March 8, 2011

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Rossier Headlines
MAT@USC Wins Innovation Award

mat logo

MAT@USC, Rossier's online Master of Arts in Teaching program, was honored with a 2011 International Award for Innovative Practices in Higher Education.


The award, which was created by the University Design Consortium, a project of Arizona State University and Sichuan University in China, was given to the MAT@USC for melding new technologies with hands-on classroom teaching experience. Dr. Melora Sundt acccepted the award this week at an event in Washington D.C.


Read the story.  

New Tenure Track Faculty Member
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Dr. Gale Sinatra will be joining the Rossier faculty as Professor in the educational psychology concentration. She starts later this year.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Professor is Editor of Educational Psychologist, a Fellow of APA and AERA, and Vice President of AERA's Division C, Learning and Instruction.


Her model of conceptual change learning emphasizes the role of motivation in conceptual change. She is currently Co-PI on a National Science Foundation grant exploring the challenges of teaching and learning about biological evolution in the US, which include emotional and motivational barriers. She is also Co-PI on an NSF EPSCoR Climate Infrastructure grant entitled "Losing the Lake", which is developing a simulation to teach middle-school children about the effect of climate change on declining Lake Mead water levels.


More about Sinatra. 

USC Hybrid High School in the Works
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This week Rossier is announcing the latest news on USC Hybrid High School, an innovative 24/7 education environment which blends classroom and online experiences. It is designed for L.A. students at risk for dropping out due to family responsibilities and other issues.  The school, which will be located in the USC neighborhood, is slated to open in the fall of 2012.

The innovative concept is under the direction of Dr. David Dwyer, Research Professor and Katzman-Ernst Chair in Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation at USC Rossier.  Watch for a story on USC News.
Deans' Role Changing, according to CHE 

The Chronicle of Higher Education this week dedicates a major profile article to the changing role of successful university deans in the new era, stating that they are "no longer middle managers with an inward-facing focus on academics, ...but fill the roles of college ambassador, chief visionary and major fund raiser."
Faculty Forefront
Tierney Elected AERA President

Dr. William G. Tierney was elected President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for 2012-2013.

Tierney is the first scholar from USC to be elected president of the 25,000-member organization, as well as the first with higher education expertise.

He will be inducted as president-elect at the 2011 AERA conference in New Orleans.

Read the story.

Dr. Dominic Brewer and Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon have been named AERA Fellows this year, a prestigious designation that will also be celebrated at the AERA conference.  They join six other Rossier faculty members who have previously been so named.
AERA Reception in New Orleans

Mark your calendars for the 2011 USC Rossier School of Education AERA Reception this year.

In conjunction with the AERA conference, the reception will take place on Sunday, April 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. in New Orleans. It will
be an opportunity to honor our newest AERA Fellows,  Estela Mara Bensimon and Dominic Brewer, as well as the AERA President-Elect, Bill Tierney.
The location will be confirmed this week.  For more information,  visit
Slaughter to Receive Honorary Degree

Dr. John Brooks Slaughter has accepted an invitation to receive an honorary degree from Howard University at its 2011 Commencement Convocation.

Slaughter will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science at the university during the May ceremony. It will be Slaughter's 30th honorary degree.
Tierney on Investing in For-Profit Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education quoted Bill Tierney about investor interest in for-profit higher education.

The article noted that Tierney writes frequently about for-profit colleges and academic governance, and says the investors he gets connected to, some of them from Europe, don't know very much about American higher education.

Tierney said in the story that he suspects many are low-level analysts hired by investment funds, or private-equity firms, to scope out the landscape. And there's no doubt about their interest: "It's always about for-profits. It's not about tenure or academic freedom.'"

Read the article.
Faculty Candidate Discussion This Week

Faculty, students and staff are invited to attend the faculty candidate discussion on Wednesday, March 9, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in WPH 403, with Qing Li, teacher education tenure track candidate. Li will facilitate the talk, "Building a Learning World: From Constructivism to Enactivism." Lunch will be provided for attendees.

To RSVP, contact Lori Givens at
Wohlstetter Heads Webinar on Charters
At noon today, Dr. Penny Wohlstetter will moderate a National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) Webinar, "What Research Tells Us About Charter Management Organization Success." 


The session will provide insight into a study from the Center on Reinventing Public Education that highlights the successes, challenges and steps along the way as management organizations are founded and start to grow.  


The presenters will share their research on management organizations on a variety of topics, including replication and governance. This promises to be a session that will change the way attendees look at management organizations in the future.


Reserve your Webinar seat now.

Rossier Research
CUE Benchmarking Tool Helps Community Colleges

CUE will conduct workshops at Santa Ana College, Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College this week and next to help them set benchmark goals for improving student outcomes and racial-ethnic equity in retention and completion. Through CUE's Benchmarking Equity and Student Success Tool™ (BESST), the workshops, generously funded by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, offer a hands-on approach for California community colleges to incorporate data and set concrete goals to close the achievement gap among underrepresented racial and socioeconomic student groups. The benchmarking workshops will take place on March 11th at Santa Ana College and March 17th at Los Medanos and Diablo Valley College.

