University of Wyoming College of Education Spring 2019


Magazine for the University of Wyoming College of Education. #UWyoCoEd #UWyo










3 | New Connections: Experience of

a Fulbright Research Chair

4 | Ph.D.s Make Impact Overseas

6 | Supporting Educators

10 | Dedicated Alumni Receive Milken

Educator Awards

12 | Honoring the Past by Looking Toward

the Future

14 | An Open Door and a Shoulder to Lean On

18 | Trustees Education Initiative on Track to

Transform Teacher Education

20 | Inquiries into Education: A Spotlight

on Faculty Research

22 | Carnegie Project Membership Sets

Standards for Ed.D. Programs

23 | Student Spotlight

ON THE COVER: Bailee Brietzman, a secondary

science education major with a focus in chemistry,

presents a learning center to UW Lab School students.

Photo by Jason Harper.


The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the

University of Wyoming College of Education

College Dean D. Ray Reutzel

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs

Leslie Rush

Associate Dean, Graduate Programs

Suzanne Young

Editor Jason Harper

Design Michelle Eberle, Emily Edgar,

Brittny Wroblewski

Photography All photos by Ted Brummond

and Kyle Spradley unless otherwise noted.

©2019 by the University of Wyoming College of

Education. All rights reserved. Excerpts from

this magazine may be reprinted with permission,

provided appropriate credit is given to the University

of Wyoming and copies of reprinted materials are

provided to the editor.


Dept. 3374

1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071

(307) 766-3145 |

The University is committed to equal opportunity for all

persons in all facets of the University’s operations. All

qualified applicants for employment and educational

programs, benefits, and services will be considered

without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national

origin, disability, protected veteran status, sexual

orientation, gender identity, genetic information,

creed, ancestry, political belief or any other applicable

category protected by law and University policy.

Dean’s Update

Whether you’re a current or prospective

student, an alumnus, a member of our

college faculty or staff, an interested parent

or a potential donor, we welcome you to

learn more about the work of the College of

Education at the University of Wyoming!

Our faculty are working to support the

implementation of the new K-12 Wyoming

State Science Standards in a number of

exciting ways. Pre-service and in-service

College Dean, D. Ray Reutzel

teachers from across the state who have

participated in our programs will be ready to incorporate these new standards

into their classrooms in order to develop a pool of Wyoming students with

a deep understanding of science and engineering principles. This work is

featured on page 6.

The agriculture education program has undergone several changes to ensure

we are preparing secondary agriculture educators who will ensure the viability

of the agricultural industry long into the future. See our 21st century program

that incorporates computer science into agricultural education that

is attracting new students on page 12.

Advising is key to student success and retention. As part of a universitywide

effort to improve advising across campus, the College of Education

hired two new full-time advisers and renovated the Teacher Preparation and

Advising Office last year to provide advisers and students a new one-stop

advising location in the College of Education. On page 14, learn how our

advisers provide our students with personalized advising plans that fit their

unique situations.

The College of Education is continuously working to transform our

programs to ensure our graduates are preeminent in their field. One way we

do this is through the integration of innovative research-based strategies to

improve educator preparation that have been recommended by the University

of Wyoming’s Trustees Education Initiative (TEI). Read how nine TEI design

teams have been working to embed TEI innovations into the curriculum of

the elementary and special education programs on page 18.

The College of Education was recently accepted to join over 100 colleges

and schools of education as part of the Carnegie Project on the Education

Doctorate (Ed.D.). This national organization has set new quality standards

for the Ed.D. degree. The college and cohort of member institutions will work

to strengthen, improve, support and promote the CPED framework through

continued collaboration and investigation. We expand on this work on page 22.

Also featured in this magazine are stories about the forward-thinking

research being conducted and presented by our students (page 4) and faculty

(page 3 and 20). It also features stories about two alumni who were honored

with Milken Educator awards for their dedication and service (page 10), and

two current students whose curiosity and determination drive them toward

educational innovations and preeminent practice (page 23).

Please take a moment to read these stories in the 2019 issue of Education@

UWYO magazine to gain insights into the many initiatives that drive

continuous program transformation in the College of Education.

By Alli Barker and Jason Harper

UW College of Education Professor

Jacqueline Leonard was selected for a

Fulbright Canada Research Chair in

STEM Education in 2018. The award

is considered the most prestigious

appointment in the Fulbright Scholar

Program and is awarded to highly

respected scholars with a noteworthy

history of publication and teaching.

Leonard was selected to complete her

Fulbright at the University of Calgary’s

Werklund School of Education, where

she spent four months speaking and

working on research. Her research

focuses on measuring the impact of

students’ self-efficacy in technology, or

belief in oneself to succeed in specific

situations, and how it affected their

ability to learn new technological skills.

One of the great benefits of a

Fulbright award is the ability to meet

and collaborate with other students

and researchers who are interested in

similar areas. This connection can lead

to new breakthroughs or transform the

way a researcher approaches his or her

research topic by looking at it with new

insights and perspective.

“I met more than half

a dozen faculty in STEM

education and the learning sciences

who were all very friendly and helpful

to me during my stay. Several of

these faculty conduct research on

computational thinking or spatial

visualization, which are research topics

that I am currently investigating,” says

Leonard. “I also had two follow-up

meetings with a doctoral student,

who was interested in my research on

robotics and game design.”

Her Fulbright experience did not go

exactly as expected because the research

she planned to do in Calgary with

indigenous students never made it past

the initial stage. Not to be defeated,

Leonard overcame the obstacle and

traveled across Canada to Antigonish,

Nova Scotia, to visit and collect data

in an indigenous classroom. This

opportunity came about through the

new connections she made with faculty

at University of Calgary.

Leonard plans to continue the

partnerships that were forged with

peers during her Fulbright experience.

Jacqueline Leonard,

professor of elementary

and early childhood

education and 2019

Fulbright Canada

Research Chair in

STEM Education.

