Congratulations to faculty member Gloria Crisp for receiving the 2020 ASHE Mentoring Award. Crisp is a Professor and Program Chair of the Adult and Higher Education programs at Oregon State University.
ASHE (Association for the study of Higher Education) awards recognize exemplary achievements and contributions to the study of higher education through research, leadership, or service to ASHE and the field of higher education. Crisp has a long record of sustained, wide-reaching, and transformative mentoring of emerging scholars. Above and beyond mentorship as a condition of academic service, Crisp has studied mentorship as a mechanism for addressing inequities facing marginalized groups and, most notably, has extended this line of inquiry into her everyday practice. In ASHE, she has consistently mentored new faculty members as chair of the Early Career Faculty Workshop.
Dr. Kristen Nielsen brings nearly twenty years of teaching, research, and leadership experience in education to her new position with the College of Education at Oregon State University. Dr. Nielsen has extensive experience in program development, assessment, and leadership in higher education and has held several leadership roles in teacher education at the University of Calgary, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has directed the planning and redesign of undergraduate curriculum, developed school and community partnership programs, and served as an advocate for social justice, diversity, and inclusion in education.
Dr. Nielsen is a specialist in literacies, languages, and language arts, and she has researched and instructed courses in language and literacies for a number of years. She has recently developed courses on migration and schooling practice, with a focus on inclusive and differentiated literacy practices in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and has served as invited faculty member and presenter at the University of Regensburg, Germany and Tufts University. Her current research explores international and comparative approaches to curriculum development and teaching practice in support of linguistically and culturally diverse learners. She has also studied writing pedagogy for adolescents through higher education and led writing program development and assessment in higher education. Her research in writing focuses on learner-differentiated practice in writing instruction and self-assessment pedagogies. Her work can be viewed in the Journal of Research in Reading, Educational Review, and Adult Learning, among other publications.
April LaGue and Arien Muzacz both have long histories in education. April grew up seeing her sister in education and wanted to do something similar. She decided, though, that she preferred the non-teacher aspects of working with students, prompting her to go into counseling. She has been a counselor for 13 schools under grant and student assisting programs. April’s research background focuses on math anxiety and social well-being. Arien’s career in counseling started back in middle school, where she was a peer counselor for her classmates. This sparked a lifelong interest in the field, though her path was less linear. She was the first in her immediate family to complete college and worked in legal and non-profit settings before she returned to her first love of counseling by pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Arien’s research agenda emphasizes diversity and social justice, including health disparities in the areas of substance use and sexual health along with topics in aging, sexuality, addiction, and counselor education and supervision. In addition, Arien and April are both outspoken supporters and members of the LGBTQ community and commit to creating an environment that is safe, healthy, and allows underrepresented voices to have a say. They want the clinical and school sides of counseling to work together and embrace professional unity while increasing equity of opportunity for all their students.
April and Arien are currently focusing on the teaching and learning aspects of pedagogy in online and hybrid counselor education programs. They are co-investigators on a study funded by the Ecampus Research Fellows program to examine the impacts of providing a hybrid orientation to Master’s students in Counseling on students’ self-efficacy and perceptions of wellness. Ecampus’ M.Coun program is part-time and offered in a hybrid (in-person and online) format, which appeals to non-traditional students who may have significant responsibilities within their own communities. Last year, faculty built and piloted orientation models to give students the opportunity to learn about program requirements and Ecampus and OSU resources and to form a bridge between educational backgrounds and classroom expectations. This “virtual mentorship” gives a way to connect with the students more directly before they meet in person in a space that is safe, secure, accessible, and equitable. Their research collects data from students before and after the orientation to evaluate changes in students’ self-efficacy and wellness in response to their active engagement with the online learning modules.
