For Patricia Russell, innovation comes in all forms. Not only has she taken risks professionally, starting her own consulting firm after a successful chemical engineering career, but her methods as a consultant concentrate on changing individual perspectives.
During her time as an undergraduate, Russell recorded a great deal of firsts. She helped found Minority Engineers for Advancement and was both the first woman from the Bahamas and the first African-American woman to graduate from the University with a chemical engineering degree.
After getting her master’s in chemical engineering and working in the field for several years, she discovered a different path.
“I loved chemical engineering — I liked the analytics and the numbers,” she said. “But while working as a chemical engineer, I discovered the type of work I really belonged in. It was always about people.”
Sixteen years ago, she made the leap. By starting The Russell Consulting Group, Russell was able to pursue the work she loved. Her firm works with companies, primarily in health care and higher education, to improve productivity and create a great place to work.
“A lot of consultants work on changing behavior, hoping that will impact results,” she said. “I focus on shifting thinking, on identifying thought patterns behind behaviors, on mastering ego to transform cultures.”
Russell’s engineering background has continued to serve her well, giving her firm a competitive edge.
“The strategic-thinking skills I learned help me survive the ups and downs of consulting work,” she said. “If you don’t have that strategic or critical-thinking talent, it’s almost impossible to adapt your business model.”
Professor Thomas Hunt opened his workshop at the Catholic Education Summit July 18 by addressing the history of urban Catholic education in the United States.
But this was more than just a history lesson. This was a discovery of the role of community from the very start of Catholic education.
Schools were founded in neighborhoods by Catholics who saw the value in protecting their faith as their children furthered their education. Hunt deemed them “front porch parishioners.”
Faith. Community. Porches. Our own UD family is centered on these concepts. As soon as we walk on campus, we feel home.
Hunt’s history of the development of Catholic education brings understanding and experience to how we’ve established community today. As Hunt researched the history of Catholic education, he realized there were no case studies on these distinguished communities. His book, Urban Catholic Education: Tales of Twelve Cities, accomplished this very task. During his career, Hunt has written or contributed to 26 books on religious education.
In his research for Urban Catholic Education, he found that each school system demonstrated six common threads: a will to survive, immigration, the variety of responses from the Catholic population, adaptability, community and identity.
Early urban Catholic schools were populated by immigrants such as the Polish, Irish and Germans. They worked together to protect their cultural identity and faith. They depended on one another to encourage, support and to survive. Faith formed relationships that built a community.
While our own UD community may look different from those formed a century ago, the family spirit remains the same. Students, educators and leaders leave with a stronger sense of what it means to be a part of a Catholic community and the impact that community has on education in the past, present and future.
Take a new approach to teaching. This was the challenge given to those attending the Catholic Education Summit July 18 in Kennedy Union.
To end a day of workshops and networking with colleagues, keynote speaker Thomas Groome encouraged participants to establish and utilize a teaching structure similar to the one Jesus used throughout the Gospels.
Drawing from biblical examples, he noted that Christ was inclusive and encouraging to all, and that Jesus’ works and teachings were unorthodox for his time. Yet he never told others what to think or see. Instead, says Groome, “he let his followers see for themselves.”
Jessie Hanley ’12 attended the summit as a member of the Lalanne program, which trains recent college graduates to work in under-resourced Catholic schools while they work toward a master’s degree. Run by the Center for Catholic Education in the School of Education and Allied Professions, Lalanne will place teachers in schools in Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Lansing, Mich., and Flint, Mich., this fall.
“This conference provided good insight into how to impact my future students,” says Hanley, who will teach this fall at Chaminade Julienne in Dayton. “Being part of Lalanne has given me a lot of opportunities, too.”
Lalanne is designed to meet the needs of beginning Catholic school teachers and improve their retention in Catholic education. Teachers make a two-year commitment to a Catholic school while living together and pursuing professional and spiritual development.
A catholic approach to Catholic education benefits students long after they’ve finished their formal education, says Boston College professor Thomas Groome, the keynote speaker at the University’s Catholic Education Summit July 18.
“Don’t just prepare students to make a living, prepare them to live a life,” he said during his morning speech.
Groome, who has written multiple books on Catholic education, presented the keynote address “Catholic Schools as Educators in Faith” to open the summit, sponsored by the Center for Catholic Education in the School of Education and Allied Professions.
He spoke of the long history of Catholic education in shaping individuals throughout the world, as most of the educational institutions in early Christendom were created through church involvement. In the United States, Catholic Church-based education has continued that tradition, instructing students of many faith traditions.
Groome asked participants to identify ideals they believed were tenets of the Catholic faith and how they might enhance a Catholic school curriculum. Social justice, building community, discipline and stewardship, and access to all learners all were among the ideas mentioned.
Instilling those ideals in students should be a goal of Catholic education, Groome said, noting that Catholic education was not designed to proselytize, but to provide learners with a foundation of faith and serving the common good.