New Connections:




There are future plans to publish

a paper on robotics with Assistant

Professor Krista Francis and another

on social justice in STEM education

with Associate Professor Pratim

Sengupta, both from Werklund School

of Education. Additionally, she intends

to work on a paper and presentation

with Professor Lisa Lunney Borden

from St. Francis Xavier University in

Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Since arriving back in the United

States, Leonard has been working on

publishing her work with the new

collaborators she connected with

during her Fulbright travels. She has

also begun presenting the findings from

her Fulbright experience, starting with

College of Education faculty, staff and


“Serving as a distinguished research

chair was excellent opportunity and

experience that other faculty should

have,” Leonard says. “I encourage other

UW faculty in arts, sciences or STEM

education to apply.”

Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 3


provided workshops

in her native

country of


Ph.D.s Make

Impact Overseas


presented her

research in Perth,


By Jason Harper

Dilnoza Khasilova and Laurie “Darian” Thrailkill are working

to ensure their knowledge knows no borders. The two UW

College of Education doctoral candidates in the curriculum

and instruction doctoral program have both made international

presentations to share their research and knowledge.

Promoting Academic Writing in Uzbekistan

Khasilova spent several weeks during the last two summers

in her native country, Uzbekistan. She was on a mission to

make a series of presentations to share knowledge she gained

at UW with students and faculty at five Uzbek universities.

“We shared examples of our work and scholarship of

teaching and learning research articles. We did group

presentations and engaged the audience through active

participatory learning activities. We also talked about the

differences in APA, Chicago and MLA styles in publishing

research articles,” says Khasilova.

With a focus on academic writing and publishing, the

presentations made by Khasilova expose these students to

best practices and resources they can use to become published

researchers in the future.

“Although research plays an important role in Uzbek

educational settings, many resources are not available. When

you do not have necessary resources, mentor texts or access

to peer-reviewed journal articles, it

is pretty hard to understand how to

write for academia or know what is

expected from you when submitting

your work,” says Khasilova.

The idea for these presentations

was set into motion through

Khasilova’s participation in the

College of Education’s Academic

Writing Fellows Initiative. Khasilova

was also inspired to share her knowledge by famous Persian

poet and scholar Alisher Navoi, who once said, “Odami

ersagil demagil odami,Oniki yoq, halq g’amidan g’ami.”

“The meaning of that statement is close to the idea that

every good citizen or person adds to the strength of its nation,”

says Khasilova. “Education for me is not just going to classes to

earn a degree; it is about broadening the horizon and educating

others about opportunities the world is offering.”

Research Presentation in Australia

A self-proclaimed gamer, Thrailkill fell in love with video

games when her aunt taught her how to play the original

“Mario Brothers” and “Duck Hunt” games. This interest

led to her to focus her doctoral research on how students

engage with stories in video games — more precisely, how

these digital worlds could provide an ideal environment for

students to acquire multimodal skills seen as necessary for

literacy in the 21st century.

“Video games require players to read traditional print

text, listen to audio cues that are both verbal language and

music/sound effect cues, interpret the visuals of the virtual

environment and interact with the space through movement

of a character directed by use of a controller. It’s a rather

complex process and a space where deep learning can occur,”

Thrailkill says.

While traditional text is entirely visual, relying on written

words and sometimes images to convey the intended message,

video games combine multiple modalities of learning to share

information. While this can increase the complexity of the

information provided, it also provides alternative avenues to

learn information if the printed text isn’t understood.

During the summer of 2018, Thrailkill took this research

international when she presented in Perth, Australia at the

annual conference of the Australian Literacy Educators’

Association and Australian Association for the Teaching of

English. She became aware of the opportunity through her

adviser and mentor Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education

Endowed Chair in Literacy Education Cynthia Brock, who

spent time teaching in Australia.

Thrailkill has since presented the same work at the UW

Literacy Research Center and Clinic’s annual conference last

September. She will also present this research at an atypical

but appropriate venue in June 2019, the Denver Pop Culture


Although we are a long way off from video games in the

classroom, Thrailkill offers advice to help teachers support

students delving deeper into the complex stories in their

favorite games.

“Reading outside of school is valued in the classroom and

students are given opportunities to incorporate the books

they read for enjoyment into the work they do in classrooms,”

she says. “Allowing students to do the same with video game

texts they are familiar with would be an empowering start to

showing them we value things that matter to them.”

4 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 5



By Jason Harper



Wyoming adopted a new set of state science standards in 2016 after almost two years of discussion among parents, community

leaders and a task force initiated by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Ballow. The standards, which are required

to be incorporated by the 2020-21 school year, are designed to encourage students to be inquisitive, to actively explore their

environment and to become productive, scientifically literate citizens.

The UW College of Education has been offering a number of professional development opportunities, workshops and camps

to help current and future teachers learn new skills and implement new curricula aligned with the new standards.

A Pipeline of Highly-Qualified STEM Educators

Ensuring there is a stream of highly qualified teachers available

to teach science will be critical to the success the new standards.

Often those interested in science, technology, engineering

and mathematics (STEM) are attracted to high-paying careers

in industry rather than teaching. Two College of Education

faculty members are working to change that.

“Higher salaries and status can be found in many STEMrelated

careers, and STEM majors are not always exposed to

the nontangible rewards of teaching, like seeing the spark in

students’ eyes and giving back to the community,” says College

of Education Professor Jacqueline Leonard.

Wyoming Interns to Teacher Scholars (WITS) is a National

Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship

program that aims to increase the pool of highly trained science

and math teachers. Led by Leonard, the grant project provides

financial and academic support to help current STEM majors

and graduates become elementary teachers.

Undergraduates in the WITS program earn dual degrees,

one in a STEM major and one in elementary education.

Training and summer research internship programs are

available during a student’s sophomore year of college.

These internships come with a $1,000 stipend to support

each student during the two-week program.

Scholarship support is offered to undergraduates during

the junior, senior and fifth years at UW to cover the cost of

tuition, room and board. Graduate students and professionals

who hold bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields are also provided

the same scholarship funding for up to three years while

they attain K-6 teaching certification. This support helps

negate the cost barrier of pursuing teacher certification after

completing a degree.

