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College of Education News

College of Education Programs Earn Prestigious Ratings in Higher Education

CommencementMarshall-500x333-300x199Boise State University’s College of Education ranks among the top education programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Graduate Schools report.

The annual report examines the largest professional graduate school disciplines of business, law, education, engineering and medicine and specialty rankings within those disciplines. The College of Education ranked in the top 100 nationally and its fully online educational technology graduate program ranked in the top 50.

The news organization’s rankings are among the most prestigious ratings in higher education.

The U.S. News rankings released March 10 follow an earlier announcement by the National Council on Teacher Quality putting Boise State’s undergraduate elementary and secondary Teacher Education programs in the top 5 percent of such programs in the country.

NCTQ’s review of teacher preparation programs focused on the knowledge, skills, and academic attributes new teachers need to be classroom ready when they graduate. Drawing from a set of 18 standards, NCTQ applied the relevant standards to elementary, secondary or special education programs. NCTQ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization located in Washington DC.

“These high rankings are because of our faculty’s dedicated work and commitment to quality in making continuous program improvement a hallmark of our undergraduate and graduate programs,” said College of Education Dean Rich Osguthorpe. “This commitment means we are producing graduates who are ready on the first day of their careers to teach and improve student learning. It also means that we are conducting high-level research with graduate students that aims to improve school outcomes.”

Osguthorpe particularly pointed to the leadership of Jennifer Snow, associate dean of teacher education, and of Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, in helping the college achieve the rankings.

Other universities with education programs ranked similar to Boise State included Kansas State University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech.

The graduate disciplines that U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors that include standardized test scores of newly enrolled students, employment outcomes for graduates, external research funding and other criteria. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Boise State’s Department of Educational Technology (EdTech) is housed in the College of Education. Other universities with programs and rankings similar to EdTech include University of Nevada at Reno, Drexel University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University.

Summer Literacy Academy Offers Faculty, Staff Discount

Summer Literacy Academy, St Mary's School, Petros Panaou, Photo Patrick SweeneyBoise State University faculty and staff who enroll their children in the Literacy Center’s Summer Literacy Academy program by April 15 can receive an additional $55 discount. This is in addition to the regular $25 discount for early registration, so faculty and staff can receive a total discount of $80.

To take advantage of this special offer, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or and provide her with your employee ID number.

Qualified teachers help children beat the summer slide and further develop their literacy skills. Participating in interactive, playful and creative activities, children become more confident and engaged readers, writers and speakers.

Financial aid is available, if annual income is below $30,000.

There are two locations to choose from:

June 8-July 3: For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. with ESage afternoon program. The ESage afternoon program is an additional $300. The academy will be held at Sage International School, 421 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise. The optional ESage afternoon program includes outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, hiking and sports. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 426-2805 or For more information, contact Arron Walton at (208) 343-7243 or

June 22-July 17: Literacy Center Summer Literacy Academy. For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. The academy will be held at Boise First Community Center, 3852 N. Eagle Road, Boise. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or

Research Colloquium Features Flay and Allred

Brian Flay, research professor, and Carol Allred, president of Positive Action, Inc., will present “Replication of the effects of a Whole School Reform Character Education program from randomized trials in Hawaii and Chicago” at the College of Education Research Colloquium at 11 a.m., April 3 in room 110 in the Education Building.

Besides serving as a research professor in the College of Education, Flay also is a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, where he has worked since 2005.

Flay has done extensive work on the development and implementation of evidence-based programming in schools and communities. His recent studies focus on positive youth development, including social-emotional and character development.

Allred founded Positive Action, whose school-based program addresses influences on youth development, a broad array of positive and negative behaviors and academic performance. The Positive Action program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in the What Works Clearinghouse as a top-rated program for improving students’ behavior and academics.

For more information, contact Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, at 426-1731 or

Celebration of Teaching Awards to Honor Idaho Educators on April 7

Glass appleRecipients of the Celebration of Teaching – Mentors of the Year Awards will be honored at an awards program and dinner at 6 p.m. April 7 in the Stueckle Sky Center at Boise State.

The awards recognize teachers and counselors from Idaho public schools who guide, support and encourage fellow educators in their pursuit of effective teaching, counseling and professional growth.

