Page 1

Spring 2014

Our magazine is also available digitally

Save the Date November 10, 2014

Fall 2014 Education Career Fair For more information please visit the Education Career Fair website: Sponsored by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture

The cover image is courtesy of Texas A&M University; The Division of Research.


ver the last several months, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) has added new members to our family. We are excited about hiring several new clinical faculty and tenure-track faculty and thrilled to have Dr. Roger Howe join the faculty in spring 2014 and 2015 as Visiting Professor and Eminent Scholar in Residence and TIAS Fellow. Howe is the William Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics at Yale and a member of U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a nationally and internationally renowned research mathematician who is passionate about the improvement of mathematics education in the United States. In this issue, readers can learn more about him and the Mathematicians in Mathematics Education (MIME) workshop that he brought to Texas A&M University campus in March. K–12 school education continues to be a challenge, especially during a time of broader national and international changes, including the movement of adopting and implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in many states across the nation and the integration of technology in teaching and learning. Those changes certainly present new questions and opportunities for teachers and those involved in teacher preparation. TLAC continues to strengthen our programs and remain innovative and motivated to identify ways of improving K–12 education through teacher preparation in Texas and beyond our borders. In this issue, you can find information about new ideas for teacher preparation and ongoing activities in the department for improving teaching and teacher education. We are committed to serving as catalysts to bring inspired people together to share ideas and move forward, and to ensure our department remains on the cutting edge. As department head, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to connect and stay connected with us through the magazine, by visiting us on our website ( or meeting with us on campus with family and friends. Your support is very important to us as we continue our mission of transforming lives through teaching and teacher education.

Gig ’Em,

Yeping Li, Ph.D. Professor and Department Head Claude H. Everett, Jr. Endowed Chair in Education

Table of Contents

Learn and Lead Globally via the Online M.Ed. – TESOL Cohort................................3 Developing New Approaches to Standards-Based Teacher Preparation in Mathematics................................4 2014 Mathematicians in Mathematics Education Workshop...............................6 Open Classroom.................................................................7 Sharing, Studying and Improving Teaching as a Professional Practice

iVISION Organization seeks to Identify and Challenge Stereotypes................................................8 Merging Boundaries..........................................................9 TLAC Students Study Abroad

News In Brief.................................................................... 10 News at a Glance Throughout the Department and Centers

Congratulations............................................................... 18 Faculty, Staff and Student Accomplishments

Welcome.......................................................................... 20 TLAC Welcomes Our New Faculty and Staff

Image courtesy of: Tammisha Farmer, Digital Media Coordinator, Teaching, Learning and Culture

The TLAC ESL faculty, photographed left to right, Dr. Kisha Bryan, Dr. Zohreh Eslami, Dr. Mónica Neshyba, Dr. Quentin Dixon and Dr. Edie Cassell have been working diligently to put together the online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Cohort (TESOL).

Learn and Lead Globally via the Online M.Ed. – TESOL Cohort As the population of English as second language PK–12 students and adult learners continues to increase (U.S. Census, 2010), it is important for teachers to hone their instruction methods regarding English as a Second Language (ESL). Many countries are also encouraging English language acquisition for business (Nickerson, 2005) and other ventures. To meet these needs, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) at Texas A&M University has developed an Online Master of Education program specializing in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Designed to prepare students to foster English language development of English learners in a variety of settings, this cohort program targets novice and experienced teachers worldwide. The program is designed for students who seek an education at Texas A&M University, but are not able to attend courses on campus. The online program allows students to receive the knowledge and training to make a difference in their students’ lives in an online environment.

completes the degree requirements. The project challenges students to examine an area of interest within TESOL, demonstrating what they have learned and how to apply it in the field of education. Guided by faculty, students review existing academic research in their chosen area of interest. Faculty assist students with planning how to apply this knowledge to their project. Upon graduation, students should possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to pursue employment opportunities in local school districts and state education agencies as ESL Coordinators or Specialists. They will also be able to teach ESL internationally, as many countries now require a master’s degree in TESOL in place of a TESOL certificate. The program is currently accepting applications for the spring 2015 cohort. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2014. Details are available at admissions/graduate-admissions/med-and-msadmission-requirements.

TLAC’s ESL faculty includes Drs. Kisha Bryan, Edie Cassell, L. Quentin Dixon, Zohreh Eslami and Mónica Neshyba. The team has worked diligently to develop the program. The online M.Ed. option is a cohort modeled 36-hour non-thesis degree that fosters collaboration and collegiality among students as they share their global experiences. As students move through the cohort, they form lasting relationships and peer networks. A culminating experience in the form of a capstone project to demonstrate the knowledge and skills developed throughout the program Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture...................................................................................................3

Learn and Lead Globally

TLAC Onward




New Approaches to Standards-Based Teacher Preparation in Mathematics

Dr. Roger E. Howe has been Professor of Mathematics at Yale University since 1974, and served as chair of the Mathematics Department 1992 – 1995. He was the inaugural Frederick Phineas Rose Professor (1997 – 2002), and is currently the William Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics. In addition to Howe’s mathematical research, he has devoted extensive time to the issues of mathematics education. He served on the Study Committee for the report Adding It Up of the National Academy of Sciences on the state of U.S. mathematics education, and on the Howe Steering Committee for the first Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) report on The Mathematical Education of Teachers. He was a member and chair of the Committee on Education of the American Mathematical Society, served on the steering committee of the Park City Mathematics Institute, has served on several committees for the College Board, and currently is on the Education Advisory Committee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). He has been an item reviewer for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). He served for six years on the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction (USNC/MI), and is currently in his second term on the Executive Committee of the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction (ICMI). Howe’s writing on mathematics education seeks to illuminate and clarify the ideas underlying key stages of mathematical learning. Howe is a TIAS faculty fellow at Texas A&M University, and will collaborate with faculty and students in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, College of Education and Human Development, as an Eminent Scholar in Residence and Visiting Professor. In a recent report from The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, The Mathematical Education of Teachers, II (METII) calls for elementary teachers to complete at least 12 credit hours of mathematics courses and stresses the importance of balancing the required hours with the type of mathematical knowledge needed for teaching. “It becomes even more important to think about what teachers should be learning in their mathematical studies,” said Dr. Roger Howe, TIAS Faculty Fellow and visiting professor, Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture.

methods that discusses techniques for teaching. Howe thinks this separation of math into pure ideas and ‘general tricks’ of teaching means prospective teachers are largely left with the job of integrating those in the classroom.