Sustaining Wyoming’s Advancing Reach in Math and

Science (SWARMS) was initiated by Andrea Burrows,

associate professor in the College of Education. The project

was funded by the NSF in 2014 and it is set to conclude in

December of this year.

The goal is to mint 70 new mathematics and science

teachers during five-year period between 2014-19. SWARMS

provides scholarships to undergraduates and graduates with

Secondary science education students present science learning centers to UW Lab School students.


Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 7

strong STEM backgrounds as a result of their prior military

experience or baccalaureate degrees in a STEM discipline.

Scholarships fund up to 18 credit hours each semester

during an undergraduate student’s senior year. When the

undergraduate students transition into the post-baccalaureate

program, the scholarships cover the entire cost of tuition

and fees. Graduates who hold STEM degrees move directly

into the post-baccalaureate program and are offered the same

scholarship support.

“STEM college students bring content knowledge,

dedication and perseverance with them when they begin to

learn about and then teach STEM subjects in the K-12 arena.

STEM students who are coming back to UW to earn a teaching

certification in the post-baccalaureate graduate certificate

program usually have lab or industry experience as well, and

this is easily transferable to K-12 classrooms,” says Burrows.

In addition to providing funding for students, SWARMS

and WITS are working to create better strategies to recruit

these highly trained STEM experts into teaching careers,

making the path for them to attain teacher certification more

efficient, and building a sense of community and support

among their student cohorts.

After gaining their teaching certification, participants in

both programs are required to teach in high-need schools

for a duration of time. The educators also participate in

a mentorship program throughout the first few years of

teaching when it is critical to provide support to retain these

highly trained STEM professionals in teaching careers.

Both programs have seen success. SWARMS has had 40

participants to date and has past scholars teaching across the

Educators from Natrona County School District

participate in a professional development activity

offered by Associate Professor Ana Houseal and

Research Scientist Martha Inouye. Provided Photo.

K-12 teachers who

participated in

RAMPED have the

skills required

to promote

computer science

and computational


– Andrea Burrows

country with many in Colorado, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In all, 21 WITS scholars are on track to becoming highly

qualified elementary teachers with several currently teaching

in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

New Skills for Current Teachers

Two College of Education faculty have been leading efforts

to offer professional development to Wyoming’s educators

so they can enhance their science knowledge and teaching

abilities to incorporate the new state science standards into

their classrooms.

Ana Houseal, associate professor in the College of

Education and Martha Inouye, a research scientist at UW,

have been traveling around Wyoming with two graduate

students to train over 300 elementary and secondary

educators over the past year. The professional development

helps the teachers improve their science knowledge and

introduces pedagogical strategies and best practices that help

them incorporate the standards in their classrooms.

“The new standards require a new way of thinking about

science teaching and learning. Through ongoing, responsive

facilitation regarding the understanding and implementation

of the standards and their accompanying shifts in teaching,

the teachers we are working with will be well-equipped to

implement these standards,” says Houseal.

First, Houseal and Inouye meet with curriculum

coordinators, superintendents, principals and pK-12 teachers

to identify initial needs and learn where the district is at in

the process of implementing the standards. They then modify

the training to meet the needs of each district.

The team hosts workshops for the teachers and

administrators at partner districts throughout the state. These

workshops take place at facilities within the district and target

specific groups of educators, usually K-5 and middle and high

school science teachers in the district.

Additionally, Houseal and Inouye hold open-enrollment

workshops that any Wyoming educator can join. Those

workshops were held on the UW campus this year in addition

to a workshop on the Kelly Campus of Teton Science Schools.

They plan to hold more of these workshops throughout the state

with one already scheduled for Douglas in the next school year.

During these workshops the cohort discusses how science

can be integrated into other content areas or expanded

to include other scientific disciplines. They also work to

increase each teacher’s science knowledge base and provide

new pedagogical strategies that encourage a student’s active

engagement with science lessons.

“We model best practice in all that we do, from the

organization of the workshops to the evaluation, modification

and development of curricular pieces and assessments. We

often develop and implement model lessons with them to

experience as students and evaluate as teachers,” says Houseal.

The work Houseal and Inouye conduct with each partner

school can vary greatly and goes much deeper than presenting

workshops. The team spent six years working with the

Campbell County School District in partnership with the

curriculum coordinators and teachers to completely revamp

the K-12 science curriculum, a process they are currently

working toward in several other districts.

The professional development leaders may also visit the

participants in their classrooms several times throughout

the year to provide further input and coaching. Teachers can

also send in videos of their teaching for Houseal and Inouye

evaluate. This sustained intervention gives educators a deep

understanding and allows them to constantly evolve their

methods and best practices.

Another College of Education faculty-led professional

development opportunity was initiated by Burrows and

Mike Borowczak, an assistant professor in the College of

Engineering and Applied Science. A three-year funded grant

— Robotics, Applied Mathematics, Physics and Engineering

Design (RAMPED) focuses on computer science. Over

100 educators have benefited from the cross-disciplinary

professional development program since 2016.

RAMPED is supported by a U.S. Department of Education

grant that is administered by a Wyoming Department of

Education Math and Science Partnerships grant. The program

began its second iteration in summer 2018.

RAMPED allows Wyoming teachers, regardless of the

grade level or content area in which they teach, to work with

experts at UW to gain new ideas and abilities to incorporate

concepts of computer science, computational thinking and

cybersecurity into their classrooms.

“K-12 teachers who participated in RAMPED have

the skills required to promote computer science and

computational thinking to their students and dispel the myth

that computer science is just coding, creating video games or

robotics,” says Burrows.

The training comes at a time when Wyoming is developing

computer science standards for the state in addition to

incorporating the new state science standards. These standards

mandate that computer science and computational thinking

be incorporated into the state educational program by the

start of the 2022-23 school year.

The program includes a two-week summer camp that

occurs on the UW campus, as well as follow-up participant

collaboration days that take place during the school year. The

camp showcases ways that teacher participants can integrate

computer science and computational thinking principles

into their existing classrooms. This approach will help school

districts meet the new requirements without additional

financial burden.

Although the focus is on teachers’ understanding

and use of computer science and STEM content during

RAMPED, Wyoming students are the real beneficiaries of the

professional development.

