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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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Suhrheinrich Nets U.S. Dept. of Education Grant to Improve Autism Education

Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich


Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich, associate professor in the San Diego State University Department of Special Education, is beginning work on a federally-funded project aimed at empowering educators who work with young students with autism.

Over the summer, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences awarded Suhrheinrich a grant of more than $1.4 million over 4 years to develop a tool to make Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) — a naturalistic, behavioral intervention for children with autism — simpler to deliver and more customizable for preschool and elementary school teachers and paraprofessionals.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Data Champions Team to Present its Work to Further Undergraduate Student Success

Dr. Lisa McCully and Sandra Kahn present their findings at the 2019 Data Champions poster session.
Dr. Lisa McCully and Sandra Kahn present their findings at the 2019 Data Champions poster session. 

A staff team from the Office of the Dean and Office of Student Success is set to offer insight and provide recommendations for improving student success in the College of Education’s two undergraduate majors.

Sandra Kahn, data administrator; Dr. Nina Potter, director of assessment and accreditation; Dr. Lisa McCully, director of the Office for Student Success, Michelle Xiong, liberal studies advisor; and Alison Sternal, community college outreach and undergraduate advisor, will present their findings at San Diego State University’s third annual Data Champions Virtual Poster Session, Aug. 3 and 4. Now in its third year, Data Champions is a university-wide initiative to use data to identify areas where service to students can be improved and equity gaps addressed.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

COE STORIES: Ed.D. Student Angel Gonzalez

Meet Angel Gonzalez, a doctoral student in the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program. Learn about his passion for advancing equity and his dreams of a life in higher education in the first installment of the COE Stories video series.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

DLE's Esquinca Named Inaugural Faculty Scholar at SDSU Pride Center

Dr. Alberto Esquinca


As a young undergraduate student at the University of Texas-El Paso, Dr. Alberto Esquinca made a daily trek across a bridge spanning the concrete banks of the Rio Grande. The journey provided him safe passage beyond the imposing border fence — the physical representation of the century and a half of geopolitics that separated his family’s home in Ciudad Juarez from the opportunity he sought in the United States.

But upon arriving on campus, Esquinca confronted yet another daunting divide. As a gay man in West Texas in the 1990s, he felt like an outsider — so much that he doubted his ability to even continue with his education. Until, that is, he found a support network.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

SDSU Pre-College Institute Aids Local Digital Divide

A PCI family receives technology.

The San Diego State University Pre-College Institute (PCI) is helping alleviate the digital divide local students are experiencing amid the transition to virtual learning.

PCI staff members have delivered more than 30 digital learning devices, including laptops and hot spots to students across San Diego participating in the Upward Bound/Health Careers Opportunity Program (UB/HCOP).

Friday, June 19, 2020

Supporting Student Learning in the Age of COVID-19.

Dr. Vicki Park, associate professor in EDL.
Dr. Vicki Park, associate professor in EDL.
Dr. Vicki Park, associate professor in the Department of Education Leadership, and students from our Pomona/Alhambra Ed.D. cohort recently published a commentary on education amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). The piece, entitled "Voices of Educators: Supporting Student Learning Amid the Pandemic Requires Prioritizing Social-Emotional Care," offers recommendations on how educators can support the welfare of their students in this time of increased stress.

Read Park's full commentary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ARPE's Harris Talks Anti-Racism with The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dr. Frank Harris III
Dr. Frank Harris III, professor in San Diego State University's Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education, was recently interviewed by The San Diego Union-Tribune in an article examining how to be an effective ally in the fight against racism.

“Your job is to be a voice and someone who uses White privilege in ways that eliminate barriers,” said Harris, an expert on racial equity in postsecondary education and the co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL). “To be an ally is an act of service.”

Read the full article.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

I Can't Breathe: A Message to the College of Education Community

Editor's Note: The following statement was issued to the College of Education Community on June 3, 2020.

Dear College of Education Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We are keenly aware that people are deeply hurting. In the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd — and the days of outrage and violence that have ensued — we are deeply cognizant that our College of Education community is painfully disheartened at the sight of how racial injustices continue to be nurtured by extant systems of oppression that, once again, have been unmistakably exposed for the world to see.