For more information, contact Katherine Weatherspoon, management assistant in the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies, at (208) 426-4852 or

Barbara Morgan to Join Family of Woman Film Fest Discussion

The annual Family of Woman Film Festival brings issues that confront women and girls around the world to the big screen in Sun Valley. Through a partnership with Boise State University, special events also will take place in Boise this year.

Boise audiences can see two of this year’s films — “Sepideh” on Feb. 25 and “The Supreme Price” on Feb. 27 — along with featured guest speakers. Both screenings will take place in the Special Events Center on the Boise State campus and are free and open to the public.

SEPIDEHWednesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. “Sepideh” (90 min.)

This feature documentary from Iran will be presented in the United States for the first time outside of the Sundance Film Festival. Barbara Morgan, former NASA astronaut and distinguished educator in residence at Boise State, will join the film’s assistant director, Mona Rafatzadeh, in a conversation following the screening moderated by Idaho Public Television’s Marcia Franklin.

The star of her village school’s astronomy club, Sepideh lugs a telescope as tall as herself to a mountaintop to stargaze. She confides her dream of becoming an astronaut like her idol, Anousheh Ansari, in a journal addressed to Albert Einstein. When she’s passed over for a university scholarship and suitors come knocking at the door, her determination is seriously tested. This film is suitable for all ages. Learn more at

Friday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. “The Supreme Price” (75 min.)Supreme price

This feature documentary from Nigeria will be jointly presented by filmmaker Joanna Lipper and the subject of the film, Hafsat Abiola. Abiola’s father was Nigeria’s first democratically elected president. After he was overthrown in a coup, her mother was assassinated while campaigning for his release, and he mysteriously died in prison. A college student in America at the time, Hafsat Abiola did not return to Nigeria until 1999, after the transition from military dictatorship to civilian rule, where she founded Kudirat Initiative for Democracy. The non-governmental organization is dedicated to advancing the status and rights of Nigerian women and girls. Learn more at

The 8th annual Family of Woman Film Festival kicks off in Sun Valley on Feb. 24 with the second Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture on the Health and Dignity of Women, featuring Women Deliver founder Jill Sheffield. The festival concludes March 1.

“Each film we select has exceptional artistic merit and many have gone on to win major awards,” said festival co-chair Peggy Elliott Goldwyn. “But the main purpose of the festival has always been educational.”

The events at Boise State are presented by the Idaho Film Collection and the university’s Arts and Humanities Institute, Gender Studies program and Women’s Center.

Learn more about festival activities at

Attend a Graduate Defense

The campus community is invited to attend the following graduate defenses:

Dennis Daw

When: 9 a.m. Feb. 27
Where: Education Building, Room 110
Program: Master of Science in Biology
Title: An In-Depth Evaluation of Otolith Zonation and a Comparison of Assigned Age and Precision of Otoliths, Scales, and Pectoral Fin Rays of Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) and Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

Abstract: There is extensive confusion surrounding the timing and interpretation of otolith zones, specifically, which zone represents fast growth and which represents slow growth. To determine if this confusion is a species-related difference, we calculated monthly growth rates and investigated otolith zonation for a cold-water (Redband trout: Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) and a warm-water (Bluegill: Lepomis macrochirus) species, in two Southern Idaho streams and three ponds. Redband Trout showed their fastest growth during the month of June, with continuation of growth through September. The opaque zone was forming during the highest rate of growth. As with Redband Trout, the fastest growth rates for Bluegill were during late spring and early summer. However, this fast growth coincided with the formation of the translucent zone. These findings have implications for both experienced and novice biologists conducting ageing studies. Lacking water-specific validation, the annulus for temperate warm-water centrarchids should be considered the opaque zone. Conversely, the annulus for temperate cold-water trout should be considered the translucent zone. To determine if there was a quality non-lethal ageing structure, I further compared the precision and assigned age of otoltihs, pectoral fin rays and scales for these two species. Otoliths were the most precise for both species in all water bodies. Scales produced lower age estimates when compared to otoliths for both species in all water bodies. Assigned age did not differ from that of otoliths, however fin rays were considerable more variable than otoliths on Bluegill. Redband Trout fin rays did not differ in assigned age but were more variable than otoliths. I do not recommend the use of scales for either species. Further I do not recommend fin rays as an aging structure for Bluegill. However, fin rays may be an acceptable aging structure for Redband Trout.