“With well-prepared teachers, Wyoming’s K-12 students

have the opportunity to explore STEM and computer science

in meaningful experiences that can help them pursue careers

in new industries that assist in diversifying the state’s economy.

These experiences can also allow them to apply their computer

science knowledge to solve problems in the industries that have

driven Wyoming’s economic engine for decades,” says Burrows.

read part two in our winter e-newsletter!

The scattering of light is explored in this activity presented by Associate

Professor Ana Houseal and Research Scientist Martha Inouye during a

professional development opportunity. Provided Photo.

8 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 9

Chris Bessonette celebrates

with his students after

being named a Milken

Educator Award recipient.



even recently participated in a long-term research project on

vocabulary instruction with College of Education Associate

Professor Patrick Manyak.

“I am inspired by challenges,” says Bessonette. “In my

classroom, I challenge all my students to believe in themselves

and to use their background as a source of pride and motivation.

I am inspired to close the achievement gap between minority and

disadvantaged students and their white peers in my classroom

while challenging all students to learn as much as possible.”

In Data She Trusts

Shirey currently is the principal of Pinecrest Academy Horizon

elementary school in Henderson, Nev. Her data-driven

efforts there have resulted in the school being named the Best

Elementary School and Best Charter School in the Las Vegas

Review Journal’s annual poll. She also earned a 100 percent

satisfaction rating in the school’s semiannual survey of staff and


“It is an incredible honor to receive the Milken Educator

Award, and I am thrilled to join this group of educators.

Educating children is a tremendous calling, and it is humbling to

know that somebody noticed the work that I was putting in to

help our students succeed. I became an educator because I wanted

to impact lives and make a difference in the world,” says Shirey.

One example of her dedication occurred last year when the

team noticed fifth-grade student performance at Horizon

wasn’t up to par. To combat this, Shirey and her team used data

to shift class schedules, teacher assignments, curriculum content

and pacing in order to improve performance. The solution

worked and within six months the fifth-graders at Horizon

showed the highest growth and improvement out of all four

Pinecrest campuses.

“We make our school a happy place with high expectations

for behavior and academics, and we celebrate everyone’s success.

We provide all the support we can to make the teachers’ days

easier so they can focus on the work of teaching. The students

are surrounded by teachers who never give up on them and

keep pushing them to succeed,” says Shirey.

Shirey has written grants that contributed over $3 million to

benefit students throughout the Pinecrest system. This money

has been used across Pinecrest campuses to improve technology,

aid in the implementation of a blending learning model and

fund social workers to support the students.

Shirey is always looking to expand her abilities to lead

and advocate for teachers. She participated in the Public

Education Foundation’s Executive Leadership Academy, earned

a leadership certificate from Georgetown University and

attended the Doral Academy Leadership Institute. She has also

presented at the National Charter School Conference and the

Charter School Association of Nevada Conference.



By Jason Harper

Forty educators throughout the nation were honored as

2018-19 Milken Educator Award winners. Two of those

awarded, Chris Bessonette, M.A. curriculum and instruction

’11, and Wendy Shirey, B.A. elementary education ’00, are UW

College of Education alumni. The awards, dubbed the “Oscars

of Teaching” are one of the highest honors bestowed upon

classroom teachers and educators across the country, and each

comes with an unrestricted $25,000 check.

A Voice for English Language Learners

Bessonette an English language arts (ELA) teacher at Teton

County School District’s Munger Mountain Elementary

School in Jackson, teaches in a dual-language-immersion

(DLI) classroom with a partner Spanish-language teacher. This

approach puts English language learners (ELLs) and native

English speakers in one classroom so both

groups can support each other’s language

and vocabulary development.

“I see being a Milken Educator as an

opportunity to engage in educational

conversations to a greater degree. That

being said, providing the best education

I can for the kids in my classroom will always come first,”

says Bessonette.

An advocate for DLI education, Bessonette has championed

the program at the Teton County School District by serving

on the school’s ELA committee, dual-immersion leadership

committee and building leadership committee. The district

turned to his expertise to guide the discussion when exploring

the expansion of the DLI program to other schools in the

district. Data presented by Bessonette helped the district to

decide to open the first dual-immersion elementary school in

Wyoming last year.

The effects of his leadership are felt statewide. Bessonette

supports his peer teachers by leading professional development

and participating in learning communities.

He conducts research and presents at conferences, including

the UW-sponsored Wyoming English as a Second Language

Conference. Bessonette and other second-grade staff members

Wendy Shirey speaks

to her school after

being named a Milken

Educator Award




10 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 11

Agriculture Education

students support FFA and

4-H students during the

2018 Cowboy Classic.


Honoring the Past by

Looking Toward the Future

By Jason Harper

In Wyoming, there are twice as many

cattle as there are humans. It is pretty

evident that agriculture plays a big

role in the state’s economy. In order to

sustain the prosperity of agriculture

in Wyoming we must work to inspire

the next generation to follow in the

footsteps of the men and women

who spent long hours establishing the

flourishing industry. Keeping pace with

past and current trends won’t be enough;

this new generation must innovate to

ensure viability well into the future.

“Ag teachers, just like other folks in

the agricultural industry constantly face

the challenge of adapting their practices

to meet the needs of the changing

world and growing population,” says

UW Temporary Assistant Lecturer

Lindsey Freeman. “Many consumers

do not realize how highly scientific and

technical the agricultural industry is.

Agriculture teachers strive to prepare

their students for these technical

careers starting in junior high school.”

The agricultural education program

at the College of Education is

responsible for nurturing the new crop

of future agricultural educators who will

help carry the torch into the future. The

program is designed to provide students

with a well-rounded understanding

of teacher education and agricultural

science. Students study historical

and current trends in curriculum and

pedagogy while learning about special

education techniques, integrating

technology and multicultural classrooms

alongside learning about general

agricultural science.

Over the last year, Freeman has

been integrating technology into the

program. This fusion of technology

and teaching is being embedded into

the curriculum through exposure

to computer science. Technology is

also being used to provide additional

clinical experiences so students are well

prepared for their future classrooms.