As we ponder the persistence of violence against members of the African American community across the U.S. — and as we witness how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected poor, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities — we must remain resolute in our commitment to meet this convergence of social maladies with the antidote of courage, mindfulness, and compassion. In the midst of these disturbing circumstances, let us remember the power of education; the power of community; the power of advocacy; and the ultimate power of love as vehicles for reimagining and recreating a world that values our collective humanity.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Leadership Minor Grad Wins SDSU’s Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award

Chasejamison Akilah Manar-Spears


Ghana seemed to offer everything Chasejamison Akilah Manar-Spears needed to clear her mind and break away from the San Diego State University campus for a while.

And it did. As she connected with her roots, she developed a commitment to environmental and social justice that helped lead to her selection as SDSU’s Zahn Spirit of Innovation award recipient for 2020. Its effect on her life, however, is just beginning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

SDSU Names Wood Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity

J. Luke Wood
San Diego State University Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood, the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education in the College of Education, has been selected to serve as Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. Wood will begin transitioning into the position effective May 26, 2020 and assume full duties for the newly combined division on June 15, 2020.

SDSU President Adela de la Torre announced Wood’s appointment in a campus notice, indicating that Wood will oversee the newly formed Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, which unites the Division of Diversity and Innovation and the Division of Student Affairs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

#SDSUGrad Spotlight: Kate McClure

Kate McClure


San Diego State University’s community has shown its true resilience during this unprecedented and difficult time in human history. 

Graduates from the Class of 2020, in particular, have risen to the challenge. 

In this series, we highlight graduates as they prepare to embark on the next chapter of their lives, including those who have secured jobs and internships or are moving into advanced studies. SDSU Career Services continues to offer resources for students, including the new online career platform Handshake and expanded virtual programming and advising

Kate McClure 
Major: Child and Family Development 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

COMMENTARY: Anti-Asian Hate in Light of COVID-19 Hurts All of Us


"I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you." 
—Audrey Lorde

As an inclusive, responsive and socially impactful College of Education community, it is our responsibility to denounce ideas and condemn actions that disaffirm the inherent value and dignity of all human beings. Exercising this responsibility is even more significant during challenging times such as these: when we continue to witness how the racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an upsurge of racist attacks against East Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders across the world and the U.S.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Loh-Hagan Designs Elementary Education Curriculum for New PBS Series

Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan


PBS has begun airing a new five-part documentary series called “Asian Americans” and thanks in part to a San Diego State University faculty member, students across the country can follow along with the series in class.

The series spotlights individual lives and personal histories of a population the 2010 U.S. Census identified as the nation’s fastest-growing racial/ethnic group, exploring its impact on the country’s past, present and future.

Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, Liberal Studies program director at SDSU and a faculty member in the School of Teacher Education, led a curriculum team of K-6 educators in writing lesson plans that align with the series. Loh-Hagan was selected by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) to lead the elementary curriculum team on this project, which was supported by a grant.

Friday, May 15, 2020

COE GRADS 2020: Celebrating Another SDSU Graduation — 26 Years Later

Tracy Lee Provins
Meet Tracy Lee Provins, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate in the School of Teacher Education. She chose Dr. Lisa Lamb as her most influential faculty member.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

COE GRADS 2020: Student's Experience With Disability Instills a Passion to Help Others

Greg Hoffman

Meet Greg Hoffman, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate from the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education. He chose Dr. Charles Degeneffe as his most influential faculty member.

COE GRADS 2020: A Dream Achieved and a Promise Kept

Darielle Blevins

COE GRADS 2020: Counselor Seeks to Remove Barriers to Student Success

Sofia Robles

Meet Sofia Robles, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology. She chose Ashley Kruger as her most influential faculty member.

COE GRADS 2020: Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom

Katie Dennison

Meet Katie Dennison, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate (undergrad) in the Department of Child and Family Development. She chose Dr. Rachel Haine-Schlagel as her most influential faculty member.

COE GRADS 2020: Future Teacher Gains New Perspectives and New Confidence

Megan Hanna

COE GRADS 2020: Inspired to Be A Voice for Change

Amber Riehman

COE GRADS 2020: An Unlikely Educational Journey

Craig Bowden

Meet Craig Bowden, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate in the Department of Educational Leadership. He chose Dr. James Wright as his most influential faculty member.

COE GRADS 2020: A Teacher Discovers her Knack for Research

Rise Richard

Meet Rise Richard, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate from the Department of Special Education. She chose Dr. Yasemin Turan-Qian as her most influential faculty member.

