ELP Educating about Privilege at NACURH 2015

Julie Olaf and Tim Davis at NACURHLast weekend at the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) ELP student Julie Olaf and ELP alumnus Tim Davis presented “White Privilege and Peer Dialogues: Students Showing Up for Racial Justice.” The presentation covered strategies for fellow advisors to engage students in discussion of white privilege.


Reflection on the Annual Meeting of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges

By Dr. Jason Taylor

In early April, I attended and presented at the annual meeting of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) in Dallas, TX. CSCC is an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) whose membership includes university-based researchers, community college practitioners, and graduate students who study community colleges. The council is an intimate group of scholars and scholar-practitioners (about 200) who are passionate about community colleges and are leaders in the scholarship on community colleges.

Among the leaders who attended the conference in Dallas was Art Cohen, Professor Emeritus at UCLA and a pioneer in the scholarship related to community colleges. His book, The American Community College, now in its 6th Edition, is used in community college leadership programs around the country. At 88 years old, Professor Cohen delivered a critical, inspiring, and comical keynote at the CSCC conference on historical and contemporary community college issues. He challenged the dominant discourse that college is simply an economic tool to further individual self-interest and argued that college plays a critical role in developing good citizens. He also reviewed new forms of research and laid out a research agenda for community college researchers that included topics such as student learning outcomes and college rating systems. He concluded his talk by encouraging researchers to replicate existing research, form research partnerships with practitioners, and convert research into readable prose that is accessible to multiple audiences. As a young community college scholar, I left the meeting energized and reflecting on the passion that Professor Cohen has for his scholarships, the institution of community colleges, and the students served by community colleges.

Dr. Jason Taylor and Dr. Art CohenA highlight of the conference for me was the opportunity to meet Professor Cohen and pose for a photo holding my recent volume of New Directions for Community College (NDCC). Professor Cohen has been Editor-in-Chief of the NDCC series for years and he continues in this role today. Below is a short summary of the volume:

There is a renewed interest in dual enrollment (also known as dual credit or concurrent enrollment) among many educators and policymakers around the country. Dual enrollment offers high school students an opportunity to experience college and has the potential to save students money on college tuition and accelerate their time to a college degree. It requires collaboration between secondary and postsecondary educators, which can support P-16 alignment efforts. There is also accumulating evidence about the impact of dual enrollment on important outcomes such as high school graduation, college enrollment, and college retention and completion. It is for these reasons, and many others, that dual enrollment is increasingly capturing the attention of educators, policymakers, parents, and students.

These topics and many others are explored in a recently released volume of New Directions for Community Colleges (NDCC) that was co-edited by myself and Josh Pretlow. We framed the volume around three related dimensions: policies, pathways, and perspectives. In the first portion of the volume, the chapter authors explore the intricacies of state policies and how state policies shape and sometimes constrain local dual enrollment programs. In the second part of the volume, authors examine how dual enrollment programs are designed as pathways for various student groups, including CTE students, and increasingly students of color and low-income students in the form of Early and Middle College High Schools. In the last portion of the volume, authors provide the perspectives of dual enrollment stakeholders such as students, high school faculty and staff, and faculty teaching dual enrollment courses. The volume concludes with a chapter describing the emerging accreditation standards and process of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and a thought piece by Melinda Karp on the relationship between dual enrollment and the college completion agenda.

Community colleges are more likely than other postsecondary sectors to provide dual enrollment programs, and the number of students participating in dual enrollment has increased in the past decade. Community colleges are really leading many dual enrollment efforts around the nation, and this volume explores many dimensions of dual enrollment policy and practice.

The NDCC Volume, Dual Enrollment Policies, Pathways, and Perspectives, can be accessed here.

Dr. Jason Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a research specialization in evaluation methods and concentration in public policy.

ELP at AERA 2015

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting takes place April 16-20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois, and several ELP faculty and students will be in attendance and presenting. Listed below are presentations and sessions featuring our faculty, doctoral students, and master’s students.

AERA 2015

Thursday, April 16

  • Gender and Critical Education Thursday, April 16, 2:15 – 3:45 PM. Chaired by Amy Bergerson.

Friday, April 17

  • Say What You Do, Do What You Say: Closing Gaps Between College Students’ Expectations and Realities in the College Student Access Poster Session. Friday, April 17, 8:15 – 9:45 AM. Presenting authors Amy Bergerson, Yudi Lewis, and author Kegan Walker.
  • Examining Notions of College Readiness Friday, April 17, 2:15 – 3:45 PM. Chaired by María C. Ledesma.
  • Rethinking Motivation and Achievement Friday, April 17, 2:15 – 3:45 PM. Chaired by Irene H. Yoon.

