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Message from the Acting Dean 2016 marks an extraordinary year in education. We have seen an immense amount of attention being paid to our field—from the national call for universal Pre-K; to the impending teaching shortages; to the daily media attention on issues surrounding common core standards, charter schools, and rising college costs. The spotlight on education is unprecedented. Here at home, our School of Education community finds itself celebrating its 50th anniversary at a unique time—in the midst of an outpouring of interest in our field and a sense of urgency around the world. Highlighting and nurturing that global perspective on education is paramount to the School of Education’s success. As you’ll see in this special publication, we are proud that much of our 50th anniversary has been dedicated to international educational efforts. From China to Italy to Sierra Leone, the School of Education is making the global classroom our classroom. The School of Education’s diverse and talented students are developing the wisdom and knowledge to become educational leaders around the globe and our faculty, staff, and alumni continue to influence the field at the local, national, and international level. Our community’s strength is its people— their creativity, flexibility, and scholarship has made them versatile professionals in a globalized world. Over the past five decades we have educated thousands of outstanding K–12 teachers and educational leaders. Our graduates are reflective practitioners who promote social justice, create caring classrooms and school communities, and enable all students to be successful learners. The School of Education will continue to be at the forefront of research, teaching, and community involvement and we will continue to design programs that best respond to the educational needs of all students. We look forward to our next 50 years at the School of Education with optimism, gratitude, and anticipation. Xiao-lei Wang, PhD Acting Dean and Professor School of Education Pace University

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Keeping Pace Abroad

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On the evening of September 23, 2016, our past and present came together for an evening with the Deans of Pace University’s School of Education. Since our school’s inception 50 years ago, there have been seven deans. On this night, six of them were in attendance. These six deans sat down for dinner and a discussion— taking a look back at where our School has been, and looking ahead at the School’s future and the field of education in general. Here are a few highlights from their conversation:

the possibility of an education minor. There are other students who might want to add a minor in education and also the possibility of getting a teaching degree without going into education—for people who perhaps work in human resources or in museums, or a host of other professions. We are also starting a study abroad program next semester.

Frederick Bunt, Dean, 1966–1983: I think one of the most unusual things is the general climate of public education–this push for charter schools, issues of racism, and how do you deal with guns in schools? There are so many problems that you have to address nowadays when you are teaching teachers. Our students need realism and the proper tools to teach in schools today. Are our current courses addressing these issues? I feel strongly that we need to make real changes in our curriculum— changes that address the changes happening in our schools.

Andrea (Penny) Spencer, Dean, 2010–2014: Teachers nowadays deal with extremely diverse classrooms. Is our program effectively equipping our students with the tools to deal with the diverse challenges they face?

Xiao-lei Wang, Acting Dean, 2015–Present: It’s so important to educate the young people about where we’ve been and where we are going. On a general note, the School of Education is doing quite well. I’m very focused on keeping an “outward mindset” in our community—the idea that you should put your energy into helping those around you. I strongly believe that if the School of Education is to be successful, our community must work together. The idea of “how can I help you first” is a powerful one. If we focus on the positive, we’ll have a positive culture here. It’s important that we continue to evolve our programs for students—to keep them excited. We are looking at


David Avdul, Dean, 1983–1994: What we need in education, if not a revolution, is a radical change. I think we should focus a great deal more on our urban context. I think the urban focus is critical to what the School of Education can do. Let’s look at Yonkers, Mount Vernon— we need a sense of discriminating partnerships. We should identify our relationship with other places. We must speak to an urban environment, thus speaking to urban issues, then we really need to confront the notion of change in education… and think in terms of how creative can we be. I think community is an absolutely necessary condition. We give attention to the concept of community and be as creative as we can in the urban context.

Jan McDonald, Dean, 1995–2006: I agree with David about community. When there’s a feeling of connectivity around feelings of social justice, you can attract kids who want to save the world to come to the School of Education.

AS: These are the people who need nurturing who will go out into those urban settings. It’s so important that we teach future educators to see people with their struggles as people. People who are struggling to make life better for themselves. What are the communities like where these kids are coming from.