COE GRADS 2020: A Champion for Early Childhood Mental Health

Hannah Zimmerman
Meet Hannah Zimmerman, the 2020 Outstanding Graduate (grad student) for the Department of Child and Family Development. She chose Dr. Lisa Linder as her most influential faculty member.

Striking Gold with Virtual Teacher Development Sessions

Dr. Melissa Soto leads a virtual professional development session for elementary school teachers.
Dr. Melissa Soto leads a virtual workshop for elementary school teachers.


In the days after schools across California started to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, Dr. Melissa Soto was glued to her Twitter timeline. What stood out were posts by elementary school teachers showing off the packets of worksheets and bags of math tools they were sending home with students to help continue with their education amid physical distancing.

While it was heartwarming to see their dedication, the associate professor in mathematics education at San Diego State University also found the posts somewhat concerning.

Joint Doctoral Program Alumni Win AERA Best Paper Award

Dr. Helina Hoyt and Dr. Sean Hauze


An exploration of a virtual simulation tool that may revolutionize nursing education, authored by two San Diego State University leaders and alumni, has earned a Best Graduate Student Paper award from the nation’s top professional organization for educational researchers.

Dr. Helina Hoyt, nursing program coordinator at SDSU Imperial Valley, and Dr. Sean Hauze, Associate Director for Instructional Technology Services (ITS), were honored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for the paper “Equitable Nursing Education Simulation through Holographic Video: Measuring Student Knowledge, Skill, and Motivation to Learn.” The project stemmed from their collaborative research as students in SDSU’s Joint Ph.D. Program in Education with Claremont Graduate University (CGU).

Lecturers’ Early Tech Adoption, Grace Fuels Virtual Transition Success

Diana Pastora Carson (third from left), Rachel Schlesinger (right) and their TAs.
Diana Pastora Carson (third from left), Rachel Schlesinger (right) and their TAs.

Television news coverage of the early spread of COVID-19 in the United States provided an eerie backdrop for Diana Pastora Carson and Rachel Schlesinger as they passed through airport terminals on their way back from New Orleans in early March. It was a strange time to travel, but for the pair of San Diego State University lecturers, the timing was also somewhat fortuitous.

Carson and Schlesinger had just attended a conference for Top Hat — an online education platform they had been using for a couple of years to increase student participation and engagement in the General Studies 420: Disability and Society course they teach together. Soon, they’d need to use it to tackle a new challenge — moving 600 students from two large lecture halls to virtual learning.

And they’d need to do so in one week.
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

VIDEO: A Message to the DLE Class of 2020

Dr. Margarita Machado-Casas
Dr. Margarita Machado-Casas, professor and chair in the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education, congratulates DLE's newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the STE Class of 2020

Dr. Lynne Bercaw

Dr. Lynne Bercaw, professor and director of the School of Teacher Education, congratulates STE’s newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the CSP Class of 2020

Dr. Brent Taylor

Dr. Brent Taylor, professor and chair in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, congratulates CSP's newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the EDL Class of 2020

Dr. Douglas Fisher

Dr. Douglas Fisher, professor and chair in the Department of Educational Leadership, congratulates EDL’s newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the JDP Class of 2020

Dr. Marva Cappello
Dr. Marva Cappello, professor and director of the Joint Ph.D. Program in Education, congratulates the JDP’s newest doctors.

VIDEO: A Message to the SPED Class of 2020

Dr. Laura Hall

Dr. Laura Hall, professor and chair in the Department of Special Education, congratulates SPED's newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the ARPE Class of 2020

Dr. Caren Sax

Dr. Caren Sax, professor and chair of the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education, congratulates ARPE’s newest graduates.

VIDEO: A Message to the CFD Class of 2020

Dr. Sarah Garrity

Dr. Sarah Garrity, associate professor and chair in the Department of Child and Family Development, congratulates CFD's newest graduates.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Student Teachers Get Creative to Complete Credential Programs

Ashley Franklin's homemade document cam

From a bedroom in her boyfriend’s parents’ house, Ashley Franklin teaches second grade. The student in San Diego State University’s multiple-subject teacher credential program hasn’t seen her guide teacher or students at Halecrest Elementary in Chula Vista in-person since March 13, when the district suspended in-person classes due to COVID-19. Yet from that small room, she’s found unique ways to connect with her pupils — and gain the classroom hours she needs to teach students of her own in the fall.

How unique? Take the makeshift document camera she rigged up using a tripod and ruler. The setup allows her to suspend her phone over her desk, allowing children to follow along as she works out math problems or reads aloud.