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Summer 2014

Bus ride steers dean to education

Dean Johnson

For much of his childhood, Joe Johnson Jr. thought he’d grow up to be an attorney.

Then a bus ride changed the direction of his life.

Read about Dean Johnson's pivotal moment at


SDSU Among Seven Educational Research Centers Jointly Respond to White House Report on Boys and Young Men of Color

President Obama

In response to a recent task force report to President Barack Obama on My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative that brings together private sector and philanthropic organizations to improve the lives and outcomes of boys and young men of color in the United States, seven university-based research centers have jointly issued a statement. The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education (University of Pennsylvania), Minority Male Community College Collaborative (San Diego State University), Morehouse Research Institute (Morehouse College), Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (University of Texas at Austin), Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male (The Ohio State University),UCLA Black Male Institute (University of California, Los Angeles), and Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (University of Wisconsin-Madison) are all research enterprises that rigorously and routinely study factors that enable and limit educational, social, and occupational opportunities for boys and young men of color. Leaders of the seven centers emphasize the importance of effective research-based interventions and are jointly issuing the following statement in response to the task force report.

Statement from Research Center Directors

Congratulations to Dr. Jose Luis Alvarado

Dr. Jose Luis Alvarado

It is with bittersweet emotion that we congratulate Dr. Jose Luis Alvarado who has been appointed as the new Dean of the College of Education at CSU Monterey Bay. Dr. Alvarado was selected to be the first Dean of this newly established College of Education and will begin his new assignment in mid-July. Dr. Alvarado has served the College of Education as Associate Dean since 2010 and has supported the College through one of the most difficult financial periods in our history.

Current Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Research and Special Projects, Dr. Nancy Farnan, has graciously agreed to assume Dr. Alvarado’s responsibilities on an interim basis. Dr. Farnan’s willingness to step into this role is indicative of her commitment to our College. Please also join us in thanking Dr. Farnan for her willingness to assume these critical tasks.

In accordance with university policy, Dean Johnson will initiate an internal search process for a permanent Associate Dean in the fall of 2014. This will allow the College to name a new Associate Dean during the spring of 2015 with an an official start date for this individual of of July 1, 2015.

Again, please join us congratulating Dr. Alvarado and thanking him for his years of service to San Diego State University. We wish him well as he begins a new adventure with new tasks and new opportunities!

CSU Monterey Bay News story on new dean.

COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Dr. J. Luke Wood Serves as Panelist for White House Initiative on African American Excellence

Dr. J. Luke Wood

J. Luke Wood spoke at the Summit on Black Males hosted by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and Morehouse College. The event featured speakers from philanthropic organizations, the media, parent advocates, researchers and school leaders who have expertise in Black male achievement in education. Wood sat on the panel, “My Brother’s Keeper: Leveraging Research & Community Resources to End the School to Prison Pipeline.”

This panel will describe programs, policies and practices that result in safe, supportive and successful environments for boys and men of color. Consistent with the President’s remarks during the launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, this panel will underscore the need to support boys and men of color with particular emphasis on pipelines sand pathways enhancing the academic and workforce preparedness of African American males.

Original Story
Summit Agenda


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Dr. Wood in his work in educational leadership. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Dr. Cristina Alfaro Awarded San Diego County Bea Gonzales Leadership in Biliteracy Award

Dr. Cristina Alfaro

We are proud to announce that Dr. Cristina Alfaro, Department Chair of Dual Language & English Learner Education, was honored with the 2014 Bea Gonzales Leadership In Biliteracy Award. Dr. Alfaro was awarded at the 16th Annual Biliteracy Symposium on May 8, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel in La Jolla, California.

The Bea Gonzales Leadership in Biliteracy Award is given to one person or institution in San Diego County in special recognition of their efforts for and commitment to promoting biliteracy and academic achievement for English Learners. Award nominees can be teachers, parents, administrators, board members, and/or support staff.


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Dr. Alfaro in her work with dual language programs. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

Doctoral Candidate Leads Award-Winning Outreach Program

Sheila Krotz

Sheila Krotz, San Ysidro High School’s Medical Pathway Program Coordinator and a candidate in the College of Education’s Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) Program in Educational Leadership, recently signed a three-year contract with UCSD Medical Center, signaling the beginning of a new partnership with the HERE Initiative. The HERE Initiative is an exciting new outreach program designed to benefit communities in South Bay and southeastern San Diego. San Ysidro’s Medical Pathway students will benefit from the new partnership, supported by $10,000 a year in funding and enhanced opportunities for student internships, tours, clinical equipment, and guest speakers.

The unique innovations of the Medical Pathway program for students in Grades 9 - 12 focus on analyzing the core curriculum from the California State standards and reinventing it to make it more applicable for the student who may someday want to work in the health care industry. The medical-focused curriculum provides authentic, real-world applications for student learning. This is accomplished through a collaborative effort between pathway teachers and industry partners. Their discussions center on industry partner expectations and professional standards for skill level and critical thinking, and designing labs and lessons to meet those expectations and needs.

This innovative philosophy is apparent throughout the UC-approved, A-G Medical Pathway science classes, including Medical Biology, Biotechnology, Medical Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology. Sheila’s dissertation research focuses on the preparation of teachers with the skills and knowledge to teach effectively in career academies and pathway programs, which are part of the expanding Linked Learning field of secondary school reform. Congratulations to Shelia and her colleagues and partners for receiving this recognition and award from the HERE Initiative. For more information about the pathway and the award please visit this web page about the award which includes a video.

In addition, the Medical Pathway and Sheila’s work with students at San Ysidro High School was featured in the June 5, 2014 Education Week article titled California School Taps Community to Engage Students. Read this article describing Sheila’s exciting work.


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COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

Credential Student Ariel Starks Finds Greater Ambition in Teaching

Ariel Starks

Story contributed by Mary L. Lawlor, Ph.D.

Sometimes children know what they want to become at a young age and follow this vision throughout their lives. More often; however, a beginning passion is tempered by experience and self-discovery and evolves into an even greater ambition to make meaning for others in the world. Such is the adventure of Ariel Marissa Starks, who plans to complete her multiple subjects elementary school credential this spring at the San Diego State University School of Teacher Education.

As a young girl, growing up with her family in Stockton, California, Ariel loved watching animal stories on TV shows such as Animal Planet and National Geographic. She decided she wanted to major in biology and work with animals as a career. As the first in her family to attend a four-year university, Ariel headed south to San Diego State University and achieved her initial goal in 2010 when she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in teaching sciences. Her focus changed her junior year in college; however, when she began tutoring students taking introductory biology and discovered joy in having the knowledge, patience and flexibility in communication to successfully teach science to others. Upon graduation, Ariel returned to her hometown and secured a position teaching upper level Biology in the International Baccalaureate program at her own alma mater, Franklin High School. Her students included highly accelerated learners as well as those who lacked prior knowledge and those who struggled because English was not their primary language. Always a tenacious and ambitious person, Ariel created a website to keep in contact with her students, organize the year, and relay information to students regarding assignments, videos, extra credit, and sources of study help. The reward of seeing students’ understanding and excitement to learn grow was indescribable for Ariel. She describes it as, ”… like butterflies in your stomach, and you can do nothing but smile and give yourself a pat on the back.” With success under her belt, Ariel prepared for a second year, but the plan was foiled by California’s economic recession and her teaching position was no longer available.

Armed with a resilient and philosophical adage, “When one door closes, another door opens,” Ariel began substituting and realized that she loved working with primary, elementary school students. This idea had never even crossed her mind in college. She continued to focus her work for the next two years on students from kindergarten through 6th grade, not only to build teaching experience but, “… to gain an understanding of young minds as well as the curriculum.”

