In this issue:
• Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss
• Employee Recognition Luncheon Will Be March 17
• Gore Named Campus Sustainability Coordinator at EKU
• QEP Report from the Deans
• Scruggs Discusses Vietnam War Education Center Plans
• Collier Named to National and District Boards
• Grand Opening Scheduled for EKU’s New Somerset Facility
• Thompson to Receive Highest Honor from Sierra Leone Institute
• Former Libraries Dean Returns to EKU for Presentation on Scholarly Publishing
• Annual ‘Empty Bowls’ Event Fights Hunger
• NYU Law Professor, Author to Speak at Next Chautauqua Lecture
• Mock Trial Team Qualifies for National Championship Tournament
• Student Alumni Ambassadors Named Best in Southeast U.S.
• Giles Gallery to Display Art from Ky. High School Students
• Memphis Trip Part of EKU Black History Month Celebration
• Program Allows Mid- And Second-Career Professionals to ‘Try Teaching’
• Focus on Scholarship: Stephen Richter
• Power of Maroon: Leadership Spotlight
Dr. Delinda Dent of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction reads "The Cat in the Hat" to elementary students from Model Laboratory School in the Grand Reading Room in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. The event was one of several planned at EKU as part of the Kentucky Literacy Celebration.
All employees are invited to attend a free luncheon on Thursday, March 17, to help honor employees who are celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of employment. The luncheon, in the Keen Johnson Ballroom, begins at 11:30 a.m. Those individuals being recognized are asked to remain after the program for group photos.
David Gore, who served as a grants and contracts administrator and then environmental technologist with the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet from 1990 to 2008, assumed his new responsibilities Feb. 7. For the past year, the 1987 EKU graduate has assisted the Eastern Kentucky Environmental Research Institute at EKU.
Alice Jones, chair of EKU’s Committee on Responsible Environmental Stewardship and director of the Eastern Kentucky Environmental Research Institute, said the addition of the sustainability coordinator position “signals a welcome serious commitment on the part of the University for sustainability.”
Noting that EKU Facilities Services began extensive recycling efforts two decades ago, Gore said, “We want this year to be the year we start composting.”
The University currently recycles “everything it possibly can,” Gore said, specifically citing plastic, aluminum, cardboard and construction site waste. “The rest goes to the landfill, but we’re going to try to keep it here and compost it.”
The reduction in tipping fees and transportation costs to the landfill will mean an immediate and significant cost savings for the University, Gore noted. Already, the University has identified a location on its Meadowbrook Farm in eastern Madison County as its choice for a compost site.
The compost initiative is part of a broader sustainability strategy at the University. “We want to look at sustainability as a business model,” he said.
Meanwhile, many offices and units on campus have been working in recent years toward “greener” practices:
- The most prominent University-wide examples is the Siemens Energy Savings Performance Contract, at $27 million the largest such contract in the history of the Commonwealth. The project, begun in 2008 to promote long-term sustainability, reduce the University’s impact on the environment and dramatically reduce EKU’s utility costs, is funded entirely through guaranteed energy savings and does not require additional taxpayer dollars. To be completed this year, it is expected to trim the University’s annual utility budget by more than 40 percent while also reducing Eastern’s environmental footprint.
- EKU’s Information Technology (IT) operation has earned national recognition as a “green” innovator, earning three mentions in an article entitled “Thirty Tips for Going Green with IT Operations and Equipment” in the June 2010 edition of University Business magazine. For example, IT configures all desktop machines to go into power saver mode after a time of non-use. Also, in recent years, the University has eliminating printing of payroll checks, grades, student invoices and financial aid letters, made many University forms web-based and the University directory available only online. Also, IT has moved individual servers to a virtual server environment, dramatically reducing power consumption.
- Many campus offices organize events or lend support to the University’s annual Earth Days in the Cumberlands celebration, coordinated by the Eastern Committee for Responsible Environmental Stewardship, established in 2005 to help guide EKU toward greater environmental stewardship and greener practices.
EKU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, approved in February 2007 as part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmation process, calls for the University to develop students who are “informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively.”
Following are Dean’s Reports from three areas about what is being done in those areas to help meet that goal.