Once April and Arien publish their findings, they hope that they can use them to help improve the quality of online teaching and advising in counselor education and to consult with other institutions in developing their programs. They believe all grad programs should have an orientation with advisors to connect with. The hybrid model that the Ecampus uses has a lot of potential, and their work aims to prove and popularize the many ways that online orientations can provide students with the tools they need to succeed. Currently, they don’t have access to the big grants that the hard sciences do, though they’re very grateful for the awards they have received for their work. They’re very appreciative of the opportunities given to them by the Ecampus to further their work.
Hi everyone! My name is Raisa, and I am a LEEP PhD candidate and ED 219 instructor. I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Translation. A study abroad brought me to Oregon in 2011, and I decided to come back for Graduate School three years later. As an outdoor enthusiast, I feel fortunate to live in a place with such amazing nature and a variety of sceneries to enjoy. From going out on a quick run in my neighborhood, to hiking, camping, snowboarding, surfing, etc., I take very opportunity to go out and enjoy the many beauties of this state.
I came to OSU for my MAIS, but those two years were not nearly enough to study the intersection of Education, Social Justice, and Language. Fortunately, the College of Education launched their LEEP (Language, Equity, and Education Policy) PhD program, and it was the perfect opportunity to continue to explore those areas. My own background and my experience teaching lower-division Spanish courses at OSU inspired me to research the diversity that different linguistic and cultural backgrounds bring into first-year Spanish classes. As an instructor, I strive for equity in the classroom, and as a future scholar I believe in the power of research to help bring equitable approaches to education.
This last year, I taught Multicultural Education (ED 219) for the College, and got involved in research projects to understand how undergraduate students learn about multiculturalism in education and appropriately redesign ED 219. The new curriculum, which will be launched in the fall, recognizes and addresses the emotional components of studying Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Education. We have been incorporating bits and pieces of the new design in the last two terms, and got very positive feedback from our students so far! In addition, acknowledging the importance of understanding the concepts covered in ED 219 beyond Education, we prepared a proposal for a DPD (Difference, Power, and Discrimination) course. Courses under this category address intersections of gender, race, class, sexual identity, age, ability, and other institutionalized systems of inequity and privilege in the United States. During these times, the importance of educating our college students about these matters are as relevant as ever, and we hope that with ED 219 as a new addition to the DPD Baccalaureate Core Category we will attract students from different areas. Preparing our students with an understanding of the historical and current events related to multiculturalism in education is beneficial not only to our students, but to our society. Many of our students will become educators in different areas and institutions, and we rely on them to continue to educate future generations.
In ED 219, we want to give our students the tools to recognize equitable approaches to fight systematic oppression, power and injustice, and to empower them to actively make change. For me, this is both a personal and a professional goal, and I am thankful for the amazing people I have the opportunity to work with. As I said before, we recognize the emotional work we require from our students in this class, something we can absolutely relate to, as we engage in hard, emotional work ourselves both in teaching and researching topics of multiculturalism and social justice. Having the support from my team helped me carry out the work needed to successfully move ED 219 to become a DPD course. For that, I want to acknowledge the people I refer to when I say “we.” I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their inspiration and support. Thank you Kathryn, Marcos, Faran, Freddy, and Jane.
One of the core beliefs here of the Oregon State College of Education is to prepare the next generation of teachers. But within the college is a group of students taking this preparation to the next level. Evan Walker is the current president of the Aspiring Educator’s Club at Oregon State University, and he leads the club along with fellow executive officers Stephanie Hasan, Sarah Connolly, Sidney Shaw, Ryan Hannah, Brenna Beyer, and Annuka Brown. The club is also advised by Karla Rockhold, the Career Advisor for the College of Education.
As a founding member, Evan was there just last year shortly after the club was created, with the goal in mind to have an extracurricular resource for the students in the College of Education. According to Evan, in the beginning the club “didn’t have one specific purpose in mind. It was more of a multitude of things.” Their biggest goal at first was just to give students a network to help them succeed in college. The club had resources to help clarify paths to graduation and input from older members to help the younger members forward in their collegiate careers and beyond. Evan inherited his position from the former president, and he is now the club’s senior member, as “the founding members are all in their student teaching phase right now, so they’re very busy.”
