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One of the goals of the Newman University Strategic Plan is to establish partnerships with organizations and businesses that will benefit existing students, help make the university more accessible to prospective students, and create programs that meet the needs of both.
Partnerships are especially important in today’s increasingly complex and interconnected world. They enhance the well-being of the university and our students in many ways. By increasing our involvement with members of the community, partnerships can make Newman stronger. They also make it possible for the university to offer new programs for students, and discover new opportunities for growth and success.
From making agreements with public schools and colleges to help students better prepare for careers, to joining forces with area dioceses and health care providers to create academic programs that benefit their employees and the broader community, partnerships just make good sense. A look at a few current partnerships shows why.
Over the past two years, Newman has developed partnerships with area community colleges to help prepare students in two-year institutions who want to finish a four-year degree at Newman. The partnerships center on articulation agreements, which help students transfer more hours and eliminate duplicating classes by identifying the specific courses in two-year schools that will be accepted as equivalent to Newman courses.
Newman currently has articulation agreements with 10 community colleges. Based on the agreement and the major, students can transfer from 62 to 74 credit hours to Newman.
“Enrollment at community colleges is growing faster than any other type of higher education institution, mostly because of cost,” said Newman Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Austin, Ph.D. “Students go to a two-year college to get an associate’s degree then transfer to a four-year to finish. We can’t ignore this. It’s best to partner with community colleges to make it easier and more attractive for their students to come to Newman. And, the community colleges want to work with us.”
Public school initiatives
In a partnership with the Wichita Public Schools that will begin next fall, Newman and the school system will offer scholarships to qualifying high school students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program who are interested in pursuing careers in education.
AVID is a national program designed primarily for minority and least-served students who are “in the middle” scholastically. Students are enrolled in Honors and AP courses and provided the academic and social support to help them succeed. Under the “AVID Future Teacher Scholarship Program,” AVID students will receive a $3,000 scholarship per year from Newman University, and some will receive an additional $1,650 scholarship per year from the school system, to earn their teaching degrees at Newman. In turn, students will help in the AVID tutoring program for 60 hours per academic year, and those who receive a school district scholarship will agree to teach one year in the district for each year they receive tuition assistance.
Newman Dean of Admissions John Clayton said Newman and the AVID programs in public schools have worked together over the past year to help students expand their awareness of private higher education. He has already seen a positive response to the future teacher program – as of mid-March, six students had been interviewed for acceptance into the program.
Partnerships with Wichita Diocese help future teachers
A partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and the Catholic schools system has resulted in several programs to benefit college and high school students.
The diocese and Newman jointly cover two-thirds of the tuition for students in the master of education building leadership program who are employed by a diocese school, while the diocese pays full tuition for diocese school employees in the ESL endorsement program. The diocese also helped Newman’s new graduate theology program off to a strong start last fall by awarding 30 full scholarships from the diocese’s St. Maria De Mattias Endowment.
The Newman School of Education also recently collaborated with the diocese’s Catholic school system to create the Tom Seiler Teacher Academy at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. The program is named for a 1976 Newman graduate and popular Bishop Carroll physics teacher who died in 1997 of cystic fibrosis. It is designed to help senior students explore teaching as a vocation while they receive a college credit.
Each week, students visit Catholic grade school classrooms to observe different teachers at work and help with various tasks, including tutoring students. Academy students also do research projects, build a portfolio and attend an education course at Newman.
School of Education Director Steven E Dunn, Ed.D. said the semester-long program was launched this fall and currently has eight students who have a strong interest in education as a career.
He added that based on the success of the program, the School of Education is looking at expanding it to other schools in Wichita next year.
St. Gianna Academy
The Tom Seiler Academy was modeled after another collaborative effort that included Newman, the Catholic school system and Via Christi Health – the St. Gianna Catholic Healthcare Academy. This program, founded in 2002, offers qualifying seniors from Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School an in-depth look at all types of health care careers.