“If we haven’t enhanced their understanding of faith, then we haven’t given them a good Catholic education,” he said.
Seniors in the School of Education and Allied Professions will be sharpening their pencils and breaking out their creative lesson plans this fall if they plan on teaching in Ohio after graduation.
In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Education and President Barack Obama announced Ohio as one of nine states that would receive grant awards from the $500 million Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge fund to improve learning conditions for children from low-income families.
SOEAP professor Tom Lasley said Ohio submitted a strong proposal for the grant, and the state is committed to enhancing early learning.
“Students graduating will have to keep up with the academic standards now and make sure students learn,” he said.
Ben Moore, a senior education major, said any initiative to improve education at the youngest levels is important.
“Early years form the groundwork for what kind of students they are going to be,” he said.
The students in math professor Virginia Keen’s class had what appeared to be a simple assignment — create a book to help preschool-aged children with their counting skills.
On Tuesday, they assembled at the Bombeck Center, colorful books in tow, ready to see if their work would meet the approval of the oh-so-particular 2-5 year-old set.
“Children enjoy having books read to them,” Keen said.
That was the easy part. As the students shared the books with individual children or small groups, the children were encouraged to count out loud. Some kids pointed at colorful pictures of animals and other objects, and giggled at funny stickers and designs.
After 10-15 minutes — an eternity in childhood time — the students shared their observations to gain more insight about the most effective ways to help young children learn basic math. Most of the students plan to pursue careers in early childhood education or intervention services.
The students discovered that young children do well when they see a numeral printed on a page featuring that number of countable figures or objects, but can begin losing track of what they’ve counted when too many objects are on a page. Simple sentences are effective, and children respond positively to quality illustration. One book with puffy paint designs went over very well, as the kids enjoyed running their fingers over the raised paint.
In a short period of time, the future educators learned significant lessons about the not-so-simple science of teaching math to preschoolers, lessons they’ll take into their own classrooms someday. And lots of puffy paint.
As a child who enjoyed hours in the open air, hunting mushrooms and catching bugs, Graham High School teacher Chantelle Rose ’98 sees the outdoors as a great big classroom. Her students are used to hands-on projects, like collecting fossils at nearby creeks and building model rockets.
But Rose has an even bigger adventure on hand.
She sets out Nov. 3 for an Arctic sampling expedition through PolarTREC, a professional development program that pairs K-12 educators with researchers for hands-on field experiences.
She said she was inspired to apply to be part of the program after following a friend’s expedition.
“I thought if I am a professional – an adult – and I was unaware of how unique and diverse the Arctic region is, my students must have the same misconceptions,” Rose says.
While aboard the United States Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy, she will stay connected to her students and other classes across the country by logging journal entries, showing slideshows and holding teleconferences though the PolarTREC website.
“I hope to fuel their sense of adventure […] and expose them to science concepts they may never experience in Ohio,” Rose says. “I want them to be a part of real science and research and really ‘see’ science in action.”
More than sixty teachers, principals and librarians from local Catholic elementary schools spent Wednesday curled up with about 400 hundred good books in the second-floor lounge at Marianist Hall.
The literature of choice included works such as Little Chicken’s Big Day, I Love Bugs, and Langston’s Train Ride, a book about a young Langston Hughes’ journey to visit his father in Mexico.
Teacher education professors Jackie Arnold and Mary-Kate Sableski have run the Picture Book Read-In over the past few years with the sponsorship of the University’s Center for Catholic Education, but the event got a financial boost this year with a $3,000 grant from the National Council of Teachers of English.
Arnold and Sableski won the Bonnie Campbell Hill National Literacy Award this summer and will use the grant to fund a yearlong professional learning community involving many of the educators who attended the read-in. The grant will also help send a teacher to the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Chicago this fall.
Local public libraries loaned the books for the read-in, and two librarians from Dayton Metro Library shared their experiences as members of the Caldecott Award selection committee. Each year, the Caldecott Award is given to an artist for excellence in children’s picture book illustration.
Caldecott-winning books weren’t hard to find at the read-in, and the educators took copious notes on all of the books they hoped to see their students reading this fall.
“A librarian from one school said she’s going to share the list with all the teachers at her school,” Sableski said.
There’s no better way to kick off a Tuesday morning than to meet dozens of smiling preschoolers.
Earlier this week I stopped by the Bombeck Center, where math professor Virginia Keen’s students, early childhood education majors, were reading counting books they wrote as an assignment.
College students and preschoolers huddled together on couches, behind desks and on the floor, reading and interacting. The books taught the students how to count animals, fruit, flowers — you name it, they were reading it.
The giggly preschoolers pointed to the colorful pages, counting along with the college students. One preschooler even stayed to reread a book multiple times.
Keen told her students, in reflecting on the experience, to focus on, “what you learned about children’s abilities to think mathematically and what it means to be a meaningful counter.”