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News from the Baylor School of Education

September 18, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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New Faculty Members Join Baylor School of Education [09/15/2017]


The School of Education welcomed five new full-time faculty members for the 2017-18 academic year, including additions in each academic department. A couple are familiar faces, while others are new to Baylor.

Jessica Akers, PhD, BCBA-D
Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
Department of Educational Psychology
PhD: Utah State University, Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis
MA: California State University, Fresno, Applied Behavior Analysis
BA: California State University, Fresno, Psychology
Post-doctoral fellowship: University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Jessica Akers has worked with children with autism and related disabilities in home-, center-, and school-based programs targeting both skill acquisition and the reduction of challenging behavior.

Her research interests include strategies for promoting appropriate social and play skills and verbal behavior in individuals with autism and related disabilities. She is primarily interested in targeting appropriate play between children with autism and their typically developing peers and siblings. She has published her research in journals including the Journal of Applied Behavior AnalysisLearning and Motivation, and The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. Continue Reading →

September 11, 2017
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After-school Academics at the BCDD [09/11/2017]

Samantha Rivera gained experience teaching literacy in small groups at the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Autism might not be what you think it is. “Some behaviors associated with autism are much more manageable than people think, especially in academic settings,” said Dr. Tracey Sulak, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. “You can integrate some children with autism into a regular academic setting, but you have to know how to do it.”

Baylor sophomores learned just that — and more — through a hands-on teaching experience offered at the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) for the first time in the spring. Previously, the field experience associated with Sulak’s class, Literacy for Learners with Special Needs, was taught in a school setting. Sulak moved the class to an afternoon time slot so that she could create a community after-school academic program at the BCDD for children from multiple schools and also for children who were already clients of the BCDD’s behavior-based programs. Continue Reading →

August 23, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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SOE Professor Travels State and Globe in Service of Education [08/23/2017]

If Baylor School of Education professor in Curriculum & Instruction Randy Wood, Ph.D., can’t be found in his colorful office, he’s probably at an airport, on an airplane, or driving across Texas. Recently appointed chairman of the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) and chair of the Commission on Christian Education/Nurture for the Baptist World Alliance, Wood frequently traverses the state, country and planet.

“One good thing about being the chairman of the TEPSAC board is I have a lot of opportunities to learn more about what’s going on in private education,” Wood said. “The main thing the TEPSAC board does that I’m proudest of is we make sure all private Texas schools are meeting a state standard.” Continue Reading →

August 14, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Dr. Tamara Hodges Named Baylor Outstanding Faculty [08/14/2017]

Christmas break finds most Baylor faculty enjoying a sabbatical of caroling, eating and resting from school obligations. But peek inside the home of Baylor School of Education (SOE) Senior Lecturer Tamara Hodges during the holiday season, and you will find her buried under books about improving teaching methods. Although Hodges is quite familiar with how to teach, she dedicates herself to ceaseless improvement.

Her commitment to learning, along with her passion for teaching and concern for her students, are just a few of the reasons Hodges received the Baylor 2016-2017 Outstanding Faculty Award for outstanding teaching.

“There’s always got to be a new way to teach a class,” said Hodges, MS.Ed. ’94,  Ed.D. ’96. “You have to keep finding new ways so you’re excited, because that’s contagious. If you’re excited about what you’re teaching, the kids are going to be excited too.” Continue Reading →

July 31, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Project Promise to Continue Through Baylor Community Outreach Grant [07/31/2017]

During three weeks of summer day camp on Baylor’s campus, students in the University for Young People program for gifted students can take classes ranging from forensics to robotics and from art to cooking.

Project Promise – a component of the School of Education’s University for Young People (UYP) that has served gifted and talented low-income Waco ISD students for almost two decades – will continue with funding available through a Baylor community outreach grant, Baylor University Interim Provost Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., announced today.

Project Promise had received partial funding from a federal community block grant given to the city of Waco. However, as these federal grants continue to shrink, cities like Waco that receive them also face government constraints as to how to spend the dwindling funds. With the new funding provided by Baylor, Project Promise will continue to provide tuition, transportation, meals and mentor support at no cost to around 60 students from Waco ISD to participate in UYP programs with their peers.

Additional gifts to assist Project Promise in the future may be made online to the Center for Community Learning and Enrichment Excellence Fund.

Read the full story at the Baylor Media site.

July 28, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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iEngage Civics Camp Launches July 31 [07/28/2017]

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores and representatives from more than a dozen area agencies will be part of the week-long iEngage Summer Civics Institute at Baylor School of Education, beginning July 31. More than 100 fifth- through ninth-graders will learn about civics, government, and advocacy through the curriculum developed by co-founders Dr. Brooke Blevins and Dr. Karon LeCompte, both associate professors in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Research published by the pair has demonstrated that children attending iEngage Summer Civics Institute enhance their understanding of community issues and the importance of civic responsibility.

