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2017

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New performance-based assessment prepares WVU teacher candidates for successful careers

Teacher pointing at information on a white board

Teacher candidates at the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University are gaining a new measure of quality for their education and preparedness.  Beginning in the fall of 2017, most teacher candidates will be required to participate in a performance based assessment called edTPA. 

edTPA is the premier teacher candidate support and assessment program in the nation.  Led by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), the assessment ensures that the incoming teacher workforce is prepared to meet the academic needs of all students.

“In addition to the quality preparation our program currently provides, such as clinical evaluations, content knowledge exams, and mentor support, edTPA will allow us to measure the readiness of our teacher candidates and inform us on their progress,” said Dr. Bernard Jones, Program Director of Assessment for Educator Preparation at the college.  “Our students will leave the program with a greater depth of knowledge about what it means to walk into their own classroom and will be able to provide leadership to students and to colleagues early in their careers.”

edTPA focuses on three elements: planning, assessment and instruction, which according to Jones are things any good teacher candidate should be focusing on in their classroom.  Teacher candidates at WVU will spend their first years in the program focusing on their coursework and gaining field experience.  Then in their senior year, when teacher candidates begin student teaching, edTPA will be introduced. 

CEHS began trials of edTPA with teacher candidates in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, and physical education in 2015.  Teacher candidates were required to submit three video-recorded lessons and other “artifacts”, such as lesson plans and student assessment tools, to external edTPA scorers. 

“Unlike other certification exams edTPA is performance-based, so it allows us to examine how teacher candidates are translating their knowledge into practice,” stated Jones.  “In the fall, we had a total of 35 teacher candidates that participated in the trials.  The candidate’s average scores were between 35.5-37.8.  These scores showed that our candidates and programs are on target in meeting the demands of edTPA.” 

In the state of West Virginia, all teacher education preparation programs are required to include some form of a performance based assessment to evaluate teacher candidate’s presentation of a lesson during their practicum experience. According to Laura Porter, Assistant Dean of Student Services at CEHS, the college choose edTPA because of its national recognition. 

“edTPA is currently being used in 35 states and the District of Columbia.  The state of West Virginia approves the program, but to date WVU is the first institution to adopt the program,” stated Porter. “We are excited to implement the program for our state, bringing prepared and nationally competitive teachers into classrooms.”

As a subject-specific performance assessment, edTPA provides a way to assess all teachers differently.  The program measures skills for 27 different teaching fields, acknowledging that a history teacher would not approach instruction the same as a math teacher or that a kindergarten teacher would not communicate with their students the same as a high school art teacher. 

 “Like a lawyer must pass the bar and a doctor pass medical board exams, edTPA allows teacher candidates to be competitive in a professional career, while recognizing their individual pathway of practice,” said Jones.  “Our graduates want to achieve high-level professional experience and pay.  This assessment will help set a standard of accountability to delivering high-quality education.” 


Land-grant university expert and WVU faculty member to speak at University of New Hampshire 150th anniversary celebration

Instructor speaking before students in classroom

Research efforts of  West Virginia University faculty member Dr. Nathan Sorber are being noticed. The result of an invitation following a presentation given at a meeting of the  Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities , Sorber will be the keynote speaker for an event to celebrate the University of New Hampshire’s 150th .

Author, land-grant university expert, and director of the higher education administration program at the WVU College of Education and Human Services, Sorber will speak about the history and impact of land-grant universities and the key roles they should have moving forward.

Following his keynote address,  How Land-Grant Universities Transformed American Higher Education: The Past As a Foundation for the Future, Sorber will join a panel discussion: “  What is UNH’s Role in Serving the Public Good?”. The panelist will include Nancy Targett, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New Hampshire, Steve Taylor, Former NH Commissioner of Agriculture, and Michael Ettlinger, Director of the Carsey School of Public Policy.

“We’re very much looking forward to Dr. Sorber’s keynote talk at the University of New Hampshire. His deep expertise in land grant institutions, their history and what it means to be one today, will be invaluable to the UNH discussion of its role as a Land, Sea, Space grant university in the 21st century," said Ettlinger.

Sorber’s research on land-grant universities began with a focus on the origins of the relationship between higher education and the American economy. According to Sorber, it was the land-grant universities that forged this relationship in myriad ways.

“Land grant universities brought higher education into service of the American economy by teaching and researching the applied sciences, especially agriculture and engineering. Overtime, land-grant institutions further engaged society through extension divisions and other outreach activities,” stated Sorber. “Today, however, the climate is changed. Higher education is increasingly viewed as a private good that parents and students should pay for. Yet it is my sense that the people still desire a broader public purpose for higher education, and institutional leaders are searching for ways to rebuild the land-grant covenant to sustain the movement for another 150 years.”

Sorber is the co-author of “The Land-Grant Colleges and the Reshaping of American Higher Education” and the author of two forthcoming books, “The Morrill Act in Yankeedom: A History of the Origins and Early Years of the Land-Grant Colleges” and “American Higher Education in the Postwar Era, 1945-1970”.

The event will take place on the U of NH campus in Huddleston Hall Ballroom, March 29, 2017 from 4:30-6:00pm.


CEHS grad student, Corey Talley, serves as an advocate for WVU’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign to fight sexual violence

Corey Talley, Higher Education Administration graduate student, serves as an advocate for WVU’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign to fight sexual violence.  The program offers training for people to help sexual violence victims.

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WVU CEHS Student Ambassadors take on new, innovative role

two female student ambassadors stand next to sign in hallway at CEHS

The  student ambassador program at the  West Virginia University  College of Education and Human Services began in the fall of 2015.  An honorary program, each year six to twelve undergraduate and graduate students are selected to serve the college through participation in recruitment events, phone-a-thons, and alumni events, but they’re about to do even more. 

According to  Kim Klaus, program director in the  CEHS Office of Student Success, student ambassadors are the best representatives a college has for recruitment.  “Prospective students become more attached and engaged when they have the opportunity to connect with a current student,” said Klaus. It didn’t take me long to realize we could use a tool we already had working for us, our student ambassadors, for even more effective recruiting.”

Though student ambassadors already connect with prospective students through recruitment events and college tours, Klaus had even more in mind.  This January, Klaus commissioned her ambassadors to be “student-recruiters”. 

“We started a mentor program.  Each ambassador is given upward of 25 admitted students in a particular geographical area to work with,” stated Klaus.  “Establishing these peer to peer relationships is a great way for us to increase our admit yield, retaining admitted students through to enrollment.”

Student ambassadors are required to contact each of their admitted students at least three times a month.  The contacts are through email, phone, skype, and even social media such as Facebook and snapchat.  The conversations are an opportunity for ambassadors to answer questions, share information, or just tell about their experience here at WVU.

“I think the mentor program is a great idea! I love sharing my advice to incoming freshman to help ease their transition from high school to college. Most importantly, these students now have a friend that has already learned a lot from their time at WVU," said Jacinda Hickman, junior in speech language pathology and audiology and third year CEHS student ambassador. 

Student ambassadors represent every major at CEHS, as well as multiple cities and states.  Ambassadors seem to find easy ways to connect with their prospective students, whether it is their study interests or that they are in-state or out-of-state students, even their hobbies or club interests are sometimes similar. 

According to Klaus in just a couple weeks’ time, the program is already off to a positive start.  “The ambassadors are so excited about being able to share their personal college experiences with other prospective students.  They’re taking the initiative and are coming up with innovative ideas to better connect with these prospective students, such as a  group Skype chat so admitted students can interact and connect with other prospective students, as well as other ambassadors,” stated Klaus.

“Using our student ambassadors to help retain our admitted students through to enrollment is incredibly innovative.  Last fall at CEHS, approximately 42% of first-time freshmen undergraduates who were admitted and actually enrolled,” stated Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at WVU.  “We look forward to this number increasing, as a result of these peer to peer relationships.”

To learn more about the CEHS Student Ambassadors or if you are interested in joining this honorary group, visit the  CEHS Student Ambassadors web page.  


WVU Nursery School children and Morgantown High School student collaborate on robotics

Six years ago, teacher Bill Gibson of Morgantown High School received a request by students for a class that would allow them to gain knowledge and experience related to engineering prior to entering courses as students at the university level. This request led to the creation of the MHS engineering program.

This past fall, Gibson’s class collaborated with the  West Virginia University  Nursery School for their project. Through a Skype meeting, Gibson’s students solicited feedback from the three, four, and five year olds at the WVU Nursery School regarding the type of robots the children would like to see built. 

“Our preschoolers were so creative and excited to participate,” said Dr. Bobbie Warash, director of the WVU Nursery School. “Some of the ideas they shared included a pig that walks in mud, a firefly that lights up and moves and makes a buzzing sound, a bike that drives in a circle, and an elephant that eats peanuts by itself. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to engage in this process.”

In December, the MHS students and preschoolers meet again via Skype to talk about the designs and how the robots would be programmed to meet the children’s description. Last week, the MHS students visited the WVU Nursery School to share their new preschooler-inspired robotic creations. 

”Being able to interact directly with the nursery school students, via Skype and in person, really fueled the energy and creativity of the high school students,” said Gibson. “Working to fulfill the wishes of small children took their project out of the realm of pretend engineering into the real world. I was very impressed by how much thought and work they willingly put into their creations.”

Following the MHS student’s robotic presentation the preschoolers had an opportunity to share their own Lego robotic creations, a bumble bee that circled and buzzed and an earthquake simulator.

“This collaboration was a huge success. The preschoolers had the opportunity to serve as ‘clients’ for the high school students,” said Warash. “And they were all so impressed that the high school students came through on creating almost all their requests. We are really looking forward to the next opportunity to partner.”

The MHS engineering course provides an overview of the many engineering fields through project-based learning. Students develop skills in writing, presenting and problem solving while working on a variety of projects. 

These projects involve robotics and electronics, high altitude balloon satellite with radio tracking, rocketry and airplane design, woodworking, and, beginning last year, a joint project with art students to design and build a kinetic sculpture. Students also spend a few weeks learning and programming with MATLAB to prepare them for its later use in college. While some projects are required for the course, many are chosen (and often funded) by the students.

“It’s a great program and we were happy to participate. Our children are already looking forward to the exciting and fun things they will have the ability to do and learn in high school, as a result of this experience. That’s how you inspire life-long learning,” stated Dr. Warash. 


WVU faculty emeritus establishes endowment to support the CEHS Celebration of Scholars keynote speaker

Ronald V. Iannone presented with award

Dr. Ronald V. Iannone, faculty emeritus of the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services, recently established the Ron V. Iannone and Family Keynote Speaker Endowment.

The endowment will provide support for the  CEHS Celebration of Scholars keynote speaker each year (previously the CEHS Student Research Forum).

“Our intention in establishing this endowment is to support a program at the college that will provide teachers with great ideas for research,” said Iannone. “Research they can put into action, helping teachers become institutional change-leaders.”

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab

The keynote speaker for this year’s event will be Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a nationally known scholar and social activist who studies college access and affordability. Goldrick-Rab’s talk will focus on findings from her recent book titled, “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.”

“With the serious economic challenges facing students and families across West Virginia, I’m looking forward to sharing lessons from my latest book  Paying the Price and learning about their ideas for building a better higher education financing system,” said Goldrick-Rab.

A hard-working young person who pursues a college degree is assumed to be on a path to a good life, but according to Goldrick-Rab, this isn’t necessarily always true. In her speech, Goldrick-Rab will reveal the devastating effect of shortfalls, such as the expense of college and the confusing mix of available aid.

Goldrick-Rab will also offer a range of possible solutions, from technical improvements to the financial aid application process, to a bold, public-sector-focused “first degree free” program.

“The College of Education and Human Services is grateful to Professor Iannone for his gift in support of our annual keynote speaker series. His generosity ensures that our students will continue to be exposed to important ideas that influence our work in education and human services fields,” said Dr. M Cecil Smith, CEHS associate dean for research and graduate education. “We are particularly delighted to have Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab as our inaugural keynote speaker for the 2017 Celebration of Scholars. Her research on college access and affordability critically informs U.S. higher education policy and has significant implications for how to design local programs that will provide more West Virginians with greater access to a college education.”

Prior to the keynote speaker presentation, the event will showcase around 40 student research projects, followed by the inaugural Faculty Edtalks.

The Faculty Edtalks will showcase seven CEHS professors presenting brief talks on researched subjects such as arts curricula, early childhood education, and divorced fathers.

“I hope this program and research exposure will help students to become more specialized in their own personal subject matter,” said Iannone. “Often too much stress is placed on the pedagogy and not on research and scholarship.”

The CEHS Celebration of Scholars will take place on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, WV.


WVU counseling psychology students matched to top choice accredited internship programs for the third year in a row

For doctoral students in the West Virginia University counseling psychology program February 19, 2017, also known as “Match Day,” was a day where anxieties ran high as students waited to hear if they were matched to their accredited internship of choice. 

The Match is an internship matching program which places applicants into psychology internship positions at training sites in the United States. The program is sponsored and supervised by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.

According to Dr. James Bartee, teaching associate professor in counseling psychology at WVU, this is the third year in a row his students have been 100% matched within their top three choices.

“The Match is an extremely competitive program. This year there were 752 more student applications than there were accredited positions,” said Bartee.

The four student applicants in WVU’s program, Steve Craig, Melissa Foster, Brittany Shannon, and Chelsey Morgan, will be starting internships at either their first or second choices this August. Craig will be interning at the University of Delaware Counseling Center, Foster at the College of William & Mary Counseling Center, Shannon at VAMC in Dayton, OH, and Morgan at the Grand Valley State University (MI) Counseling Center. 

"The Match process is both an exciting and anxiety-provoking time for applicants. That said, I am relieved to have achieved this significant milestone in my education. I look forward to new adventures to come as I continue my training at the College of William & Mary next year," said Foster.

Applicants to The Match program spend their time preparing transcripts, essays, recommendations, and cover letters. Then, WVU’s program coordinators are required to confirm the accuracy of each student application. 

Prior to this process, students have also completed three years of coursework, four to six semesters of practicum experience, 450 hours of direct client experience, and 150 hours of one-on-one supervision by a licensed psychologist.

Once each student is confirmed, they are invited to participate in interviews with choice organizations across the country. Following this extensive interview process, students and organizations are invited to rank each other.  Neither students nor programs know how they are ranked. The Match program then, using a computer algorithm, matches student applicants to an organization. 

“We are so proud of our students for this achievement. The APPIC Match is a highly competitive program and it is impressive that not only have our students been matched within Phase I, but they have been matched to their first or second choices,” stated Gypsy Denzine, dean of the WVU College of Education and Human Services.  “Also, typically students receive two to three interviews, whereas our students received eight to twelve.”

According to Bartee, 652 of total Match applicants were left unmatched in the first phase of the process this year.  These applicants will enter a phase II of the matching process.

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National Teacher of the Year to speak at WVU on April 11, 2017

Jahana Hayes

Jahana Hayes, the National Teacher of the Year will speak to the West Virginia University and Morgantown communities as part of an event hosted by the WVU College of Education and Human Services at the Erickson Alumni Center at 6:00 p.m. on April 11, 2017.

Hayes has been teaching for 12 years, most recently as a veteran history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. She earned an Associate’s degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Arts from Saint Joseph University and a certification from the University of Bridgeport.