In the program, students spend half of each school day at a hospital, working on the medical floors or completing projects and studying in a computer classroom. Students are introduced to 15 clinical areas including the lab, pharmacy, surgery and the ER, and are partnered with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, who work as mentors as students observe actual medical procedures during daily operations.
Students earn high school and college credit during the program, and are eligible for scholarships from Newman and Via Christi if they pursue a health care career. The health academy was the first hospital-based high school program of its type in the nation, and accepts only 25 students each year. A total of 294 students have graduated from the program since its inception.
In addition to helping students determine their career interests, the program helps Via Christi Health attract graduates to meet the growing demand for skilled health care professionals. A survey of academy students before and after the spring 2004 semester showed students’ interest in pursuing a health care career increased from 60 percent to 96 percent – with 78 percent planning to work at Via Christi. The percentage of students who planned to attend Newman University also increased.
Many academy graduates have earned their degrees at Newman and now work at Via Christi in respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, patient care, the pharmacy and other areas. One is Sofia Jaramillo, a first-generation college graduate who received the 2008 St. Catherine of Siena New to Nursing Award from Via Christi Health.
Jaramillo, who was in the first St. Gianna Academy class, earned a nursing degree at Newman in December 2006. She is now a registered nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Via Christi Hospital, 929 N. St. Francis, and is pursuing a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner.
Jaramillo said she always had an interest in medicine, but wasn’t sure what field she wanted to pursue. Gaining a realistic look at health care while in high school helped her decide on a nursing career and focus her efforts in college, she said.
Her experience at St. Gianna also helped open doors professionally. She was hired by Via Christi immediately after high school as a unit clerk in the MICU, and soon moved up to other positions as she completed her degree.
Jaramillo said she likes most every aspect of her job as a nurse, and that her training through St. Gianna and Newman provided her with a good perspective on her job.
“At Newman we were taught to look at patients differently,” she said. “People can get very involved in the tasks of nursing. At Newman, it’s about the person. We were taught, it’s not just the patient in Room 20, it’s the whole person.”
Via Christi Health assists in new RN-to-BSN program
Over the past year, Via Christi Health and the Newman School of Nursing and Allied Health have worked together to develop an innovative new RN-to-BSN program. The program, designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree, will begin in the fall 2010 semester.
The new program will be delivered almost completely online, with just a few instances where students may be on campus or at a health care agency for clinical experiences. Students will do coursework via modules, which include taped lectures, video presentations, discussion boards, Web-based group interactions and other media-rich features using technology developed for the master’s in theology programs (see Fall 2009 Challenge). This format allows students to do coursework at a convenient time, completing the program as they continue to work. It also makes it possible for RNs who live in rural areas where a four-year program is not available to earn a BSN degree.
To help develop the curriculum for the new program, Via Christi Health “loaned” the services of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Carol O’Mara, DNP to Newman for 16 hours a week. O’Mara has been a clinical instructor in several nursing programs, and currently works in the Emergency Departments at the two Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita.
“I think this can be a big win-win,” said Director of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Bernadette Fetterolf, Ph.D. “Via Christi has a number of associate degree prepared RNs, so this could be a good way for them to develop more highly skilled employees, and we get the benefit of Via Christi’s expertise in developing this program.”
“Via Christi is very supportive of RNs continuing their education and completing the BSN degree,” said O’Mara, who will also teach when the program begins this fall. “We highly encourage it, so they can gain in their knowledge and go on to higher levels in their career.”
Fetterolf said the program will be offered at a reduced tuition as one of Newman’s Career Advantage Programs. In addition, the RN-to-BSN curriculum is especially geared to practicing RNs. The courses are designed to incorporate the interests and needs of nurses in practice and to allow them some flexibility in meeting their own profession goals.
Fetterolf noted that Newman and Via Christi have collaborated for many years. The Newman nursing program grew out of the diploma awarding School of Nursing at St. Francis Hospital, now part of Via Christi Health. Via Christi also provides a wide variety of clinical sites for Newman students.