However, Evan has done a fantastic job of running the club this far. Over the last year, the club has grown tremendously. They sent 5 students to a retreat for early educators put on by the Oregon Educators Association in February 2019, and have been funded and supported not just by the OEA, but by the National Educators Association as well. Members of the club have even traveled to national conferences as representatives for the club as well.
In the future, Evan hopes to see an expanded interest in his club and to draw in more and more students from the college of education to share in the multitude of experiences he’s already had. Part of their plans for this year was to connect themselves with AEC chapters at the nearby Linn-Benton Community College and University of Oregon, so that their already strong network of connections grows even stronger as these aspiring educators prepare to enter the workforce for the first time. Thanks to the great work by Evan and the other founding members of the club, they’ll all be prepared and ready for whatever the future has in store for them.
Hello everyone! My name is colin cole. I’m a shelter volunteer at Heartland Humane, a KBVR DJ, runner, vegan, poet(?), recent cat dad, and LEEP PhD candidate. I first came to Corvallis in 2012 (wow time flies) to pursue an M.A. in Latino Studies which, unfortunately, has since been discontinued (more support for world languages, anyone?). Prior to that, I taught high school Spanish and creative writing in California, and completed my undergraduate studies in Education at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Currently, my research focuses on Hip Hop, language use, and identities in the lives of Latinx youth in Oregon.
Throughout my time as a PhD student, Heartland Humane, Benton County’s open-door animal shelter, has also been a refuge for me and many other volunteers. Nothing is better for a theory induced headache than a half hour of fetch or a walk through Avery Park with a shelter dog whose tail wags at the sight of you. And wag they do! The majority of my time at Heartland is spent with the dogs, working on socializing, leash skills, or my favorite… runs. When time management is difficult, it helps to combine volunteering and working out, and if I feel like taking a few days off, the dogs keep me accountable.
At the end of my shifts, I’ll often spend time with the cats, giving head scratches and belly rubs. There’s a different type of calm that comes from spending time with the cats and listening to that purr (cat people where you at?). On days where life is stressful, socializing cats provides another level of catharsis and tranquility.
Due to Covid-19, the shelter is currently closed to the public, though they continue to do fosters and adoptions by appointment. Unfortunately, the Heartland Thriftshop on 3rd St., which provides approximately 30% of Heartland Humane’s annual Budget, has closed (though they are selling items online!). In addition, donations are down as many folks in the community now face challenges due to the pandemic.
While I am adjusting to shelter-in-place measures and a barrage of Zoom meetings, I’m fortunate to still have contact with the animals and incredible staff. As many of us are spending the majority of our time at home, physically distanced from others, it is an opportune moment to foster or adopt responsibly. I just happened to be seduced by Mamba, now Sombrita, in January and she has made life at home more comforting, entertaining, and enjoyable.
For those of us in academia, there are many benefits to getting outside of our heads and grounding ourselves in the present, and there are no better teachers than animals. There are many ways to become involved and support Heartland. Donations to Heartland are tax-deductible and can be made at heartlandhumane.org. Any amount helps. If you would rather help another way, adopting during this time of social-distancing can be, as human-animal bonds always are, mutually beneficial. Fostering could also be something to consider later in the Summer once kitten season arrives. Or at the very least, we can value our essential workers and rethink our relationship to animals.
When you boil it down, counseling is all about one thing: helping people. That was the principle that the Counseling program here at the Oregon State University College of Education was founded over 100 years ago. Now, all these years later, dedicated faculty like Cass Dykeman keep that principle alive and well.
Cass has a long history with education himself; he went to school for counseling for two years at the University of Virginia, and before that was a counselor at schools around Washington State. For the past 20 years, he’s been with the College of Education as a professor and resource for the future generations of counselors.
One of his current projects is focused on the area of Corpus Linguistics, a form of the study of language that utilizes chunks of real-world text to look for patterns and meanings. Currently, he’s seeing millennial students get invested in the project in an interesting way. “Students want to research where they live, and for many students, that was online,” Cass said. “So we’ve been looking at personality and mental health issues online.” The examples he gave were from pro-self-harm forums and sites where people with depression can share their struggles with one another.
