Page 1

School of Education & Social Sciences SUMMER 2014

> Award Ceremony Honors Students The best and brightest SESS students were honored in March at the annual awards event. The ceremony recognized sixty-five Dean’s Scholars – students with a 3.5 GPA for three consecutive terms – as well as four students winning endowed scholarships, eleven winning Dean’s Teaching Fellows, and eight receiving Distinguished Student Awards in their various majors. The award for the top student in the school, the SESS John Graham Founding Dean Award, went to Early Childhood Education/Special Education Major Erica Tierney. Erica had a GPA of 3.94 and an impressive record of co-curricular activity, including being an active member of Kappa Delta Pi, the BEST Special Education Club, and the Student Chapter of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (S-PSEA), of which she served as president. In her time at RMU Erica had shown herself to be “intelligent, creative, dedicated and hard working,” as professor Dan Shelley put it. “She takes pride in her academic assignments and projects and has a very professional approach to her classroom teaching.” Additionally, Erica taught for two weeks in Belmopan City, Belize, in 2012.

> Partnership Award SESS received the Junior Achievement Education Partnership Award at the 74th Annual Meeting of Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania on Thursday, June 27, 2013. The award recognizes companies that adopt a whole school by providing funding and volunteers to ensure that every student in the school receives JA programs. SESS partnered with the Moon Area School District in 2012-13.



> Reaccreditation! The RMU Teacher Education Department went through its seven-year accreditation cycle last spring 2013 and was formally re-accreditated in fall 2013 by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), which became the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in 2014. “Being a nationally accredited CAEP institution displays the commitment RMU has for its students,” said new Accreditation and State Reporting Standards Coordinator Prof. Shelly Haser. “It recognizes that students graduating from teacher education programs have completed rigorous and demanding programs, and have the skills to be effective teachers.” CAEP is dedicated to raising the performance of candidates as practitioners in the nation’s P-12 schools, as well as the standards for the evidence used to supports claims of quality. Robert Morris’s Education Teacher Preparation programs are poised to meet these challenging two goals by using data to make curriculum and programmatic decisions, continuing to strengthen RMU’s teacher education programs.

> RMU Recommends!


This past semester, education students took part in a professional development workshop for the Project Learning Tree program, a nationally recognized environmental education program, at the Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve; the Early Childhood Science Methods students prepared hands-on inquiry science activities and presented to all the students at the Hopewell Elementary Science Fair; and students also helped facilitate MakeShop activities for 1st and 2nd grade students at Avonworth Elementary. MakeShop is a joint venture between the Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Avonworth School District.

> New Principals Program The Education Department has a new program for experienced educators to gain principal certification. The 15-credit RMU-LEAD Principal Certification Program engages teachers in collaborative coursework and school-based internships. Program coordinator Dr. Bruce Golmic explains, “What’s unique about this program is that 80% of their internship is in the schools, practicing and preparing to be principals, and engaging in experiences that will benefit their schools and the students. In today’s age it’s very challenging and difficult to be a principal, but also very rewarding, because of the instructional impact you have on student achievement.” With half of the internship in an elementary school and half in a secondary school, each candidate will be certified as a K-12 principal.

> Doctoral Program Finds Success The Instructional Management/Leadership Ph.D. program is entering its tenth year, and continues to attract candidates from elementary and secondary teaching, administration, higher education, health services, the military, and corporate training. This past year the George W. Semich Endowed Scholarship Fund was established by the graduating cohort to help raise money for future IML students.


> Professional Development for Education Students

A new initiative from the Department of Education, RMU Recommends is a collection of excellent books and reading applications for children and adolescents, as chosen by the faculty. This year, each faculty member picked their very favorite children’s book, “best recommends books” for varying age levels, books that feature special needs children, and the best reading Apps appropriate to use in conjunction with quality literature. Each year at our spring Education Conference the lists will be updated and expanded. The RMU Recommends book lists can be found at

> Education Honorary Accepts Award The RMU chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi education honorary was recognized in October in Dallas at the KDP Biennial Convocation, having won a 2013 Rising Star Award for New Chapters, celebrating their success in attaining a high functioning status in a short period of time.


In February twenty-six Psychology majors took part in “Psychology in a Box” for area high school students, the second year in a row for this event. Seventy students from Moon, Avonworth, and Cornell high schools came to the RMU campus for a morning to learn from RMU students about different areas of psychology, including social, cognitive, clinical, sensation and perception, sport and gender. The event got high ratings from the high school participants. Said student volunteer Samantha Beard, “It was a really great time for us to hopefully plant a little seed in their mind to be able to possibly go into psychology as a major in college, or at least to start thinking about taking AP psychology in high school.”