Freeman arranged for students from

the College of Engineering and Applied

Science to present a workshop about

how computer science can be applied

in agriculture. The future engineers

brought tiny Rasperry Pi computers

and Arduino microcontrollers to teach

the future agricultural educators how

they can be used to create prototype

and one-off devices. They also brought

robots and let the education students

experience controlling them via


“There is a demand for technology

integration across the curriculum so

an effort to embed technical practices

including computer science into

agriculture classes will not only better

prepare students, but also sustain career

and technical education programs,” says

Freeman. “Furthermore, understanding

how to think critically, use basic

technology and troubleshooting are

skills needed for success in many 21st

century careers.”

Students are also using technology

to gain teaching experience and

improve their classroom management

skills. Mursion Virtual Reality software

allows future educators to practice

leading a classroom of digital student

avatars that are controlled by a “digital

puppeteer.” The avatars react to the

future educator, and their behavior

mimics the unpredictable nature of

a classroom. This experience allows

agricultural education students to gain

experience before they ever set foot in

a classroom.

The future agriculture educators

have been working with high school

students throughout the state to

deepen their passion for agriculture.

The Cowboy Classic is held annually

at UW and is put on by agriculture

education students and the Alpha Tau

Alpha honor society. The event brings

hundreds of FFA and 4H students to

campus to compete in contests such as

agricultural mechanics and technology,

veterinary science and livestock


“As an organization and program

of the University of Wyoming we

enjoy welcoming such a large group

of students to our college. We want

to promote the great things students

are doing here and the potential for

future students to achieve through this

program as well,” says Freeman.

Additionally, the students attended

the Wyoming FFA Agriscience Fair

where they coordinated the Agriscience

Written Report judging. They also

took part in the Wyoming FFA State

Convention, where they provided

support and hosted the Agricultural

Mechanics Career Development Event.

At the state convention, the agricultural

education students also served as judges

for the State Proficiency Awards.

Agricultural education students

attend events nationwide to spread

awareness about careers in agriculture.

In fall 2018 a group of pre-service

agriculture teachers attended the

FFA National Convention and ATA

Conclave in Indianapolis, Ind. In

addition to their other duties at these

events, the education students staffed

a booth with College of Agriculture

and Natural Resources students to talk

to high school FFA students about

attending UW.

Agriculture education students explore devices they

can use with their future students to embed computer

science into their lessons. Provided Photo.

12 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 13

An Open Door

and a Shoulder

to Lean On

By Jason Harper

Lyndi Anderson,

elementary education

major, and Megan Cooke,

office associate in the

Teacher Preparation and

Advising Office.

The Teacher Preparation and Advising Office (TPAO)

serves as a guiding beacon for all UW College of

Education undergraduate students. The dedicated

roster of four advisers use their combined 75 years of

professional experience at the university to assist students

in creating personalized plan to help them achieve their

goals. In addition to their professional experience, the

advisers all have a deep understanding of student needs as

all have earned degrees or taken courses at the university.

Over the last year the university has made efforts

to improve student advising across campus by

switching to a full-time professional advising model for

undergraduate students. Historically, students across the

UW campus were advised by a mix of full and part-time

professional advisers and faculty members.

Although the College of Education has used a

professional advising model for a number of years, the

advising team was expanded so more time could be

spent with each student. Full-time Academic Advising

Professionals Jody Evans and Vicki Nelson were hired

in spring 2018 to bolster an already established team of

advisers, which includes Manager of Student Advising

Todd Krieger and Senior Advising Professional Christi


“Jody and Vicki have helped bring consistency to the

support we provide students because they are here fulltime

and their main focus is advising. Their support also

allows the team to invest as much time as needed into

each student to help them succeed,” says Krieger.

The physical environment of the advising office also

saw improvement over the last year. Previously a large

open space, the location did not encourage students

to open up and share. In summer 2018, the space was

renovated and subdivided to create private spaces where

students can feel comfortable confiding personal issues

to their advisers.

14 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2018 • 15

Listening Will Lead the Way

The first and most important step the advisers take when

meeting with a student is to listen. Every student has different

needs, life situations and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all

solution to advising, and to provide the best support, the team

must fully understand the factors at play in each student’s life.

The advisers also hope their empathetic approach will be a

model the future educators can employ to support and advise

their future students.

“We hope that by listening we will build trust, so when we

provide advice or make a suggestion the students know it is in

their best interest. You also get a sense of each student’s goals

and abilities and can create a plan for them. You can do a lot

of damage by trying to push a student too hard and too fast,”

says Krieger.

Every undergraduate student in the college is required

to meet with and get approval from an adviser in order

to register for classes each semester. Although the staff is

extremely busy during these periods, each advising session

is allotted an hour. If one advising session is not enough,

a follow-up meeting is scheduled as soon as possible.

The team recognizes that life can happen at any moment,

and TPAO’s door is always open during university hours to

help students navigate the challenges put in front of them.

The team has helped students remain on track academically

while experiencing terminal illnesses, deaths in the family,

unplanned pregnancies and many other issues that can derail

even the most well-thought-out academic plans.

These challenging circumstances can seriously affect a

students’ ability to complete their education. The advisers

work with faculty and the dean of students to come up with

an alternative plan to help the student get back on track as

soon as possible while mitigating the negative effects on his

or her academic record.

When major issues come to light, the advisers help the

students learn from the experience and continue moving

forward towards their goals. In the extreme circumstances

when a student is unable to continue his or her education,

the team helps them navigate the bureaucracy the student

will encounter when exiting the university.

Often, the team of advisers is the first on campus to

become aware of major issues that arise in a student’s life. In

these instances, the team not only provides academic advice,

but also helps to direct the student to additional resources

on campus to provide support outside of TPAO’s expertise.

Relationships: The Key to Success

The advisers work to build long-term relationships with

students in every interaction they have. This connection can

Abby Rich,


education major,

and Academic



Jody Evans.

be an important factor in student success and retention, so it

is important for TPAO to build a trusting relationships with

students as early as possible.