DA: If this isn’t a “place of belonging,” kids will have difficulty, whether in Yonkers, Scarsdale, or NYC. “School in Community” was my favorite course to teach. Schools are communities so there’s a sense of commonality that you belong here and that we are going to help you learn. We must be serious, substantive, and discriminative. In our society, it’s education, it’s business, family, and religion. We need to make our schools meaningful. Let’s focus on leadership in the classroom.

Harriet Feldman, Interim Dean, 2006-2010: The School of Education’s faculty really needs to get out in those arenas.

XW: We need to influence policymaking and look at our faculty going to New York State. We need to educate the policymakers.


Sandra Flank, PhD, Professor Emeritus

David Avdul, EdD, Dean, 1983–1994

“It's hard to condense 45 years at the School of Education into one fond memory, but generally, the things I most value are having had the opportunity to be out in the schools and see what good teachers our students have become, and also having been able to discuss and learn from my faculty colleagues.”

“Writing a successful proposal (Stay in School Partnership Program). The first of numerous programs contributing to the creation of the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education. Requested by then President Edward J. Mortola, this experience became a weekend success story, involving myself, Mary Versteck and Anna Fishman – the ‘team of teams’ in the School of Education.”

Francine Falk-Ross, EdD, Professor “Teaching the Chinese cohort of students was a wonderful experience... they were so attentive and asked interesting questions about education and our culture!”

Mary Versteck, EdD, Interim Dean, 1994–1995 “My memory is not one that would be described as ‘fond’ in the traditional sense; rather ‘poignant’ would be a better descriptor. I was teaching on the NYC Campus during the 9/11 attacks and Pace was closed since it was serving as a triage center. When it reopened, I was holding a graduate class in which there were two Muslim students. They asked if they could take some class time to talk to the students about their religious beliefs in an effort to dispel misconceptions that were seeming to abound. They did so and it was one of the most powerful teaching experiences of my 40 year career.”

Gerald Ardito, DPS, Assistant Professor “I am a double alumnus of Pace. As a career changer, I completed the MST program in the School of Education and then the educational technology DPS program in Seidenberg. In the School of Education, I remember some very special times when the faculty (who are now my colleagues) made a special connection. Dean Xiao-lei Wang was the first person to suggest that I pursue a doctoral degree because of the quality and depth of my work. Christine Clayton provided endless amounts of constructive feedback and made me a better researcher and writer. And Sandy Flank taught me to teach and to teach others to teach. I will be forever indebted to all of them.”


Kathryn DeLawter, EdD, Assistant Professor “I loved coordinating the Chinese New Year Extravaganza

Sr. M. St. John Delaney, PhD, Director of the Delany Center for Educational Enrichment “Many, many memories, but in general I would say that the best memory is of the thousands of children who have attended the Center and have achieved success as readers and writers. Every one of them has left us with a positive memory. Working with Andrew M., an undergraduate, on Brain, Reading, and Learning research was another great memory. I [recently] learned that I shall get more money from Pace to pursue that research.”

Rita Silverman, PhD, Professor Emeritus and former Department Chair “I have so many fond memories of Pace that I couldn't possibly choose the fondest. But one memory that stands out is the good feeling among the Pleasantville faculty in our years together in Buchsbaum House. Many important decisions were made on the landing between Sandy Flank's office and mine in those years, with the other faculty joining us for an informal discussion. We were a warm and close team, working collaboratively to prepare the best teachers we could. That's what I miss most in retirement.”

Harriet Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Dean of the College of Health Professions “I vividly recall the passage of the first SOE Strategic Plan. It was a long time coming and many people worked hard to make it happen. When the vote of all faculty and staff took place, there was loud applause with the passage of the plan.”

which became a 22-year University-wide tradition, encouraged into existence by Dean David Avdul and 10 undergraduate elementary student teachers. With A.R.T.S., Inc. Lu Yu’s choreography of children’s dance in Pace’s neighboring public schools, we decided on the benefits of bringing children new to the United States to dance on the professional stage at Pace University. This also provided our student teachers unforgettable eye-opening and eye-popping educational experiences! By partnering with Karen Liu, Director of the ChineseAmerican Planning Council, we created a Lantern Festival -long Children’s Art Exhibition. Our Chinese New Year events offered teaching alumni, children and their parents, and our School of Education faculty ‘opportunitas’ to see what it meant to be culturally welcomed by sharing one’s own music, storytelling, and dance traditions. I will never forget children’s expressions of excitement in dance, and in seeing their art displayed in Pace’s Peter Fingensten Art Gallery.”