During his time at Texas A&M, Howe hopes to develop a new approach to teacher preparation that may improve U.S. mathematics education through curriculum standards-based teacher preparation courses.

Teachers should understand the basic principles underlying the math they teach. But to help children learn mathematics, Howe believes that teachers must also understand how mathematical knowledge develops through the elementary school years. They need to understand how the different parts of mathematics--especially arithmetic and geometry, interact with each other and how to build strong connections between these topics as students learn more about each. They need be able to present topics effectively, be familiar with common student misconceptions and how to detect and correct them.

A common method to organize teacher preparation is for prospective teachers to complete one or two mathematics courses dealing with the basic ideas of elementary mathematics and a course in mathematical

“It has been convincingly shown in recent years that there are ways of understanding mathematics that are different from the standard knowledge of mathematicians and that contribute to effective

4...................................................................................................Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward teaching,” said Howe. “Math knowledge for teaching should grow throughout a teacher’s career,” he added. These ways of understanding mathematics are often termed mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT). Learning mathematics in ways that are disconnected from the classroom fails to develop strong MKT, and the intimate and intricate interconnections between seemingly distinct topics (such as geometry, measurement and arithmetic) may not be appreciated. During the 20th century, different curricula might organize topics in substantially different ways. A general knowledge of the basic ideas was possibly the best one could achieve in teacher preparation programs. In recent years, beginning with the publication by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) of their Standards for School Mathematics in 1989 and the more recent release of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) in 2010, there have been substantial efforts to describe the concepts and skills of a good K–12 mathematics program and what it should impart to students, grade by grade. The CCSSM has been adopted by about 45 states. In response to the NCTM standards, Texas constructed its own set of standards, the TEKS, and there is substantial overlap between the two. “With good sets of blueprints available for K–12 mathematics, the way may be open for an alternative and potentially more effective approach to teacher preparation,” said Howe. “The idea would be to construct a sequence of three courses that integrate math courses and methods into a coherent whole. Teachers would be led through the elementary curriculum year-by-year, as described by the curriculum standards.” These courses could combine the mathematician’s sense of logical structure and coherence with the mathematics educator’s knowledge of student cognitive development and common misconceptions. In this way, they could develop standard mathematical content knowledge and MKT at the same time. Howe explains, “A key feature of such courses would be to pay attention to logical or conceptual dependence, with frequent discussions of how earlier learning has paved the way for successful mastery of a given concept, along with features of effective lessons.” As an example, the number line is a vital piece of glue in mathematics. It lies at the nexus of arithmetic, measurement and geometry. Although it is essentially a geometric object, it can play a vital role in arithmetic by presenting a visual way to think about fractions that emphasizes their connection to whole numbers. To realize the potential of the number line to support learning about fractions, the three aspects of the line must be carefully coordinated: geometric, measurement and arithmetic. “For example, the geometric process of placing lengths end-to-end provides a uniform way of thinking

about addition, which is equally valid for fractions or whole numbers,” said Howe. “This is in contrast with the symbolic procedures for adding fractions, which seem quite different from those of whole numbers, and rely on the sophisticated notion of equivalence of fractions. The number line not only provides a uniform way of thinking about addition, it can help students understand equivalence of fractions.” For the number line to support the mastery of fractions, the principle that governs placing numbers on the number line must be solidly established in students’ minds. A number on the positive number line tells the distance of the point it labels from the origin, as a multiple of the unit distance. “Many students struggle with this idea, as the connection with length and distance was not part of their conception of the number line,” explains Howe. “Without a firm understanding of distance/length as the critical idea behind placement of numbers, students have no basis for using the number line for working with fractions.” Howe believes that establishing these connections may be difficult in the U.S., where the curriculum structure has tended to treat arithmetic, geometry and measurement as independent “strands”. Developing the necessary connections for young students early on is a particularly demanding task that could be improved by a program based on mathematics curriculum standards. A significant challenge in developing curriculum standards-based teacher preparation courses is that it requires close cooperation between mathematics departments and education departments. Mathematicians could identify logical and conceptual dependencies and structure the material in a logically coherent way. Educators could contribute results from research on MKT, including effective modes of presentation and insights into student thinking. An important aspect of such courses would be to help teachers structure their knowledge about problem-solving. In recent decades, mathematics educators have articulated a classification of one-step addition and subtraction problems. This taxonomy could form the basis for a substantial amount of work allowing teachers to develop systematic insights into the structure of multistep word problems. A valuable side effect of curriculum standardsbased teacher preparation in mathematics is that it would result in more mathematicians who think about K–12 curriculum on an ongoing basis. “This could lead to the possibility of continuous improvement, which has been sorely lacking in U.S. math education,” said Howe. “In particular, it would lead to intense scrutiny of the standards from a mathematical and pedagogical point of view. Over time, this would lead to improvements in the standards themselves.”

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture..........................................

MIME Conference

MIME Conference

2014 Mathematicians in Mathematics Education Workshop Mathematicians in Mathematics Education (MIME) 2014 was held at Texas A&M University, March 16 – 18, 2014. With a total of 30 registered participants, the workshop attracted a broad range of scholars from inside and outside of the state of Texas. They included research mathematicians and mathematics instructors in mathematics departments from different institutions, mathematics educators from Colleges of Education and nonprofit educational organizations. The workshop included both presentations and audience participation in extended activities. Topics of presentations included survey of the landscape of mathematics education, mathematical knowledge for teaching, examples of how mathematicians can contribute to mathematics education and orientation to the Common Core State Standards. Although it was the first time for the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture to host this workshop, MIME workshop itself has been running for several years. It started in 2008 at the University of Arizona, under the guidance of a four-scholar steering committee (William McCallum (chair), Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Hyman Bass and Roger Howe). The workshop was initiated in responding to the increased

demand “for mathematicians who can constructively contribute to work in mathematics education, such as standards development, validation of tests, curriculum design, textbook review and the preparation and professional development of teachers,” as stated on the MIME website Consistent with prior years’ design, MIME 2014 was also organized and provided as a place for those in mathematics who would like to learn more about current issues in K–12 education and meet others interested in mathematics education. Based on participants’ feedback, we learned that MIME 2014 was a great success to fulfill its purpose as expected. MIME 2014 was introduced to Texas A&M University by Dr. Roger Howe, TIAS faculty fellow and was cosponsored by the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University and the Institute of Mathematics and Education at the University of Arizona. Six scholars from five different institutions composed this year’s organizing committee: William McCallum (chair), Yvonne Lai, Roger Howe, Yeping Li, Deborah Loewenberg Ball and Hyman Bass.

