is used to enhance what the college is doing on its own TV station. The College of Education operates the Education Resource Channel (ERC) at MTSU, which provides programming to communities in six Tennessee counties. Chartered by the Murfreesboro Cable Commission, the channel specializes in community and educational programming, combining original content created and produced by CEM staff on campus with content purchased from vendors like Annenberg. All content is specific to PreK–12 professional development, PreK–12 education for student consumption, or community programming. The channel has always been a trusted provider of educational programming, although not always the most interesting channel on the menu. CEM, though, brought it to life. The CEM creative staff was tasked with making more interesting programming that still fit the mission. They met the challenge. Examples of quality programming created in-house include: • a joint initiative to capture PreK–12 professional development programs at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s new Taylor Swift Education Center • a series of programs promoting student success called “Grind Your Be,” in partnership with the MTSU School of Behavioral and Health Sciences • La Comunidad Inicios documentary telling the story of Latin American student success at MTSU, through a Tennessee Board of Regents grant • collaboration on the monthly Out of the Blue show, highlighting University events of interest to the broader community and co-produced with MTSU Marketing and Communications ERC is also a public educational government (PEG) station—one of hundreds of small, independent stations (with small budgets) located across the U.S. The college shares all of its original programming on PEG, providing a significant marketing boost for MTSU outside its local market.
• 179 new educational TV programs totaling 95 hours produced by CEM in 2016 • 24 hours/365 days per year broadcasting programming for campus and community viewers • CEM’s locally produced new programs downloaded 2,000+ times by 234 stations in 38 states through PEG media • Out of the Blue downloaded 279 times by 37 stations from 16 states • Almost 1,000 commercially produced educational programs broadcast in addition to locally-produced programs • 2 Telly Awards in 2016 for CEM original productions (6 total now), including a program spotlighting Music professor Deena Cangrun’s costumed account of early black divas, filmed at the nearby Oaklands historic mansion • 204 commercially produced educational titles (93 hours total) and 762 new free programs (353 hours total) obtained by CEM in the past year
All of this content accumulates in a statewide archive accessible to teachers, schools, and communities statewide. But how do they access it all?
Jon Jackson films Joseph Akins, College of Media and Entertainment faculty, and Laura Clark, director, Center for Educational Media (CEM), on set in the AV Services’ LRC studio filming a Professional Development Program broadcast for the CEM Professional Development Program. PHOTO BY J. INTINTOLI
Increasingly, they do so live over the internet. The CEM is in the midst of a major shift away from its once cutting-edge statewide satellite system (MTSU had been the only Tennessee university with a statewide satellite and webcasting network) to a streaming digital platform. Already, any time anyone steps in to CEM’s new broadcast facilities they can livestream their event to smartphones or school computer screens anywhere. In all, CEM manages over $3.1 million in satellite, television, and webcasting equipment, most of it housed in the LRC. Given that capability, the possibilities are limitless. For instance, rural school districts could build a consortium to pool their limited individual resources to coordinate seminars on MTSU’s campus that meet their needs and could be streamed back to them at a fraction of the cost. Essentially, MTSU can support their needs at a distance, and the district spends less money.
AVS Production Beyond developing compelling educational programming, the CEM audio-visual team also serves the campus academic community. In 2016, the division partnered with eight different colleges at MTSU on video production projects showcasing the work of faculty and/or students. MTSU faculty are now openly solicited to write CEM’s audio-visual services into their grant proposals, as funding sources increasingly wish to see data collection, interviews, and analysis rendered in video format as opposed to lengthy documents. Video also serves as a viable means not just of documenting subject matter but storytelling what researchers have done within a grant project to produce results. It’s not every university that has an entity like the CEM to help scientists with their grant work—more less such capability stemming from under the auspices of a College of Education.
Access One final technological role CEM now plays on campus involves leadership in MTSU’s ongoing commitment to improve access for all individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The CEM has become the go-to entity for closed captioning campus-wide. 8 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
Prior to taking up this cause, closed captioning was virtually nonexistent on campus. In an effort to change that, CEM has partnered with the MTSU Information Access Team, Disability and Access Center, Walker Library, Academic and Instructional Technology Services, and the ADA director to implement the MTSU Accessibility Plan. The focus of the effort is on information accessibility—meaning course syllabi, any printed material posted online, websites including, the MTSU website, and any videos posted on campus. CEM has focused on video captioning and audio description and is now building the on-staff know-how (and acquiring necessary equipment) to handle this task for the University at large.
It’s not every university that has an entity like CEM. So novel is this type of programming among Tennessee universities that the CEM staff had to visit out-of-state universities to find ones doing it well (such as Georgia Tech and the University of Illinois). This is truly a University service.
A Special Place Such innovation in all of these technological areas feeds the College of Education’s end goal to be the alpha and the omega for the education and teaching communities statewide. Many school districts are just learning about the CEM’s capacity, while others—such as Lincoln County, where Fanning works— have partnered for years. “MTSU is unique,” Fanning said. “Some colleges do things along this line, but those usually are not free and don’t have this wealth of offerings.” Every year, the College of Education at MTSU produces more than its fair share of fresh-faced teachers for schools across Tennessee and the mid-South. But as a result of the CEM, the teacher training MTSU provides doesn’t end there. “Research shows that the single biggest impact on child learning is making teachers better,” said Laura Clark, CEM director. “We can do that.”
