UW COLLEGE OF EDUCATION SPRING 2019
LEARN HOW WE ARE PREPARING EDUCATORS
TO IMPLEMENT NEW SCIENCE STANDARDS: PAGE 7
SEE HOW OUR ADVISORS LISTEN TO
HELP STUDENTS SUCCEED: PAGE 14
WE SHARE THE PROGRESS ON NINE TRUSTEES
EDUCATION INITIATIVE DESIGN TEAMS: PAGE 18
3 | New Connections: Experience of
a Fulbright Research Chair
4 | Ph.D.s Make Impact Overseas
6 | Supporting Educators
10 | Dedicated Alumni Receive Milken
12 | Honoring the Past by Looking Toward
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
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs
Editor Jason Harper
Design Michelle Eberle, Emily Edgar,
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.
1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071
(307) 766-3145 | email@example.com
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.
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
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.
professor of elementary
and early childhood
education and 2019
Research Chair in
OF A FULBRIGHT
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
in her native
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,”
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
“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
IMPLEMENTING THE NEW STATE
SCIENCE STANDARDS PART 1
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.
PHOTOS BY JASON HARPER
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
“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
RAMPED have the
– 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
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
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
“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.
PHOTO BY MILKEN FAMILY
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
“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.
DEDICATED ALUMNI RECEIVE
MILKEN EDUCATOR AWARDS
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,”
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
PHOTO BY MILKEN
10 • Education@UWYO Spring 2019 Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 11
students support FFA and
4-H students during the
2018 Cowboy Classic.
PHOTO BY JASON HARPER
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
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
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
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
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
major, and Megan Cooke,
office associate in the
Teacher Preparation and
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,”
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
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
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
Ensure capable and motivated individuals explore
and choose education as a profession.
Trustees Education Initiative
ON TRACK TO TRANSFORM TEACHER EDUCATION
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.
PHOTOS BY JASON HARPER
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 www.uwyo.edu/tei/.
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
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
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
INQUIRIES INTO EDUCATION:
A SPOTLIGHT ON FACULTY RESEARCH
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.
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
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.
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
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
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Laramie, WY 82071
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