“Following camp attendance, students demonstrated higher scores in their ability to organize a meeting, express their views in front of a group of people, write an opinion letter for the local newspaper, or contact an elected official,” Blevins said.

For more information and scheduling, read the Baylor Media story.

July 26, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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How Do You Identify (and Develop) Leadership Characteristics in Children? [07/26/2017]

Dr. Karon LeCompte

Dr. Karon LeCompte

“That child is a natural leader.” That’s something you might have heard, or maybe you’ve even said it. But is it true?

In the following Q&A, Baylor University’s Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction and an expert on civics education and leadership theory, discusses the importance of investing in student leaders and how parents and teachers can identify leadership characteristics in their children.

LeCompte co-directs Baylor’s iEngage Summer Civics Institute (July 31-Aug. 4), a five-day program that helps students learn how to make a difference in their neighborhoods, schools and communities.

“Authentic leaders with experiences that manifest characteristics of extensive skills and high moral values will be on the front stage of our democracy,” she said. “They are the future. It is our responsibility to give them the best gifts that we can – our attention and faith in their ability to lead.

Read the Q&A at BAYLOR MEDIA.

July 17, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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School of Education Hosts Summer Literacy Institute for Teachers [07/17/2017]

School of Education faculty members Dr. Barbara Purdum-Cassidy (left) and Margaret Thomson are co-founders and co-directors of the Summer Literacy Institute.

Baylor University’s School of Education is hosting 250 teachers for a three-day Summer Literacy Institute at the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation on July 17-19.

The professional development conference features internationally known literacy experts:

Kylene Beers — advisor at Columbia University and previously senior reading researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, author of “When Kids Can’t Read”
Penny Kittle — teacher and instructor at the University of New Hampshire Summer Literacy Institute, author of “Book Love”
Lester Laminack — professor emeritus, Western Carolina University and author of “Writers ARE Readers”
Linda Rief — teacher and instructor at the University of New Hampshire Summer Literacy Institute, author of “Read Write Teach” and other influential books
Bob Probst — professor emeritus, Georgia State University, author of “Reading Nonfiction” and “Response and Analysis”

Teachers are attending from across Texas and as far away as Ohio, Missouri and Georgia; the conference was sold out by early summer.

For more, read the Baylor Media Communications Post.

For media coverage, please contact Meg Cullar:
Meg_Cullar@baylor.edu   •   254-710-6435

July 14, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Math for Early Learners Academy Expands for Year Two [07/14/2017]

MELA Class

Hands-on activities help pre-kindergarten students understand numbers.

Research done in kindergarten classrooms has shown that a pilot program of the Baylor School of Education helped young students gain an advantage in math understanding, as compared to their peers.

The Baylor School of Education has launched its second year of the Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA), a summer early-intervention program for early childhood students in Waco ISD.

Last summer the program enrolled one class of 17 students who were entering kindergarten. During the school year, the MELA research team evaluated the children’s progress in early fall and late spring of the school year.

MELA assessment

Dr. Sandi Cooper conducts an assessment during the first week of MELA on the Baylor campus.

“Midway through the fall semester, we conducted an assessment of all the kindergarten children at Brook Avenue Elementary, including our MELA students,” said Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor of mathematics education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and founder and director of MELA. “From those results we saw that our MELA students were ahead of their peers, which we expected in the short term.”

Cooper said that researchers gave another assessment at the end of April. “Once again, we saw that the MELA students were ahead of their peers, without any other intervention during the school year,” Cooper said. “We were very pleased that MELA gave them a boost that kept them moving forward in mathematics learning throughout the entire academic year.” Continue Reading →

July 12, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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New Leadership Roles in School of Education [07/12/2017]

Baylor School of Education has announced new leadership roles for several faculty members, including the appointment of an interim dean.

Baylor University Interim Provost Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., has appointed Terrill F. Saxon, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology and associate dean for research and graduate education, as interim dean of the School of Education, effective immediately. Saxon earned his B.A. in psychology and M.S. in educational psychology from Baylor and his Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Kansas.

Saxon has served in several administrative roles in the School, including stints as department chair in educational psychology from 2001 to 2008 and from 2015 to 2017 and service as interim associate dean for academic affairs and faculty development from 2005 to 2006. He also directs the master’s programs in educational psychology. In the role of associate dean, his focus is on Ph.D. programs and research.

Read more on Saxon in the Baylor Media story.


Additionally, several faculty members in the Baylor School of Education (SOE) have taken on added leadership roles. McLendon, who served as School of Education dean before taking on the interim provost role, said the changes will leverage the expertise of faculty members for the benefit of the school, thereby broadening Baylor’s impact.

Leadership appointments in the School of Education:
Tony Talbert, Ed.D. — associate dean for strategic initiatives
Susan K. Johnsen, Ph.D. — interim chair, Department of Educational Psychology
Brooke Blevins, Ph.D. — associate chair, Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Rishi Sriram, Ph.D. — associate chair, Department of Educational Leadership Continue Reading →