Curt Lox, PhD, has been recommended as the new dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. Lox has served as interim dean since May 2014, and his permanent appointment is contingent upon SIU Board of Trustees approval.
Lox brings more than 20 years of academic experience with 19 of those at SIUE. The Orange County, Calif., native joined the School’s faculty in 1996. He served as associate dean from 2003-09 and as chairperson in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education from 2009-14.
“Dr. Lox’s experience and leadership at SIUE have prepared him well for this leadership role,” said Parviz Ansari, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Dr. Lox is highly prepared for the challenge of facing a difficult fiscal environment with a positive approach to problem solving. With a clear commitment to academic excellence, his vision for the School will lead to a bright future.”
Lox’s research has been focused on the psychological impact of exercise for special populations, including the elderly, overweight and obese children and adults, and individuals infected with HIV. His research articles have been published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Health Psychology, and Rehabilitation Psychology among others. He is the co-author of The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice, which is currently at press in its fourth edition.
“I want to thank Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe and Provost Ansari for the opportunity to serve this University and this School,” Lox said. “We have a wide range of programs with increasing recognition for our work – education, health sciences and human behavior. We have a strong tradition of preparing our students to serve the region as exceptional educators and administrators, speech pathologists or audiologists, or to work in exercise science, health education or psychology.
“Regardless of the field, we will work passionately to advance that reputation. It is certainly one of my goals to continue to promote the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students.”
Lox earned a doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his master's from Miami (Ohio) University. He has worked as a sport psychology consultant with players and coaches at the interscholastic, intercollegiate and professional levels for more than 20 years. Lox currently serves as the sport psychologist for SIUE Intercollegiate Athletics and the United States Martial Arts Team.
Lox replaces Dr. Bette Bergeron, who resigned to assume duties as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Southern Connecticut State University.
Photo: Dr. Curt Lox, dean of the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Office of the Provost announced that Wendy Fuchs, PhD, is the recipient of the annual Teaching Excellence Award for tenure-track faculty. It is the most prestigious teaching award that a faculty member can receive at SIUE. Six additional faculty members were saluted for their teaching skills and accomplishments.
Fuchs is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorder within the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. She received a $2,000 prize as part of the award.
“I am humbled to be considered a high-quality teacher by my colleagues,” said Fuchs, a native of Homer, Alaska, who joined the SIUE faculty in August 2008. “We get valuable instructor/course feedback from students each semester, but this is the first time I've received feedback about my teaching from a committee of my professional peers.
“I have always felt that it is my civic duty to continuously strive to improve my own teaching, and it is my way of contributing to improving instructional practices for students with disabilities. I have spent my entire educational career working to increase access to high quality instruction and improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students. As a teacher/educator, I have the privilege of guiding and supporting future special education teachers to continue this important work.”
Fuchs will be recognized during SIUE’s May commencement ceremony and speak at the December commencement ceremony. She will be nominated for the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for the National Professor of the Year Award.
Chair of the Teaching Excellence Awards committee Bryan Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Heath Education, cited Fuchs as an extraordinary educator. The committee noted Fuchs’ passion and enthusiasm for teaching. One review commented, “She devotes her professional life to teaching and learning about education.”
“It is my responsibility to provide learning experiences for my students that not only give them access to the priority knowledge and skills of our discipline, but also model, and hopefully foster, a love of teaching,” Fuchs explained. “My classes are intentionally designed to include a variety of learning opportunities that model effective practices that create a community in order to allow students to experience multiple ways of learning through large group discussion, journaling, small group projects and individual tasks.”
“This award is a tribute to the tremendous amount of time and effort Dr. Fuchs invests in her teaching,” said Curt Lox, interim dean of the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. “She truly represents her program and the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior with distinction.”
Fuchs is the principal investigator and co-coordinator of the Illinois Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) Partnership, a five-year state personnel development grant (SPDG) funded through the Office of Special Education Program and Illinois State Board of Education.
Fuchs was previously a regional coordinator with Illinois ASPIRE (Alliance for School-based Problem-solving and Intervention Resources in Education). She continues to provide professional development and educational consulting in the areas of response to intervention (RtI)/multi-tier system of supports (MTSS), school improvement, and increasing student engagement for school districts in Southern Illinois.