Gifts of all sizes are creating a sustainable support structure for MTSU’s student-teachers Donald Whitmore, a physical education teacher at Northfield Elementary School in Murfreesboro, grew up in Grand Junction, a very rural section of west Tennessee. Though his parents didn’t have the money to send him or his siblings to college, they did understand the value that an education could have in the lives of their children and encouraged them to work hard in school in the hopes of improving their lots in life. Whitmore did just that, earning a full-ride academic scholarship to MTSU, where he attended from 1989 to 1992. He would later add a master’s degree and an education specialist’s degree from MTSU to his résumé. Today, 24 years in to a teaching career (the last 17 of which he has spent at Northfield), Whitmore has essentially done it all as a teacher . . . including giving back to his alma mater. Whitmore recently wrote a $250 check as a gift to the College of Education and its ASPIRE to Teach grant fund. Why did he do it? “That’s an easy one,” Whitmore said. “MTSU was a blessing to me. And I always said if I was in a position to help somebody else to do this one day, I would do it.” During the residency portion of the college’s teacher education program, it can be very difficult financially for teacher candidates to simultaneously work and student-teach full time. Some students have to quit their jobs or cut back on their work hours significantly to make room for the residency requirement. The need for transportation to their school placements or money for groceries and utilities can also result in candidates
dropping out of the program. In recent years, the College of Education established the ASPIRE to Teach grant fund—to assist residency students experiencing such financial difficulty. In 2015, it became clear to College leaders that to ensure that the ASPIRE to Teach grant lived on in perpetuity, it must become endowed. It currently requires $25,000 to create an endowment at MTSU. As word of Dean Lana Seivers’ mission to create an endowment spread throughout the greater College of Education community through a letter campaign as well as one-on-one conversations, alums and friends alike began answering the call. What happened next was a welcome surprise. Peter Cunningham, then the academic affairs administrative fellow in the MTSU Provost’s Office, and Seivers made significant donations to establish the fund. For Cunningham, the gift had extra meaning as he donated in memory of his late wife, Karen, who devoted her life to the field of education in countless and profound ways. With additional significant gifts from alums and faculty John T. Harris, Raymond and Susan Mack, Louise Bastedo, and John (Jay) and Sandra Sanders, the fund was soon well on its way to reaching the needed threshold. Whitmore said he was inspired to give his gift after he received a letter about the ASPIRE to Teach grant fund. In fact, Whitmore was so inspired that he hand-delivered the gift! Others were inspired as well. As one example, retired faculty and longtime MTSU supporter Mary Belle Ginanni contacted the development office to say that she had a financial fund that she had chosen to move to the ASPIRE Endowment. In the end, with the help of so many, the College of Education surpassed its initial goal. By June 2016, the endowment fund had reached the sum of $50,000. —Drew Ruble
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HART and DREW RUBLE xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyu ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb till early in his tenure as chair of the MTSU’s in establishing partnerships with surrounding school ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh nationally recognized Dyslexic Studies program, bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop districts and to help and support teachers and educators klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer Timothy Odegard has eagerly embraced his role “who are in our schools and interacting with these asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl “to provide a guiding light” for the Tennessee children and who are feeling overwhelmed,” he said. nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty Center for Dyslexia on North Baird Lane. Rubber Meets Road fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx In November, 2015, Odegard was named the Katherine In 2015, state lawmakers passed new legislation qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio Davis Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies, a requiring school districts statewide to provide more hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe professorship created in 1989 that is part of MTSU’s resources to meet the needs of students with dyslexia. pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh College of Education. The Center for Dyslexia was Similar legislation was enacted in recent years in bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer established by the state in 1993 to develop workshops neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. According to asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl and student assessments for K–12 teachers and support Odegard, those states encountered an “implementation nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd MTSU graduate programs in related fields of study. barrier,” meaning they were not prepared or wellenough equipped to fulfill the promise of the new The chair’s purpose is to enhance the skills of teachers, legislation. Over the past few years, by contrast, school psychologists, and parents to more effectively Tennessee has already been working collaboratively and identify and assist dyslexic students. The position is also diligently with school districts to implement a model that tasked with contributing to research about how best to actually addresses the needs of dyslexic schoolchildren, address this learning disability in which some people so many of the pieces are already in place to ease the have extreme difficulty learning to read and spell. Volunteer State’s transition. But the state still needs more “One of the goals that I have been working with highly-trained educators to meet the new requirements. (College of Education) Dean Lana Seivers and others to MTSU’s Center for Dyslexia has already served a crucial explore is our ability as a center to go back to our roots role in supplying that needed boost. a bit and to start offering some very structured, more “The presence of the center is a real benefit to the formal, and intensive teacher trainings,” Odegard said, state in terms of implementation,” Odegard said. “And adding that such training would occur on and off Dr. Herman’s work the last few years aligned the center campus and could include virtual training opportunities to do just that.” as well. Beginning last winter, the center offered one exceptional For the first year, he worked closely with now-retired option for school administrators statewide to get some Jim Herman, director of the Center for Dyslexia,
Cracking the Code The College of Education’s chair of Dyslexic Studies is working to bolster training and awareness of an all-too-common reading disorder
By the Numbers 2016–17 17 school-based workshops for 1,041 PreK–12 educators
9 on-campus workshops for 340 participants
10 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
6 Saturday workshops for 79 parents
140 student assessments (279 consultations with parents and teachers)
608 tutoring sessions
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intensive training for their teachers. A limited number of professional development slots were made available for intensive interventionist training leading to certification. Schools were required to reimburse their teachers for travel, but there was no cost for classes. Selection was based on an interview process, and enrollees were required to have direct contact with students in their positions. “We’ve restarted this arm of the center in a real big way with regard to direct services,” Odegeard said. “The original chair and her model vision was to offer direct support to students—to identify students and provide differentiated instruction— and the ground floor of that is to train teachers.” The Center has also under Odegard held numerous workshops across the state in public schools.
