GSE faculty honored at PSU length of service awards

Will Parnell & Ellie JusticePSU faculty and staff gathered in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom last week for the annual Length of Service Awards. Honorees included employees from across the campus who have been with PSU for 20 or more years; one received an award for 45 years of service. Among the 69 individuals recognized were two individuals from the GSE, Will Parnell and Ellie Justice. Both have been involved in the Helen Gordon Child Development Center (HGCDC). Parnell, who has served PSU for 20 years, was the pedagogical director and now chairs the Curriculum and Instruction Department. Justice is the director of HGCDC and has worked at PSU for 30 years. We are exceptionally proud of their service.

Assistant Professor Dan Heiman honored for dissertation

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has recognized a dissertation by GSE Assistant Professor of Practice Dan Heiman with its 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Award in the AERA Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group.

Heiman has a PhD from the University of Texas, Austin, where he specialized in bilingual and bicultural education in the Department of Mexican American and Latin Studies. His dissertation title is Two-Way Immersion, Gentrification, and Critical pedagogy: Teaching Against the Neoliberal Logic.

This is Heiman’s first year at PSU, where he is an instructor in the ESOL/Bilingual Endorsement Program and a cohort leader of the Bilingual Teacher Pathway program (BTP) in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. His research focus is on critical, equitable, and hopeful processes in dual-language contexts and preparing and working with future bilingual teachers around those processes.

Previously, Heiman was a bilingual teacher in El Paso, Texas, and a teacher educator at the University of Veracruz (Mexico).

AERA has invited Heiman to present his research at the 2018 Annual AERA meeting in New York this April.

Dean’s Fund to help faculty retool K-12 math instruction

Preparing mathematics teachers for equitable discourse practices

Some of the most impactful changes in the new K–12 mathematics reform have two GSE faculty members retooling curriculum methods in the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). Assistant Professor Torrey Kulow, GTEP secondary cohort leader, and Assistant Professor Amanda Sugimoto, GTEP elementary cohort leader, received a grant from the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to initiate a pilot project to help preservice teachers develop these new instructional skills.

Along with content standards, mathematics has new and evolving practice standards. Absent are the directive practices of 100 years ago. Children in math classes are now expected to be able to discuss and describe their approach to problem solving. Students now work in teams to come up with solutions, and even wrong answers can provide opportunity for discussion. In this scenario, the teacher is more coach and facilitator, rather than authority. Lessons are problem-based and discussion is student-centered. Putting communication in a more prominent role is a challenge for both classroom teachers and teacher educators. Continue reading

New Portland State faculty member wins AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award

Assistant Professor Molly Baustien Siuty is the recipient of the 2018 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Outstanding Dissertation Award for (Re)constituting Teacher Identity for Inclusion in Urban Schools: A Process of Reification and Resistance. Siuty completed her dissertation for the PhD at the University of Kansas, Department of Special Education, and is now teaching inclusive teacher education for the GSE in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. She will be formally recognized at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting next month in Baltimore, Maryland.

Siuty’s dissertation investigated how teacher candidates’ learning about diversity and inclusion in their preservice preparation programs translates into their practice as new teachers. Her University of Kansas doctoral advisor, Professor Elizabeth Kozleski, explained: “The research questions explored how graduates of an urban-focused inclusive teacher preparation program negotiated the tensions between the inclusive messages of their program and their practice contexts. While teacher identity development has been studied within preparation programs and in practice contexts, this work addresses an important gap in the literature. Little is known about how graduates of inclusive programs transform their identities through their practice and engagement in urban school systems that are not necessarily conducive or designed for inclusive practice.” Continue reading

Dean’s grant supports a study in academic coaching of TCIO students

The art of the possible: Developing new teachers’ pedagogies of possibility for inclusion through think college academic coaching

Can K–12 students in special education programs aspire to go to college? Will their teachers have the skills to support them to do so?

The Dean’s Fund for Excellence has awarded Assistant Professor Molly Siuty a grant to explore academic coaching in the Think College Inclusion Oregon (TCIO), PSU’s groundbreaking program that offers a four-year University experience to 18–21-year-olds with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Siuty is the cohort leader of the Secondary Dual Educator Program (SDEP), a program unique to PSU that offers a dual teaching license in special education and another subject area, with a focus on inclusion. PSU students in SDEP are also coaches in the TCIO program.

TCIO offers students with modified high school diplomas the opportunity to attend college on PSU campus with their peers. It is the only program for students with intellectual disabilities in Oregon and will enroll 35 students over the five-year term of the TCIO grant. Continue reading

Counseling research project will assess experiences of women of color in medical treatment settings

Investigating the experiences of women with invisible illnesses in medical settings: A comparison of intersectional identities

Assistant Professor Rana Yaghmaian will expand her work in rehabilitation counseling with this new grant from the Dean’s Funds for Excellence.

It was the experience of a close family member that sent Yaghmaian’s career on this trajectory. This person lived nearly three decades with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, consistently being told by medical personnel that her symptoms were psychosomatic in nature.

Yaghmaian’s work focuses on women with chronic, ambiguous, and invisible illnesses. She states that there is very compelling evidence that women with chronic illnesses must constantly adapt to, negotiate, and interact with the social environment, specifically medical settings, in ways that are intimately connected to the intersection of gender and illness. Studies reveal that women in general are perceived as overly emotional and burdensome in medical settings, and Yaghmaian has stated that this is especially true for women with the types of conditions she studies. According to her research, when medical practitioners fail to diagnose a problem through conventional methods, women are often told legitimate physical symptoms are “all in your head.” As a result, women can feel invalidated and disempowered. This messaging leads to delayed and ineffective care, and could impact the individual’s ability to participate fully in important life roles and achieve good a quality of life. Yaghmaian will continue her line of research around this topic, specifically focusing on ways in which the experiences of women of color compare to those of women with privileged racial identities.

Yaghmaian plans to conduct her research using quantitative and qualitative research methodology, specifically investigating the experiences of women who seek conventional medical care. This grant will give Yaghmaian the opportunity to design and develop the project over the next year and to nurture University and community partnerships to collaborate and expand the work. Her ultimate goal is to organize a research team that can move the project forward for possible federal funding. This could provide opportunities for PSU students to work on an important project that is relevant to the community, and at the same time reflects the GSE’s and the University’s emphasis on diversity and social justice.

“The overarching purpose of this project, and the reason I’m so interested in this line of research, is that I want to use this work as part of my commitment to advocacy for women and women of color with chronic illness and disability,” said Yaghmaian. “I want to explore intersections of gender, race, and illness to ultimately improve quality of life for these women.”

Yaghmaian is the coordinator of the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program in the Counselor Education Department.

This is one of a 4-part series of projects funded by the 2018 Dean’s Fund for Excellence. For more information or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, or any other GSE fund, please contact Scott Shlaes,, or call 503-725-4789.

NEXT: Two ground-breaking GSE programs collaborate on “what’s possible?”