FSU COE Professor Selected to Develop International Student Assessment

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Every three years, 15-year-old students around the world take the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. The results of the survey have a deep impact on education reforms and help countries determine the effectiveness of their education systems. For Valerie Shute, professor in the FSU Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, the next PISA survey is extra special, as she has the special honor of being one of the education experts to design the survey.

Valerie ShuteDr. Shute, accompanied by FSU Doctoral candidate Seyed Ahmad Rahimi (Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies), traveled to Washington, D.C., where the two met with seven other experts. The group initially convened on February 26 and 27 to start developing the initial assessments.

“I’m honored and excited to be part of the expert group designing the new ‘creative thinking’ assessment that will be part of PISA 2021, testing 15-year-old students from around the world,” said Dr. Shute when asked about her participation in PISA. “Unlike past efforts to measure creativity, we’ll be designing innovative tasks focusing on various aspects of creative thinking, and collecting process and outcome data (across different domains, like art, science, and problem solving) from students to make inferences about their creativity.”

Education experts are chosen for a variety of reasons. For Dr. Shute, the selection committee chose her due to her innovative work on measuring problem-solving skills, creativity, and other constructs that are often difficult to quantify. In particular, Dr. Shute was chosen because of her work on measuring creativity while children played with the Physics Playground game.  Much of her recent research has centered around developing assessments that evaluate knowledge and complex phenomena.

Since 2000 when PISA began, experts from more than 80 countries have worked on the survey. Dr. Shute joins an elite group of education experts who have worked on the assessment.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducts the PISA survey, with the next survey scheduled to take place in 2021. The organization, which has 72 member countries, shares the data from the assessment and ranks the performance of the countries. The point of the test isn’t necessarily to determine the “best” education systems, but rather to help countries identify which education models are most effective and to identify strengths and weaknesses. Because of this, OECD member countries typically leverage PISA results to shape education policy.

 

More information about PISA is available at http://www.oecd.org/pisa/aboutpisa.

Shute is the Mack and Effie Campbell Tyner Endowed Professor of Education in the FSU College of Education. Her research has earned her prestigious grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Florida Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: College of Education

FSU sport psychology researchers receive prestigious NCAA grant

February 22, 2018 Leave a comment

From: http://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2018/02/22/fsu-sport-psychology-researchers-receive-prestigious-ncaa-grant/

The life of a student-athlete is hectic. The competitive nature of college-level sports requires hours of practice and travel — and balancing a rigorous schedule with schoolwork while still making time to rest can often seem unrealistic.

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Graig Chow, Assistant Professor of Sport Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems

As a result, there has been a large push by the NCAA in recent years to promote the mental health and well-being of college athletes.

A Florida State University research group was one of five teams to receive a 2018 NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant, one of the most recognized grants in the field of sports psychology. Their project, “Tackling Stigma: A Pilot Program to Promote Mental Health Literacy and Help-Seeking in Student-Athletes,” competed against a pool of 84 submissions. The total funding for the project was $25,000.

Members of the team included FSU College of Education assistant professors Graig Chow, Nicole Gabana and Marty Swanbrow Becker.

The ever-increasing competitiveness of college sports along with the academic rigors of a university education has encouraged researchers to expand knowledge in the field of sports psychology, thereby paying greater attention the mental well-being of athletes nationwide.

“Student-athletes are susceptible to experiencing mental health problems that disrupt optimal functioning, performance and well-being,” Chow said. “Our intervention program is designed to reduce stigma toward mental illness and improve help-seeking attitudes among student-athletes by targeting stereotypes, mental health literacy, empathy and contact with stigmatized others.”

For more information on the grant, visit https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/ncaa-awards-100000-grants-5-research-teams.