6...................................................................................................Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

Sharing, Studying and Improving Teaching as a Professional Practice Teaching happens every day and is an important part of our personal and professional growth and improvement. It occurs in formal and informal settings and a practice that is so common in our society that it often goes unnoticed. There is often not enough attention and research to the teaching that can and should be taken as a professional practice in formal education settings, such as K–12 classrooms and teacher preparation programs. To promote scholarly discussion about teaching, the department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) adopted an ‘open classroom’ program. Since fall 2012, the program has provided both teacher educators and graduate students more opportunities for observation, sharing and discussion of classroom instruction. Through voluntary participation, teaching is being taken as the subject of scholarly inquiry through the open classroom program, which has enjoyed ongoing active participations from both faculty and graduate students.. In fall 2013 the department initiated a book publication project to elevate the scholarly sharing and discussion about teaching and take the program a step further. About 30 faculty and students collaborated in proposing and contributing chapters to a book of generalizable knowedge, Teaching at Work

that is co-edited by Dr. Yeping Li and Dr. Janet Hammer. Teaching at Work refers to good teaching that makes a difference in students’ learning, teaching as a platform to promote scholarly discussion and to study what defines and demonstrates good teaching practice and teaching that helps prepare pre-service teachers for their future roles in the classroom. Good teaching that make a difference in students’ learning refers to all types of classroom and online instruction, including PreK–12 and in university settings. The second and third refer to special settings where teaching becomes the subject of study and preparing teachers becomes the mission. This book focuses on the second and third references and aims to put together articles contributed by teacher educators who are taking teaching as a professional practice, and who model good teaching practices for pre-service teachers in an effort to prepare them for their future classrooms. The book publication project was initiated in the spirit of pursuing excellence in teaching and helping pre-service teachers learn how to teach through our program and to share our research and findings with a broad audience. The book is planned for publication by the end of 2014.

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture...................................................................................................7

Open Classroom

TLAC Onward



iVISION Organization seeks to Identify and Challenge Stereotypes Around the state, many teens may be faced with hardships they cannot control: financial issues, fragile relationships with parents, health issues and more. For some, finding a way out may mean overloading with work while attending school, acting out or dropping out of school or turning to recreational drug use. In today’s society, the unexpected can happen to students with bright futures ahead of them. To help these students succeed, pre-service and experienced teachers, parents, guardians, volunteers and political figures should lead by example, speak from experience and use their collective knowledge in any way they can. Tysheka Harris grew up in Houston, raised by her divorced mother, Antoinette Dove-Harris. According to Harris, they lived in an area that was considered “the hood or ghetto.” To them, it was simply home. In spite of her mother’s tireless efforts to protect her from the many dangers of this world, she could not always protect her from the dangers of their daily environment. For Tysheka, the dangers she would face came from what should be one of the safest environments—her school. Growing up, she saw how many of her closest friends shared their struggles with teachers who they thought could relate to them, only to be disappointed by inadequate responses or lack of solutions. Although the teachers appeared genuinely concerned, they were unable to relate to their unique situations, or understand the realities or obstacles that many of her friends faced. Through great teaching, leadership and the opportunity to study abroad, Texas A&M University nurtured Harris into the woman she is today. Recently, Harris was given the opportunity to create change by starting the iVISION organization. “I never thought that I would be so passionate about educating our educators on the importance of outreach in urban education until I spoke with my peers and noticed we were blinded to the realities that many students face in urban populations,” she explained. iVISION is an organization that provides opportunities for professional development and personal growth. The members of iVISION will learn to challenge the barriers that society assumes to be present in the lives of publicly educated students who are placed ‘at risk.’ After providing iVISION members with opportunities to mentor students placed at risk, members will be able to guide the students (prior to graduation) to their destined future by capitalizing on their strengths and visualizing and investing in their futures.

This organization provides valuable information about what urban education means, how to teach in a racially diverse classroom, how to treat all students equally and much more. iVISION will identify and challenge stereotypes that may be present. Meetings are held biweekly in Rudder Tower 401 at 5:30 to 6:40 p.m. “A unique feature I implemented is the opportunity to tutor and mentor public schooled students who are placed at risk,” said Harris. To the end, iVISION partnered with a Henderson Elementary School, a local school in Bryan, Texas. This enriching opportunity hopes to enlighten organization member’s knowledge about different cultures, backgrounds and issues they will undergo during their teaching experience. “This will also give us a chance to impact lives while working alongside our fellow Aggie classmates,” Harris added. Tysheka Harris, Brittany Sanders (Vice President) and Kristin Hall (advisor) welcome all Aggies to join this new educational organization that will challenge and enhance their knowledge on every student they may teach. For more information, please visit the iVISION website at

8...................................................................................................Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

The Foundation of Democracy: Greece 2013 The Reta Haynes Endowment, College and University and student funds supported the development of a Transfer Student Community experience and a Study Abroad field trip to Greece in November 2013. The Haynes Learning Community is tied to the Multicultural Course in Education (INST322) with a central focus of developing approaches and attitudes for helping students learn about themselves and other people in different cultures. The International field trip included visits to the Greek Parliament, the Temple of Zeus, The Parthenon, the Epidaurus Amphitheatre (top photo), Bema of Apostle Paul, Temple of Apollo, Lion’s Gate of Mycenae, Treasury of Atreus, Ancient Site of Olympic Games, Aegina Island, Temple of Aphae and Monastary of Agios. Other opportunities to cruise the markets, sample various foods and participate in new dances provided additional experiences that contributed to understanding the way people in Greece live and learn. The course and related learning experiences outside classroom walls helps ensure students may become more effective teachers by building on their shared intellectual and social endeavors.

“I’ve never been out of Texas, so this trip was a true once-ina-lifetime experience; something that I am beyond thankful I got the opportunity to do. Greece was nothing like what I expected it to be like. Watching movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding molded a certain stereotype of the Greek lifestyle and the Greeks themselves in my mind. I was thinking loud people, a lot of goat at the dinner table, and a lot of drunks; but I was proven wrong from the first night. Greece is a place filled with rich history, history in which you can tell the locals take pride. It was just an experience walking around the cities and seeing how simple the people lived their lives.” —Student

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.................................................................................................. 9

Merging Boundaries

TLAC Onward

News in Brief

News in Brief For more information contact Shelly Grassinger or Dr. Cheryl Ann Peterson at (979) 862-4665.