Fuchs is a member of the statewide Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) leadership team, and serves as a board member for the Illinois chapter of the Teacher Education Division of Council for Exceptional Children. Her research interests include MTSS, stress reduction strategies for students, and improving teacher effectiveness through explicit and inclusive instructional practices.
In addition, Teaching Distinction Awards went to three faculty members. Diane Hudzik, Suman Mishra, PhD, and Alison Reiheld, PhD, are all recipients of $500 prizes.
Hudzik is a recipient for her work as an instructor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorder within the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
The committee acknowledged Hudzik’s classroom environment as one that immerses students in the real world of special education and complimented her passion for encouraging students to be active participants in this discipline. She also made a significant contribution to virtually redesigning the special education curriculum.
Mishra is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communications within the College of Arts and Sciences. She joined the SIUE faculty in 2009.
The committee complimented Mishra as an outstanding mentor to mass communications graduate students by bringing a global perspective, valuing each student’s unique point of view and involving them in her own research. She has been active in updating mass communications curriculum to reflect emerging trends and global perspectives.
A native of India, Mishra achieved a doctorate in mass media and communication from Temple University. She earned two master’s - in advertising from Michigan State University, and in public relations and advertising management from the Institute of Management Studies in India. She earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Benaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India.
Reiheld is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy within the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee described her as an engaging and passionate teacher who presents philosophy as a life skill and a collaborative effort between student and teacher. The committee pointed to her clear, concise, unbiased delivery style that makes subjects such as ethics accessible and enjoyable to a wide range of students.
Reiheld earned a doctorate in philosophy from Michigan State in 2010 after joining the SIUE faculty in 2009. She spent her formative years in Geneva, Ill., before earning a bachelor’s in biology from Kalamazoo (Mich.) College in 1997. She also studied immunology and microbiology for a year at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Three faculty members received Teaching Recognition Awards. Melodie Rowbotham, PhD, associate professor of family health and community health nursing in the School of Nursing; Cathy Santanello, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences within the School of Pharmacy; and Stacy Skelton, an instructor in the School of Nursing received $250 prizes.
The committee was impressed with Rowbotham’s ability to teach a wide variety of classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She utilizes a variety of teaching styles to keep students engaged and focused. Curriculum development is also one of her strengths.
Rowbotham earned a doctorate from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2007 after achieving her master’s in nursing from UMSL in 1999. She received a bachelor’s in nursing from Brigham Young University in 1988.
Santanello was complimented for her passion for the educational experience and the seriousness with which she approaches the art of teaching. The Fairview Heights native employs various teaching methods to keep students engaged and make a connection with those students.
Santanello has been at SIUE since 1993 and was an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences before joining the School of Pharmacy in 2005. She received a bachelor’s in zoology from Eastern Illinois University in 1979. She earned a master’s in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1983 and achieved a doctorate in biology in 1989 from Saint Louis University.
The committee noted Skelton’s use of different teaching/learning theories to create an optimal learning environment. She utilizes personal experiences in the field to provide students with insight to the impact of the topic being discussed. She works both inside and outside the classroom to ensure her students’ success.
Skelton achieved a both bachelor’s and master’s in nursing from UMSL in 1993 and 2002, respectively.
A Southern Illinois University Edwardsville kinesiology student doesn’t just want to get people’s bodies moving and heart rates climbing. She also wants to motivate their minds and keep them coming back for more.
Emily Buelow, graduate assistant in SIUE’s Campus Recreation, helps direct group fitness for the Student Fitness Center. Buelow wants to spread her brand of fitness psychology to others.
The graduate assistant has returned from Dayton, Ohio, where she presented: “The Brain Behind the Workout: How Exercise Psychology and Positivity Can Revolutionize Your Fitness Class.”
Buelow, who is working on a master’s in Sport and Exercise Behavior, received a grant to attend the 17th Annual Midwest Fit Fest from Feb. 20-22, hosted by the University of Dayton. The Illinois Intramural Recreation Sports Association (IIRSA) awarded Buelow the grant this year.