Categories: College of Education

FSU COE Alumnus Named Best Teacher in the Nation

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment

From http://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2018/02/19/fsu-alumnus-wins-national-teaching-award/:

Bobbie Cavnar

Bobbie Cavnar

Florida State University alumnus Bobbie Cavnar said he never dreamed that his passions for education and Shakespearian literature would lead to him being named the best teacher in the nation. Cavnar, 40, recently told The Charlotte Observer he was astounded when he discovered he was being awarded $35,000 by the National Education Association Foundation and named the nation’s best teacher for 2018. He was honored at the 2018 Salute to Excellence in Education Gala Feb. 9 in Washington D.C.

He has spent most of his career teaching literature at South Point High School, located 10 miles outside Charlotte, North Carolina. He gives lectures in a classroom elaborately decorated with paintings and antiques — intended to captivate his students and encourage them to acknowledge the beauty of language.Dean Marcy Driscoll said Cavnar’s award puts a spotlight on the work the FSU College of Education is doing to train aspiring educators.“We need music, we need dancing, we need painting, we need the arts,” said Cavnar in his acceptance speech. “For it is the arts that teach us how to understand each other.”

“We aim to prepare our students to make a positive impact not only in their communities, but in the field of education at large,” said Marcy Driscoll, dean of the FSU College of Education. “Bobbie is a shining example of this mission and we couldn’t be prouder of the great work he’s doing. This recognition is a testament to the quality of our both our students and our programs here at FSU.”

After graduating from Florida State in 1999 with a degree in English Education, he spent a brief period of time teaching in south Florida before settling down at South Point H.S.

In 2016, Cavnar was selected as North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. Local sponsors put his face on a billboard overlooking Interstate 85 as it runs through the center of Gaston County.

Cavnar accepts the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Cavnar accepts the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C.

 

Cavnar takes great pride in his work. Among his students, he is known as the teacher who brings Shakespeare and literature to life. His enthusiastic teaching style makes it easy for his students to engage with the material and develop a more exciting outlook on learning.

He first developed that style at Florida State, where he used his love of literature to make a difference in his community.

During his freshman year, he took an Intro to Education course, which required him to give a lesson at a local high school. He taught a lesson on the Langston Hughes poem “Theme for English B,” a story about a black student writing to an older white professor. The students loved it and bombarded Cavnar with questions.

He walked out of that classroom knowing that teaching was what he wanted to do with his life, and he hasn’t looked back.


 

Check out his acceptance speech at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/article200252364.html.

FSU College of Education among the nation’s top online graduate programs in Education

January 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Stone building entranceThe Florida State University College of Education’s online graduate program continues to rank among the best in the nation at No. 13. The college offers online programs in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership/administration, instructional systems and learning technologies, and learning and cognition.

“Our continued position as one of the top online graduate programs in the country demonstrates our commitment to providing students with an outstanding educational experience,” said Marcy Driscoll, dean of the College of Education. “We continue to offer innovative online programs, such as our M.S. in curriculum and instruction and our Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy, that suit the needs of professionals in the field of education.”

The methodology for assessing online programs included factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, peer reputation and admissions selectivity.

For a complete list of the U.S. News & World Report online graduate rankings, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education.

 

Education doctoral student wins three minute thesis competition

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

By: Kara Irby

An education doctoral student took home the first-place prize for the Three Minute Thesis competition at Florida State University, Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Shannon Gooden, a doctoral student in FSU’s School of Teacher Education, won the $1,000 prize and the opportunity to represent Florida State at a regional competition in February.

“It’s so humbling,” Gooden said. “There were so many amazing talks and pieces of research. This is the first time the College of Education or the School of Teacher Education has had a winner to my knowledge, so it’s not only humbling to be representing them, but to represent the university as well. I can’t take that for granted.”

The Three Minute Thesis competition, which began at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008, charges graduate students to explain their thesis work in a compelling three-minute speech. The goal is for participants to effectively explain their research, which at times can be very complex, in plain language to a nonspecialist audience.

“This is the fifth time we’ve had the competition and the presentations were exceptional,” said Mark Riley, interim dean of The Graduate School. “It makes me incredibly proud to see the amazing caliber of students we have at FSU.”