Carol Rhoder, PhD, Professor Emeritus and former Department Chair “My best memories of my work at the SOE was when I went to observe students at the end of our program when they were student teaching. It was always such a pleasure to see them putting into practice what they learned in our program. Both the graduate and undergraduate students were so competent. The best was when their Mentor Teacher was one of our graduates. Congratulations to the SOE on its 50th anniversary.”


On October 8, 2016, Pace’s School of Education students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered together to celebrate our 50th anniversary. The event occurred in Pleasantville during the 4th Annual Faces of Pace Homecoming Celebration. New friends were made and memories were shared as our community looked toward the School of Education’s future.

Here's to our next 50!


China Nanjing Normal University During Summer 2016, Acting Dean Xiao-lei Wang and Assistant Provost Brian Evans met with Pace University partners in Shanghai and Nanjing, China. Nanjing Normal University is Pace's Confucius Institute partner. This trip to China was quite successful, resulting in invitations for open recruitment in October, several possible program collaborations, and other opportunities.

Shanghai In October 2016, Dean Wang returned to Nanjing Normal University with Director of Student Support Services Linda Guyette. Pace's SOE was invited to present at the university’s Study Abroad Fair as well as several other student sessions.


Visiting Scholars

In 2016, the School of Education opened enrollment for its first study abroad program in Florence, Italy. The Spring 2017 faculty-led course will follow in the footsteps of early European educational thinkers by exploring their educational philosophies in the European context.

Guandong University of Finance and Technology visiting scholars made their fourth trip to Pace University this fall. The group of Chinese scholars spent the fall semester at Pace to experience US culture and education. These scholars took various courses in different Pace schools—including the School of Education. Dean Xiao-lei Wang and Professor Lixin Tao served as their advisers.

International Education Week The School of Education hosted a Global Awareness Event in NYC on November 17, 2016. The event was held during International Education Week, where students learned that a teaching degree offers professional opportunities beyond conventional classrooms. Undergraduates were invited to take a look at areas of the world where children have limited opportunities to attend school. They learned about the lives of children living in refugee camps in Zaatari and the characteristics of K–12 education in the developing country of Sierra Leone.


“It’s an incredibly challenging place with extremely warm, friendly, and enthusiastic people,” McDermott said. “My time here has been some of the most difficult yet rewarding work I’ve ever done.”

Peter McDermott, PhD, Professor and NYC Department Chair The West African country of Sierra Leone may not be the first place that comes to mind as a summer destination. Decades of economic decline and years of armed conflict have had dramatic consequences on the economy. This country ranks near the bottom of most global lists of adult literacy performance and its schools, particularly in the rural regions, have one of the poorest enrollment rates in Africa. But for Peter McDermott, PhD, Professor at Pace’s School of Education and NYC Department Chair, spending time in Sierra Leone is on the top of his priority list.

McDermott first traveled to Sierra Leone in 2013 and has now completed five teaching visits to this country, most recently this past summer. He first volunteered on a literacy education project with the International Literacy Association (ILA). This project, Literacy for Learning (L4L), is part of a Food for Education grant, which is funded by the US Department of Agriculture.

“For many children it’s the only food they get all day.” The Food for Education program aims at increasing children’s school attendance by providing free breakfast and lunch to those who attend. If children achieve good school attendance during a marking period, their families are given cooking oil. Since the project’s inception three years ago, the daily food allowance for school attendance has made a significant impact on children’s attendance in Sierra Leone.