Zeke Hudson

When: 3 p.m. Feb. 27
Where: Liberal Arts Building, Room 208
Program: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Title: The Travelogues

Abstract: In the last few years, I felt uncomfortably situated between a frantic postmodernity and an earnest sincerity. I think as much is apparent in my manuscript. In The Travelogues, I tried to blend the abstract lyricism of the Language poets, the narrative tone and continuity of the New York School, and the sense of interpersonal connectivity and responsibility of contemporary Bay Area writers. To be more precise, I hoped to channel a bit of Rae Armantrout, Frank O’Hara, and Juliana Spahr. However, each poem in The Travelogues marks a journey, real or imagined; consequently, they manifest as travel or nature poems, wherein the aesthetic of shifting geographies blends with introspection and memory, ultimately inscribing themselves into a form as consistent as the roads on which they were conceived and written.

The Travelogues is a collection of poetry that seeks to escape the quotidian. In so doing, it examines the relationship between person, place, and memory. Each poem chronicles the speaker’s movement through a new and terrible landscape in search of connection. These landscapes, both real and surreal, are barren and hospitable, void of comfort or humanity. The poems reach a crisis: they become aware of their own artifice and inability to exist beyond the page. The Travelogues resigns in failure, yet still makes one last move toward escape.

Kelly Cox

When: 10 a.m. March 3
Where: Hemingway Center, Room 110 – Visual Arts Collective, Gallery Two
Program: Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Title: Fixate

Abstract: In this thesis, I will provide a brief history of consumer culture and the mechanisms by which it operates: such as the aestheticization of the factory including the illusions that remove evidence of process from production, a propagated fear of the body and a cultural rejection of the unfamiliar, the difficult or the old. Connecting them to ideas in both Art and consumerism, I will poke and prod at the mythologies of progress, dematerialization and the Orphic complex. In exploring theories of doubt and skepticism, I will suggest an alternative perspective on the body, one that considers the mouth as the entrance to the self (rather than the eyes) and personal experience as a compass for subjective direction (in the form of expression). Finally, I will explore complexity (created by depth, layers and juxtaposition,) decoration and gradient as concepts that are of both visual and conceptual concern.

Eric Mullis

When: 1 p.m. March 3
Where: Hemingway Center, Room 110 – Visual Arts Collective, Gallery Two
Program: Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Title:  B> Be greater than.

Abstract: B>Be greater than.

Be greater than nature. Be greater than human. Be greater than ever.

B> designs innovative lifestyle products that improve the lives of people everywhere by allowing them to transcend everyday life and reclaim their inner greatness.

B> was founded in 2013 by artist and designer Christopher Mollusk in a community center studio in Boise, Idaho. Two years later B> offers a line of four lifestyle products for everyday greatness ranging from simple and elegant self-improvement accessories, innovative mobile connectivity devices, tools for conflict resolution, and commemorative figurines that celebrate everyday greatness. B>’s line of innovative accessories for greatness allow you to transcend everyday life and be greater than ever.

Meagan McKinney

When: 12 p.m. March 4
Where: Education Building, 3rd Floor, Ed Tech Conference Room
Program: Master of Science in STEM Education
Title: The Relationship Between Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy for Teaching Mathematics and Their Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Abstract: This thesis examines the relationship between the mathematical content knowledge elementary teachers have and their self-efficacy for teaching the mathematical content to their students. Self-efficacy refers to a person’s beliefs about their ability to successfully perform a task (Bandura, 1993). The main focus was on how is the self-efficacy teachers have related to their mathematical content knowledge (Hill, Rowan & Ball, 2005), which simply put is the subject matter knowledge that support teaching the why and how of specific mathematical procedures. Self-efficacy and mathematical content knowledge are of high importance with their implications in regards to quality of instruction and the drive of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics requires “highly qualified” teachers.

