Instant Impact

News from the Baylor School of Education

December 5, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor SOE Collaborates on Baylor Social Innovation Lab (BAY-SIC) Courses [12/05/2017]

Students experienced the river firsthand on a paddle trip.

The School of Education teamed up to offer a new kind of academic class at Baylor. This fall, Baylor launched a series of new classes to encourage collaboration among departments, faculty and students. Called “social innovation labs,” the classes are part of the wider Baylor Social Innovation Collaborative (BAY-SIC) initiative to develop deeper levels of problem solving through working with others and thinking differently.

The fall SOE offering was an interdisciplinary course called “Healthy River, Healthy Community.” The class encouraged students to investigate water issues around the world and in the Waco community. As faculty for the class, the SOE’s Dr. Sandi Cooper and Dr. Suzanne Nesmith were joined by instructors from Hankamer School of Business, the Department of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences, the Mayborn Museum, Informed Engagement, and the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research. Cooper is professor of math education, and Nesmith is associate professor of science education and associate dean for undergraduate education. Continue Reading →

November 6, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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SOE Faculty Member Educates through a Settlement House [11/06/2017]


The yellow house on Waco’s Colcord Avenue may seem like any other house on the street, but it isn’t a typical house. This house is actually Good Neighbor Settlement House, a project founded by School of Education professor Dr. Laine Scales, who teaches in the Department of Educational Leadership and also serves Baylor’s Graduate School as associate dean.

A faith-based organization, Good Neighbor is modeled after the settlement houses of the nineteenth century. Good Neighbor believes Christians are called to love our neighbors. But Scales said that, in today’s world, there can be distance and fear even toward those closest to us, like our neighbors. Good Neighbor seeks to address that in its community through several avenues.

Scales said education is an important aspect of the mission. “I envisioned Go0d Neighbor House as a way to weave together my commitments to higher education, social work and faith,” she said. Continue Reading →

September 27, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor SOE to Host Science Educators [09/27/2017]

Nesmith and McCall

Baylor SOE science educators Dr. Suzanne Nesmith (left) and Dr. Madelon McCall are co-chairs of the Southwest ASTE conference for science educators in Waco on the Baylor campus.

Baylor School of Education (SOE) will host the regional conference of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) on Sept. 29-30 at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). The seven-state Southwest region is composed of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

Baylor SOE science educators Dr. Madelon McCall, Clinical Assistant Professor and University Liaison at Midway High School, and Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, Associate Dean and Associate Professor, are co-chairs of the conference bringing science educators to Waco. Continue Reading →

September 22, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Collaboration with Institute for Air Science Takes Young Students to New Heights [09/22/2017]

The Aviation Booklet Team (left-right): Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, Rachel Moore, Kylie Terry, Hannah Turney, Courtney Cole, Analise Sandager, Dr. Sandi Cooper

A love of flying starts early. That’s why Baylor’s Institute for Air Science wants to reach out to young students to spark an interest in flying and the science behind aviation.

While the department hosts numerous recruiting events to draw collegians to its bachelor’s degree programs in Aviation Sciences and Aviation Administration, faculty and staff wanted to also host community events and offer educational materials for students as young as elementary age.

Kelley Oliver, the Project Coordinator and Office Manager for the Institute, said that to do that effectively, they needed expertise. So they reached across campus to the School of Education — specifically Associate Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, a science educator for elementary grades, and Dr. Sandi Cooper, Professor and Coordinator of the Mathematics Education program and mathematics educator for elementary grades.

The pair was teaching a graduate course called STEM Teaching and Learning with Young Children. STEM curricula focus on the idea that students should be taught four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an applied approach. The class focused on building students’ understanding of how to develop and utilize STEM curriculum for young students in creative yet effective ways. Continue Reading →

September 11, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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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 →

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 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 →

May 25, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Impact Newsletter Spring Issue is Online [05/25/2017]

The Spring 2017 issue of Baylor Impact is now available online. Check it out for stories about Baylor School of Education students, faculty, alumni and programs.

Two stories highlight faculty research that has blossomed into university-wide initiatives. The cover story explains how research by School of Education associate professor Dr. Nathan Alleman and his doctoral student led to a realization that some Baylor students experience food insecurity and an organized effort to help those students.

In addition, research into the experiences of student veterans as non-traditional students, started in 2010 by senior lecturer Dr. Janet Bagby, was the spark that ignited Baylor’s significant support system for veterans pursuing degrees at Baylor.

All this — plus great news about inspirational alumni, national awards, student success, faculty activity and grant funding — awaits you with a simple click!

School of Education graduates should receive a printed copy of Impact in the mail. If you are a graduate and do not receive a printed copy, please email BaylorImpact@baylor.edu.

May 12, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor to Host Christian Higher Education Leaders [05/13/2017]

Dr. Dub Oliver, president of Union University

Baylor School of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership are hosting the eleventh annual Christian Higher Education Leadership Seminar on the Baylor campus May 14-17. Sponsored by the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU), the event is geared to serve primarily senior leaders of faith-based colleges and universities, but the Seminar is open to all higher-education leaders and aspiring leaders.

Since the inaugural Seminar held at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2007, the program has provided leadership training opportunities for more than 250 leaders. Continue Reading →

May 10, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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New Name for Living-Learning Center has “Impact” [05/10/2017]

The Baylor Education Living-Learning Center has changed its name to Impact Living-Learning Center. Located in South Russell Hall, the Impact LLC will maintain the same great programming for students and continue its close association and collaboration with the Baylor School of Education. The new motto is “Educate Today to Impact Tomorrow.”

Impact LLC is open to Baylor students of all majors who share a belief in the power of transformative education as a key element in all disciplines, while providing a special home for students pursuing education as a future profession. Since its opening in fall 2015, the LLC has hosted students pursuing diverse academic paths, with a 90 percent freshman population.

Dr. Michael McLendon, Dean of the School of Education, said, “‘Impact’ genuinely reflects the mission of our School of Education. Students pursuing careers in education do so because they hope to have impact in the world, a desire that is common to all those who feel a calling to their chosen professions. The new name will draw together students from across Baylor who share this sense of mission. The word ‘impact’ clearly heralds the mission and reach of the School of Education and summons students to join us in recognition of the inestimable importance of education as the underpinning to a free and democratic society.” Continue Reading →