Reaching the Masses Odegard’s longer-term vision is “to create information and become a clearinghouse for reliable information on dyslexia and related reading disabilities and how they relate to literacy in general.” To accomplish that, the center has already been working with MTSU’s Center for Educational Media, also housed in the College of Education, to create and make available short, topical videos that are teacher- and parent-friendly. Odegard’s earliest efforts already have been used by
Decoding Dyslexia Dyslexia affects 10–20 percent of the population. What it is, according to the International Dyslexia Association, is “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” Struggling to read hinders vocabulary growth and reading comprehension and can lead to low literacy and poor self-esteem. It’s important to understand that dyslexia is not a disease; it cannot be cured. Nor does it equate to intelligence; many dyslexics have average to above-average intelligence. However, when detected early, dyslexia can be successfully addressed with education, training, and patience. Celebrated military general George Patton and renowned scientist Albert Einstein had dyslexia. Other well-known Americans who have this disability include Jay Leno, Henry Winkler, Tom Cruise, Cher, and Anderson Cooper.
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With the assistance of jklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm then–state senator Andy Womack yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl of Murfreesboro (who chaired the nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty Senate Education Committee), the dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx money was appropriated. Another qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf cvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio milestone occurred in 2001, when hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw the current 4,300-square-foot pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh building opened on the edge vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer of campus. The building doubled asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm the center’s size and was made yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas possible with assistance from zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq the MTSU Foundation and a uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg $1 million grant from the Murfreesboro-based nonprofit Christy-Houston Foundation.
other universities including Southern Methodist University for teacher training sessions, as well as by other states to raise awareness. Down the road, the CEM plans to package the video content into a training module that can be mass distributed through its high-tech continuing education channels.
“Children are often not allowed to advocate on behalf of themselves because they are viewed as unreliable witnesses whose memory you can’t trust,” Odegard said. “So I used science to try to understand memory in order to improve the ability to understand testimony provided by children.”
Odegard is also using more “old-fashioned” ways to spread the message of dyslexia awareness as well, seeking partnerships and collaborations with allied organizations to hold or host events related to dyslexia. Last fall, for instance, the center hosted a symposium with guest speakers Aimee Holt, who wrote the state’s Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI2 manual, and Deborah Lynam, a nationally recognized leader in the “parent world” of dyslexia education and who helped start the first Decoding Dyslexia chapter in New Jersey.
His work in memory led him to look at another “underrepresented” population—military veterans. For a time, Odegard served as primary investigator on a research project funded by the Department of Defense that connected chemical exposure in the Gulf War to memory loss.
A Personal Journey A developmental cognitive psychologist, and a dyslexic himself, Odegard trained predominantly in childhood development, working initially in the area of memory to, in his own words, “improve methodology so children could advocate on behalf of themselves.”
12 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
“Working with vulnerable populations having a hard time getting people to listen to them because there hasn’t been good basic science that’s been done to document what may or may not be happening—well, that sort of gets me up in the morning,” Odegard summed up. Over time, his research interests gravitated to dyslexia. He said the fact that both he and his sister have dyslexia was not the primary reason he entered the field. “I’m not necessarily an advocate that people who personally are afflicted by something should study it,”
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I was nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq iopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjk klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopa instruction with a child that has a word-level problem interested in brain imaging and cognition. I was well asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio and just can’t get the words off the page because they trained as a scientisthjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm in both these areas, so I thought mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwepasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklz are dyslexic, they can do so. Or if they wonder what there was something I could do to improve our zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghj bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty we mean by an integrated approach that’s direct and knowledge of it.” uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopaklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertsdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc intensive, they can come in and watch it. We will make Such an accomplished academic and researcher, Odegard vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvmq yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg that happen.” klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopa well represents what people with dyslexia can accomplish asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg cvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm Such a model benefits parents of dyslexic children despite their reading disability. Odegard emphasizes that, mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwepasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklz as well. not unlike many dyslexics, his reading ability is quite high zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcv rtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghj bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty within his domain of expertise. He is able to focus in on a uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopaklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq “Parents can come in and see what it looks like,” wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwert specialty area and, sdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc due to exposure, is able to learn a Odegard said. “This is what you should be seeing with cvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl base vocabulary formqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui site words and achieve in that area. your kids. They should be working on these skill sets. pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw ertyuiopasdfghjlzxcvbnmqwertyui fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb This is the intensity that it looks like. This is what it looks “If you put me in a text that I understand the way it is mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl lzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas like in a small group. Look at how they work with each built, and that I understand the vocabulary for, I will be dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty other, how they are using the materials. This is what it able to read that text, understand, and process it very uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx looks like one-on-one. It helps you think about what you quickly,” he said. xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjknmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyu should be seeing.” But what if someone were to put a copy of Milton’s opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas lzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcv In the end, Odegard hopes to transform the center into Paradise Lost in front of him? “That was a miserable bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklz “a Swiss Army knife” where new instructional book for me to readqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop in college!” he said. pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe rtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuighjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbn techniques or innovations can be plugged in and tested Odegard’s own dyslexia research emphasizes mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl on a small scale in a controlled trial environment. lzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas neuroimaging to understand human cognition. He dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop jklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm For stakeholders statewide, that’s exactly the kind of most recently published a paper outlining his use of qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx “guiding light” on the issue of dyslexia that the center brain imaging data tyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf to predict outcomes in dyslexic xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui can be. children. A regular speaker across the nation on topics related to dyslexia, Odegard recently presented some of Editor’s note: Patsy Weiler contributed to this article. his research at a literacy conference at MTSU based on his study of neuroimaging in Texas, where he completed a two-year dyslexia specialist training program at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas.
Creating the Template
“It’s an emerging field of research,” he said. “The reality of reading and literacy and developing these skills is that there’s a gene-brain-environment interaction that we’re slowly unraveling across many labs in the country.” Odegard is also hoping to do more collaborative research with other MTSU faculty who are also interested in the topic or who may have had previous connections to the center and its mission. His work to date with the Literacy Studies doctoral program at MTSU, specifically with Amy Elleman, portends exciting research outcomes at the University.