College of Justice and Safety
- In Fall 2008, the graduate faculty in the Department of Safety, Security and Emergency Management (SSEM) decided to implement the Elder and Paul critical thinking framework in the MS in SSEM online and on-campus programs. SSEM faculty underwent Quality Enhancement Program (QEP) Foundational Workshop instruction and began revising course learning objectives and assignments based on QEP recommendations. An instructional video on critical thinking was developed and included in the MS orientation. In-depth critical thinking instruction using Gerald Nosich’s book, Learning to Think Things Through, was added to the MS SSE 880 Research and Planning core course. Most faculty in the MS in SSEM now employ critical thinking components for assessing course readings, framing in-class discussions and online discussion board interactions and evaluating short and long writing assignments using QEP-recommended rubrics. MS in SSEM graduates now receive coordinated and robust critical thinking instruction.
- With faculty versed in QEP, the SSEM graduate initiative spread in 2009 and 2010 to many of the college’s undergraduate programs. The college added three new QE Coaches in 2010 (Mike Collier, Scotty Dunlap, Paul Grant) to assist faculty in implementing QE material in their courses. Many college faculty participated in QEP Foundational Workshops provided by Mike Collier during Spring 2010 semester. Some college faculty attended a Fall 2010 College of Justice and Safety Critical Thinking Learning Community coordinated by Mike Collier, which provided six sessions on the Foundational Workshop, alternative critical thinking frameworks, creative thinking and general discussions on how best to implement QE initiatives in the college. In 2011, Scotty Dunlap initiated a monthly 1-page QE newsletter to allow faculty and staff to exchange QE-related successes and recommendations for implementing critical thinking in the classroom. College online courses are developed using the Quality Matters template.
- In the 2010-11 academic year, all college degree programs implemented W writing intensive courses in undergraduate curriculums (CRJ 388W, FSE 300W, HLS 321W). Paul Grant became a member of the Thinking and Communicating Across Curriculums (TCAC) committee, which assists faculty in W course development. While the 1-credit JSO 100 Academic Orientation is still offered, college undergraduate degree programs advise students to take the 3-credit GSD 101 Foundations of Learning course in their first year as GSD 101 provides an in-depth introduction to critical thinking. A new online 1-credit JSO 100 Academic Orientation course is in development by Mike Collier for a Fall 2011 first offering. The online JSO 100 will serve all college online programs and have a strong emphasis on the Elder and Paul critical thinking framework.
- New college faculty participate in the QEP orientation during New Faculty days. The four college QE Coaches regularly teach the QE Foundational Workshop to groups across campus. For example, in Spring 2011, Scotty Dunlap partnered with a non-Justice & Safety QE Coach to conduct a Foundational Workshop for the Department of Social Work as well as independently conducted two Foundational Workshops for GSD 101 faculty. QE Coaches and some faculty also attend many of the teaching, learning and career development sessions offered by QEP, Teaching and Learning Center, TCAC Committee, Academic Orientation staff and Instructional Development Center. QE Coaches also assist in scoring the Critical Thinking Assessment Tests (CAT). Some adjunct faculty are provided video orientations and reading materials on the Elder and Paul framework and program coordinators ensure adjunct syllabi include critical thinking instruction in their courses. QEP posters are displayed in many college classrooms. Fred May will be developing a service-learning course, HLS 491 Emergency Planning, to enhance Homeland Security student critical thinking while working directly with practitioners in their field. The college also provides strong support to cooperative education and internship programs where students employ critical thinking as they gain professional skills in their intended career fields.
College of Education
Activities to date include:
- Strategy meetings between the COE Dean, QE COE Coaches and QEP staff to develop activities to enhance QEP activity in the college
- Dean supported and promoted, a Professional Development Luncheon Series conducted by QE Coaches from the COE to promote strategies and student learning outcomes to strengthen student critical thinking learning.
- Implementation of student learning outcomes at the course and programmatic level related to critical/creative thinking and communication, promoted by the Dean.
- As many as six COE faculty at one given time serving the campus community as QE Coaches, learning and providing critical thinking strategies for the campus community.
- Numerous one-on-one consultations with faculty exploring the Paul/Elder framework of critical thinking to explore the concepts and how they can be applied to various aspects of their courses.
