Instant Impact

News from the Baylor School of Education

July 17, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

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:   •   254-710-6435

July 14, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

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

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 →

July 3, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

First Year Teacher Reflections — How Did Baylor SOE Grads Do? [07/03/2017]

The Baylor School of Education program is teacher education is designed to prepare graduates for the classroom through rigorous coursework as well as intense faculty-guided field experiences. But can anything really prepare them for their first year of teaching? How did our graduates really do? Read the reflections of five graduates after their first year in the classroom.

Bonus: Read a few heart-warming notes written to these teachers by their students!

Esther Navarrete Santos, BSEd ’16
Hillcrest Professional Development School, Waco ISD

“Thinking about my first year of teaching will always bring tears to my eyes. It was the most trying year of my life, professionally and personally. However, in the midst of stress, chaos, and exhaustion, I knew I was right to believe teaching is my calling.”



Madeline Stookey, BSEd ’16
Second grade
Bebensee Elementary, Arlington ISD

“While you should find experienced teachers you can learn from, you should also trust what you know. It’s okay to try your own thing! You’ve probably been exposed to new methods and ideas while at Baylor that teachers around you don’t have experience with. Learn to trust your instinct. You know your stuff, too! You might not have experience, but Baylor trained you well!”

Continue Reading →

June 19, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor School of Education Launches Ed.D. in K-12 Leadership [06/19/2017]

Baylor EdD Cohort One

Cohort One of Baylor’s newly launched Ed.D. program includes 12 students, pictured with faculty Dr. John E. Wilson (far left) and Dr. Karen Rue (far right).

Baylor University School of Education launched a new Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in K-12 Educational Leadership in June, marking the School’s return to the field of superintendent preparation.

“The School of Education is pleased to once again engage in the preparation of educational leaders at the highest levels of K-12 schooling,” said Michael McLendon, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Ed.D. program faculty member. “There is no question that the leadership of a school or system is highly significant in determining student success, and it is imperative that Baylor University be in this arena, preparing leaders within a data-informed, character-based framework.”

The Baylor Ed.D. is a cohort-based, practitioner-oriented doctoral program for leaders of schools, educational systems and agencies. Designed for working education professionals, the program prepares highly qualified practitioners to lead K-12 education institutions, while refining skills for executive positions in public and private educational systems or agencies.


June 14, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor School of Education Launches Freedom School [06/14/2017]

Baylor law professor Connie Powell Nichols reads to the Freedom School Scholars during the Read-A-Loud guest reader session on the first day.

Fifty rising 6th- and 7th-grade students from the Waco Independent School District will attend the first Baylor University School of Education sponsored Children’s Defense Fund® Freedom School from June 14 through July 28 at Cesar Chavez Middle School.

The CDF Freedom School model has deep roots in civic engagement that go back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Today the program serves to connect students and their families to their local communities, encourage family and community involvement, empower children through literacy and reduce summer learning loss.


June 2, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor Camp for Gifted & Talented Begins June 5 [06/02/2017]

Baylor School of Education’s summer enrichment program for gifted and talented students, University for Young People (UYP), launches June 5, 2017.

Baylor UYP’s program for 4th-12th grade students runs daily through June 23 on the Baylor campus. Students may choose from dozens of courses, taking one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. Courses for 2017 include developing a business, cooking, art, travel, short-form writing, computer science, history, biology of the human body, citizenship, LEGO animation, and robotics.

For 1st -4th grade students, there are two week-long programs beginning June 5 — “Creative Problem Solving Camp” and “Discovering Ideas with Technology,” both offered 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily at Hillcrest Professional Development School.

Baylor’s UYP program began more than 30 years ago, and expanded in 1999 to launch “Project Promise.” Continue Reading →

May 25, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

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

May 22, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Education Faculty and Students Present at AERA [05/22/2017]

Doctoral student Elena Venegas was among students and faculty presenting at AERA.

Almost a dozen School of Education faculty, plus numerous graduate students, gave presentations on their research at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in San Antonio April 27-May 1. The annual meeting had a theme of “Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity” and focused on the progress toward pathways to equal educational opportunities.

Baylor presentations included:

“Critical Mirrors: Diverse College Students’ Perspectives on Stereotypes Depicted in Popular Films About College Life”
Students: Elena M Venegas, Toby Zhu
Faculty: Dr. Lakia M. Scott, Dr. Karon LeCompte, Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez
This qualitative study explored the perspectives of diverse college students on the portrayal of college life in recent popular films. Millennials often describe the U.S. as post-racial, yet findings reveal incongruity along racial lines. Findings suggest that White millennials believe society is post-racial while dismissing stereotypes in popular media as comedic satire. Whereas non-Whites readily identify the influence of negative media representations upon their academic and ethnic identities. Continue Reading →

May 12, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

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 →