“Via Christi has always been a good partner,” Fetterolf said. “We are both Catholic institutions, so we have common bonds and common values. This program will continue that partnership, and should draw many professional, career adult students to Newman.”
“I’ve seen a lot of employee interest,” she said. “People in my department maybe hadn’t considered getting a BSN before, but now they can see it’s very possible.”
It didn’t take Newman University senior Brian Alvarez long to react to news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti this past January. Within two days of the disaster, he began organizing a food drive, which soon included a fundraising event, which in turn generated additional efforts by others on the Newman campus.
Ultimately, the events captured the attention of local media, and drew contributions from hundreds of Newman students, parents and alumni to help support relief efforts in Haiti by Catholic Relief Services and the International Red Cross.
“I was watching World News Tonight, and I was captivated by the images of devastation and the numbers of dead and all that were wounded,” Alvarez said. “I just felt like I needed to help out in some way.”
Alvarez spoke with his girlfriend, who suggested a food drive. With the help of fellow students and Newman administrators Alvarez soon created a project he dubbed “Help 4 Haiti Charity Week.” For the project, held during the first week of the spring 2010 semester, Alvarez asked everyone in the Newman community to bring non-perishable food items or water to collection boxes in the Gorges Atrium.
Alvarez, who is president of the student athletic booster club Superfans and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), then worked with Athletics Director Vic Trilli to turn the annual “Blue Out in Fugate” into part of the food drive and fundraiser. For the Blue Out, everyone attending the Jan. 30 women’s and men’s basketball games in Fugate Gymnasium was admitted free for wearing a blue shirt and donating two or more canned food items. The event also featured SAAC and Superfan members providing face-painting and Newman bracelets before the games, and drawings and other activities for prizes, including iPods and flat-screen T.Vs.
The campaign attracted the attention of several local radio stations, which spread the word in the week leading up to the Blue Out. The Wichita Eagle also did a short article on the food drive and a follow-up story on the results. In addition, KAKE TV Channel 10 and KWCH TV Channel 12 came to Fugate during the Blue Out and interviewed Alvarez for stories.
Alvarez said the Blue Out drew more than 1,000 people, the largest turn-out for basketball games of the season.
“Everyone that came to the game brought cans – that’s where the majority of our food contributions came from,” he said. “Parents brought their kids and everyone had a great time.”
Others at Newman joined in with other ideas to raise money, including student Ashley Myers, also a SAAC member, who organized “Charity Night for Haiti.” The event, a social and dance, drew about 160 people who paid $15, or $10 with a student ID from any school, to enjoy food, beverages, and a dance complete with a professional DJ.
In all, the food drive, Blue Out and dance resulted in 1,900 items of non-perishable food and $2,258 for Catholic Relief Services and the International Red Cross. A “jeans day” where Newman employees who made a donation could wear denim, raised another $730, bringing the total Newman contribution to almost $3,000. In addition, The Adorers of the Blood of Christ urged anyone wishing to make a monetary gift to go online to Catholic Relief Services (www.crs.org/Haiti) or www.whitehouse.gov, which had a direct link to the International Red Cross.
Alvarez had many words of thanks for fellow students and Superfan and SAAC members who volunteered their time to help. He also gave a special thank you to Linda Fields, administrative assistant to the dean of admissions and Superfans staff advisor. Fields helped organize the events and coordinated the shipment of items to Haiti by Numana, an international hunger relief organization based in El Dorado, Kan.
Alvarez added that the timing of the earthquake — a week before students returned to campus for the beginning of the spring 2010 semester — made the project especially challenging. Still, he had faith in the idea, and the people of Newman.
“I knew it would be hard, but in the Newman community people are always willing to help,” he said. “The results were awesome given the short time we had to organize and advertise everything, but even if we got only one can of food it would have been deemed a success by me. It showed that we’re a community of people who want to help. That’s what distinguishes Newman from other schools, and it indicates why I came to Newman.”
