Recently in Education Category
Written by Dwight Bachman and Ed Osborn
Willimantic, Conn. -- 1,256 undergraduates and 41 graduate students heard the roars and cheers of thousands of their family members and friends as they celebrated their achievements at Eastern Connecticut State University's 123nd Commencement exercises at the XL Center in Hartford on May 14.
Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the "Little Rock Nine," gave the Commencement Address, telling the graduates "This is your moment, a time you have been looking forward to and working toward since you first arrived at Eastern. Celebrate the moment; seize it. Step out into your future bravely and boldly." LaNier noted that the graduates were bound to encounter challenges. Those experiences will be "the greatest teacher in the grand classroom of life. Those challenges will show you who you really are."
The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957. Due to the segregation policies of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus and the mob atmosphere in Little Rock at the time, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered 1,000 members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to provide protection and escort the nine students to class throughout the 1957-58 school year.
Despite the daily military escort, LaNier and her friends were kicked, hit with rocks, threatened, and shunned. Her own home was firebombed. As the onslaught continued, "the more determined I became to get my diploma." Today, she has "made peace with my past."
LaNier turned to the Class of 2013 and encouraged them to have the same commitment: "Finish whatever goals you have set for yourself. Find the strength, fortitude and determination to see it through. When you see injustice, how will you respond? I hope you take the heroic stand." LaNier was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa at the Commencement Exercises.
Eastern President Elsa M. Nunez told the graduates, "There is no other country in the world that places its future so firmly in the hands of the people. You are now the next generation of citizen leaders in our state and in our nation. . . . The world needs your energy, your enthusiasm, and your skills . . . There is a challenge out there ready for you to conquer, whether it's helping out at your church or synagogue, volunteering at the local senior center, or inventing a new surgical procedure. There is a team somewhere that needs you to complete its mission."
As an example of the contributions Eastern students are making in the world, Nunez cited more than 100,000 hours of volunteer work performed by Eastern students, faculty, and staff each year in local communities, noting that President Barack Obama's had named Eastern to his National Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third time in four years that past March.At the same time, President Nunez told the graduates to "be yourself and do what makes you happy," and quoted New England bard Henry Thoreau, who wrote: "Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still."
From the Governor's Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick's Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet, Eastern's graduation ceremonies were marked by dignity, grace and elegance. Senior Jessica Johnson sang "America the Beautiful," and Senior Class President Thomas Balestracci presented President Núñez with the class gift, a scholarship funded by more than 200 donations from the graduating class. Balestracci encouraged his classmates to continue donating so that the scholarship would grow. "We have all benefited from our experiences here at Eastern. These experiences are the ones that we will keep with us forever as we move on. They will be the ones we will look back upon and realize that they have helped us become who we are today. We lived up each day like it was our last at Eastern, and now, it really is our last day. We have turned our dreams into reality during our time at this University and we made memories that will last a lifetime."
Yvette Melendez, vice president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the governing body for the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, brought greetings on behalf of the Board of Regents. "Congratulations to each and every one of you for reaching this incredible milestone. This is one of those moments that will forever be embedded in your memory. You are at the beginning of a future you have just begun to mold. You took the first step in that journey by enrolling at Eastern. You have much to be proud of." Meléndez urged the graduates to make their contribution to society "in the way that Eastern has taught you. You have worked exceedingly hard . . . you have learned that regardless of major, you are part of a community."
Nana Owusu-Agyemang of Ghana, West Africa, delivered the Senior Class Address. She thanked the faculty for their support, saying, "During my time here at Eastern, I have met professors that I simply cannot forget -- professors who really care for their students. It will forever strike me how much time professors at Eastern are willing to spend with each student...how much of themselves they give. It's not just the professors who make Eastern what it is. At Eastern it's not just about imparting knowledge, it's about joining hands to mold each student into a richer person academically and mentally, as well." Owusu-Agyemang closed by quoting the late philosopher Alan Watts, who once said, "The attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be."
"May our truth be a good truth," said Owusu-Agyemang. "May our world be a good world. May our mark be a good mark."
Carlotta Walls LaNier made history at age 14 when she enrolled at Central High School as a sophomore. On the first day of school she was surrounded by an angry mob that prevented the nine African American students from entering the building. After two weeks of protests and violence, President Dwight Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to Little Rock to protect the "Little Rock Nine" by escorting them to class for a year. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus closed Little Rock schools for the 1958-59 school year, forcing LaNier to take correspondence courses. In June 1960, she became the first African American female student to graduate from Central High School.
LaNier has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1958, and the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian award, which was bestowed upon the Little Rock Nine in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. She is also the author of "A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice of Little Rock Central High School."
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn: -- Eastern Connecticut State University's School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division will hold its 13th Annual Excellence Expo on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, from 2--4 p.m. in the Student Center. The public is invited. Admission is free.
