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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Chizhik Named Coordinator of SDSU's Liberal Studies Program

Estella Chizhik


San Diego State University’s Liberal Studies program has a new leader. Dr. Estella Chizhik, professor in the School of Teacher Education, has been named the new coordinator of the major, which provides a multidimensional education in a variety of disciplines for undergraduate students interested in teaching, the education field and other professions. 

Chizhik, who has more than 20 years of experience at SDSU training educators and conducting research in the teacher educator field, will assume the new role in January, 2021. Informed & Inspired spoke with her about why she’s passionate about teacher education, her vision for the major and more.

Friday, October 16, 2020

$16.5M Grant Furthers SDSU’s National Leadership in Vocational Rehabilitation

Department of Education graphic


San Diego State University has been awarded a $16.5 million federal grant to keep the university at the forefront of improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. 

The U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will provide the funding over five years to support a new center, housed in SDSU’s Interwork Institute, that will provide quality management to the 78 public vocational rehabilitation agencies nationwide that connect people with disabilities to career resources. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

COE STORIES: Ph.D. Candidate Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk

Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk

Monday, October 5, 2020

Online MAT Equips K-12 Teachers for Virtual Success

Online MAT graphic


Natasha Sebestyen remembers the feeling of shock. It was March 13 — a Friday — and the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak was about to crest in the U.S. 

An instructional assistant in a second and third grade combined class in Irvine, Sebestyen checked her email to find a clear message from her school district: Get ready to send your students home with all their things. There will be no school for at least three weeks. 

“It was a little scary, I'm not going to lie." she recalls. “We had half an hour to get the kids all their books, all their supplies, all their materials.” 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Doctoral Student Named ‘Rising Star’ by NASPA

Ángel Gonzalez

Ángel Gonzalez, a doctoral candidate in San Diego State University’s Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program, has been named recipient of the Graduate Rising Star Award by NASPA Region VI. 

NASPA is the premier professional organization for student affairs professionals. Its Region VI includes California, Arizona and Hawai’i, as well as New Zealand, Australia, China, Guam, Malaysia and Singapore. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Alumna Music Educator Named San Diego County Teacher of the Year

Paula Richardson


Almost every year, Paula Richardson (’06, ’19) says she experiences “one of those moments.” Often, they will occur before a concert, as her assembled middle schoolers nervously rehearse. Invariably, Richardson will need to intervene and offer her students encouragement and guidance on how to play better. 

And then? 

“And then they do it, and they hear it, and they feel it,” said Richardson, a music teacher at Wilson Middle School in San Diego’s Normal Heights neighborhood. “You can see their faces change and their demeanors change. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. That is what I live for.”

Monday, September 14, 2020

DLE Master’s Alumna Selected to Education Policy Fellowship

Amber Riehman


A few months ago, Amber Riehman (’14, ’15, ’20) found herself listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “All, Here, Now” speech. King — speaking in 1966 at the height of the Civil Rights movement — warned against what he called “gradualism,” asserting: “We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.” For Riehman, those words made an impact.

“'All, Here, Now' has been really sticking in my head as a mantra these last few months — and it's really been driving a lot of the work I've been doing at my site,” said the San Diego State University alumna who now teaches social science and is an English learner (EL) coordinator at El Cajon Valley High. “So often you’ll say, ‘Well, this is a small step in the right direction.’ Well, how many steps does it take to get there?” 

EDL's James-Ward Talks COVID-19 and Inner-City Schools in U-T Commentary

Dr. Cheryl James-Ward

Dr. Cheryl James-Ward, associate professor in the San Diego State University Department of Educational Leadership, recently published a commentary in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the crisis many schools are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and the opportunity this moment presents to reimagine schools. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

COE Announces New Black Advisory Council to the Dean

Black Advisory Council members
Clockwise from top left: Abdi, Butler-Byrd, Chizhik, Harris, Negash, Robinson and Stewart.

Seven members of the San Diego State University College of Education faculty, staff and student communities have been named to the newly-formed Black Advisory Council to the Dean

The council was created by Dean Y. Barry Chung in response to the many instances of systemic racism and violence against the Black community, and in acknowledgment of the longstanding inequities that exist within higher education. Chung will consult members on various initiatives to address racism and anti-Blackness in the college. Advisory Board members will also be empowered to suggest actions to strengthen the cultural climate of the college, as well as teaching and mentoring, to better serve all Black students and community members. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

New Counseling Master’s Program Co-Director Shaped by Refugee Experience

Selam Gebrekristos


In a world often defined in black and white terms, Selam Gebrekristos (’07, ’13) has learned to embrace a life somewhere in the middle. 

“I'm not part of my country anymore, and I'm not fully part of American culture,” she explains. “So I like to say that I'm in the gray.” 

Gebrekristos was a young girl when she and her family fled their homeland of Eritrea in the 1980s, refugees of a three-decade war of independence from Ethiopia. The family settled in Redlands, California, finding safety, though not exactly a sense of belonging. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Welcome from the Dean

Dean Y. Barry Chung
As the new academic year kicks off here in the College of Education, I think it’s only natural to dwell on what we don’t see. In ordinary times, the San Diego State University campus would be bustling with activity as students and faculty return to campus. Of course, because of the harsh realities of COVID-19, that’s not possible right now. 

As I look forward, however, I greet this unusual new beginning with optimism and a renewed sense of purpose. The fact is, what we do here has never felt more essential than it feels right now.

College of Education Releases 2020 Impact Report

Impact Report graphic
From a global pandemic to racial injustice, 2020 has put the College of Education to the test. Read how our students, faculty and staff have risen to the challenge of this extraordinary moment in our new Impact Report.

New Faculty and Staff for Fall 2020

Graphic: Welcome new faculty and staff
As the fall semester kicks off, the College of Education is excited to welcome 13 new faces who have recently joined us. 

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: A ‘Future Adventure’ Comes Alive

Jermaine Rocacorba at a protest


Jermaine Rocacorba remembers a San Diego State University Leadership Minor project called “Create a Future Adventure.” The assignment was to create something that doesn’t already exist — something that would make the world a better place. Rocacorba, who graduated from SDSU in December of 2018 with a degree in communication, has been seemingly living that project ever since. 

The native of the Philippines who grew up in San Diego’s Paradise Hills neighborhood has turned a passion for social justice activism into a life’s work. She is currently launching Pag-asa Law Clinic (Pag-asa is Tagalog for “hope”), a nonprofit providing legal services to immigrants, domestic violence victims and individuals facing tenant issues in San Diego’s large Filipino community. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

From Behind a Screen, Lecturer Takes Future Educators to the Outdoors

CFD lecturer Carolyn Sanders

As a lecturer in the San Diego State University Department of Child and Family Development, Carolyn Sanders teaches courses in multiple settings. But the course she calls her “passion project” typically meets in only one location: the natural canyon landscape of the SDSU Children’s Center’s backyard. 

For the future educators enrolled in Children and Nature, “That's where the service learning happens,” Sanders said. “We've actually planted, dug up and changed the ground covering. We've done a lot of work there.” 

Children and Nature provides a testing ground for prospective teachers to learn how to address the growing disconnect of children from the natural environment — a long-term trend with detrimental effects on mental, physical and emotional well-being. By getting their hands dirty in the Children Center’s Memory Park, students discover alternatives to teaching within the constraints of four walls.