Two longtime benefactors of Newman University and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ were honored Feb. 27 with the university’s highest honor, the Cardinal Newman Medal.
John E. and Marilyn K. (Gorges) Dugan were awarded the medal during this year’s Cardinal Newman Banquet and Awards Ceremony, the capstone to the annual Cardinal Newman Week celebration. The Dugans were selected for their appreciation of the spirit and ideals of John Henry Cardinal Newman and the instrumental role they have played in the growth and development of the university.
The Dugan family’s long association with Newman and the ASC began in 1888, when John’s great grandparents Ellen and Henry Dugan donated the land where the university stands today to the Diocese of Wichita, which sold it a few years later to the ASC. John attended Saint John’s Boys School in the 1940s and helped his father deliver milk to the Sisters from the family dairy farm. Marilyn is associated with Newman and the ASC through two cousins who were Adorers, Sister Evelyn Gorges and her sibling Sister Sylvia Gorges, former president of Sacred Heart College.
The Dugans received an honorary doctorate of law from Newman in 1996 in recognition of their support for Catholic education. They made substantial gifts to campaigns for Eck Hall and the De Mattias Fine Arts Center-O’Shaughnessy Hall complex. The Dugan Library and Campus Center was named in recognition of their $2 million gift, while the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, named in honor of the couple’s parents, was constructed thanks to an additional gift.
Two of the Dugans’ 10 children and two daughters-in law have graduated from Newman, and two grandchildren are current students. Their son Mark has served on the Board of Trustees and their son Glenn is currently on the Board.
The first trip will be for a group of up to 30 people, who will travel to England Sept. 15-21 during Pope Benedict XVI’s scheduled visit to England. The group will use London as a home base and travel to Birmingham, the beatification site, on the day of the ceremony. A second trip designed for a larger group is planned for spring 2011. It will be a 10-day pilgrimage to Birmingham and other sites in England and Ireland that were significant in Cardinal Newman’s life, led by Newman Chaplain Fr. Joseph Tatro.“This is a wonderful time for Newman University,” said Director of Mission Effectiveness Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC, who is helping plan the trips. “Our institution will become more recognized because of the association with Cardinal Newman. And, the trips are just a wonderful opportunity to see some of the places where he lived and worked.” For questions or to reserve a place for either trip, contact Sister Charlotte at 316-942-4291, ext. 2167 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ann Edwards at 316-942-4291, ext. 2422 or email@example.com.
Fr. Rouch is a respected Newman scholar, whose doctoral dissertation addressed the relationship of Christian dogma and spirituality in Newman’s writings.
In his lecture Fr. Rouch spoke of the parallels between the cultural dynamics of Newman’s time and the present day, Newman’s personal life and experiences, and the influence his search for truth can have on the efforts of modern people — particularly university students and faculty — to be spiritual, religious, and Catholic.
Fr. Rouch is vice-rector and associate director of seminarians at St. Mark Seminary and the vicar for education in the Diocese of Erie, Penn. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gannon University in Erie, a master of divinity degree from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md., a master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton University, and has received both a licentiate and doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, commonly known as the Angelicum, in Rome.
Herm Bachrodt and Betty Adams, ASC A ’61, ’66 will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa during the Spring 2010 Commencement ceremony May 15. The university bestows the honorary degrees upon notable members of the Newman community based on exemplary dedication to one of the university’s four Core Values: Catholic Identity, Culture of Service, Academic Excellence, and Global Perspective.
Bachrodt was selected for his service and professional and philanthropic support of Catholic education and athletics. He came to Sacred Heart College in 1967 at the request of President Sylvia Gorges, ASC to launch the men’s basketball program. Bachrodt served as Sacred Heart’s first basketball coach and first athletics director, during which time the men’s basketball team earned a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. He previously served as head basketball coach and athletics director at Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School, and head basketball coach at St. Mary’s High School in Wichita. He has been a generous benefactor, and in recognition of his gifts Kapaun Mt. Carmel will name its new athletic facility the Coach Herm and Jackie Bachrodt Athletic Complex.