Sierra Leone’s rural schools typically rely on unpaid volunteer teachers, whose classrooms lack books, paper and writing utensils. Prior to ILA’s involvement, a typical classroom lesson in Sierra Leone might contain these characteristics: The class would be large with forty or more children (sometimes as many as 100!) in attendance in a 20’X30’ classroom. Children would sit in groups of two to four on long wooden benches. Lessons were typically teacher-centered with the teachers often beginning their lessons with songs or chants (e.g., “I kick, I kick, I kick” and “I move, I move, I move”) that were chorally repeated by the children and accompanied with body movement. Because there were few or no books, reading activities were completed through choral reading of texts that teachers had written on the classroom chalkboard. Teachers typically integrated their presentations with questions requiring children to answer chorally or individually when called upon. When a child answered correctly, the teacher might say, “Clap for her,” and then all the other children would applaud in unison with either single or multiple claps.

Many classroom and specialist teachers in the US would be familiar with the literacy strategies taught in ILA’s project. Teaching strategies such as KWL, Every Pupil Respond, Think-Alouds, QARs, Readers’ Theater, Jigsaw, Writing Process, Think-Pair-Share, and Language Experience Stories (Shared Writing) are examples of the strategies that are presented in ILA’s methods course.

Lessons such as this were typically teacher-centered with little interaction or discussion among children. McDermott felt strongly that Sierra Leone’s classrooms should run differently.

“If Sierra Leone’s children are to ever have the opportunity to successfully compete in a globalized world, they must learn to effectively and critically read and write.”

Each time McDermott visits Sierra Leone’s rural schools, he observes elementary and secondary lessons, confers with teachers and building leaders, and teaches ILA’s methods course to various groups of ministry officials, principals and classroom teachers. The course involves three, five-day workshops after which the participants receive certificates of graduation. Although the project was suspended during the Ebola epidemic, it is again running at full speed with new groups of teachers.

“Basing literacy reform on teachers’ professional knowledge, as this project is attempting to do, is a practical first step for developing educational and economic opportunities for the children in Sierra Leone,” he said. McDermott helps support the ILA model, which is based on the belief that the more active the learner, the more likely literacy learning will take place. “Active learning involves having children make connections with new information being presented, learning to ask their own high-level questions, and participating in many classroom opportunities to talk and interact with others about texts,” McDermott said.


“The teachers I work with in Sierra Leone are eager to learn, very friendly, and highly receptive to ideas and strategies for improving literacy education in their schools,” McDermott said.

“My hope is that we can truly improve the quality of literacy instruction here in Sierra Leone.” This past summer, the project took a new turn. McDermott taught groups of educators how to coach classroom teachers in ways to effectively teach reading and writing. Over time, these literacy coaches will work with their rural teachers by demonstrating, modeling, and guiding them on how to teach literacy in their elementary and secondary classrooms. “My hope is that we can truly improve the quality of literacy instruction here in Sierra Leone,” McDermott said, “That is, to develop literacy coaches so they will go on to teach and that their schools will improve and ultimately, maybe 10 years down the road, Sierra Leone will be a well-educated country.”

Town Hall Meeting and White Paper

Teach NYC! Conference

The School of Education hosted a Town Hall meeting on February 10, 2016, on teacher certification in New York State. There were 90 attendees; including two members from the Board of Regents; faculty and administrators from 20 different colleges, universities, and institutions; and representatives from school districts and teacher centers. Following the forum, a white paper of "Recommended Changes to the NYS Teacher Certification Requirements" was prepared and endorsed by more than 50 individuals from various institutions. This white paper was distributed to the state legislatures and members of the Board of Regents involved in higher education and teacher education. As a result of these efforts, Pace University was invited to participate in a newly-formed edTPA task force formed by Deputy Commissioner John D'Agati and Regent Cashin. Recommendations for changes in the use of the edTPA, which Professor Leslie Soodak, PhD, helped shape, will be presented to the Board of Regents in an upcoming session. In addition, Soodak has been asked to participate in a work group convened by Pearson to discuss changes in the 7–12 multi-subject Content Specialty Test. These advocacy efforts allowed the SOE to get a seat at the decision-making table and contribute to changes in teacher certification that serve our students, our unit, and the field of education.

The NYC Department of Education hosted the Teach NYC! Conference on November 16, 2016. Attendees learned about the many different career paths to becoming a teacher in a New York City public school. Nancy Campoverde, Associate Director of Student Support Services and Damaris Sanchez, Assistant Director of Student Support Services represented Pace’s School of Education at the event. The conference included a keynote address, education-related breakout sessions and networking with more than 40 New York State colleges and universities, alternative certification programs, and educational community-based organizations.