Aggie STEM Aggie STEM Teacher Professional Development Opportunity The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) awarded Texas A&M University (TAMU) $256,000 to improve instruction in Texas middle school mathematics and algebra classrooms. The grant funds 110 hours of professional development over the course of one year for teachers who qualify for participation in the program because they are not adequately prepared to teach the course(s) and/or grade level they are assigned to teach. The program consists of a 34-hour in person summer session and 30 hours synchronous online training in the summer. The academic year follow-up consists of classroom visits in the fall and spring, 46 hours of synchronous online sessions and support to attend a secondary mathematics teaching conference. Participants will increase their mathematical content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), that is necessary for effective teaching. Emphasis is on using concrete models to engage students, develop deeper understanding and connect concrete models to abstract ideas and algebraic manipulations. The participants will implement activities and instructional methods in their classrooms based on the experiences gained through the grant program activities. Please contact Dr. Sandra Nite, Research Scientist Aggie STEM at

2014 Aggie STEM Summer Boot Camp for Teachers In June, Aggie STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) will hold its annual teacher summer professional development for middle and high school teachers at Texas A&M University (TAMU). The summer STEM Professional Development Boot Camp gives teachers real world experiences in STEM education through STEM project-based learning, hands-on STEM Teaching and observation of STEM professors teaching visiting middle and high school students. Teachers will collaborate with Aggie STEM staff teaching the Chemistry of Cosmetics, Plant Biology, Safety Engineering, Construction Engineering, Circuit Design, XtraNormal Animation Studio and Photo Story, Advanced Mathematics, Code and Coding Theory and this summer’s highlight 3D printing. Teachers will apply and integrate what they learn while developing a Project-Based Learning unit to take back to their classroom. CEUs are available; lodging and meals are included in the registration price. There are three different opportunities to attend. Dates range from June 9 – 20.

Aggie-STEM Summer Camp 2014 2014 marks the 5th year for the Aggie STEM annual summer camp for middle and high school students, July 7 – 18. The summer camp provides real world experiences in STEM education through STEM project-based learning, improves SAT scores and provides a world-class university experience with TAMU professors in STEM fields. Students attend non-credit STEM classes taught by TAMU professors, use 3D printers, participate in classes such as Chemistry of Cosmetics, Safety Engineering, Construction Engineering, Circuit Design, Learn to use XtraNormal Animation Studio and Photo Story, Advanced Mathematics, Code and Coding Theory, Plant Biology, PSAT/SAT prep class as well as a variety of social activities and local field trips. Students may choose from three different options, including the two-day camp options or the residence hall stay option. For more information contact Shelly Grassinger or Niyazi Erdogan at (979) 862-4665.

Education Research Center Evaluation of ETEAMS NSF Project The Education Research Center (ERC) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) received a sub-award to conduct an external evaluation of the National Science Foundation-funded project, Elementary Teachers Engaged in Authentic Math and Science (ETEAMS) Partnership. Jacqueline Stillisano and Hersh Waxman are Co-Principal Investigators for the study. Additional ERC researchers include Anna Boriack and Kim Wright. The ETEAMS project was designed as a partnership between TAMU, Corpus Christi and Corpus Christi Independent School District. Funded through NSF’s Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program, the project seeks to implement a new teaching fellowship program that will improve the quantity, quality and diversity of middle levels mathematics teachers in high-need schools; provide rich experiences in science for 4th–8th grade students and teachers; and coordinate opportunities for scientists, teacher education faculty and K–12 teachers to collaborate in content-based scientific research projects. Systematic classroom observation, interviews and survey data will be used to examine the four program components, consisting of preparingelementary preservice teachers for middle levels STEM teaching,

10D�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward enhancing STEM teaching and learning in Grades 4-8 in partner schools, sustainable institutional change and innovation, and dissemination of promising practices and contributions to STEM teaching and learning. Stillasano stated that the external evaluation will document the development and implementation of the ETEAMS Partnership across the three years of the project.. Further, the study will help determine the extent to which project has been effective in achieving its goals, objectives and outcomes; what anticipated outcomes have emerged as a result of the project; and what is transferable, replicable and scalable as a result of the project.

develop and administer a survey in schools across North America to examine IB teacher and administrators’ interpretation of reflective and the methods used to integrate instruction of reflective and (c) conduct a multiple-case research study of six to nine IB schools in the United States and Canada, using the success case method of evaluation. For additional information, please contact Jacqueline Stillisano at or Hersh Waxman at

For additional information, please contact Jacqueline Stillisano at or Hersh Waxman at

Exploring “Reflective” for the IB Organization The International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization awarded the ERC a grant to conduct a research study examining the implementation of the IB Learner Profile attribute reflective in IB Diploma Programmes across North America. This is the third grant received from the IB Organization in the last four years. One previous study examined effective IB schools in Texas, and for a second study, the ERC conducted a research synthesis and meta-analysis of the effects of collaboration on student outcomes. Jacqueline Stillisano, Hersh Waxman and Kayla Rollins are coprincipal investigators for the current grant, and additional ERC researchers involved include Sandra Metoyer and Kim Wright. A leader in international education, the IB Organization supports schools globally in their mission to provide students with challenging academic programs that encourage critical thinking from an intercultural perspective. The Diploma Programme has grown steadily since its inception, and the IB diploma is accepted worldwide as a gateway for entrance into the best and most rigorous universities. “The Learner Profile, which was established in 2006 as a new component of the Diploma Programme, delineates the 10 academic and non-academic qualities that the program strives to instill in its students in order to prepare them for lifelong learning,” said Stillisano. “The inclusion of the attribute Reflective in the IB Learner Profile attests to the value of student reflection, yet this study will be one of only a few studies to specifically examine the ways in which the attribute is incorporated in IB Diploma schools.” For the Student Reflection: A Mixed Method Study of “Reflective” in the IB Diploma Programme project, ERC researchers will (a) conduct a best evidence synthesis of research on teaching and assessing reflective thinking in IB high school settings; (b)

Image courtesy of: Sandra Metoyer

Dr. Johannes Strobel presented a seminar on Engineering as a Four-Pronged Innovation in P-12 Education: Examples from a Use-Inspired Research Agenda

ERC Spring Seminar Series hosts Dr. Johannes Strobel The ERC presented the third event of its 2013–2014 seminar series March 26, 2014. Dr. Johannes Strobel, associate professor and director of Educational Outreach Programs in the College of Engineering and College of Education and Human Development, presented a seminar on Engineering as a FourPronged Innovation in P–12 Education: Examples from a Use-Inspired Research Agenda. Strobel contended that these are exciting times to research and implement engineering in preK–12th grades as engineering education is gaining national and statewide support. The talk described Dr. Strobel’s research agenda, which explores engineering as a disruptive innovation at multiple levels in the K–12 classroom, K–12 administration and higher education. The presentation showcased examples of each innovative force in the context of a larger frame of authentic engineering education.

