|The magazine of University of Houston-Clear Lake
spring 2010 | volume 16 | number 2
TEACHER PREP PROGRAMS IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
Recognized for its leadership and innovation in teacher education, UHCL was named sole recipient of the 2009 Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
“It is especially meaningful to UH-Clear Lake that we received the Christa McAuliffe Award because of the award’s namesake,” says School of Education Dean Dennis Spuck. “With NASA’s Johnson Space Center being just next door, both our university and Clear Creek ISD teach many students from NASA families. We are proud to be honored in Christa McAuliffe’s name.”
Specifically, UHCL has been honored for the collaborations between its School of Education and local public schools, for its Professional Development Laboratory School, and for its measurement of its teacher candidates’ effectiveness on children’s learning.
UHCL Associate Professor of Education Sue Brown, President William A. Staples, Associate Professor of Education Denise McDonald and School of Education Dean Dennis Spuck accepted the award at AASCU’s annual meeting in November.
AASCU will use UHCL’s practices as an example for other teacher education programs nationwide, including the teacher preparation program’s internship program and its Professional Development Laboratory School, created in 2002 in partnership with Clear Creek Independent School District. Located at McWhirter Elementary School in Webster, the PDLS is run by UHCL education faculty on site, where they provide instructional leadership, conduct research and engage in professional development. Some of the university’s education courses are taught at the PDLS, and many of its teacher candidates intern at the school. Since the PDLS was established, test scores at McWhirter Elementary have improved dramatically and earned the school “Recognized” status by the Texas Education Agency.
Most notably, the award also recognized UHCL for the documented success of its teacher candidates positively impacting the students they teach. In addition to the increased test scores at its PDLS, the university also has shown increased student performance in other public school classrooms led by UHCL graduates. The School of Education conducted a comparative study of test scores of students taught by a UHCL graduate with those in the same grade and school taught by a teacher who did not attend UHCL. Although limited in scope, the comparison showed the UHCL teacher had a significant edge in improving student learning over the other teacher.
The Christa McAuliffe Award was named in honor of the teacher who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster. McAuliffe was a graduate of Framingham State College in Massachusetts and Bowie State University in Maryland, both members of AASCU, a leadership association of 430 public colleges and universities.
PHYSICS DEGREE APPROVED
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the addition of an undergraduate degree in physics at UHCL. The new Bachelor of Science in Physics provides a strong foundation for UHCL’s graduate program in physics and sets the stage for those continuing to the collaborative physics doctoral program, which is offered in partnership with University of Houston.
UHCL’s undergraduate program provides students with a strong educational background in physics, including the concepts and ideas that will allow them to create the career they want in a wide range of fields, including aerospace, energy and education.
“Physicists at the undergraduate level are a lot like chameleons,” says Program Chair and Associate Professor of Physics David Garrison. “They can tackle problems effectively; they can use their background to fit into engineering jobs and other areas. This degree opens up a lot of doors that people wouldn’t even think about.”
University friends and alumni celebrated the presentation of 2010 Leadership and Philanthropy Awards during the annual President’s Cabinet Dinner in February.
UHCL President William A. Staples spoke to the group about the university’s key initiatives including the upcoming fall 2010 opening of the UHCL Pearland Campus.
Staples presented the 2010 Leadership Award to Associate Professor of Legal Studies Jim Benson. Benson, a long-time UHCL professor and U.S. Army veteran, shared his passion for veterans by becoming an instrumental planner and participant of UHCL’s annual Veterans Day Celebration, supporting the Veterans Scholarship Endowment, and leading efforts for creation of Liberty Park and the Liberty Park Gazebo.
Alumni Camille and Bill Shock received the 2010 Philanthropy Award. Bill Shock participates in the Alumni Association Executive Council, and both have offered financial support through the establishment of the William E. Shock Scholarship and through contributions to the Liberty Park Gazebo.
UHCL President’s Cabinet was formed in 1999 during the university’s 25th anniversary to promote partnerships among university, community and business leaders, and to recognize individuals who support the university with their time, talent and resources. The dinner honors these partnerships and, through the awards, acknowledges those who have made significant contributions during the past year.
TOP-NOTCH FACULTY, STAFF
Faculty and staff stepped into the spotlight with professional achievements and recognition in their fields.
Linda Bullock, assistant dean of student diversity, received the Mid-level Student Affairs Professional Award from the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators.
Kim Case, assistant professor of women’s studies and psychology, received the 2009 Michele Alexander Early Career Award for Scholarship and Service from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
Cindy Cook, associate director for counseling, became the elected president of the Association for the Coordination of Counseling Centers Clinical Services in May. Alecya Gallaway, Environmental Institute of Houston historian, received the 2009 Ruth Lester Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Historical Commission. Daniel Silvermintz, assistant professor of humanities, received the Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award from the Association for General and Liberal Studies.
Mary Stafford, associate professor of psychology, received the 2009 Award for Distinguished Services from the International School Psychology Association.
Brenda Weiser, associate professor of science education, received the Jeske Award from the North American Association for Environmental Education.
UHCL’S COMMUNITY OFFERINGS RECOGNIZED
UHCL has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
“Congratulations to University of Houston-Clear Lake and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face.”
Among UHCL’s community service initiatives is the Psychological Services Clinic, which offers individual, couple, family and group therapy services during the fall, spring and summer semesters to local communities. The clinic houses the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, which allows graduate students in the Behavior Analysis program to assess, diagnose and provide individualized intervention services to children.
The university’s Small Business Development Institute offers free consultation services and training to managers and owners of small- to medium-sized businesses through help from junior and senior students in the School of Business. The Success Through Education Program, or STEP, provides scholarships to first-generation, low-income students in Goose Creek Consolidated, Galveston and Galena Park Independent School Districts as well as Houston I.S.D.’s Austin High School, to transfer to Lee College, Galveston College, San Jacinto College North and Houston Community College Southeast, respectively, before finishing requirements for an education degree at UHCL.
Another initiative includes the Celebrating Our Elders program, which allows first-generation students from area high schools and community colleges to submit essays about an important Hispanic or African-American elder in their life. Chosen essays are displayed with photos of students with their elders, and the writers of the selected essays receive scholarships.
MATH AND SCIENCE EFFORTS FUNDED
The Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching awarded more than $225,000 to UHCL for math and science teacher training, mentoring and outreach during 2010-11. A $103,186 grant will bolster regional mathematics collaborative initiatives, directed by Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Sandra Browning, and a $125,296 grant will support regional science collaborative initiatives led by Associate Professor of Science Education Brenda Weiser.
The regional science collaborative received additional support with a $34,000 gift from the Society of Petroleum Engineers-Gulf Coast Section for “Exploring Earth Science – A Summer Institute” and a $15,000 award from the American Petroleum Institute to assist with the purchase of energy and earth science materials for teachers who participate in the workshops and institutes.
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