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SUMMER 2012 Volume 2 | Number 2
We hope you are having a pleasant summer. As we continue to transform preparation programs to meet student needs, we remain intent on providing the support and experiences our aspiring educators need to become effective professionals. The articles shared reflect the positive impact scholarships and global experiences are having on their preparation.
Connecting Donors and Scholars
Although she had a range of post-secondary options, Katie Neutgens felt an immediate connection with Minnesota State Mankato.
"When I was a senior in high school, I had a decision to make; what college I wanted to attend. After visiting Minnesota State University, Mankato’s beautiful campus, I immediately knew this is where I wanted to spend my next four years. Now, three years later, I look forward to my future career as an elementary educator. I feel privileged to have had so many opportunities to apply my knowledge of the educational field to real elementary classrooms. The support and guidance I received from my professors in the college classroom setting and out in the elementary classrooms helped me design, adjust, and reflect on myself as an educator; helping me to improve my ideas and practices. The teacher candidate I am today is a result of my educational preparation here at Minnesota State University, Mankato."
Jeff Halbur, director of development for the College of Education, praised Neutgens and all the scholarship recipients for being so well rounded. Each maintains a GPA of 3.3 or higher and each is involved and engaged on campus as well as in the community.
In addition to recognizing students, the College also recognized donors. Each has a unique experience with the College and all demonstrate a strong commitment to quality education.
Although everyone has their own reason for giving, each gift supports students and the College’s mission to prepare professionals who embrace big ideas and real-world thinking. Both the scholarship recipients and donors are engaged within the University and are involved in the community. And, at the scholarship awards reception, they had an opportunity to connect with each other.
Living and Learning in Costa Rica
By Alyssa Kuffel
My experience in Costa Rica taught me so much about myself and about my values in life. My month-long adventure started in San Jose, where I lived with a local family and studied Spanish intensively for two weeks. But I did more than study, I also went on a coffee tour, visited Tortuga Island, snorkeled, took a bungee jump, and went white water rafting.
The second two weeks, I spent in Quepos and Manuel Antonio and lived with another family. My host family helped me learn about the high school education programs, and I volunteered in an elementary school.
At the elementary school, I taught Spanish and English to first-grade students. My schedule allowed me to spend individual time with students as well as do some teaching in smaller groups. It was a great experience to teach in a different country.
One opportunity I especially valued was the interview time I had with a teacher and the principal. They helped me to learn more about the school and the school system in Costa Rica, from the teacher hiring process, salaries, and education, to classroom size, choosing a school, and the process of getting a job as an English teacher. I am using that information in a research project that compares the American education system with the education system in Costa Rica.
While studying, working, and living in Costa Rica, I learned a lot about being a teacher, immersing myself in the culture, embracing it and using the experience in the classroom. I will always truly cherish my memories, friends, experiences, and all the stories that changed my life!
College of Education Distinguished Alumni
The College of Education proudly announces two of its own as Minnesota State Mankato’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni:
2012 Distinguished Young Alumni: Chris Schmidt, ’01 aviation
Driven to succeed at a young age, Chris Schmidt appreciates the unique opportunities afforded to him at Mankato. “I began the PSEO [post-secondary enrollment option] program in 8th grade. And I chose MSU because it is local and it has a good reputation in the aviation industry. Mankato offered me the opportunity to get the education I needed to be successful.” Schmidt encourages others to push themselves. “Life is about choices. The ones you make today can mold your future.”
2012 Distinguished Alumni: Donovan Schwichtenberg, ’60 business education
Affordability was a priority when Donovan Schwichtenberg chose Mankato in the late 1950s. In addition to the affordability, Schwichtenberg also found teachers committed to and invested in their students’ success. Those teachers encouraged Schwichtenberg to further his education, and he did. Eventually, his leadership helped St. Paul College to become the top ranked community college in the nation. “Mankato has gone from a small college to a large, world-class university. I would not be where I am today without Minnesota State University, Mankato.”