ERC Fall Seminar Series hosts Dr. Luis Ponjuan The ERC presented the second event of its 2013– 2014 seminar series Nov. 12, 2013. Dr. Luis Ponjuan, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development (EAHR), presented current work elucidating the balancing act many Latino first generation college students must perform between campus engagement and employment obligations. In collaboration with

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.....................................................................................................................11

News in Brief the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (, Ponjuan explored the following question in his study: What pre-college involvement behaviors and individual demographic characteristics influence first generation college students’ intention for college engagement? In this study, secondary data from the Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP) and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to explore relationships among two dependent variables and several independent variables. The two dependent variables were intention for institutional engagement and whether or not a student was required to work while in college. Results indicated significant differences within the group of incoming firstgeneration students in key demographic characteristics, prior high school experiences, and other college-related issues. Suggested policy recommendations focusing on improving firstgeneration students’ intentions to become engaged and helping them balance academic and work demands included identifying students at greatest risk for not becoming engaged; providing academic support focused on transitioning from high school to higher education (e.g., first year seminars); enhancing normative behaviors for campus engagement (e.g., near-peer mentoring) and engaging, educating and empowering students to help them deal with the conflicting demands of campus engagement and employment. Ponjuan’s policy brief on Latino Males: Improving College Access and Degree Completion—A New National Imperative and his ERC Seminar presentation may be accessed on the ERC website at

Image courtesy of:

Bilingual Research Journal Senior career Award Winner Yolanda N. Padron, Professor; College of Education; Texas A&M University.

Congratulations to ERC Affiliates on the Following Recognitions Dr. Yolanda Padron, ERC Program Area Leader, was honored February 2014 at the annual meeting of the National Association for Bilingual Education held in San Diego, California. She received the Bilingual Research Journal 2013 Senior Career Award. Tracey Hodges, ERC graduate researcher, was honored February 2014 at the 37th Annual Conference

Image courtesy of: Katherine Wright

Tracey Hodges won the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award and the Dean’s Award for her paper and presentation titled; “The Effects of Teacher Technology Proficiency on Student Technology Use.”

of the Southwest Educational Research Association in New Orleans, LA. Tracey won the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award and the Dean’s Award for her paper and presentation titled, “The Effects of Teacher Technology Proficiency on Student Technology Use.” The focus of her presentation described a study that examined how teacher proficiency with technology influences student activities that implement technology. More than 500 teachers across the state of Texas were surveyed to assess their technology skills and the frequency with which their students utilize technology for learning. Principal components analyses showed that teachers’ technology proficiency split into three factors, creating files, Internet use and Microsoft software competency, while the student activity variables split into three factors, collecting data, creating files and instructional tools. Correlations, analysis of variance and regression analysis were used to examine the relationship between the three technology proficiency factors and the three student activity variables. Overall, results demonstrated that teacher technology proficiency accounted for only 30 percent of the variance for student activities using technology. The study concluded that future research is needed to analyze additional measures related to technology need to be considered when examining the how often and for what purposes is technology being used in K–12 classrooms.

2013 Fall and 2014 Spring Education Career Fair TLAC hosted the fall and spring Career Fairs at Reed Arena in Nov. 2013 and April 2014. The event included 92 recruiting agencies (28 more than last fall) and 315 registered student participants (304 Aggies and 11 non-Aggies) for the fall event and 163 recruiting agencies (30 more than last spring, and the

12D��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward second largest recruiting participations from school districts in the department’s history) and 552 student participants (102 less than last year) for the spring event. Thank you to our student teaching placement office for their efforts. Indeed, Aggie teachers are well received and sought after by many schools and school districts. Save the date for fall 2014 Education Career Fair, Nov. 10, 2014.

TLAC Faculty Receive Grant Drs. Robin Rackley and Radhika Viruru Receive Grant Drs. Viruru and Rackley are recipients of a grant from Improving Teacher Preparation Grants.

TLAC Frontier Lecture Series

TLAC Education Career Fair Fall 2013

Survey Team TLAC Department Head Invited to Chair a Survey Team International Program Committee invited Dr. Yeping Li, TLAC professor and Department Head, to chair a survey team of leading researchers selected from different education systems on ‘mathematics teachers working and learning through collaboration’ at the International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME). The 13th edition of ICME will be held in Hamburg, Germany July 2016. Under the auspices of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), the ICME is held once every four years. Participants come from over 100 countries all over the world. The ICME aims to present the current state and trends in mathematics education research and in the practice of mathematics teaching at all levels. This survey team is charged with establishing an overview and review of the state-of-the-art developments and contributions since the last three ICMEs and of current trends and tendencies on the topic of ‘mathematics teachers working and learning through collaboration.’ For more information please visit

TLAC continues to enjoy many ongoing academic activities with several different seminar/lecture series. The TLAC Frontier Lecture Series was formally launched in Spring 2012. Since its inception, this lecture series has brought in many top scholars and those who can bring us to the frontier of research across the nation and internationally. The frontier lecture series has introduced our students to those top experts and their research and served as a platform to encourage more communication and collaboration across the department, college and university. The TLAC Frontier Lecture Series has stimulated a culture that impacts our students’ academic learning and promotes frontier research in a broad range of topic areas.