Buelow has also presented similar exercise seminars at SIUE and elsewhere to encourage fitness instructors to make the most of their workout sessions.
Buelow does her part in making exercise as enjoyable as she can. “I get to know people’s names and am welcoming to everyone. I also use motivating language,” she said. “I tell jokes and am upbeat and positive. If people are listening to me, they may take their minds off of themselves. It usually helps people and makes them want to come back.”
Being optimistic and adding an inviting social factor with exercise is crucial as it relates to adherence, the fitness instructor added.
“Exercise is important in health wellness as well as in preventive health care,” Buelow said. “I like teaching group fitness, because the energy a group creates is amazing and motivating, and I believe it can get participants to stick around.”
Currently, Buelow is teaching the following fitness classes: TurboKick, PiYo (Pilates, yoga fusion), Rock Hard ABS and is co-teaching cycle circuit training.
“I’ve had people tell me that I’ve challenged them physically, or that they can now do push-ups on their toes instead of on their knees,” Buelow said. “I don’t exercise or lead classes to have bodies look a certain way. I exercise, and I encourage others to exercise, to treat the body well, to be healthy, to feel good and to be fit.”
Photo: Emily Buelow
Myth busters Stephen Hupp, associate professor of psychology in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, and Jeremy Jewell, professor of psychology and clinical child and school program director, detail 50 commonly believed claims in their book Great Myths of Child Development.
“Parents are exposed to countless claims about what is best for a fetus, infant or child,” the co-authors note in the book’s introduction. “To be fair, everyone, including us, have believed in some myths at some time. In fact, we believed many of the Great Myths uncovered in this book until we started delving into the research.”
Among the myths exposed in Great Myths of Child Development are that most toddlers go through a “terrible twos” stage, couples dealing with infertility are more likely to get pregnant after they adopt and showing cognitively stimulating videos to babies boosts their intelligence.
What leads people to believe these myth milestones, despite research proving otherwise? The authors acknowledge many potential reasons including celebrity appeal, word-of-mouth, misleading marketing and tradition.
“There’s a considerable amount of useful information out there about what parents need to know,” the authors said. “We thought it would be beneficial for parents to have a book that covers what every parent needs to NOT know.”
Great Myths of Child Development is part of the Great Myths of Psychology Series. The book is now available on amazon.com.
Photo: Stephen Hupp (upper right), associate professor of psychology in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
Jeremy Jewell (lower left), SIUE professor of psychology and clinical child and school program director.
Several young women from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) received words of affirmation and pointers on dating, self-love and self-respect at a Friday Valentine’s Luncheon.
“If a man says he loves you, then he will treat you like a queen,” said Dr. Kareem Mateen, keynote speaker at the “Loving Ourselves and the Skin We Are In” CHS luncheon.
Mateen is the Family and Student Support Services Director at East St. Louis School District #189. He holds a bachelor’s in education from SIUE, a master’s in school and professional counseling from Lindenwood University and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Walden University.
“Before you try and give yourself to anyone, take time to love yourself,” he said to the 25 young women at the luncheon
Many women don’t have a functional relationship with themselves, Mateen said before the luncheon. “Some black women, because they often find themselves in conflict, beat up on themselves,” he continued. “Some of the negative attitude is a defense mechanism. A lot of women are wounded and haven’t taken time to heal themselves.”
Mateen said he understands first hand, because his mom was a teenage mother. “She hadn’t fully developed herself, and then she had to take care of a child. If I haven’t learned how to love myself, how can I love anyone effectively?
“You have to find the peace within yourself,” Mateen said, which he said his mother eventually did.
Mateen warned the group of young women on how destructive forces in society will try to present negatives images of them. “But that’s not you. You come from queens and great people.”
“Some men and some people will try to break you down, but don’t let them,” he added. Mateen told the students that he has been married for 17 years and still treats his wife like a queen. He has one son and several goddaughters.
“A weak person wants to tear you down to get the upper hand,” Mateen said. “Get away from them. Be around those who will build you up. You are beautiful. You are important. You are our future.”
“I liked how he told us we were beautiful and shouldn’t let any man treat us in a disrespectful manner,” said senior Darrielle Perry, after the luncheon.