Saturday, April 18

  • Can I See Myself Here? Marginalized Identities and STEM Learning Saturday, April 18, 8:15 – 9:45 AM. Chaired by Amy Bergerson.
  • “They Sellin’ Us a Dream They Not Preparin’ Us For”: Fiction and Failure in One College and Career Readiness Intervention Program in the Challenge of College and Career Readiness: Definitions, Policies, and Implications for Underrepresented Students symposium. Saturday, April 18, 2:45 – 4:15pm. Presenting author Erin L. Castro.
  • Working Identity and Critical Race Theory: Implications for Critical Education Policy in the Doing Critical Policy Analysis in Education symposium. Saturday, April 18, 2:45 – 4:15 PM. Presenting author Larry J. Parker.

Sunday, April 19

  • K–16 Youth Identities, Leadership, and Academic Excellence: Disrupting a Politics of Whiteness Along the Educational Pathway in the Toward Ethnoracial, Linguistic, and Geopolitical Justice: Heritage Communities, Cultural Politics, and Community-Engaged Research symposium. Sunday, April 19, 8:15 – 9:45am. Presenting authors Enrique Aleman and Eden Cortez.
  • Navigating the Politics of Social Justice Work and Scholar-Activism panel during the Division J Vice Presidential Session. Sunday, April 19, 12:25 – 1:55 PM. Featuring invited panelist Erin L. Castro.
  • Learning From Leaders’ Perspectives on Decision Making During Racial Conflict: Exploring Multifaceted Challenges of Leadership for Social Justice in the Learning From Leaders Negotiating Significant Racial and Cultural Conflicts: New Insights and Deeper Understandings session. Sunday, April 19, 12:25 – 1:55 PM. Presenting authors Allison Martin and Irene H. Yoon.
  • A Holistic Portrait of Readiness for School Improvement: Students, Parents, Teachers, School Staff, and Leaders’ Perspectives on School Climate in the Developing Tools for Equity Awareness in School Improvement: Support, Development, and Networking for Teachers and Leader paper session. Sunday, April 19, 2:15 – 3:45 PM. Presenting author Irene H. Yoon.

Monday, April 20

  • Advancing a Remedial Rationale in the Toward Collective Action to Reclaim Public Narratives for Justice: Ameliorating an Impoverished Cultural Discourse on Affirmative Action in Higher Education session. Monday, April 20, 8:15 – 9:45 AM. Presenting author María C. Ledesma.
  • Issues of Gender and Higher Education Monday, April 20, 8:15 – 10:15 AM. Featuring discussant Amy Bergerson.
  • Reward and Resistance: The Evolution of Latina/o Critical Theory in Educational Scholarship in the Relationship Between Ethnic Studies and Critical Race Theory in Education: Theoretical Considerations for the Future symposium. Monday, April 20, 10:35 – 12:05 PM. Presenting author María C. Ledesma.
  • Teacher Education and the Enduring Significance of “False Empathy” in the Race(ing) Teacher Education: Critical Race Theory as a Transformative Practice in Teacher Education symposium. Monday, April 20, 12:25 – 1:55 PM. Presenting author Bryan Hotchkins.

For the full AERA Annual Meeting program, visit the online program here. You can also follow the conference using the Twitter hashtag #AERA15.

ELP at NASPA 2015

NASPA15 LogoThe annual NASPA conference is just three days away! Every year, a number of students and faculty from ELP make their way to NASPA to network, learn, and present. Here are this year’s presentations featuring ELP students and faculty:

  • Writing for Professional Publication: A NASPA Journals-Sponsored Intensive Writing Workshop Sunday, March 22, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Coordinated by Amy Bergerson.
  • Expressing Courage Through the Written Word: Developing a Program Description Monday, March 23, 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM. Including presenter Amy Bergerson.
  • Publishing in NASPA’s Scholarly Journals Monday, March 23, 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM. Including presenter Amy Bergerson.
  • Awarding Students “Credit When It’s Due”: Translating Research to Practice Monday, March 23, 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM. Coordinated by Jason Taylor.
  • Transitioning from Administrator to Faculty: Possible Pathways and Strategies for Success Monday, March 23, 3:40 PM – 4:30 PM. Coordinated by Mary Skorheim, and including presenter Amy Bergerson.
  • Say what you do; do what you say: Closing the gap between students’ pre-college expectations and their campus realities Tuesday, March 24, 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM. Coordinated by Amy Bergerson, and including presenters Colin Ben, Yudi Lewis, Kai Martinez, and Kegan Walker.

ELP will also be hosting a University of Utah reception on Tuesday, March 24 from 7:00 – 8:00 PM in the Hilton Newberry room. We invite everyone present at NASPA to join us!

Choosing the ELP Program: My Preview Days Experience

By Justin Felton

It’s that time of year again—students are beginning to hear back from the institutions about on campus interviews, graduate assistantships, and more! It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was in that same position.

