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 Diversity 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

Alumna Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Speak at Commencement

Written by Ed Osborn

Adichie Named one of Time Magazine’s 2015 100 Most Influential People in the World

Willimantic, Conn. – Internationally acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ‘01 will receive an honorary doctorate and bring greetings to the graduates at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 125th Commencement exercises at the XL Center in Hartford on May 12. Adichie grew up in Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria. Her work has been translated into 30 languages and has appeared in publications around the world.

She entered the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to study medicine and pharmacy, leaving at the age of 19 to continue her education in the United States, but on a different path. She has been writing since the age of four; her first publication appeared when she was in secondary school in Nsukka.

Adichie first entered Drexel University, transferring to Eastern Connecticut State University to live with her sister, a doctor based in Connecticut. She graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Adichie subsequently earned her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University. After publishing her first two books, she studied at Yale University and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in African History.

In 2004, Eastern presented Adichie its Distinguished Alumni Award. During the 2005-06 academic year, Adichie was awarded a fellowship at Princeton University, following which she received a fellowship to study at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University. In 2008, she was awarded a Macarthur Fellowship, popularly known around the world as the Macarthur Genius Award. And last month, Ms. Adichie was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Adichie is the author of a collection of short stories, “The Thing Around Your Neck,” and three novels. Her first novel, “Purple Hibiscus,” won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Her second novel, “Half of a Yellow Sun, won the Orange Prize—the world’s top prize for female writers—and was also a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, a New York Times Notable Book, and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year. Her latest novel, “Americanah,” was published around the world in 2013. It has received many accolades, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and recognition as one of The New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year in 2013. “Half of A Yellow Sun” was also made into a feature film, starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and “Americanah” is set to be adapted into a movie starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.

In addition to her writing, Ms. Adichie has been invited to speak on many occasions around the world. Two of the most notable are TED Talks. The first, “The Danger of a Single Story,” was delivered in 2009 and is now one of the Top Ten most-viewed TED Talks of all time. The second, “We Should All Be Feminists,” has started a worldwide conversation about feminism, picking up even greater inertia after it inspired the song “Flawless” by Beyoncé.

Adichie is committed to assisting young aspiring writers. As one of her commitments, she started an Annual Writers Workshop in Nigeria that draws applications come from around the world. Her deep love for her country is evident in her work, and in 2011 the Nigerian Government awarded her the Global Ambassador Achievement Award.

Eastern Ranks in Nation for Health and Physical Fitness Major

Eastern named for one of the nation’s best bachelor’s programs to major in Health and Physical Fitness by College Factual and reported in USA Today, November 2014.  According to the source, “A degree in health and physical fitness education prepares students for a career assisting others in recreation centers, schools, resorts, health clubs and more. As people continue to place emphasis on the importance of fitness, career opportunities are become more readily available.”  The ranking is based on overall academic quality.

Jacob Easley, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies adds, “We are proud of dedicated faculty who work closely with students to help them meet their academic and professional goals. Those majoring in health and physical education are also able to pursue teacher certification, thereby expanding their career options.”