“He made me think about a lot of stuff,” said sophomore Vandreeka Johnson, “but mainly to be happy with ourselves.”
“I liked the part when he said we shouldn’t send our pictures to our boyfriends, because they could expose us,” said junior Ajane’ Muhammad. “I also liked when he said if a boy disrespects his mother and grandmother, he will disrespect you.”
Also giving the young students words of inspiration and wisdom was CHS Director Gina Washington: “I hope you all feel cared about and valued as a young woman. I don’t care what you’ve been called. Don’t carry it in your spirit. Don’t let anyone define who you are.”
Then the CHS director asked the young women to call out positive adjectives that defined them.
“Hold your head up and say it loud!” Washington instructed the students. Some of the words that rang out: “Beautiful – Intelligent – Awesome.”
Kim Allen, CHS faculty associate, directed the luncheon, which was introduced in 2012. Renee Fussell, SIUE instructor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies, was the first speaker.
Dr. Kareem Mateen speaks to group of SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School girls at a Valentine’s Day luncheon.
A group of girls were treated to love, encouragement and lunch. Shown from front to back: De’Kaja Duff, Eyvonne Miller and Desar’a Whitely.
Senior Darrielle Perry receives a rose from luncheon speaker, Dr. Kareem Mateen.
From left to right: CHS Director Gina Washington, Dr. Kareem Mateen and CHS Faculty Associate Kim Allen.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is proud to host the Science Olympiad regional tournament and enrich students’ education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The hands-on, team-based event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 14 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
The tournament is similar to a track meet, but with an academic focus. SIUE will host 300 student participants, grades 6-12, from across the region.
“This competition gives students a chance to pursue STEM in a way that stimulates different emotions from other science activities and provides an enhanced feeling of teamwork,” said Colin Wilson, resource center manager of SIUE’s STEM Research Center. “Students interested in Science Olympiad are an enthusiastic population who can see the opportunities that institutions like SIUE provide.”
Teams of 15 students investigate some 23 different events ranging from concepts in life, earth and physical science to engineering devices. Events are held throughout the SIUE campus, in the Engineering Building, Science West Building and the Vadalabene Center, with teams based in the Morris University Center.
“This is a national program, of which Illinois is a leading state,” said Mike Avara, regional director. “Not only are science background and skills emphasized, but also the concept of teamwork and collaboration in research and problem-solving.”
SIUE’s event is one of nine regional competitions in Illinois. Leading teams from each regional tournament will advance to the State Tournament held at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on April 17-18.
For more information regarding the tournament at SIUE, click here.
For more information on the Science Olympiad national program, click here.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Alumni Association is hosting a professional development event to help jumpstart your career search. “Launching Your Career Search” will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 6-8 p.m. in Birger Hall at SIUE.
The event will feature accomplished presenters, who are all SIUE alumni, on the topics of writing an effective resume, LinkedIn secrets and tricks and current interviewing strategies.
Participants will also be offered free professional headshots, taken by photographer Colby Craig BS’11. Photos will be taken in the lounge in Birger Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Presenters include Michelle Swanson BA’05, a professional resume writer and job search strategist and owner of Swanson Career Solutions. Notably, Swanson is the only person worldwide to be certified as both a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and a Certified Executive Resume Master.
Brittany K. Anderson MPA’12 will discuss basic interviewing skills and negotiating the job. With a background in the legal sector, the freelance writer is well-versed in recruiting practices and processes.
Following the presentations, Swanson and Anderson will be available for brief resume critiquing. In addition, each presenter will offer discounted services to event participants after February 10.
The event is free of charge for SIUE students and $10 for SIUE Alumni. Register here.
Dr. Phillip Weishaar, associate professor in Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was named last month as a Fulbright Specialist Reviewer.
His responsibility includes evaluating applications of those seeking to become a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in the area of special education. The Specialist program awards grants to U.S. faculty in several disciplines to work collaboratively on short-term projects at international institutions and to promote long-term relationships between institutions.
In his work as a peer-reviewer, Weishaar will electronically review applicants for the Fulbright Specialist Roster based on the merits of their post-doctoral teaching and professional experience in the discipline.