- A Professional Learning Community (PLC), led by Drs. Paula Jones and Debbie Haydon, devoted to identifying instructional methods that supported students in the College of Education to develop critical thinking skills. The PLC members focused on implementing the Paul/Elder framework of CT in their respective classes and documenting the methods used along with the results. The PLC members have also used their work to write a chapter for a book, awaiting approval in summer 2011. Members of the PLC included Dr. Diana Porter, Dr. Delinda Lybrand, Dr. Karen Maloley, Dr. Tammy Cranfill, Dr. Sue Mahanna-Boden, and Nina Coyer.
- A Faculty Learning Community in Curriculum & Instruction, funded by QEP and led by Dr. Dorie Combs, to develop the Diverse School Contextual Analysis Task that engages students in critical and creative thinking related to a diversity module for the Teacher Education Methods courses. As a result of this project, five EKU seniors made a presentation at the National Middle School Conference in Baltimore.
- A senior capstone project in he Department of Special Education that incorporates critical and creative thinking and that uses a rubric to measure students’ abilities to apply critical thinking and communication skills. Dr. Rose Perrine and Stacey Street worked with the Department to identify the project. The Department faculty refined the project and rubrics in the fall and will be meeting to use the rubrics this spring to assess students’ abilities.
Division of Student Affairs
Departments within the Division of Student Affairs work to foster student learning outside the classroom. Two of those departments report on their initiatives in support of the QEP mission to develop students who are “informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively.”
Career Services has incorporated the “Intellectual Standards to Assess Thinking” into the mock interview process. The staff is encouraging students to use the standards to strengthen their presentation in the interview. Following a 15- to 20-minute practice interview session, students view a recording of the session and are asked to evaluate their interview based on the standards. Student paraprofessionals, who conduct the mocks, also evaluate the student’s performance based on the standards and discuss their application to the interview process.
The NOVA Program, a TRiO Student Support Services project, is fully immersed in the three major aspects of the University’s Strategic Plan: student success, Regional Stewardship, and the QEP. Some highlights:
- The NOVA Program has a QE Coach who is facilitating the first-ever non-faculty professional co-curricular learning community (CCLC) on developing critical and creative thinking projects within 9 professional staff areas at the University.
- A staff member is involved as a CCLC participant.
- The Program has been engaged in teaching GSD 101: Foundations For Learning since its inception to all of its participants.
- The program has facilitated student participants’ development of exploring, evaluating, expanding, and expressing their ideas for academic, personal and professional success in all aspects of the NOVA curriculum.
- Faculty/staff are currently teaching GST 300, which focuses on critical and creative thinking in the peer mentoring relationship.
- Eight student service-learning teams in its spring GSD 225S Leadership Through Service-Learning are preparing to serve one of the following Community Partners: Madison County Public Library, Madison County Humane Society, McCready Manor, Berea Head Start, Kit Carson Family. Resource Center, Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women, Richmond Child Care Center, Richmond Senior Citizen Center
- The Service-Learning/Leadership course is linked with CMS 100: Introduction to Human Communication each Spring.
- The program has hosted six Service-Learning/Leadership Poster Showcases; the seventh annual event will be Wednesday, May 4 in Walnut Hall.
- The program is continually examining how the QEP is impacting its participants’ retention and graduation.
The man whose tireless efforts led to the establishment of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was on the EKU campus recently to discuss his plans to further honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Southeast Asia.
Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Foundation, spoke to a group of campus and community leaders about his plans to collect photos of veterans from Kentucky who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The photos and other collected memorabilia will grace the Vietnam War Education Center, which will be constructed near the memorial wall.
More than 1,000 Kentuckians died in Vietnam out of 63,420 who served. Following New Mexico, Kentucky is the second state in the U.S. to undertake the photo collection effort, and hundreds of photos have already been collected.
“We’re looking forward to getting this underway in Kentucky,” said Scruggs, a decorated Vietnam veteran. “Let’s all get the can-do spirit and make this happen.”
The educational center will be financed in the same manner as the Vietnam memorial – with private dollars. Pending successful fund-raising efforts, Scruggs said he hopes a groundbreaking ceremony for the educational center can be held in November 2012.
To see remembrances and photos, or to leave your own, visit www.vvmf.org/thewall. For more information on the proposed Education Center, visit www.buildthecenter.org.
Scruggs also noted that discussions are underway to bring the Vietnam War Memorial Traveling Wall – a replica of the Wall in the nation’s capital – to the EKU campus later this Spring.
