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Dr. Nancy Farnan to Serve on Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel

Dr. Nancy FarnanCongratulations to Dr. Nancy Farnan, Interim Associate Dean in the College of Education. Dr. Farnan has been invited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to serve on the 2012 Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel. Twenty-nine individuals, who represent key education stakeholder groups from across the state, have been appointed to the panel. The 2012 panel is charged with reviewing the requirements and standards of the Multiple and Single Subject Credential Programs and proposing changes to California's credential structure. Dr. Farnan was recommended by the California School Boards Association to serve on the panel, whose work began on February 28, 2012.

Counseling Students Recognized for Research on Voice

Miriam Pacheco, Fiona Ho, Irene Chung and Cynthia Arocha, second year school counseling graduate students, are to be congratulated for winning the Dean's Award at San Diego State's Student Research Symposium. According to Dr. Carol Robinson-Zañartu, who mentored the students, their work resulted in an extremely clear and professional model of research and presentation delivery. For more information, please visit

Future Teacher Shines at SDSU: Lindsay Goulet, B.A. 2012

by Mary L. Lawlor, Ph. D.

Lindsay GouletFor Lindsay Goulet, graduating in May 2012 (Summa Cum Laude) with a degree in social science and entering the College of Education Teacher Credential Program in August 2012 are just the next touchstones in her learning adventure. The Sweetwater High School graduate entered San Diego State through the Compact for Success, a partnership between SDSU and the Sweetwater Union High School District, and credits the efforts of her own middle and high school teachers for inspiration to become a teacher. "They worked to make sure every student in class knew they were cared for and respected," says Lindsay who continues to give back to her community by volunteering at her alma mater twice a week. Compact activities also introduced Lindsay to the "diverse and rigorous programs" offered at SDSU and she knew within her first semester that teaching was her future.

Once at SDSU, Lindsay entered the University Honors Program (UHP). Developed for intellectually curious scholars from diverse backgrounds, the University Honors Program features small class sizes; a study-abroad component; and social, academic, cultural, and community service activities. Students attend discussion-based seminars and are encouraged to reach beyond the boundaries of their academic majors to become more self-directed in their learning. Due to her studies with UHP, including a three-week stint at Oxford analyzing philosophy, religion, and science, Lindsay has developed into a reflective apprentice who sees every experience as a learning opportunity. She decided to "take chances and explore outside what is usual or comfortable because I am sure to learn a lot more along the way." Evidence of this philosophy is Lindsay's evolution as an educator. While majoring in social science to develop insight into human behavior now and in the past as well as develop strong critical thinking skills, Lindsay wanted to gain experience in the classroom during her undergraduate years. She returned to tutor twice a week for her high school physics teacher. By the end of the school year, Lindsay decided to add science to her teaching repertoire. She enrolled in a summer course offered by SDSU's Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) and passed the examination for a foundational science credential. With further encouragement from her physics teacher, Lindsay also passed the examination for a physics credential. As Lindsay has discovered, "You just never know until you try!"

The Compact for Success program stresses the importance of student participation in university activities. Lindsay advises students to get involved in student organizations as well. She volunteers for the annual Compact for Success 7th grade visit to SDSU and also joined a community of future educators where she met and formed bonds with students who care about their future profession and who face similar obstacles, fears and questions. Working with this community empowers Lindsay to overcome obstacles, quiet those fears and answer those questions. She also serves as the president of both the College of Education Student Council and the Student California Teachers Association and organizes events and workshops to help build a strong foundation to better prepare and inform the university's future educators. These have included a diversity workshop funded by a grant from the National Education Association and annual "Education in the Real World" symposiums featuring three to five alumni who discuss their professional experiences and the programs they completed at SDSU.

Lindsay plans to earn her teaching credentials in social science, foundational science and physics in the coming year with a future goal of becoming a full-time teacher in San Diego's South Bay in order to "make a difference in the lives of students from my own community and cultivate a love of learning that will serve my students well in their lives, whatever path they choose to take." Wherever her voyage takes her, Lindsay has learned not to pin her success on the results of her efforts but on what she learned from putting forth those efforts, and she is all the more remarkable for it.