A Better Mousetrap Beyond professional development and research, Odegard is also working to further ramp up the instructional model for future teachers studying at MTSU. And by doing so, he is building a sort of laboratory where professional development, research, and instruction go hand in hand. “What’s better than being able to show somebody something?” Odegard said. “So if a school administrator
The same passion to help children succeed is the motivation that led Murfreesboro resident Kitty Murfree to lay the foundation on which the center was built. In the mid-1980s, she became keenly aware that the needs of students with dyslexia were not adequately being met in Tennessee. “Dyslexia was a hidden element which families tried to quietly work with at the time,” Murfree said. “It was evident there was no real place to go for help.” She responded by endowing the Katherine Davis Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies at MTSU in 1988. “I have always been a person that if you have a problem, you go after it.” said Murfree, who has served for years on the board of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
So many stories . . . so few pages! There are simply too many positive developments happening in the College of Education to tell you about them all in a single edition of ASPIRE magazine. The following news and notes section, then, is intended to highlight just a few items from the recent past.
Driving Success MTSU professor emeritus Jim Calder established the James and Beverly Calder Scholarship as part of a $31,000 gift split between the College of Education and MT Athletics. Beverly Calder is an adjunct supervising MTSU student teachers. To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be majoring in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and be admitted into the Teacher Education Program. Applicants must also be a graduate of an out-of-state high school and demonstrate financial need. The recipients, selected by the College of Education Scholarship Committee, receive a $1,000, one-year award. Jim Calder, an expert in developmental disabilities and who spearheaded MTSU’s cutting-edge curriculum in that field, taught at MTSU as a full-time faculty member for 24 years from August 1991 to July 2015. Their daughter, Linda Olsen, was recently hired as director of undergraduate recruitment in the MTSU Office of Admissions.
For Kids, By Kids It’s not every day that a local elementary school PTO raises money for a university program handpicked for support by elementary students. But that’s exactly what Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro did for the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center (ACE) at MTSU when it chose the former Project HELP program as one of just a handful of beneficiaries of one of the school’s recent fall festivals. The Step UP and Serve Yard Sale and Fair helped provide funds for teacher’s classrooms, computers, art, music, and P.E., with 10 percent of the proceeds supporting local charities chosen by the students, which in 2015 included ACE, A Soldier’s Child, Good Shepard Children’s Home, Greenhouse Ministries, Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt—Traumatic Brain Injury Deptartment, Rutherford County Books from Birth, Tennessee CASA Association, and Therapeutic Animal Partners.
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Good Reference DeAnne Luck, lecturer in the Womack Educational Leadership Department’s Library Science master’s program, won the 2016 Tennessee Library Association Honor Award, recognizing a person or group who has made a significant contribution to the furtherance of librarianship on a statewide or national level. Luck is a self-described “reader, lover of stories in all media, music enthusiast, Crossfitter, whole-foodie, and National Parks junkie.”
NEWS & NOTES
Faculty Research Highlights The research being conducted by College of Education faculty has a ripple effect across the state and nation. By educating and improving the literacy of people throughout Tennessee, such research not only helps people improve their quality of life, but also get better jobs and boost economic development in Tennessee. • Amy Elleman conducts research on supporting struggling readers. • Jane Lim researches bullying among refugee and other diverse school populations. • Robyn Ridgley focuses on early intervention services for young children with developmental delays. • Terri Tharp’s research and service looks at supporting families’ interactions with their children during literacy activities. • Amy Elleman concentrates on reading intervention as her research area. • Eric Oslund conducts research in reading comprehension and statistics. • Jwa Kim, a psychometrician and director of the Literacy Studies Ph.D. program, researches reading comprehension and test construction in reading assessment.
Ramping Up A new, inclusive playground opened in August for youngsters attending MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center on North Baird Lane. The playground, which was funded entirely through generous donations, was the brainchild of Robyn Ridgley, an Early Childhood Education professor at MTSU, who for a time assumed the role of ACE director following the retirement of Susan Waldrop. The center worked with the Tennessee Agriculture in the Classroom program and partnered with Cowboy Dan (Harrell), who showed the center how to plant in its new garden boxes while building. At press time, preschoolers were growing cherry tomatoes, okra, corn, pole beans, green peppers, chives, squash, and basil. Other new playground attributes include grassy play areas, slides, a custom playhouse, a wooden “theater” complete
Like Minds Beverly Joan Boulware, a professor of Literacy Education in the Department of Elementary and Special Education, is the author of Harry and Eddie: The Friendship That Changed the World, a book that chronicles the relationship between Harry S. Truman and his business partner, Eddie Jacobson. From their service together in World War I to their management of a Kansas City haberdashery, Truman and Jacobson remained pals as Truman’s political career took him all the way to the presidency of the United States. When millions of Jews were displaced during World War II, Jacobson, a Jew of Lithuanian and German descent, called on his buddy in the White House to help them. Jacobson’s influence helped to convince Truman that the United States should recognize the land known today as Israel as a sovereign country in 1948. “We want to teach our children that our friendships are important because, at the right time in history, for the next generations, some of them may be able to do something together with others that they know to make the world a better place,” Boulware said.
with child-sized stump seating, a corrugated tunnel under a hill with willow-arbor entrances, musical instruments, places to paint, a water table, chalkboard frames along the fence to decorate, and even a kid-sized vehicular tribute to the traffic roundabouts—and parking spots—across campus. MTSU’s ACE Learning Center serves children from age 13 months to kindergarten, allowing them to play together and learn from each other. Teachers at the center plan activities that help each child, with and without developmental delays, learn good communication, social, cognitive, and motor skills. Similarly inclusive preschools are scattered across the state today, but MTSU’s was the first in 1983—three years before federal law required services for very young children with developmental delays—thanks to founder and education professor Ann Campbell. She created what was then called Project Help to provide a classroom environment for preschool children with special needs and a training ground for students majoring in Early Childhood Education.