From May 22-June 13, 2014, Weishaar was granted a Fulbright Specialist award to teach at Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou, China. Northwest Normal University is a partner with SIUE, where visiting scholars participate in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s International Training Program in Pedagogy.
As a Fulbright Specialist, Weishaar said he shared his field of expertise with colleagues overseas, who are looking to help improve conditions of those with disabilities.
“My role included educating undergraduate students at Northwest Normal University on the foundations of special education law,” Weishaar said. “China seems to be in the same place as the U.S. was in the 1960s concerning educating students with disabilities. Students with disabilities in northwest China are not typically educated in general education public schools, but are educated in separate specialized schools.
I was very well received, because China is very much interested in improving the education and lives of people with disabilities. Training excellent special education teachers is important to Northwest Normal University.”
Weishaar said he ended up in China, in part, because of the relationship he developed with a Chinese colleague, Guojun Zhao, a visiting professor who participated in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s International Training Program in Pedagogy in 2012 at SIUE.
Guojun was an observer in Weishaar’s class and both shared common interests about the education of students with disabilities. Then, in 2013, Weishaar traveled to Northwest Normal University with the School of Education Dean and Leadership Team from the International Training Program in Pedagogy.
“It’s very competitive to be awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant. I feel very fortunate,” Weishaar said. “It’s an honor, but I don’t think I’m special, I think the work I do for special education is special.”
Weishaar’s wife is also a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Mary Weishaar, associate dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, spent a semester in Ukraine in 2002.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Department of State’s flagship international education and exchange program and was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It was created to promote mutual understanding among people across the globe in hopes of fostering peace.
“I am an advocate for children with disabilities,” Weishaar said. “For me, advocating for people who have disabilities is about supporting those who often don’t have a voice and are treated unfairly. I’m also a member of the NAACP and Safe Zone. I have a passion for helping people who have experienced discrimination.”
The SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior prepares students in a wide range of fields including community health education, exercise science, instructional technology, psychology, speech-language pathology and audiology, administration and teaching. Faculty members engage in leading-edge research, which enhances teaching and enriches the educational experience. The School supports the community through on-campus clinics, outreach to children and families, and a focused commitment to enhancing individual lives across the region.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville faculty invite middle school math teachers to enrich their knowledge and build meaningful partnerships with other area teachers and mathematicians by attending the Great Rivers Math Teachers’ Circle (MTC).
The Math Teachers’ Circle Network is a project of the American Institute of Mathematics. SIUE’s Tammy Voepel, associate professor of mathematics and statistics; Adam Weyhaupt, chair of the department of mathematics and statistics; and Sharon Locke, director of the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach have partnered with two area math educators to establish the Great Rivers MTC.
The group is open to interested middle school math teachers. Circles will be held Thursdays from 5-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, March 26 and April 23 at the Main Street Community Center in Edwardsville.
“In the classroom, teachers are able to focus only on that part of the content that applies to what they’re teaching,” said Voepel. “The MTC will allow teachers to be engaged in solving problems, hopefully increasing their love of mathematics.”
Each session will include dinner, followed by an intriguing assortment of rich mathematical problems and ideas for teachers to explore. RSVP today for the Great Rivers MTC.
There are currently more than 60 active MTCs across the country. For more information on the national program, click here.
How do you pursue a degree toward your dream career if you’re already working full-time? It’s a question many individuals are stuck trying to answer. A program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is opening doors for those people: enhancing their education, and in turn, positively affecting the lives of area children.
The Early Childhood On-Site (EChOS) program at SIUE offers a part-time degree program in Early Childhood Education, focusing on the advancement of already working individuals. Whether they currently work in the childcare field, or in a completely unrelated profession, participants are provided higher education on a convenient, flexible schedule.
“This is opening the door for more people aspiring to work in Early Childhood Education to achieve their goals and provide a quality education for children,” said Martha Latorre, program director of Early Childhood Education at SIUE. “A lot of our students have been looking for an option like this for a long time. They’re appreciative they finally have an opportunity to complete their education.”
After working in the retail and fast food industries for years, Karen Luna decided to enroll in the EChOS program and go after her dreams.
