The Learning Link is an e-newsletter for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University of South Dakota School of Education.
Message from the Dean

Welcome to the Learning Link! Stay connected with the USD School of Education. 

At the beginning of this month, we had the pleasure of joining the Spring 2017 commencement activities. With over 200 graduates, the USD School of Education couldn't be prouder of these outstanding students.  

Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work for our graduates. It’s wonderful to be able to share the joyous day with them, their families and friends. It’s also a beginning, when graduates embark on new chapters in their lives and put their USD educations to work. Congratulations on your outstanding accomplishment. 

  • 116 bachelor's degrees
  • 65 master's degrees
  • 40 doctorate/specialist degrees 

Go Yotes!

Dean Donald Easton-Brooks

Thank you for 26 years of outstanding service to the USD School of Education, Dr. Baron!

Mark Baron, Associate Dean, will retire after 26 years of service at the USD School of Education. Enjoy a few words from Dr. Baron on his memories over the years with us: August 1991 - June 2017

My appointment as Assistant Professor of Educational Administration at USD's School of Education (SOE) was my very first job after completing my Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in 1991. Due to the technological limitations at the time, my first years of teaching here were limited to face-to-face, on campus courses.  When I became chair of EDAD in summer of 2000, my first initiative was to introduce nine fully online degree programs at the master’s and specialist degree levels. This changed everything for the EDAD Division and eventually for the entire SOE. The incorporation of off-campus doctoral cohorts In Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Brookings also extended the reach of EDAD programs to candidates across the state.  In addition to several Taiwanese doctoral cohorts, these off-campus programs produced more than 200 doctoral graduates in EDAD over the years.

I believe that the transition from exclusively on campus courses to the numerous distance and technology-assisted courses and programs has been one of the most outstanding changes that I have experienced during the past 25 years. I believe that the SOE has successfully expanded graduate-level educational opportunities to aspiring administrators, leaders, and practitioners across the state and country.

My decision to retire in June definitely is bittersweet and not easily made. I will miss the many colleagues with whom I have shared numerous professional experiences over the years. The collegiality among SOE faculty and staff is certainly one of the most positive elements of having worked here for more than 25 years. The shared commitment to teaching and learning has provided the greatest motivation for me to continue my work here at USD. The many SOE graduates that I meet at conferences, workshops, and other educational settings always remind me of why I spent so many years here. I hope to continue working in education in one form or another, but look forward to doing so in a more leisurely fashion.

Join us on Wednesday, June 21 for a retirement reception for Dr. Mark Baron. The celebration will be held from 2-3:30PM in the Munster University Center (MUC) Room 216 with a short program to begin at 2:30PM. Please RSVP here if you plan on attending. 
Current Student Highlights

USD School of Education awarded the Outstanding Leadership Awards

Congratulations to Melanie Picklesimer, Stephanie McBeth and Brooke Ireland on being chosen for the USD School of Education Outstanding Leadership Award at the President's Celebration of University Leadership on April 30.

Two undergraduates and one graduate student are chosen for this award based on their contribution to the mission of the School of Education. That mission is: "The USD School of Education prepares and supports reflective professionals and leaders by creating, sharing and applying knowledge." 

Paige Wright was awarded the NEA - Jack Kinnaman Scholarship

Congratulations to Paige Wright for being one of the three students nationally selected to receive the NEA Jack Kinnaman Scholarship. She has also been asked to speak at the upcoming NEA Retired Annual Meeting on June 27-28 in Boston, MA. 
Alumni Spotlight
James Martinez is an Associate Professor of Education at Valdosta State University and co-editor of the book, Latin@ Voices in Multicultural Education: From Invisibility to Visibility in Higher Education. He is a 1992 USD School of Education Elementary Education graduate and a 1994 Masters in Secondary Education graduate.

Eric Shufford (#11) recently joined the Sioux Falls Storm indoor football team. Learn more about his journey after graduation here. He is a 2016 USD School of Education Sport Management graduate. 