Making A Difference In the College of Education, the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center (ACE), the Child Development Center (CDC), and the Home and Community Based Early Intervention initiative (HBCEI) are programs where families and young children are served by caring, well-trained teachers who focus on the critical first years of a child’s life. Consider these numbers:
Distinguished Program Award Faculty members Terry Goodin, Heather Dillard, and Nancy Caukin are a part of the Ready2Teach Residency 1 Team in the Womack Educational Leadership Department. The MTSU team researches the effectiveness of the Residency 1 program at preparing teacher candidates for practice. This program impacts the teaching profession by preparing teachers through an authentic, real-to-life approach, and those teacher candidates go on to impact the lives of countless students in the state. The team was recently a finalist for the Distinguished Program of the Year Award from the Association for Teacher Educators, a prestigious national teacher education organization.
More Than Child’s Play Dr. Kathleen Burriss was the primary creator and serves as senior editor of a new journal launched in 2016, The International Journal of the Whole Child (IJWC). Burriss also developed an MTSU public service grant award for $6,200 in 2014 to create a radio program titled Play Talk, now airing on public radio. Burriss, who taught for 15 years as a kindergarten teacher, researches children’s play and outdoor physical activity. Through play, children become creators, explorers, collaborators, problem-solvers, and critical thinkers.
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ACE Ann Campbell Early Learning Center
CDC Child Development Center
served 65 children, 49% of whom had special needs, in 2016–17
125 MTSU students
completed practicum hours in ACE classrooms provided services to
52 children in 2016–17 54 students
completed practicum hours in classrooms
575 student observations for a total of 775 hours
HBCEI Home and Community-Based Early Intervention program
served in 2016–17
generated in external grants since launch in 2010
has provided early intervention services in 37,683 visits to children and their families
NEWS & NOTES
Dress for (Student) Success One College of Education advisor’s inspired thought helps newly minted teachers make the right impression on the job by JIMMY W. HART June Adams simply saw a need and has worked to fill it. As the advisor for new transfer students and a graduate analyst in the College of Education, Adams’ interactions with future educators revealed that many students didn’t have the proper professional wardrobe to enter the classroom full time. Her creation of the Clothing Our Educators Boutique in the College of Education Building (Room 203) now helps future teachers prepare for their classroom careers. The boutique provides clothing at no cost to upper-level students in the residency portion of the teaching program—meaning those upper-level students immediately preparing for or already working as student teachers in the classroom. “Most aren’t as fortunate as others . . . and attire is basically jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers,” Adams said. “I’m seeing the need every day.” Though the door to the boutique is just like every other office door lining the second floor of the COE building, the interior space has the feel of an intimate boutique, with neatly arranged racks of women’s and men’s clothing in a variety of sizes and styles and a glass display case showcasing various accessories to complete any outfit. Adams was inspired by the Raiders’ Closet, a free clothing resource founded by Jones College of Business Management professor Virginia Hemby-Grubb, which provides students across campus with quality business attire for job interviews, internships, and other professional needs. Adams took action after attending an ASPIRE to Teach grant fund committee meeting to discuss the University’s micro-grant program, which provides emergency funds for students with unexpected expenses that could prevent them from staying in college. If students were struggling with basic challenges, such as paying for textbooks and putting gas in their vehicles to get to class, she thought, then they will likely find it difficult to purchase professionallooking clothes when it’s time to enter the workforce. Adams went to work soliciting and collecting donations for her own, teacher-centric clothing closet. Adams (’80, ’82, ’85) has a master’s in Vocational Technical Education and an education specialist degree. But she also has a bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising from MTSU. For a number of years, Adams worked in retail clothing and merchandising and was store manager for Gresham’s Fine Men’s Clothing in Murfreesboro. According to Adams, Earle Gresham put in “a lot of sweat equity” on weekends and after hours assisting her with setup of the Clothing Our Educators Boutique and also generously supplied racks, a counter, and other necessary equipment for the clothing boutique. (The boutique has also partnered with Camille’s Department Store Outlet on West Northfield Boulevard, which donates new items to help increase the closet’s inventory.) COE Dean Lana Seivers said she is thrilled with the result and believes the boutique effort is “a natural fit” for the University’s Quest for Student Success initiative to support students through graduation.
The Clothing Our Educators Boutique welcomes donations that are age-appropriate for students primarily ages 20 to 30. Needs include: men’s dress or sport shirts, slacks, ties, blazers, sweaters, and outerwear; women’s dresses, pants, skirts, blouses, sweaters, jackets, outerwear, handbags, jewelry, and other accessories. Donations can be dropped off at June Adams’ office, COE Room 307, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday–Friday. In 2016–17, 20 donors supported 80 student recipients. For after-hours or weekend donations, call Adams at 615-898-5153 or email June.Adams@mtsu.edu.
A Lasting Legacy
Recent retirees of the College of Education leave behind a wealth of knowledge and lifetime of work sure to benefit generations of school teachers to come.
Kathryn Boudreau-Henry earned one of Tennessee’s highest honors for librarians when she received the Frances Neel Cheney Award on April 17 at the Tennessee Library Association’s annual conference in Knoxville. The award recognizes “a significant contribution to the world of books and librarianship through the encouragement of the love of books and reading.” Boudreau-Henry “raised” many of the school librarians in middle Tennessee during the course of her long career at MTSU. A staff member in MTSU’s Womack Educational Leadership Department, she retired May 31. About 140 of her former students are employed in libraries in the middle Tennessee area. The crowning achievement of her tenure is the approval of Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) degree program. Three students graduated this academic year with M.L.S. degrees from MTSU. During her career, Boudreau-Henry guided more than 150 graduate students toward acquiring master’s degrees in Education with a concentration in Library Science. Ellen Slicker accumulated seven years’ experience as a K–12 school counselor, more than 40 years as a mental health counselor, and many years as a school psychologist. A Tennessee licensed psychologist with a part-time private practice in Murfreesboro, Slicker is a past president of the Tennessee Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. She was awarded the Middle Tennessee Counseling Association Counselor of the Year Award for 2004–05, the Counselor Advocate of the Year Award for 2006–07 and 2009–10, and the Tennessee School Counseling Association’s Counselor Educator of the Year Award in 2012. Her research and professional interests include play therapy, parenting style, family dysfunction, and child/adolescent behavior. Gloria Bonner (’72, ’74, ’77) retired March 1 leaving in her role as assistant to the president in the Office of University Community Relations. With 44 years in education, 32 of which were spent in academic and administrative roles at MTSU, Bonner was the first African-American dean of an academic unit at MTSU as dean of MTSU’s former College of Education and Behavioral Science. Bonner was honored with the title of dean emerita at the Fall 2017 faculty meeting.