“Early Childhood Education appealed to me because I could have a direct influence on children, helping them develop their social skills and better prepare them for their future in education,” said Luna.
Luna said she was able to juggle her academic studies, family life and other employment thanks to the support she received from everyone involved. That support combined with her personal dedication carried her successfully through the program.
“I had commitment from my family, and the willingness of my professors to help me balance my schedule,” explained Luna. “As long as they see the effort from the individual, the instructors go above and beyond to help us achieve our goals.”
Luna now works for the East St. Louis School District #189 in a Pre-K classroom.
“Karen is an example of someone who did not have any previous background in Early Childhood Education,” explained Latorre. “She is proof that this is a program that proves successful for those without previous experience, and those already immersed in an early childhood setting. It’s individualized so it works for everyone.”
Program participants are required to have completed an associate’s degree, or credit equivalent, prior to enrolling in EChOS. Classes are held in the evening, two per semester, at an off-campus location that is central to all students. It is a three-year program that includes eight semesters of coursework.
Students in the EChOS program complete field experience, in addition to student teaching. For those currently working in the early childhood field, many of those hours can be completed at their current place of employment.
“In some instances, our students are already a lead teacher in a program that doesn’t require certification,” said Latorre. “This program provides them with the education to be the best teacher they can be. Many times the completion of this degree helps an individual move into a better paying position.”
SIUE’s EChOS program offers both licensure and non-licensure options. Dependent upon which option students pursue, graduates of the program may work in private or public school settings in pre-kindergarten through third grade, early intervention and as parent educators.
“It’s the children that these teachers will be serving that matter most,” said Latorre. “I want the teachers to provide the best possible education to those little ones they’re working with. That’s what leads to quality, is having better educated staff working with children.”
A new cohort begins each fall semester. To apply for the EChOS program, click here.
Photos: Dr. Martha Latorre, Early Childhood Education Program Director, associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction
Find out how a master’s in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville can help you advance your career in higher education at an upcoming information session.
Register here and learn more about this high-quality program Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9-11 a.m. on the first floor of Alumni Hall at SIUE.
Housed in the Department of Educational Leadership, the College Student Personnel Administration program provides an educational opportunity for student affairs employees or anyone interested in pursuing a career in higher education student affairs.
“Students will develop critical leadership skills through the program’s combination of advanced research, applied coursework and practicum experiences,” said Curt Lox, dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
The program will prepare students to succeed in entry- to mid-level student affairs or higher education administration positions in two-year or four-year public and private institutions. Occupations in this category include directors and other positions in multiple areas in colleges and universities, such as financial aid, advising, service learning, Greek life, residential life and international programs.
“By delivering this program primarily in the evenings, students who work full-time will have the opportunity to attend,” Lox explained. “Most courses are web-assisted or hybrid online, providing further flexibility for students working toward their master’s.”
The 36-hour program includes 27 hours of coursework in college student personnel administration, six hours of practicum and three hours of final research project. Students are encouraged to apply now for the summer 2015 cohort, as space is limited.
At first glance, it looks like a video game: five avatars sitting at desks, carrying on conversations and demonstrating a multitude of behaviors. But these animations are not as robotic as one may expect. Each avatar is precisely programmed to act and react as students would in a live classroom setting.
At the controls of this virtual classroom are Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students pursuing a degree in education. The technology is called TeachLivE™ and employs the idea of virtual simulation. View video here.
“We’re approximating what it’s going to be like in a classroom setting,” said Susanne James, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders at SIUE. “We allow our pre-service and in-service teachers to try new teaching strategies in a way that’s less threatening and offers immediate feedback.”
TeachLivE™ was started at the University of Central Florida, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin. SIUE is the first and only university in Illinois using this advanced technology.
“We can talk until we’re blue in the face sometimes about what is good, effective instructional practice, and hope students can employ those techniques in the real classroom,” James explained. “But with TeachLivE™, they have the opportunity to practice it, receive immediate coaching and feedback and then try it again.
“By employing TeachLivE™ in the SIUE School of Education, we are meeting the demands of the federal government to improve how we prepare teachers for the realities of the classroom.”