Angela Haas,  Beth Hansen, Kelly Heine, Casey Mart, and Carla McMurry-Kozak  were during  recognized Teacher Appreciation Week May 1-5. We celebrated by surprising these 5 Vermillion teachers with balloons and donuts from the USD School of Education. What else do they all have in common? They all are proud USD School of Education graduates! Relive the week on our Facebook event page.

Are you a School of Education Alumni? Please submit your updates  here  to be featured in an upcoming edition of Learning Link.

Research Update

Amy Schweinle, chair of the Division of Counseling and Psychology of Education, will become the new Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the USD School of Education. 

“Dr. Schweinle’s leadership in research and graduate programs will move us to a level of rigor and research success that will enhance the scholarship and graduate student experience,” said Dean Easton-Brooks. “She comes with a wealth of knowledge, experiences and ability to collaborate across the USD campus, state, country and internationally."

Faculty Spotlight
Daniel Hajovsky , assistant professor in the CPE division, has been asked to serve on the Editorial Advisory Board for School Psychology Review as a reviewer for statistics and methodology. Daniel will work closely with their team of Associate Editors to evaluate manuscripts submitted for publication. Typically, Editorial Board members review 6 to 12 manuscripts per year.

USD School of Education 2017 Excellence Award winners included: 

Excellence in Teaching was awarded to David DeJong  for exemplary performance. This award recognizes faculty members for collegiality in teaching, outstanding instruction and mentoring (in and out of the classroom), current content and methods that advance the mission of the School of Education. 

Excellence in Research was awarded to Gabrielle Strouse for exemplary performance in creating and disseminating knowledge through research. This award recognizes outstanding performance in all research-related activities that promote and elevate the standing of the Division and School of Education.

Excellence in Service was awarded to Jing Williams for high impact service to the School of Education, University, profession, and community. This award recognizes effort that leaves an impact on the lives of others.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
Tyson Graham (#42), KSM major, signed with Indianapolis Colts: Former South Dakota Coyotes safety is keeping the professional football dream alive. Congratulations, Tyson and good luck this season! 

Joseph Knoer delivered  Vermillion VFW’s Memorial Day Observance  address:  Joseph won the Clay County Fallen contest hosted by the Vermillion VFW 3061 and the USD School of Education which tasked students with researching and writing a biography about the life of a fallen veteran from Clay County, South Dakota. Students rese arched fallen heroes from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War eras. He is a secondary  education graduate student. Learn more about Joseph's project here

Stay connected with the USD School of Education:  Bookmark this link to have direct access to all the previous and upcoming editions of the Learning Link. 
USD School of Ed Upcoming Events

JUNE 2 The Howling Pack will host the 2017 Charlie Coyote Open at the Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, SD from 1-8PM. Details here. 

JUNE 6 The Sioux Falls Alumni Chapter launch event will take place at the Falls Overlook Cafe in Sioux Falls, SD from 5-7PM. Register here. 

JUNE 7, 8 & 9  USD Culturally Responsive Institute presents a Professional Development Workshop featuring Dr. Christine Sleeter. Register here.

JUNE 13 USD on the Move:  Minneapolis - Join an alumni social at Huberts Sports Bar before heading over to Target Field for the Twins vs. Mariners game. The social is free and game tickets are available to alumni at a reduced cost. Register here.

JUNE 29  USD on the Move:  Rapid City - Join an alumni social at Vertex Sky Bar for $10 per person. Register here.

JULY 9 Omaha Send Off Party - Did you know the Omaha-area is sending nearly 90 students to USD in the fall?! Join us at DJ's Dugout from 1-2PM to welcome the new students and families while networking with area alumni. Register here. 

JULY 24-27  Access & Equity, a STEM Workshop for Educators featuring a keynote address by Dr. Ebony McGee. Register here. 

JULY 24-28 2017 Summer Institute Rejuvenation for K-12 Educators at the University Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Register here. 

Thank you for reading the fifth edition of Learning Link!
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