GSE hosts international mathematics conference

Conference presenters Peter Gates and Ubiratan D'Ambrosio at KBOO radio

Conference presenters Peter Gates and Ubiratan D’Ambrosio at KBOO radio

The eighth international Mathematics Education and Society (MES) conference took place at Portland State University, June 21–26, 2015. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, professor in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Curriculum and Instruction Department, and Brian Greer, adjunct instructor in the GSE, organized the conference. This year marks the first time that the MES conference has been held in the United States, with previous conferences having taken place in Europe, Australia, and South Africa. The conference provides a forum for the discussion of historical, cultural, social, and political aspects of mathematics education and how it both reflects and impacts society. The conference was attended by more than 150 people from over 20 countries.

GSE Dean Randy Hitz said, “The Mathematics Education and Society Conference is unique and extremely important as it focuses on the ethical responsibilities of mathematicians and mathematics educators, including making mathematics accessible to all students and reflecting critically on what is done with the mathematics developed.”

Continue reading

Farewell to retiring GSE faculty members

Petti, Murray, Young, Miars

Petti, Murray, Young, Miars

A celebration to honor the GSE’s 2015 retirees was held at the end of spring term. This year’s retirees include Amy Petti, Educational Leadership and Policy (17 years at PSU); Ruth Murray, Curriculum and Instruction and Continuing Education (16 years at PSU); Helen Young, Special Education (20 years at PSU); and Russ Miars, Counselor Education (22 years at PSU).

Also retiring, but not pictured, are Jim Carlile, Educational Leadership and Policy (56 years in education), and Linda Jessell, Center for Student Success (43 years in education), who were both honored at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators Annual Conference in Seaside in June.

All are long-term educators dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in Oregon. The GSE and PSU are forever grateful for the contributions of this amazing group of people. Continue reading

Dr. Thomas A. Chambers establishes new endowed scholarship for aspiring teachers

Tom Chambers

This spring, Dr. Thomas A. Chambers made a gift to establish the Thomas A. Chambers Endowed Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers within the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Through a planned gift valued at more than $1.2 million, Chambers has also generously provided for the endowment’s future growth. Beginning in 2016, this scholarship will be available to students in the GSE graduate teacher preparation programs. Financial need and academic merit are a consideration, and preference will be given to students who started their undergraduate education at an Oregon community college.

A Portland native, Chambers graduated from David Douglas High School in ‘65. He then went to work in the US Bank of Oregon Work/College Program, and enrolled at what was then Portland State College. He spent three years at Portland State, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, before transferring to University of Oregon for his senior year, and graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1969. Continue reading

Two retirements, 99 years

Unflappable. That’s how you could describe both of these retiring educators. This spring marks the retirement of two colleagues in the Graduate School of Education who together represent nearly 100 years of high-quality work in education for Oregon. Linda Jessell, director of the PSU Center for Student Success, and Jim Carlile, assistant superintendent of the Oregon Department of Education and the original director of the PSU Center for Student Success, have aided many schools, districts, educators, and students with their trusted advice.

“We are very fortunate to have had these two exceptional educators as part of the GSE,” said Dean Randy Hitz. “Linda and Jim are the kinds of leaders who make a real difference for Oregon’s students. We are ever grateful for their insight, persistence, and dedication.”

Continue reading

GSE Associate Professor Julie Esparza Brown elected to Portland School Board

J_BrownSpecial Education Associate Professor Julie Esparza Brown was elected for Zone 1 on the Portland Public School (PPS) Board with 77 percent of the votes citywide. Her opponent, Andrew Davidson, is a PSU student who previously served on the board as the high school student representative. While the May special election turnout was low, Brown received 39,062 votes, which was the second highest number of votes of all candidates in the race, except Mike Rosen with 39,063, and who was running unopposed for Zone 7.

Esparza Brown has worked for PSU since 2000 and was originally hired as the director of the Bilingual Teacher Pathway (BTP) program in the Curriculum and Instruction Department before becoming an assistant and now associate professor in the Department of Special Education. Before coming to PSU, she worked as a special education and bilingual classroom teacher in California, was a school psychologist and a mentor teacher in Vancouver, WA, and taught courses at Washington State University, University of Massachusetts, and Lewis & Clark College. Her research and publications focus on the intersection of bilingual and special education. She consults locally and nationally on issues related to the intersection of English learners and special education, culturally and linguistically appropriate multi-tiered support systems, and least discriminatory assessment. Continue reading

2015 Dean’s Reception honors GSE supporters and scholarship recipients

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dean Randy Hitz hosted the Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) annual Dean’s Reception on May 13, honoring supporters of GSE scholarships and programs, as well as scholarship recipients. This year’s event was held in the beautiful Lincoln Hall Glass Tower—a brand-new venue in PSU’s oldest building.

Four GSE scholarship recipients spoke at the event about how scholarships are impacting their lives and future careers. Thank you to the following students for sharing their time and stories at the event:

Huidian Peng
2014–15 recipient of the Renaissance Foundation GSE Scholarship
Huidian is in the first year of the Graduate Teacher Education Program and plans to complete the program in 2016 in order to pursue a career teaching high school math and Chinese.

Lindsay Brown
2015–16 recipient of the Pivotal Scholars Fund
Lindsay is entering the Graduate Teacher Education Program this summer and plans to complete the program in two years in order to pursue a career teaching high school math.

Dana Gieszler
2015–16 recipient of the Graduate School of Education Scholarship and the Art Terry Scholarship
Dana is a candidate for the Counselor Education Program in the clinical mental health track. She is also receiving her graduate certificate in addictions counseling. After graduation she will be working toward her licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She plans to work as a bilingual mental health therapist at the alternative high school where she is currently employed.

Jayme Causey
2015–16 recipient of the Renaissance Foundation GSE Scholarship
Jayme is entering the Graduate Teacher Education Program this summer and comes to Portland State University through the Portland Teachers Program. He plans to complete his teacher preparation program in one year in order to pursue a career in middle school language arts and social studies and, eventually, high school English.

Brad Zenger, founder of Ecoworks Foundation, spoke at the event about why Ecoworks is a proud supporter of the Pivotal Scholars Fund for Math/Science Teacher Education. He encouraged others to support the Pivotal Scholars Fund match.

For the 2015–16 academic year, the GSE awarded $183,250 in private, philanthropic scholarships. This year’s scholarship recipients will be announced this summer.

Scholarships are very important to GSE students, and the numbers make this clear:

  • The average cost for a licensure and master’s degree in an education or counseling program in the GSE is approximately $28,000
  • Average PSU graduate student loan debt is $36,000
  • An average starting teacher salary is approximately $45,000
  • The GSE has approximately 1,000 students, and 54 scholarships were awarded in 2015, with an average award of about $3,339
  • Thanks to philanthropic supporters, the number of scholarships awarded in the GSE is increasing every year, and the average award has doubled since 2012

Momentum is building, and scholarship support is increasing, but given program costs, and with over 1,000 GSE students, our current scholarship program still does not come close to meeting our students’ needs. We will continue to prioritize scholarship fund-raising in the GSE, and thank all of our generous supporters who are helping GSE students on their paths to becoming educators and counselors.

If you are interested in discussing options for establishing or supporting a GSE scholarship, please contact Jaymee Jacoby, GSE director of development, 503-725-4789, or make a gift to support scholarships here.

To view a complete photo gallery from the GSE Dean’s Reception on May 13, or to purchase images, visit Andie Petkus Photography.