Holmes Program Develops Minority Teachers

In partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Eastern is continuing its participation in the Holmes Program.

Left to right: Lucero Garza, Laina Rivers and Alexis Sanchez

This year, three elementary education graduate students–Alexis Sanchez (Uncasville), Lucero Garza (Willimantic) and Laina Rivers (Bloomfield)–are participating in the Holmes Master’s program, which supports students from underrepresented backgrounds who are pursuing careers in education.

While the National Center for Educational Statistics projects that 55 percent of all K-12 students in public schools will be students of color by 2023, more than 80% of all K-12 teachers are white. Unless teacher preparation programs recruit more students from minority populations, this underrepresented trend will continue into the future.

“Having the opportunity to be involved in a program that advocates for minority teacher recruitment is eye opening and rewarding,” said Rivers. “There are so many people of color interested in the education field but do not know where to begin or do not believe that they can be successful in the field. I am humbled and honored to be a part of such a program.”

“The Holmes Master’s Program has given me the opportunity to inspire and encourage underrepresented students to join the teaching force,” said Sanchez. “I have only had a handful of minority teachers in my life and would have liked to have had more teachers of color. There is a dire need for minority teachers nationwide to fill the diversity gap in schools. Being part of that movement has been an honor.”

Morgan Cunningham, (COMM ’18) is a true example of how hard work, perseverance, and the desire to learn are the keys to success!

Morgan was 8-years-old when he fell in love with radio. As he was half-heartedly doing yardwork, his dad, knowing how much he loved music, suggested he call the radio station they were listening to and request a song. “There was just something magical about talking to a DJ off the air and behind the scenes . . .,” remembers Morgan, adding, “Little did I know that this would become such a big part of my life – my hobby and my career!”
Morgan’s dad was a continuing education student here at Eastern and aware of our radio station, WECS. He encouraged 14-year-old Morgan to present a concept for a show – to play 1950’s and 1960’s pop and rock n’ roll. When told the only spot open was midnight, he eagerly committed. In their excitement, Morgan’s mom and dad supported him fully, driving him to and from his late night shifts. While Morgan was delivering his one-man, on-air show, he received supportive mentoring from Associate Professor John Zatowski, who listened to his shows and provided feedback.
As a high school student applying to college, Morgan picked Eastern because he felt a match with the University after being a part of WECS for a few years. He submitted only one application. He was accepted and while initially, he sought only to concentrate on broadcasting and production, he took advantage of classes in public relations, advertising, and television production.
Morgan was recently hired at Lite 100.5 WRCH / WTIC Newstalk 1080 as a part-time on–air talent, practicing both DJ and board operator skills, as well as covering national news and programming. He also syndicates his own national radio show, “The Morgan Cunningham Show,” hosts InterviewUniverse.com for on-line podcasts, and works at Eastern as an assistant to President Nuñez.
Morgan will graduate in May 2018. He credits his communication professors who, “. . . push critical and analytical thinking and are fully devoted to the success of their students.” He adds, “If students are willing to put in the work, our professors will work hard to help them succeed beyond college.” Looking ahead, Morgan is thinking about Eastern’s Graduate program. For now, he will continue working at WECS and maintain his other radio engagements – gaining experience and continuing to grow as a seasoned radio professional.

Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) Reaches 1 Million YouTube Views!

Posted on February 22, 2018 by Dwight Bachman. Written by Casey Collins

Julia DeLapp (standing, left) and Niloufar Rezai (right) show a video to preschool children that recaps the various videos produced by the CECE over the years, many of which contain footage from Eastern’s own preschool classroom located at the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). DeLapp is the director of the CECE and Rezai is the director of the CFDRC.

The YouTube channel, “EarlyChildhoodVideos,” has been active since Jan. 29, 2013, and has posted more than 125 videos produced by communication students, research assistants and CECE faculty. The CECE first began producing video content independently from the Internet, beginning with, “Guiding Young Children’s Behavior” in 2006. The video, which was developed in part with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, was intended for preschool teachers in U.S. Navy child development centers. Eventually the CECE made the move to the web, creating its own site in 2008 and simultaneously releasing one of it’s most popular videos to date, “Five Predictors of Early Literacy.” The center has since seen its videos aired in more than 200 countries, and have received six Telly Awards for technical excellence in video production. The Telly’s have been giving out awards to the most outstanding producers in film and television for 39 years.

“Knowing that our videos are being used to train teachers around the world is amazing,” said CECE Director Julia Delapp. “We have viewers in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Kenya. That is what I’m most proud of.” When asked about the future of EarlyChildhoodVideos, Delapp responded, “We really want to make more videos about the arts, music, social-emotional development… There’s just so many topics I would love to cover.”

The Center for Early Childhood Education is a multidisciplinary research and training institute at Eastern. Opened in 2007, the center is housed in a high-tech facility connected to Eastern’s model early care and education program. The center works to enhance the quality of early care and education by conducting innovative research, disseminating findings, providing professional development opportunities and developing training videos.

Congratulations to Dr. Mark Fabrizi, Assistant Professor of Education!

Dr. Fabrizi has recently been appointed Editor for The Leaflet, the journal of the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE), the regional affiliate for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The goal of The Leaflet is to provide English teachers at all levels with an opportunity to share ideas, research, and classroom experiences with other professionals. The journal is published at least twice per year, spring and fall. The Leaflet has served the members of NEATE for more than 100 years and continues to be a valuable resource for English teachers. “I am excited and honored to be selected as editor of such a well-established and important professional journal that serves so many English teachers in New England”, says Dr. Fabrizi.