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Alyson Smith Bass, an associate professor in the Department of Elementary and Special Education and coordinator for the M.Ed. in Literacy, taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate Reading courses since joining the faculty of MTSU in 2005. Previously, she taught in both elementary schools (25 years in Louisiana and Texas) and in universities (23 years, including Vanderbilt, San Diego State, and Trinity International). Based in language development theory, and with emergent literacy as her field of expertise, Bass studied and guided primary-age children as they learned effective oral and written communication. In her 12 years at MTSU, Bass served teachers across middle Tennessee through grants, professional development with local education agencies, and entities such as Read to Succeed and Tennessee PreK–16 initiatives. She also worked with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission as a curriculum writer. MTSU professor Terry Weeks (’74, ‘76), is the only National Teacher of the Year in history to hail from Tennessee. That’s quite an accomplishment given that the Council of Chief State School Officers created the program more than six decades ago in 1952 in an effort to highlight and reward excellence in teaching. Weeks won the award in 1988 while teaching at Central Middle School in Murfreesboro. While Weeks had a tremendous impact on individual schoolchildren as a classroom teacher, his impact on the profession was exponential in his role as professor at MTSU, where he tirelessly prepared the teachers of tomorrow. Weeks taught in MTSU’s Womack Educational Leadership Department from 1989 to 2017. As such, Weeks’ students eventually left MTSU and took jobs in classrooms across Tennessee, the South, and the nation, extending the influence of his instruction to whole generations of students.
PHOTO BY J. INTINTOLI
Caring Beyond the Classroom Patrick and Delores Doyle are natives of North Dakota who made their way to Murfreesboro many decades ago. Through the years, the two esteemed educators left an indelible mark on local education. They continue to do so by endowing scholarships in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and College of Education, respectively. In the College of Education, Delores has generously given to the college’s ongoing effort to support students pursuing their teaching license and in need of extra help to reach their full potential. Pat, former Biology Department chair, has established scholarships in honor of retiring faculty members, as well as a scholarship benefitting freshmen. Each year, the MTSU Foundation celebrates members of the Signal Society, which honors annual donors like the Doyles who have supported the University for 20 or more years. This group is named for Middle Tennessee Normal School’s first newspaper/magazine, The Signal, which was originally published in 1912. The Doyles made their first gift of $10 to the University in 1967. Yes, that means that for 50 years they have chosen to support the causes they care about at MTSU. As she described in an article written for the Peabody Reflector several years ago, Delores’ first teaching contract, inked in 1959, paid her the grand sum of $2,900 annually. “Although this seemed like a good salary for one who had been earning only 95 cents an hour as an office worker while attending college, I was well aware that salary would probably not be the major reward of my chosen profession,” she wrote.
Patrick and Delores Doyle
During her first year of teaching, as she was saying goodbye to one of her students for the weekend, Delores said one of her fourth-grade girls hugged her and whispered that she wished she were her mother. “I knew I was hooked on teaching from that day on,” Delores wrote. “Without a doubt, I believe that teaching is the most important job there is. No other profession has a greater impact on an individual and their future than does that of teaching.” Delores was selected for the state’s highest teaching honor when she was chosen by the Tennessee Department of Education to represent the state in the 1992 National Teacher of the Year program. She was one of six classroom teachers in the state recognized by the Department of Education as Tennessee Teachers of the Year. “I am glad I chose teaching as my profession,” she has said. “It has been a rewarding career—one which I would choose all over again if given the opportunity. Today the Doyles are making a difference with their philanthropy. Words simply cannot convey what their dedication to education has meant to the countless beneficiaries at MTSU. It is truly inspiring to know a couple that has dedicated their life’s work and resources to supporting and improving education. The world truly is a better place because of Patrick and Delores Doyle. —Drew Ruble College of Education lobby PHOTO BY J. INTINTOLI
To make your own gift to the College of Education, email Pat Branam at Pat.Branam@mtsu.edu
From Dream to Reality
The College of Educationâ€™s newest doctoral program produces its first wave of graduates by DREW RUBLE
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Spring 2017 Ed.D. graduate Kelli Seymour is interim assistant principal at Ross N. Robinson Middle School in Kingsport, Tennessee. PHOTO BY ANDY HEIDT
Ikind doctoral degree—the Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, n 2013, the College of Education launched a first-of-its-
and School Improvement. It was the culmination of 40 years of work by MTSU faculty and administrators to gain approval for a doctoral program in the College of Education focused on the improvement of K–12 teaching and learning. The new degree was also the fulfillment of a challenge issued by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee to then-new college dean Lana Seivers to, at long last, develop a doctoral program in the college that was unlike any other in the country. The college—in collaboration with state governing bodies—got the program up and running much faster than anyone could have imagined. After many long hours and several iterations, TBR and THEC approved the first and only education doctorate in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement during the summer of 2012. Just one year later, in August 2013, after a diligent and rigorous application and selection process, the college’s first group of students began the program. Starting in that first semester, students engaged in projects that directly improved teaching and learning n schools and districts across Tennessee. By the end of the first year of coursework, students and faculty in the first cohort initiated more than 150 of these field-based research projects focused on the needs in local schools and school districts. Three years later, in August 2016, the college very proudly graduated its first 10 candidates from the new doctoral program (which constitutes half of the college’s first cohort of 20 students). Education professionals from across the state and beyond have been making the commute to MTSU to take advantage of the program, in large part because it is unlike any other in the country. It has specifically attracted educators seeking to enhance their knowledge and careers while using what they’ve learned to make an immediate difference in the lives of K–12 students. Program director and now associate dean Rick Vanosdall said students seeking the degree, who participate in an executive education environment on weekends, dive deep into the research on what works in K–12 and then develop projects to implement in their own professional environments.According to Vanosdall, the projects are intended to pinpoint and support school and district initiatives for improving student learning. As students progress through the program, they develop and complete their dissertation research focused on every aspect of the three pillars of the program Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement. Many of these students have already received accolades locally and nationally through their research publications and presentations. “One of the unique features of the program is that people aren’t learning theory to apply someday down the road,” he said. “They’re doing it right now.”