COE Student Makes a Difference: Malia A. Green, Class of 2012

by Mary L. Lawlor, Ph.D.

Malia A. GreenAfter researching many universities, Malia A. Green chose to attend San Diego State University for two very important reasons – “diversity and community engagement.”  The former Marine Staff Sergeant, who joined the military at age 17, left after seven years to focus on family and education.  Her then two-year-old son began attending preschool, coming home every day excited by what he was learning.  So Malia decided to take an introductory child development course at a community college and “fell in love.”  She continued at the community college, transferred to SDSU in 2009 and will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development.  She plans to continue at SDSU in the school counseling graduate program and eventually secure a career working with at-risk LGBT youth, her growing passion.   Malia’s goal is to go home at the end of every day and say, “I made a difference in someone’s life today.”

Coming from a non-traditional background, Malia appreciates that she and others come to SDSU with a wealth of knowledge gained from life experiences, and SDSU faculty recognize that learning does not just happen in the classroom.  Internships with various community organizations provided Malia with exposure to “different populations of people” allowing Malia to discover, “where my passions lie.”  She also enjoys the diversity promoted on campus, stating, “I absolutely LOVE how SDSU embraces diversity in all shapes, sizes, colors and beliefs.  There is a student organization for everyone, so there is no reason to not be involved on campus, and a lot of the student organizations work together to promote awareness of one another.”  Malia’s experiences with various student groups on campus have allowed her to explore and fully embrace various aspects of her own self, some of which she probably would have ignored or minimized.  Rather, opportunities for recognition and acceptance have made her a stronger, more courageous person who can say, “I am an individual who embraces every aspect of my identity.”

Malia also credits her professors for bringing real-world experiences into their classes, pushing students to gain a deeper understanding of the implications of research being read or theories being learned and applying this knowledge through hands-on experience in the community with the populations they will serve.  She specifically cites Dr. Audrey Hokoda as an inspiring mentor who has helped Malia discover her desired career path and modeled the highest degree of professionalism and expertise in her field.

While maintaining her status on the Dean’s List for outstanding academic achievement, Malia finds time to perform many other volunteer duties such as  teaching art classes to 1st and 2nd graders four hours a week, organizing the 2012 Conference for the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, working with the SDSU Youth Violence Research Lab to implement relationship violence and bullying curriculum for high schools and middle schools in the local community, providing support to deployed Sailors and Marines on the USS Boxer through the Helping Hands Volunteer program, participating as the Child and Family Development Student Organization (CFDSO) representative on the College of Education Student Council, and co-founding the Women Veterans Initiative to recognize and educate the SDSU campus about the unique experiences and needs of this sub-population of students.  Malia also works 20 hours a week at the SDSU Veterans Center and has her own National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified personal trainer business, focused on training and nutrition programs for clientele with various health issues.  She even plays the flute in the Band of America’s Few (BAF), composed of former and retired Marine musicians from around the country who perform internationally.

Despite her many professional accomplishments, Malia is still most proud of being the mother of her now seven-year-old son Colin, who got her involved in all of this with a curiosity about learning that continues to this day.  “Nothing in my life could ever top the feeling of pride I have for raising such an amazing child,” says Malia.  For SDSU, Malia is an amazing example of the positive influence an educational institution can have on a talented, focused and dedicated young woman.

SDSU Lands Collection of Old Textbooks

by John Wilkens

See Dick run. See Jane run. See Dick and Jane run to the library at San Diego State University.
About 400 old California textbooks, some dating to the mid-1800s, have been donated by a University Heights collector to the college, where scholars and students will use them to better understand how and what earlier generations were taught.

“They’re evidence of cultural change over time, in education and the larger society,” said Ronald W. Evans, an SDSU teacher-education professor.
Some of the texts show an insensitivity toward ethnic minorities: “The early red men were divided into many tribes.”

Some show a quaint approach to friendship: “What can you do to be pleasant to boys and girls who are strangers?”