Ever resourceful, in 2012 Ariel took a summer position as an Assistant Biologist-Educator for the Starr Ranch Junior Biologist program at a 4,000 acre Audobon California Sanctuary located in Southeast Orange County. The Junior Biologist program allowed Ariel to complete multi-disciplinary hands-on and simulated research related to wildlife biology with elementary-aged students to teach various ecology and conservation concepts and to help them appreciate and conserve rare wildland habitats. Ariel managed to combine her love of animals with the love of teaching children as she and her charges took hikes, identified plants and animals, and camped out. Ariel found it, “…Great to see students so engaged in surroundings so unfamiliar to them.”

Back on the substitute trail that fall, Ariel’s tenacity again resulted in another valuable learning experience when she picked up a spring semester long-term substitute position working mainly with low level English learners as an intervention teacher for third graders struggling with phonics or reading comprehension. She instructed five groups of students who were behind grade level based on formal and informal assessments during the fall semester, working both in small groups and individually to provide the 3rd graders with extra attention to improve skills, help them to excel in the future, and see reading as a “fun experience.” While Ariel found it challenging, her students made excellent progress over several months and gave her great pride in their achievement. She decided then that teaching was definitely her calling and enrolled in the credential program for the upcoming fall.

Again thirsting for new knowledge and experiences, Ariel spent the summer of 2013 as the Lead Science Instructor at Camp Galileo in Fremont, California, instructing students from ages four to six in project-based sciences such as chemistry and physics. The innovative approach focuses students on being visionary as well as courageous, collaborative, determined and reflective and combines art, science and outdoor activities with imaginative themes. Ariel prepared materials for science projects and adapted the curriculum for age appropriateness. As part of a program based on research by the Stanford School of Design, the instructors give minimal direction so the “campers could freely think, problem-solve, and make conclusions on their own.” Ariel found it valuable to use this creative approach to help young people “...become innovators in the future.” Always a forward thinker, Ariel applied for and received a Janet Sinegal Scholarship for her 2013-14 post-graduate year to obtain her multiple subjects teaching credential. This highly competitive scholarship is awarded to San Diego State University College of Education students based on financial need, outstanding academic achievement and submission of an essay. Ariel plans to use the scholarship to “…focus more of my time on discovering various ways to communicate to my future students and learning how to be the best teacher I can be…” Of course, with her outstanding organizational, multitasking and problem-solving skills, Ariel continues to add to her teaching repertoire by substituting at elementary schools near San Diego State when she can. Her tenaciousness and quest to better her teaching portend a highly successful credential experience.

As for her time at State, Ariel finds the university to be very diverse with much to be learned from being open to the thoughts of others. She appreciates having professors who are truly invested in seeing she and her colleagues succeed in their educational careers. Thus far, Ariel believes that she has evolved into a more flexible, patient educator. She says, “I’ve learned so much about how my future students will come from all walks of life and that as an educator, I need to be prepared to provide the best individualistic education for my students. I want to help instill the hunger for knowledge in the young minds of our future leaders.”

As Ariel looks to her future, she doesn’t yet know where her path will lead, but she knows that she would like to eventually earn a Master’s degree and credential as a reading specialist. She thinks about obtaining a certificate to teach English abroad so “…during my summers, I can continue to teach and see the world at the same time!” With her broad and varied experiences in both the sciences and the humanities, her ingenuity and her ability since childhood to imagine what could be in her life, Ariel Starks is bound to make a difference in her students’ futures.


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COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

Faisa Ahmed Finds Her Passion Helping Children with Developmental Delays and Their Families

Faisa Ahmed from CFD

Story contributed by Mary L. Lawlor, Ph.D.

Faisa Ahmed and her family traveled from Somalia to San Diego where she was placed in the 4th grade at Euclid Elementary in the Central Heights region of San Diego. Her teachers in both 4th and 5th grades were extremely helpful to her since she did not speak English and was in a completely new environment. They made her feel safe, and she knew they cared about her even with the language barrier. “At the end, they made me believe in myself,” she states.

Faisa always loved being with children and helped her sister raise her five children. She explains, “They are the most energized, funniest, innocent people to be around. I am filled with happiness when I’m around children.” Currently working on a Master’s of Science in Child Development, Faisa earned her Certificate in Childhood Social-emotional and Behavior Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) in San Diego State University’s College of Education Department of Child and Family Development in 2013. Faisa cites a long-term curiosity about how children’s brains develop and at what age they develop which skills as a stimulus leading to her current career path. “I always wanted to have a job that can help people,” she added, and Faisa has volunteered or worked at a variety of organizations over the last six years. Some of these include reading books to children in the San Diego City College Head Start program; helping children develop their motor skills at San Diego State University’s Children’s Center; developing appropriate activities for students with disabilities at Promising Futures Inc.; preparing lessons for students at Cherokee Point Elementary; helping children learn shapes at Neighborhood House Association; preparing and presenting parenting workshops to parents of pre-school age children at the State Department of Child and Family Development; and currently completing developmental assessments and providing one-on-one behavioral support to parents and caregivers at Delibrainy LLC.

Over the course of this diverse experience gathering, Faisa came to the realization that her true passion lies in working with children with developmental delays and their families. In fact, she dreams of one day opening a center focused on helping them. “I have a soft spot for children who are developmentally delayed,” Faisa effuses.

Being close to home and her family and friends influenced Faisa to select San Diego State University as her educational choice. She credits support and encouragement from her classmates and professors as inspiration to continue her studies to receive her MA and reach her goals. She identified plenty of resources to support students at the university, but feels that, “It is up to the individual to seek out the most beneficial resources available for his/her field.” Faisa believes she is receiving a high-quality education and has more confidence in herself. She has learned good leadership skills; reflectiveness; a commitment to life-long learning; patience and flexibility when working with parents; and the need for collaboration to reach the best outcomes for every child.

Faisa advises future College of Education students to set clear goals; seek help when needed; believe in yourself and use hard work and determination to overcome any challenges; and keep positive people around you.

As she prepares to launch her professional career, Faisa is proud of having a caring heart, having a sense of humor, accomplishing her goals, and having great parents who were always involved in her schooling. She smiles, “For always telling me knowledge is power!” From her days as an immigrant child from Somalia whose teachers gave her confidence and belief in herself until today as she navigates towards the opening portals of her future, Faisa expounds on her educational philosophy: “Teachers take a hand, open a mind, touch a heart, shape the future. I am extremely honored to be a part of shaping the children of the future.”


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COE Programs Making a Difference

SDSU Teachers are Making a Difference

STE Credential Graduates

SDSU alumni Ross Goldman, Elisa Allan, and Noemi Solorio talk about their experience as teachers and going through the Teacher Credential Programs. SDSU's Teacher Credential Programs prepare highly qualified teachers by offering over a century of teaching and learning experience. 



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COE Programs Making a Difference

SDSU’s School Psychology Program: Strong Presence at National Conference

De'Amona Casey, Sandra Guzmán, and Priti Dave

SDSU’s School Psychology faculty, students and alumni received honors and awards, and gave multiple presentations at this year’s National Association of School Psychologists (February, 2014 in Washington, D.C.). The conference was opened by 2006 SDSU graduate Elvina Charley, who offered a traditional Navajo opening and song to the audience of close to 5000. Alyssa Ashley received the NASP Minority Scholar Award for 2014, the first to go to a Native American school psychology graduate student. Carol Robinson-Zañartu was 2014 Distinguished Lecturer, speaking on Diversity, Mindset, Worldview: Lessons That Cross Cultures and Continents, for which she received an award of recognition. She also received a Presidential Award for Collaboration, Advocacy and Leadership on Behalf of NASP. Graduate student and Project CARES Scholar, DeAmonta Casey was selected to present on Supporting CLD Children in Foster Care on NASP’s Diversity Dialogue panel. Colette Ingraham co-chaired two sessions of the Consultee-Centered Consultation Interest Group and also organized a symposium featuring 8 SDSU school psychology students and an internationally known discussant.

