Notes from the Dept. Chair

Validation for hard work

By Gaye R. Jenkins, Ed.D.

Chair, Department of Education

Western State Colorado University

January, 2015

As I look out over the bright, sparkling snow-covered lawn, I remember back to July 2014 when many of us met for the first time, or were reunited as part of the MA in Education journey. We were wearing lighter attire and our attitudes were optimistic, with excitement and a tinge of apprehension in the air, contemplating the fresh upcoming academic year. Now we are half way through it!

Words of amazing accomplishments have been crossing my desk from both faculty and students, throughout the first semester. Licensure year candidates have already been able to contribute to their seasoned colleagues’ perspectives and skills in their classrooms. Research students have been applying leadership strategies directly into their school buildings during the very semester in which they are learning them, to make a positive difference for students and fellow educators. Sheer grit and determination has triumphed in settings where the semester was just plain hard! Well done everyone!! K-12 education is one of the toughest professions to enter and maintain, yet Western is honored to work with the finest candidates and professionals!

Education faculty were asked to present cutting edge aspects of Western’s ED model to attendees at the November Educator Preparation Summit, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Always seeking ways to serve the field with relevant and effective programming, ED faculty is subsequently developing a new MA in Education customized for and by existing teachers according to their own needs for professional development.  As the Executive Director of Educator Licensing at the Colorado Department of Education stated: “This is an example of how an institution of higher education can directly support teacher development. What is worth noting is that the impact of this particular program of study will be measured by the teachers’ performance in the classroom, and ultimately by the growth of the students in those teachers’ classrooms. There is a powerful bridge created between the role of rigorous teacher preparation beyond initial licensure and high-quality instruction for our K-12 students”(O’Neil, December 2014).

Our undergraduates have been busy! Through the fall, ED students scooped ice cream, decorated cookies and painted our new Future Educators’ Lounge – come into Crawford to see it, we have a coffee maker and popcorn!

January 2015 sees the first cohort of undergraduate students to experience EDUC 102. This is a required 3-credit course for BA in Elementary candidates and a recommended course for anyone interested in exploring teaching. It’ll be a great kick off!

ED faculty has had stimulating conversations with colleagues across campus as we have explored cross-disciplinary opportunities and programming with a more intentional international presence. We anticipate welcoming more international education students and licensure candidates working abroad next year! 

We are excited to launch into the next episode of our journey as educators! Stay tuned for next updates!