“This program provides another opportunity for SIUE students to practice what they have learned in the classroom,” added Curt Lox, dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. “I envision this technology playing a major role in our teacher preparation programs in the near future.”
At SIUE, the program is funded primarily through grants, which cover the cost of the interaction time. This is an hourly cost covering the time of an individual at the University Central Florida who is trained in adolescent behavior. The individual specifically programs the avatars for each session.
According to James, the hardware costs are minimal, since the program runs with the use of an Xbox Kinect, a desktop computer, a web camera and Skype.
“You walk in and you meet five students: CJ, Sean, Ed, Maria and Kevin,” James described. “This is an academically diverse, culturally diverse classroom with five individuals who are pretty typical of what you would see in a middle school or high school setting, as far as their behaviors.”
Markers are placed on the floor to mirror the arrangement of the avatars on the screen. The student teacher then interacts with the avatar students by walking toward specific markers. The virtual classroom moves with the motions of the teacher, and students respond real-time to the teacher’s specific instructions and interaction.
“As an instructor, I can change the level of behavior of each student, from being mildly distracted to pretty aggressive,” James said.
“I can also determine different pedagogical approaches that I want the teacher to employ. So if it’s student talk time or student feedback, the avatars will react to whatever it is that the pre-service teacher is saying and doing within the simulation environment.”
The ability to tailor each interaction allows every student to have a personalized experience in the virtual classroom. Sessions can be paused by an instructor at any time. This gives faculty the ability to provide instant feedback so students can adjust to demonstrate best practice techniques.
“What we’ve found, and what the research has found, is that after just a couple minutes, students really start acting like they’re in a real classroom, with real kids, because the students are responding to them,” said Wendy Fuchs, associate professor and special education program director.
“It really increases their effectiveness and their comfort in the classroom, and their comfort with the content,” Fuchs added.
Undergraduate Brittany Thompson said the TeachLivE™ virtual classroom gave her a unique opportunity to perfect her teaching techniques.
“I was able to experiment and determine, what’s working? What’s not working?” Thompson explained. “The repetition was really beneficial for me.”
Thompson’s virtual experience helped her transition more smoothly into a real classroom placement.
“All of the students have their own personalities,” Thompson said. “They’re applicable to real life. In every placement I’ve been, I think I could pick out a CJ. I could pick out a Sean.”
In spring 2015, TeachLivE™ will be used in the master’s program at SIUE.
“I received a dean’s grant that will pay for interaction time where we will have an avatar student approximate different assessment measures,” James said. “I will get to dictate what miscues and errors students should make in the simulation lab. Then graduate students will be able to record that assessment and use it as they prepare their assessment record.”
TeachLivE™’s virtual offerings include an adult avatar that can approximate a parent-teacher conference or a teaching position interview. An avatar trained in the behaviors of autism is also available. TeachLivE™ plans to expand its technology to include preschool and elementary settings, as well as an English language learner setting.
View a video of the virtual classroom at SIUE here.
SIUE undergraduate Sadie Gassmann is the new Miss Illinois County Fair Queen.
Gassmann is a junior pursuing a degree in elementary education in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
More information can be found in an article posted today in The Southern.
The Mascoutah District 19 school board tabbed SIUE alum Kim Enriquez as principal for Wingate Elementary School in Shiloh. Belleville News-Democrat writer Jamie Forsythe posted the story Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Enriquez earned a master’s degree in education administration along with a superintendent’s endorsement from SIUE’s School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.
SIUE’s Bryan Smith, assistant professor of kinesiology and health education in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, was popular with the media last week.
Smith and former student researcher Kristin Dierker studied four of the most popular activity tracking devices during the 2013-2014 academic year to determine if the devices are accurate.
Smith appeared live with KTVI-TV (Fox) morning host Randi Naughton on January 14 for this segment.
KSDK-TV (NBC) morning host Pat McGonigle came to the SIUE campus to interview Smith and provided this report that aired on January 15.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has joined The University Center of Lake County consortium of 20 member institutions.
The University Center’s Governing Board moved to add SIUE programs on December 10, 2014. SIUE will contribute three programs to the consortium, which now offers more than 120 programs leading to bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees or professional certificates.