Read more about the School Psychology presenters.

Faculty, students and alumni also presented the following workshops, symposia or papers:

Aganza, J., Gonzalez, L., Godinez, A. & Smith, D., & Robinson-Zañartu, C. Assessing Cultural Assets in Latino Students Using the Ecosystemic Approach. Mini-Skills Workshop.
Casey, D. (2014, February). Project Cares: Supporting CLD Children in Foster Care. (2014, February). Diversity Dialogue Presentation.
Gutierrez, A., & Flores, S. (2014, February). Skill-Building Group for CLD Military-Connected Students. Poster Presentation.
Ingraham, C. L. (Chair), Moehlenbruck, D., Manzo, C., Flores, S., Gutierrez, A. D., June, E. A., Martinez, D., Wager, J. D., Ramirez, D., Nastasi, B. K. (Discussant). (2014, February). Implementing restorative practices within CLD schools: Strategies for systems change. Symposium (with 5 papers and a discussant)
Ingraham, C.L., Moehlenbruck, D., Manzo, C., Martinez, D., Wager, J.D. & Ramirez, D. (2014, February). Implementing bilingual restorative practices in a high need elementary school. In A. Gregory (Chair), Transforming school climate through restorative approaches to school discipline. Symposium.
Valenzuela, V., Gutierrez, G., & Lambros, K. RTI: Examining Responsiveness to multi-tiered Mathematics Interventions using single case design. Poster presentation.


Gift Box Icon Help make a difference by supporting nationally recognized programs like the School Psychology program. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

Spring 2014

It’s a Great Time to Be a Teacher!

Cindy Marten and Ric Hovda

Former SDSU College of Education Dean, Dr. Ric Hovda and SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten spoke to Good Morning San Diego about the need for more teachers in our communities.

View the video at SDUSD website.

Frank Harris Gives Empowering Keynote Address to SUHSD Students

Dean Johnson, Frank Harris and Students

On Saturday, April 12, 2014 College of Education faculty member, Dr. Frank Harris III presented a powerful keynote speech about the value of a college education at the Gates Millennium Scholars & Hispanic Scholarship Fund Bridge Builders Forum, held on the San Diego State University campus. Dr. Harris addressed approximately 300 young students and their parents from the Sweetwater Union High School District.

The day-long conference went over important topics to help high school students begin to get college-ready such as; financial aid information, campus support services like Compact for Success and EOP and preparing for the Gates Scholarship application. The event even included a tour of the beautiful SDSU campus.

This year two Gates Scholars will graduate from the College of Education. Jocelyn Pacheco and Magdalena Rodrigues will both graduate from the Master’s of Education, Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in Student Affairs program. We are proud to call these inspiring students alumni of the college and even more proud to know that Jocelyn will be returning to us in the fall to begin work on her doctorate in the Joint Claremont/SDSU Ph.D. in Education program.

Read more about Jocelyn and about Magdalena.

This spring 2014, the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) implemented the SDSU Gates Millennium Mentoring Program. This program will not only help to support the current 14 Gates Scholars at SDSU like Jocelyn and Magdalena, but also future Gates recipients. DUS hopes to continue collaborations in the community to increase the number of local service students and future Aztecs who receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

The Gates Millennium & Hispanic Scholarship Fund team, a major sponsor of the event, were so impressed with the welcome, keynote, workshops, and attendance of the event that they will be sponsoring another event in the fall.

Patricia Lozada-Santone Inducted into Residential Education’s Circle of Excellence

Patricia Lozada-Santone and Nancy Marlin

Congratulations to COE Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Patricia Lozada-Santone on being inducted into the SDSU Residential Education Circle of Excellence.

Each year, students living in the residence halls at SDSU are asked to nominate faculty members who have made a positive impact on their academic experience. Dr. Lozada-Santone is a strong supporter of all the work done in Residential Education was honored at the Circle of Excellence event held on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Provost Nancy Marlin recognized honorees at the ceremony.

Joey Nuñez Estrada Strives to Reduce Gang Violence Through Outreach

Dr. Joey Nuñez Estrada

Beginning last fall, COE Counseling and School Psychology faculty member, Dr. Joey Nuñez Estrada began organizing a community-based outreach organization called License to Serve to help reduce gang violence.

Dr. Nuñez Estrada, a Los Angeles native, gang researcher and activist, is passionate about reducing gang violence and helping the city of San Diego create an effective community-based gang intervention program. License to Serve uses a peer-to-peer approach to target areas of gang retaliation and family well-being.

While License to Serve is currently in its beginning stages, it already has 12 members including the San Diego County Office of Education.

Dr. Nuñez Estrada’s work was recently highlighted in a KPBS article and an interview (begins at 10:49).

Dr. Nuñez Estrada’s focus on reducing gang violence is important to the children, youth, and families we serve in the College of Education. We thank him for pursuing this important work and for his outstanding contribution and service to the community of San Diego.

Douglas Fisher Awarded Exemplary Leader Award

Dr. Douglas Fisher

We are please to share that Dr. Douglas Fisher, faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership, recently received the Exemplary Leader Award from The Conference on English Leadership (CEL) Awards Committee. The Exemplary Leader Award is the most prestigious award given at CEL and recognizes Dr. Fisher’s sustained leadership and many contributions to the profession. Dr. Fisher will be recognized for his award at the CEL convention in the fall.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Fisher on receiving this wonderful recognition of his sustained leadership and generous contributions to The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the field of education in general. Dr. Fisher’s generous commitment of time and energy in support of his students and colleagues is truly exemplary! We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Fisher at SDSU!

Read more about Dr. Fisher and the CEL Award for Exemplary Leadership

25 Years of Incredible Service from COE Faculty

Drs. Ronald Evans, Nancy Farnan, Jesus Nieto, Valerie Pang

This spring will mark 25 years of service from four of the tenure-track faculty in the College of Education. Each of these professors has truly made a mark on the SDSU campus through contributions to the College and extraordinary dedication to their students.

Join us as we celebrate and thank these faculty members, all from the School of Teacher Education, for their service: 

  • Dr. Ronald Evans
  • Dr. Nancy Farnan
  • Dr. Jesus Nieto
  • Dr. Valerie Pang 

Rafaela Santa Cruz honored as Latina Champion

We are so proud to announce that School of Teacher Education faculty member Dr. Rafaela Santa Cruz was recently recognized by the U-T San Diego as the 2014 Latino Champion Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Santa Cruz is the director of the San Diego State University/Claremont Graduate University Joint Ph.D. Program in Education and also the SDSU Math/Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) director.

Read more about Dr. Santa Cruz in SDSU Newscenter.

College of Education doctoral student Sylvia Garcia-Navarette was also nominated for this prestigious award as a finalist. Sylvia is a current doctoral student in the Community College/Postsecondary Ed.D program at SDSU.

Read more about Sylvia Garcia-Navarette.

These strong leaders make a difference in the lifes of the students they serve on a daily basis and we are honored to call them colleagues. Way to go, Dr. Santa Cruz and Sylvia!