A year ago, about this time, I was starting to receive my first responses and eventually heard from the University of Utah. To be completely honest, my grad school search was centered on the Rocky Mountain Region, primarily because I wanted to be in the mountains. However, my partner had also accepted a job offer in Denver, and I wanted to be close to her. When I applied to grad schools, I applied to the U on a whim. It was extremely last minute, and I hadn’t really considered the possibility of moving to Utah. Well, that all changed during my on campus visit.

Coming to campus, I had already been accepted to a school in Colorado and had been offered an assistantship. I came to the U not really expecting to be overly impressed with the program. I had essentially made up my mind that I was going to school in Colorado. From the minute I landed at the SLC International Airport, I started to second guess that initial decision. The current students met us at the airport and were extremely welcoming. I could tell they were genuinely excited to meet all of us potential new students. The whole ride up to campus, I was in awe of the mountains. I had never been to SLC, but to be honest, it was the most beautiful place I had been to in my life. I thought Denver was incredible with the mountains off in the distance, but after arriving in SLC, I truly saw what it meant to have mountains in your backyard.

At last, we arrived at the Guest House and I settled into my room. I was able to talk to some of my potential cohort members and learned where they were from, their passions, and why they were interested in the U. Each individual had a unique story to share; all were passionate about helping students and were in the hunt for a program that would help them accomplish their goals. After going to dinner and continuing to meet more of the individuals at the U, I soon started to realize this is where I wanted to be. Going into Friday interviews, I was extremely nervous. I woke up that morning and knew this is where I wanted to attend grad school. I knew my only chance was to land an assistantship to help with the expenses.

Interviews went surprisingly well. Everyone was energetic and truly cared about what I wanted to get out of the experience. I remember struggling to rank the positions because I knew each position would provide me with an awesome opportunity! Leaving interviews, I was excited to hear what the future would hold. I knew I wasn’t guaranteed a position, but I knew this was where I was meant to be. I knew the University of Utah would provide me with the most opportunity to grow as an individual and as a professional. All of the faculty and staff were extremely welcoming and promised an experience unlike any other. After a full semester in the program, I can tell you, I have only been thrilled with my experience. All of the professors are truly there for your success. Coming from an engineering background, I was afraid to attend office hours because I never felt adequate in my abilities. In the ELP program, I love going to office hours to get honest feedback on my papers and to simply to get to know my professors as individuals. They inspire me and push me to my full potential. I am confident that I made the right decision to attend the University of Utah!

I know the U isn’t for everyone, but from personal experience, it has exceeded all of my expectations. I love being on campus, working with students, and researching topics that truly interest me. On the weekends, I love to escape to the mountains, which are just a few minutes from campus. Hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and skiing are all activities that help me keep the work-life balance that is ever critical in the hectic world of student affairs!

My advice going into Preview Days is be yourself and be open. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you make your decision. On campus interviews are just as much about you finding your fit as it is the school choosing you. I can remember asking current students random questions about their long distance relationships, the apartment hunt, the rigors of the program, churches they attend, etc. These were all questions critical to helping me make my decision; all questions that eventually helped me land here at the U! You never know what opportunities will open up or how your life can change by a few days on campus. I am so glad that I kept an open mind during my visit. My experience has been incredible, and I am so glad to call myself a part of the incredible family here at the University of Utah!

Justin Felton is a first-year student in the ELP program, with a graduate assistantship with Fraternity and Sorority Life. Justin graduated in 2014 from Purdue University in Indiana with a degree in Civil Engineering.

ELP Students Win at AIMHO 2014

First-year students Clayton Bracht, George Guardado, Julie Olaf, and Cody Garrison at AIMHO 2014.

First-year students Clayton Bracht, George Guardado, Julie Olaf, and Cody Garrison at AIMHO 2014.

Last weekend eight current ELP students attended the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers (AIMHO) 2014 conference in Logan, UT.

We are proud that four of those students won awards! Congratulations!

Hot Topics Presentation Winners:
Chris Miller and Julie Olaf, Assistant Residential Education Coordinators, Housing & Residential Education

Graduate Student of the Year:
Sarah Gutierrez, Assistant Residential Education Coordinator, Housing & Residential Education

Graduate Student Social Justice Action Award:
Kegan Walker, Assistant Residential Education Coordinator, Housing & Residential Education

AIMHO is one of many professional organizations that ELP students get involved with, representing professionals and students in housing in the intermountain region.

Why I Chose Student Affairs: Avoiding “Too Late”

By Kyle Inselman

The first time I worked the Freshman Barbeque at the University of Colorado Boulder, no sooner than when I stepped in line for hamburgers did an incoming first-year approach me and declare, “I need to meet you.”

