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College of Education News

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.

‘First Generation’ Chronicles Journey of Four Students to College

2015 FirstGenerationPosterThe Center for Multicultural and Educational Opportunities is inviting faculty, students, family and friends to a free showing of “First Generation,” an award-winning film, at 6 p.m. on March 3 at the Student Union Special Events Center.

The film chronicles the journeys of four high school students who dream of being the first in their families to attend college.

Michael Rupp, assistant director of TRiO Upward Bound, notes that first-generation students are a growing and very important population in higher education. He said even the thought of attending college can seem daunting to a first-generation student. “First Generation” brings to light many of the challenges and obstacles that such students face as they make their dream a reality.

Immediately following the film there will be a discussion panel with first-generation students who participate in CMEO programs. You can watch a trailer for the film here.

For more information, contact Rupp at (208) 426-4843 or

Book by Former Education Dean, Alumna Wins National Award

photo-3-croppedLearning Magazine has selected a book written by a former Boise State dean and an alumna for the 2015 Teachers’ Choice Award for Professional Development.

The magazine selected “Building a Culture of Hope” written by Robert D. Barr, former dean of the College of Education, and Emily L. Gibson, (Ed.D., 2011) for the prestigious award. A national network of teacher panels reviews publications and makes recommendations to a national board, which makes the final selections.

The book provides essential new insights into the characteristics of high poverty, high performing schools and adds a new dimension to the organizational and instructional strategies used to improve schools during the last decade.

“Building a Culture of Hope” explains the importance of addressing the social and emotional needs of students living in poverty, especially the learned helplessness that is so often associated with poverty.

Barr’s and Gibson’s research in high poverty schools identified four “seeds of hope” essential for effective education. These seeds of hope include:

  • A sense of optimism
  • A sense of belonging
  • A sense of pride and self-confidence
  • A sense of purpose

Barr and Gibson identified the seeds of hope through observational research in high poverty, high performing schools throughout the United States.teacher-choice-award-150x112

Other national recognition for their work includes:

  • In 2014, the American Association of Publisher’s REVERE Distinguish Book Award selected “Building a Culture of Hope” as a finalist.
  • Barr has been invited to speak on the culture of hope at the Nevada School Superintendents Association and the Nevada School Boards Association this month.
  • Barr and Gibson will present at the National Youth At-Risk Conference in Savannah, Georgia, and the National Association of School Boards national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, this spring.
  • Barr and Gibson have been invited to make a videotaped and live streamed presentation regarding the culture of hope at the National Title I Conference in Salt Lake City in February.
  • An article by Barr and Gibson focusing on school cultures of hope will be the lead article for Educational Leadership’s summer 2015 international digital issue, circulated to more than 500,000 readers.
  • Many school districts and professors are using “Building a Culture of Hope” for reading and discussion. The ninth largest school district in Ohio has used the book for reading and discussion in all of its elementary, middle and high schools.

For more information, visit the Building a Culture of Hope webpage, blog or Facebook page.


Time to Prepare for CAEP Visit in 2016

Jennifer L. Snow, associate dean for Teacher Education, and Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education, issued the following statement to teacher education faculty:

“As we engage in transforming the teacher education culture at Boise State toward continuous improvement based on evidence, we would like to again share the CAEP Standards for our upcoming visit. Please see attached a one-page reminder of the five standards and the emphasis on integrating diversity and technology across all five standards.

“Our focus on gathering and analyzing evidence for program, candidate, and systems quality is of the utmost importance right now as we prepare for the CAEP Visit March 6 – 8, 2016. We will also need to submit our self-study by July 10, 2015.

“These are exciting times for Boise State teacher education programs. We are thrilled to be participating in the continuous quality improvement all programs must demonstrate in the coming months. As always, do not hesitate to contact either of us if you have questions or would like support in any way.”

Candidate Job Talks Scheduled

College of Education faculty members are invited to attend two conferences with candidates for a position in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies:

What: Quantitative Methods Faculty Position, Research Talk
Who: Lee Van Horn
Topic: Using Regression Mixture Models for Finding Heterogeneity in Contextual Effects
When: 9:30-10:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 14
Where: Simplot Micron 118

What: Quantitative Methods Faculty Position, Research Talk
Who: Wanchen Chang
Topic: Sufficient Sample Sizes for the Multivariate Multilevel Regression Model
When: 9-10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 17
Where: Wallace Conference Room, 7th Floor, Education Building

Time to Nominate Boise State ‘Women of the Year’

IBR101714 real_Layout 1It’s time to put together a list of Boise State women who the university will nominate for the Idaho Business Review’s “Women of the Year.”

You may recall, Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration, won the designation of “Woman of the Year” two years ago.

This is a highly competitive, statewide award and the Office of Communications and Marketing nominates three Boise State faculty or staff members each year.

Please email your suggestions to either Melinda Keckler, assistant director for marketing, at or Ralph Poore, communications specialist, at You can read about last year’s awards online.

The nomination process requires a great deal of thought, time and effort for the nominee and the university, so we need to identify potential nominees very soon.