Hayes was the first in her family to graduate college and was inspired by her teachers to pursue higher education, despite a challenging upbringing. She believes that being a teacher is a privilege and an opportunity to transform lives and foster a sense of social responsibility in the next generation.  

She sees herself as an advisor, counselor, confidant and protector of her students and endeavors to fill the role her own teachers had in her life, by guiding students to be their best selves and encouraging them to take ownership of their communities.

Andrea Santos

The National Teacher of the Year will be introduced at the event by the West Virginia State Teacher of the Year, Andrea Santos.  Santos began her teaching career in Logan County 23 years ago after graduating with a BS in Education from West Virginia State University and receiving a multi-subject education degree for foreign languages from Lee University.

In 1995, Santos came to Logan High School as a Spanish teacher. During her time at LHS, she has also taught theatre and film appreciation and currently serves as the chair of the fine arts department.  Her passion for education has been instrumental in several projects throughout the county.

Santos will spend the morning speaking with area high school students regarding her experience and the importance of the teaching profession.

To learn more about the event or to view the event via livestream, visit  http://cehs.wvu.edu/news/events/teacher-of-the-year.


Ludlow named endowed professor

Barbara Ludlow

Dr. Barbara L.Ludlow, chair of the West Virginia University  Department of Special Education at the College of Education and Human Services, was recently named the Chester E. & Helen B. Derrick CEHS Endowed Professor.

The endowment supports a professorship for any program at the college, providing a broad range of support for research, teaching, and service. 

“My successes could not have been achieved without the collaborative efforts of many other people and I am honored and humbled by the appointment as the Derrick Professor of Special Education,” stated Ludlow.

Ludlow earned her doctorate in education from West Virginia University, a masters in arts from Cornell University, and bachelor’s in art from St. John’s University. She began her career serving as a special education teacher in public school systems in Wilmington, DE and Buckhannon, WV.

In the 1970’s Ludlow served as a part-time faculty member, before being appointed to a full-time position in 1983 and gaining tenure in 1995.  In 2005, she was appointed as the chair of the special education department, a role she has served in since. 

Although born and raised in metropolitan New York City, after living and working in rural West Virginia, Ludlow chose to focus her professional interests on special education and disability services in rural communities.  

“Critical shortages of special education personnel occur in many areas of the United States.  However, they are especially severe in rural areas like Appalachia,” stated Ludlow.  “I came to realize that WVU was the organization best positioned to make an impact in addressing these critical shortages, which has a major impact on the quality of services in schools across the state.”

By securing state and federal funding, Ludlow was able to pioneer new models of teacher education in special education, using the first field-based training at multiple centers around the state in the 1980s, then live television courses available at public viewing sites during the 1990s, and, finally, fully online programs accessible in the workplace or home beginning in 2001.  In collaboration with her colleague, Dr. Melissa Hartley, she has also been involved in exploring applications of 3D virtual immersive environments in teacher education since 2010. 

“There is a drive here to serve the state. WVU is the best institution to help with the increasing challenges we have. I’ve stayed here because these resources give others the access to education they may not otherwise have,” Ludlow said.

Ludlow has authored numerous articles on teacher education in special education and is a leading authority on rural special education and on technology-based delivery of personnel preparation programs.

“Dr. Ludlow is an exceptional faculty member and is highly deserving of this recognition,” stated Dean Gypsy Denzine of the College.  “Her efforts are nationally recognized, especially her research on the innovative uses of technology. She continues to serve our college and our state through her impressive research and ability to put her research into action. We feel confident we have appropriately honored the Derrick’s intentions for their gift, given Dr. Ludlow’s extensive and impressive work in special education. “

Chester E. Derrick passed in February of 2007.  He received his master’s degree from CEHS in 1958.  He began his teaching career at Hurricane High School in Hurricane, WV, was a principal at John Adams Junior High in Charleston, WV, and was a counselor at Charleston and George Washington High Schools also in Charleston, WV.


WVU faculty selected as first recipient of the Spectrum LGBTQ+ Award

Lisa Platt

Morgantown, W. Va –  Dr. Lisa Platt, assistant professor in the  Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services, was selected as the first recipient for the SPECTRUM LGBTQ+ Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.

The SPECTRUM Award is an award that recognizes research focused on addressing the psychology of gender and sexual minorities, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.  

The research which led to this award focused on studying romantic partner relationships among transgender individuals, providing a more complete understanding of their unique challenges and experiences.

“I started this research at my previous job in Minnesota. From personal experiences, I was motivated to learn more about transgender people in partner relationships and the issues they faced,” said Platt.

Platt began to have an interest in transgender relationships when pursuing her Ph.D. in educational psychology at Pennsylvania State University.

“I worked at the Penn State LGBTQ Center. There was a transgender student who had transitioned from male to female, but had been married to a woman for about five years,” said Platt. “There were so many things that interested me about her story and I had so many questions. Are they still legally married? Her wife had changed identifiers to be married to her husband, but now that ‘he’ was a ‘she,’ did this change things? How would they be able to stay together? How hard was it to be a partner or a transgender individual in a partner relationship?”

These questions are what initially drove Platt to begin her research on transgender relationships. Her first study was a qualitative study surveying 38 transgender participants. They were recruited mainly from transgender social media sites.  The survey asked questions relating to the participants experiences within transgender relationships.

Five themes surfaced from the interviews: (1) the oppressive gender binary system, (2) coming out and disclosure decision, (3) emotional and physical sexuality concerns, (4) healthy relationships are work, and (5) living an authentic life.  

“Through our first survey, we found the main issues that surfaced were focused around disclosure,” stated Platt. “Our participants were most concerned about when, where, and how to talk about their relationships. They also expressed concerns in navigating the changes in their sexual orientation.”

During the study, participants began asking Platt if their partners could participate.  As a result, Platt introduced a second part to the study.

Through the second phase of this study, with a sample of 21 participants, Platt again identified five important themes: (1) considerations with physical, sexual and emotional intimacy, (2) changing sexual orientation labels, (3) safety concerns, (4) marginalization and feelings of isolation, and (5) new appreciation for the gender spectrum.

Platt’s research continues to focus on studying multicultural psychology, specializing in gender diversity and sexual orientation, having most recently implemented a research study focused on analyzing public perceptions of transgender people, which was motivated by the “bathroom bill” legislation in North Carolina.

“I’m excited and honored to have been chosen for this award,” stated Platt.  “I identify as an ally and advocate for the marginalized populations under the LGBTQ umbrella.  I know that psychological research looking into the important considerations for this population is important.  I look forward to being able to continue my multicultural research and bring the knowledge back to the field of counseling psychology.”


CEHS grad student to present on Garden-Based Learning at the NCTM conference

Hanna Stone

Graduate student in the five-year teacher education program at West Virginia University, Hannah Stone, was chosen to present at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting in April.

Stone will be presenting “A Fruity Investigation: Data and Measurement”, accompanied by Dr. Jim Rye, professor of science education at the WVU College of Education and Human Services.

“I first learned about this project through my science methods course with Dr. Melissa Luna,” said Stone. “We used this project and others to learn about creative ways to integrate projects into teaching science and other standards.”

According to Stone, this was her first real introduction to garden-based learning.  

Garden-based learning is an educational strategy which utilizes school gardens for instruction, allowing children to develop skills in math, literacy, science, nutrition, environmental impact and more.

“I quickly became interested in learning more about garden-based learning,” said Stone.  “It was something interesting to me, because it actually made learning meaningful to the students.”

Pioneered by Rye, GBL became a staple in the curriculum of many classrooms at North Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia in 2011.  Since its implementation six years ago, the program has grown from being used in seven classrooms to 25.

According to Rye, “GBL is not limited to the growing season: North students have conducted investigations of Asian greens, beans, strawberries, sunflowers and other plants right in their classrooms. Hannah is taking her experiences with GBL to the next level by providing professional development to other teachers and on a national level.”

Stone met Rye in August of 2014, while in her third year of the five-year teacher education program at CEHS.  Over time, Rye encouraged her to become more engaged with GBL.   

A result of Rye’s encouragement, Stone was placed for her fall internship in Melissa Fornash’s fifth grade classroom at North Elementary. In Fornash’s classroom, Stone was positioned to execute more GBL projects and to learn more about teaching education standards through GBL.

“While I understand not all students are interested in gardening, it is something that most students seem to relate to and it is applicable for use outside of school,” said Stone.  “They [students] begin to understand how it can apply to their life and generally all students seem to enjoy doing a garden project.”

While an intern in Fornash’s classroom, Stone had the opportunity to lead GBL projects including “a fruity investigation” and “let us grow lettuce”.

For the fruity investigation project, students predict whether fruits and vegetables will sink or float.  The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about density and graphing experimental data.  The lettuce project taught the students about fractions using lettuce germination rates.

“The students were really involved in all the projects. They had so many theories on why the fruits or vegetables sank or didn’t sink.  It was really rewarding to see how engaged they were and how each student remained interested in the problem-solving process of figuring out how to get fruits that sunk to float,” said Stone. “For the lettuce project, we were able to even expand on their learning by using the data collected from the project to also learn about means, median, and other calculations.”

Graduating in May, Stone hopes to gain a teaching position in her hometown area of Frederick County, MD, and has every intention of implementing GBL in her future classroom.

“North Elementary has a really strong structure for supporting GBL projects, but I’ve seen the impact it has on learning and am prepared to implement a small system in my own classroom,” said Stone. “I’ve learned how easy it can be to get your hands on a couple grow lights and grow boxes and that’s all you need to get started. GBL gives teachers the ability to get students learning through hands-on processes and it crosses a lot of curriculum and subjects, such as math, science, and reading.”

Stone recently presented on the lettuce project at the 2017 National Association of Professional Development Schools conference in Washington D.C. She will present the fruity investigation project at the 2017 Annual NCTM meeting on April 8, 2017 in San Antonio, TX.

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Message from Dean Gypsy Denzine

As commencement approaches, the College of Education and Human Services is preparing to send 357 education and human service professionals into the workplace. Regardless of where they choose to go, we’re confident that our graduates have the professional preparation they need to flourish in their chosen careers and to help their communities to prosper.

This month’s e-news will introduce you to our upcoming commencement speaker, Dr. Frank Devono, the superintendent of Monongalia County Schools. Dr. Devono is a lifelong West Virginian, educational expert and two-time alumnus of our College.

Also, you will read about five more of our alumni who will be recognized as this year’s Jasper N. Deahl Awardees at our CEHS Alumni Dinner on May 5, 2017. This year’s recipients of the Deahl Award have distinguished themselves at both the state and national levels for their service as counselors and educators, and we look forward to sharing their stories of success with you.

Finally, we’ll celebrate the work of our students and faculty members, who work to make our College and our communities better on a daily basis. We’ll share the story of one of our graduates, Danielle Poling, as well as one of our faculty members, Dr. Melissa Sherfinski.

While we bid a “see you soon” to the class of 2017, we continue to prepare the next successful group of future alumni, even through the summer. Thank you for your support of CEHS as we continue to shape our communities, state and nation through the important work that we do.


Devono to speak at CEHS Commencement

Frank Devano

Dr. Frank Devono, superintendent of Monongalia County Schools, will speak at CEHS’s 2017 Commencement, set for Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 9 a.m. in the West Virginia University Coliseum.

Devono is a two-time graduate of CEHS, having earned both his master’s in education administration and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the College. Prior to his 12 years of service as a superintendent, Devono was the administrative liaison for Harrison County Schools and a school principal for 25 years.

“It’s an honor to have even been considered to speak at Commencement,” Devono said. “I was blown away when I found out that I was selected.  Professionally, this is one of the finest compliments I’ve ever received.”

Devono has been recognized as the West Virginia Superintendent of the Year (in 2011), Technology Administrator of the Year and a WV Department of Education Friend of Foreign Language. He is also a past National Distinguished Principal, having led schools that achieved National Blue Ribbon and state exemplary status.

During his time as a student at CEHS, Devono formed relationships with his professors and classmates that have impacted him throughout his career as an educator and administrator.

“While I was a graduate student, I formed strong bonds with my professors, who worked closely with me and helped me achieve success,” Devono said. “I also met good friends who became my professional colleagues. Over the years, we’ve all grown by gleaning knowledge from one-another.”

Devono found the process of preparing his Commencement speech to be a welcomed opportunity to reflect on his past.

“Writing my speech was a good way to go back and reminisce about all the happy and positive moments I had while I was a student at WVU,” Devono said.

In his speech, Devono hopes to illuminate the characteristics of the graduating class that make them poised for success as they take the next step in their careers.

“I don’t want to tell the graduates how to be successful,” Devono said. “Just that their presence in the room demonstrates they’re already doing the right things.”

Additionally, Devono will draw from some of his favorite works of children’s literature – Dr. Seuss’s  Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Shel Silverstein’s  The Giving Tree and Julia Cook’s  But It’s Not My Fault – to demonstrate how the key lessons in these books can guide young professionals as they begin their careers.

According to Devono, the principles he’s found in children’s books have become a moral compass, a way of staying ethically grounded. Still, Devono acknowledged that some of the best lessons he has learned have come from uncertainty.

“Most of all, I want these students to know that they might not always be walking in the light – that sometimes, they’ll be walking in the dark,” Devono said. “But that’s okay. Sometimes the darkness leads to discovery.”


Five alumni selected as 2017 Jasper N. Deahl Award recipients

The West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services is pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2017 Jasper N. Deahl Award, which honors CEHS alumni for demonstrated leadership in their personal careers, engagement in their communities and/or loyalty to the state of West Virginia or WVU. The 2017 awardees are Eleanor Green, Eric Kincaid, Eric Murphy, Candace Rotruck and Richard Walls.

Eleanor Green

Eleanor Green earned her bachelor’s in social work and master’s in counseling from WVU and proudly marched in the WVU band, before pursuing a dream of living and working in Washington, D.C. After 12 years at home, Green pursued her substitute teacher’s certification and was later hired as a reading interventionist at North Elementary, a position she has held ever since. In her free time, Green volunteers through her church, 4-H and Scouting. Green’s volunteer work includes feeding the homeless and tutoring underprivileged children. She is the founder of the Winter Weather Posse, a Morgantown-based organization that helps Monongalia County senior citizens prepare their homes for inclement weather.

Eric Kincaid

Eric Kincaid has taught for 22 years. For the past 19 years, he’s been at Morgantown High School, where he currently teaches Biology and AP Biology. Kincaid holds his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science education from West Virginia University and his Ed.D. from Walden University. He is certified in biology and general science and is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adulthood science. Kincaid is a 2013 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and was the 2008 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Eric also received the Milken Educator Award, Harvard University Singer Award for Excellence in Secondary Teaching, Siemen’s AP Award for West Virginia and the West Virginia Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

Eric Murphy

Eric Murphy is a clinically trained health educator and psychotherapist who has been employed in corporate, private and community settings since 1992. He attended West Virginia University and Fairmont State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in special education and art education, and earning master’s degrees in community health promotion and community counseling from WVU. Murphy has worked at various not-for-profit organizations, including independent living centers, youth treatment facilities, youth development programs, and both disability and aging communities. He is currently working as a master trainer for the Dibble Institute and at WVU as the Monongalia County Extension Agent for Families and Health. He is also the co-creator and facilitator of the iFather parent program.

