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.

Launch of the Student Excellence and Persistence System

The School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS) has launched the Student Excellence and Persistence System to support undergraduate students’ academic success and to ultimately enhance student retention and persistence within the School. The first stage of this student support system is to learn and understand the student needs and root causes that contribute to their academic performance. We know that Eastern’s graduate and retention rates are 52% and 78%, respectively; which are slightly higher than the national average (44% and 67%), from the recently released College Scorecard by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, more than 50% of first time freshmen are retained in the majors within the school. Early results, as measured by multiple indicators, reveal common, self-reported root causes of low academic performances and a reinvestment among students toward their academic pursuits.

If you have any innovative ideas and strategies to help students perform better in classes and maintain our academic program quality simultaneously, please contact Dr. Anita N. Lee, Special Assistant to the Dean. Every small steps we do to enhance student success will help our students to be better liberally educated citizens!

Anita N. Lee, D.P.E.
Special Assistant to the Dean

Announcing the Minority Teacher Incentive Grant Program

If you are a college junior or senior interested in teaching and are a member of a minority group, the State of Connecticut can help you with education costs in return for teaching in a Connecticut public school. For more information and to apply, download the 2015-16 Minority Teacher Incentive Grant Program Nomination Form. Forms can be submitted to Dean Easley’s office, Webb 160, in order to obtain his required signature and will then be returned to the applicant, who will mail the completed form directly to the State of Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education.

Introducing SEPS’ I.D.E.A. Blog


 Our I.D.E.A. blog is a new invention whose name speaks for itself. One of the core values of the School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS) and its Graduate Division is expressed through our commitment to continuous improvement. With that said, I would like to introduce you to our blog and further explain the logic behind its inception. Each letter of its moniker holds a particular meaning: (I) innovation, (D) design, (E) entrepreneurism, and (A) artistry. These are highly recognized tenets through which continuous improvement is nurtured and expressed.

Our faculty and students routinely engage these tenets through inquiry and experiential curricular endeavors. More importantly, many of these are intricately tied to community based projects that directly shape the region in profoundly positive ways. For example, a group of business administration majors are currently researching the topic of green sustainability on campus and the Windham area, underscoring the importance of responsible policy and community engagement. Later in the semester, this project and others will be showcased during the inaugural, jointly designed research conference, April 17-16th. The conference is the collective commitment of both SEPS and the School of Arts and Sciences entitled “Celebration of Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern” (CREATE).

Our I.D.E. A. blog is the outcome of just one goal of SEPS’ new strategic plan, which is to promote the value of Eastern to the community at large through collaborative engagement with students and alumni. With this in mind, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters are invited to share their IDEAs, success stories, and community engagement that highlight the merits and advance the quality of our School’s programming.

To submit your information, send us a 150 to 200-word summary, and a relevant photograph, if available, to rennhaeryfars@easternct.edu

Jacob Easley II, Ph.D.
School of Education and Professional Studies