Data for this study was collected form a small group of elementary (grades 1-5) teachers. These teachers were participating in a grant project at the time of data collection. Data was collected regarding their self-efficacy with the practices of teaching mathematics and the overall mathematics content itself using a validated instrument called the Self-Efficacy for Teaching Mathematics Instrument (SETMI). The Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics Instrument was used to collect data on teachers’ mathematical content knowledge. A correlational analysis was run to test for a relationship between the two self-efficacy constructs and the CKT-M score. Analysis of the results showed there to only be a statistically significant relationship between self-efficacy for pedagogy in mathematics and self-efficacy for teaching mathematics content. There was not a statistically significant relationship between either of the two self-efficacy constructs and the content knowledge for teaching mathematics scores. Qualitative data was collected pertaining to teachers’ perceptions of the positive influences and challenges of implementing the Common Core State Standards into their classroom. The themes of training and support were seen as positive influences, while curriculum and time were seen as the major challenges.

Douglas Whitten

When: 9 a.m. March 11
Where: Education Building, Room 717, Social Work Conference Room
Program: Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Title: Recruiting for the Collegiate Marching Band: A Study of Student Perceptions of Recruitment and College Choice Factors in Kansas and Missouri

Abstract: The marching band is an important and iconic part of the game day atmosphere at athletic events and community functions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. To many institutions, the band is a great source of pride and considerable resources are committed in an effort to have the best band possible. A key component to having the best band possible is having effective recruiting practices.

There is a large body of research on recruiting general student’s populations and many other sub categories of students, including music majors. However, research regarding recruitment of students that participate in marching band is missing from the literature because most marching band members are not majoring in music. It is the hypothesis of the researcher that these students are a unique population that likely respond to different recruiting strategies than would those who are music majors.

To determine what college choice factors and recruiting strategies are most applicable to the college marching band member, the Marching Band Participation Questionnaire was designed to measure why students chose to participate in their chosen program. Results from the study demonstrate that 70% of college marching band members are not majoring in music and that they have college choice considerations that differ from the general student population and those of music majors. Therefore, this demographic is likely be more responsive to a recruiting and marketing campaign that treats them as a unique population.

Hsu Helps High Schoolers Turn Their Idea into a Working App

For the second year, EdTech’s assistant professor Yu-Chang Hsu was selected to coach a group of students working to turn their award-winning idea into a working mobile app.

The five-member team of 11th and 12th graders from the Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick, Washington, received personal guidance from Hsu from Feb. 19-21.

The high schoolers won one of eight “Best in Nation” awards in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The students won for their idea for a Safe & Sound app, which offers teens ways to manage stress or feelings of depression.

Below are some photos of Hsu working with the high schoolers:

AppTraining-6 AppTraining-5 AppTraining-4 AppTraining-3 AppTraining-2 AppTraining-1


Exploring JUMP and Literacy

The Literacy Center at JUMP

Pictured from left to right are Petros Panaou, Mary Ann Cahill, Maggie Chase and Stan Steiner.

Petros Panaou, director of the Literacy Center, and Kathy O’Neill, director of community engagement for JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place), have been exploring ideas for community literacy activities at the center. On Jan. 23, Department of Literacy, Language and Culture faculty members Stan Steiner, Maggie Chase, Mary Ann Cahilll and Panaou attended an open house for JUMP to learn more about the vision and mission of the project. The four faculty members received a project overview, Q&A session and a tour of the construction. Pictured from left to right are Panaou, Cahill, Chase and Steiner.

EdTech Recruiting Video Features Its Graduates

The Department of Educational Technology has unveiled its newest video, which has interviews with graduates from last fall’s class.

“We think we captured some great comments that helps describe the kind of program we work so hard to deliver,” said Brett Shelton, EdTech  chair.

You can watch the video from the EdTech webpage or below. After you watch it, let Shelton know your thoughts at

‘Capitalist for Preschool’ to Address Business Case for Early Learning on Feb. 11

John_Pepper_photo_April_29_2010-224x300The Andrus Center and Idaho Business for Education are bringing in the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, John Pepper, to address The Business Case for Early Learning at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom.

Pepper is co-founder of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, one of the nation’s most successful mentoring and tutoring organizations. He identified himself as a “capitalist for preschool” in a 2013 New York Times editorial. Download the event flyer for more details.

The lecture is free and parking is provided.

Contact Cathe Scott at or (208) 426-3784 for more information.