Candace Rotruck

Candace Rotruck has served as an educator and school administrator for more than 43 years. Rotruck earned her associate’s degree from Potomac State College and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and special education, respectively, from West Virginia University. Rotruck’s career began in Morgantown, where she worked with students with severe speech and language delays. She continued to educate students with learning disabilities when she moved to Virginia to work for Prince William County Schools. From 1991 to 2003, Rotruck was an assistant principal and principal at Coles Elementary. For the past 14 years, Rotruck has served as the principal for J.W. Alvey Elementary School in Haymarket, Virginia. Rotruck was recognized as the 2014 Virginia School Counselor Association Principal of the Year and received the 2015 Regional Distinguished Principal Award from the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals.  

Richard Walls

Richard Walls is a two-time graduate of West Virginia University, having earned his bachelor of science in math and biology education in 1961, and his master of arts in guidance and counseling in 1963. He holds his doctorate in educational psychology from Pennsylvania State University. After graduating from his doctoral program in 1968, Walls returned to WVU as a professor of educational psychology, where he has remained for nearly 50 years. Walls is a nationally recognized scholar in educational psychology and disability studies, having published countless articles in notable academic journals and books. Walls has mentored numerous CEHS students during his tenure as a researcher and educator and received the Outstanding Teacher Award from West Virginia University in 1971, 1972 and 1988. He was also recognized with the Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award in 1998.

The Jasper N. Deahl Award recipients will be recognized at the annual CEHS Alumni Dinner on May 5th at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, WV.  For more on the award, past recipients and nomination information, please visit the Jasper N. Deahl Award page. 


Student Spotlight: Danielle Poling

Danielle Poling

For some, the decision to attend West Virginia University is an unexpected surprise. For others, it’s something they’ve known all along.

Danielle Poling is one of those Mountaineers who had her eyes set on WVU all her life. A Core native, Poling grew up just 20 minutes outside of Morgantown and often came to campus with her mother, a WVU employee. 

“It’s something I always knew,” Poling said. “I’ve always been a part of this community. I grew up here.”

Poling got an early start on her WVU career through the Access WVU Early College Program. As a sophomore at Clay-Battelle High School, she enrolled in dual-credit courses, and as a senior, she was the first Clay-Battelle student to drive to the WVU campus for courses.

By combining her dual-credit and on-campus courses with AP credits, Poling was able to enroll in the College of Education and Human Service’s five-year teacher program and finish in four years. There, she’s pursued her dream of becoming a secondary English teacher.

“I’ve always wanted to do some kind of job where I helped people, or taught people something,” Poling said. “So I just combined my love of English, reading and writing with my love of helping people. That’s how I got into teaching.”

She’ll be graduating with both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees on May 13, in additional to a wealth of valuable experience and training as a future teacher. In Poling’s time at WVU, she has logged more than 1,000 hours of classroom time at East Fairmont High School. Working with East Fairmont students was one of the highlights of her college career.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Poling said. “It definitely confirms that teaching is my place in the world. I absolutely love it.”

While Poling will receive two degrees at Commencement, she has no intention of stopping there. She plans to pursue her graduate certificate in school principaliship this fall and eventually become an education administrator. Beyond that, Poling wants to ensure that she’s always bringing fresh ideas to her students.

“Something they really stressed in my program was continuing education and making sure that you’re a lifelong learner,” Poling said. “That’s something that I really feel strongly about and will definitely do throughout the rest of my career. I want to continue my education to make sure that I’m the best teacher my kids could expect.”

In Poling’s view, being the best teacher for her students also involves being a coach.

For the past four years, Poling has coached softball for Clay-Battelle Middle School, and she started as the volleyball coach this fall. She coaches both sports on her own, with no assistant coaches.

“Whether I’m coaching or playing, I just love being involved with sports,” she said.

A former high school basketball, volleyball and softball player, Poling’s passion for sports has extended far beyond her time as a varsity athlete. For her, sports are about more than titles and trophies – they’re the key to providing her students with valuable skills that will enrich their lives both in and outside of school.

“I think sports teach students so much about teamwork, responsibility and setting goals,” Poling said. “All those things can be applied in the classroom.”

In fact, Poling has the research to prove this belief. As part of her action research project, a large component of the five-year teaching program, Poling conducted a study to determine whether or not activities like sports, clubs and the arts had an impact on student performance.

Through surveys, classroom observations and grade comparisons of 10th grade students, Poling found that the students who participated in extracurricular activities had better grades and classroom performance than those who did not. It’s a lesson that’s she’ll take with her as she prepares to become a teacher.

“Knowing this now, I can further my research when I get my own classroom,” Poling said. “And I’ll make sure that I’m making accommodations for my students involved in outside activities.”

When Poling isn’t teaching or coaching students, she’s looking for ways to give back to her community. During her college career, Poling was heavily involved in the National Council for Teachers of English Mountaineers, serving as president this past year. The role called for her to organize community outreach, which allowed her to spearhead a book drive for victims of the 2016 West Virginia flood.   

Under Poling’s leadership, the NCTE Mountaineers chapter was able to raise 5,000 books for those in need. Poling transported those books to Webster and Nicholas Counties and set up stands in high-traffic area, allowing people to take as many books as they wanted.

“It was a great experience, a great way of giving back,” Poling said.

Through NCTE Mountaineers, Poling has also volunteered with the Appalachian Prison Book Project, an organization that allows prisoners to borrow and read books while incarcerated. There she’s collected book donations and helped sort books.

Poling’s work as a preservice teacher, coach and volunteer hasn’t left her with much free time, but she isn’t one to shy away from hard work.

“I’ve always been taught growing up that to be competitive, you have to work hard,” Polling said. “In order to be successful, you have to try. That’s something that’s been ingrained in me.”

Currently, Poling is searching for a teaching  job with the intent to stay close to home in West Virginia.


Faculty Spotlight: Melissa Sherfinski

Melissa Sherfinski

Dr. Melissa Sherfinski’s interest in becoming a researcher was sparked by her experience as a kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin amidst the advent of No Child Left Behind. It was then that Sherfinski noticed a palpable shift in how she was perceived as an educator.

“I felt that I went from a respected curriculum designer, colleague, community member and educator in a holistic sense, to somewhat of a first stop in the line of producing ready children to compete in the global knowledge economy,” Sherfinski said. “This repositioning of my role and identity as a teacher actually inspired me to read like mad about the social context of education.”

It was then that Sherfinski, an assistant professor of early childhood and elementary education, decided to pursue her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 2011. There, she studied the homeschooling movement and, more broadly, the relationship between homes and schools. When it was time for Sherfinski to choose where she would begin her career as a professor, she was drawn to WVU for the research opportunities and the environment.

“I chose WVU specifically because I have always been drawn to the Appalachian context and its history. I was intrigued that West Virginia was one of only a handful of states implementing universal pre-kindergarten, and appreciated that there was a great opportunity here to work with doctoral students with qualitative research interests,” Sherfinski said. “I was also impressed by my future colleagues, their work ethic, and their commitment to inquiry-based teacher education.”

Sherfinski’s desire to study West Virginia’s universal pre-kindergarten program led her to participate in a six-year, longitudinal study focusing on the program. She is currently analyzing the third phase of data to examine how different stakeholders throughout the state view practices and policies related to universal pre-kindergarten.

Through her research, Sherfinski has been able to identify some key areas of improvement for West Virginia’s universal pre-kindergarten program, with the ultimate goal of providing more opportunity for students from all backgrounds.

“My research provides evidence that spreading equity-based and strengths-based curriculum and teaching through professional development in teacher education is something that should happen more systematically in universal pre-kindergarten programs in all counties and schools, no matter their demographic makeup,” Sherfinski said.

Sherfinski’s dedication to her work has led to 17 career publications, including top-tier journals such as  Curriculum InquiryEducation Policy Analysis Archives and the  American Journal of Education. She has presented her work throughout the United States, and she recently had the opportunity to share her expertise abroad through presentations in both New Zealand and Ireland. In 2015, she was a national semi-finalist for the American Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, the highest honor in her sub-field.

Sherfinski’s drive is due largely to the inspiration she finds from the teachers she studies, as well as her students and colleagues at CEHS.

“Our teacher candidates and my colleagues are among the best in the country in terms of smarts, dedication and love for what they do,” Sherfinski said. “There are so many people here who deserve to be recognized for their amazing outreach and tireless dedication to the state.”

As she works with future teachers, Sherfinski hope to provide them with the ability to examine and understand their students’ unique situations and backgrounds.

“I want them to understand the power that they possess as a teacher, and specifically the power that their beliefs hold over what they may and may not see, understand, and act upon about the children they teach and the families that they work with,” Sherfinski said.

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CEHS graduates 445, alumna receives presidential honorary doctorate

Degree presentation at the May 2017 Commencement ceremony Gordon Gee, Kathryn Cotrill Vecellio, and Gypsy D Decorated cap at graduation

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, 445 graduates received their degrees from the College of Education and Human Services. They traveled from near and far to participate in the ceremony, and one Regents Bachelor of Arts graduate, Matt Freed, came all the way from China.

Freed, who teaches English at a medical university in Jianzhou, endured well over 24 hours of travel to cross the stage for his degree, which he earned online. According to Freed, holding his RBA will provide him with a wealth of opportunity.

“The rest of the world is wide open now,” Freed said. “That’s what I’m really excited about.”

Kathryn Cotrill Vecellio, an alumna of the College of Education and Human Services, received the Presidential Honorary Doctorate in Counseling Psychology in recognition of her years of service to her community and West Virginia University.

“I’m especially grateful that my recognition is for service,” Vecellio said. “It’s not just something that I do. It has become who I am, and it’s something that I have always been passionate about. It most certainly makes me proud that our University has made service an integral part of its culture and mission.”

Vecellio received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and her master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the College of Human Resources and Education (now CEHS). She founded the Kathryn C. Vecellio Scholarship for CEHS students who demonstrate academic merit, financial need and involvement in service. Vecellio served on the College’s Visiting Committee for 20 years and is also a member of the CEHS Hall of Fame.

Dr. Frank Devono, superintendent of Monongalia County Schools and two-time CEHS graduate, served as the Commencement speaker. He advised the graduates that their character would direct their success and that a clearly defined moral compass would be essential for high achievement.

“As you move through this life, I want you to be aware that your character is always on display,” Devono said. “Who you are doesn’t stop on graduation day. Your character will speak to your work ethic, how you conduct yourself on the job and how well you can play with others. Your character is the force behind your achievement.”

Devono said that the graduates would often experience uncertainty in their professions, but he explained that those uncertain times would lead to greater discovery and personal growth.

President Gee issued a charge to the graduates, calling for them to use their knowledge and experience to serve others and sharing a few of his infamous ‘Gee-isms’ before conferring the degrees.

"Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God," Gee said.

To find out more about where CEHS’ 2017 graduates are headed, visit the College’s  Facebook page.


Faculty Spotlight: Stephanie Lorenze

Stephanie Lorenze In  Dr. Stephanie Lorenze’s clas sroom, everyone is a dancer. Lorenze, a professor in the   Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies, te aches Dance and Movement in PK-12 schools, a class that provides students with what Lorenze calls a ‘danceucation.’

The goal of this ‘danceucation’ is to show future teachers, primarily elementary education majors, how physical movement can be used to teach core concepts like reading and science. And while Lorenze’s lessons are based in educational theory and research, her classes look much different than traditional college lectures.

“We dance every week,” Lorenze said. “The opportunity to do that and see students at the college level engage in dance in a way they’ve never done before, and then take that to their students, is powerful.”

Lorenze began her career as a high school Spanish and mathematics teacher in Bridgeport. There, her role as a dance educator began when the principal asked her to offer a dance course.  

“That totally changed my career,” Lorenze said.  

Over the years, Lorenze’s single dance class grew into a flourishing dance program, to the point that dance classes were all she taught. One of the classes included an auditioned ensemble that attended national and state dance festivals on a yearly basis.  

“My class was a very inclusive space for gender, for students with special needs, for students with varying abilities,” Lorenze said. “And I really started to see, as the years grew, the potential and power that dance education had in improving the overall climate and learning experiences of students.”

Eventually, the success of her dance program inspired Lorenze to pursue her Ed.D. from CEHS in order to more fully research the impact of dance education in schools.

“I saw something unique,” Lorenze said. “I saw something different that I was really passionate about.”

Today, Lorenze continues to be inspired by the power of dance education, noting that it’s a remarkably different field than conventional dance training.

“Dance education is different because it’s asking you to be creative in designing movement, in using it to express ideas, in thinking about why people dance, who in cultures dance and for what reasons,” Lorenze said. “Thinking about the complex aspects of dance is what dance education is about.”

Most of Lorenze’s current research is centered around the integration of movement with academic content areas such as reading/language arts, mathematics and science. For example, she’s worked with second grade students to combine movement with poetry lessons. The children are asked to design movement based upon poetry and also to write poetry based on movement, allowing them to think abstractly about movement.  

“It’s a form of literacy,” Lorenze said. “They’re thinking about not only words and languages as literacy, but movement as literacy.”

The CEHS students who work with Lorenze are encouraged to break out of their comfort zones and connect to movement. Classes are held in spaces where the students can dance, with the aim of showing the students how to embrace their unique dancing abilities.

“When we’re talking about dance education, we’re going with the understanding that everyone is a dancer in some way, shape or form,” Lorenze said. “It’s a matter of finding that connection between dance and you. For some people, it’s in a physical movement. For some people, it is a way to communicate an idea or feeling that they can’t put into words. For some people, it’s watching something and interpreting the movement in front of them.”

Beyond the mechanics of dance and the use of movement in teaching, Lorenze also hopes that her students learn how to adapt to uncertain classroom situations and to have the courage to try new techniques.

“I want them to learn that it’s okay to take a risk in the moment and to be flexible with that risk, improvising their way through it,” Lorenze said.

Throughout her years as a dance educator, Lorenze has witnessed the remarkable power of dance in the classroom. In a recent presentation, she cited an example of one of her former high school students, Kevin.

Kevin, who transferred to Lorenze’s school during his sophomore year, frequently missed classes during his first semester there. After enrolling in dance, however, he never missed a day of his second semester.

When Lorenze asked Kevin about this change, he simply replied, “I wouldn’t want to miss a dance class.”

Lorenze’s work with students – from small children to graduate researchers—has demonstrated the potential for dance to engage learners at all levels and abilities. Throughout all of her work, this has been Lorenze’s most significant finding.  

“My biggest takeaway is the way that dance experience can bring people together who you never thought would find a common ground,” Lorenze said.

To learn more about Dr. Lorenze’s research, visit our  YouTube Channel to watch her EdTalk at the CEHS Celebration of Scholars. 

Student Spotlight: Jacinda Hickman

Jacinda Hickman

CEHS Student Ambassador, rising senior Jacinda Hickman, always knew that she wanted to pursue a job that would allow her to impact the lives others. Born into a family with a history of hearing loss, Hickman learned sign language before she learned to speak. 

“It’s kind of like how babies learn baby signs, but I just continued to do that throughout my life,” Hickman said. “I use that to communicate with my parents.”