Greater Impacts The Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement isn’t the only doctorate offered through the College of Education at MTSU. The college also boasts a cutting-edge Ph.D. in Literacy Studies and partners with departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences for the Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. MTSU’s Ph.D. in Literacy Studies is designed to address one of education’s most pressing needs: the shortage of scholars, practitioners, administrators, and policy-makers who can help bridge the gap between the rapidly expanding body of scientific research relevant to the development of literacy and the knowledge base on which educational practice, policy, and professional preparation are based. The interdisciplinary program provides a flexible framework of courses, field experiences, and opportunities for original research that help equip professionals with knowledge, insights, and skills essential to effectively address the literacy crisis in Tennessee and throughout the United States. Specialists are trained in literacy instruction, reading disabilities/ dyslexia, literacy measurement, and administration. MTSU’s Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. program (an interdisciplinary program in partnership with the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences) is a stellar example of the ways MTSU’s service to education extends far beyond teacher preparation. The degree is designed to groom graduates for positions in colleges and universities where they will conduct education research to prepare America’s next generation of K–12 mathematics and science teachers, as well as for leadership positions in a variety of educational settings. It offers opportunities to improve the way K–12 and college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses are taught.
SHINING STARS The Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement program requires action research with school partners. The following are but two examples of the work recent graduates are conducting. Summer 2016 Commencement (l-r): Kimberly Wade Osborne and Elizabeth Vest PHOTO BY KIMI CONRO
The new doctoral program was developed and launched back in 2012–13 under the watch of Paula Myrick Short, the former vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents. Short, now senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Houston System and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for the University of Houston, offered praise for the program’s success and first graduates. “This degree accomplishes the vision of both Dean Lana Seivers and the faculty to continually strive for excellence in teaching and learning in our PreK–12 classrooms, and gives leaders and researchers in higher education tools for success,” Short said. “Through my past work for the Tennessee Board of Regents, I am elated to see the hard work and dedication of these individuals impact future change as these newest educators shape young minds. The newest graduates of the Doctor of Education program for Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement will enter the workforce with a unique degree that will allow them to think critically about teaching in PreK–12 classrooms and use data-driven methods for continual improvement of schools at all levels.” With the addition of the second and third cohorts, the college continues to expand its positive influence making substantive improvements for students in schools and school districts from Johnson City to Martin in Tennessee, and as far south as Birmingham, Alabama. In August 2016, the college started its fourth cohort of doctoral students with a partnership with Maury County Schools, where the college is working alongside the senior district leadership team to leverage school district improvement initiatives with doctoral level coursework. With this adaptation to focus on integrating doctoral coursework and projects with school district initiatives, and the college’s expanding network of graduates, students, and school district partners, MTSU currently has a two-year waiting list for district team-focused programs. 22 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
Lando Carter (’16), pictured above, is a high school English teacher in Rutherford County who completed the Ed.D. program. While a doctoral candidate, Lando was able to fuse best practices in assessment, principles of learning, and applied research to improve student critical thinking and problem-solving ability in a transformative way at his school. He did so through the creation, implementation, and expansion of a writing lab at Central Magnet School (CMS). This lab has nearly doubled its capacity to positively impact students at CMS and has further provided opportunities to leverage students’ own abilities to coach one another as it deliberately creates an environment of collaboration and creativity. The successes of the writing lab have been published in the peer-reviewed publication Tennessee Educational Leadership, which is distributed throughout the state and has wide readership. Tracy Hollinger (’16) worked as a principal in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System throughout her coursework in the Ed.D. program. During that period, she implemented a series of action research projects within her school and district to improve administrator ability to increase performance of teachers with regard to student learning. Hollinger leveraged these research findings to lead developments within the county and has moved into a district-level position where that impact is continually expanding in its scope. Furthermore, she shared her expertise beyond her own district, helping Tennesseans all over the state with positive impacts on student learning.
Data from the College of Education reveals its pre-eminence campus-wide in retaining and graduating students by DREW RUBLE
Leading the Quest In recent years, MTSU’s focus has been squarely on student success—meaning helping students overcome obstacles, stay enrolled in classes, and earn their college degrees. Those goals are in perfect alignment with the state’s new formula for funding, which emphasizes graduation over sheer enrollment, and with Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive for 55 initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary degrees and certifications to 55 percent. In 2013, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee announced a major initiative—the Quest for Student Success—designed to ensure that every student who comes to MTSU with the drive to achieve would be met with the best instruction from excellent professors who care for their success. As part of the Quest, University faculty and staff members provide extra support and assistance when our students encounter unexpected difficulties or when roadblocks arise that negatively affect their persistence toward graduation.