Sister Betty Adams epitomizes the concept of global perspective for the work she has done for Newman and the ASC international community. A graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Sacred Heart College, Sister Betty was a music teacher and became head of the Music Department at Newman. In the 1980s the ASC called upon her to be province secretary in Wichita, then to teach English in Italy, and learn Italian. Sister Betty, who already knew German, soon realized she was gifted at language and simultaneous translation. She has since mastered Spanish and speaks Croatian. Following a return to Newman as international student coordinator and part-time music teacher, she now serves as translator for the congregation abroad, traveling extensively to facilitate written and verbal communications in a variety of situations.
The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University has built a solid foundation since being re-established in 2009. The institute, which is designed to promote interdisciplinary dialogue related to Catholic thought and practice, launched its inaugural year of programming with a theme of “Reconciling Differences.”The program began with a March lecture to more than 100 people by Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., who has mediated conflicts all over the world. In the fall semester, the institute hosted a reading of Exiles by author Ron Hansen, whose award-winning books include Atticus, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction.
In January, the institute presented a panel discussion called “Reconciliation and the Death Penalty: What Is the Way Forward?” which included the Catholic Church’s stance on the issue of capital punishment, and the perspectives of two panelists who have lost family members to murder yet oppose the death penalty. In April, the institute hosted a lecture by Paula Huston, author of Forgiveness: Following Jesus into Radical Loving, and a breakfast panel series on health care reform.
“Looking ahead, we plan to bring even higher profile speakers to Newman, support individuals or organizations that further our mission of dialogue and inquiry, work to build greater name recognition, and forge partnerships with community agencies and leaders,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy and Gerber Institute Director Jamey Findling, Ph.D. “The Gerber Institute is very well positioned to emerge as a significant site for both scholarly and public discourse. We just need to keep the momentum going.”For more information about the Gerber Institute, call 316-942-4291, ext. 2798 or visit www.gerberinstitute.org.
Anyone who has gone to school has witnessed, perpetrated or been the victim of it. It can be blatant, such as one student hitting or threatening harm to another, or subtle, such as a teacher manipulating a student to change his or her behavior. In some respects, it has become so common in the classroom that people hardly notice it when it occurs.
Yet the matter in question, bullying, has far-reaching consequences for many students, and can make the difference between a positive view of education that leads to success in school and in life, and a negative experience that leads to low self-esteem, underachievement and lifelong problems that affect not only the individual, but society as a whole.
Linda Rhone, Ed.D. wants to change that – and with the help of a $25,000 Recognition Grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, she is taking an important step in that direction.
Rhone, an assistant professor of education at Newman University, has formed a team comprised of educators from Newman and administrators and 5th-grade teachers from the Wichita Public Schools called the Wichita Teacher Inquiry Group (WTIG), A Newman University and U.S.D. 259 Collaborative. Beginning in January, WTIG launched a 16-month-long program entitled the “Lessening Bullying through Cultural Competence and Transformative Teaching and Learning Project.” Rhone said the project is designed to build teachers’ cultural awareness and skills to help ensure they are not perpetuating bullying behavior, but working to lessen it.
“It is widely known that well over 50 percent of our public school teachers are white and middle class,” Rhone said. “Yet our classrooms are full of students who are non-white and poor. If teachers do not understand the impact of race, ethnicity, and poverty on learning, and transform their teaching behaviors beyond surface changes such as celebrations of food and clothing, this could cause them to push children who are different racially, ethnically, socioeconomically, linguistically and otherwise to ‘fit’ into the kind of narrow definitions that have long defined intelligence in our schools. This is not just another anti-bullying program. It is specifically designed to look closely at how we as teachers can ensure that we are not perpetuating bullying through our teaching and learning practices.”