Dr. Fabrizi has completed his first issue: Volume 114, Number 2, Winter 2018. He was appointed this job because he had many great ideas on how to improve the professional look and quality of The Leaflet. He started by redesigning the cover with a new and improved logo, creating a new template for the contents, and reaching out to as many English Teachers in New England he could, to assemble an ever growing resource pool for contributions to the journal. English Teachers of Secondary School, College Professors and even soon to be teachers of English are encouraged to submit poetry, stories, editorials, book reviews, cartoons, comics and more.

In Dr. Fabrizi’s latest issue, a very moving article titled “I am a Teacher” was written by Eastern’s own Michelle Wnuk (ENG, ’14), who is certified to teach grades 7-12. Following her program completion from Eastern, Michelle was immediately hired to teach English at RHAM High School and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree. Dr. Fabrizi says, “I encourage all our English Education students, both current and graduated, to share their creativity and have their voices heard.”

To become a member, sign up at http://neate.org/page/the-leaflet and share your professional contributions!
NEW ENGLAND ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS OF ENGLISH – Networking English language arts teachers at all grade levels since 1901

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Jill Skowreski, SEPS

Graduate Open House! Wed. March 21, 2018: 5-7pm


Join us in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Lobby to learn about our One-Year Graduate Programs that Inspire Innovation and Integrity: ACCOUNTING. EDUCATION. ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT. EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY. And our NEW Advanced Master’s Degree Program in Educational Studies with Early Childhood Education, English / Language Arts, Reading / Language Arts and STEM! See attached flyer below and don’t forget to RSVP!

Open house flier with RSVP 18

A Few Words with SEPS Alum Bonnie Edmondson ’87 (Communication & English)

Inspiration. Innovation. Integrity. These concepts embody the faculty and students, as well as the work and mission, of the School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS) at Eastern Connecticut State University. Recently, SEPS staff had the opportunity to talk to a distinguished alum of the Communication and English programs at Eastern, Dr. Bonnie Edmondson, about the relevance of these concepts.

Dr. Edmondson currently serves as an education consultant and program manager at the Connecticut State Department of Education. A highly accomplished athlete and coach, Dr. Edmondson is a member of the Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Hall of Fame. She also had the great honor of serving as a U.S. Olympic Team coach for Women’s Track and Field in Rio this past summer. Ironically, her hammer throw performance was strong enough to send her to the Olympics in 1992; however, she was denied this significant opportunity because the event was not yet recognized for women.

edmondson-throwing72dpiAs someone who has faced numerous challenges, yet experienced tremendous success throughout her career, we asked Dr. Edmondson to shed light on how inspiration, innovation, and integrity have played a role in her life and her career.

“Inspiration, innovation, and integrity are inextricably connected, with integrity serving as the foundational component; the other areas build on integrity,” she suggested. “If you stay true to your core values and beliefs with the integrity that you establish with other people, they’re more likely to follow and support you as a leader. Once you have that foundation, you can build with innovation and inspiration. Without integrity, how can you move on?”

Dr. Edmondson emphasized the fundamental role of integrity when it comes to achieving true success in sports and athletics. “Building character and having goals are what you need to get in place to accomplish the integrity of fair play, teamwork. It’s not just about you, it’s about cultivating opportunities,” she said.

Asked about how she dealt with the failure to recognize women’s throwing that prevented her from participating in the Olympics, she explained, “I had two choices—be bitter or cultivate the situation and decide how to make it right to move forward. I chose to see the much larger picture, the greater good.”

In fact, Dr. Edmondson worked hard to have women’s hammer throw recognized in the Olympics, and it was, as of 2000. This well-earned victory was further enhanced by her recent opportunity to serve as an Olympic coach.

edmondson-olympic_rotator“As an Olympic coach in Rio, I personally experienced that the ‘Olympic spirit’ is far greater than any one person or one team. All these people are coming together for a common cause, building character, to make the world a more symbiotic, more synchronistic place.”

As the conversation came to a close, Dr. Edmondson reflected on the time she spent earning her bachelor’s degree at SEPS and Eastern. She explained, “One of the things I remember most [about Eastern] is the nurturing environment. Folks were there to help people succeed. They were always going the extra mile. I remember the ‘warm home feeling’ of the campus, which is a huge benefit for people. The environment is intimate; people truly care and are interested in you as a person. These qualities influence you; you’re surrounded by people who model integrity, and it becomes contagious.”

There can be little doubt that Dr. Edmondson models the very same integrity that once influenced her on the campus of Eastern.

2015 TIMPANI study gets national coverage

On December 7, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education announced the results of its 2015 TIMPANI Toy study. The annual study, which is led by Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, is now in its seventh year of investigating how young children play with a variety of toys in natural settings.

CBS-affiliated WFSB broadcast a story on the findings, which has been picked up by other network affiliates across the country.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Eastern Partners with National Organization to Diversify the Teaching Profession

Eastern Connecticut State University introduces national partnership program for growing the state’s teaching force. The new Holmes Masters program is designed to attract and prepare educational change agents from historically underrepresented populations. The initiative is the first of its kind within the region and reflects a partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Holmes Scholars program. The inaugural cohort of Holmes Masters is scheduled to enroll summer 2016.

The Eastern Holmes Masters program is poised to draw applicants from a national pool. Participants will have to meet rigorous admission standards set forth by both the Holmes network and the University. With a focus on equity and diversity, participants will also participate in university-school partnership programming that supports teacher preparation and PK-12 student learning. Holmes Masters will be supported with ongoing mentorship coordinated at the university and national levels.

To learn more about Eastern’s Holmes Masters program or to apply, visit the Graduate Division online or phone 860.465.5292.

Graduate Fair

Come learn more about the graduate degree offerings at Eastern. Faculty will be available to answer questions about our Master’s programs in Accounting, Organizational Management, and Education.