“Research has shown that when students have someone

they connect with on campus, they stay. Without that

connection they don’t get as involved, they don’t do as well,

and they may leave,” says Thompson. “Without having these

personal relationships, students will not open up to share

what is going on in their life, and carrying those burdens alone

can be devastating.”

Ideally, these relationships will start in high school when a

student visits campus or attends a college fair. At this juncture,

the TPAO advisers help prospective students draw roadmaps

to achieve their goals that starts in high school. These plans

might include taking AP or dual-credit courses in high school or

joining groups in their communities that can provide them with

experience to help them along their path to becoming educators.

The conversation also changes if students are firstgeneration

college students. In these instances, the advisers

offer advice that their families may not be able to provide.

They share knowledge that goes beyond standard program

information and take the time to answer all questions so the

potential students can make the best decisions for their future.

When a student arrives at UW the advisers continue to

provide advice on courses to take or additional credentials the

student can attain to expand his or her career options. The

advisers help students map out plans so they can take courses

in the most efficient sequence. As the student progresses at

UW, the advice could change to accommodate a student’s

wish to pursue advanced degrees or change majors.

Building long-term relationships also applies to students

who transfer to UW from other institutions. They encourage

these students to contact the office as early as possible. This

enables the TPAO staff to work with the students to ensure

their courses will transfer and that they can get into the

course sequencing at the right time so they can complete their

degrees in the most efficient way.

The team works hard to nurture relationships with

community college and high school advisers throughout the

state to make sure the advice they are offering their students

aligns with the program policies at UW. All this work and

planning is done to ensure that transfer students have a

smooth transition and start to feel like UW is home even

before they step foot on campus.

Supporting Students Through the Finish Line

Advising is not the only support TPAO offers education

students. Cindy Fronapfel, a senior office associate,

coordinates student teaching placements for the future

educators. She helps place students in schools throughout

the region, sometimes pulling out a Wyoming map to help

students find locations that will suit them. The support she

Lyndi Anderson, elementary education major, and Manager of Student

Advising Todd Krieger.

provides does not end when they go off to teach throughout

the state.

Once the student is placed, she functions as the student’s

lifeline back to UW, continuing to nurture the strong

relationships the office has built with each student. If the

student experiences an issue that requires him or her to

withdraw from their placement, Fronapfel, in consultation

with faculty, helps the student find a new opportunity as soon

as possible so he or she can get back on track.

TPAO is there to support students to the end of their

degrees and even beyond. As students are wrapping up their

student teaching, Thompson works closely with the UW

registrar to ensure the degree requirements have been met.

If there are any discrepancies, she helps clear things up to

ensure the students are ready to graduate on time and have

met all the requirements to apply for state teaching licensure.

“We are one of the few majors at this university that qualifies

someone for state licensure. We’re looking at university

regulations, college regulations and state regulations to ensure

our students are prepared to get licensed to teach,” says Krieger.

The office provides each student who has met the

requirements with an institutional recommendation that

is required for him or her to apply for state licensure. The

institutional recommendation is required if a student moves

and needs to get licensed in another state or if he or she needs

to renew a license, so the team routinely provides this support

to students who graduated UW decades ago.

As you can see, the TPAO team plays a huge role in the

success of our students. Although the members’ work is often

overshadowed in the fast-paced world on a college campus,

to them that’s OK. The TPAO staff is not after fame or glory.

The team’s thoughtful support and advice comes from a deep

desire to help others, and the only reward the members need

is to see students succeed.

16 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 17

2019 Trustees Education

Initiative Design Teams

and their Charges

UW-E1 Exploration

Ensure capable and motivated individuals explore

and choose education as a profession.

Trustees Education Initiative


By Chavawn Kelley

What if the University of Wyoming trustees said, “Make

the UW educator preparation program preeminent in the

nation and the best for Wyoming”? How would you start?

The Trustees Education Initiative (TEI) laid the

groundwork by establishing the UW-E4® student journey

model and identifying key innovations shown by research

to help produce quality, classroom-ready teachers.

Since February 2019, nine TEI design teams have moved

TEI forward by applying big-idea thinking and nuts-and-bolts

pragmatism to each of nine areas of program distinction.

“This is what we’ve been trying to achieve for a long time,”

says Becca Steinhoff, executive director of the Ellbogen

Foundation. She leads the team working to create a statewide

network of early childhood development providers and

organizations. The goal is not only to provide professional

development, but to elevate the early childhood profession

and quality of care throughout the state.

Steinhoff ’s participation highlights the extent to

which partnerships and statewide involvement are shaping

the development of TEI. This year’s four- to six-member design

teams were composed of about half College of Education

faculty and half education professionals from around the state.

They met face to face and by Zoom throughout spring semester.

When team leaders compared results, themes emerged

and synergies became apparent. Access was a prominent force

as they plotted ways to connect students and professionals

throughout Wyoming and build stronger ties at UW.

Online course modules will be offered on ethics and

for early childhood education and elementary education.

Modules will be developed to train teacher mentors for UW’s

preservice teachers and induction mentors for UW graduates

entering the field.

Professional learning communities will be established,

affiliate faculty recruited, future teacher clubs established in

high schools, and College of Education alumni organized on

behalf of the new program.

The Wyoming Coaching Laboratory (WYCOLA) will

continue to support classroom instruction, mentorship and

instructional coaching. For the past two summers in Laramie,

its laboratory classroom approach has allowed education

stakeholders to examine prevailing assumptions about

instructional practice and observe innovative practices in

a classroom setting. Now, it will expand to include practicum

experiences for preservice teachers and greater offerings

for early-career teachers, mentors, liaisons, supervisors

and instructional coaches.


At the 2018 Wyoming Coaching Lab (WYCOLA), Mike Busch of the US

Math Recovery Council (center photo) demonstrates classroom teaching in

a live setting. Wyoming teachers, instructional coaches and other educators

identify and discuss effective classroom practices (left and right photos).

Another commitment is to data collection and analysis

aimed at continuous program improvement. For example,

a self-assessment for preservice teachers is designed to give

insight into student attitudes, dispositions and beliefs.