More than 150 students, supported by 11 faculty mentors, will present research projects and posters showcasing the five departments in the School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division.
Presentations include communication, marketing and advertising campaigns; projects from the economics senior seminar; and a gallery photography exhibit of framed prints and color slides, just to name a few. Poster research includes topics on communication law and ethics; sport and leisure management; early childhood education; technologies, societies and communities; and systems analysis.
For more information on the Excellence Expo, contact Pat Kucharski at (860) 465-5264 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University has been honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation's colleges and universities that are leading the way in bettering their communities through community service and service learning.
Eastern was one of 609 institutions of higher learning acknowledged on President Obama's "Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll" earlier this month, recognized for their work in serving local communities through volunteer programs and other activities.
"Community service has been a hallmark at Eastern since our earliest days in the 1890s as the Willimantic State Normal School," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Today, our Center for Community Engagement works closely with our faculty to ensure that the service that our students perform in local communities aligns with their academic programs. In providing thousands of hours a year of service to dozens of social agencies and nonprofits, Eastern students are demonstrating their social responsibility while learning valuable professional and organizational skills.
To be recognized by President Obama as a university that exemplifies such service is something that everyone on our campus should be proud of." To better coordinate student service projects in the community, Eastern's Center for Community Engagement (CCE) was launched in September 2009. A full-time director, assistant director, a shared administrative assistant, an AmeriCorps VISTA member and a part-time university assistant staff the center. The center also provides leadership opportunities through federal work-study employment for students.
Eastern's commitment to service is exemplified by the comprehensive volunteer efforts in area schools by Eastern students. Programs to assist schools with student academic performance, behavior and motivation are widespread and effective in all six schools in the district, as well as in local preschool programs. From 2008-09 to 2011-12 Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education partnered with two area early learning centers to address early literacy. Over the three-year period ending in the 2011-12 academic year, the project improved the language and early literacy skills of nearly 600 preschool-aged children by providing professional development and literacy coaching to 50 teachers and staff. Thirty-nine Eastern students were involved in this project through academic coursework.
Eastern students are also engaged in local schools outside of the classroom. Four hundred and forty-nine students volunteered 5,180 hours in long-term volunteering programs in Windham schools through the CCE and student clubs. Including students who participated in academic service-learning, more than 1,000 students contributed more than 60,000 volunteer hours in area schools. Students in the Business Administration Department provide database and website services to area nonprofits, assisting them in providing more effective services. Nonprofits also benefit from students engaged in the Community Grant Service Corps, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs. Students learn how to assist nonprofits with grant research, through use of the University's "Work Hub," an on-campus worksite dedicated to community-campus collaborations. In all, students provided more than 100,000 hours of service to the local community in 2011-12.
The Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future Mentoring Program demonstrates Eastern's commitment to community service. English Language Learners (ELL) in the Windham Public Schools struggle with assimilation into the school community both socially and academically. The Puentes al Futuro Program assisted ELL students at Windham Middle School (WMS) by integrating in-school tutoring and mentoring with afterschool and summer academic and cultural enrichment with the goal of encouraging students to excel academically and to attend college. The program is a collaborative effort between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), WMS teachers, family liaisons, and afterschool program staff. WMS students have developed positive mentoring relationships with Eastern volunteers who have committed to continuing their mentoring relationship with the students as they transition to high school.
Students in the program showed very positive gains in math comprehension, from a mean of 17.8 on the pre-tests to a mean of 54.2 following the instruction. Comprehension remained high at the end of the six-week program, with a mean of 48.7. Students' language arts skills improved as they wrote poetry and performed before families. The project was supported by FWS, AmeriCorps VISTA and a state education grant.
The Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC) is a program coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement with a community partner, Eastern Area Health Education Center. The CHSC's mission is to expose undergraduate students to health careers through service learning experiences that promote culturally competent health and disease prevention education to medically underserved communities. Student volunteers participate in three program phases of 25 hours each.
In the past year, nine students contributed 234 hours of service at three elementary schools and one after-school program at a community center in Windham, CT, during the academic year. Students conducted a needs assessment to identify nutrition, public health and wellness topics of interest to the children in each of the programs. They then developed lesson plans with weekly objectives and site-specific activities; 80 lessons were provided at the four sites. Subject areas included nutrition, bullying, staying physically active, hygiene, emergency preparedness and stress and behavior management. Students also worked with a local community garden. Program coordinators at the 4 sites expressed great satisfaction with the program, indicating that the children learned a great deal and the program helped address critical public health issues in the Windham community, which has the highest obesity rate in the state. The AmeriCorps program supported this program.