COE Recognizes 2014's Outstanding Graduates

Group of SDSU graduates

Each academic year the departments within the College of Education select one student to recognize as the Outstanding Graduate. Where appropriate, this occurs at both the Undergraduate and Graduate levels. In turn, these students select the most influential faculty member of their academic career. This reciprocal recognition is greatly respected and an honored tradition.

The following outstanding graduates and faculty members will be recognized at the College of Education Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

Student: Spencer Thomas
Faculty: Dr. Caren Sax

Undergraduate Student: Jill Ellis
Faculty: Dr. Don Myers

Graduate Student: Kim McDougal
Faculty: Dr. Sarah Garrity

Student: Edna Rivera Chavez
Faculty: Professor Juan Camarena

From the DEPARTMENT OF DUAL LANGUAGE AND ENGLISH LEARNER EDUCATION (Formerly Policy Studies and Cross Cultural Education)
Student: Emmanuel Moon
Faculty: Dr. Estella Chizhik

Student: Michael Goodbody
Faculty: Dr. Douglas Fisher

From the DEPARTMENT OF LEARNING DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (Formerly Educational Technology)
Student: Venu Babla
Faculty: Dr. Jim Marshall

Student: Erika Ann Youngblood
Faculty: Dr. Bonnie Kraemer

Student: Bill Ricketts
Faculty: Dr. Lisa Lamb

COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

COE Students Bring Their Best at SDSU Research Symposium

Research Symposium 2014 Winners

This spring San Diego State University hosted the 7th annual Student Research Symposium and the College of Education is proud to have had 10 student participants. College of Education students presented research on a wide range of topics from radio literacy programs in Afghanistan to diversity awareness to counter racially themed college parties. Research was presented both in oral presentations and poster sessions.

We are incredibly proud to announce that four of the College of Education participants were award winners. Many Congratulations to Lucia Garcia, Renzo Lara, Aaron Iffland and Kelsey Olson!

SDSU 2014 Student Research Symposium Award Winners:
Provost’s Awards

Lucia Garcia
Academic Level: Graduate Certificate, Dual Language
Presentation Title: Beyond Language: Empowering Students and Educators in a Dual Language Classroom Through Culturally Significant Activities
Advisor: Dr. Marva Capello

Kelly Olson (with co-presenters Hilary Dinh and Ashley Virgilio)
Academic Level: Undergraduate, Child Development
Presentation Title: Teacher Perspectives on the Practice of Continuity of Care
Advisor: Dr. Sascha Longstreth

Dean’s Awards

Aaron Iffland
Academic Level: Doctoral, Ph.D. Jt Doc SDSU/CGU
Presentation Title: Improving Outcomes in a Technical College Classroom using Socio-transformative Constructivism
Advisor: Dr. Rafaela Santa Cruz

Renzo Lara
Academic Level: Doctoral, Ed.D PSE/CC
Presentation Title: Impact of Non-Cognitive Factors on Student Engagement for Latino Male Students Attending a Designated 2-year HSI
Advisor: Dr. J. Luke Wood

Read more about the SDSU Research Symposium


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CSC Minor Creating Change Agents

Counseling a child

The new Counseling and Social Change (CSC) Minor, offered through the Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) at SDSU, builds on CSP’s commitment to facilitating individual, group and systems change in diverse social contexts. The minor introduces students to skills and concepts used to understand and create such change, and to professional career paths such as school and community counseling, clinical psychology, social work, family therapy, and school psychology. It provides immersion in theory and experience-based practice. The minor is open to undergraduates from any major!

Read more about the exciting CSC Minor in the Daily Aztec

COE Programs Making a Difference

Child & Family Development Department Earns NAEYC National Recognition

Child & Family Development Department Earns NAEYC National Recognition

The Child and Family Development Department (CFD), chaired by Dr. Shulamit Ritlbatt, earned National Recognition in January 2014 from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Recognition of the program is a nationally known mark of quality. NAEYC works with NCATE to review early childhood programs at the four-year level.

In order to be recognized, programs must show evidence of strong student performance on each of NAEYC’s standards: applied knowledge of child development and learning, work with families and communities, use of assessment and documentation, the practice of teaching and learning, and becoming an early childhood professional.

Dr. Sascha Longstreth, an Assistant Professor in CFD, has coordinated the Recognition process for the last four years. The CFD program is the first and only bachelor-level program in California to receive NAEYC Recognition.


Gift Box Icon Help make a difference by supporting nationally recognized programs like CFD. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Doctoral Students: Publishing is Like Running a Marathon!

Dr. Valerie Ooka Pang

Story contributed by: Dr. Valerie Ooka Pang, School of Teacher Education

Publishing is one of the most important skills for doctoral students to develop as they prepare for careers in higher education. It was exciting to offer our SDSU/Claremont doctoral students a special topics class on publishing during the Spring of 2013. Teaching the various elements of producing a successful manuscript can be challenging. However I had an entire class of motivated and hard-working doctoral students who have much to contribute to the educational literature.

The students learned that publishing is like running a marathon; a researcher must have clear goals, and the persistence and courage to tackle a long journey. Unlike a sprint, it can take a scholar several years to research, develop, and prepare a manuscript that is accepted for publication in a juried journal. One of the eye-opening insights the doctoral students learned in the class is that a paper written for a class most often is NOT ready to submit to a journal without extensive revisions.

Following the spring semester when the class was held, several students received acceptances from editors during the summer and fall. A one-semester class does not provide adequate time to develop, write, revise, submit, and address reviewers’ comments for most scholars. Please join me in congratulating the following scholars:

Casesa, R. (2013). I spoke it when I was a kid: Practicing critical bicultural pedagogy in a 4th grade classroom. Schools: Studies in Education, 10 (2), 171-191.

Yenpasook, M. (2013). “One, two, three, go: Teaching teachers to assess for depression in students. National Teacher Education Journal, 10 (3), 17-21.

Her, C. (2014). Ready or not? The academic college readiness of Southeast Asian Americans. Multicultural Perspectives, 16 (1), 35-42.

Courtney, R. (forthcoming). Enlightenment: An exploratory case study in voluntary racial segregation. Multicultural Education.

Lafferty, K. E. & Pang, V. O. (forthcoming). Challenging teacher bias: Implementing a community learning fair. Issues in Teacher Education.


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Dr. Pang and COE doctoral students. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

SDSU and the College of Education Make a Difference Internationally

Dr. Branch in Guatemala

For almost a decade, Dr. André J. Branch, an Associate Professor in the School of Teacher Education, has been taking San Diego State University students on a life-changing spring break trip.

In 2006, with assistance from a Faculty International Program Development Grant, Dr. Branch created a partnership between San Diego State University and the Patulup Parimaria and Basico School in Guatemala. Each year during Spring Break Dr. Branch takes students from SDSU to Guatemala to teach in this rural school. With supervision from Dr. Branch, SDSU students design and teach lessons in English and Spanish for elementary and secondary students whose home language is K’iche’ (a Mayan language of Guatemala). Participants in the Guatemala Study/Teach Abroad program also deliver school supplies to the children that have been donated by SDSU students.

In early March of this year, the Patulup Primaria and Basico School’s director expressed a need for computers for a computer room for the 179 students at this school. Dr. Branch discussed the need with Provost Nancy Marlin and the result was a generous donation of five lap top computers and four ipads from San Diego State University.

This spring 24 SDSU students in the Guatemala Study/Teach Abroad Program presented computers and ipads to the Patulup Primaria and Basico School. This equipment was donated by SDSU and made possible with the help of Provost Marlin.

Liberal Studies students, as well as students from other majors at SDSU, consistently report that teaching in the school is the most rewarding and thrilling part about the Guatemala Study/Teach Abroad Program. Being able to donate this important technology this semester only made the experience that much more rewarding.