Professional Development Series A new grant-funded program enabling teachers to deepen their practice of using inquiry as a learning approach with secondary students (grades 6–12) launched on November 3, 2016. Under the direction of Associate Professor Christine Clayton, EdD, the Pace Inquiry Learning Collaborative’s professional development seminars are for School of Education alumni from Pace’s NYC and PLV campuses. Those enrolled in the program come from many area school districts including NYC, New Rochelle, Elmsford, Yonkers, and Haldane. The group meets a total of eight times throughout the 2016– 2017 school year for two-hour sessions.

Faculty Retreat On September 9, 2016, the School of Education had a day-long Faculty Retreat on our White Plains campus to help us move forward with new strategic initiatives. Faculty and staff came together to contribute to the development of the SOE—sharing their perspective on the School of Education’s future.


New Talk Series The School of Education launched a new talk series this fall titled “Keeping It Real.” The series gives students the opportunity to hear from area educational leaders about how they are keeping up with the changing face of our public schools. The series has drawn large crowds and received media attention in the Daily Voice as well. Thus far, two “Keeping It Real” events have been held on the PLV Campus.

Principal Preparation Project On August 17, 2016, the School of Education hosted a focus group in NYC related to a Principal Preparation Project. This session exclusively involved Education School Deans (or their designees). This partnership included the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities. There were 12 participants from area schools, including our own, Art Maloney, EdD; Elizabeth (Betsy) Smith, EdD; and Patricia Kobetts, former District Superintendent, NYC Schools. There were representatives from Manhattanville College, Bank Street College, New York University, LIU Hudson, Touro College, St. Joseph’s College, and NY Institute of Technology.


Professor Sharon Medow and her TCH 201 students received an award from the United Nations on January 22, 2016. They participated in a poster competition at the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations Conference. The poster was a collaborative project created by elementary school students from the Spruce Street Elementary School in Manhattan who participated in the Kubemas afterschool program and worked with Professor Medow’s undergraduate students, who also serve as academic tutors in the program. The undergraduates and Spruce Street School children read informational texts about severe weather patterns and honed in on hurricanes and storms and their effect on the downtown community. The poster was selected as a finalist in the competition and cited as a unique entry since it featured the work of university and elementary school students. It was displayed at the UN.

Assistant Professor Gerald Ardito, DPS, was the recipient of two community awards in 2016. The Northeast STEM Starter Academy (NSSA) at Mt. Vernon and the White Plains Youth Bureau both recognized Ardito for his involvement with STEM programs targeted to young minorities in the area. For the past few years, Ardito has been responsible for designing and leading these STEM programs, particularly focused on young minority men.

Lauren Birney, EdD, is the assistant professor and director of the STEM Collaboratory NYC™. NSF proposal for "Smart and Connected CommunitiesExpanding Access and Deepening Engagement: Building an Open Source Digital Platform for Restoration Based STEM Education in the Largest Public School System in the United States" has been awarded to Lauren Birney/Pace University for $328,952. This is a multi-school collaboration between the School of Education, Seidenberg, Dyson College, and the Law School.

Assistant Professor Kathryn DeLawter, EdD, received an award for 20 years of service as Counselor for the Pace University Psi Eta Chapter. This was presented at the biennial convocation in Orlando, Florida.

In April 2016, the Upward Bound Program was invited to participate in a National College Signing Day event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Fifteen of our seniors attended the event, where they heard the First Lady talk about her passion for increasing higher education opportunities for under-represented students. In June 2016, the Upward Bound program’s art class held an art show at a café in NYC. Students were able to display pieces they created. This course was taught by Pace student Elizabeth London, who started working with Upward Bound as a volunteer, completing her service hours for the TCH 201 class with Professor Sharon Medow. Each semester, several Pace students volunteer their time as tutors, mentors, and occasionally teachers. In June, the program proudly graduated 20 high school seniors, all of whom were accepted to, and enrolled in college.


