Instant Impact

News from the Baylor School of Education

November 1, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Fall 2017 Issue of “Impact” is Online [11/01/2017]

The Fall 2017 issue of Baylor Impact is now available online. Check it out for stories about Baylor School of Education students, faculty, alumni and programs. In this issue, you’ll find statistics about the School’s outstanding faculty in the “Annual Update” section, leadership news, and important faculty accomplishments.

Don’t miss the cover story on the work of educational psychologists to improve student behavior in a local elementary school. A special web “Extra” provides a video profile of Rachel Vaughn, honored as the Texas Student Teacher of the Year. And if you enjoyed the alumni Q&A in the printed magazine, there are more exciting baseball insights on the website.

Read the issue at baylor.edu/SOE/impact.

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

October 18, 2017
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Baylor School of Education Graduate Honored with Statewide Award [10/17/2017]

Rachel Vaughn, BSEd ’17, as a student teacher at Spring Valley Elementary PDS in Midway ISD

For the second year in a row, a Baylor University School of Education student teacher has been named Clinical Teacher of the Year for the State of Texas by the Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE), the organization of faculty members within university teacher-education programs who supervise field experiences of students.

Rachel Vaughn, B.S.Ed. ’17, will receive the Clinical Teacher of the Year Award, which honors senior-level teacher-education students, during the statewide meeting this fall of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE), of which TDFE is a part. Vaughn is among three honorees from university-based programs.

Baylor education majors, during their senior year, teach in local classrooms for more than 100 days during the school year. The state requirement for teacher certification is 65 days.

FULL STORY

October 10, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact
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School of Education’s Darlene Kyser Marks 50 Years at Baylor [10-10-2017]

On her first day of work at Baylor University’s School of Education (SOE), Darlene Kyser sat in a small, musty room on the third floor of Pat Neff Hall, surrounded by old books, typing up permanent record cards on an electric typewriter.

“I went home and told my husband, Don, I just did not think it was going to work out,” Kyser reminisces with a soft laugh. “But Don said, ‘Why don’t you give it a couple of days?’ So I did, and here I am 50 years later.”

Now Kyser sits tall in a black chair at a wooden desk in her spacious office in Marrs McLean Science — a shift from the closet room where she worked decades ago. Kyser, assistant to the dean of Baylor’s School of Education, manages the day-to-day meetings, conferences and schedule of the dean. She also assists with faculty search committees, communicates university-wide policies and procedures to SOE faculty and staff, and hosts annual dean events. In September 2017, Kyser celebrated 50 years in the SOE, and at the end of October, she will retire. Continue Reading →

September 27, 2017
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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 26, 2017
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Baylor SOE Seeks New Faculty Members [09/26/2017]

Baylor School of Education is seeking faculty members to fill eight positions for the fall of 2018, including positions in all three academic departments — Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology — and a librarian position.

Baylor University, a faith-based research university, provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students. For the seventh year in a row in 2017, Baylor was named as a “Great College to Work For,” according to the survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Baylor received recognition in six categories: compensation and benefits; facilities, workspace and security; job satisfaction and support; professional/career development programs; supervisor/department chair relationship; and work/life balance.

Baylor’s School of Education, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. With 50 full-time faculty members, the School’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring.

Through exciting new academic initiatives both at home and abroad, the school has entered into a period of significant expansion and of deepened impact through the production of meaningful, high-quality research and the preparation of outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians.

The following faculty searches are underway:

(To view online, go to Faculty Positions) 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 18, 2017
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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
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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 →