Many thanks to Dr. Branch and Provost Marlin for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of children across the globe!


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New Dean Announced for College of Education

It is with great excitement that the College of Education announces
Dr. Joseph F. Johnson, Jr. will become the dean of the College of Education at SDSU effective immediately.

Dr. Johnson joined San Diego State University in 2005 as the executive director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation and as a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. He has been serving since last July as the college's Interim Dean. Prior to his appointment at San Diego State University, Dr. Johnson held education administrative roles at the state and national level following his early work as a classroom teacher. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Please join us in welcoming Dean Johnson to this important academic leadership role.

Dual Language Education Programs at SDSU

Marian Kim-Phelps

YouTube Video: Dual Language Education Programs at SDSU

The Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (DLE, formerly Policy Studies Department) would like to introduce a new video that shows the great need in San Diego for dual language teachers and has interviews with current students and graduates who can attest to the success they’ve experienced because of their preparation in the bilingual credential program at SDSU.

DLE prepares bilingual and cross-cultural teachers, administrators, and other educators who are reflective and transformational practitioners in addressing the needs of ethnically and linguistically diverse learners through collaboration with schools, families and community. We work closely with schools and districts to support the needs of English learners in K--12 classrooms and the professional development of biliteracy teachers.

COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

COE Alum Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps appointed Superintendent of Westminster School District

Marian Kim-Phelps

Congratulations are in order for College of Education Alumna Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps! The College of Education was excited to learn of Dr. Kim-Phleps appointment to the superintendency of the Westminster School District in November of last year.

Dr. Kim-Phelps is a graduate of the SDSU Independent Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (PreK-12 Leadership).

COE is very proud to name Dr. Kim-Phelps among its graduates, knowing that she will continue to provide exceptional leadership for the students and families of Westminster.

Best wishes to Dr. Kim-Phelps in her new role.

See the Westminster School District’s announcement.


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COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

Marissa Vasquez Honored by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education

Marissa Vasquez

Current College of Education doctoral candidate Marissa Vasquez was recently selected as a 2014 Graduate Student Fellow by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).

As a student in the SDSU Independent Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (Community College/Postsecondary Leadership), Vasquez studies under the guidance of Drs. J. Luke Wood, Frank Harris III, and Kenneth P. Gonzalez. Vasquez’s scholarly work focuses on factors impacting the success (e.g., persistence, achievement, attainment, transfer, labor market outcomes) of male students of color, particularly Latino and African American men, in the community college. Using hierarchical, multilevel regression modeling, her dissertation will examine the predictability of background/defining, academic, social, environmental, and institutional variables (if any) on Latino male sense of belonging.

Vasquez ’s long-term career goal is to obtain a tenure-track faculty position and continue to engage in critical and applied research that addresses disparities in education, particularly within community colleges.

AAHHE Graduate Student Fellows must demonstrate academic potential through past experiences and future career goals, aspire to enter the college/university professoriate and/or administration and exhibit a track record of service to the Hispanic and/or Latina/o community among other qualifications.

The College of Education offers its proud congratulations to Vasquez on her honor of being selected to participate in the AAHHE Graduate Student Fellows Program.


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COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Charles Degeneffe Serves as Guest Editor for Australian Journal of Rehab Counseling

Leif and Eric Fearn

Dr. Charles Degeneffe, the Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Counseling Program (RCP) and a faculty member in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education, served as Guest Editor for a special issue of the Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling (ARJC) entitled, "Family Support and Adjustment Following Acquired Brain Injury: An International Perspective." The AJRC is the official journal of the Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors.

The special issue featured articles from Mexico, Denmark, Australia, Spain, and the United States. The issue also includes a book review from Lemma Buta, a current student in the RCP and a participant in the RCP's Cognitive Disabilities Certificate Program, and an article by Dr. Mark Tucker, who works at the Interwork Institute and is a RCP lecturer. Both Dr. Tucker and RCP faculty member Dr. Marjorie F. Olney served as guest reviewers for the special issue.

Great work Dr. Degeneffe and the Rehabilitation Counseling Program faculty and students!

Check out the ASORC Website.


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Tayler Nichols Wins 2013-14 Inamori Fellowship

Tayler Nichols

College of Education student, Tayler Nichols, is a winner of the 2013-2014 Inamori Fellowship. The Inamori Fellowship recognizes superior scholarship in individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society. The program makes ten awards annually in the amount of $5,000 to the most qualified, degree-seeking SDSU graduate students. Applicants must have at least two semesters remaining in their program. Criteria for selection include academic background (undergraduate and graduate record), scholarly accomplishments (e.g., awards, publications presentations), work completed and planned, training environment (including physical facilities and the productivity of the research group), and faculty mentor recommendation.

Nichols is a current student in the Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and is concurrently enrolled in ARPE’s Advanced Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Nichols also works on a grant project directed by Dr. Caren Sax, ARPE Chair: Take Charge: Leading the Transition to Adulthood, funded by the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Area Board 13.

Other faculty have also recognized Nichols’s talents. She has assisted Dr. Mark Tucker with several statewide needs assessment contracts that are conducted with vocational rehabilitation programs and has supported Dr. Nan Hampton in her research in testing effective rehabilitation services, social support and individual resilience as to how it mediates the influence of internalized stigma on employment outcomes, life satisfaction, and emotional subjective well being of people with neurological disabilities.

Additionally, Nichols has become active in the Rehabilitation Counseling Student Association and works as an Educational Coach for the College-2-Career program at the San Diego Community College District.

Linked Learning Making a Difference in San Diego

Linked Learning, student talking at podium

The College of Education is making a difference by preparing educators to utilize Linked Learning, a technique that helps students learn challenging academic skills through real-world applications in career pathways. San Diego State University is excited to be part of a growing network of institutions that incorporate the Linked Learning lens into their single subject teacher preparation programs.

COE’s School of Teacher Education incorporates Linked Learning to transform education by ensuring that all students are college, career and life ready. The techniques used in Link Learning combine strong academics, intense technical education and real-life experience through various project-based assignments for high school students.

Dr. Nancy Farnan, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Research and Special Projects and former Director of The School of Teacher Education has been very involved in adding the Linked Learning component to SDSU’s credential program in recent years. She has even blogged about the topic.

More impressive, however, is seeing how real-life students are being positively impacted by the Linked Learning process. Last spring Ana Sical, a former Linked Learning high school student in the local San Diego area, graduated from SDSU with her bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering and has since been hired as an engineer. View a YouTube video where Ana describes her amazing Linked Learning experience in her own words.

SDSU and the College of Education are proud to be incorporating a technique like Linked Learning that is truly making a difference for the students in our communities.

Learn even more about Linked Learning and how it is being incorporated into California teacher credential programs via the ConnectEd website and video.

Fall 2013

COE Programs Making a Difference

African American Mentoring Program (AAMP) Making a Difference Locally and Nationally

New Orleans Conference

Acknowledging, recording, retelling, and addressing African American graduate students’ experiences is important to their success in higher education. One of the key elements to student success is mentorship. From preschool to college, Black students demonstrate positive academic outcomes in environments where they are supported by healthy mentoring villages.

Since 2001, AAMP has supported the needs of graduate students of African descent in the College of Education. In recent years, our program has expanded to include graduate and undergraduate students throughout the University. Our AAMP students come from the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, Special Education, Teacher Education, Administration, Rehabilitation, Postsecondary Education, and Interwork Institute (ARPE), Oceanography, and Psychology (to name a few). Several of our AAMP Alum have pursued graduate and doctoral degrees (Special Education Doctorate Program ODU, University of Massachusetts Amherst Social Justice in Education Program, University of Michigan, Doctorate Program) or are currently working in culturally rich communities including, San Diego County Schools, San Diego Community Colleges, SDSU Student Services, Las Vegas Unified School District.