Eastern's "Day of Giving," held on the day before Thanksgiving each year, has become one of the University's most highly acclaimed traditions. For six years in a row, more than 450 needy individuals and families have been served a Thanksgiving meal in the University's dining hall. This is a collaborative effort between students, faculty, administrators, contractors and service providers in the community to ensure that people who might otherwise go without a Thanksgiving meal are served with dignity and respect. More than 100 volunteers from across the campus, including student servers and staff from the University's food service provider, come together to cook, serve, clean up and provide transportation for anyone in the local community who would like to attend. In addition to the Thanksgiving meal, students work with local grocery stores to gather canned goods -- more than 5,000 items were delivered to soup kitchens and food pantries this past year.
In all, Eastern students, faculty and staff donate more than 106,000 hours of time annually to local communities, a value of $2.3 million annually. "Congratulations to Eastern Connecticut State University," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges."
The CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, Conn. Eastern Connecticut State University's Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) has been awarded a prestigious Telly Award for the production of "Investigating Balls" in the Internet/Online Video Education category. The Telly Awards honor outstanding television, video and film production programs, focusing on the technical quality, rather than on content.
"Investing Balls" is part of the newest series of videos from the CECE, which highlights how teachers at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) implement engaging projects on a variety of topics. The video features teachers Amy Tyler, Patty Gardner and Amie Theriault, as well as Niloufar Rezai, director of the CFDRC, as they describe how they engaged preschoolers in different learning activities while investigating the properties of balls.
"Since releasing the video last fall, we have received very positive feedback from those in the early childhood field about how useful they've found the content of this video," says Julia DeLapp, the CECE's program coordinator. "It's great to get acknowledgement for the technical quality of the video as well."
Individuals responsible for developing "Investigating Balls" include Ken Measimer as director of the video; students Sean Leser and Ross Page as videographer/editor and music composer respectively; and alumnus Nick Napoletano in animation.
This is the third Telly Award that the CECE has received. The first two were awarded in 2010 and 2011.
Written by Gabrielle Little
Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University will host the 36th annual College Bowl at 7 p. m. on March 18 in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free. Timothy Swanson, associate professor of physics, will host the show.
The College Bowl is a single elimination competition that consists of teams representing various academic majors on campus. The Biology team and Mathematics team are this year's finalists. In the semi-final matches, The Biology team beat the History Department Team, and The Mathematics Team beat the team of Biochemistry majors.
The winning team will be presented with a "traveling plaque," for display by the winning department for one year. The plaque was made by a member of the first winning team in 1977 and has been presented to winning teams for the past 35 years.
For more information about the show, contact Zosia Carlquist at (860) 465-4317 or email@example.com, or Timothy Swanson at (860) 465-5217or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Ed Osborn
On Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Victoria Leigh Soto '08 lost her life protecting the children in her first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, from an assailant who shot and killed 20 children and seven adults that day.
Victoria Soto was a dean's list student while she attended Eastern as an elementary education and history double major. "Our faculty remembers Vicki as a joy to be with, an exemplary student who was committed to nurturing young lives," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Her dream job was to teach children in the primary grades. She died protecting those children. She is being hailed throughout the world as a hero. We will never forget her."
In honor of Soto and her heroism, the University has announced the creation of the Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund to support Eastern students studying to be teachers who have unmet financial need. For information, visit www.easternct.edu/advancement/victoria_soto.html
Donations may be directed to:
Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund
ECSU Foundation, Inc.
Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
ATTN: Kenneth J. DeLisa
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
To contribute online, donors can visit https://eweb.easternct.edu/wfbprod/bwakngft.P_Make_A_Donation2. After filling out the first screen, they will be directed to a second screen to select a designation for their gift. On the dropdown menu, they should choose "Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund."
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, Conn. The Education Department at Eastern Connecticut State University has changed its curriculum to fit new legislative and certification requirements mandated by the Connecticut State Department of Education.
There are many revisions to the program, but three changes according to Hari Koirala, Professor of Education and department chair, "will have a significant impact on the students' academic plan."
1. The elementary education major/certification and secondary certification programs are now four semesters long. Before they were only three semesters.
2. The application due date for the two programs is on Feb. 15 of each year. The application due date used to be Oct. 1.
3. Students can apply to these programs after completing 45 credits, usually in the second semester of their sophomore year.
There are many other changes to both the secondary and elementary programs that students should be aware of. All changes can be found on new advisement sheets, available to students through their advisors. Students can also read about the changes by visiting http://www.easternct.edu/education/ advisement.html. "It is imperative for current education students and students applying into the program to be aware of how this affects their coursework," said Koirala.
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, CT- Award-winning children's book creator, Barbara McClintock, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on Nov. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Joinery at the Child and Family Development Resource Center. The public is invited. Admission is Free.
Her presentation marks the publication of her two newest books for children, "Leave Your Sleep" and "Twelve Kinds of Ice." "Leave Your Sleep" is a collection of classic children's poetry, collected and sung by Natalie Merchant and illustrated by McClintock. The poems are written by; Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, E.E. Cummings, Nathalia Crane and others. A CD of Merchant's performance of the songs is included with the book.