Gooden’s prize-winning presentation, “Understanding the culture of science through a research experience for teachers program,” highlighted the takeaways of 10 K-12 teachers who recently participated in the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. In the program, teachers work side by side with scientists at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

Gooden said her research examined three simple questions: “Who does science, how do they do it and what do they have to know?”

“Our hope is that they take something away and bring it back to the classroom, and it may not be scientific content,” Gooden said. “For instance, at the MagLab, the teachers work with superconducting materials or on geochemistry projects. Although they might not take those concepts back into the classroom, they may take concepts like perseverance through mistakes, students talking more about their ideas or the notion that anybody can become a scientist.”

Gooden has worked with the RET program for the past four years. As she got to know the program directors and staff involved with educational outreach at the MagLab, she became interested in how scientists are viewed.

“We sometimes classify them in an ivory tower situation,” Gooden said. “So, I wanted to examine the ways scientists could actually become more real for students and teachers. Because if teachers don’t understand that, it’s going to be much harder for students to know what scientists actually do and that they can think and act like scientists as well.”

College of Education Dean Marcy Driscoll attended the event and congratulated Gooden on her win.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Shannon and the work she’s doing,” Driscoll said. “Her research on science teaching exemplifies the type of impact we aim to have on the field of education and society at large.”

Florida State’s 2017 Three Minute Thesis competition attracted 32 participants. A team of judges watched the presentations and selected 14 finalists.

Categories: College of Education

FSU Sport Management Student Association Volunteered, Met with Industry Execs in Nashville

November 20, 2017 Leave a comment
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SMSA students visit the Nissan Stadium

This fall, the Sport Management Student Association (SMSA) took 44 of its members, along with Dr. Jason Pappas, to network in Nashville, Tennessee. SMSA got the opportunity to meet with the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Predators, and the Nashville Sounds. The students were also able to participate in service learning through volunteering with the Nashville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K and had the chance to attend the Tennessee Titans football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The first full day in Nashville consisted of tours and meetings with the three sports teams. The first stop the students made was to Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans. The group got to meet with Ticket Sales Executive Drew Silver and Group Sales Coordinator Jim Rice. The tour of Nissan Stadium included the Owner’s Suite, Mascot Room, Locker Room, and a view of the Titans’ field. SMSA also got the opportunity to speak to a panel of four Titans employees from various departments within the organization. The presenters answered any questions the students had about their experiences within the sport industry and how they got to their current position with the Tennessee Titans.

From Nissan Stadium, the group of students walked to Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team. Students had the chance to meet and listen to Sean Henry, chief executive officer and president of the Nashville Predators. They received a tour of the arena and of the Lexus Lounge, an exclusive area for members to watch the games and socialize during hockey games. Mickey Hock, a former FSU student and now Corporate Development Manager for the Predators, led the tour and spoke to the students about his life and day-to-day responsibilities working at Bridgestone Arena.

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SMSA students tour Nashville Sounds Minor League Baseball stadium

The students then traveled to the last meeting of the day with the Nashville Sounds Minor League Baseball team. The Sounds have been affiliated with Oakland Athletics for the past three seasons. General Manager Adam Nuse spoke with SMSA about Minor League Baseball and answered any questions the students had about working in the industry. The students were then given a tour by Community Relations Manager Destiny Whitmore and Guest Relations Associate Allie Guido. They had the opportunity to walk around First Tennessee Park and see the locker room, club suites, and the band box, where guests can play mini golf, cornhole, and other lawn games all while attending a Nashville Sounds baseball game. The students learned that many people in the sports industry start out in Minor League Baseball and that it is a great way for them to get their foot in the door.

The next day included volunteering at the Nashville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. Students arrived at 5:00 a.m. to help with set-up for the event and got to experience the freezing weather of Nashville!  SMSA was responsible for all parts of the event, including registration, t-shirts, gear check, and handing out food and drinks. The students also stood at the end of the three races announcing the runners’ names and handing them medals as they crossed the finish line. They learned every aspect of what it takes to put on an event for over 3,000 runners.