Cass also had a lot to say about the history of OSU’s counseling program and what makes it so unique compared to other programs around the country. The program is over 100 years old, seeing its start around the beginning of World War I. “We [as counselors] are always there in response to a national crisis,” Cass said of the significance of counseling in Oregon. “The program grew during both World Wars because it needed to. Now, with all the cultural and economic shifts, it is the counselor’s job to be there to help people work through it all.” The program also is the only one in the country that requires a manuscript-style dissertation. This is in order to better prepare students for the future; according to Cass, “these manuscripts are intended for print in academic journals, and are common in the hard sciences. By requiring these manuscripts, students instantly have a document that is meant to be published, so they get a jump start on their career.”
Cass also spoke of the changes he wanted to see come to the College of Education. First, he spoke of the new OSU Portland Center; “In 1932, the College of Education would take monday night trips up to Lincoln High School in Portland Oregon to teach there. Now, with the Portland Center offering College of Education classes, it’s something of a return to our roots.”
Cass also recounted a memory of his, from around a decade ago. “I was lecturing on a new topic, and this was around the time that smartphones and google had become more prominent tools. So this student googles my lecture topic and starts to ask very specific, insightful questions into the topic I wasn’t prepared for. I realized that I had been replaced by google in the role of ‘conveyer of knowledge,’ but if I wasn’t the conveyer of knowledge, than what should I be? I began to change my approach to teaching to reflect that and keep myself relevant as a human resource in the more knowledgeable world. Having to continually change your teaching style is part of what keeps the job fun and fresh!”
And it should be fun, Cass noted. “The most important thing you need as a teacher is that you have to love to teach and you have to love your students. If you don’t love what you’re doing, your students will pick up on that right away.” This carries over to being a counselor as well as an educator. “There are plenty of personalities that make for a good counselor. You just need an intrinsic love for people who are struggling; skills, we can train, but that empathy is mandatory.”
Cass hopes to continue to teach and help the College of Education grow for years to come. Recently, he was awarded the Outstanding Educator Award from the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (WACES). He made clear that education does not exist in a vacuum. “This award serves as an affirmation that we’re doing something right in the program. We’re on the right track, and though we’re always adjusting to keep it that way, it’s good to see that what we’re doing is making a difference.” That’s his goal for the future, too; to keep changing so the college can continue to teach students in new, efficient an exciting ways. “It’s like a puzzle! It’s a fun challenge that’s so worth it.” Cass is also the top advisor in the College of Education and the 4th highest in OSU history, having advised 37 dissertations in his time at OSU. About this achievement, he said “I feel lucky to teach at OSU for this university draws the highest quality of doctoral students. My advisees and I are helping to shape the cutting edge of quantitative research design in Counselor Education.”
So often a common thread emerges amongst teachers: I didn’t know I wanted to teach until it was right in front of me. Of course, this is not always the case. Some people know from middle school (or even earlier) that their careers and lives will be bound to teaching in some respect or another. Others, like 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year recipient Keri Pilgrim-Ricker, discover their profession through a passion and a need to inspire that passion in others.
“I fell in love with ecology,” she says of her time as an
undergraduate, “It’s research and inquiry driven and it’s always asking
questions about how things interact.” She wanted to be immersed in science, she
wanted to ask the questions, yet she didn’t want to constrain her focus – and
that is when she found teaching.
“Teaching,” Pilgrim-Ricker says, “has filled that niche for
me, in that there is still this crazy intersectionality of variables, but the
variables are now [my] students and their lives and their contexts.”
In pursuing her passion, in acquiring knowledge and
experience, and finally in utilizing this expertise and turning it into
curriculum, Pilgrim-Ricker never feels limited. “I still get to tell rich
stories about science and I still get to be able to use inquiry skills to be
able to figure out how to best serve my students.”