Rhone and others on the WTIG team will work with six 5th-grade teachers from different elementary schools in the Wichita district for one full academic year. The group will use readings and other activities and resources to examine school structures, ideological beliefs and teaching practices that could perpetuate bullying. Rhone said she chose 5th graders for the project because evidence shows bullying is most extensive in middle school.
Teacher participants will receive graduate workshop credit, a stipend for their yearlong commitment, books, articles, and subscriptions to professional journals that will be used through the course of the project, as well as classroom coaching from Rhone and other Newman faculty. “Every person involved in this project will examine his or her teaching behaviors, including me,” Rhone said. “This work is not about the other as much as it is about us all.”
The WTIG team includes Rhone, Newman School of Education Director Steven E Dunn, Ed.D., Newman Professor of Education Don Hufford, Ph.D., Executive Director of the U.S.D. 259 Office of Equity Kim Johnson Burkhalter, and U.S.D. 259 Parent Coordinator Jackie Lugrand. Also on the team are Joseph Dunn, a social studies teacher at Marshall Middle School who will facilitate a session with teacher participants, and Administrative Assistants Karen Whitmore and Joyce Rhone Scott.
Beginning in April and running throughout the program, the WTIG team, participating Wichita teachers, and teachers and other interested parties across the nation can track the inquiry group’s progress and communicate with each other through a Web site and blog, at http://wtig.newmanu.edu.
The project is rooted in the work of the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, who developed teaching techniques during the 1970s designed to help illiterate adults acquire the critical thinking skills they needed to connect and cope with their social, historical, and political environment. Freire found that teachers who validated the cultural backgrounds and present realities of their students were able to have authentic relationships with them, leading to better learning outcomes. Freire also advocated what he termed transformative teaching and learning, which seeks to engage learners, provide meaningful experiences beyond textbooks and the classroom, and empower students to act on the injustices in their lives.
The WTIG group will use works written by Freire, as well as educators Antonia Darder, bell hooks, and Hufford, in the course. Freire’s work Pedagogy of the Oppressed will also be read by Newman faculty. Hufford will then lead a discussion on the book for faculty members and the Committee for Transforming Teaching and Learning at Newman.
Rhone said the project will use real-life examples of social justice to help students develop the skills to address bullying in their lives through nonviolent and productive measures. She added that combining the concepts of social justice, cultural competence and transformative teaching and learning can help teachers create classroom environments that model an appropriate use of power, inclusion, mutual respect and critical thinking – all of which lessen bullying behavior.
“Teachers must teach students an appropriate use of power, and be willing to examine the use of power in the larger school context and in their classrooms,” she said. “Schools are hierarchal in nature. That structure constitutes a kind of bullying of children and teachers through the ranking and sorting regimes, which are unfair and discriminatory against certain groups of students. But we as educators can create different classroom and whole-school climates.”
Rhone has an extensive background in this field. A native of Wichita, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University, a master’s degree from California State University-Los Angeles, and a doctorate from West Virginia University, where her dissertation, “School Bullying: A Freirean Perspective,” used Friere’s theory to examine bullying and ways to lessen it. She has worked as a teacher in Missouri, California, Wyoming, and West Virginia using Friere’s ideas, and has spent 18 years in higher education as a researcher and educator. She has published works on Freire in education journals, and book reviews for Multicultural Review, a leading journal in multicultural education and social justice. She has also conducted one extensive study on the impact of Freire’s work on select American educators, and led several anti-bullying workshops prior to joining the faculty at Newman in fall 2008. At Newman, she has led two anti-bulling workshops. She said the positive feedback from both workshops led her to apply for funding to work with a team in this yearlong inquiry.
Rhone said she joined with the Wichita Public Schools on the WTIG project because of her knowledge of and respect for Burkhalter, who played a key role in the development of a program launched in fall 2006 called “A Journey Toward Cultural Proficiency.” The program is designed to help Wichita Public School teachers increase awareness of cultural differences and learn skills that can be applied to their teaching styles to make all students in the increasingly diverse population feel comfortable, accepted and competent.