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SMSA students volunteer at the Nashville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K

On their last day in Nashville, the students attended the Tennessee Titans football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. SMSA got the chance to spend time as a big group and get to know each other more in a social setting. They also had the time to explore downtown Nashville, where they walked around visiting different restaurants and listening to the live music played all over the city.

Nashville was a great place for students to network with sport industry professionals and to have fun with each other. SMSA organizes a networking trip for its members each semester and gives students the opportunity to meet new people within the sports industry. The students had an amazing experience in Music City, USA and can’t wait to hear what is in store for the spring!

Categories: College of Education

Florida State leaps another five spots in national rankings

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

By: Kathleen Haughney, FSU Office of Research

Florida State University has jumped to No. 33 among national public universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings after moving up five places for the second consecutive year.

The rankings appear in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2018” guidebook. In two years, FSU has vaulted 10 spots among public universities since placing No. 43 in 2016. Last year, FSU ranked No. 38 among public universities.

“We are thrilled that U.S. News & World Report continues to recognize Florida State University as one of the best universities in the nation,” said President John Thrasher. “It means our reputation of academic excellence is rising throughout the state and the nation, and that’s a reflection of our world-class faculty, staff and students.”

Florida State’s excellent graduation and student retention rates are the driving forces behind FSU’s ranking among the nation’s best public universities. FSU’s four-year graduation rate is among the top 25 nationally, the six-year graduation rate is 80 percent and the university’s freshman retention rate is nearly 93 percent, which ranks 18th nationally.

“This is an exciting time at Florida State University,” said Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are clearly recruiting even better students, and the success of our programs is being noticed, and emulated, by our peer institutions.”

The Florida Legislature’s designation of FSU as one of the state’s two preeminent universities and the additional funding that comes with it has enabled the university to raise faculty salaries and hire more faculty. As a result, FSU has improved in metrics such as faculty compensation and student-faculty ratio.

“We are extremely grateful to the Florida Legislature and Florida Board of Governors in helping our continuing efforts to raise Florida State to a higher level of national prominence,” Thrasher said. “The funding that the Legislature has invested in FSU has allowed us to vigorously pursue our strategic goals.”

McRorie reiterated that the university’s emphasis on student success is at the heart of its rapid ascent in the national rankings.

“I’m so pleased that everybody’s hard work is really paying off for the university,” McRorie said. “Before a student even arrives on campus, our focus is on their success, and we’re seeing great results.”

FSU is committed to preparing students through comprehensive orientation, stressing the importance of taking 15 credit hours each semester and encouraging students to take advantage of co-curricular opportunities available like internships and job shadowing, McRorie said.

The strategy is working. With FSU’s 80 percent six-year graduation rate, the university well exceeded a prediction by U.S. News that FSU’s graduation rate would be 71 percent.

FSU also saw improvements in reputational ratings by university peers, student selectivity and alumni giving.

Also included in this year’s U.S. News report were undergraduate business program rankings. Florida State’s undergraduate business program made a significant jump, moving up 14 spots to No. 27 among public universities and 18 spots to No. 45 among all national universities. The undergraduate business rankings are based solely on peer assessment.

“Our significant move up in the rankings reflects the hard work and commitment of our faculty and staff, and the unwavering support of our alumni,” said Michael D. Hartline, dean of the College of Business. “We are determined to continue strategic investments in our people and programs in order to continue further down the path of preeminence.  It’s gratifying to be recognized for our efforts.”

U.S. News & World Report determines its national university rankings based on seven factors: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent); assessment of excellence, i.e. peer and high school counselor assessment (22.5 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (12.5 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance, i.e. the difference between actual and predicted graduation rate (7.5 percent); and alumni giving (5 percent).

Florida State University shares the No. 33 spot with four other public universities: Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, University of California-Santa Cruz and the University of Delaware.

Among all national universities, including private universities, FSU ranked 81st, up from 92nd last year. The national universities category comprises 311 institutions (190 public, 114 private and seven for-profit) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees.

Categories: College of Education
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