Now, as Oregon Teacher of the Year, she perceives her challenges
in a new light, a bigger and even brighter light. Pilgrim-Ricker says of her honor,
“I quickly realized that this award isn’t really so much an award but a
position, and it’s been phenomenally eye-opening to be able to connect with
other state educators of the year, to create this cohort, to be able to explore
the difference in education systems and policies from state-to-state.” This was
her chance to not only be inspired but also to inspire, this time on a whole
new level. She sees the award as an opportunity to use her skills and influence
to change the way we look at education and how we support students.
“I think education is a way of empowering voice. Not only
does it inform how you say and what you say, but you have this unique ability
as an educator to bring forward confidence in your students to help them see
themselves as problem solvers and to conquer complex tasks and challenging
moments in their lives.”
Pilgrim-Ricker received her undergraduate degrees in biology
and animal science from Fresno State, she went on to Perdue to obtain her
masters. After graduating and trying to figure out her next step, she started
to realize the importance and excitement of not only her own education but of
educating future generations. A friend suggested she look into the Masters in
Science Education program at Oregon State. “I drove out to Corvallis,” she
says, “everybody was friendly and it was amazing and you could walk and bike
everywhere.” Suddenly, everything fit together – the program, the school, the
space. For Pilgrim-Ricker, Oregon State fit like a snug pair of rain boots.
“If you are going to become an educator, especially a
content area specialist, go learn educational pedagogy in a place that really
knows your content because it really frames your context.” Oregon State boasts of
a College of Education, whose innovative programs and distinguished faculty are
celebrated nation-wide. Combining that with the College of Science, a highly
respected and cutting-edge school which draws researchers and students from
around the globe, this is a university worth choosing, particularly when
anticipating a career in content specialization.
Pilgrim-Ricker has remained in Oregon, currently a Career
and Technical Education occupations health teacher at Churchill High School in
Eugene. In this position, she uses her Master’s in Science Education to lead
her students through an inventive and groundbreaking curriculum in the fields
of anatomy and physiology. Still this isn’t enough. Pilgrim-Ricker knows that
success, true success, is a network of teamwork.
“We need to create environments for [teachers] that are as
rich and collaborative and supportive as we create for our kids” she urges. “We
deserve that. We need that to be sustained. And our kids will give some of that
back in return, but you need passionate adults who will hold space with you,
who will be there to recognize when you are having a hard day and empathize.”
Keri Pilgrim-Ricker’s methods are unique and demanding, they
make the student become an active partner in their education. They make
teachers push themselves and challenges norms. As she says, “Curriculum is
constant. Standards are constants. The only thing that is dynamic in education
A school is so much more than a building, it’s a space, it’s
a body of students but it’s also a body of teachers. Be involved. Be engaged.
Be there for each other.
Follow Pilgrim-Ricker on twitter: @keriotoy19
By Jenna Patten, Writing Student Employee, College of Education
Brett Bigham was named Oregon State Teacher of the Year in 2014, National Education Association Foundation fellow in 2015 and 2018 and he even received White House Honors from President Obama. This was a huge and momentous time in Bigham’s life, a time to celebrate, a time to plan for the future. What Bigham didn’t expect was how this was also about to become a time of huge adversity.
Soon after receiving his award, Bigham’s supervisor ordered him to remain quiet about his sexual orientation when in public. But too much was at stake, and he couldn’t remain silent.
The Teacher of the Year award put Bigham in a position to speak up, to speak out, to be a person of inspiration and promise – which is just what he did, despite knowing his job was on the line. “I knew an openly gay Teacher of the Year would save lives. When I received White House Honors from President Obama I was interviewed by the White House International Press Corp and spoke out for the rights of the LGBT youth.”
Following the publication of his wedding pictures by the Oregonian website, and later being the first gay couple honored by the Rose Festival, Bigham was fired. “But my fight to get my job [back] made international news and my victory in the end showed LGBT youth that they had a champion.”