"Twelve Kinds of Ice," written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by McClintock, is a story of one family's adventures ice skating during the New England winter. Both books and others illustrated by McClintock will be on sale at the Eastern bookstore.
McClintock will also present at the Child and Family Development Resource Center at 3:30 p.m., but this will be for the children only. McClintock's visit it sponsored by Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education and the Education Department.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, CT -- Faculty and student researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University have named DUPLO bricks, a toy made by the LEGO Group, as the 2012 TIMPANI Toy (Toys That Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination). Rainbow People, a toy made by Environments, Inc., received an honorable mention. Eastern researchers announced the results of the 2012 TIMPANI Toy Study at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 in the University's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC).
This annual study, conducted by Eastern faculty and students through Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education, examines how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys. Toys are selected for the TIMPANI study based on recommendations from parents, teachers and faculty. After the toys are chosen, they are placed in the CFDRC's preschool classrooms and rated on three subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, and self-expression and imagination. DUPLO Bricks and Environment, Inc.'s Rainbow People received the two highest overall scores in this year's study.
DUPLO bricks are colorful, plastic, interlocking building bricks. Parents and teachers know them as a larger version of the popular LEGO bricks, sized for use by preschool-aged children. "DUPLO bricks pose many problems for children to solve, so there's a lot of deep thought that goes into building," said Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, the Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education at Eastern and the study's principal researcher. "Construction toys have done well overall in our studies due to the fact that they don't suggest any one use. They can be used in many different ways, so children tend to interact more and negotiate what they want to build.
"One reason that DUPLO bricks did well compared with some of the other toys tested is that they maintained child interest and very high levels of play across three days of play," continued Trawick-Smith. For most other toys, children's interest waned after the first or second day of testing, or the quality of play dropped off over time. "DUPLO bricks also elicited high levels of play from children of very diverse backgrounds, scoring equally well across children from different ethnic and socioeconomic groups," said Trawick-Smith.
Rainbow People, a set of 30 wooden figures in a variety of colors, also scored highly. "Rainbow People prompted the children to be creative," said Jamie Vallarelli, an Eastern senior in early childhood education who was involved in the study. "They encouraged the children to create elaborate play scenarios, which developed their knowledge and vocabulary."
Vallarelli was responsible for videotaping the toys and coding the videos according to the evaluation rubric, along with students Jenny Wolff and Marley Koschel. The three students joined Trawick-Smith to present the results of the study at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Atlanta on Nov. 10.
"Today's announcement of the top scoring toys in the third annual TIMPANI Toy Study demonstrates the quality of research that is occurring at our Center for Early Childhood Education," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "At the same time that we are identifying and testing toys that promote the intellectual, social and creative development of children, we are also helping our students prepare for careers as professional early childhood educators. I congratulate Professor Trawick-Smith and his students for this ground-breaking research. The investigative work they are doing to build strong learning environments for preschool children is impacting an entire generation."
"We are thrilled that our LEGO DUPLO bricks have been chosen by Eastern Connecticut State University's Center for Early Childhood Education as the TIMPANI Toy of 2012," said Michael McNally, brand relations director for LEGO Systems, Inc. "Research shows that construction play inspires creativity and imagination among children of all ages while also fostering storytelling and social skills, and early childhood vocabulary and literacy, and DUPLO is a perfect way to introduce toddlers to the LEGO building system."
Previous TIMPANI winners have included Hasbro's Tinker Toys, and Wooden Vehicles and Signs made by Melissa and Doug, LLC, of Wilton, CT.
For more information on the TIMPANI Toy Study, contact the Center for Early Childhood Education at (860) 465-0687 or visit www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani.html. For information about The LEGO Group and its products, visit www.lego.com. For information about Environments, Inc., and its products, visit www.eichild.com.
Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center will host a workshop on "Choosing Quality Toys: What All Parents Should Know" on Dec. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. To register for the workshop, call (860) 465-0206.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will host an informative panel, Faith vs. Science Combatable or in Conflict, from 3-4 p.m. on Oct. 16 in Room 104 of the Science Building. The public is invited. Admission is free.
Faith vs. Science Compatible or in Conflict is an event that aims to explore the topics of science and religion and whether they are capable of co-existing with one another. This program will contain a panel moderated by Father Larry from the Campus Ministry and Professor Swanson from Physical Sciences.
The panel will build upon the questions of what religion and science have in common and also what differences they have. Through moderated questions, the panel will have an opportunity to discuss various subtopics of religion and science.
The audience will also get an opportunity to interact with the panel through questions and discussion. This program seeks to foster a sense of communication amongst the campus and provoke a stimulating, but civil conversation around these two topics.
For more information on the event, contact Starsheemar Byrum at 860-465-4314, or email@example.com.