EKU has earned national recognition for its supportive policies and programs that help military veterans further their education. The University was ranked No. 1 nationally by Military Times EDGE magazine for its efforts to embrace veterans. In addition, each of the past two years, Eastern has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. In 2010, the University launched Operation Veteran Success, a set of initiatives designed to make Eastern an even more veteran-helpful campus.
Jackie Collier, director of Alumni Relations, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III Board of Directors as membership chair.
CASE District III serves public and private colleges and universities and independent schools in a nine-state region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia).
Collier has also been elected to serve on the National Education Alumni Trust (NEATrust) Board.
The NEATrust, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1972 as the New England Alumni Trust, provides insurance products to constituents of member associations. As the organization grew over the years to include alumni associations across the country, it became the National Educational Alumni Trust in 1990. Today, more than 140 alumni associations comprise the NEATrust. NEATrust insurance plans and programs are administered and marketed by American Insurance Administrators Inc., a USI Affinity company.
Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. at the new site, located at 46 Turpin Court, just south of old KY 80 and approximately one mile west of US 27. Speakers will include EKU President Doug Whitlock, Provost Janna Vice, Continuing Education and Outreach Dean Charles Hickox, and other officials. Tours will be offered and refreshments will be available. The public is welcome.
The 5,000-square-foot space enables the University to offer its entire paralegal degree program as well as the RN to BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, among other courses that contribute toward degree completion.
All the classrooms are equipped for interactive TV (ITV) or traditional classes. Students can take ITV classes originating from the EKU Richmond campus or anywhere in the world.
“We are also exploring the addition of programs that will complement the programs offered through Somerset Community College,” said contact Somerset Regional Campus Coordinator Terri Reynolds.
For more information, contact Reynolds at 606-676-0838, 859-358-4596 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.somerset.eku.edu. Also, Transfer Coordinator Gail Creekmore can be reached at 606-451-6708 or email@example.com.
Thompson, professor of criminal justice studies at EKU and a native of the West African country, along with four other renowned academicians and practitioners of international law, will be recognized as Fellows at a banquet on Monday, April 25. The award will be presented to these Sierra Leoneans and foreign nationals “who have excelled in the teaching, wider appreciation and dissemination of international law in Sierra Leone and the sub-region.”
While serving as a judge of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, Thompson contributed significantly to the jurisprudence of that tribunal and thereby to international humanitarian and human rights law. He was one of eight judges appointed in 2002 to a three-year term on the special regional court, which was “empowered to try to punish all persons who carry the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law, human rights law and criminal law of Sierra Leone committed during a period of hostilities and rebel insurgency,” he said at the time of his appointment.
Beginning in 1991, fighting between the Sierra Leone government and the Revolutionary United Front resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people, more than one third of the country’s population.
Thompson, who joined the EKU faculty in 1995 and formerly served as dean of graduate studies, is the author of “The Constitutional History and Law of Sierra Leone (1961-95)” and “The Criminal Law of Sierra Leone,” as well as “American Criminal Procedures.”
Sierra Leone, slightly smaller than South Carolina in size, borders the North Atlantic Ocean between Guinea and Liberia.
Prior to coming to the U.S., Thompson served as Principal State Attorney in Sierra Leone; Legal Officer for the Mano River Union, a West African economic group composed of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea; and High Court Judge. He also was a founding member of the country’s Law Reform Commission and was the first African to hold the David Brennan Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Akron Law School.
He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fourah Bay College (Sierra Leone), then affiliated with the University of Durham, and M.A., LL.B. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain.
Van Orsdel, who served at EKU from 1999 to 2005, is currently dean of university libraries at Grand Valley State University. She will speak from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the John Grant Crabbe Main Library Discovery Classroom (204D). Also, a reception will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Main Library’s Research and Instruction Commons Cul-de-sac.
“The reception will be a continuation of the conversation and dialogue from the morning presentation,” said Carrie Cooper, dean of EKU Libraries. “It is an opportunity for folks to tap Lee’s expertise in a more casual, one-on-one environment.”
Faculty, staff and administrators are invited to both events.
In her morning presentation, Van Orsdel will focus on how the Internet, the open movement and a failing traditional system of publishing are profoundly changing the ways scholarship is created and shared.
“This session is for any person interested in learning more about new publishing models, the management of intellectual property rights, and options available to scholars who want to increase the impact of their research,” Cooper said.
