Academic journal article Michigan Academician


Academic journal article Michigan Academician


Article excerpt

Catalyzing Change in Educational Systems through the Engaged Department Initiative (EDI). Gloria Mileva and Danielle Lake, Grand Valley State University

The dominant structures and cultures of the academy continue to resource, recognize, and reward hierarchical, expert-driven, siloed, and theory-bound practices. Given that these structures do not prepare students to confront the world they will face ahead--full of "wicked" public problems--this presentation argues they are a mistake and offers a series of recommendations for fostering systemic change. These recommendations emerge from efforts unfolding at Grand Valley State University where institutional change is being catalyzed by its Engaged Department Initiative (EDI). The EDI is designed to not only resource, recognize, and reward high-impact engagement practices at the departmental and program level, but also leverage these changes into college- and university-level change. With three new participating departments from across the university participating each year, the EDI has yielded substantial changes in just 18 months. This is in large part because EDI researchers have engaged participatory action research practices (which include quantitative and qualitative measures) in order to document and share findings in "real time," shifting and enhancing participant practices as the initiative unfolds. As a case study of educational reform from the bottom up, this presentation highlights key findings and best practices as well as challenges and next steps.

Improved Reading Scores: Does Gender Matter? Jane Finn, Elizabeth Horton, Vicki Lynn Holmes, and Michael Wurster, Hope College

Previous studies have shown that females score higher than males in reading achievement tests. Girls tend to have a more positive attitude towards reading as well as being more active readers than boys (Coles and Hall, 2002; Sainsbury and Schagen, 2004; Logan and Johnston, 2009; Hall and Coles, 1999; Logan and Johnston, 2009). To see if this pattern held true for the students attending the Children's After School Achievement or CASA, the Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills (CIBS II) was conducted. CASA students were given the CIBS II pretest subtests of word recognition, oral reading, and reading comprehension in Fall 2015 and the CIBS II posttest subtests were administered in Spring 2016. Descriptive statistics, paired and independent t-tests, and an ANOVA were conducted to determine which gender performed better in the subtests along with which gender showed greater improvement in reading. Results showed that overall all students had significant improvement in all subtests. For males, there was significant improvement in word recognition and reading comprehension; while for females, there was significant improvement in word recognition and oral reading. Detailed results will be discussed and possible theories will be given during this presentation.

Behavior Management Competencies for Beginning Special Education Teachers. Claire Kenyon and Jane Finn, Hope College

Research shows that a challenging area for beginning teachers is maintaining order in the classroom and displaying competent behavioral management skills. In special education, classroom management is complex due to federal legislation including specific assessments and formal behavioral plans. Studies note that shortages of special education teachers can be linked to behavioral management problems that cause burnout in the field. However, there is very limited research from actual practitioners in the special education field that focuses on behavior competencies. To fill this gap, a survey was completed by over 150 Michigan educators and administrators to identify those skills and practices necessary for effective behavioral management in the classroom. Questions included aspects of pre-service training, behaviors commonly seen in the classroom, as well as professional development opportunities available to practicing teachers. …

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