NEWS

Dean Bruce Johnson welcomed tribal community members in late March, to discuss ways of sustaining language and culture, and ensure meaningful relationships between the college and tribal nations. Highlighted were ways in which the Indigenous Teacher Education Project, the American Indian Language Development Institute, and our elementary education program brought this initiative to life. The Indigenous Teacher Education Project, led by Assistant Professors Valerie Shirley and Jeremy Garcia, and Project Coordinator Kari Chew has a mission of increasing the number of indigenous who serve indigenous communities.
In addition to panel of indigenous graduate students and alumni who shared their experiences in education doctoral programs, Associate Professor Sheilah Nicholas shared her research on Indigenous Language Immersion and Native American Student Achievement. Professor Leisy Wyman presented developments with the Engaging Native Boys Project, and AILDI Coordinator Alyce Sadongei provided updates on the American Indian Language Development Institute.

The Creative Arts Teen Summit effectively kicks off the Tucson Festival of Books each year. Just as some authors and illustrators arrange local school visits when they come to Tucson for the festival, some volunteer to provide workshops in illustration and creative writing to high school students here on campus the Friday before the festival. This is event is a collaboration between College of Education, Early Academic Outreach, UA Bookstores and, of course TFOB. We were fortunate to have the following presenters this year: Gloria Chao, Molly Idle, Marie Marquardt, Margarita Engle, Steven Engle, Rafael López, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Juana Martinez-Neal, and a discussion panel that also included master story-teller Luis Alberto Urrea. Urrea told his story of finding his way to writing, complete with voice impressions of his cousin Hugo and his Abuelita, and implored the audience that the world needs your stories to bear witness. Along the same vein, Marquardt said, "Young adults are the ones changing the world, we need their stories." Each of the writers and illustrators is passionate in their connection with the teen students and workshop sessions are a potentially pivotal highlight for the students. Student participants are close to three-hundred in number and and they visit from ten area high schools.

Worlds of Words had an excellent turnout for guest speaker Chong Bee Vang who introduced the new exhibit, Stitching Stories: Hmong Customs and Symbols as Told Through Storycloths. Chong Bee discussed Hmong culture, traditions and storytelling. He shared his experience as a Hmong refugee emigrating from Laos to the United States. He also spoke about the detailed needlework involved in the creation of both apparel and storycloths. The intricate stitching can take years to complete.

Worlds of Words is running a pilot program -- the Teen Reading Ambassador initiative -- that positions local teens as reading ambassadors in their own schools. Teens in the program interact with published authors of young adult literature, receive books by that author, and share their experiences with their peers to promote reading in their school communities.

Three-time alumna Debbie Bergman '76 '80 '07 was inducted into the Sunnyside School District Hall of Fame. The induction included this video of her history of work. Bergman's mother, Alice Paul, was on our Teaching and Teacher Education faculty and served as head. Professor Paul was the first Native American academic department head at the UA.

Alumna Kari Ann Burris Chew '16, a project coordinator in the college, is the recipient of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship. A member of the Chickasaw Nation, she says the award will aid research and writing on her dissertation study, We Will Always Speak Chickasaw: Considering the Vitality and Efficacy of Chickasaw Language Reclamation.

Arizona Teaching Fellows are UA students who work closely with partner school districts throughout their teacher preparation program. "This is an amazing partnership in which districts, community members, donors, and College of Education faculty and staff join together to recruit and retain talented teachers throughout the Tucson area," says Associate Dean Renee Clift.

Associate Dean and Professor Renée Clift was quoted in this story about a new law to fill classroom teaching positions by hiring people without any formal teacher training.

Earlier this month, more than 200 people swarmed the college's Cooper Center for Environmental Learning in the Tucson Mountains to learn about desert foods and see Sonoran Desert naturalist David Yetman, host of the long-running public television show, The Desert Speaks.

For the first time in the history of our college, students in the elementary teacher preparation program have the opportunity to do a portion of their student teaching abroad. We currently offer programs in Norway and China and are making plans to add a Spanish-speaking country to our offerings as soon as spring 2019. Travel broadens our outlook on the world, its people, and education.