It was my last summer of college, and I was an Orientation Leader supporting new students in their transition to campus. Earlier that day in our Inclusive Campus Climate workshop I came out as a student leader in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community, and my openness clearly impacted this first-year student. She came out to me as we stood in the barbeque line, and although she had nothing specific to ask, she said she needed to meet me, talk with me, and be reassured she wouldn’t be alone as she began this chapter of her life.

My own freshman year was filled with similar moments. I remember my heart pounding when I visited the GLBTQ Resource Center and met an adult whose full-time job was to help students like me when facing the often-inevitable discrimination that LGBTQ students experience on many campuses. For the first time since leaving to go to school out-of-state, I didn’t feel alone.

And though I often found faculty and classmates misunderstanding my identity, I always knew I could count on my community at the Resource Center for the encouragement to keep going and referrals to resources that helped me stay successful. Even one small tip to apply to a scholarship ended up changing my life by helping me stay in school full-time through graduation, and when I was hired at the Resource Center I paid the support forward by creating a detailed online guide for transgender students at my campus.

Through my job at the Resource Center and at Orientation, I was thrilled to help students like the first-year at the barbeque find their community and get connected to the resources and campus centers that would support them. After meeting many LGBTQ students who found out about student groups or the Resource Center as juniors or seniors—“too late” in their words—my goal was to help as many students as possible avoid the problem of “too late.” I focused heavily on communications and outreach during my undergraduate years, and now that I work in Career Services, I get to continue that goal by helping students learn that it’s never “too early” to access our many resources for success in and after college. There’s nothing like seeing the smile that crosses a student’s face when they finally find their niche, and it’s pretty darn cool that I get to create those moments as part of my career.

Kyle Inselman is a first-year student in the ELP program, with graduate assistantships in Career Services and coordinating ELP’s social media. Kyle graduated in 2011 from the University of Colorado Boulder and is a proud Forever Buff! When not catching up on Netflix documentaries, Kyle can be found practicing yoga or hiking the beautiful Wasatch Range.

Why I Chose Student Affairs: Compassion & the Power of Education

By Courtney Sirrine Rankin

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an educator of sorts. I was a strong leader and had a gift for explaining things in new ways. I started college with the intent of teaching high school math, then my focus shifted to elementary and special education, and finally when I realized my place in higher education, I graduated with a BA in Learning and Pedagogy with the intent of pursuing my master’s.

My second year of college, I was a Resident Assistant on campus. It was a period of tremendous growth and encouragement for me, but also one of the most difficult times in my life. I suffered a major trauma in the fall semester and had difficulty attending classes or sometimes even leaving my room. My supervisor could have asked me to step down from the position so she could have a more effective leader in the role. There was always a large pool of qualified alternates. Instead, she took the opportunity to support me and assist me in feeling normal again, whatever that was. She helped me get connected with Student Life and other resources, took me to the counseling center, and assisted with some administrative responsibilities on my floor until I could refocus. Because of this, I flourished. I came back a stronger student, mentor, and friend. I went on to work for Residence Life until I graduated and along the way, I changed my career path to pursue student affairs. It is that supervisor’s generosity, kindness, and patience that kept me afloat when I was on the verge of dropping out of school.

Many students face large barriers throughout their college careers. For me it was being a first-generation college student, working many hours to pay my way through school, taking on college with a disability, and being a survivor of violence. Professionals have the opportunity to make a large impact on students’ lives by guiding them through the process. I want to be that support to someone else so that I can pay the act forward. Compassion and understanding are vital to the achievement of students. Due to my strong belief in the power of education, I want to advocate for college students who are underserved and marginalized. The work is so important and I truly look forward to my future endeavors in this career.

Courtney Sirrine Rankin is a first-year student in the ELP program, with a graduate assistantship in the A. Ray Olpin Union. Courtney earned her bachelor’s from Northern Arizona University in Learning and Pedagogy. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her partner and her puppy.

Welcome to the ELP blog!

The mission of the University of Utah Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP), a division of the College of Education, is to prepare ethical researchers, leaders and policy makers in PK-12 through higher education who are informed by comprehensive and empirically-based theory and research, as well as committed to leading educational organizations that enact principles of justice, equity, and excellence for all learners.

The M.Ed. with an emphasis in student affairs provides a broad base on which students may build and advance their careers within higher education. Courses for the M.Ed. with student affairs emphasis cover topics including student affairs administration, contexts of higher education, and professional skill development.

This blog will serve as an interactive community for the M.Ed. program students and alumni, as well as a particularly useful resource for prospective students. The blog will include information about applying to the M.Ed., perspectives from current students and alumni on the program, and a variety of other posts from students and faculty highlighting their research and exploring higher education and student affairs. We welcome contributions and feedback from the ELP community, and look forward to the discussion and communication that this project will provide.