Hickman’s parents are both deaf – her mother is profoundly deaf, and her father uses a hearing aid, but communicates primarily using sign language. One of Hickman’s two sisters is also deaf in one ear. Working to help others communicate was something that Hickman had been doing her whole life, but she didn’t know that it could be her career.

When she started evaluating her college options as a high school student, Hickman discovered CEHS’ speech pathology and audiology major. After viewing the courses within the program, she was confident that she had found her fit.

“It was perfect,” Hickman said. “It was exactly me. So, I decided to pursue that and I stuck with it.”

When she started her freshman year at WVU, Hickman was intimidated by the strict requirements for acceptance into the program. At the time, only the 45 students with the top GPAs after their first two years of college gained admission. The rest had to choose other majors.

Hickman was hesitant to follow through with the program, knowing that making the cut would be a challenge. Still, she persevered after realizing that speech pathology and audiology was her clear choice after taking Introduction to Communication Disorders. 

“It was the foundation of everything, a brief overview,” Hickman said. “But it was really cool to learn about everything in the field in just one class. It got me really excited for the major.” 

Having finished her junior year, her first as an official speech pathology and audiology student,  Hickman is grateful that she stuck with the program and continues to thrive in her program coursework. Her favorite course this past year, and one of the more difficult courses in the program, was Phonetics.

“Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I really enjoyed taking my phonetics class,” Hickman said. “I’d say I was kind of good at it. I still find myself transcribing speech in my mind.” 

To become more involved at CEHS, Hickman applied to become one of the College’s Student Ambassadors, a role that she’s served in for the past three years. As a Student Ambassador, she’s had the opportunity to attend various recruitment events and get to know the College’s incoming students. She enjoys maintaining those relationships after the students enroll.

“It was nice to get to see them, see their schedules and give them tips on what professors to take and what to do when traveling between campuses,” Hickman said. “They care about me, and I care about them. It’s a really great thing.”

And when she’s working as a Student Ambassador, Hickman shares her freshman year experience with potential speech pathology and audiology students. 

“I always tell my students on tours that if this is what you want to do, you have to fight, you have to study,” Hickman said. “You have to give it your all, because it’s what you’re passionate about.”

As she prepares for her senior year and hopes to enter CEHS’ master’s program in speech-language pathology, Hickman is about to reap the rewards of her hard work.

“There were times, all through my pre-major courses, that I just wasn’t sure that I was going to make it,” Hickman said. “But I did make it, and I can look back and say that it was so worth it.”


Alumni Spotlight: Keisha Kibler

Keisha Kibler

Last summer, Keisha Hopkins Kibler packed up her old classroom in Preston County and prepared to move her teaching materials to a new building not far away.

Kibler, a Mercer County native and 2003 graduate of CEHS’ five-year teacher education program, has spent the last 12 years as an English and language arts teacher in Arthurdale, W.Va. She spent the majority of that time at West Preston Middle School, which transitioned to a new K-8 building (renamed as West Preston School) at the beginning of the 2016 school year.

“It was an emotional experience for me,” Kibler said. “A lot of teachers got started there.”

Many young teachers did get their start at West Preston Middle School.  In fact, many started in Kibler’s classroom, and many more will continue to learn from Kibler in her new classroom at West Preston School.  In her time as an educator, Kibler has served as a supervising teacher for 12 CEHS preservice teachers, many of whom are now working in classrooms throughout the state of West Virginia.

Kibler encourages her preservice teachers to try new techniques in the classroom and to put their knowledge to practical use.

“My classroom is a space where preservice teachers can bridge theory to practice, make mistakes and learn how to grow [the class] as a community,” Kibler said.

And as the adjunct professor of two English methods courses at WVU, Kibler has more insight into her preservice teachers’ backgrounds than most other supervising teachers.

“It’s an interesting dynamic for me, because I know what they are learning in the classroom” Kibler said.

Though most of the preservice teachers who work with Kibler are only in her classroom for eight weeks, the relationships she’s formed with them have continued long afterwards.

“I still talk to many of my former preservice teachers, sometimes on a weekly basis,” Kibler said. “They’ll call to ask me a question, get advice on something that’s going on in their classrooms, and sometimes, just to talk.”

One of those former preservice teachers, Tim Mittan, is now an English and language arts teacher right down the hall from Kibler. Mittan holds his master of arts in curriculum from CEHS and was also a student in Kibler’s English methods courses. Over the course of their relationship, Kibler has taught Mittan some key lessons about being an educator.

“Keisha taught me the importance of being aware of my students’ backgrounds,” Mittan said. “Some of our students go home and deal with things that kids should never have to deal with. Knowing that changes my approach to teaching.”

Kibler’s outstanding service as a supervising teacher was recognized when she was named the inaugural recipient of the Di Tosto and Marockie Outstanding Supervising Teacher Award. The award, established by Drs. Evelyn Di Tosto and Mary Marockie, provides $1,000 each year to a full-time supervising teacher with at least ten years of experience who has mentored at least four full-time student teachers.

“I was shocked when I found out that I received this award,” Kibler said. “There are many deserving educators who work with preservice teachers, so it was an honor to be chosen.”

In order to continue to learn and grow as an educator Kibler is currently pursuing her doctorate in curriculum, literacy and cultural studies from CEHS. According to Kibler, her time as a student here has molded her into the teacher she is today.

“At CEHS, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a lifelong learner,” Kibler said. “The College planted that seed in my mind and has given me the tools to do that. It’s what keeps me going in the field.”

For more about the Di Tosto and Marockie Outstanding Supervising Teacher Award, look out for the CEHS Spring 2017 Magazine, which will be mailed in June.


Thirty CEHS representatives present at AERA 2017

From April 27 through May 1, 30 CEHS faculty and students presented their research and facilitated discussions at the American Educational Research Association's Annual Meeting.

The following faculty and students presented at AERA:

Becoming Response-able Teachers:  How Sustained Inquiry Mediated Prospective Teachers’ (Re) Authoring of Self. Audra Slocum, WVU; Sharon B. Hayes, WVU; Keisha Hopkins Kibler, Preston County Schools; Casey King, Harrison County Schools; Jessica B. Lough, WVU; Michael Lane, WVU.

Boom and Bust, Rage and Rust: Rethinking Rural Community Cohesion and the Rural School Superintendency. Kathleen M. Budge; Boise State University; Erin McHenry-Sorber, WVU.

The Commodification of Instructional Improvement in an Age of High-State Accountability. Helen M. Hazi, WVU.

Designing Creativity at the Academy:  Examining Expert Practice in an Interdisciplinary Collaborative Environment. Malayna Bernstein, WVU.

Mathematical Learning Experiences:  Leveraging Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Existing Perspectives to Support New Understandings. Johnna Bolyard, WVU; Keri Duncan Valentine, WVU.

Noticing Students’ Thinking in Classroom Artifacts from an Integrated Math and Science Unit. Melissa J. Luna, WVU; Sarah Selmer, WVU.

Poverty and Exclusion:  Dalit Women’s Schooling in Kerala, India. Sera Mathew, WVU.

Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Debugging During Block-Based Visual Programming. ChanMin Kim, University of Georgia; Jiangmei Yuan, WVU; Laucas Vasconcelos, University of Georgia; Minyoung Shin; Roger B. Hill, University of Georgia. 

Recognizing Value of Technology:  Observation and Review Activities to Enhance Utility Value Toward Technology Integration. Ugur Kale, WVU.

The Relationship Between Rates of Advanced Math Achievement and Time Spent in School:  A Multilevel Exploratory Analysis. Scott Joseph Peters, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater; Karen E. Rambo-Hernandez, WVU; Jonathan A. Plucker, Johns Hopkins University.

Self-Study Narratives of Our Two Years of Experience with the edTPA. Stephanie Cronenberg, Rutgers; Dori Leigh Harrison, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Marilyn A. Johnston-Parsons, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Alexis Jones, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Stacey J. Korson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Natasha C. Murray Everett, WVU; Michael Parrish, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Semantic Processing and Cognitive Flexibility in Hypertext Environments. Dale S. Niederhauser, WVU. 

A Study of Student Engagement in Test Feedback in a Large Undergraduate Engineering Course. Jiangmei Yuan, WVU; Siddharth Savadatti, University of Georgia.

Teachers as Learners:  A Model to Build Teacher Content Knowledge Through Engineering Design. Reagan Curtis, WVU; Johnna Bolyard, WVU; Darran Cairns, WVU; Sera Mathew, WVU; David Luke Loomis, WVU; Kelly Watts.

Teachers Engaged in STEM and Literacy (TESAL):  Engineering Design for Middle School Teaching and Learning. Reagan Curtis, WVU; Johnna Bolyard, WVU; Darran Cairns, WVU; David Luke Loomis, WVU; Sera Mathew, WVU; Kelly Watts.

“Why Don’t Apple Trees Grow in the Desert?” Exploring Children’s Everyday Thinking in Science. Melissa J. Luna, WVU; Ashley N. Murphy, WVU.

In addition to presenting at AERA, CEHS representatives chaired conference sessions. The following faculty served as chairs:

Dr. Reagan Curtis chaired Advancing the Methodology of Mixed Methods Research.

Dr. Helen Hazi chaired Thinking About the Field:  Supervision Scholars Think About Its Past, Present, and Future.

Dr. Denise Lindstrom chaired Connected Forms of Professional Development:  Social Media, Open Online Courses, and Teacherpreneurs, and Exploring Time, Place, and Space With Digital Media.

Dr. Melissa Sherfinski chaired Broadening Perspectives and Fostering Responsive Approaches to Early Childhood Teacher Education and Professional Learning. 

Dr. M Cecil Smith chaired Studies in Adult Literacy and Adult Learning, and The Underpinnings of Cognitive Flexibility and Instructional Implications:  An Interactive Symposium.

For more information about the conference, visit the AERA website.

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CEHS graduates emeritus celebrate Emeritus Weekend

Group of Emeritus students sitting around a table

On June 3, 2017, CEHS Graduates Emeritus gathered for a reception to celebrate Emeritus Weekend, a University-wide event that recognizes graduates of 50 years or more.  The weekend,  full of events, sessions, tours of campus and more, allows emeritus alumni the opportunity to reminisce and reconnect with their beloved alma mater.

group of emeritus students seated at a table

vintage photo of wvu footballCurrently there are over 13,000 Graduates Emeritus for all of WVU.  Of those, 2,176 are graduates of CEHS.   We are proud each year to have the opportunity to celebrate and remember the past with our many emeritus alumni, as well as our emeritus faculty.  




E Moore HallThis year, as WVU celebrates its 150th anniversary and CEHS celebrates its 90th, we interviewed the group about their time in Morgantown and learned about the WVU of the past, a time when: Commuter students would pass time between classes by staring out the windows in Elizabeth Moore Hall.

Students lined up around the block to watch two movies for the price of one at the local movie theater.

Vintage photo of formalwearThe Dean of Women, Edna Arnold, insisted that freshman woman meet her every Thursday afternoon for tea. Required attire included elbow-length gloves. “If she told you to do something, you did it,” one alumna said.


vintage photo of female student in dormStudents who lived in the dorms had a curfew.

All freshman males had to wear high black socks and beanies to eat in the dining hall, a rule that was enforced by a WVU football player who guarded the door.






vintage photo of phys ed classFemale students who wore shorts for physical education courses had to cover themselves with trench coats while walking across campus.



For more photos from the 2017 CEHS Graduate Emeritus Reception, please  view the photo album on our Facebook page!

To learn more about the Graduate Emeritus weekend, which takes place the first weekend in July each year, visit  http://www.alumni.wvu.edu/events/graduate-emeritus.


Student Spotlight: Sean Ray

Sean Ray

Sean Ray, a secondary education social studies major, discovered WVU by chance, and it was love at first sight. A Buffalo, N.Y., native, Ray visited WVU on his first college tour with his grandparents, who live in Virginia.

“WVU was the last stop on the tour,” Ray said. “No matter what I was doing or where I was looking, that visit just always stayed in the back of my head. I just loved it right away.”

When he arrived on campus as a freshman, Ray was overwhelmed by all of the new faces and experiences. He didn’t join any groups or clubs, and his athletic training major wasn’t the right fit. It was then that he considered switching his major to education, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Teaching was always something that I thought about,” Ray said. “It was always something that I could see myself doing.”

Since history was his favorite class growing up, Ray enrolled in the five-year teacher education program with the intent to teach high school civics and government courses.

“I love politics,” Ray said. “I think it’s the most relevant thing to be studying at any point, because the politics of today are the history of tomorrow.”

During his time at WVU, Ray has also learned that the key to success at the University is to get involved in WVU’s many student organizations. Now an active member of the campus community, Ray acknowledges the difference that joining student groups has made in his college career.

“The second I got active, my grades went up,” Ray said. “I enjoyed being here so much more. And I really haven’t stopped involving myself since then.”

Today, Ray rows with the men’s rowing team, volunteers through Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, and serves as a CEHS Student Ambassador. When he’s speaking with new and prospective students, Ray shares the value of campus engagement.

“I tell them not to let the size of the University intimidate them and to make sure they get involved,” Ray said. “Because that’s where you’re going to find your best friends. That’s what’s going to keep you engaged.”

Ray’s work as a CEHS Student Ambassador has not only allowed him to connect with other students, but it has also provided him with unique opportunities that he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

This spring, Ray had the opportunity to represent CEHS on WVU Extension Day at the West Virginia Legislature. His interest in politics was well served by the chance to meet and talk with state government officials.

“That was probably the best experience I’ve had – going out there and getting to talk to legislators,” Ray said. “It was nice to see everybody and get to know West Virginia more, since I’m not from here. I’d never been to the capitol building before. It was a special day.”

A rising senior, Ray will be filling new leadership roles for the 2017-2018 academic year. He’ll serve as the president of the men’s rowing team and the treasurer for the Sports Club Federation, the largest student-run club sports organization in the country.

Beginning July 1, Ray will take on another role at CEHS as the student representative to the College’s  Visiting Committee (advisory board) which is comprised of individuals who help connect CEHS research and teaching activities with the broader community.

“I think it will be a huge learning experience, and I’ll be able to take a lot of what I observe and engage in into any future career that I have,” Ray said.

Though Ray still has two years left at WVU as a student in the five-year teacher program, he’s already begun to consider his career options upon graduation. He might pursue a conventional teaching path, but he is also thinking about applying to law school or teaching internationally.

Ray’s interest in international work came after he studied abroad in Münster, Germany, last summer, an experience that he found to be incredibly valuable.

“You’re out there by yourself, and it’s one of the most important things you can do for self-growth,” Ray said. “It’s really beneficial for somebody teaching social studies to view other cultures from the inside.”

The past three years at WVU have brought Ray challenges, opportunities and significant personal growth. His next two years here are sure to offer him even more.


Faculty Spotlight: Johnna Bolyard

Johnna Bolyard

Dr. Johnna Bolyard, a mathematics education professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies, is on a mission to make mathematics accessible for all teachers and students.

“I’m a very big believer that everybody can learn math, and I think we have this narrative that either you’re a math person or you’re not,” Bolyard said. “I have never believed that.  I feel, in many ways, it’s my job to prove that wrong and to figure out ways to help people change their perspective and to teach in ways which people can learn.”

Bolyard’s methods courses are primarily comprised of elementary education students, many of whom do not feel that mathematics is their strongest subject; however, they must be able to grasp mathematical methods in order to teach the subject to their students.

“Elementary education teachers are generalists – they have to know everything,” Bolyard explained. “And it’s no secret that a lot of folks who go into elementary education don’t really like math.  Most of them never have. If you ask them, they’ll probably identify more as reading specialists.”

After noticing this trend among elementary education students, Bolyard and her CEHS colleague,  Dr. Keri Valentine, decided to investigate students’ experiences with mathematics. The premise of the research is to find out what past struggles the students bring to the classroom and to investigate ways to reverse those students’ negative perceptions of the subject.

“We wanted to find out more about what they brought to our work,” Bolyard said. “And if we could understand a little bit more about how they experienced mathematics throughout their lives, we might be able to better respond to how we can support them in being more open and thinking about new ways that they can support their students in the subject in the future.”

Through their research, Bolyard and Valentine have found the practice of engaging students in productive struggle as an effective means of teaching mathematics. According to Bolyard, the concept of productive struggle, encouraging learning through numerous attempts at solving a problem, has proven success in the classroom.

“Research indicates that struggle is a part of learning,” Bolyard said. “And, in fact, it is really one of the essential elements to truly learning something new.”

However, getting future teachers on board with the idea of productive struggle is a challenge, since encouraging students to struggle seems counterintuitive.

“Most future teachers, when they think of struggle, think about it as something as they’re supposed to remove from the classroom – particularly with math,” Bolyard said. “But productive struggle doesn’t mean that the student just sits and struggles and cries, not getting anywhere. It actually means that you’re working on a big idea; you’re working on a new idea, so you’re challenging yourself through it.”

This April, Bolyard and Valentine presented their findings at the  American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference. The conference, held annually, allows researchers to share their findings and find new inspiration for their work. Bolyard has been attending since her time as a doctoral student, and she’s rarely missed a conference.

“Being able to share your research, ideas and work, then getting feedback, is very valuable,” Bolyard said. “Getting a sense of what others are doing that connects to my work also helps me to think about it a little differently.”

Throughout the course of her time as a researcher, Bolyard has made many discoveries, but one stands out above the rest.

“Teaching is incredibly complex,” Bolyard said. “I don’t know that that’s a discovery; I think I always knew that. But the more I research and the more I learn emphasizes that point, underlines it and bolds it.”


Morgantown Rotary Club establishes Morgantown Rotary Club/Dr. Hugh Lindsay Hearing Aid Fund at CEHS

Hugh Lindsay

For many Americans, hearing aids are a necessity, but they are also financially unattainable. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids, but the high cost creates a barrier to access.

This is one reason that the Morgantown Rotary Club has established the Morgantown Rotary Club/Dr. Hugh Lindsay Hearing Aid Fund at CEHS. The fund, which will help provide hearing aids to low-income clients of the WVU Hearing Center, was created in honor of the late Dr. Hugh Lindsay, M.D., Ph.D.

For Lindsay, a Morgantown physician and devoted member of the Morgantown Rotary Club, the cost of hearing aids was a shock that inspired him to help others.

“He realized that hearing aids were extremely expensive and not covered by insurance when he actually bought a hearing aid for himself,” said Helen Lindsay, Dr. Lindsay’s widow. “And there were so many people who could not afford hearing aids, even the ones with insurance.”

After discovering what hearing aids cost, Lindsay began to investigate ways that he could help people access hearing aids. Eventually, he found that used hearing aids could be recycled, and he decided to raise awareness for this cause. 

“He made a huge effort to inform people that used hearing aids could be reused,” Helen Lindsay said. “He put up posters, he sent out letters and he even had a public service announcement on the radio. He did everything he could think of to publicize the need for hearing aids and collected quite a few.”

Lindsay worked through the Morgantown Rotary Club as much as he could to collect used hearing aids.

“My husband really valued Rotary,” Helen Lindsay said. “It’s the one organization that he spent a great deal of time with. The Morgantown Rotary Club does so much.”

After Lindsay’s death in 2015, his fellow Rotarians wanted to continue to help with this cause, as well as to honor his memory. In order to do that, Dave Raese, a member of the Morgantown Rotary Club and current district governor of Rotary District 7530, started looking into ways that the club could help provide hearing aids to those in need. Raese, who had worked closely with Lindsay on the board of the Morgantown Rotary Club, found this task more complicated than expected.

When speaking with a speech-language pathologist, Raese learned that most of today’s hearing aids are customized to individual wearers. As a result, used hearing aids are not really transferable from person to person.

“She told me they really don’t make them that way anymore,” Raese said.

However, after crossing paths with a representative from CEHS, Raese discovered that the best way to connect people with hearing aids was to create a fund for the WVU Hearing Center.

“Our hearing center provides our students with valuable training and a way to serve the local community,” said Dr. Jayne Brandel, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “We look forward to using this fund to continue that service and to help those in need of hearing aids.”

Beyond the help the fund provides to those in need, it is also a fitting way to honor a man who gave so much to the Morgantown community.

“I thought this would be to [Dr. Lindsay’s] liking as a way to honor him,” Raese said. “It’s also a way to do some good in the community and help people. The College is making it easy for us to do that.”


CEHS mourns loss of former dean

Anne Nardi

It is with great sorrow that we share the news of Dr. Anne H. Nardi’s passing on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Dr. Nardi served in many positions at CEHS, including her roles as interim dean and dean from 2002 to 2008.

“Dr. Anne Nardi was a long-standing faculty member and administrator in our College,” said Gypsy Denzine, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “She left a true legacy and we all benefit from her outstanding service as dean. Dr. Nardi was committed to student success, modeled high standards in all tasks, lived the WVU Land-Grant mission and truly loved being a part of the WVU community. She was kind and generous in sharing her time and wisdom. The entire Nardi family is closely tied to the WVU family.”

Nardi earned her BA in in French from Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), in 1964, her MA in behavioral disabilities from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1966 and her PhD in life-span developmental psychology from West Virginia University in 1971.

Nardi had a storied career at the College of Education and Human Resources (now CEHS), including serving as chair of the Department of Educational Psychology from 1985 to 1996, as associate dean for academic affairs from 1997 to 2002, and as interim dean and dean of the college from 2002 to 2008.

In 2008, Nardi returned to the faculty as a professor of educational psychology until her retirement in 2014. She briefly came out of retirement in 2015 to serve as interim chair of the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development.

Outside of CEHS, Nardi was the director of the Center for Guided Design, a fellow in the International Society for Exploring Alternatives to Teaching and Learning and a member of the board of directors for the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning. She was also an active member of the West Virginia Teacher Education Advisory Committee.

Even after her retirement, Nardi remained a tireless supporter of CEHS and regularly attended College events. Her commitment to West Virginia University was honored in 2016 when she was inducted into The Order of Vandalia, a recognition bestowed upon the most loyal servants of West Virginia University.

Nardi’s loss is deeply felt by all current and former CEHS faculty, staff and students who knew her.

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Alumnus selected as Monongalia County Teacher of the Year

Kevin Keiffer

Just four years into his teaching career at North Elementary School in Morgantown, W.Va., Kevin Kieffer learned that he had been selected as the school’s nominee for Monongalia County Teacher of the Year. Then, Kieffer learned that he’d won.

“That was a surprise,” Kieffer said. “North Elementary just has absolutely amazing teachers, so to get the nomination from them was such an honor. And then, to find out that I got the award for the entire county was baffling.”

Though Kieffer has been recognized for his excellence as an educator, he didn’t always aspire to become a teacher. While in high school, Kieffer considered becoming an architect and then enrolled in culinary arts courses to become a chef. When neither option felt like the right fit, Kieffer enrolled at WVU Parkersburg as an education major.

“I realized as I was coming out of school that teaching might be something that was up my alley, but I didn’t know for sure until I took my first education course,” Kieffer said. “I had observational hours inside of a first-grade classroom at the time, and as soon as I left on my first day, I knew that teaching was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”  

After finishing his bachelor’s degree at WVU Parkersburg, Kieffer followed a friend to Morgantown and began working as a long-term substitute teacher for Monongalia County. He also enrolled in CEHS’ online master’s degree program in  Instructional Design and Technology, which allowed him the flexibility to work full-time and further his education.

“I don’t know that I could have gotten a master’s degree had it not been online,” Kieffer said. “Since I had already graduated college, I wasn’t interested in going back to college. The online aspect of [the program] was really great because it was self-paced.”

According to Kieffer, a critical component of his master’s program was learning the rationale behind certain teaching methods. This background was helpful in informing him about how to use classroom technology in the most beneficial way.

“When it comes to technology, we need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing in the classroom and the best ways to introduce things to students,” Kieffer said. “We need to do this in an effective and efficient way so we’re not wasting time.”

Keiffer and North Elementary Principal, Natalie Webb

Kieffer completed his master’s program in 2013 and stayed in Morgantown as a long-term substitute at North Elementary, a position that led to his current role as a fourth-grade teacher. Before accepting the permanent teaching position there, Kieffer was already aware that the school would provide him with the environment he needed to be a successful teacher.

“I ended up staying here because, in the years that I spent as a substitute, I absolutely loved the school system and the support that you get from administration and from the board office,” Kieffer said.

In his classroom, Kieffer works to educate students in both academics and in important life skills. Most recently, he’s emphasized goal-setting and accountability with his class.

“I really push for student accountability,” Kieffer said. “I want my students to work hard because they want to work hard, not because that’s what I expect them to do. It’s definitely made a big different because they set their own goals, and they’re looking to be successful in those.”

Beyond his role as a fourth-grade teacher, Kieffer serves as an instructor to aspiring teachers enrolled at WVU, teaching Education 601: Contexts of Education. Though he typically teaches young children, Kieffer found this new experience to be rewarding and challenging.

“I was a little nervous to go from teaching fourth grade to teaching adults, but I found out I loved it,” Kieffer said. “Teaching more college classes is probably something I'd look to do in the future. It was a great experience.”

As for Kieffer’s other future plans, he’s considering pursuing his math certification and possibly his principal certification For the time being, however, he’s happy to be where he is.

“I don’t see anything changing in the near future because I absolutely love being in the classroom,” Kieffer said.

As the Monongalia County Teacher of the Year, Kieffer will be a candidate for the 2018 West Virginia State Teacher of the Year. The results will be announced in September 2018.


Student Spotlight: Sally Ayob

Sally Ayob

Before moving from Egypt to the United States in 2011, Sally Ayob researched doctoral programs all over the world. Knowing that she needed to perfect her knowledge of the English language before enrolling, Ayob searched for programs that would provide her with additional language training.  

“I felt like I really needed to improve my skills with the language before starting at this level,” Ayob said. “When you’re coming to study for a doctoral degree, you can’t be learning how to make a sentence. You’re here to argue, to research, to read.”

Ayob’s search for the perfect program led her to WVU, where the opportunities for international students were unlike any other. She chose to move her family to Morgantown because WVU enabled her to pursue a formalized program of study in English as a second language and the opportunity to take a TOEFL exam.

“It was a very organized and very helpful way to learn English,” Ayob said. “This was the only university that provided that.”  

Six years later, Ayob is nearing the end of her doctoral program at CEHS, and in April 2017, Ayob officially became a U.S. citizen.

“It’s just a different feeling to know that you aren’t foreign anymore,” Ayob said. “Finally, this is home.”

In Egypt, Ayob earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in instructional design and technology and worked as a teacher for 13 years. The time that she spent at the head of a classroom further sparked her interest in instructional design, and more specifically, in student assessment.

“Working with students helped to get my attention about how assessment plays an important role in evaluating students,” Ayob said. “Assessment is not always an accurate depiction of how a student does in the classroom. Sometimes a very excellent student gets a low score, and a poor student gets a high score.”

Now approaching the final year of her doctoral program, Ayob is working toward the completion of her dissertation. The dynamic courses she took throughout her program of study made settling on a dissertation topic difficult.

“I changed my mind a lot,” Ayob said. “Each time I was in a class or reading research, I found topics I wanted to learn more about. I had to discuss the topics with my dissertation committee to decide which one would be best to study.”

Ayob’s past experience with student assessment eventually led her to her topic, which specifically focuses on electronic assessment. She is most drawn to assessment because “it’s difficult to know what a student knows.”

More broadly, Ayob studies the way technology factors into today’s classrooms and what attending class means in an increasingly virtual world. Though she admits technology has made a difference in the way classrooms are run, Ayob maintains that the principles of classroom management remain the same.

“I think it’s more of an issue of changing our ideas about dividing class time to engage students more,” Ayob said.  "It’s not necessarily different, but it’s more effective.”

Ayob has grown a lot as a CEHS student, but the most valuable lesson that Ayob learned has been about learning itself.

“Here, I’ve learned how to enjoy learning,” Ayob said. “I used to view learning as stressful, but my instructors have advised me to enjoy what I’m learning and link my classes together.”


Faculty Spotlight: Chris Schimmel

Chris Schimmel

Dr. Chris Schimmel, associate professor in the CEHS Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology, spends a large portion of her time as an educator teaching students about the significant role that school counselors play in classrooms and communities.

Through her work, Schimmel illustrates that school counselors do much more than change students’ schedules and provide information about college scholarships. These duties, often associated with the stereotypical guidance counselor, are just a small part of the services that professional school counselors provide.

“Professional school counselors work to design, manage, deliver and implement a comprehensive school counseling program that serves every student in the building,” Schimmel said. “School counselors typically focus their energies on three areas – attendance, behavior and academics. They are always working to help a school improve their overall mission.” 

In her classroom, Schimmel provides future school counselors with the tools and tactics they need to help kids deal with difficult life situations. Some of these tactics, including group counseling and impact therapy, are the focus of her research.

Impact therapy is a multi-sensory, creative approach to counseling that incorporates props and activities like writing, drawing and movement to engage clients and help them retain what they discuss. Schimmel argues that impact therapy is particularly effective for children.

“If you go to the counselor and it’s really boring, you’re not going to remember as much or internalize as much as you would if we make a concept interesting or you’re engaged in the process,” Schimmel said. “Counseling for kids has to be more engaging than just sitting and talking. You want to tap into both sides of their brains.”

Schimmel’s belief in the value of school counseling inspired her to reach out to the West Virginia schools impacted by severe floods in June 2016. A former school counselor at Herbert Hoover High School, one of the schools that experienced the most flood damage, Schimmel

had a personal connection to the flood victims. With an understanding of the need for school counseling in traumatic situations like this, she searched for ways that she could help.

“We don’t usually think that students would be excited to go to school, but losing their school changes the structure of their lives,” Schimmel said. “It’s a place they go five days a week, 180 days a year, where they feel safe.”

To support the school counselors who lost years of materials, Schimmel reached out via Facebook and a popular school counseling listserv, CESNET, to enlist the help of her colleagues in the counseling community. As a result of her efforts, school counselors from all over the country offered donations and materials to those who lost everything.

According to Schimmel, this was a vital step in beginning the healing process for the children who experienced this catastrophic event.

“Trained school counselors provide students with safe spaces to process trauma and talk about how they’re feeling; they can bring kids together to discuss their grief so they know they’re not alone,” Schimmel said. “There’s no dollar amount for the value of that.”

Ultimately, Schimmel’s devotion to her profession stems from her passion for improving the lives of children. This is the trait that she works to instill in every student who passes through her classroom.

“I hope that by the time everybody has me for at least one class that they have some kind of passion or a heart for being an advocate for children and adolescents,” Schimmel said. “If they can leave with that passion, I think the rest will fall into place for them.”

CEHS professors collaborate on textbook chapter

Kim Floyd

Dr. Kim Floyd of CEHS’ Department of Special Education, and Dr. Neal Shambaugh the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, are no strangers to collaboration. The pair has worked together to write two textbook chapters, one of which was recently published.

Their newest chapter, included in the  Handbook of Research on Digital Content, Mobile Learning, And Technology Integration Models in Teacher Education, is called “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines for Mobile Devices and Technology Integration in Teacher Education.” The section discusses how classroom technology can be used to support all students, and more specifically, how educators can integrate mobile devices into their classrooms to engage a diverse range of learners.

Neal Shambaugh

“Neal and I both have a passion for reaching and connecting with students,” Floyd said. “We both feel that every student can be successful when given the support he or she needs. There is a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes for classroom teachers and we wanted to highlight a way that would support their success, thus supporting the success of the K-12 learners in their charge.”

For Floyd and Shambaugh, the process of collaborating on the chapter was as much an opportunity to learn from one another as it was to share their expertise. Floyd’s background in assistive and educational technology and Shambaugh’s extensive knowledge of instructional design have made for a mutually beneficial partnership.

“Kim teaches numerous courses and I try to help her document what she does through my lens of instructional design and to assist in the writing process,” Shambaugh said. “As co-author, I’m really learning from her.”  

“With our backgrounds being different, the chapter became fresh and new learning for each of us,” Floyd added. “There were times when I truly relied on his expertise, and vice versa.”

In their work, Floyd and Shambaugh have studied the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which encourages classroom teachers to create environments that allow learning opportunities for all students. According to Shambaugh, UDL has traditionally been applied to special education classrooms, but the practice can be used in any classroom setting.

“UDL is really something for all educators to think about –developmentally appropriate education taking into account the needs of each person, along with the nature of the content to be learned, and the reality of the learning setting,” Shambaugh said.

Beyond its application in the classroom, UDL has a more personal significance for Floyd as the mother of a son with special needs. Floyd’s son, Kolby, has benefitted greatly from teachers who have implemented UDL in their classrooms, reinforcing Floyd’s belief in UDL’s potential. Furthermore, Floyd’s partnership with Shambaugh has helped her to understand ways she could support Kolby.

“After he met my son, Neal became very intrigued by how Kolby could be so successful in one environment but struggle significantly in another,” Floyd said.  “The dialogues we had as friends about my son’s struggles really helped to break down the issues in a structured way, focusing on different aspects of the environment. We realized that together we had a great deal to say about the power of the learning environment and lesson planning to support all students, those diagnosed with challenges and those without.”

Floyd and Shambaugh’s recent publications are not the end of their collaborative partnership; the two hope to continue their work with UDL to get more educators engaged with the concept.

“I could see us editing an entire book on how others have implemented UDL in teacher education and in public schools,” Shambaugh said. “UDL is an important topic that we would like to see in front of educators more than it is now.”

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Message from Dean Gypsy Denzine 

Greetings from Allen Hall! 

This month, we welcomed our students back to campus and celebrated the exciting start to another successful year. We are equally excited to announce the College’s new  mission and values, which you can read in their entirety on our website.  

Our mission and values will define and direct us as we move forward. And, throughout the process of establishing these core values, we came to realize that they are more than aspirational – they’re the principles that have already been shaping our research, outreach and service activities. The process of writing our new mission and values was a collaborative effort to put our actions into words, and you’ll see how we already embody those values in this month’s e-news.  

Chelsea Latorre, a doctoral student in our counseling psychology program engages her fellow students and the surrounding community to facilitate inquiry about social justice and diversity.  

Dr. Karen Rambo-Hernandez, works to create opportunities for engineering and computer science students to learn about the significance of diversity and inclusion in their professions. Her work fosters collaboration among scholars across West Virginia University and the nation, and her efforts have recently been funded by the National Science Foundation.  

Our College’s commitment to our land-grant mission continues as we prepare to launch the  Center for the Future of Land-Grant Education this September. The Center’s scholars work to determine how to bridge the gap between academic inquiry and public need in order to best fulfill our responsibility as a land-grant institution.  

There’s no question that the semester ahead will be a busy one for our College. Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for our work!


After surprise discovery, alumnus establishes CEHS scholarship

Note stuck in book Great Unexpectations

Nancy G. McGreevy passed away in April 2010. Years later, her husband Frank McGreevy found a note from his wife in a book written by  Dr. Carolyn Peluso Atkins, a long-time faculty member of the  West Virginia University  College of Education and Human Services and creator of the  Student Athletes Speak Out (SASO) program at WVU.  

The bookmark said, “Carolyn – endow scholarship.” In 2016, McGreevy reached out to the WVU Foundation to discuss his options for establishing a scholarship in honor of Atkins.  

“Carolyn was our neighbor for many years. My wife attended a basketball game years ago, where Carolyn was signing copies of her book,” McGreevy said. “My wife really understood the importance of speaking extemporaneously with a group and having the ability to interview with poise, so she was a huge supporter of Carolyn and her work with student athletes. I’m sure this is what led her to leave this note in the book.” 

Atkin’s book, Great Unexpectations: Lessons from the Hearts of College Athletes, was published in 2008. The book highlights her teaching experiences working with athletes through the SASO program, which began in the 1990s.  

Nathan Adrian poses with Dr. Carolyn Atkins at the shoot for their upcoming video.

SASO is a service-based program that prepares WVU student athletes for public speaking through the development of communication skills and self-confidence. The program also aims to promote character education in West Virginia middle schools, addressing a variety of topics including academics, alcohol and drug awareness, bullying, courage, responsibility and other issues.  

“I am both humbled and honored by the McGreevys’ thoughtfulness and support. When I began working with the student-athletes and developed the Student-Athletes Speak Out program, I had no idea where it would lead me. The book was another way to share their stories. I am pleased to know that others, like Frank and Nancy, value my work and find it to be meaningful,” Atkins said.  

Atkins also wrote a children’s book, Living Life the West Virginia Way, in 2013. The book was created to help children value and understand the state’s many treasured traditions. It emphasizes the importance of attending college, as well as highlights 10 good character traits often valued by West Virginians. In 2015, she donated a copy of the book to every elementary school in West Virginia. 

Atkins donated 750 copies of the book to  Energy Express, an award-winning, 8-week summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities. The book was given to children in Boone, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties.   

Most recently, Atkins worked with recent WVU graduate, basketball star and Morgantown native, Nathan Adrian, to create an online video reading of the children’s book. The video will be released in early fall.  

McGreevy’s scholarship will provide funds to support costs associated with SASO or other student-athlete related public speaking projects. McGreevy felt drawn to support the scholarship because of his wife’s note, but also because of his and his wife’s many connections with WVU and CEHS.  

McGreevy graduated from CEHS with a bachelor’s in secondary education in 1966. He spent most of his teaching career at Central Preston Junior High in Preston County, W. Va.  

McGreevy’s late wife, though not a graduate of WVU, was a West Virginia native and lived in Morgantown for 44 years. She worked for the history department at WVU for 15 years, following her retirement as an internal auditor with the Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service. 

“My wife and I are both very vested in the University and helping students. I established my first endowment in my wife’s honor, but have continued to give back since,” said McGreevy. “For this gift, it has been nice to be able to give back to my alma mater and support public speaking, which I taught along with English for 25 years.” 

McGreevy currently has three established endowments at WVU – the Nancy G. McGreevy Endowed History Scholarship, the Judith Grubb Dental Hygiene Scholarship and the Dr. John H. Dempsey Orthodontic Scholarship. He has plans to establish six additional endowments through a bequest to the WVU Foundation.   

These endowments include the Dr. Ronald L. Lewis Doctoral Fellowship, the Casey and Jennings Nestor Biology Scholarship and the Dr. Carter Bishop Scholarship (all which will support the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences), as well as the Fred and Becky Business Schaupp Scholarship (for the College of Business and Economics), the Fred Wilson Scholarship (for the School of Dentistry) and the Dr. Carolyn Atkins Scholarship (for the College of Education and Human Services).


Rambo-Hernandez receives NSF funding to support student diversity in engineering

Karen Rambo-Hernandez

Dr. Karen Rambo-Hernandez, an assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, has been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve the classroom experiences for all students in engineering and computer science. The project, in collaboration with Dr. Christina Paguyo from the University of Denver and Dr. Rebecca Atadero from Colorado State University, aims to continue an initiative that fosters inclusion among engineers and computer scientists.

“The overarching purpose is that we want to develop inclusive professional identities in our students,” said Rambo-Hernandez, the project’s principal investigator. “Engineers and computer scientists who possess this inclusive professional identity are excellent in their technical skills, recognize the need for diversity within their field, and behave in ways that welcome people from many different backgrounds.”

As defined in this project, diversity constitutes identities and different ways of thinking and problem-solving that lend to the ultimate success of an engineering project.

“It’s a matter of cognitive diversity and physical diversity,” Rambo-Hernandez said. “Somebody who might look like you but who is raised in a different way is going to bring something unique to the table.”

Unlike other similar programs for first-year engineering students that focus only on keeping diverse students in engineering, Rambo-Hernandez’s program seeks to educate all students about the importance of diversity. In this way, Rambo-Hernandez and her team hope to encourage students from different backgrounds to stay in the field while also preparing all students to be productive team members in their future careers.

“We supplement valuable programs that support traditionally underrepresented students by trying to expand and work with all students, so that all students value and behave in ways that make sure the diverse viewpoints are not only present but heard and valued,” Rambo-Hernandez said. 

Rambo-Hernandez is joined in this endeavor by colleagues from the  Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Her co-principal investigators are  Dr. Melissa Morris, a teaching associate professor for the freshman engineering program, and  Dr. Robin Hensel, assistant dean for freshman experience.

Morris and Hensel will help Rambo-Hernandez implement and evaluate classroom activities for first-year engineering students that enhance the students’ abilities to work successfully in teams.

“The purpose of the grant was to design activities for first-year engineering classes to help them behave more inclusively when they’re working within teams and to see that diversity actually improves products and teamwork,” Rambo-Hernandez said. 

One of these activities will involve a theatre troupe that comes to the class to perform a skit that demonstrates a dysfunctional team and asks the audience to improve the team’s functionality.

“The students get to intervene and explain what the actors could have done better,” Rambo-Hernandez said.

To alleviate the cost of hiring a professional theatre troupe for this portion of the project, Rambo-Hernandez and her colleagues have enlisted the help of  Irene Alby, a teaching assistant professor of acting and directing at the  WVU College of Creative Arts. Alby and a group of her students will be trained to act out this performance, which will be followed by a debrief session with trained discussion group leaders from the  WVU ADVANCE Center.  

For the next phase of the project, the researchers are expanding upon their initial work by incorporating additional campuses in the study, adding sophomore- and junior-level engineering courses, and including computer science students.

“We’re expanding in lots of directions, so there are lots of moving parts,” Rambo-Hernandez said.

Of the $2 million received, WVU will be allotted $750,000 to implement the program in its engineering and computer science courses. The University’s students will benefit from this grant beginning with four courses in the fall of 2017, and the unique activities will expand to all first-year engineering courses in 2018 and sophomore and junior classes in later years of the grant.

“We’re trying to show all of our students that we need them in engineering, and that we’re going to support them in it,” Rambo-Hernandez said.


Alumni Spotlight: Andrea Fata

Andrea Fata

The individuals who work for the United States Secret Service sit on the sidelines of history. Charged with protecting the country’s highest elected officials in an environment with increasing security threats, employment in the Secret Service is arguably one of the most stressful jobs in the nation.                   

While these men and women support the nation’s leaders, CEHS alumna Andrea Fata supports the Secret Service. A counselor in the Secret Service’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Fata provides counseling and consultation services to those men and women to help cope with the stresses of the profession.

“I’ve had the opportunity to have some very interesting experiences,” Fata said. “I’ve worked with highly trained and dedicated people who protect the president, the vice president and other foreign dignitaries.”

As a Morgantown native, enrolling at WVU was always the obvious choice; however, becoming a counselor was not.

Before launching her career in counseling, Fata hoped to land a job combining her love for the physicality of dance with her undergraduate work in sport and exercise studies. Following a brief move to New York City, she returned to Morgantown to earn a graduate degree.

“I landed on counseling when I was flipping through WVU’s graduate course catalogue,” Fata said. “Friends often said that I’d be a good counselor because I’m a good listener.”

Once she enrolled in CEHS’ master’s program in counseling, everything fell into place. According to Fata, the most significant lessons that she learned while studying at CEHS all took place outside of the classroom. The real-world significance of her internships and job shadowing experiences helped her find her way to the EAP arena, and then into EAP work within military and law enforcement environments.

“I encourage students to get as many placement experiences as they can, regardless of whether or not they know what population they want to work with,” Fata said. “All of those real-world experiences help you learn about the many facets of human behavior and work environments in real time. This can also help someone to fine-tune skills and get an idea for what fits their temperament and personality.”

Since beginning her career with the Secret Service in 2010, Fata has had opportunities to assist Secret Service personnel at major national events such as the United Nations Summit, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, various White House events, and select presidential speaking events.

Witnessing the professionalism of the employees while often working in high energy events has helped inform her work.

“We live in a tense national security environment,” Fata said. “It’s difficult for these individuals because they can never let their guard down. Combine a high-level operational tempo with a family or other personal challenge, and it can put a significant strain on a person.”

In addition to her work with the Secret Service, Fata has a private practice where she offers training and management consultations, along with individual psychotherapy. She sees a general adult population, along with military veterans and first responders.

 “I’ve learned so much in this profession,” Fata said. “The counseling program at WVU was a pivotal point in changing the course of my life.  Assisting others in a personal way is a calling for me. I always find a meaningful nugget of truth from each experience, whether I’m training a large group, consulting with a leader or helping someone in crisis because I know it adds to my own growth potential.”


Student Spotlight: Chelsea Latorre

Chelsea Latorre

Chelsea Latorre has known that she wanted to pursue a career in counseling since she witnessed the impact of counseling in her family. When Latorre’s younger brother struggled with bullying in elementary school, he benefited greatly from the help of the school psychologist. After a year, Latorre’s brother transformed from a student who hated school to a student who loved school.  

“Watching this change unfold made me interested in being a supportive help to individuals in my community, and counseling was the perfect fit,” Latorre said.  

Today, Latorre is a doctoral student in CEHS’ Counseling Psychology program. A California native, whose father hails from Bogotá, Colombia, Latorre knew that she wanted to enroll in a doctoral program that would allow her to experience cultures that were different from her hometown on the outskirts of Los Angeles. 

“I wanted to apply to programs that were located in areas with different cultures than I have been exposed to – and Appalachia appealed to me,” Latorre said. “WVU was the only school toward the East Coast that I had applied to because the program was the only one that I knew would be a good fit for me, personally and professionally.”  