New Books from COE Faculty 2011-2012
In addition to carrying full teaching loads, our College of Education faculty members are prolific authors. Publishing books with topics ranging from student learning strategies to systems change to student mental health services to co-teaching strategies, Minnesota State Mankato COE faculty are helping to change the field of education.
We have collected short summaries of their most recent books, and we hope that you check them out. A reception for authors will be held at the Memorial Library on April 10, 2012. For more information about all University authors, visit the Minnesota State Mankato Authors Collection.
Rick Auger, Counseling and Student Personnel
The School Counselor's Mental Health Sourcebook: Strategies to help students succeed, 2011
National data and anecdotal reports from teachers, counselors, and administrators show that substantial numbers of students have been identified as having mental health needs. For many students, schools represent the only source of treatment, and this book addresses the great need for practical, ready-to-use strategies and guidelines for counselors. The School Counselor's Mental Health Sourcebook provides information about the range of mental health disorders seen in schools; a set of practical strategies and intervention ideas; and suggestions and guidelines for communicating effectively with teachers and families regarding mental health issues.
Gwen Berry, Special Education
Listening and Note-Taking Strategy, 2011
The Listening and Note-Taking Strategy manual was designed to help students identify important information during a lecture, write that information quickly in a format that will be easy to use, and study the information so they can earn the best grades possible on their tests.
This strategy is part of the nationally recognized Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) that is a comprehensive adolescent literacy approach developed and researched for more than 30 years by the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas.
Carrie Chapman, K-12 and Secondary Programs
Critical Conversations in Co-Teaching: A problem-solving approach, 2011
Critical Conversations in Co-Teaching is a practitioner's guide to building quality collaborative relationships through critical conversations. The provided framework leads readers to intentionally focus on building adult relationships and targeting students in more meaningful ways. Practical examples and real-life stories show how co-teaching strategies make a positive difference for students, and authentic conversations from real teachers bring the framework to life. Many teachers report that the process re-energized them and reminded them of why they became educators.
Andrew P. Johnson, Special Education
A Short Guide to Action Research, 2012
This compact, user-friendly book provides everything a teacher needs to know to conduct an action research project, in a clear, step-by-step presentation. The author guides the learner through comprehension and interpretation of both qualitative and quantitative techniques in action research methods and then describes all phases of the process, including selecting a topic; collecting, analyzing, and reporting data; reviewing the literature; and presenting the report. New strategies, examples of projects, ideas for possible research questions, along with many new forms and graphics have been included.
Karl Matz, Elementary and Early Childhood
The Last Full Measure of Devotion: The Civil War west of the Mississippi, 2011
The author covers the events of the Civil War west of the Mississippi between 1854-1865 in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Teri Wallace, Special Education
Models for Implementing Response to Intervention: Tools, outcomes, and implications, 2011
Providing a unique "on-the-ground" perspective, this book examines the implementation of three empirically supported response-to-intervention (RTI) models in four different school districts. The book addresses the complexity of putting RTI into place in the elementary grades, showing how the process actually took place and what impact it had on school climates and student learning and behavior. The challenges of systems change are explored and key lessons identified for improving intervention outcomes.
Scott Wurdinger, Educational Leadership
Time for Action, 2012
Time for Action discusses why the education system needs to change now and provides practical examples of teaching approaches, school models, and assessment systems that can move the education system in the right direction. Written for all stakeholders—students, parents, educators, administrators, and policy makers—because meaningful change of the U.S. education system requires effort from all.
Don Glines, Emeritus
Declaring War Against Schooling: Personalizing learning now, 2012
Declaring War Against Schooling documents 100 years of educational wars between visionary learning leaders and traditional school people. Ironically, to win the existing war, both opposing groups must unify to overthrow the control of education by politicians.
The author presents research that validates the flaws in current school and college rituals. Outlined are venues to overcome political control, offer educational alternatives, and create voluntary personalized choices for all learners.