Observations of teacher candidates in practicum situations

and student teaching will be recorded using a standardized

tool. Recent graduates and employers will be surveyed.

Results will be compared against those of other programs

in a national effort to raise teacher quality.

More than 40 educators have participated in the process

to maximize the effectiveness of TEI innovations and

integrate the UW-E4® model (Exploration, Experiential

Learning, Embedded Practice and Entry into the Profession)

into the UW elementary and early childhood educator

preparation programs. Implementation teams will take up the

recommendations and revise curricula. Secondary education,

special education and education leadership programs will


“Our goal is to integrate TEI with the programs of

the College of Education so completely that the two will

eventually become indistinguishable,” says D. Ray Reutzel,

dean of the college and executive director of TEI. “Our

programs will attract and produce the finest educators in

Wyoming and the world.”

After hearing team leaders relate the results of their teams’

work, Dave Bostrom, chairman of the TEI Governing Board,

responded, “This is exactly what the trustees had in mind.”

To learn more, see

UW-E2 – Experiential Learning

Identify rewarding experiences that ensure UW

students find their strengths as educators.

UW-E3 – Embedded Practice

Reimagine and expand the possibilities around

field experiences, including student teaching.

UW-E4 – Entry into the Profession

Identify ways to support new UW graduates

in the early years of their teaching careers.

Common Indicators System

Integrate instruments to collect data to inform

and evaluate teacher education programs, curricula

and candidates.

Ethical Educator Program

Integrate the Model Code of Ethics for Educators,

a set of principles that support teachers and


Mursion® Augmented Reality/Simulation

Create opportunities for UW students and others

to advance skills through interactive experiences

with avatars.

Wyoming Coaching Laboratory – WYCOLA

Optimize this successful instructional coaching

program for students, teachers, facilitators,

mentors and others.

Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach

Network – WYECON

Develop new approaches to elevate quality practices

and model early childhood programs in the state.

18 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 19



By Jason Harper

Many UW College of Education faculty members conduct

research to learn more about student learning, teaching

methods, teacher training and classroom dynamics. Their

work is often completed with little fanfare or recognition,

even though the research they conduct has the potential to

affect the lives of a great number of people.

The work of Assistant Professor Richard Carter and

Academic Professional Lecturer Tiffany Hunt is spotlighted

in this article to bring to the surface some of the amazing

research being conducted by college faculty to improve

education in Wyoming and beyond.

Carter works with a team to analyze how the concepts of

Universal Design for Learning (UDL), blended learning and

technology-enabled personal learning can be used to develop

learning environments and curricula to meet the requirements

established by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed in 2015 and

replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Much like

NCLB, the new law requires that students with disabilities

take the same standardized tests and are assessed to the same

standards as other students. However, ESSA contains new

language that necessitates the development of flexible learning

environments and curricula that meets the needs of all learners.

UDL, blended learning and technology-enabled personal

learning are all concepts that can lead to new ways of

designing learning environments that meet these diverse

needs. They share the same overarching concept that curricula

should be designed to be adaptable to accommodate each

student. Within these frameworks, technology is seen as a

tool that students can use, in addition to traditional teaching

methods, to learn and discover at their own pace.

Through the use of these concepts, students’ needs and

interests guide their path to learning rather than following

the same linear pathway as the entire class. Curricula created

using this ideology will help ensure that all students learn the

same content, albeit in different ways or at a different pace.

Hunt specializes in the field of special education and

researches how districts respond to and work to prevent

bullying of and by students with disabilities. The ESSA

recognizes that bullying and harassment in schools affect

students with disabilities disproportionately and requires

states to develop and implement plans to combat and reduce

bullying incidents in their schools. Hunt’s work may inform

Wyoming and other states in the creation of these plans and

in putting them into action.

She also investigates the difference between bullying and

conflict. Conflicts are natural disagreements that occur in

equal relationships where both sides express their opposing

views. Bullying is a reoccurring negative behavior in which

one party with a perceived power over another attempts to

exert that power to control and hurt the other party.

Through this work, Hunt aims to support teachers

and students in understanding the complex nature of this

phenomenon so they can intervene in bullying situations and

allow healthy conflict resolution to occur.

Both faculty members are working together to better

understand the challenges faced when presenting professional

development to educators in Wyoming and in the field of

education at large. This initiative has led them to investigate

the effectiveness of professional development that is

competency based – allowing participants to progress when

they demonstrate mastery at each level no matter when, where

or at what pace.

Carter says,

Professional development has historically

been provided as ‘sit and get.’ Teachers attend

workshops, conferences and district events where

they receive information largely through lecture and

presentation. After the workshops, there is little

follow-up to ensure that the teacher has learned

and maintained skills attained through

this professional development.

As a result of this research and with the support of the

Ellbogen Dean’s Excellence Fund Outreach and Engagement

Project Award, in 2018 Carter and Hunt introduced the

first micro-credential accepted by the Professional Teaching

Standards Board for professional development relicensure

credit. Micro-credentials are often earned through online

platforms that provide lessons and assessments that can be

completed at one’s leisure.

“Micro-credentials are an effective means to continuing

education because they are skill specific, flexible and

personalized. Because micro-credential earners are required to

demonstrate mastery of the content, micro-credentials provide

a way for educators not only to grow their skills, but also to

market their abilities to potential employers,” says Hunt.

Carter and Hunt will use what they have learned to

investigate how competency-based learning may affect the

new dual major in elementary and special education in the

College of Education. The team aims to break the program

into competencies and identify where micro-credentials

can be embedded in curriculum and support the ongoing

development and iterations of the program.

Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 21




Sets Standards

for Ed.D.


By Jason Harper

The UW College of Education’s

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs

have recently been accepted to join

the Carnegie Project on the Education

Doctorate (CPED). The CPED cohort

includes over 100 colleges and schools

of education that are committed

to reclaiming and enhancing the

professional doctorate in education to

better suit the needs of practitioners

throughout the country.

“We’re very excited to welcome

these new institution members to

CPED’s growing consortium and to

see the contributions they will make

in transforming the Ed.D. to meet the

educational needs of the 21st century,”

says CPED Executive Director Jill A.