The popular community event will be held Friday, March 25, at First Baptist Church, 425 Eastern ByPass, Richmond. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. For a $12 donation, participants will receive a handmade pottery bowl, homemade soup, bread and drink. Both meals will also feature entertainment by local musical groups. At lunch, two small Eastern Kentucky University ensembles, EKUpella and Treblemakers, will perform under the direction of Sue Ellen Ballard, and Merwyn Jackson and a group of dulcimer players will play at the dinner.
All proceeds from the event will help feed local residents through four organizations: Food Bank of Kentucky River Foothills, God’s Outreach Community Food Bank, Home Meals Delivery, and the Salvation Army of Madison County.
Local businesses, area churches and schools, and EKU faculty, staff and students have united to donate their various talents and resources to ensure the event’s success.
Bowls have been made and donated by EKU art students and local professional potters.
In 1997, Richmond became the first city in central Kentucky to organize an “Empty Bowls” project. When Joe Molinaro, an EKU art professor, learned of similar events elsewhere, he began asking local churches for assistance. The request was met with immediate enthusiasm and support, and the multi-denominational event has grown every year since.
To volunteer, make a donation, or to request more information, contact Dianna Ackerman at 859-661-5101 or Lea Wells at 859-353-2339.
Yoshino will present “Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights” on Thursday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall, the Student Success Building auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.
His book “Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights,” fuses legal manifesto with autobiography, and marks a move from more traditional pleas for civil equality to a case for individual autonomy in identity politics. In it, he argues that each of us “covers” – that, bending to societal pressure, we tone down an aspect of our personality to gain acceptance from the mainstream. “Covering” was hailed by Publishers Weekly for its “tremendous potential as a touchstone in the struggle for universal human dignity.”
Drawing on his experience as a gay Asian American, Yoshino examines the prejudices embedded in both American life and in Civil Rights legislation – prejudices that he feels “hinder our ability to be our authentic selves.” Key to his talk is the phenomenon of “covering,” where people downplay stigmatized traits in order to blend into the mainstream. Moving past discussions of identity politics, Yoshino discusses the “dangers of a society that claims to support racial, gender, orientation, religious, and physical differences but still routinely denies equal treatment of these people when they refuse to downplay their differences.”
Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Yoshino was the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor of Law and Deputy Dean of Intellectual Life at Yale Law School, where he taught from 1998 to 2008. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, took a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, and earned his law degree at Yale Law School. A specialist in constitutional law, antidiscrimination law, and law and literature, Yoshino has published in major academic journals, such as the Columbia Law Review, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. He has also written extensively in other popular venues, such as The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on “The Charlie Rose Show,” “The O'Reilly Factor,” “Washington Journal,” and “The Tavis Smiley Show.”
His upcoming book, “A Thousand Times More Fair,” takes 10 Shakespeare plays and ties them to a contemporary question of justice. The book is set to be released in April.
For more information about EKU’s Chautauqua Series, visit www.chautauqua.eku.edu or contact coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eastern team qualified in competition at the Cincinnati regional event Feb. 26-27 along with The Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Miami University and Bellarmine University. Other teams in the competition were the University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky, Murray State, Michigan State and the University of Tennessee.
Members of the qualifying EKU team were: James Pennington, Manchester; Sara Martin, Dawson Springs; Alexandra Sipes, Mt. Sterling; William Foster, Gilbertsville; Zac Caldwell, Elizabethtown; Benica Triplet, Fulton; and Regina Lewis, Harveysburg, Ohio.
Caldwell earned Outstanding Witness honors, as did Alyssa McNabb, Jonesborough, Tenn., who competed on EKU’s second team, which did not qualify.
Sara Zeigler, Lynnette Noblitt and Tom Parker coach the team, which receives financial support from the College of Justice & Safety, the College of Arts & Sciences, University Programs, the Department of Government, and Distinguished Alumnus Robert Sanders.
The chapter, which in 2007 was named the best organization in the nation, was honored as the top chapter in District 3 of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (CASE ASAP). More than 80 schools in nine states comprise District 3.
In addition, EKU Chapter Adviser Jey Marks was honored for the second time in four years as Outstanding Adviser in District 3. The awards were presented at the district conference in Raleigh, N.C., Feb. 17-20.