Birney, L. (2016, June) Millennium Technology Prize, Keynote Speaker–The STEM Collaboratory NYC™, Technology Academy of Finland; Helsinki, Finland Clayton, C. D., and Kilbane, J. (2015/2016). Learning in tandem: Professional development for teachers and students as inquirers. Professional Development in Education. DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2014.997397 Darbes, T. (accepted for publication in 2016). The implications of test-taker perceptions for test validity in community college settings. Studies in Language Testing, ed. MaryAnne Christison and Nick Saville. Cambridge University Press. Evans, B. R. (2016). Using developmental psychology in the classroom for alternative certification teachers. Journal of the National Association for Alternative Certification, 11(2). Falk-Ross, F.C.; McDermott, P.; and Medow, S. (in press for Jan. 2017). Using the Visual and Performing Arts to Complement Young Adolescents': Close Reading of Texts, Middle School Journal. Guirguis, R. (January, 2016). Pre-school Self-Regulation, Academics, and Ethnicity. In Sutterby, J. (Ed.) Advances in Early Education and Day Care (Vol. 18). United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishers. Lynch, T.L. (2016). Letters to the machine: Why computer programming belongs in the English Classroom. English Journal, 105 (5), 95-97. McDermott, P. (in-press). Book review: The False Promises of the Digital Revolution: How Computers Transform Education, Work, and International Development in Ways that are Ecologically Unsustainable. Teachers College Record. ID Number: 21609. Medow, S. Classroom Management: through the grades! (September 30, 2016) Workshop for the visiting Chinese Scholars. Pace University, NY Musti-Rao, S. (2017). Introduction to special issue: Integrating technology within classroom practices. Intervention in School and Clinic, 52(3). Pankowski, J. and Walker, J.M.T. (Spring, 2016). Improving novice teacher effectiveness through simulated and traditional instruction. Journal of National Association for Alternative Certification, 11(1), 1-15. Plotka, R. and Wang, X.L (2016). Adult Promotion of Children Narratives through Participatory Prompts: Educational Implications. International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, 23 (2), 14-29. Soodak L.; Wiener, R. M.,;Holdheide, L; Haynes, L; and McCray, E. (2016, Aug.). It’s time to get involved: Aligning state initiatives-linking research, policy and practice with personnel preparation. Office of Special Education Programs Project Director’s Conference. Washington, DC. Walker, J. M. T. (2016). Realizing the American Dream: A Parent Education Program Designed to Increase Latino Family Engagement in Children’s Education. Journal of Latinos and Education, 1-14. DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2015.1134536 Wang, X.L.; Eberhard, D.; Voron, M.; and Bernas, R. (2016). Helping students with cognitive disabilities improve writing skills through email modeling and scaffolding. Educational Studies. Wiener, R.M. and Soodak, L.C. (2016, Nov.) Implementation of inclusive adolescent teacher education program: expected and unexpected outcomes. Council for Exceptional Children, Teacher Education Division. Lexington, KY.


Designing New Programs and Finding Innovative Ways to Move the School of Education Forward

We Warmly Welcome: Margaret Barber—Director of Assessment and Planning. Dr. Barber’s professional work spans more than 20 years in the educational field, with primary experience as an administrator and faculty member in university-based educational programs. Barber received her EdD in Educational leadership from the Teachers College, Columbia University. Laureen Campanelli—Career Counselor. Laureen assists SOE students with workshops, conducts class and club presentations and provides job search preparation. She previously worked at New York University and Babson College. Laureen completed her masters of arts degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at New York University. Rachel Khalil—Communications Coordinator. Rachel spent several years as a television news reporter and anchor for local NBC affiliates throughout the country. Prior to coming to Pace, she worked in communications as a director of broadcast communications and services for a public relations agency in NYC. Rachel holds a masters of science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. Tanya Wiggins—Clinical Assistant Professor. Professor Wiggins has 20 years of experience as an educator, during which she has supported youth through middle school instruction, professional development, nonprofit leadership, and higher education. Prior to joining Pace, Professor Wiggins served as Substitute Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department at CUNY's York College. Professor Wiggins received her EdD in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.


Creating caring classrooms and school communities where students are respected and cared for so that they learn to respect and care for others.

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2016 Year In Review SOE  
2016 Year In Review SOE