Some show the matter-of-fact brutality of daily life in the state’s rural beginnings: “But the old cat caught him by the neck, pulled him down to the ground, and killed him. So the hawk did not get a kitten, but lost his own life instead.”

Click on the link above to continue reading…

Two M.A. Candidates in SPED/Autism Selected "Teacher of the Year" By Their Districts

By Diane Slagle, M.A., Communications Specialist, SDSU Div. of Student Affairs

Estella Vasquez Pena and Garth HebblerTwo local teachers, who are also current SDSU graduate students, have been nominated by their districts as Teacher of the Year.

Preschool teacher Estella Vasquez Peña of Willow Elementary was nominated by San Ysidro School District, and Garth Hebbler of Rolando Park Elementary is runner-up for elementary school teacher of the year for San Diego Unified School District. They will enter the competition for the title of San Diego County Teacher of the Year.

Both teachers are candidates in the M.A. Degree Program with a Specialization in Autism in the Department of Special Education.  The nomination of two special education teachers is notable, since the pool of nominees encompasses all teachers (both general and special education).

Estella Vasquez Peña, who graduates this month, has been teaching for 11 years. She is “happy and proud” to be receiving her Master’s in Special Education from SDSU, having gained expertise in best practices for teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Teachers with knowledge of ASD are increasingly in demand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates that 1 out of 88 American children falls somewhere on the autism spectrum — a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years.

“I feel that the program prepares you to be a highly qualified special educator,” says Peña. “Overall, the faculty is excellent, especially Dr. Laura Hall, who goes above and beyond to provide all the students with the best educational experience possible.”

In addition, Peña has valued her interaction with peers.  “The way the classes are designed provides students with insight and valuable knowledge from peers,” she says. “They are all in the field of special education, and their experiences have provided me with valuable insight. I feel more confident and better prepared to continue serving my students and providing them with a better educational environment.”

Garth Hebbler, who has been teaching for 8 years, will graduate next January. Hebbler’s interest in ASD began early; his parents started a foster home for children with autism when he was seven years old.

“I grew up watching my parents apply some of the same techniques that I learned about later at SDSU. . . . My experience as a child made me feel it was my calling to teach students with moderate to severe disabilities.”

Today, he says his students “inspire and motivate” him every day, despite the difficulties involved in teaching.  Hebbler says he felt the need to gain as much knowledge as possible to become the best teacher he could be. In addition, the advanced degree will provide him with enhanced job opportunities, and allow him to make a difference not just for ASD students, but for other teachers, too.

“In public schools,” says Hebbler, “I found a strong bias toward general education practices and techniques and a lack of effective support for teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities. I now feel confident in the knowledge I gained at SDSU . . . . I plan on trying to find ways to support other teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities, while still continuing to teach.”

In addition, two members of the second-year cohort in the M.A. Degree Program with a Specialization in Autism have been nominated for Teacher of the Year. They are Meghan Davis and Nicole Hosmer, both of Poway Unified School District.

Congratulations to all of the COE 2011-2012 Honors and Awards Recipients

Emeriti Faculty: Dr. Christianna Alger & Dr. Thomas Roberts

Recognition of 25 Years of Service:  Dr. Carla Mathison & Dr. Nadine Bezuk

COE Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions:  Dr. Cynthia Park

Phil Halfaker Awards:  Whitney Russell, Imanda Marcus, Amy Rundle, Melanie Culimlim

Outstanding Graduate Awards:  Isabel Cremieux, Cassandra Kabrich, Leanne Richardson, Rachel Guera, Claudia Fimpel, Leslie Thompson, Saskia Boom, Duane Bradford,
Jessica Mattson

Influential Faculty Awards:  Thomas Roberts, Sarah Garrity, Kathryn Singh, Victoria Jacobs, Cristina Alfaro, Robert Hoffman, Soh-Leong Lim, Nan Zhang Hampton, Yasemin Turan-Qian

Outstanding Leadership Award:  Lindsay Goulet

Last Modified 06/14/12 01:49

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