The 83 members of Eastern’s SAA chapter, whose main objective is service to the University, often serve as hosts at various campus and alumni events. Ambassadors lead tours of campus and often meet with prospective students on campus and at recruitment events throughout Kentucky and beyond, and are involved with numerous other service and philanthropic events.
In addition to their hours of service, SAA members excel in the classroom, posting a cumulative GPA of 3.53 this past semester.
The district title “says we have a very strong student base at EKU and we are getting some of the best and brightest in the Ambassador group,” said Marks. “Most are involved in other student organizations at EKU as well, but give of themselves so freely to make our university shine when she gives the call for help and volunteers. I have been honored to serve and work with such an outstanding group of students over these past five years.”
The president during the period for which the EKU chapter was judged was Kara Daughetee. The current SAA president is Seth VanZant.
EKU’s SAA chapter also won the top regional honor in 2009. CASE ASAP rules dictate that any one chapter or adviser can only win the top award every other year at most.
The exhibition features artwork from Kentucky students in grades 9-12 and includes a variety of categories ranging from paintings to digital media. Participating students are from Anderson, Bell, Bourbon, Boyle, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Jackson, Jessamine, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, McCreary, Mercer, Owsley, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Scott, Wayne, Whitley and Woodford counties.
All Gallery events are free and open to the public and group tours are welcome. For Gallery hours, call 622-8135 or contact Esther Randall at 622-1639 or email@example.com.
Thirty-four students and six faculty members spent several days late last month on a cultural and service-learning excursion to Memphis. The trip, sponsored by the African/African American Studies Program, was the culmination of the EKU celebration of Black History Month.
The students and faculty participated in a service-learning opportunity for The Martin Luther King Jr. Student Transition Academy, which serves students who have been temporarily expelled from public school. The EKU group worked with students in eighth grade through senior year, organizing, facilitating, and presenting a mini-conference about college and other opportunities after high school. A celebration of African-American authors concluded the time spent at the Academy.
The EKU contingent also organized an African/African American Read-In to help the school celebrate its heritage and Black History Month. Prior to the trip, students organized a fund-raising effort that enabled the donation of 145 EKU backpacks full of school supplies, school uniforms and a box of books written by African American authors, donated by the EKU Bookstore. The books were the first for school’s library.
“The experience at the MLK Transition Academy was very moving for our students,” said Dr. Salome Nnoromele, director of EKU’s African/African American Studies Program. “Our students want to do a book drive to obtain additional books for the school and to help establish a library for the school. In addition, several students would like the opportunity, given funding, to go back to the school and work with the students again.”
The EKU group also took a historical tour of Memphis and visited the National Civil Rights Museum, The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, the Art Museum at the University of Memphis, the Memphis Zoo, Beale Street and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
“I am coming back with an open mind to cultural differences and also opening my eyes to how horrible and dangerous hate really is,” said student Whitney Johnson.
“The trip was life-changing for me,” said student Silas Burris. “It brought history to life, both the good and the bad, and made it so real to everyone that you couldn’t help but feel moved.”
Dr. LeAnn Beaty, assistant professor of government at EKU, said the trip to the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum was particularly moving for the visitors.
“When we were down in that basement, with the light shining through a hole in the wall which gave birth to freedom for some, death for others, one of our students reached out and took my hand as we walked out of there,” Beaty said. “That gesture, and all it implied, literally brought tears to my eyes.”
Nnoromele said such service-learning projects and educational trips “offer invaluable learning environments and opportunities for our students. They teach and expose our students to many life challenges and opportunities in our larger communities and provide students the skills and the knowledge to participate and make a difference.”
The nationally innovative program is geared to those who have doubts about leaving their current job behind to return to college for a second degree. It allows participants to gauge their comfort level as a classroom teacher before making a life-changing career move.
The program, funded by a $175,000 grant from Ashland Inc., has attracted 43 participants in its first five years. Each spent one or two weeks in a K-12 classroom, gaining first-hand experience as they assisted in the preparation and execution of lesson plans while learning successful educational practices from their teaching mentors.
Several from previous years have decided to enter EKU’s Master’s in Teaching Program, which prepares and certifies individuals who hold non-teaching baccalaureate degrees, according to Dr. Cynthia Resor, coordinator of the MAT program and director of the “Try Teaching” program.
