This has been an exceptional year for initiatives and growth in Mayville State University’s Division of Education. Program changes planned for the 2018 year in elementary and early childhood education, along with continuous program improvement have led to establishing new collaborative partnerships, outreach initiatives, and programs, as well as faculty representation on state, regional, and national committees.
Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz, dean and chair of the Division of Education stated, “Every year brings new challenges and opportunities for teacher education. Trends and policy in K-12 education is followed so that our programs prepare students for what they will be experiencing in this era of educational innovation. This year our Division of Education faculty have capitalized on making the most of the opportunities presented to support efforts to positively impact change and growth in MSU’s teacher education programs, while allowing us (education faculty) to have a voice in the work that is done at the state, regional, and national levels. This team has much to contribute to the conversations and work occurring across the state and region!”
Work with several organizations throughout North Dakota has brought MSU’s faculty members in position to support state and national initiatives. Recently, MSU’s Dr. Kelli Odden was nominated as the Region 8 representative to the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE), representing higher education from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Colorado. She serves on a committee that is aligning National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation standards for early childhood programs. Dr. Odden is also a member of the North Dakota Early Childhood Consortium, a state-level organization of leaders in early childhood.
Dr. Odden has also served as the state advisor for the North Dakota Student Education Association (SEA) in the recent past and accompanied eight students from across North Dakota (one from Mayville State) to Washington D.C. last summer for a national conference. She presented at the state conference on emotional safety in early childhood environment and also spoke at the NAEYC childcare conference this past spring. She supports MSU SEA students in projects such as the recent Backpacks for Nepal and the group’s focus on bringing professionals to campus for engaging professional development events.
Dr. Odden is leading an initiative together with Dr. Dina Zavala-Petherbridge, director of the MSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, to give MSU students experience in volunteering as language tutors for new Americans in Fargo. MSU students are working collaboratively with university students from the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Dr. Brittany Hagen is working with the North Dakota Educational Technology Council as a representative of MSU’s Division of Education on the “Develop Your Data Mindset” curriculum written for a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) grant. P-20 longitudinal data systems are state-level educational databases in the United States designed "to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.
The collaborative work with statewide organizations is proving to build positive connections to educator preparation programs across the state. This SLDS grant was written to fill the need for data utilization training for pre-service and in-service teachers across the state of North Dakota. Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz piloted the use of the modules with spring 2017 and fall 2017 student teachers to give feedback to developers and stakeholders prior to state-wide implementation. These learning modules will soon be used in an assessment course for teacher candidates at MSU.
A collaboration with the North Dakota Center for Distance Education (NDCDE) is just beginning. This will support expansion of distance education offerings for the preparation of teachers and pre-service teachers in the area of online instruction. The NDCDE’s strategic objective is to provide quality learning opportunities for students, regardless of location, by equipping teachers with the necessary skills to facilitate quality online learning engagements with students in school districts or supporting organizations in North Dakota.
Mayville State University’s Division of Education and Education and Innovation Center plan to support the facilitation of course offerings that allow teachers to be trained in online learning strategies and gain university credit. As innovative distance and online programs become more readily available to students throughout North Dakota, the teaching workforce will need an avenue to develop skills to effectively facilitate student learning, the reason for this collaborative initiative.
Dr. Sarah Anderson chaired a subcommittee of the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NDACTE) that developed a statewide student teacher observation tool (STOT). This tool is the fourth common assessment developed in a major effort to improve the quality of teacher preparation through implementation of a statewide preservice and first-year teacher performance assessment system across public, private, and tribal programs.
Dr. Anderson presented this work with colleagues from other North Dakota institutions at the spring CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) conference in St. Louis, Mo., and the STOT has now been distributed for use in 16 other states.
Dr. Andi Bucholz holds an executive board position on the NDACTE and serves on a committee that is working to develop a recommendation regarding the Educators Model Code of Ethics for the Education Standards and Practices Board. Monthly meetings of the NDACTE allow North Dakota institutions of higher education to collaborate and provide leadership on issues related to professional education, with primary focus on teacher education and promoting effective public policy regarding professional education.
Dr. Anderson and Dr. Brittany Hagen have also served as associate members of a workgroup with the Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT) consortium to develop mechanisms for measuring teaching effectiveness. NExT is a consortium of teacher preparation programs at 14 colleges and universities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Funding comes from the Bush Foundation. Although Mayville State University is not a member of the consortium, teacher education faculty participation in this consortium allows MSU to be a part of important regional initiatives.
Another focus this year in the Division of Education for Dr. Anderson, Dr. Hagen, Dr. Dulski-Bucholz, Dr. Ann Willeson, Dr. Johnna Westby, and Kayla Smith was work on a case study research project that provided valuable program insights on teacher education graduates and their impact on P-12 student learning and development, and the role of MSU’s teacher preparation program on graduates' teaching. This is an ongoing research project that is being scaled up in conjunction with North Dakota State University researchers.
More visible to MSU students are the initiatives that have provided opportunities for study abroad experiences. This past summer, students traveled with faculty from liberal arts and nursing to Japan and Belize. Dr. Sarah Anderson’s interest in supporting study abroad experiences to Norway stems from her work in 2011-12 as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway. Collaborative efforts were initiated with the University of North Dakota; Dr. Dina Zavala-Petherbridge, MSU Director of Diversity and Inclusion; and MSU administration to begin a study abroad opportunity for MSU students who would like to attend the American College of Norway. This is drawing more interest from students each year. Dr. Anderson coordinates this student experience.
Dr. Anderson has also used her Fulbright connections to secure Outreach Lecturing Fund awards in 2016 and 2017, allowing MSU to host international scholars on campus. The visiting scholars program is designed to enrich both institutions and Visiting Scholars through lectures that promote academic disciplines and cultural understanding. Dr. Taina Maarit Wewer from Turku University, Finland was the visiting scholar to MSU in 2017, and Chinh D. Nguyen from the University of Danang in Vietnam will be visiting campus March 27, 2018. MSU is now considered a priority institution for developing international exchange by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. These visiting scholars provide exceptional opportunities for teacher education candidates, the MSU community, and stakeholders who wish to explore global perspectives.
Lastly, MSU’s first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, has continued to gain attention after this first year of implementation. Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz, Dr. Pam Johnson, and Kayla Smith provide each student an individualized study plan to best support their professional and academic background and areas of teaching interest. Developing this graduate education program has brought an incredibly talented professional student population to MSU’s teacher education program.
“The MAT program has provided opportunities for graduate students and faculty to explore discipline applications through multiple lenses, allowing all to bring greater depth to the study of the art and science of teaching,” said Dulski-Bucholz.
MSU will have the first MAT graduate this December.
Dr. Dulski-Bucholz stated, “It is evident that our team of educators in the Division of Education has talent, expertise, grit, and determination to make great things happen, and passion for what they do. Administrative support also positively adds to the work we can accomplish.”