AAMP Mentors are faculty and staff members from the College of Education, Africana Studies, Student Services, University Computer Operations, Career Services, and Student Services. AAMP Mentors have expertise in mentoring, research, community advocacy, and service devoted to Black student achievement and well-being.

The goal of the African/American Mentoring Program (AAMP) is to recruit, retain, and sustain students of African descent in graduate level programs at San Diego State University.

AAMP is devoted to ensuring that the educational experiences of students from multiethnic and diverse African-descended backgrounds are supported, mentored, and fostered. AAMP seeks to enhance students’ professional growth, self-awareness, self-confidence, cultural responsiveness and historical presence. Moreover, AAMP is committed to being a source for connecting students with community resources, faculty mentors, and peers that identify and can relate to their experiences in higher education.

Three AAMP Mentors and Seven AAMP Students traveled to New Orleans to present at the Association of Black Psychologists Convention (ABPsi). This annual international convention is the only one of its kind, with a focus on African-Centered Psychology. AAMP students and mentors presented on the effectiveness of the AAMP program from a mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychological perspective. The presentation was a success!

Read more about AAMP.


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COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

CFD Student Sonia Holzman Crowned as 2013 Homecoming Queen

Holzman and Brou

Sonia Holzman, a fourth year Child and Family Development Major with a minor in Psychology, was crowned San Diego State University’s 2013 Homecoming Queen this fall.

In addition to being a full time student, Holzman is the Vice-President of the American Sign Language (ASL) Club at SDSU, advocating for awareness of ASL and Deaf culture on campus through teaching basic ASL classes and social events. Off campus, Holzman is the director of project development for IDEAL (International Deaf Education Advocacy and Leadership), an organization that is currently focused on empowering and educating Deaf youth in developing countries. She is also a supervisor at A.R.C.C. Center, where she provides respite care to children with Autism and other developmental disabilities.

Holzman plans to pursue a career within the field of special education, with an emphasis on educating Deaf youth. Her project for the Homecoming Court will focus on promoting awareness of ASL on campus and working together with Homecoming King, Jordan Harrison.

Read more about Holzman and the 2013 Homecoming Court

Story Contributed by: SDSU’s Department of Child & Family Development


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COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Dr. Fearn's Book Asks Social Studies Teachers to Examine What They Teach, Not How Teach

Leif and Eric Fearn

Content Matters: Social Studies in the Elementary and
 Middle School

In a recent book coauthored by retired School of Teacher Education faculty member, Dr. Leif Fearn, social studies teachers are asked to examine not how they teach, but rather what they are teaching.

Content Matters: Social Studies in the Elementary and Middle School is a 2013 social studies book coauthored by Leif and Eric Fearn. The book includes nine content chapters, plus a chapter about writing in the social studies. The book features several chapters rarely treated well, if at all, in the social studies classroom. Among the chapter topics are, World Religions, Media Literacy, Native Peoples, and Personal Finance.

Fearn and Fearn use the topics in their book to help preparing teacher candidates and even current teachers understand that when teaching social studies, it should be more about content than procedure.

Check out Leif and Eric Fearn’s book on

Story Contributed and written by: Dr. Leif Fearn, SDSU Faculty, Retired, School of Teacher Education


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COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Dr. Nan Zhang Hampton Keynote Speaker at Symposium of Fuhong Society of Macau

Dr. Nan Zhang Hampton

ARPE faculty member, Dr. Nan Zhang Hampton served as the keynote speaker at the November 2013 Symposium of Fuhong Society of Macau. The keynote speech, "Evidence-Based Community Care in an Era of Globalization, Economic Crisis, and Information Technology Revolution" was well-received by attendees.

Fuhong Society is a non-profit organization that provides a variety services to people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities in Hong Kong and Macau. Fuhong Society’s mission is to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities to develop all their abilities and to ensure that they achieve the greatest independence possible within their circumstances and to advocate for equal rights of persons with disabilities through education, policy and legislative changes.

Dr. Hampton first traveled to Hong Kong to lead a workshop on community-based rehabilitation programs and then visited Macau for the symposium.

Story Contributed by: SDSU’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education

Read more about the Fuhong Society of Macau.


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SDSU Professor and Alumnus Wins
Renaming Contest!

InformED and InspirED: News from the SDSU College of Education

We are pleased to officially announce, InformED and InspirED: News from the SDSU College of Education as the new College of Education e-newsletter title!

With over 200 great title suggestions received, the Dean and his renaming committee had a tough decision to make. Ultimately, the committee was drawn to the play on the word “education” through the capitalization of “ED” in the creative title.

The clever entry was submitted by SDSU professor and alum, Dana Kuhn. Professor Kuhn has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and currently teaches Finance 437: Real Estate Development each fall semester.

Professor Kuhn was inspired by his wife (also an SDSU graduate!) to head back to school in early 2000 to pursue a Single Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Education at SDSU. Professor Kuhn credits much of his teaching style here at SDSU to his experience in COE programs. He is a reluctant lecturer and emphasizes activities in class and projects in the field.

Bragging rights and a $100 gift card to the SDSU Bookstore (generously donated by Aztec Shops, Inc) have been bestowed upon Professor Kuhn. The College of Education thanks him kindly for his creative contribution!

ARPE Department Awarded Subcontract As Part of $50 Million Grant

ARPE and Interwork Logos

Promoting College, Career, and Community Readiness: The Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Initiative

Recently, the US Department of Education awarded six grants to establish and operate model demonstration projects designed to improve the education and employment outcomes of child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and their families. A $50 million grant ($10 million per year for five years) was awarded to the California Department of Rehabilitation. SDSU's Interwork Institute was awarded a subcontract of $1.75 million per year for five years to conduct all of the data gathering and analysis, program evaluation, research, and technical assistance related to this grant.

The PROMISE initiative is intended to improve the provision and coordination of services for child SSI recipients and their families. The services help child recipients achieve better outcomes, including graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting.

The College of Education is pleased to congratulate ARPE Department Chair, Caren Sax, and the Interwork Institute team on this wonderful award.

COE Staff Honored at 40th Annual Staff Awards

Staff Awards 2013 Group Photo (Pictured here left to right: Elsa Tapia, Marilyn Bredvold, Lisa McCully, Martha Pedroza

On October 31, 2013 San Diego State University held it’s 40th Annual Staff Awards event. Each year this event recognizes the expertise and commitment of SDSU staff members with a delicious lunch and lively awards program.

This year the College of Education recognized six individual staff members with service awards. Please join us in congratulating and thanking the following staff members:

  • Elsa Tapia, 15 years
  • Julie White, 20 years
  • Kathleen Borsos-Wooley, 25 years
  • Lisa McCully, 25 years
  • Marilyn Bredvold, 25 years
  • Martha Pedroza, 35 years

Additionally, 25-year service award winner Marilyn Bredvold was recognized with a 2013 Presidential Staff Excellence Award for Staff-to-Staff Mentoring.

Read more about the 2013 Staff Awards.

Website Refresh for Amber’s Book Club

young girl sitting on the floor reading a book

Last spring InformED and InspirED (formally the Dean’s Update) highlighted the great work of an organization called Amber’s Book Club. Amber’s Book Club is the family-run component of the Amber Christine Soule Endowment, founded in 2002, with the Campanile Foundation. All funds raised by Amber’s Book Club go towards reading tutoring scholarships for children in need in the San Diego Area.