Perry, PhD.

Member institutions use CPED

resources to enhance and continuously

improve their programs to ensure they

are positioned as a way for practitioners

to gain knowledge that allows them

to advance in their careers, meet

contemporary educational challenges

and become stewards of the profession

to help lead innovation in the future.

“We are extremely fortunate and

honored that we have been invited

to become a member of the Carnegie

Project,” says Suzanne Young, associate

dean of graduate students, professor

and leader of the UW task force. “We

are fully committed to evaluating and

redesigning our Ed.D. to align with the

Carnegie project mission and goals. We

intend to raise the stature, reputation,

and quality of our program to the level

of preeminence and beyond.”

Through its membership in CPED,

the College of Education will gain access

to a number of resources that will aid

in the process of continually improving

Ed.D. programs. Representatives of

the college will attend collaborative

“convenings” twice each year to discuss

ideas that challenge traditional doctoral

preparation with representatives of

other member institutions. Members

also gain access to an online professional

community that includes publications,

tools for program redesign, presentations

and discussion forums that extend

discussion of novel concepts outside of

the regular convenings.

CPED has also launched Impacting

Education: Journal on Transforming

Professional Practice, an open source,

peer-reviewed journal, to help member

institutions generate knowledge

about Ed.D. programs. The journal

will not only disseminate current

research to members, but also provide

additional opportunities for members

to have their work published on an

international stage.

The initiative was motivated by a task

force of College of Education faculty

members who recommended joining

the project to the dean of the College of

Education, D. Ray Reutzel in fall 2018.

With the dean’s enthusiasm and support

behind the initiative, the task force

began working to ensure the CPED

mission and vision fit with the college’s

goals and examined the feasibility of

redesigning the college’s Ed.D. programs

under the new framework.

After an in-depth analysis, the

taskforce strongly felt that CPED’s

approach to designing Ed.D. degrees

was very much in line with ideals of the

College of Education. The group then

worked to ensure that the college was

able to meet CPED’s requirements for

membership and complete the rigorous

application process that included a

30-minute personal interview.

In late March 2019, the taskforce

received word that the college had been

accepted into the program along with

eight additional institutions. In June,

College of Education representatives

will attend a meeting with the Carnegie

cohort that will serve as an orientation

into the program. During the meeting

UW representatives will initiate

conversations with CPED partners on

how to begin implementing the CPED

framework into the college’s Ed.D


St udENt SpotLigHt

Elementary education senior Evan Tucker explores Monte de Castelo in the

village of Allariz, Spain. Provided photo.

Curiosity Leads to

a World of Wonder

Elementary education senior Evan Tucker of San Diego,

Calif., was one of several students who were members of the

initial cohort of Consortium of Overseas Student Teaching

(COST) from UW. Students who participated in COST

spent a portion of their student teaching this spring gaining

experience in classrooms outside the United States. Tucker

Determined to Break Barriers and Help Others

“You can do anything you want—anything you set your mind

to, no matter your circumstances. You just have to persevere

and take things one at a time. In the end, you get to say that

you did it and no one handed it to you,” says Spanish secondary

education sophomore Daniela Palma-Ramos of Riverton, Wyo.

As a first-generation Mexican-American, Palma-Ramos had

to overcome many obstacles on her journey to UW. Although

her parents did not attend school, they always taught her to

be independent, and she fearlessly blazed new trails as she

continued her education. She was the first of her sisters to

graduate high school and go to college. She first attended

Central Wyoming College, and then transferred to UW in

continued pursuit of her dreams.

At UW, she was at first overwhelmed with the unknown.

“In all honesty, I didn’t have anyone to help me. I didn’t

know about financial aid, scholarships and programs for

first-generation students,” Palma-Ramos says. “Luckily the

faculty and staff were very willing to answer questions and

By Jason Harper

spent a month in Spain working with students who are

learning English at the elementary level.

“It’s a really good opportunity to send some students

oversees and have them travel and have an overseas experience.

I think that’s very valuable, especially for local kids who may

have never been outside Wyoming,” says Tucker.

Tucker transferred to UW from Sheridan College after

earning his associate degree because of the affordability the

university provided. A previous stint living overseas led him to

explore options to student teach abroad while he attended UW.

The COST program seemed like a perfect way to complete his

student teaching and experience a different country.

The same curiosity that drives his interest in other cultures

is key to his pursuit of a career in education. “If you’re a

curious intelligent individual, then you should use that ability

as much as you can, because it benefits you and it benefits our

country to have an educated populous capable of complex

tasks,” says Tucker.

After participating in COST, Tucker’s curiosity was not

satiated; in fact, he was inspired to search for a teaching

position abroad. “Once I get my degree, the plan is to find

a teaching job overseas. My girlfriend and I are shopping

around the world. We’re specifically looking at Korea, Japan

or Hong Kong for me to teach English as a second language.

We’re excited about that.”

guide me through the process.”

Palma-Ramos is determined

to succeed and has found caring

professors and helpful advisers at

UW to help her achieve her goals.

She has also found a community

of like-minded individuals

in MEChA (Movimiento

Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan)

and joined the group this

spring for an Alternative Spring

Break opportunity to work on

immigration issues in Las Cruces, NM.

Spanish secondary education

sophomore Daniela Palma-Ramos

in the Wyoming Union.

After graduation, Palma-Ramos hopes to teach with Job

Corps or at a correctional facility. “I am going to make my

family proud. I am going to get a good career where I can help

underprivileged youth and help them achieve their dreams

and goals. I am going to succeed,” she says.

22 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019

College of Education

Department 3374

1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071









Our programs are

ranked highly amongst

universities in the U.S.


out of national

universities by US News

and World Report


out of education

graduate schools by US

News and World Report


Wyoming and UW are great

places to earn a degree –

on campus or off.


out of states that are

best for higher education by

US News and World Report


out of online colleges

with best return on investment

by College Consensus


Exploration happens inside

the classroom and outside

in the wilderness.

#3 out of best colleges for

hikers by


out of best colleges

for winter life by College


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines