On Point e-Newsletter: Autumn 2015

Greetings from the Dean

As we begin another school year, I am pleased to introduce the latest School of Education newsletter, On Point. In this issue we present some of the accomplishments of our faculty and recent graduates, details of our sixth biennial Global Symposium, and other news.

Our school year actually begins with the summer term, during which we offer numerous courses for each of our graduate programs. This year we welcomed a large number of new students to our graduate education programs: School Counseling, Educational Leadership, three doctoral programs, and various teacher leadership programs. Enrollment in our graduate programs continues to be strong, which reflects the quality of our programs in general and, more specifically, the quality and care of our faculty. Our graduate students often mention the personal attention from faculty and staff as a hallmark of our programs.

The beginning of a new year is a time of transition and offers the opportunity to welcome new staff and faculty. We will miss some of our SOE community who will not be with us this year. It is my wish that you will find the news shared in this edition of On Point of interest and a vehicle for connecting you to the ongoing work of the School of Education. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

Rick Eigenbrood Rick Eigenbrood, Dean
School of Education

Faculty Highlights

Faculty/Staff Highlight: Meet Janiess Sallee

Janiess SalleeThe School of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Janiess Sallee as the new associate director of the Center for Professional Education. But Sallee is no stranger to SPU or to the world of education. Here, she speaks about her education, professional background, and deep devotion to learning and to the SPU community.

Seattle Pacific University has been home base for me ever since I started as an undergraduate student in 1995. I love the faculty, staff, students, and sense of community. I also am deeply appreciative of the many educational and employment opportunities I have had at SPU over the past 20 years.

My first campus job involved training students on the use of the music notation software Finale. From there I joined Instructional Technology Services (ITS, now Educational Technology and Media) the summer the department moved from the basement of Watson Hall to Moyer. At that time, we scheduled and hauled equipment — including screens, slide projectors, and even a 486 laptop — to campus classrooms.

In 1999, the School of Education offered a new, fully online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) and needed a guinea pig, so to speak, to participate in the program. Having just graduated with a Secondary Certification in English Language Arts, I joined the program and continued working full time in ITS supporting the work of faculty to effectively integrate technology into teaching and student learning. Even after earning my MEd in 2006, I continued to grow with the department and began teaching in an online C&I program.

In 2013, God called me to put my knowledge, skills, experience, and educational degrees to use through teaching middle school English Language Arts at Valley Christian School. My students were incredibly bright, talented, and caring. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore literary texts, including Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, revise the language arts curriculum, and help the school make strides in integrating educational technology to promote student learning.

During that time, I also had the incredible opportunity to partner with David Wicks, SPU associate professor of curriculum and instruction, in co-teaching a course in the new MEd in Digital Education Leadership program.

I love working with technology and supporting others in their professional development, whether that be in higher education, P-12 settings, or other organizations. My new role as the associate director of the Center for Professional Education is a tremendous opportunity for me to apply knowledge, skills, and classroom experiences to furthering the development and success of educators.

We have an amazing team of dedicated staff with a passion for serving others. They are doing an outstanding job of evaluating current course offerings and processes with an eye toward new opportunities for growth, particularly in digital education. I look forward to continuing and expanding the good work of CPE.

Learn more about the programs offered through SPU’s Center for Professional Education.

Nagy Receives Award for Vocabulary Research

William NagyThis spring William Nagy, SPU professor of education and literacy, was named 2015 Notable Vocabulary Researcher by the Vocabulary SIG (special interest group) of AERA, the American Educational Research Association.

This annual award, which recognizes an important scholar in the area of vocabulary research, honors individuals who have given their professional efforts to the field — particularly those who have made important contributions over an extended period of time.

Winners are given awards at the annual AERA meeting, held this year in Chicago, and are invited to share highlights from their research with their peers, providing an opportunity for others to participate in a conversation about the research presented.

Alsbury’s Book Focuses on School Board Members, Superintendents

Improving School Board EffectivenessA new book co-edited by Professor of Educational Administration and Supervision Tom Alsbury was recently published by Harvard Education Press. Improving School Board Effectiveness: A Balanced Governance Approach looks at the evolving role of school boards and how they contribute to efforts to improve student learning. The book was co-edited by Phil Gore, the division director for leadership team services with the Texas Association of School Boards.

Scheuerman Book Collects Stories from the Snake River/Palouse

River Song Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Richard Scheuerman’s book River Song: Naxiyamtáma (Snake River-Palouse) Oral Traditions from Mary Jim, Andrew George, Gordon Fisher, and Emily Peone was released in March by WSU Press. This project, for which Scheuerman reunites with Clifford Trazer, distinguished professor of history and Costo chair in Native American studies at the University of California, Riverside, presents indigenous insights and experiences shared with researchers over three decades by four Naxiyamtáma elders.

Sink Departs School of Education after 21 Years of Service

Christopher Sink This spring Chris Sink, a longstanding faculty member in the School of Education counseling program, completed his final quarter at SPU before beginning a new position at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he will occupy the Batten Endowed Chair of Counseling. Before his departure, he was honored by SPU colleagues and friends, and presented with a framed photo of Peterson Hall as a symbolic token of gratitude for his years of dedicated service to the SPU community.

News & Events

New UG Student Teachers Enjoy “First Days of School Debrief” at Camp Casey

Camp Casey

This fall, for the second year, students beginning the senior year of their undergraduate education programs visited Camp Casey on Whidbey Island with Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Julie Antilla-Garza.

The Camp Casey “First Days of School Debrief,” which is held after the students have spent a week in their new school placements, is designed to give these teacher candidates a space to reflect on their classroom experience, learn the value of social networks and bonds within the teaching community, and explore how Christian vocational development shapes these networks and bonds.

Special Education senior April Downes describes her time at this year’s debrief:

As I journeyed through my first week at Ingraham High School in my student teaching placement, I began to realize that I had an endless list of questions. What do I do if the teachers go on strike? What is the edTPA? How do I pass the edTPA? The list went on and on; I was so overwhelmed.

Then I, along with the other student teachers at SPU, spent the next week at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island and were able to debrief our experiences in our placement classrooms as a group. I couldn’t have been more relieved. After a stressful week spent learning how my classroom at Ingraham functions, I could finally ask all my questions.

When we arrived, we quickly learned that there would be a very small group of us: 13 undergrad students, Dr. Julie Antilla-Garza (Dr. JAG), and Dr. Andrew Ryder. I enjoyed getting to know fellow students that I had never met and professors that I had never had classes with.

We spent the first couple of days with Dr. Ryder, the chair of the Theatre department. He taught us many useful theatre tricks to engage and captivate our students as we stood in front of them day after day. We spent another couple of days with Pat Otto, the Washington coordinator for Project Learning Tree, learning how to incorporate science into our classrooms in a fun way.

We learned a lot from these professors, but I particularly enjoyed our conversations about vocational calling. We discussed how to discern and live out our callings in every aspect of our lives. I have always felt that my calling in life is to work with youth and young adults with special needs.

At Camp Casey, I was able to further explore my calling and purpose throughout the totality of my experiences. We discussed our hopes and our fears and had the opportunity to just be real with one another about our experiences. After Camp Casey, I feel more confident stepping into my placement and more prepared to embrace my future as a special education teacher.

April Downes is from Sacramento and moved to Seattle in 2012 to attend SPU. April is passionate about advocating for the inclusion of students with special needs and educating all students about people with disabilities to bridge their knowledge gap and create healthy, supportive peer relationships. She is working this year at Ingraham High School.

Symposium Hosts International Guests


For three days in June, educators and scholars from 15 countries (including Taiwan, Norway, Chile, and Tanzania) gathered on the campus of SPU and on Whidbey Island for the Sixth Biennial Symposium: “Educational Innovations in Countries Around the World.”

The event was sponsored by the Center for Global Curriculum Studies, directed by Professor of Education Arthur Ellis, and by the SPU School of Education.

Participants presented papers that fit into three categories of educational innovation: educational technology, curriculum and instruction, and educational policy. Topics were wide-ranging: SPU Associate Professor David Wicks presented “Online Learning: Now, Back Then, and in the Future,” while Shenging Li, professor at South China Normal University, presented “China’s New Strategy for the Internationalization of Higher Education.” Topics also included social media in the classroom (USA), reconciliation cultures and religions in peace education (Germany), and examination of economic models of higher education from an international perspective (France).

Seventeen of the papers have been edited and selected for publication in a future thematic issue of the journal International Dialogues in Education, which is published in English, German, and Russian variants.

One goal of the symposium is to make it possible for scholars from around the world to share in person their perspectives, insights, and critical analyses regarding topics within the field of education, and to stimulate thought, action, and collaborative research efforts around these topics.

The symposium also strives to form an international community of scholars that will remain connected in friendship and in purpose.

This year’s symposium was aided by a grant from the Henry M. Jackson Center for International Studies at the University of Washington.


SPU and Community Mourns Loss of Greg Gelderman

Greg Gelderman The SPU community mourns the loss of Dr. Greg Gelderman, certification officer in the School of Education, who was killed in a tragic bicycle accident on September 1. Greg was a retired school administrator, and received his doctorate in education at SPU in 2004. He served as an adjunct faculty member from 2004 to 2007 before becoming certification officer. A valued part of the SOE, he had many friends at SPU and in the greater education community. Greg will be remembered as a warm and energetic man passionately devoted to his family and his work. His contributions to the SPU community will long be felt by faculty, staff, and students.


Like you, we believe in our mission to engage the culture and change the world … starting in the classroom. That’s why SPU’s School of Education is always looking for new ways to help you connect with the future of education in our state and beyond. And there’s more than one way you can get involved. In fact, here are four ways to give!