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Wednesday , November 14 2018
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Tag Archives: utep college of education

Video+Story: UTEP’s New Education Dean Ready to Serve Students

Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Clifton Tanabe knew about The University of Texas at El Paso from its days as a Western Athletic Conference rival to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH).

As a higher education professor, researcher and administrator, he learned more about the University through the national attention it received for its successful access and excellence model and its leadership role with the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, a community partnership hailed for its transformational education reforms.

“That was truly a powerful light for me,” said Tanabe, Ph.D., new dean of UTEP’s College of Education as of July 1, 2018. “I saw what some folks who come together could pull off. It was very impressive.”

Tanabe said he was excited and grateful to be at UTEP to serve its students and those of the larger El Paso community. He also looks forward to contributing to the growth of the college and the University.

The Indiana native came to UTEP from UH, where he taught educational policy and law and was a lecturer in law at the university’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

He served in the chancellor’s office as director for institutional transformation and executive assistant chief of staff. He also directed the Leaders for the Next Generation Program and co-directed the Hawaii Educational Policy Center.

Tanabe earned his doctorate in educational policy studies (1998) and a law degree (2004) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Master of Education in educational foundations from UH in 1994 and his bachelor’s degree in humanities from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, in 1988.

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

NASA Camp Empowers UTEP Education Students

Samantha Martinez liked the concept of chemistry before she knew what it was. When visiting her grandmother as a youngster, she would head to the bathroom to mix different cleaning products with the hope that it would produce a chemical reaction.

That enthusiasm and curiosity only escalated as she matured. It got to the point where she wanted to share that love for science. The first-generation college student earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with a biomedical concentration in 2015 from The University of Texas at El Paso and became a science/chemistry teacher at Socorro High School in El Paso’s Lower Valley.

Martinez, a Master of Arts in Education student at UTEP, said she found success in her 10thgrade classroom using hands-on activities to introduce concepts with real-world implications. One example was letting her students make pancakes so they could see the chemical reactions of the batter and after they pour the batter onto a hot skillet. Which ingredients provide structure? Which create fluffiness? How does the batter react to the heat? Instructive, yes, but the students mostly enjoy the taste testing.

“That’s the kind of thing that grabs their attention,” Martinez said. “That’s what makes them want to explore.”

The native El Pasoan went back to school this summer to find other ways to bring science to life for her students. She and two other UTEP peers – Chelsea Lucas, a Master of Arts in Education student, and Alejandra Campa, a senior interdisciplinary studies major with a concentration in 4-8 bilingual generalist – spent an intensive week as part of the third annual NASA Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP) Educators Institute at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The gathering, conducted June 4-8, 2018, is a professional development opportunity that gives science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educators ideas on how to integrate hands-on, low-cost science concepts into the common core curricula. It involved about 50 individuals from higher education institutions in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. NASA conducts similar regional institutes at its centers throughout the country.

“The experience was amazing,” Martinez said. “It was so positive. I am grateful to have gone. I loved every part of it. I am so much more confident now. I think I can engage my students with some aluminum foil and paper cups.”

The week also included behind-the-scenes facility tours of mockups of the International Space Station to include one in a 60-foot deep indoor pool used to simulate weightlessness, and lectures by engineers involved with projects dating back to the Apollo moon missions in the early 1970s.

NASA, founded in 1958, has conducted manned and unmanned space missions through the years. Today, one of the agency’s deep space manned initiatives is Orion, which should start in 2030. One of the reasons NASA promotes science education is because many of the engineers, scientists, designers, mathematicians and more who will work on Orion are in middle school.

“Part of our jobs as STEM educators are to engage and encourage (PreK-12 students) to pursue degrees in STEM,” said Ruby Lynch-Arroyo, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of teacher education, who also attended the institute as a faculty sponsor and facilitator. “But we also learned about how many other fields are tied to spaceflight such as art, economics, political science and marine biology.”

Lynch-Arroyo, who has integrated cross-curricular connections as a teacher for many years, said she would include the strategic thinking and planning that she learned in Houston as part of a professional development training with STEM teachers in the Canutillo Independent School District in August before the fall 2018 semester begins.

The UTEP students were bright and engaging, said Steven C. Smith, a NASA EPDC (Educator Professional Development Collaborative) specialist. He added that he mistook one student for a faculty member because of her confidence and participation in discussions and activities.

Smith said the MUREP institute introduces participants to a repository of NASA educational resources and helps them envision how that STEM content can be relevant to students in ways that will excite and inspire them.

“We know that the feet that leave the first footprints on Mars are probably going to be sitting in a middle school classroom this year,” Smith said. “We are looking for the teachers that will find those feet in their classes, inspire them, and set them on the course that will lead them to us.”

NASA awards multiyear research grants to minority-serving institutions to involve their students in MUREP activities. The program provides internships, scholarships, fellowships, mentoring and tutoring for underserved and underrepresented learners in K-12, informal, and higher education settings. The hope is that participants will help build a diverse pool of future NASA employees.

Smith invited STEM educators to use the NASA resources for teachers and students. Click here to find downloadable posters, images, activities, art resources and more. Educators also may look there for internship and scholarship opportunities. Make sure to click the “NASA Audiences” tab.

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

UTEP Announces New Dean of College of Education

The University of Texas at El Paso announced the appointment of Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D. as the dean of the College of Education effective July 1, 2018. He comes to UTEP from the University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa.

