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Friday, September 24, 2021

Study Tackles Inequity in Special Education Placement

Dr. Paul Luelmo
Dr. Paul Luelmo


San Diego State University’s Dr. Paul Luelmo is leading a new statewide effort to address disproportionate rates of placement in special education along racial and ethnic lines. 

More than 130 districts in California — about 10% — were shown to have racial inequalities in special education placements, a phenomenon termed “disproportionality.” The impacts are profound. For instance, in comparison with the overall student population in some of these districts, data show Latinx students are three times more likely to be placed in special education for learning disabilities, and Black students are three times more likely to be identified for emotional disturbance. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Rasha Roshdy’s Labor of Love

Dr. Rasha Roshdy
Dr. Rasha Roshy ('15, CCLEAD) founded Amna Sanctuary, a nonprofit supporting refugees.


Dr. Rasha Roshdy (’15) was shopping in a Middle Eastern grocery store in El Cajon in the early days of the pandemic when a conversation caught her ear. Two women speaking Arabic — whom she later learned were Syrian refugees — were discussing a notice taped to their apartment door.

“They said they couldn't understand the notice because it was in English and they didn't know what they should do,” said Roshdy, an alumna of San Diego State University’s doctorate in education with a concentration in community college leadership (CCLEAD). “With the pandemic, all the services had gone online and they had no internet access. So they could no longer just walk in and ask somebody for help.”

Roshdy offered to accompany the women home to read and help address the notice. They gratefully accepted — and an idea took root. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Escobedo Appointed to State Board of Education

Dr. Franciso Escobedo
Photo courtesy Chula Vista Elementary School District.


San Diego State University’s Dr. Francisco Escobedo has been appointed to the State Board of Education by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Escobedo is the new executive director of SDSU’s National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) and he has lectured in the Department of Educational Leadership since 2001.

“Being part of the governing and policy-making body of the California Department of Education is an immense responsibility,” Escobedo said. “My experiences in higher education combined with my 30-year tenure in K-12 education grants me a unique and coherent lens as I assist in making prudent decisions that will affect a multitude of our students. I am honored to be able to undertake this noble position.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

CSU Trustees’ Award Winner Lawson Hardrick III Looks to Remove Barriers

Lawson Hardrick III


“I love to juggle.” 

Keep those words from Lawson Hardrick III in mind while reading about his time at San Diego State University Imperial Valley, how he got involved in his community, and how he earned a 2021 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement to help continue his studies. 

Student government, LGBTQIA+ mental health, broadband access for underserved communities, disaster relief, volunteer work for the disadvantaged: Hardrick immersed himself in all of the above while pursuing a double major and a minor. 

Now he’s in San Diego going for a master’s degree in post-secondary educational leadership at the College of Education with a goal of “helping people find community” or to build it in places where it does not yet exist. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Herrera Villarreal Joins National Alliance to Bolster Latinx STEM Inclusion

Dr. Felisha Herrera Villarreal

San Diego State University’s Felisha Herrera Villarreal is part of a major push funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase representation among Latinx students in STEM education.

The agency recently announced a $50 million investment to create five new NSF INCLUDES Alliances: multi-institutional collaborative partnerships across the public, private and academic sectors aimed at broadening access for underrepresented groups to science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

COE STORIES: DLE Graduate Student Marlene Marín

Marlene Marin

DLE graduate student Marlene Marín


A Message from Dean Y. Barry Chung: Welcome Back to Campus!

Y. Barry Chung
Back in July, I returned to my office in the Education and Business Administration building full-time after 16 months of working from home. Returning felt like opening up a time capsule: I found water still in my coffee pot (yikes!) and a plant in the corner that was — remarkably — still alive. It felt great to be back, even if the campus was still mostly empty. Today feels even better as San Diego State University is bustling with life once again on the first day of in-person Fall classes. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

MFT Program Breaks Down Mental Health Barriers for Communities of Color

Angel-Lynna Tran and Ayuja Dixit. Photo by Ian Ordonio.