The commitment to helping LGBT youth emerged out of Bigham’s own experience in high school when his best friend came out to him, only to commit suicide a few days later. Such an experience changes a person forever, and Bigham knew he must do whatever he could to help prevent anything like this from happening again.
Becoming a teacher, inspiring his students and leading them toward acceptance was what he needed to do, saying, “Acceptance of themselves and others and caring for the environment. So many of the problems our young people face stem from not being accepted.”
Once being named teacher of the year, Bigham looked at his position within the classroom and within his community more carefully. “I realize there is truly no bounds to where my work can take me, and how my work can make changes in ways I never dreamed,” he says. Bigham traveled to Bangladesh in order to become a mentor to teachers who have never had one before. He founded #GlobalSPED on Twitter, an international forum for special education teachers to interact and connect with each other in ways they couldn’t before.
Bigham says, “My awards gave me the platform to pull these people together.” And yet, bringing people together, spreading awareness, promoting acceptance began well before he was named teacher of the year.
As a special education teacher for much of his career, Bigham saw the kids in his classroom with severe disabilities needing an ally. “They are the kids who I wanted to stand up for because nobody else was doing it… They win because they have a champion.”
This was his gift. He saw himself as someone who could open the doors for those who previously only saw closed doors. “It is as if every skill I have has blended into this new role of education leader that I have become.”
Bigham started at community college, and during his sophomore year decided to enroll at Oregon State. He had friends at many different universities, but it was seeing those becoming actively involved in the school, and caring about their education and the community that drove him to Oregon State.
A professor in the theater department gave Bigham his first experience teaching, and it ended up being an experience which changed his life and steered the course of his entire career. Looking back at his time at Oregon State first as a journalism student, and now as a Teacher of the Year, he jokes, “Little did I know that I would give up writing to become a teacher, and that by being named Teacher of the Year, I would suddenly be writing more speeches and articles than ever before.”
In hindsight, Bigham says, “Do not wait for ten years to get woke or else you will find yourself looking deep inside with the worry that you did not do right by those brown and black kids who thought the world of you.” Bigham continues, “You have to step into your first classroom knowing those kids need something different from you and you had better know what it is.”
If he can give one piece of advice to a new teacher it is to learn, to adjust, to be flexible, and to find the best mentor in the building. Bigham stresses, “Trust me when I say that relationship will be one of the most important ones in your entire life.”
As Bigham has exemplified, being inspired and being an inspiration changes lives.
Life is always full of obstacles, but overcoming these obstacles in order to achieve your dreams is what really defines a person. Teaching isn’t always the most profitable of careers, but it is often the most pivotal – not only for the students but for the teacher as well.
For Carmen Lawson, teaching is a momentous charge. “I’m not going to be a doctor, I wasn’t born to catalog rock samples from Mars, and I definitely will never be in the Oval Office. Something I can do is teach future politicians to be tolerant and loving to all cultures. I can teach future engineers data collecting skills that they need to persevere for travel to new corners of space and the ocean floor. And I can teach future doctors and scientists to problem solve tirelessly until diseases have cures.”
Yet, as Lawson works toward her MAT degree from OSU-Cascades, she encounters difficulties above and beyond the education and the training itself. Lawson faced over a $1000 in licensure fees before recently receiving the first disbursements of the Teacher Licensure Support Fund scholarship. As she says, “With all of the expenses that make up the nickels and dimes of our family budget, a great weight settles on my shoulders as I look at the difficult reality of accomplishing my goals.”
With the scholarship award, Lawson can take a deep breath and more easily look ahead. “Being awarded these funds helps reduce my stress level and optimize my chances of success as an OSU-Cascades student.” She can now better focus her efforts on her schooling, family and the future.
Within the College of Education, we are acutely aware of the financial burdens our students confront. We wish to do all that we can to help unburden them. With the day of giving and other fundraisers, we work toward helping to relieve this stress for our graduates, the future leaders and educators of our communities.
Every donation received goes into a general fund to help cover the demanding licensure fees, and to give our amazing students, like Dawson, the ability to concentrate on what’s most important.