After her program interview at CEHS, Latorre was confident that a move to Morgantown would provide her with the unique culture, research opportunities and faculty support that she desired.  

“I called my mom and told her that I knew this would be the place that I was moving to next,” Latorre said. “The faculty were so supportive, the program was a good fit, and the students were so welcoming and comforting.” 

Latorre has since become involved in the WVU community through her work with the student organization SORO, which stands for ‘Speak Out, Reach Out.’ SORO promotes the appreciation, awareness and discussion of diversity with campus activities such as workshops, forums, presentations and other outreach initiatives. 

“SORO stood out to me because of its focus on social justice, diversity, and outreach – all values that drove me to become a psychologist in the first place,” Latorre said.  

This past year, Latorre served as co-president of SORO and helped to further the organization’s reach on campus and in the community, with one of the biggest accomplishments being the opportunity for the organization to bring awareness to other regional universities. Overall, her involvement with SORO has enabled Latorre to connect with other students and advocate for causes she cares about. 

“As a leadership team member, I have enjoyed being a part of the passion that the members bring to the organization,” Latorre said. “Seeing the dedication that the students have to this program and how invested they are in outreach makes it an amazing organization to be a part of.” 

As she prepares to begin her third year at CEHS, Latorre continues to thrive under the mentorship of the counseling faculty. Her time here has been enhanced by her relationships with the many scholars she’s worked with and learned from.   

“CEHS has some amazing faculty and staff who are dedicated and passionate about their work,” Latorre said. “I think it is important to have the kind of investment in the students that our faculty and staff do because it creates an atmosphere where I want to grow and excel.” 

Latorre expects to graduate with her PhD in Counseling Psychology in May 2020. After graduation, she hopes to work as a staff psychologist at a university counseling center and eventually open her own private counseling practice.

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Three inducted into the CEHS Hall of Fame


CEHS welcomes four new faculty

CEHS welcomed four new faculty members at the start of the fall semester – Derek Headley, Natasha Murray-Everett, Elaine Schwing and Frankie Tack. Through their expertise, they will shape the next generation of education and human services professionals.    

Derek Headley

Derek Headley, PhD, CCC-SLP, will serve as an assistant professor of speech-language pathology, splitting his time between teaching dysphagia and voice at CEHS and supervising master’s level clinicians in practice at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He worked as a medical speech-language pathologist in a variety of locales for nearly 10 years before entering his PhD program at Florida State University.  Headley earned his doctorate in 2013, specializing in adult swallowing disorders. His primary research aims to improve clinical swallowing diagnostics through expanding our understanding of normal swallow physiology in adults.  Headley has delivered numerous research presentations at the American Speech Language Hearing Association national conventions and served as an assistant editor for Contemporary Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders from 2010 to 2013. 

Natasha Murray-Everett

Natasha Murray-Everett, PhD, advanced from the role of visiting assistant professor to the role of a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies. Her research interests include examining dialogic spaces for racial and ethnic identities and the racial and ethnic identities of others.  She seeks to look at how these understandings shape pre-service teachers’ ideologies of race and racism, how it influences their teaching practices, and their relationships with students. She holds her doctorate from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Elaine Schwing

Elaine Schwing will serve as a master teacher and clinical instructor for WVUteach. Previously, Schwing was a mathematics teacher at Morgantown High School for seven years. In 2014, she received her National Board Teaching Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult Mathematics. She holds both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU.   


Frankie Tack

Frankie Tack, MS, AADC, CCS, NCC will serve as the addictions minor coordinator and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology. She has worked and taught in the addictions field for more than 20 years and is a West Virginia Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Clinical Supervisor. Her clinical experience includes counseling, supervision and management in detox, outpatient, intensive outpatient and day treatment settings. Tack’s areas of special interest include working with women, the LGBT population and those with co-occurring mental health challenges, as well as providing training for community addictions professionals.


Student Spotlight: Kegan Fountain

Kegan Fountain

Kegan Fountain, a junior from Ann Arbor, Mich., took the scenic route to WVU and to her major in elementary education.  

After her first semester at a university in her home state, Fountain decided to take some time off to evaluate her educational and career goals. She then accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA that brought her to Charleston, W.Va. In this role, she was the manager of an outdoor artisan market, where she gained experience in the public relations field, her intended field of study.  

While working for the artisan market, Fountain found that public relations wasn’t the right choice for her, and while working a second job as a nanny, she found that teaching was. The realization struck her while helping a young boy with his homework.  

“He had this light bulb moment where he finally understood and it was written all over his face,” Fountain said. “That was when it really clicked for me that teaching was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to help people.” 

Fountain, who comes from a family of educators, then grasped why her relatives had chosen careers in education and why she should, too.   

“I come from a huge family,” Fountain said. “My parents and grandparents are educators, and my stepmom works in higher education. It’s something I’ve been around forever. It’s not something I thought I’d ever find myself in, but here I am.”  

Once she determined that she wanted to study elementary education, Fountain began searching for colleges that would help her meet her goals. It was her father who suggested that she look at WVU.  

“WVU matched everything I wanted in a school,” Fountain said. “I wanted a school that people were proud of and where people wanted to be.” 

Now steeped in her elementary education courses at CEHS, Fountain is certain that she’s right where she’s supposed to be. This past year, she had her first field placement in Shinnston, W.Va., and felt at home in the classroom.  

“I got to work with all these kids, and being called Ms. Fountain was the coolest thing,” Fountain said.  “It was so surreal.” 

Through these observation hours, Fountain was able to integrate herself in the classroom and gain hands-on experience, including teaching her students a mini-lesson.  

“I just tried to soak up as much information as possible while I was there,” Fountain said. 

Outside of her coursework, Fountain teaches swimming lessons through the University. This past summer, worked as a New Student Orientation leader for the first time, giving her the opportunity to introduce the next generation of Mountaineers to the University she’s grown to love. 

“When I went through NSO, it seemed like a fun way to help people enjoy the upcoming year,” Fountain said. “I wanted to share my love of the university with incoming freshmen who might not be sure about it yet.”  

Fountain’s advice for incoming education students is to appreciate the significance of their future as teachers. 

“Education is worth it,” Fountain said. “Don’t discredit yourself or be disheartened based on what other people think about it.”  


Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Barber

Caitlin Barber

Growing up, Caitlin Barber was the little girl dressed as a WVU cheerleader at football tailgates. Raised in a family of Mountaineer fans, Barber experienced the thrill of football season from a young age. Now a third-grade teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in Morgantown, Barber shares that passion with her students and WVU fans everywhere.  

“When it comes to game time, there’s just an excitement in the air all over the state,” Barber said. “West Virginia is not a big state. We don’t have professional teams. I feel like WVU is our team and what we stand behind.” 

A few years ago, inspiration struck Barber whiling watching WVU football game with her family. At half-time, she walked around her neighborhood and took in the sights and sounds of game day. In that moment, she decided to write a children’s book about it.  

“I came back inside and told my parents that I was going to write a children’s book about WVU football,” Barber said. “They thought I was a little crazy at first, but I started it.” 

In July 2015, the book that Barber started on a whim was published by Mascot Books. Titled “'Twas the Night Before Game Day,” the rhyming story follows a young Mountaineer fan as he takes in a game at Milan Puskar Stadium, providing readers with a glimpse of the excitement.  

“There are a lot of kids in the state who will never be fortunate enough to attend a game,” Barber said. “I feel like this introduces them to what it’s like, giving kids who may not get to experience that a little piece of the pie.”  

Becoming a children’s author and teacher isn’t something Barber, a two-time WVU graduate, planned on when she started at the University. She earned her BA in public relations, a program that she pursued because of her strength in writing; however, she ultimately decided that becoming a teacher was the better path for her.  

“My passion my whole life has been children,” Barber said.  

Barber enrolled in CEHS’ master’s program in elementary education and added a master’s in reading along the way. For her, the most valuable aspects of the program were the hands-on experiences she gained in the classroom. 

“I definitely liked that I was able to get into the classroom my first semester of graduate school,” Barber said. “I learned a lot of things – how to truly understand students, diversity and learning disabilities, and what it means to be a teacher and leader.” 

'Twas the Night Before Game Day Book Cover

Once a struggling reader herself, Barber now values the opportunity to help children who struggle to read.   

“I found my niche, because I could really connect with those kids who were struggling,” she said.  

In her third-grade classroom, Barber tells her own story to teach her students that nothing is impossible for them.   

“It shows the kids that you can really do anything if you put your mind to it,” Barber said. “I was just a struggling reader, and then a teacher. Now, I’ve got this book.”  

“'Twas the Night Before Game Day” is available through most major booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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WVU to host first Day of Giving

On Nov. 8, West Virginia University will hold its first Day of Giving, a 24-hour online fundraising effort to support the University’s greatest priorities and opportunities, as well as those of the College of Education and Human Services. 

Year after year, generous support from alumni and friends like you makes a difference in the lives of our students. The Day of Giving is an easy way to help WVU as we wrap up the “State of Minds” comprehensive campaign and celebrate the University’s 150th anniversary. Through matches and challenges, your donation could have double the impact and directly benefits various initiatives at CEHS, including student financial aid, technology upgrades and faculty research.

John Sprouse

“I’ve seen firsthand the negative impact of poverty. I’m grateful for the opportunities CEHS has provided me on my journey to be an educator. I really believe education is something that no one can ever take away, and that it can get one out of almost anything and anywhere.”   

-John Sprouse, WVU College of Education and Human Services Master of Arts in Certification program student. 

As we look forward to the next 150 years, our future is full of possibility, but we need your help. Regardless of the amount of your gift, the gesture of giving shows your fondness and support for the WVU experience.  

Plan to help us launch our first-ever Day of Giving,  and stay tuned for details about how to make your gift go further when you take advantage of opportunities to double, or even triple, your gift. To learn more and to make your gift to CEHS online Nov. 8, visit  https://dayofgiving.wvu.edu/giving-day/3614/department/3620


Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Cox

Jennifer Cox

When she was in high school, Jennifer Cox was torn between two career paths – becoming an educator or becoming a hairdresser. After some advice from her mother and personal reflection, Cox landed on teaching.  

“My mom said to me, ‘You’re going to work long hours and be on your feet all day if you become a hairdresser,’” Cox said. “Little did she know that that’s what you do as a teacher, too. We laugh about that. But I chose teaching because I just love children, and I felt this passion to do better for the world.” 

It’s safe to say that this award-winning principal from Morgantown’s Skyview Elementary School made the right decision. In May 2017, Cox was surprised at her school’s annual charity assembly with the news that she had been selected as the West Virginia’s National Distinguished Principal, an award given by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. 

“I knew that I had been nominated, but never in a million years did I think that I would be chosen out of the state of West Virginia,” Cox said. “It’s just such a huge honor.” 

On Oct. 12 and 13, Cox traveled to Washington, D.C. with principals from every U.S. state to receive her award. While there, Cox had the opportunity to take a private tour of the Capitol, visit the White House and attend a reception at the National Portrait Gallery.  

Though traveling around the nation’s capital was exciting, Cox found the most rewarding part of her experience to be connecting with principals from all over the country.  

“To get together in D.C. with all the other principals was amazing,” Cox said. “You see that education is the same if you’re in a rich state, if you’re in a poor state. It was good to see that we all have the same struggles and we all have the same celebrations with our students along the way.” 

One of Cox’s many achievements as principal of Skyview Elementary School has been implementing a student leadership program in partnership with Dr. Bernard Jones, program director for assessment of educator preparation at CEHS.  

The program is geared toward fourth and fifth-grade students who have leadership potential but may not have had the opportunity to be leaders. Those students become part of a leadership team and implement projects to improve their school and community. A past project that’s still in use at Skyview today is a friendship bench on the school playground.  

“If students don’t have anyone to play with, they go and sit on this bench,” Cox said. “Our leadership team is trained to recognize that the person needs a friend and they go and play with them.” 

Each member of the leadership team is paired with a WVU student mentor, a process that Jones facilitates. Now in its third year, the program continues to flourish and produce student leaders.  

 “It’s something that the middle school teachers have noticed,” Cox said. “They see kids who might not be typical leaders having a better leadership role when they get to the middle school.” 

Cox, who earned her BA in elementary education, MA in special education and certificate in educational leadership at CEHS, is no stranger to collaborating on projects like the student leadership program. According to Cox, it’s one of the most important things she learned during her time in college.  

“In education, there’s a lot of collaborative work, and it was wonderful to work collaboratively with people from all over who had the same interests,” Cox said.


Faculty Spotlight: Terence Ahern

Terence Ahern

According data on the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WV FRIS) website, an American is sexually assaulted every 1.85 minutes. Since Jan. 1, 2017, more than 227,000 sexual assaults have occurred. 

WV FRIS was established in 1982 and is comprised of nine rape crisis centers across West Virginia. The foundation works to strengthen services and develop intervention and prevention programs to address sexual violence, stalking and dating violence. 

In the face of the overwhelming statistics regarding sexual assault, Dr. Terence Ahern is working with WV FRIS to develop training modules for allied professionals who serve sexual assault victims. Ahern, an associate professor of instructional design and technology in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, has been collaborating with the organization since 2011.  

“Sexual assault is an ongoing, continuous problem and WV FRIS want to address this,” Ahern said. 

Ahern’s work with WV FRIS began when was approached by a student whose relative worked for WV FRIS. The student talked to Ahern about moving the organization’s sexual assault assistance training materials, originally a bulky set of handbooks, online. Six years later, Ahern continues to work with the organization to build new training modules, upgrade and maintain existing modules, and manage the server and host site.   

“I’m basically the educational technologist and the data information architect,” Ahern said.  

The experience has provided Ahern with the opportunity to work on all aspects of the site; he even designed a new logo for the organization. As WV FRIS’ resources and offerings continue to expand, Ahern has been able to use this experience as an example for his students.  

“It’s a primary, real-world example of the things that we do in our program,” he said.  

The sexual assault assistance training module is designed for allied professionals who deal with sexual assault, but the resources is free for any individual interested in completing the training.  

“You have a whole variety of folks who are engaged in those kinds of interventions, from police officers to district attorneys to the medical community,” Ahern said.  

Thought the training modules are primarily used by people who live and work in West Virginia, Ahern said that professionals in surrounding states, even police officers from New York and New Jersey, have completed the courses.  

In addition to the sexual assault assistance training modules, Ahern has created a module to train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). By completing this training and paying a small fee, registered nurses are equipped to complete forensic medical examinations for sexual assault victims, as well as to assess and treat any serious injuries following these incidents.  

To date, 513 people have completed training modules through WV FRIS, and of those 513, 186 people have completed the SANE training. Moving forward, Ahern hopes that more individuals will use WV FRIS’ resources.  

“I think everybody should know about it, because it’s a really cool service,” Ahern said. “It’s one of the few resources of its kind, and it's expanding.” 

For Ahern, one of the most rewarding parts of his work with WV FRIS has been using his expertise to serve the state while working alongside his students.   

“It’s a land-grant issue related to what we do both in terms of finding an opportunity to serve the state in a real way, and tapping into my expertise and my students’ expertise,” Ahern said. 