SIUE will contribute three programs:
“We are very pleased to welcome Southern Illinois University Edwardsville into membership,” said G. Gary Grace, executive director and dean. “Because their initial offerings are fully online, they are immediately available to the region. This enables SIUE to be of service even as we continue the discussion about additional programs that can be offered on-site.”
“The University Center of Lake County offers SIUE an opportunity to expand our presence in northern Illinois and to help meet the educational needs of the greater Chicago area,” said Parviz Ansari, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Over time, we anticipate that we will offer several programs in select fields.
“Initially, we will partner with the UC to offer online educational options only. As we gain more experience with the Center and the region, we will examine the feasibility of offering hybrid and face-to-face degree programs that meet the needs of adult learners and employers in that area.”
The University Center offers programs from Illinois colleges and universities designed to enable adult students to further their education without a lengthy or costly commute. Although SIUE’s initial offerings will be online only, many UC classes meet in the evening and on weekends at the University Center facility in Grayslake. Some meet at the University Center facility in Waukegan or at Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago. Other classes meet via online study, eliminating some or all commuting and providing maximum scheduling flexibility.
Visit www.ucenter.org for information about all of the programs offered through the University Center. Free pre-admission advising appointments are available for those who have questions or who want help reviewing options. Call 847-665-4000 for details.
For more information on University Center Lake County, contact Associate Dean Hilary Ward Schnadt at 847-665-4004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Year’s resolution of “getting fit” still reigns as the most widely proclaimed among the general population. That’s likely why one of 2014’s most popular Christmas gifts—activity trackers—tout the ability to help people better monitor their activity level and reach their fitness goals.
“Their general purpose is to track your activities of daily living,” said Bryan Smith, assistant professor of kinesiology and health education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. “How many steps are you taking? It’s hard to get the general population to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day.”
As a researcher and educator, Smith’s goal is to get people active and reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day. It’s clear to Smith; these activity trackers successfully draw people’s attention to their daily step count and activity level.
“When people first put on an activity tracker they often realize how inactive they are,” he explained. “If it’s the middle of the day and my step count is only at 3,000, I know I need to walk down the hall and back so that I get some steps in.”
But are the devices’ measurements accurate?
Smith and former student researcher Kristin Dierker, studied four of the most popular activity tracking devices during the 2013-2014 academic year to answer that question.
Contrary to other research on this topic that measured only short-term accuracy, Smith and Dierker examined how well the devices measured daily activity for a full week.
“People wear these for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and no one else had asked the question: How accurate are these devices over the course of the day?” Smith explained.
Smith and Dierker’s research analyzed what they considered the four most popular devices at that time: Nike FuelBand, FitBit One, FitBit Flex and Jawbone UP.
Nearly 40 participants wore each of the four activity monitors at the same time. Three were worn on the wrist. The FitBit One was worn on the waist, along with an ActiGraph GT3X+. The Actigraph is a research grade accelerometer that also measures steps. It was used as the standard for comparing the data collected.
Findings indicated two of the four devices were fairly accurate in their measurements. However, the other two greatly overestimated the participant’s data.
“The Nike FuelBand, worn on the wrist, and the FitBit One, worn on the waist, had the best agreement with the Actigraph,” Smith said. “On average, the Nike FuelBand was better than the FitBit One. The other two were not as accurate. They weren’t very good at all.”
Smith attributes the difference in devices to their sensitivity. He noted that both the FitBit Flex and Jawbone UP measure movement during sleep, while the Nike FuelBand does not. Smith believes that sensitivity caused the two devices to pick up extraneous movements of the upper body, leading to overestimated results.
Despite inaccurate measurements on some devices, activity trackers are still worth using, according to Smith.
“I think they’re definitely worth it,” Smith said. “Are they 100% accurate? No, they’re not. But, if it motivates someone to be more physically active over the course of the day, I think it’s doing its job.”
The market is now flooded with activity tracking devices, beyond those tested, with greater capabilities like interfacing with a heart rate monitor. Smith suggests considering the product’s usability and its applications when deciding which device to purchase. He notes that since this research was completed, the Nike FuelBand has been discontinued.
Photo: Bryan Smith, assistant professor of kinesiology and health education.