Amber Soule was an SDSU alumna who was taken from us too soon in 2001 at the age of 27. Amber was an SDSU credential graduate who was energetic and eager to change the world. While she didn’t have the opportunity in life, Amber’s family has made sure that Amber’s dream of helping and teaching underprivileged children lives on through her endowment and through Amber’s Book Club.

Recently, the website for Amber’s Book Club was updated to help better showcase the wonderful work of the organization and to create an easier portal for people to donate.

Please visit Amber’s Book Club and consider donating to help change the lives of underprivileged children in Amber’s honor.

COE Programs Making a Difference

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Education

San Diego State University's Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (CRMSE) recently held its fall 2013 STEM Education, Equity and Economics seminar.

The seminar, "K-12 Online STEM Education: Promise or Problem?" took place at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center. More than 90 attendees shared their successes and challenges regarding online K-12 STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — teaching and learning.

Read more about the CRMSE seminar at SDSU NewsCenter.


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PI Highlight: Dr. Tonika Duren Green

Dr. Tonika Duren Green

Dr. Tonika Duren Green, associate professor of school psychology and director of SDSU’s School Psychology Program, is committed to preparing school psychologists who are multicultural thinkers and actors, who understand how racial, ethnic and sociocultural factors influence student performance.

Her research explores and responds to educational issues of children and communities from ethno-linguistically diverse backgrounds. Dr. Green has several peer-reviewed publications, grants, and a book chapter in the area of multicultural competency and increasing achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse children. Dr. Green’s research centers on efforts to close the achievement gap for African American foster youth. Her work in improving outcomes for foster youth began in 2005.

Last year, Dr. Green received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare culturally affirming and responsive education specialists for foster youth.

Read more about Dr. Tonika Duren Green and Project CARES at the SDSU Research Foundation website.

COE Faculty & Staff Making a Difference

Ed Leadership Faculty Win Book of the Year

Common Core Book

ForeWord Review's 2012 silver-award winning Book of the Year in education was written by SDSU faculty members Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. Their book, Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work™, Grades K–2, explores strategies for integrating the Common Core State Standards for English language arts in primary grades. Based on both research and practice, the popular book helps educators design instruction, curriculum, assessment, and intervention that will ensure that students learn challenging Common Core State Standards through professional learning communities. Drs. Fisher and Frey are professors in the Department of Educational Leadership.

Visit the Department of Educational Leadership website.

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COE Programs Making a Difference

Dr. Cristina Alfaro Spearheads Department Redesign

Dr. Cristina Alfaro

College of Education Professor and Interim Department Chair Cristina Alfaro is spearheading an effort to redesign our Department of Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education. The goal is to build the College’s capacity to pursue two goals. Dr. Alfaro explained, “First, we want to make sure that SDSU has one of the nation’s premier preparation programs for educators who teach in dual-language programs.” Throughout San Diego, California, and the rest of the nation, school districts are eager to find individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are necessary for work in dual-language academies. SDSU’s dual-language program has a strong reputation, but the goal is to strengthen the program so that we prepare educators who are able to help students learn challenging academic skills, while helping them pursue proficiency in more than one language.

“A second goal,” Dr. Alfaro added, “is to support other faculty members, programs, and departments such that every graduate of our College of Education is well prepared to help English learners succeed.” Through Project Core, Dr. Alfaro is already supporting 25 faculty members in redesigning their courses so that our graduates will be better prepared to ensure that English learners learn Common Core State Standards. The redesign of the Policy Studies Department is intended to broaden and deepen these efforts so that every program offered in our College of Education will prepare individuals who know how to help English learners achieve high levels of success. Dr. Alfaro looks forward to working with faculty throughout the College to conceptualize and implement this new vision for the Department.

Visit the Department of Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education website

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UCEA Membership Granted to EDL and COE


The ED Leadership (EDL) Department and the College of Education have been granted membership within the University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA). UCEA is a consortium of higher education institutions committed to advancing the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of schools and children. The Council fulfills this purpose by:

  • Promoting, sponsoring, and disseminating research on the essential problems of schooling and leadership practice;
  • Improving the preparation and professional development of educational leaders and professors; and,
  • Positively influencing local, state, and national educational policy.

UCEA has a rich history, originally founded more than 50 years ago by 15 universities, the Kellogg Foundation, and the regional Centers for Educational Administration. Founding members recognized the need for inter-university collaboration to build a knowledge base of research and effective practice for the field of educational administration. Today, UCEA has become a collective of top research institutions with programs in educational leadership and policy and the leading professional organization for professors of educational leadership and policy. San Diego State is the 94th institution nationally to be granted membership in UCEA. Also, SDSU is the only university in California that is a current member of this distinguished organization.

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COE Students & Alumni Making a Difference

SDSU Bilingual Credential Students in Top CTA Positions

Miller and Contreras in Cap and Gowns

Current Bilingual Credential Program Students Deborah Miller and Alexandra Contreras are making a difference this year with their new teacher education liaison positions!

Deborah Miller has been named the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) Liaison. This position is appointed by the California Teachers Association (CTA) Board of Directors and is a very important role. Deborah will be the only student who attends meetings and reads documents about policy making in Sacramento.

In her role as CCTC Student Liaison, Deborah will communicate between students, CTA, Universities, and the Commission about issues or upcoming action items. Deborah will advocate from the student perspective and work to build strong partnerships.

Alexandra Contreras has been named the Southern Regional Vice President of the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA).

This role is equally important and will keep Alexandra busy connecting with all of the SCTA chapters in Southern California. Through campus visits, emails and phones calls, Alexandra will make sure that the Southern chapters are updated on what the Executive Board is up to, as well as to offer support, resources, and advice on how to recruit members and grow as local chapters.

Both Deborah and Alexandra are recent SDSU graduates from the Liberal Studies program (Deborah also double majored in Spanish) and were active members and officers in the SDSU SCTA chapter last year.

For more information on the CTA/SCTA visit the California Teachers Association website

Gift Box Icon Help make a difference in the lives of SDSU Credential Students like Deborah and Alexandra. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

COE Creative Media Lounge Newly Renovated for the New School Year

Creative Media Lounge

Current College of Education students can study in style beginning this Fall 2013 in the newly renovated Creative Media Lounge located in the North Education building, room 275.

The Creative Media Lounge offers the latest software and hardware for all of your computing needs, as well as a variety of services including self-printing and scanning. Users have a wealth of resources at the CML including powerful new MAC and Windows PC workstations for digital video & image editing, web development, and various other forms of media production.

With wireless Internet access and group meeting space in the form of tables or comfy couches, the Creative Media Lounge is the perfect location for group projects.

COE Faculty and Staff are also invited to utilize the Creative Media Lounge!

Many thanks to COE staff member Gregg Koyamatsu, Information Technology Consultant for his hard work in the lab redesign and overall lab management.

Check out the CML website for current hours of operation and lab policies.

Gift Box Icon Student, Faculty and Staff resources like the Creative Media Lounge are made possible, in part, by generous donations by readers like you. Consider giving a gift to the College of Education today!

Child & Family Development Department Welcomes Dr. Diana Schaack

Diana Schaack

The College of Education and Department of Child & Family Development is pleased to welcome Diana Schaack, Ph.D. (Loyola University Chicago/Erikson Institute 2011).

Dr. Schaack’s research and work focuses on improving childcare settings, teacher practices and children’s social-emotional well-being. She is a principal investigator on an evaluation examining the outcomes of an infant/toddler professional development initiative.

