Recently, Oregon State University held the 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

At this event, President Alexander announced the creation of the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs to be co-chaired by Terrance Harris, the director of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, and our very own, Dr. Tenisha Tevis, an Assistant Professor in Adult and Higher Education at the College of Education.

Dr. Tevis is also the 2021 recipient of the Frances Dancy Hooks Award which recognizes Oregon State students, staff or faculty who exemplify Frances Dancy Hooks’ work: building bridges across cultures, showing courage in promoting diversity, and proudly “Walking the Talk.”

Zoom meeting

Can middle schoolers learn computer science concepts using tabletop games? How about during a pandemic, when classroom interaction takes place remotely?

Oregon State University researchers are working closely with teachers to develop an innovative curriculum designed to broaden participation in computer science classes.

Associate Professor and Education Ph.D. Program Chair, Soria Colomer, speaks in the podcast below.

“Soria Colomer was the one giving advice there. She is an associate professor of education and the English-language learner consultant on the grant. “

-Robertson

🎧 Listen now to Engineering Out Loud » beav.es/JGm

This message has been approved by all governance committees within the College of Education. It aligns with the vision, mission and values of the college.

In the College of Education, our efforts toward equity are a work in progress. We acknowledge that in our history and present we have made mistakes, but we commit to engage in anti-racism work to better serve the needs of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community. This commitment includes ongoing action, initially split into four foci, that has been integrated into our governance structure. To serve the needs of the BIPOC community, we will employ equitable student recruitment and retention practices;  examine pedagogy and update syllabi for non-bias and inclusive practices; engage in faculty/staff forums and trainings, and create a welcoming environment in Furman Hall and beyond.

We as a College of Education commit to these actions by

  • Holding re-occuring “Call to Action” open sessions for faculty and staff to explore and discuss concerns and actions needed to further our efforts addressing racism.
  • Participating in DEI-focused leadership training (Leading Change for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) by all leadership team members.
  • Requiring search advocates for every competitive hire and creating a College policy to support equitable search practices for all college hiring.
  • Examining and improving equity in student recruitment and retention practices. 
  • Reviewing course syllabi and pedagogy across programs to identify equity-focused changes.
  • Holding anti-oppressive conversations and training for faculty and staff that focus on specific identities (e.g. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Trans, Disability, national origin, etc.).
  • Charging an ad hoc governance committee to explore changes to create a community and space that are welcoming for BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.

For more ideas, keep an eye out for information on our upcoming forums. Send questions, comments, concerns to coed-action@oregonstate.edu

A podcast created by KOIN news 6

Justin Roach, program lead of the MAT in Clinically Based Elementary and Chelsey Williams, continuing education manager were featured in a KOIN Podcast: “Coronavirus Podcast: What can we learn from distance learning?
 
Listen to learn more about how far distance learning has come since last spring, what needs improvement and a glimpse into how education is changing.  Both Roach and Williams delve into remote learning during COVID times. This is a hard time to be a teacher, which is why the college is working to provide K-12 teachers with a variety of synchronous and asynchronous resources.

Photo of Gloria Crisp

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. 

Additionally, Crisp has recently published their research on Empirical and Practical Implications for Documenting Early Racial Transfer Gaps with co-authors and AHE doctoral students, Charlie Potter and Rebecca Robertson. The chapter reveals racial and ethnic inequities in transfer.

We congratulate you for your hard work, Gloria!

By Raisa Canete Blazquez

Raisa Canete Blazquez

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.

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.”

Keri Pilgrim-Ricker smiling and waving as she addresses a gymnasium of students.
Keri Pilgrim-Ricker

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 is you.”

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 with President Obama during the White House Honors.

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.

 

Brett Bigham with some of his former students.

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.”

 

Brett Bigham with Stephen Hawking.

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.

 

Donate Today!