2014 April 22, 2014 Dr. Edward A. Silver William A. Brownell Collegiate Professor of Education Professor of Mathematics, University of Michigan “Looking beyond the Headlines: Learning in and through PISA” April 21, 2014 Dr. W. James “Jim” Lewis Director, Center for Science, Math and Computer Education Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics University of Nebraska-Lincoln “Teaching Teachers Mathematics” April 14, 2014 Dr. Pooja Reddy Nakamura Researcher, International Development, Evaluation and Research (IDER) Program at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Washington, D.C. “Learning to Read in Multilingual Contexts of Lowand Middle-Income Countries”

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.................................................................................................................... 13

News in Brief March 27, 2014 Dr. Ping Li Co-Director, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition Professor, Pennsylvania State University “The Cross-linguistic Brain: Neurocognitive Signatures of Successful Second Language Learning” March 7, 2014 Dr. Gautam Biswas Senior Scientist, Institute for Software Integrated Systems Professor, Vanderbilt University “Betty’s Brain: An Open-Ended Learning Environment for Middle School Science”

2013 November 14, 2013 Dr. Xiangen Hu Professor, Psychology and Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis “SKO as Portable ITS Module to Teach Reading Comprehension for STEM” November 11, 2013 Dr. Neil Heffernan Director of ASSISTments at WPI Computer Science Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute “Research Findings from ASSISTments: A collaboration of multiple universities to make learning research easier” October 31, 2013 Dr. Carolyn A. Maher Director, The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University “Becoming a Better Teacher: Insights from Studying Videos from Students’ Active Learning” October 29, 2013 Dr. William Tunmer Distinguished Professor, Institute of Education Massey University, New Zealand “Reconceptualizing the Simple View of Reading (SVR) Model of Reading Difficulties” October 21, 2013 Dr. Eric Knuth Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison “The Impact of Early Algebra on Students’ Algebra Readiness” October 10, 2013 Dr. Hilda Borko Professor, Stanford University Member, National Academy of Education “Teacher Professional Development and the Role of the PD Leader” October 4, 2013 Dr. James A. Middleton Director, Center for Research on Education in STEM Professor, Arizona State University “Motivation in Mathematics”

September 13, 2013 Dr. Art Graesser Professor, Psychology and Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis “Intelligent Conversational Agents that Track and Help Student Learning” April 25, 2013 Dr. William S. Bush Director, Center for Research in Math and Science Teacher Development Professor, University of Louisville “Diagnostic Teacher Assessments in Mathematics and Science (DTAMS)” April 4, 2013 Dr. Francis Quek Professor of Computer Science, Virginia Tech “Learning with Technology: An Embodied Perspective” Dr. Jack Mostow Research Professor, Carnegie Mellon University “What Can We Learn from a Reading Tutor that Listens?” January 31, 2013 Dr. Richard K. Wagner Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and W Russell and Eugenia Morcom Chair Associate Director, Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University “A Causal Indicator Model of Reading Comprehension”

Please visit our website frontier_lecture_series.

Lohman Learning Community Lohman Learning Community Celebrates 12th Anniversary! Dr. Cynthia Boettcher, TLAC clinical professor, has been leading the Lohman Learning Community since its inception in 2002. Formerly known as the “Lohman Ladies,” this learning community has become the prototype for the rest of the learning communities in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Former Texas A&M University (TAMU) President Robert Gates initially conceived of the idea, as he sought to build on the success of other programs (e.g., Regent’s Scholars) to develop a learning community for first-generation students seeking teacher certification. The purpose of the Lohman Learning Community was to develop a context where first generation students could connect and feel a sense of belonging on the large Texas A&M

14D��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward campus. Dr. Boettcher echoes this sentiment stating, “There is a place for everyone here, I truly believe that.” As the learning community grew in size from 28 female students to an average class of 50 coeds in more recent years, it also grew in influence. Dr. Boettcher recalls early discussions surrounding the development of other learning communities after people realized the success of such initiatives. Lohman Learning Community students continue to have a high graduation rate, so the issue then became one of offering these opportunities for everyone. That’s when the Lohman Learning Community really became a model. All incoming freshmen and transfer students are offered the opportunity to participate in a learning community. Lohman Learning Community students have an impressive graduation rate, but there are other markers of success, too. Dr. Boettcher emphasizes that it’s about building relationships and engaging the students. Yet before that can even begin, Dr. Boettcher says that many students need some life skills training. She works with her Lohman Learning Community students to teach them things such as: opening up a bank account, applying for jobs or finding local doctors. Learning communities also serve to introduce students to the many resources on campus. Dr. Boettcher shares the credit for the Lohman Learning Community’s success with others who have been influential and integral to creating that sense of connection for the students. She named Drs. David Byrd and Shailen Singh, and advisors Bonnie BustosRios and Amanda Mather, for their consistent support and hard work. This has taken various forms, including: advising, mentoring, giving presentations at the Byrne Center and demonstrating a genuine interest and investment in the students. The namesakes of the learning community, Carolyn and the late Tommie Lohman, have always been a constant presence at Lohman Learning Community events getting to know the students by first name. Over the yearlong experience students are also called to serve and participate in cultural plunges. Neither of these aspects are optional or one-time only. Dr. Boettcher shares, “I try to get them out of their comfort zone a little bit.” Some of the students visit sites such as the Holocaust Museum or a mosque for the first time. She highlights the importance of giving back to her students, and together they select a major project such as Relay for Life, honoring Tommie Lohman. Although the Lohman Learning Community experience only lasts a year, the relationships last a lifetime. Dr. Boettcher comments that she’s led study abroad trips in which more than half of the participants were her former Lohman Learning Community students. She has noticed that often students form their closest friendships during college with fellow learning community colleagues. What’s more, Dr. Boettcher has witnessed her students graduate from TAMU and then pursue graduate

“We should be engaging and building relationships. It’s a great way to be impacted and impact lives.” —Dr. Cynthia Boettcher TLAC clinical professor

education. Her approach is to create an atmosphere of safety, honesty and comfortability. She does so by inviting the students to her home as part of the welcome activities, and modeling that openness herself. Dr. Boettcher says that the learning community has its own culture, and once students feel a part of that, they not only feel secure, but also hold one another accountable. Ultimately, the Lohman Learning Community is about “helping students find resources to be successful,” says Dr. Boettcher. She encourages anyone interested in getting involved to do it; “We should be engaging and building relationships. It’s a great way to be impacted and impact lives.” After working with thousands of students, she should know. She is truly living the CEHD mission: transforming lives.

Reads & Counts Serving the Community TLAC continues to provide a valuable service to the local community through the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Reads & Counts Tutoring Program. The TAMU Reads & Counts Program provides 22 area schools and three after school programs with reading and math tutors. Hired by TAMU Reads & Counts, tutors are TAMU students and paid via work study funds, a form of financial aid. The department funds the operating costs of running the program. The Reads & Counts Program benefits hundreds of children in the community and provides job experience to help TAMU students develop a variety of skills that will aid them in their future careers.

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.....................................................................................................................15

News in Brief Reads & Counts tutors frequently go above and beyond their tutoring duties in an effort to serve the community by participating in The Big Event, gathering toys for local toy drives and organizing and coordinating the “Race For Reading” Event, an annual drive where hundreds of books are collected and distributed to children in the community. The Reads & Counts program is impacts the lives of the children it serves and is making a difference in the community.