Dr. Schaack is also completing a study examining the effects of daily caregiving discontinuity in childcare on children’s development. She is starting a follow-up study on the influence of childcare providers’ own attachment histories on caregiving practices and relationships with children.

The College is excited to have Dr. Schaack on board for the Fall 2013 semester.

Read more about Dr. Schaack and the other new faculty beginning at SDSU this Fall at the SDSU NewsCenter website.

Summer 2013

Farewell from Dean Ric Hovda

Dean Hovda

SDSU College of Education Faculty, Staff, Students, Partners, and Stakeholders,

It has been my honor to serve as Dean of the College of Education over the past six years. The College has a proud history and continues to be a leader locally and beyond. Recently the US News and World Report rankings placed the College within the top 100 nationally (65th), and among the top 50 public institutions nationally. SDSU’s College of Education was the only CSU ranked in those categories. In addition, the rehabilitation counseling program continues to be ranked in the top 10 nationally.

While rankings are important, more critical is the role the College plays in the “lives of the people it serves”. The College plays a critical role in numerous school districts in developing innovative practices, the use of mobile technology for teaching and learning, community-based counseling, highly effective school counselors and educational psychologists, preparing the next generation of k-12 school leadership and community college leadership, the study of autism spectrum disorders and the use of best practices with individuals and families, the preparation of early childhood educators and community leaders in early childhood mental health, bi-literacy and dual language teacher preparation, preparing math, science, and reading teachers, leadership development internationally in the Pacific Islands, addressing the “achievement gap” by studying schools that outperform expectations, and much more. These programs and initiatives directly impact thousands of people each year. In addition, the research done by our faculty and students is impressive in the number of publications in refereed publications as well as several national research awards for faculty members. Further, through the efforts of talented staff members, our capacity to collect, share, and use data for a variety of important functions increases our efficiency and effectiveness.

While the past several years have presented unprecedented fiscal challenges and changes in the demand for programs, the College has maintained a very high level of productivity and level of impact due to the diligence and commitment of faculty, staff, and students. For this, the College should be commended.

I appreciate the work we have done together to make a difference in our college, community, state, and beyond. The College will continue to prosper and increasingly extend the depth and span of its impact as economic conditions improve and new opportunities and new leadership emerge. I wish the College, and Dr. Joe Johnson, the new interim dean, the best in the coming year and beyond as the College of Education continues its mission “to make a difference in the lives of those it serves”.

Ric Hovda

Dr. Joeseph F. Johnson, Jr. to Assume Role as Interim Dean of the College of Education

Joe Johnson

Dr. Joeseph F. Johnson, Jr. has a distinguished record of leadership roles within school districts, state education agencies and the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Johnson joined the College of Education in 2005 as a professor of educational leadership and executive director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation and he leads efforts to identify, study and promote the best practice of high-performing urban schools and districts. As a member of the Education Leadership faculty, he helps develop and teach programs designed to prepare effective school and district leaders.

He will begin serving as interim Dean on July 1, immediately following Dean Hovda’s retirement, and will continue until the arrival of a permanent dean.

Read the story at SDSU NewsCenter.

Spring 2013

Ed.D. Graduate Wins 2013 Dissertation of the Year Award

Lynn Neault

Dr. Lynn Neault, San Diego Community College District Vice Chancellor of Student Services has won the prestigious Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) 2013 Dissertation of the Year Award for her dissertation entitled “Implications of State and Local Policy on Community College Transfer in California: A Regional Case Study”. CSCC is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Read more about Dr. Lynn Neault.


Mathematics Teacher Noticing: Seeing through Teachers' Eyes selected for Exemplary Research in Teaching Award

Mathematics Teacher Noticing - Book Cover

Mathematics Teacher Noticing: Seeing through Teachers' Eyes edited by Miriam Sherin, Victoria Jacobs, and Randolph Philipp selected for the Division K Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education Award.

The committee unanimously agrees that this collection of essays provides a timely, powerful and detailed examination of the work of teachers. Every day teachers confront complex challenges, which require them to respond in novel ways. How we prepare teachers to notice and make sense of these challenges, and the tools we have to do so is front and central to the fields of teaching and teacher education.

The Sherin et al volume addresses the artificial separation of teaching from learning that occurred in the 1970's. The conceptual framework of "noticing" marks the re-integration of the relationship of teaching and learning and frames how teacher's teach in the context of learning when they learn where to look, what to look at, how to make sense of what they see, and how this stance is critical to supporting student learning as well as how to develop a learning as well as student-responsive approach.

This fourteen chapter text explores the construct of teacher noticing, and its potential for understanding the nature of teaching. The book is organized around three core ideas:

  1. What, when, and how of teacher noticing,
  2. the development of mathematics teacher noticing over time, and
  3. effective methods for influencing teacher noticing.

Together these chapters advance the conversation on teacher practice and teacher development, and provide guidance to the field for ways to improve practice through the everyday work of teachers. As Dr. Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon (the book’s nominator) aptly states:

What is key, in my opinion, is that a focus on teacher noticing is associated with a particular stance towards teaching, a stance that draws our attention to phenomena that have received relatively little attention. At the heart of this stance is an image of the teacher-in-action as being confronted by a “blooming, buzzing, confusion” of events — that teaching requires being aware of and making sense of the complex interactions unfolding in the moment. Embracing this stance towards teaching opens the door to new research paradigms and methodologies, and to examining the nature of teaching in new and productive ways.

While the idea of teacher noticing is not new – in fact the very first chapter of the text by Fred Erickson points this out – a framework for making sense of how, why and when teachers notice is new, and transformative. Where do teachers look? What do they see? How do they make sense of what they see? These questions drive this work. These are the same questions that help to fill current gaps in the knowledge base of teaching and teacher education. These authors powerfully demonstrate how these questions help to make visible what is often taken for granted or assumed natural in teaching. The committee concurs that the conceptualization of noticing in this text has the potential to transform not only mathematics education but also more broadly impact how we prepare and support teachers (preservice and in-service).

With meaningful attention given both to the craft of teaching and the field of teacher education, the committee agreed that the text is highly relevant across subject domains. After reading and discussing this text, we found ourselves intrigued by ideas and wanted to try them out with our preservice teacher candidates.

Deborah Ball, in the foreword for the book, captures the committee’s view with her statement: “To identify noticing as a central practice of the essential work of teaching is a fundamental contribution to the challenge of decomposing practice for the purpose of making it learnable (Grossman et al., 2009). This book opens and unpacks this construct, tracing its foundations and scope and displaying insights garnered from studies of teacher noticing. It offers both language and frameworks for making more precise the study of teaching practice and the resources needed for its skillful enactment”. Well stated for a book that is well done!

San Diego State University's College of Education is again among the top-ranked schools in U.S. News & World Report's latest edition of "Best Graduate Schools."

SDSU Campus

The College shares No. 65 out of the 278 graduate schools surveyed – an increase of six places over last year. Among public universities we are proud to be within the top 50 ranking at a shared 49th ranking with Old Dominion, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The College of Education is the only CSU in the top 100 and the eigth-ranked college of education in California. The rehabilitation counseling program in the College's Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education is ranked 9th nationally.

Our continued rise in the U.S. News survey is a testament to the impact our students, faculty, staff and alumni have on San Diego, the state and the national education community. This recognition is the result of our excellent preparation programs, innovative research and collaborative partnerships.

Congratulations to the continued commitment to excellence by faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders. Once again, we are recognized for truly "making a difference in the lives of those we serve". Well done!!

Proud Dean,
Ric Hovda

Read the story at SDSU NewsCenter.


First day of summer term.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
First day of S1 and T1 classes.
Holiday — Memorial Day
Monday, May 26, 2014
Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
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