The data reveals that the College of Education has excelled in the areas of retention and graduation in the past few years. Much of the success in retention/graduation efforts in the College of Education is attributable to the Student Success and Advising (SSAS) unit within the college. Established in the Spring 2014 semester, SSAS works with staff and faculty to provide a streamlined path through pre-candidacy, admission to teacher education, student-teaching residencies, and teacher licensure. “These data are excellent indicators of how the College of Education is following its Quest for Success plan to the letter,” SSAC manager Jim Rost said. “They are also a testament of how great the impact of the entire University community has had on student success.” Jim Rost
COE Persistence Data Fall 2015 to Spring 2016
Education in Your Own Backyard The College of Education’s off-campus, graduate degree cohort program improves remote schools and school districts by Allison Gorman
s a kid from a coal camp in West Virginia, Marvin Peyton was not destined to go to college, much less become a college professor. “I wouldn’t have gone to college—my parents had no money— had Marshall University not opened a branch in the town I grew up in,” he said. So for Peyton, the 15 years he’s spent taking graduate degree programs to educators in remote areas of Tennessee are just his way of paying it forward. So far, approximately 3,400 teachers and administrators have earned advanced degrees through the Womack Educational Leadership Department’s off-campus cohort program, which offers master’s and education specialist degrees in Administration and Supervision, as well as Curriculum and Instruction, and optional administrative licensure. Peyton, who created the curricula for all four degree tracks, facilitates the program, which reaches almost every county south of Murfreesboro. Marlon Davis was working as a school principal in Wayne County, just north of the Mississippi-Alabama line, when he earned his Ed.S. through MTSU. Now the county’s director of schools, Davis said he never would have pursued the degree without the off-campus program. “They brought it right to our door,” he said. “It’s very convenient.” It’s also very demanding: 11 courses at three weekends apiece, taught over five consecutive semesters. “It was Friday nights and Saturdays for two years, and—whew— maybe every other weekend,” Davis recalled. “And in the summer, we had accelerated classes.” Taught by a combination of full-time faculty and doctorate-level adjunct faculty, the classes are typically held at a local school or community college. Students don’t know the weekend schedule when they register, but they know that if they miss a class, they’ll be dropped from the program. That almost never happens, Peyton said. “Not more than 10 or 15 people have left the program once we started,” he said. “Our graduation rate is like 99.9 percent. And I can’t think of more than three or four that left academically.” Peyton doesn’t advertise the off-campus program; instead he offers degrees by request, 24 | ASPIRE magazine Fall 2017
when enough qualified students in one locale are willing to commit to the stringent requirements. The program has grown by word of mouth as teachers and administrators hear about it and recruit peers and co-workers, forming their own cohorts. According to Peyton, the fact that the students know and support each other keeps them vested, and it gives the cohorts a sense of camaraderie that makes teaching them fun, so the faculty are vested too. Not the least of those is Peyton, who jokes that he’s given so many students his personal phone number that you can find it in a truck stop restroom. That kind of commitment, by students and faculty alike, is critical to the program. While the peer cohort model is replicable—and common in medicine—it’s all but unheard of in education. “I’ve made presentations to at least two national conferences where people came up to me and said, ‘How the heck do you do it?’” Peyton said. The secret might lie in one element of the program that isn’t replicable: Marvin Peyton.
PHOTO BY J. INTINTOLI
MTSUâ€™s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services prepares the next generation of school counselors by VICKY TRAVIS
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ractice and perseverance may not be a course title, but it might as well be for MTSU’s master’s in Professional Counseling students. After their first year of coursework, these students must complete 100 hours of practicum followed by 600 hours in an internship. Part of that practicum is spent at the MTSU Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, where the real-world experience of meeting with clients trains students for their next steps and, ultimately, to fulfill their calling: to help people. The center sits tucked in lovely offices inside the Andrew Woodfin Miller Center for Education at 503-B East Bell Street. It’s a far cry from its humble beginnings in a few rooms in Peck Hall, and, later, rented space on Broad Street and offices on West College Street.
Each session is recorded and supervised through a camera system, with counselor Michelle Stevens offering real-time advice on a screen for the counselor. Master’s students critique each other and themselves. That first day can be a nerve-jangler. “All of your classmates and professors are watching, so that first day can be totally awful,” Wilkerson said. “When you get to that point, you have to trust that we were prepared adequately when you walk in that room. And we were.” A few mottos guide the program, including “It’s about the client, not about the counselor,” and “Be effective.” Sessions in the counseling center train students to be immediately effective in the schools and community agency settings where they intern.
The center’s current offices include a nice reception area; a family room, which is used for play therapy and for children’s sessions; offices; a classroom; a training room; and three private session rooms.
“Our students get in and don’t need hand-holding. When they get to the internship, they are ready for independent work,” Lee said. “If you are a supervisor or clinic director, they love to know they can tell you what they need and not worry about you.”
In Fall 2017, the program will have about eight master’s students offering sessions, who are available to help MTSU students, faculty, and staff for free. Members of the community pay just $10 per session.
Wilkerson, who these days works with MTSU interns herself at JourneyPure, said she loves MTSU interns because she knows they’ll be ready for the work.
“We listen, we process and work to help clients figure it out,” said Robin Lee, the center’s clinical director “I would put up our students against the best therapists out there.”
Since 2009, the center has conducted more than 2,000 sessions, serving approximately 250 clients, partnering along the way with several community nonprofit organizations and Rutherford County Schools to provide counseling services.
Graduates usually go on to be school counselors or counselors in addiction centers, local mental health centers, or private practice. “They do a fantastic job to get us ready to be with that first client,” said Janie Wilkerson, who earned her master’s in 2015 and has been a counselor at JourneyPure for about two years. The center does not make diagnoses, but can help clients dealing with adjustment issues, anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship problems, and more. It will refer out if needed for addiction help, inappropriate behavior, and for issues that may need medication.
MTSU Center for Counseling and Psychological Services Since 2009:
Practicum placement for over 150
MTSU students More than 2,000 sessions and 250 clients (children, adolescents, adults) Provided approximately 1,750 hours of counseling Training/professional development; community partnerships ILLUSTRATION BY MICAH LOYED
Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit 169 Murfreesboro, TN
1301 E. Main Street Murfreesboro, TN 37132
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Published on Sep 28, 2017