Image courtesy of: Tammisha Farmer, Digital Media Coordinator, Teaching, Learning and Culture

C.A.R.E. Award The Reads & Counts program’s tutors working with the Boys & Girls Club of the Brazos Valley recently received the Committed, Attitude, Respect, Everyday (C.A.R.E.) Award Jan. 2014, at the annual Boys & Girls Club meeting.

Undergraduate Peer Mentors Honoring a Mentor In February, the Undergraduate Peer Mentors (UPMs) of the TLAC honored Dr. Patricia Wiese with a retirement celebration that included the dedication of the UPM office as the new Dr. Patricia Wiese Educational Library and Mentoring Center. TLAC faculty and staff joined the UPMs in the celebration and the Reading faculty pitched in to purchase Dr. Wiese a plaque for the new Mentoring Center. Dr. Wiese taught in the TLAC department for ten years and founded the Undergraduate Peer Mentor program with Dr. Dennie Smith in 2008. The UPM program began with two students who were selected to mentor their peers in writing-intensive courses. Today, the program boasts 17 UPMs and is a tremendous asset to students and instructors in TLAC. Dr. Wiese will retire at the end of the academic year. She took her final group of students on a study abroad trip to Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy in March. While the UPM program will greatly miss Wiese’s

Dr. Patricia Wiese cuts the ribbon with her husband, Larry Wiese, for the new Dr. Patricia Wiese Educational Library and Mentoring Center.

leadership and guidance, they look forward to continuing her legacy of excellence in teaching and learning.

TLAC Student’s Journey ESL Student Speaks to Hispanic Students in South Texas TLAC English as a Second Language (ESL) graduate student Jose Luis Zelaya is working on his Master of Education in ESL Education, under Zohreh Eslami, TLAC associate professor and chair. Zelaya has had an amazing history and story of hardship to success and has been recruited by different state organizations to provide inspirational talks and advocacy for Hispanic students.

Jose Luis Zelaya’s reflection on his South Texas journey: My job was to speak to 29 high schools and give 22 speeches in 10 school days. I was honored, excited and extremely thankful for the honor to speak to the future of Texas and the United States. I opened my heart to the students and shared with them how at age five, my two-year old younger brother passed away in

16D��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward my mother’s arms because we were poor and couldn’t afford transportation to the hospital. I talk about domestic violence, harsh working conditions for children, gang bullying, drugs and success. I continue the speech and share about my mother’s escape from Honduras to the U.S. so she could give my sister and I a better life. I stayed behind in Honduras where I became homeless and a victim of gang violence and later made a dangerous journey to the U.S. to meet my mother. I inspired them with my journey to graduate school. I am one of the fastest crocheters in the world-- in fact, crocheting is how I pay for graduate school. I crocheted dream-bracelets for every student to remember my story, to believe in their dreams and do well in school.

Former TLAC Student Awards Texas Directors of Field Experiences Student Teacher of the Year Award Recipient Courtney Porter, TLAC May 2013 Magna Cum Laude graduate, was presented the Texas Directors of Field Experiences Student Teacher of the Year Award at the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE) conference in October. Recipients are selected from a field of teacher candidates who have met the Texas Directors of Field Experiences criteria for selection. A plaque and a scholarship award are presented to the winners of the elementary and secondary divisions. Ms. Porter

completed her student teaching in spring 2013 at Cockrell Elementary in Pearland ISD, where she currently teaches music.

Published Books Dr. Yeping Li Edits Book Transforming Mathematics Instruction – Multiple Approaches and Practices This book surveys and examines different approaches and practices that contribute to the changes in mathematics instruction, and also surveys relevant theory and methodology development in studying and assessing mathematics instruction. It contains 25 chapters and four section prefaces contributed by 56 scholars from 10 different education systems. This rich collection is indispensable reading for mathematics educators, researchers, teacher educators, curriculum developers and graduate students interested in learning about different instructional practices, approaches for instructional transformation and research in different education systems. Li, Y., Silver, E. A., & Li, S. (Eds.) (2014). Transforming Mathematics Instruction – Multiple Approaches and Practices. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. —Anthony J. D’Angelo Author

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.....................................................................................................................17



Faculty Awards

Student Awards

Aggies Commit to Transforming Lives Faculty Fellows

Always Expect More of Aggie Teachers Awards

Dr. Janet Hammer, TLAC Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies and clinical professor, has been selected as one of the College of Education and Human Development inaugural Aggies Commit to Transforming Lives Faculty Fellows. Hammer The fellowship is established to recognize faculty members who have actively engaged and promoted the College’s QEP initiatives, including capstone courses, undergraduate research, global education, learning communities and service learning.

Ashley Buchley, Canyon ISD Kortni Casey, Abilene-Wylie ISD Jennifer Hall, Leander ISD Shelby Holley, Marfa ISD Magen Schindler, College Station ISD Emily Valles, College Station ISD Stephanie Walz, Somerville ISD Sara Witmer, College Station ISD

2013 Upton Sinclair Award Winner Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson, TLAC clinical associate professor, was names as the Upton Sinclair Award Winner for 2013. upton-sinclair-award-winners-2013.


Staff Awards Three TLAC staff members were selected to receive the 2014 SAC Staff Awards in the College of Education and Human Development. These awards are designed to provide special recognition to individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the College through their dedication, initiative, outstanding achievements, enthusiasm and attitude in their work.



Ms. Kelly Freeman, Outstanding Staff Support Ms. Stephanie Linder, Student Relationships Mr. Justin Smith, Outstanding Staff Supervisor


2013-2014 Graduate Travel Grant Recipients The College and TLAC are pleased to announce the 2013 – 2014 Graduate Travel Grant recipients. The purpose of the grant program is to facilitate the research dissemination by graduate students. The grant is only awarded to students presenting research at academic conferences. Preference is given to doctoral students and students who do not have other research travel funds. Grant recipients are expected to complete a report and copy of the conference abstract or paper by May 2, 2014. The following TLAC students were awarded and have accepted the 2013 – 2014 Graduate Travel Grant: Jennifer LeBlanc Muhammet Alpaslan Amanda Otten Renata Burgess-Brigham Gokhan Ozturk Baki Cavlazoglu Abigail Perkins Elizabeth Deuermeyer Julia Persky Matthew Etchells Stephen Scogin Randall Garver Sunni Sonnenburg Amber Godwin Melike Unal Aaron Griffen Nancy Weber Kristin Hall Katherine Wright Tracey Hodges Xinyuan Yang Nasser Jabbari

2013 – 2014 Graduate Research Grant Recipients The College (CEHD) and TLAC are pleased to announce the 2013 – 2014 Graduate Research Grant recipients. The purpose for the research grant is to facilitate high-impact graduate research across the four CEHD departments. Preference is given to doctoral students. Grant recipients will be expected to complete a report outlining the study findings and the manner in which the findings were disseminated by May 2, 2014.