Along with his administrative duties at UTEP, Tanabe also will be a tenured professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve as the next dean of the College of Education at UTEP,” Tanabe said. “The responsibility to serve its students and those of the larger El Paso community, and to contribute to the continued growth of the college and this amazing University, is something that I am grateful for and take very seriously.”

The Indiana native who grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, earned his doctorate in educational policy studies, and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, in 1998 and 2004, respectively. He received his Master of Education in educational foundations from UH Mānoa in 1994 and his bachelor’s degree in humanities from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, in 1988.

Tanabe began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, where he co-founded and directed the Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal.

At UH Mānoa, Tanabe taught educational policy and law and was a Lecturer in Law at the university’s William S. Richardson School of Law. He also served in the chancellor’s office as director for institutional transformation and executive assistant chief of staff. He served as director of the Leaders for the Next Generation Program and co-directed the Hawaii Educational Policy Center.

He has authored journal articles, book chapters and commissioned reports on such issues as teacher morale and parent and community engagement in local public education. His scholarship has focused on educational access for economically disadvantaged children and youth, anti-discrimination and affirmative action in education, and social power in education.

“We welcome Dr. Clifton Tanabe to the UTEP family as dean of the College of Education,” University President Diana Natalicio said. “His extensive experience as a leader in higher education combined with his student-centered research interests make him a great fit for UTEP and the critical role we play in the PreK-16 work of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence. I look very much forward to working with him to broaden the college’s engagement with our Collaborative partners.”

Tanabe will lead a college that has greatly impacted educational attainment in the Paso del Norte region. Most of UTEP’s College of Education graduates remain in El Paso and play major roles in setting high standards for school districts across the region. Despite its many socioeconomic challenges, the region ranks first in Texas for the percentage of its high school graduates who complete the recommended college curriculum.

The college also produces many bilingual and bicultural graduates knowledgeable in counseling, literacy, early childhood, STEM education, social/cultural foundations, special education and mental health services and educational scholarship. They are in demand around the region and, as the Hispanic population continues to expand, around the country.

UTEP Provost Carol Parker said she was pleased and excited with Tanabe’s decision to join the University.

“As dean, Dr. Tanabe will have exceptional opportunities to lead UTEP’s efforts to work closely with area superintendents, El Paso Community College administrators, and business and community officials to expand educational prospects across the region, and to address regional and national issues in education and teacher preparation,” Parker said. “I believe Dr. Tanabe is highly qualified for this assignment.”

William Robertson, Ph.D., professor of teacher education, has served as interim dean since July 2017.

“We appreciate very much the fine work that Bill Robertson has done for the College of Education during this time of transition,” President Natalicio said.

UTEP’s College of Education Names New Associate Dean

Beverley Argus-Calvo, Ph.D., has been appointed associate dean for graduate studies and research for the UTEP College of Education.

“Dr. Argus-Calvo has demonstrated her commitment to preparing future teachers, educational diagnosticians, and graduate students throughout her 17 years of service to UTEP, the College of Education, and our binational border community,” said College of Education Interim Dean William H. Robertson, Ph.D.

“Her research areas reflect a strong commitment to cultural diversity and inclusivity, while working to advance and enhance the depth and breadth of our graduate programs and community initiatives,” he added.

Argus-Calvo is an associate professor in the college’s Educational Diagnostician program in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Services. She joined UTEP in 2000.

Argus-Calvo began her education career as a teacher for learning disabled students in 1983. Since then, she has worked with children with special needs in elementary and secondary schools in the United States and Mexico. She worked as an educational diagnostician in New Mexico from 1993-96.

Argus-Calvo’s research and professional interests include binational education, extended learning, early college high school programs, music- and arts-based programs for elementary children in underserved communities, and working with families of children with special needs along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Her work has been published in respected journals such as the College Student Journal, Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, and the Rural Special Education Quarterly, as well as books and international scholarly publications.

Argus-Calvo is currently collaborating with colleagues from UTEP and the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, the Centro Chihuahuense de Estudios de Psogrado, and the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social in Mexcio City on binational research projects addressing education and children in vulnerable settings.

UTEP Education Researchers Awarded $456k NSF Grant

The College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded a $456,076 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on persistence in and beyond undergraduate engineering studies among Latinx students.

Latinx is the gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina used by academics and activists.

Alberto Esquinca, Ph.D., associate professor of bilingual education, will lead the project with co-principal investigators Elsa Q. Villa, Ph.D., director of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies; and Erika Mein, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Teacher Education.

They will examine the undergraduate education experiences of engineering students at UTEP to determine their trajectory through engineering studies and how they made their decision to enter the workforce or attend graduate school after completing their baccalaureate degree.

“This is a study of persistence in which we are to hone in on the transition between college and the workforce and/or graduate studies,” said Esquinca, the grant’s principal investigator. “This is innovative because prior studies of persistence limit the scope of their investigations to graduation, which is insufficient given that a large percentage of engineering students do not enter the engineering workforce.”

Researchers will study the persistence of mechanical engineering and computer science undergraduate students who are in their senior capstone course.

They plan to identify factors that contribute to these students’ successful trajectories beyond graduation as they seek professional positions in the workplace, and/or make decisions to continue on to graduate school during their last year of undergraduate studies.