CUE's Linda Wong Talks Strategies to Increase College Success Rates at San Francisco Forum

On Friday, March 4th, CUE executive director Linda Wong spoke at a San Francisco regional forum sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity.  Using CUE's ongoing work with Los Medanos College as an example, Wong addressed the importance of integrating data analysis with systematic inquiry to find out what lies behind the data on low completion rates before determining the interventions to take.

The Campaign highlighted key Bay Area findings from its report Divided We Fail, which looked at community college success rates across the state.  For the Bay Area, only 24% of black students and 19% of Latino students successfully completed college, compared to the overall success rate of 31%.  Wong emphasized the need to thoroughly investigate the causes before devising solutions and learning what challenges exist at the ground level that can help inform and improve policy making at the state level. The forum was cosponsored by Policy Link, Greenlining Institute, Californians for Justice Education Fund, and the Institute for College Access & Success. The audience consisted of legislative staff, policy analysts, and representatives from social justice organizations.
This Week on 21st Century Scholar
21st century scholar

Monday 3/7
"Survival Strategies for Troubled Institutions" by Bill Tierney, Gib Hentschke, and Mark DeFusco


Tuesday 3/8
"Rubrics Make Expectations Transparent" by Randy Clemens


Wednesday 3/9
"The Life of the Mind - and Soul" by Bill Tierney


Thursday 3/10
"Thursday is Tech Day" by Stefani Relles


Friday 3/11
An Update from CHEPA Pathfinder Project Director Zoe Corwin


Check out the blog here. 

Rossier Family
Alumna Elected to College Board Committee

Dr. Hasmik Danielian (EdD '09) was elected to the Academic Committee of the Western Regional Council for a 3-year term. Her election was announced at the College Board's Western Regional Forum in San Francisco in February.

Daneilian is the Associate Superintendent for Secondary Schools, grades 6-12, at Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. Her dissertation on Data-Driven Decision Making received accolades and honorable mention for outstanding dissertation from Rossier.
Annual PASA Network NASPA Social
PASA Network

The National Association for Student Personnel Administrators conference in Philadelphia this week will include a Rossier reception on Saturday, March 12th from 8:30 - 11:00pm. Rossier PASA faculty, alumni, and students are invited to
Maggiano's Little Italy (1201 Filbert Street Philadelphia, PA 19107), located a few blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Hors d'oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, and a cash bar will be available. 

To RSVP, please contact Anne Bautista at

Fundraiser for New Zealand Earthquake Relief

Tuesday, March 8, Noon-1:00pmnz
Location: SOS B49
Open to all Staff, Faculty and Students
Contact/RSVP: Andy Chen

Join us for a special potluck fundraiser in support of those affected by the earthquake that devastated  Christchurch, New Zealand.

The event is open to faculty, students and staff.  Individuals can help out in one or all of the three following ways.

1.  Make something/bring something for the potluck

2.  Attend the potluck and enjoy the food(suggested $10 donation)

3.  Donate money separately to the Red Cross by giving it to Tiffany Fong or Lali Acuna in the USC Rossier business office

See video of earthquake aftermath created by webmasterTara Harding, a New Zealand native.
In This Issue
MAT@USC Wins Innovation Award
New Tenure Track Faculty Member
USC Hybrid High School in the Works
The Role of Deans in University Campaign Efforts
Tierney Elected AERA President
AERA Reception in New Orleans
Slaughter to Receive Honorary Degree
Tierney on Investing in For-Profit Higher Ed
Faculty Candidate Discussions This Week
Wohlstetter Heads Webinar on Charters
Updates from CUE
This Week on 21st Century Scholar
Alumna Elected to College Board Committee
Annual PASA Network NASPA Social
Fundraiser for New Zealand Earthquake Relief
Get to Know Pixie Boyden

Get to Know Pixie Boyden

pixie boyden

Pixie Boyden joined Rossier last month as the new Management Information Systems (MIS) Director. You can visit her in Waite Phillips Hall, room 804.

Q: Why did you decide to join Rossier?

A: I wanted to join Rossier because I wanted to be a part of the community that worked collectively to support students in the pursuit of higher education goals towards the transformation of urban education and for me that is through the use of technology.

Q: What do you most look forward to doing here?

A: I am really looking forward to building the technology vision for the school that will support the mission of the school and provide the necessary growth potential for future innovation.

Q: What are your responsibilities/duties in your new role?

A: In my role as MIS Director, I am tasked with identifying opportunities for the school to make strides technically to compete with our peers as well as building the infrastructure and partnerships that will support it.

Q: What are some of your goals in your new role?

A: One of my goals is to transform the support role of the MIS department into a full service group.







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