18D�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

TLAC Onward The following TLAC students were awarded and have accepted the 2013 – 2014 Graduate Research Grant: Muhammet Alpaslan Nasser Jabbari Han Suk Bae Stephen Scogin Renata Burgess-Brigham Melike Unal Aaron Griffen Nancy Weber Tracey Hodges

Doctoral Student Wins Poster Competition

Who’s Who Among Students

Distinguished Honor Graduates

Two senior TLAC students, Zulema Rios and Sara Kathleen Bates and majors in Interdisciplinary Studies, were recipients of one of the most prestigious awards the academic community may bestow, Who’s Who Among Students.

Spring 2014

Who’s Who Among Students is one of the most highly regarded and long-standing honors programs in the nation and marks the highest level of scholastic achievement. The student recipients receive national recognition by the Who’s Who program. Individual schools make selections to Who’s Who Among Students each fall. The selected students enhance the positive image of American students through their contributions to their communities and schools.

Southwest Educational Research Association Awards In February TLAC graduate students attended the 37th annual meeting for the Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA) in New Orleans, La. While attending the meeting, the students were honored with awards for their papers. Tracey Hodges won the SERA Outstanding Graduate Students Paper award and the SERA Dean’s Award for her paper, “The Effects of Teacher Technology Proficiency on Student Technology Use”. Katherine Wright, Tracey Hodges and Amanda Franks won the SERA Dean’s Award for their paper, “First Do No Harm: The Impact of Reading Intervention on Students’ Reading Motivation and Attitude.”

Sonia Marrero, student of TLAC professor Dr. Norvella Carter, won second place for the doctoral research poster competition at the Pathways to the Doctorate Conference at Texas A&M University, Kingsville.

Allison Bretches is an Interdisciplinary Studies major who believes that her education classes and field experiences have well prepared her for a future in teaching. Ms. Bretches plans to inspire her future students to achieve their personal and academic goals through imagination and analysis. Following graduation, Ms. Bretches will be actively seeking a job where she can teach language arts or social studies for grades four-eight in College Station or Houston. Ms. Bretches treasures the relationships she formed with her peers and her professors, and says her Aggie education has truly been exceptional with the great friendships she will continue, and the guidance and support she was given along the way. Diane Miller is graduating with her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from TLAC. One of Dr. Miller’s greatest strengths derived from the pathway she took toward her doctoral work, which resulted in many interconnections of research and practice. Dr. Miller has remained fully active in connecting both the daily struggle of what it means to be a student and a teacher and adapting them to her own K–12 teaching struggling middle school readers. Dr. Miller will be emerging from TAMU with unique teaching experiences, rigorous research training, extraordinary writing skills and a collaborative attitude that will allow her to be successful in communicating effectively with a widerange of groups invested in K–12 education. Her future in writing and securing funds for research and teaching initiatives looks exceptionally bright.

Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture.....................................................................................................................19



New Faculty Dr. Kisha Bryan Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Kisha C. Bryan is a staunch advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse students. She earned a Master of Arts in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2002 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)-Bilingual Education) from the University of Florida in 2012. She has taught ESOL at the secondary and post-secondary levels in South Carolina, New York and Florida. She most recently taught English for Academic Purposes to adult English language learners and ESOL endorsement courses in the Early Childhood Education program at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She served on the board of directors for Sunshine State TESOL of Florida for many years and recently completed her tenure as president of the organization. Her research and teaching interests focus on teacher and learner identity formation, language acquisition in urban contexts and dialects and creoles in education. She enjoys participating in community service projects and spending time with her daughter, Ryann Olivia. Dr. Marlon James Tenure-track Assistant Professor Dr. Marlon C. James will join the faculty of Teaching, Learning and Culture as an assistant professor in Urban Education, and the associate director for the Center of Urban School Partnerships. Dr. James earned a doctorate of philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with foci in urban and multicultural education from Texas A&M University (2008) as the 2005 Diversity Research Fellow. Dr. James’ research agenda addresses urban school reform through enhancing minority male education in P–12 settings, the organization of community resources to support student’s academic, social and cultural maturation and community-centered teaching and leadership. His latest publication is a guest editorship for the Journal of African American Males in Education, and is entitled “Can You See Me Now: Exploring the Critical Autoethnographies of Successful African American Males in Education”. This collection of nine critical life narratives offers an array of perspectives from black male K–12 teachers, graduate

students and faculty addressing how schools and communities can work together to develop the spark of black male genius. Dr. James Laub Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. James Laub has a passion for education and is strong advocate of lifelong learning. He believes that we learn best when we learn together. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University–Prairie View, Master of Education from the University of Houston–Victoria, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Dr. Laub has previously taught full-time at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, and as an adjunct at Concordia University and the University of Houston–Victoria. Prior to moving into higher education, he served Texas public school students as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He also served in the U.S. Navy and worked as a juvenile probation officer. His research interests focus on rural education and rural school districts. He has served as a guest editor and reviewer for peer reviewed educational publications. Dr. Laub has been married to his wife Joyce for 30 years, and is the proud grandfather of his first grandchild, Lilly Grace, who is 18 months old. Dr. Kay Wijekumar Full Professor Dr. Wijekumar is passionate about and committed to using computer technologies to improve learning environments for all learners. She began her career as a computer programmer and worked as a senior consultant at Accenture. Since then she has worked extensively on researching the effects of and effects with computer tools. She has designed and developed an intelligent tutoring system to improve content area reading comprehension in K–12 schools. She has recently extended the project to include Spanish speaking English language learners and persuasive writing. To support these projects she has received numerous grants totaling over $38 million. Dr. Wijekumar is an accomplished musician playing the violin and piano and loves traveling. She has visited over 58 countries and loves the ocean.

New Staff Anna Witt Boriack Research Associate

20D�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture

Our magazine is also available digitally

Save the Date November 10, 2014

Fall 2014 Education Career Fair For more information please visit the Education Career Fair website: Sponsored by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture

Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture 4232 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4232

Spring 2014 TLAC Onward  

Over the last several months, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) has added new members to our family. We are excited ab...

Spring 2014 TLAC Onward  

Over the last several months, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) has added new members to our family. We are excited ab...