“The Wichita Public Schools is excited to have this opportunity to enter into a partnership with Newman University in the joint research project,” Burkhalter said. “This partnership will enhance the district’s work with cultural proficiency as teachers have the opportunity to delve deeper into the exploration of cultural proficiency and assess their personal cultural values and how they respond and react to students in their classroom.”
“I knew Kim had laid the groundwork for cultural proficiency, and I hope this project will add to that,” Rhone said. “We want to help people truly understand the perspectives of students from cultures that are different from their own.”
After selecting six teachers in March, teacher participants will begin studying program materials and take classes and workshops at Newman in April. Following a four-day workshop in the summer, the program will begin in classrooms in September 2010 and run until March 2011. During this time Rhone will visit classrooms for observation and coaching, and participating teachers will take part in monthly “Cultural Circles,” which explore topics related to the program such as the importance of teachers creating a “spirit of community” in the classroom, and how teachers can incorporate cultural relevance and social action in their own lessons while still achieving required school system standards.
The inquiry group will include parents in an effort to help them examine their parenting styles and consider using styles consistent with teaching children an appropriate use of power, respect for authority, and development of their own voice and critical thinking. Rhone said she will seek parents who represent the various ethnic and racial groups of children who are educated in the district to assist with this cultural circle.
“Most of us can remember that sick feeling of having to face a bully or of engaging in bullying because we were too afraid to stand up to the bullies,” said Steve Dunn, who has extensive experience working with parents in schools and will lead the parents cultural circle. “Today, many adults readily share how much they hated middle school or high school, and the main reason is typically that they were bullied. That is why increasing cultural proficiency can help. It seems obvious that when school life is positive and the learning environment is supportive and students feel cared about, that students’ academic performance will improve as a result.”
At the end of the inquiry group in April 2011, participating teachers will make a presentation of their yearlong experience for both the Newman University and Wichita Public Schools learning communities. Teachers will present the results of WTIG’s research and its implications for schools and teachers, and air a video they created showing how they used social justice concepts, cultural competence and transformative learning practices in their classrooms. Some teacher participants will also present the project at the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed National Conference, a conference rooted in the work of Freire and Augusto Boal, in June 2011.
“We are in hopes that this project will bring Newman and U.S.D. 259 together as partners in developing culturally competent and transformative teachers who are prepared to help all children reach their full potential,” Rhone said. “In the end, the assessments drawn from this project are expected to help teachers, students, parents, and all others associated with this work to become healthy physically, mentally, and socially.”
“This project will help us all better understand how Freire – as an educator, philosopher, and activist for social justice – provides a model for rethinking why we teach, and how we should connect a liberating process to our pedagogy,” Hufford added.For more information contact Rhone at 316-942-4291, ext. 2193.
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Do you tweet? What about reading blogs and using Facebook? If not, you may be missing out on ways to stay connected to Newman.
As new methods of digital communication and social media emerge, Newman University is using these tools to better communicate with prospective and current students, alumni, and the general community.
Through the Admissions Facebook page, prospective students can learn about the university, while Newman’s main Facebook page, which has hundreds of “fans,” features frequent updates and links to information, events, photos, and more. You can also follow Newman on Twitter, a Web site that allows users to post very short updates. Newman’s Twitter page updates often with information about the university, the Wichita area, and other items of interest.
Several members of the Newman community also maintain a blog — a Web log or online journal. NU blogs include messages from President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., computer tips from the Newman webmaster, and thoughts on life at the university from several student ambassadors. Newman also has a channel on the Web site YouTube, which features videos that range from school events to discussion panels to residence hall tours — and more.
Director of Communications Kelly Snedden said the university wants to use these tools even more effectively in the future. “With social media, it’s all about the conversation and interactions with your audience,” she said. “We’re working now to expand access to additional staff and faculty to help keep all of these tools alive and vibrant.”