Ruth Barker, a businesswoman from Richmond who tried teaching last year at Clark-Moores Middle School, said she “developed a new awareness of the unselfish commitment that teachers have for children in their classroom. I enjoyed the interaction with the children and was able to learn hands-on skills from experienced professionals. I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in pursuing a career in teaching.”
Jason Ashburn, a Navy veteran from Lexington, was placed at Henry Clay High School. “‘Try Teaching’ was the perfect opportunity for me,” he said. “(It) provided me the critical classroom experience I needed to pursue my new profession. The classroom opportunities from the program confirmed my passion for teaching kids and allowed me to network with other teachers and principals.”
Participants have the option of one- or two-week placements in middle and high schools throughout central and southeastern Kentucky, as close to home as possible.
In addition to classroom time with their mentoring teacher, “Try Teaching” participants will spend time with a university-level educator to learn more about certification procedures, the teaching profession and career benefits.
EKU officials hope the program will help those interested in making a career change to teaching.
“We need to be looking at alternate avenues for drawing qualified men and women from various backgrounds into the teaching field,” Resor said. “Teaching jobs are available in all subjects and grade levels, but there is a real shortage of math, science and foreign language teachers.”
EKU College of Education faculty and school district administrators work together to identify outstanding K-12 educators who will host participants in their classrooms. The host teachers will then be trained in effective mentoring techniques.
A preliminary screening will pre-qualify participants and reduce the risk that a participant would be ineligible for the MAT program. Those interested in the “Try Teaching” program will be asked to assemble educational transcripts, a professional resume and letters of recommendation, and will be interviewed to assess their overall disposition to teach. Also, before introducing anyone into a classroom setting, EKU will complete stringent state and federal background checks on all program candidates.
The application deadline this year is June 30. Because the number of participants is limited, Resor suggested that interested individuals contact her as soon as possible at 859-622-2165 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at www.tryteaching.eku.edu.
Dr. Stephen Richter, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, joined Eastern’s faculty in 2005 after earning a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Oklahoma. His research interests are ecology, conservation, and evolution of amphibians and reptiles; conservation biology; and wetland ecology. He had a 2010 publication in Herpetological Review about the midland mud salamander, and was awarded $383,000 with Biology colleague Dr. David Brown for their work with Kentucky wetlands. Hear what Dr. Richter has to say about his scholarship in his interview for the Focus on Scholarship webcast series here
Laurence Hayes, ASL and Interpreter Education Department Chair
Laurence Hayes, ASL and Interpreter Education Department chair, is featured in this ongoing series designed to allow EKU leaders and others in prominent positions to discuss their roles as well as campus issues. Hayes, who came to EKU in 1989, has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling for the deaf from Oregon College of Education and a doctoral degree in communication from the University of Arizona.
What are some of the unique features and superlatives that distinguish EKU’s Department of American Sign Language and Interpreter Education?
The EKU ASLIE is one of approximately six accredited baccalaureate Interpreting programs in the U.S.; we have a unique balance of deaf and hearing faculty; and we have a Sign Language Lab and studio staffed by three full-time deaf native signers.
What impact has the establishment in 2008 of the Department had on the growth and success of the program?
We have become recognized as a unique department within the College of Education and the University. This assists us in our recruitment of quality faculty, staff and students.
How many students are currently pursuing a baccalaureate degree in interpreter education? How many students are enrolled in ASL classes?
We accept a cadre of 21 to 22 students every two years into the program. We have between 250 and 300 students taking ASL classes every semester.
What might the average person not know about the educational preparation needed to become an interpreter?
That they are learning a unique visual language that is not derived from, nor based on English. German sign language is different from Spanish sign language, which is different from French sign language. Sign language is not international.
In what various capacities are graduates of the EKU program employed?
Any type or work or social setting that anyone can be involved in, deaf people are too – this means that an interpreter may interpret in education, surgery or the courts.
How high is the demand now for interpreters and will that demand remain strong for the foreseeable future?
We have a 95 to 100 percent placement rate for our students if they are willing to move. The demand continues to outstrip the supply.
How are the Center on Deaf and Hearing Loss and other outreach programs at EKU enhancing the Department’s leadership role in interpreter education in Kentucky?
The Center on Deafness truly has a different focus that educating interpreters. Our Outreach (Regional Stewardship) team under the ASLIE provides approximately 22 workshops per year in Kentucky and has more than 1,000 participants in the workshops. They provide an exceptional service for the interpreters in Kentucky.