> Psychology Club Outreach The RMU Psychology Club was highly involved with a number of community service, professional development, and social activities. The club teamed up with “Hope Grows,” a non-profit providing support to caregivers of those with illnesses and disorders, serving as trail leaders for the “Hike for Hope” fundraising event at Raccoon State Park and participating in the Hope House Clean-Up Day. It hosted Holly Harmon, director of the RMU Counseling Center, to speak about the center and her path in becoming a licensed social worker, as well as the well-attended Psychosocial, Psychology Trivia Night, and two movie nights followed by discussions of their psychological themes. Finally, the club conducted its first annual practicum workshop designed to inform students of the requirements of the practicum, assist with the search for placements, and connect younger students with upperclassmen in the program. During the workshop students spoke about their practicum experiences, and Johnna Haller, director of social services at Caring Heights Nursing Home and RMU alum, spoke about her experience in transitioning from a practicum student to a full-time employee at her site.


> Psych in a Box

Led by History Professor Dan Barr, the Civil War Study tour took place May 12-18 and visited several important Civil War sites, including Harper's Ferry, Richmond (museum of the Confederacy, Confederate White House, Confederate Capitol Building), Charleston S.C. (Fort Sumter, Confederate Museum, Boone Hall Plantation), Antietam National Battlefield, and Gettysburg. In terms of the distance traveled and sites to be seen, it is the longest and largest Civil War Study Tour to date. Fourteen students participated in the tour this year.

> New Sociology Degree The School of Education and Social Sciences added a new major in Sociology, replacing the Sociology concentration within the Social Science major with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students complete 36 credits of Sociology courses along with a number of open electives, which provide flexibility for students to pursue course work in their various areas of interest. The challenging curriculum also includes a practicum, research methods, and a senior research project, ensuring that graduates develop the research skills required for professional success and real-world experience. The major will prepare students for graduate school and a variety of entry-level positions.

> RMU Faculty Publishes Book on Pittsburgh History

> New SESS Faculty

Nathan Taylor is Assistant Professor of Education, and his areas of research include multicultural education, social studies education, and gender and sexuality studies.

Lauren Rauscher is Assistant Professor of Sociology, coming to RMU from California State University, Long Beach, where she taught for seven years and won multiple teaching awards. Dr. Rauscher was recently selected as the faculty coordinator for the new Women’s Leadership & Mentorship Program.

Ying Zhang is Assistant Professor of Education, and has a background in literacy education with a specific focus on English Language Learners.

> Belize Field Project

Education Professor Dan Shelley accompanied five early childhood/middle school students who spent two weeks in Belize in May teaching in an elementary school classroom. Along the teaching experiences, the students explored Belize with trips to the Mayan Ruins, the Belize Zoo and other sites.

> Award-Winning Faculty

Education Professor Dan Shelley won the 2013-14 Global Engagement Faculty Award, which highlights the contributions he has made toward promoting a global perspective and international education at RMU History Professor Soren Fanning received the Rufus Z. Smith prize for best paper of the biennium in the American Review of Canadian Studies.


History Professor Dan Barr has published a new book, A Colony Sprung from Hell: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744-1794, which traces the struggle for the early settlement of the region around Pittsburgh. The work highlights the difficulties of creating and consolidating authority along the frontier, including how the fierce competition between Pennsylvania and Virginia to incorporate the region permeated many social and political levels. This is Dr. Barr's third book. This past fall Dr. Barr co-taught a course on the history of Pittsburgh with History Professor John McCarthy.

> Selected Faculty Publications William R. Beaver, “Environmental Concerns in the Marcellus Shale, “ Business and Society Review, 119(1), 2014: 125-146. Bernadowski, C. (2014). Improving the reading attitudes of college students: Using literature discussion groups to learn about content reading, i-manager’s Journal on English Teaching, 3(3), 16-24. Bernauer, J. & O’Dwyer, L. (2014). Quantitative research for the qualitative researcher. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE. Donne, V., & Hansen, M. (2013). Business and technology educators: Practices for inclusion. International Journal of Information Communication and Technology Education, 9(4), 81-93. Donne, V., & Lin, F. (2013). Special education teacher induction: The wiki way. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues, & Ideas, 86(2), 1-5. Hansen, M. A., Lyon, S., Heh, P., & Zigmond, N. (2013). Comparing panelists’ understanding of standard setting across multiple levels of an alternate science assessment. Applied Measurement in Education, 26(4), 298-318. Daniel J. Shelley and Linda Best, “Threaded Discussions in the Online and Hybrid Learning Format: An Examination of their Effectiveness from the Students’ Perspective,” International Journal of Scientific Research in Education, March 2014, Vol. 7(1), 1-20. Taylor, N. & Maguth, B. (2014) Bringing LGBTQ topics into the social studies classroom. The Social Studies. 105(1), 23-28. 4490-05-14

Summer 2014 SESS Newsletter  
Summer 2014 SESS Newsletter  

The past academic year in the School of Education and Social Sciences, at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.