GSE Dean’s Fund for Excellence: FY16 Impact Report

Your support of the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Dean’s Fund pays big dividends.

Because of generous community members like you, the GSE is able to launch timely initiatives, increase student support, and strengthen community engagement.

In fiscal year 2016, Dean Hitz invested $15,000 from the GSE Dean’s Fund for Excellence to the School’s Fostering Mutually Beneficial Partnership grant program. Local school districts are important partners for the GSE, and these competitive grants to faculty are supporting projects that allow them to work closely with professional educators in partner schools, benefitting the GSE, our students, and local schools. Past district partnership projects have accomplished important goals such as implementing EdTPA (a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by more than 600 teacher preparation programs across the U.S.), and establishing co-teaching arrangements and clustering of teacher candidates to create professional learning teams.


“This Dean’s Fund grant will allow us to bring together teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, and professional arts educators together in a conversation about the role of arts integration in the elementary classroom.”
– Jan Abramovitz, GSE Assistant Professor and grant recipient


dfir-chart-102616Gifts to the unrestricted Dean’s Fund allow the GSE to invest in opportune and beneficial projects, which improve the School, our community, and the education profession. Your contributions to the GSE Dean’s Fund are making a significant social impact, and are greatly appreciated!

For more information about how you can support the GSE, please contact:
Jaymee Jacoby, Director of Development or 503.725.4789

GSE alumna Marilyn DeVault donates winnings to GSE scholarship

Marilyn DeVault displays one of her cakes, with professor emeritus Steve Brannan

Marilyn DeVault displays one of her cakes, with professor emeritus Steve Brannan

Alumna Marilyn DeVault, MS ’71, has parlayed what she learned in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Special Education program at PSU into a career, “creating desserts that are amazing and that all can enjoy.” This includes her patrons with special dietary needs. And, thanks to her skills and talent, she is able to donate $10,000 toward a scholarship to support students in the Special Education program.

DeVault studied special education under Professor Steve Brannan, one of the founders of the Special Education Department, and received her master’s in 1971. After graduating, she taught students with disabilities for several years. In 1978, she made a career change, opening the Piece of Cake Bakery in Sellwood. Here, she combined her love of baking with her interest in supporting people with special needs. Abundant research exists on the impact of nutrition and learning. Devault’s teaching experience inspired her to address dietary issues, developing formulas that are gluten-free, organic, and vegan. Her bakery offers a wide variety of items that meet the needs of people who are pursuing gluten-free or other food sensitivity–related diets. Continue reading

Bill and Ricky Korach establish endowed GSE scholarship

Bill and Ricky Korach, two well-known Lake Oswego educators and PSU Graduate School of Education (GSE) alumni, have established a new scholarship for aspiring teachers. The Bill and Ricky Korach Graduate Teacher Education Endowed Scholarship will continue their lifelong legacy and dedication to the profession. The scholarship will support GSE students preparing for careers as K–12 classroom teachers. Academic merit and financial need are both considerations. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2016.

The establishment of this endowed scholarship is no surprise to anyone familiar with the Koraches and their enduring passion for learning. “Education is about hope, promise, and possibility,” they stated. “We feel fortunate to be able to provide an additional opportunity for PSU students now and beyond our lifetimes.” Continue reading

GSE Dean’s Fund for Excellence: FY15 Impact Report

Thank you to the Graduate School of Education (GSE) donors who supported the GSE Dean’s Fund for Excellence in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Because of these generous individuals, the GSE was able to launch creative initiatives, increase student support, and strengthen community engagement opportunities.

The largest GSE Dean’s Fund for Excellence investment made in fiscal year 2015 was $10,000 to the second phase of the Culturally Responsive Elementary Mathematics Education (CREME) project. CREME began in 2014 as a year-long teacher development course for teachers at two schools in North Portland. During the year, the teachers collectively explored how to relate mathematics in the classroom to the lived experience of diverse students, and to foster the students’ development simultaneously as learners of mathematics and as individuals with cultural identity.

 “Because of this investment from the GSE Dean’s Fund, we will be able to work with this team of teachers to reach out into the communities served by their schools and to further develop culturally responsive pedagogy and practices in the next phase of the CREME project.”
– Professor Swapna Mukhopadhyay, GSE Faculty member and founder of CREME

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

2015 Dean’s Reception honors GSE supporters and scholarship recipients

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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.