Angel-Lynna Tran grew up in Stockton, Calif., raised by a single mother in a traditional Vietnamese American household. On the surface, hers was a story of success. She excelled in school and became a first-generation college student upon her acceptance to San Diego State University.

What others couldn’t see — and what Tran herself couldn’t identify or address until years later — is that she was battling depression and anxiety.

“Coming from an Asian community, we didn't talk about mental health and we didn't talk about feelings,” said Tran, a 2021 graduate of SDSU’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) master’s program who now works as a school-based therapist. “You go to school, you get your work done and, as long as you get good grades, your parents are happy. I knew there was something I was struggling with, but I didn’t know how to name it.” 

COE DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Dr. Kelsey Dickson Bridges Research and Practice

Dr. Kelsey Dickson
Dr. Kelsey Dickson. Photo by Ian Ordonio.

Dr. Kelsey Dickson proudly considers herself a “pracademic” — a practitioner and an academic in equal parts. An assistant professor in San Diego State University’s Department of Child and Family Development (CFD), Dickson is also a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in serving youth with behavioral health conditions in community service settings.

The word community is key.

“In CFD, we're not just people who are on campus doing what we do in our labs,” said Dickson, a former clinical psychologist at Rady Children’s hospital. “Our laboratory is the community. We want to make sure that the work we do is really driven by that, and really impacts the community. That's my favorite part of my job.”

Meet the Incoming COE Faculty for Fall 2021

Drs. Toni Saia, Patricia Sanchez Lizardi, Jeff Brown and Jenn Karnopp

The College of Education is excited to welcome four new faculty members joining us for the fall semester!

New Sweetwater Superintendent Has SDSU, Transborder Roots

Moises Aguirre


Dr. Moises Aguirre (’05, ’15) has an intimate understanding of education’s power to change lives and circumstances. The son and grandson of migrant farmworkers from the Imperial Valley, he is the first person in his family to finish high school, graduate from college and earn his doctorate — the latter accomplishment completed in San Diego State’s University’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (PK-12 concentration) program. 

“There's this sense of firsts,” Aguirre said. “My parents didn't achieve more than a middle school education in Mexicali, Mexico. So I acknowledge a sense of amazing responsibility that comes from the fact that I was able to obtain an education. 

“It’s a responsibility to future generations to ensure that we provide education that allows for upward mobility. We need to help students find their passion and find their voice.” 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Olney’s Award-Winning Psychiatric Rehabilitation Work Inspired by Experience

Dr. Marjorie Olney
Dr. Marjorie Olney, professor in ARPE. Photo by Ian Ordonio.


Dr. Marjorie Olney has spent 19 years at San Diego State University training rehabilitation counseling professionals to improve the lives of people living with mental illness.

She has also spent the past 19 years closely guarding a secret. 

Olney, professor in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education (ARPE), is the architect of SDSU’s programs in psychiatric rehabilitation — a field that supports the recovery, community integration and workforce participation of people diagnosed with mental health conditions. It’s a lasting legacy for which she will receive the 2021-22 Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions on Aug. 19.

Yet her passion for the field didn’t develop out of mere academic fascination or clinical experience.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

SDSU Part of New Training Program to Improve Access to Autism Services

Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich
SDSU's Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich will serve as co-director of San Diego LEND.


The San Diego State University College of Education is taking part in a new multidisciplinary, multi-institutional training program aimed at improving services for individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

New ITEP Pathway Provides Faster Track to Serving Children With Disabilities

Stock photo of teacher working with young children


San Diego State University undergraduate students can now qualify to provide services to young children with disabilities and their families in just four years, thanks to a new Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) in Early Childhood Special Education. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Literacy Center Addresses Pandemic Learning Loss in Local Schools

SDSU Literacy Center Instructor Allyson Peffers
Literacy Center Instructor Allyson Peffers at King-Chavez Academy of Excellence. Photo by Ian Ordonio.


Even though in-person learning has returned to most schools, the ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt by students nationwide. The learning loss caused by the pandemic is real — and particularly acute in communities of color where educational racial disparities have deepened.