Student Spotlight: Ally Sanderbeck

Ally Sanderbeck

Since high school, Ally Sanderbeck has had a passion for helping children with special needs. Through her work volunteering with The Miracle League, an organization that provides the opportunity for children with mental and physical disabilities to play baseball, Sanderbeck became convinced that education was the right career path for her.  

“I just had the best time working with these kids,” Sanderbeck said. “It was so much fun and I decided that maybe I would enjoy working with them in the classroom as well.” 

In addition to the volunteering experiences that allowed her to work with children, Sanderbeck cites the impact of her past teachers in shaping her decision to become an educator.  

“I had just the best teachers in elementary school, and I had one teacher who I’ve always stayed in touch with,” Sanderbeck said. “I decided that I wanted to be a teacher like she was and have an impact on my students the way that she did with me.”  

Today, Sanderbeck is in the midst of her final year of CEHS’ five-year teaching program as an elementary education major with a special education endorsement. This semester, she is working as a student teacher in a third-grade classroom at East Dale Elementary School in Fairmont, W.Va.  

“I’ve just loved it,” Sanderbeck said. “I’ve loved being in the classroom, so I feel like it was a great choice for me.” 

Outside of her busy student-teaching schedule, Sanderbeck has continued to pursue her passion for students with special needs. As president of WVU’s student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Sanderbeck coordinates fundraising and volunteer opportunities with organizations like the Special Olympics. 

“I’ve really liked the volunteering and working with people in the Morgantown community,” Sanderbeck said. “I’ve also really enjoyed working with the rest of the members of CEC, just getting to know other teachers and people who also are passionate about working with kids with special needs.” 

Each year, the CEC sends CEHS student members to the West Virginia Council for Exceptional Children Conference, where they participate in professional development opportunities and network with other special education professionals.  

“It’s a really good opportunity for us,” Sanderbeck said. “I’ve gone two years now, and I’ve learned a lot about special education, which was awesome.” 

Through her work with the CEC and her coursework in special education, Sanderbeck has benefited from the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Hartley, the faculty adviser for CEC and an associate professor in the Department of Special Education.  

“She’s such a good role model and an amazing special education teacher, Sanderbeck said. “Her classes have been extremely helpful to me. She’s a great person to talk to when I have questions about what’s going on in my school.” 

For students looking to enroll at CEHS, Sanderbeck shared this piece of advice: 

“I’ve gotten such a great education here. I would say work hard, be organized, and be willing to put the time in because it’s so rewarding to get to work in this profession."


WVU Connect: Empowering Mountaineers to to Help Mountaineers

Mountaineers are known for helping other Mountaineers, and this year, the WVU Alumni Association is introducing a platform that will empower our community to do just that. This platform, called WVU Connect, will serve as a bridge for mentorship, engagement, and connection in the WVU Community. 

We are excited about this platform and we know that its successful implementation begins with you! You may have already received an invitation, but if you have not, all WVU alumni can now join at wvuconnect.com!  Upon joining, you will be able to participate in one or more of its many benefits including: 

  • Reconnecting with classmates 

  • Sharing job postings 

  • Offering mentorship to current students and other young alumni 

  • Creating and sharing events in your area 

  • Staying up to date on WVU news 

Early next year, the Alumni Association will be launching a full mentorship program, strongly tied to the networking opportunities on WVU Connect, and in January, students will have access to create an account on WVU Connect and seek mentorship and connection with our thousands of engaged alumni.   

When you create an account on WVU Connect, or if you already have, be sure to join the College of Education and Human Services Group to stay up to date on current events and to reconnect with some of your classmates.  

Because of people like you, we are able to make initiatives such as WVU Connect a success and we look forward to engaging with you in this new networking and mentorship program.  

To join now, visit:  http://wvuconnect.com/.


Three inducted into CEHS Hall of Fame

Three outstanding individuals were inducted in the CEHS Hall of Fame for 2017 at the College’s annual induction ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26. The three inductees were Dr. Diane L. Kendall, Dr. Mary Marockie and Michael A. Oliverio, Sr.  

“This year’s inductees are exemplary representations of our College’s mission and values,” said CEHS Dean Gypsy Denzine. “Their commitment to fostering knowledge and prosperity in their communities embodies what we hope to instill in all of our graduates.” 

Diane Kendall

Diane L. Kendall, PhD, CCC-SLP, is professor and chair of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington and a research scientist at the VA Medical Center Puget Sound in Seattle. Both in practice and in scholarship, Kendall has made invaluable contributions to her profession, specifically in the area of adult language disorders. In 2013, Kendall received a Fulbright Scholar Award and was in residence at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa. She was also named a 2006 Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has 57 scholarly publications and has been awarded more than $1.7 million in grant funding for her work. Kendall holds her BS in speech pathology and audiology from WVU, her MA in communication disorders from California State University and her PhD in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Pittsburgh.  

Mary Marockie

Mary Marockie, EdD, is this year’s Distinguished Alumni, and is a former curriculum and research director and interim director for Regional Educational Service Agency VI in Wheeling. She was also the founder of Ohio County’s award-winning beginning teacher program, which was recognized as the best of its kind in the nation by the National School Personnel Educators Administration. Marockie has taught courses at WVU and Ohio University, served as a consultant and designer for numerous educational programs and school systems, and written grants that amounted to millions of dollars in funding for education. Currently, Marockie serves as a co-editor and co-writer of the West Virginia Reading Association’s publication, “WVRA Interchange.”  Marockie holds her BS in elementary education and psychology from the University of Charleston, her MA in elementary education and psychology, and her EdD in curriculum and instruction with a major in reading and psychology, both from WVU.  

Michael Oliverio, Sr.

Michael A. Oliverio, Sr., a counselor, statesman, educator and civic leader, is being inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. Before his passing in 2014, Oliverio spent his life as a leading advocate for people with disabilities and for service to others. Among many professional achievements, Oliverio served as the national president of both the National Rehabilitation Association International Advocacy Group for Persons with Disabilities and national president of the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association. He also served as a consultant to President Jimmy Carter on reorganization plans for the U.S. Department of Education and briefed President Gerald Ford on elements for better efficiencies in health agencies. Oliverio was actively involved at the College of Education and Human Services, having taught courses in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology for 22 years. Oliverio earned his BS in physical science and mathematics from Fairmont State University and his MA in guidance and counseling from WVU.  

This is the fourteenth class to be inducted into the CEHS Hall of Fame.The award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in their field, exemplified outstanding leadership qualities, and possess strong community and West Virginia ties.  Special consideration is given to those who have demonstrated support of and/or service to the mission and values of the WVU College of Education and Human Services. Inductees are representative of the tremendous successes of many CEHS graduates and friends of the College. 

For full biographies of this year’s inductees, visit the CEHS Hall of Fame archive.

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Entrepreneurs in Education & Human Services

Working in the education and human service fields is often a selfless act. It takes passion, hard work and an exceptional amount of patience. These careers are highly personally rewarding, though they don't always offer the same financial rewards as other occupations. But what if they could?

Take a look at five CEHS alumni who took their work in education and human services to the next level by becoming entrepreneurs, while continuing to stay focused on their passion for people.

View CEHS alumni entrepreneurs


Faculty Spotlight: Derek Headley

Derek Headley

Dr. Derek Headley began his role as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders this fall, but he was already well-acquainted with CEHS. Having earned his master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the College in 2001, Headley now works alongside many of his former professors as a fellow faculty member.   

“I had such a great experience as a master’s student at WVU,” Headley said. “I just loved it. Several of the faculty members are still here, and it’s been a great experience to now work with them as colleagues.” 

Headley’s position at CEHS provides him with the unique opportunity to split his time between teaching courses at the College and treating patients at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. At Ruby Memorial, Headley also supervises speech-language pathology graduate students completing four-week rotations.  

The position, the first of its kind in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is designed to allow the students to gain experience in medical settings earlier in their academic program. 

“This helps the students to feel more comfortable in a medical setting, and also helps them to make the decision to go the medical route or the school-based route,” Headley said.  

In addition to treating patients and supervising students, Headley works with the hospital’s nine speech pathologists to research swallowing disorders, which is Headley’s area of expertise.  

“I am fascinated by being able to see the swallowing mechanism under x-ray and to make clinical decisions based on that x-ray,” Headley said. “Throughout my career, I’ve treated many patients with swallowing disorders and have had a lot of success in rehabilitating swallowing in those patients.” 

For Headley, rehabilitating a patient’s swallowing is one of the most gratifying aspects of his work in the medical field.  

“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and to give somebody the ability to eat again is such a great quality of life indicator,” Headley said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.” 

When Headley isn’t at Ruby Memorial Hospital, he’s at Allen Hall, where he teaches courses in dysphagia and voice disorders. When he works with students in both the classroom and in clinical settings, his goal is to teach them how to build relationships with patients.  

“I want to make sure that with every student I supervise and train, I would feel comfortable with the students treating a member of my own family,” Headley said. “I really give them my all.” 

When Headley was a master’s student at CEHS, some of his most valuable learning experiences came from hands-on work through his rotations at Ruby Memorial Hospital and his full-time externship in the brain injury unit at Health South Mountainview. He credits these opportunities with the successful career he’s built in clinical and academic settings.  

“These experiences really shaped my career and opened up so many doors for me,” Headley said. “When I would go on interviews and they would see that I had an acute care hospital experience and a subacute care hospital experience, as well as all of the skill that I had acquired during those two placements, was invaluable.” 

Now, Headley is able to provide his students with similar opportunities in the place where his own career began. 

“It’s just such a nice homecoming, and I’m loving every minute of it,” Headley said. 


Student Spotlight: Lorena Ballester

Lorena Ballester

Lorena Ballester, a third-year doctoral student and Chancellor’s Scholar Fellow in CEHS’ higher education administration program, has flourished as a scholar and researcher during her time at the College. Ballester credits her success to the program’s thriving community of students and faculty.  

“I think the faculty members make a big difference in the educational experience of students,” Ballester said. “Their investment in student success is key for us in reaching the goal of graduating. Their availability and their engagement with our learning experience has been so important for me.” 

Originally from Argentina, Ballester came to the United States nearly 15 years ago to teach Spanish for two years. After meeting the man who is now her husband, she decided to stay. The two eventually moved from North Carolina to Morgantown because they wanted to settle in a family-friendly city. 

Ballester then enrolled at WVU to complete her master’s degree in world languages, literatures and linguistics. Upon finishing her degree, she remained at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences as an assistant program coordinator and instructor for the Basic Spanish Program.   

Eventually, Ballester’s passion for learning led her to the doctoral program in higher education administration. Her own experiences as an international student and teacher in the United States have shaped her research interests in the internationalization of graduate education. More specifically, Ballester is interested in how international graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) adapt to teaching in a new country.  

“Once international GTAs come to the States, many of them don’t have previous experience with the American system, and they have to be in a classroom teaching within a week or two weeks of arriving in a new country,” Ballester said. “Everything from looking for living arrangements to acclimating to the classroom setting is a challenge. It requires many skills population to overcome and successfully navigate these challenges.” 

Currently, Ballester is in the process of writing the prospectus for her doctoral dissertation, for which she hopes to examine the international and local engagement models of land-grant universities. 

“I want to determine if there are tensions between these engagement models within universities that are very locally oriented, or at least, historically, were very locally oriented,” Ballester said. 

The topic is fitting for Ballester, who is currently a graduate assistant for the WVU Center for the Future of Land-Grant Education. In this role, she is helping Land-Grant Center faculty to compile the Center’s first annual report, which will be published in the summer of 2018.   

For Ballester, the opportunity to contribute to the report has benefitted her as both a scholar and a professional. 

“Having the privilege of working with senior scholars is priceless,” Ballester said. “I’ve learned how to conduct research in a very practical way, and I’m also getting familiar with data sources. I would also say that it has helped me set professional goals on a large scale.”  

To add to her responsibilities as a student and graduate assistant, Ballester has also taken a position on the editorial board of the higher education administration program’s “Graduate Student Journal of Higher Education.” The journal, which launched in August 2017, is published by and for graduate students seeking to share their original research.  

“We saw the need for empowering graduate students during their research publication process,” Ballester said. “As editors, we are not only learning from the pieces that we publish, but also as we go through the review process.” 

Though Ballester finds value in all of the opportunities she’s had in her doctoral program, she cites her relationships with faculty and fellow students as the most valuable asset.  

“I think the faculty play a huge role in creating a positive atmosphere and a sense of belonging within the program,” Ballester said. “Having classmates you can count on is also important and creates a positive experience as a whole.” 


CEHS mourns the loss of long-time professor

Richard Walls

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Dr. Richard ‘Dick’ Walls on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. Walls was a long-time professor of educational psychology at CEHS, having served here for 47 years.  

“Many members of the CEHS family have such fond memories and stories of Dr. Dick Walls,” said CEHS Dean Gypsy Denzine. “He was truly a legend at our College and his loss is deeply felt by all.” 

Walls was a two-time graduate of West Virginia University with his BS in mathematics and biology education in 1961, and his MA in guidance and counseling in 1963. He received his PhD in educational psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 1968. 

After graduating from his doctoral program, Walls returned to WVU as a professor of educational psychology, where he remained for the rest of his career. He was a nationally recognized scholar in educational psychology and disability studies, having published countless articles in notable academic journals and books.  

Walls mentored numerous CEHS students during his tenure as a researcher and educator and received the Outstanding Teacher Award from WVU in 1971, 1972 and 1988. He was also recognized with the Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award in 1998 and was selected as a recipient of the College’s Jasper N. Deahl Award in May 2017.   

In addition to his many professional achievements, Walls was a passionate musician and member of The Pass-Fail Band, featuring a line-up of CEHS faculty members.  

He will be greatly missed by all current and former CEHS faculty, staff and students.


WVU Speech and Hearing Clinic offers Caption Call service for individuals with hearing loss

Janet Petitte

The WVU Speech and Hearing Clinic offers a wide variety services for clients, including its new Caption Call program, which provides captioned telephones to anyone with hearing loss or a hearing aid. 

Caption Call phones are funded by the Federal Communications Commission through the Americans with Disabilities Act, making the phones free for all who qualify.  

“This is amazing and free assistive technology,” said Janet Petitte, a clinical instructor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Some of our clients say that they couldn’t live without the phone.” 

The phone features a screen that displays a real-time transcript of every phone conversation, making it easy to follow conversations and to rewind or repeat portions of the transcript. The phone’s volume, text size, screen brightness and decibel level can all be adjusted to fit the needs of individual users.  

“Even with hearing aids, it’s difficult to talk on the phone,” Petitte said. “It can be very isolating. Caption Call phones allow individuals with hearing loss to talk on the phone much more easily.” 

In order to qualify for the free phone, individuals must have a professional certification form through a participating provider like the WVU Speech and Hearing Clinic. The Clinic is equipped to offer automatic referral for those who qualify.  

Caption Call phones will only work in homes with both a landline and a high-speed internet connection. Once an individual has met all approval guidelines for a Caption Call phone, someone will come to their home to install the phone within two to three weeks.  

For more information about services offered by the WVU Speech and Hearing Clinic or to schedule an appointment, individuals should contact Melissa Mitchell via phone at (304) 293-6817 or via email at  Melissa.Mitchell@mail.wvu.edu. 

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CEHS Holiday 2017 Video