Remote Learning amidst COVID-19 – A story from Hawaii

I didn’t imagine I would wind up my 40th year as an educator under these circumstances.  Public schools closed.  PK-12 students and their teachers doing what they can to maintain some semblance of forward progress, or at least fend off regression.  University classes moved to remote delivery.  Teacher candidates on the very cusp of the onset of their professional careers wondering what the next 40 years will look like.  It has all been very challenging.

The last time I taught at my previous university before moving into administration was the Spring of 2007.  The last time I taught anything formally was in the Summer of 2008 when, for the 4th or 5th consecutive summer, I taught a six-credit course (recognized by NCCRS) on progressive education at Camp Treetops, a 100-year old children’s summer camp in Lake Placid.  Treetops had been founded by two students and proteges of John Dewey.  For a century, Treetops has been a living bastion of Deweyian thinking on how children learn best.  (Here’s what I’ve written in the past about Camp Treetops.)

A wonderful educator I worked with at Treetops beginning in 1999 is Bob Tam.  Bob has been a teacher at the Punahou School in Honolulu for quite some time.   Bob served as Senior Camp Program Director my first seven summers at Camp before I assumed that role.  He also served as a mentor to students in the course I taught as they completed assignments and clinical experiences.  He is, simply put, the quintessential educator.

Bob’s son shared a story on Facebook about how Bob has adapted his teaching to the current situation.  It is a great story that perfectly captures Bob and his sensibilities for teaching and learning.  Even though you don’t know him, I thought it might bring a little brightness to your day and perhaps put a smile on your face.

Just click here to read about and hear Bob as he does what he has done for as long as I have know him (20 years now…) and longer, providing his 6th graders with an engaging and stimulating experience, even in very challenging times.

I miss seeing Bob regularly and benefitting from his teacherly wisdom, and when I listen to his story and think about our summers in the Adirondacks, I miss teaching too.

Tenure and Promotion

Last week, Provost Prabhu hosted a reception for faculty who earned tenure and who were promoted.  Attendees heard remarks from Dr. Prabhu as well as from President Wubah.  We all celebrated the accomplishments of these exceptional professionals.

The College of Education and Human Services | School of Social Work did extraordinarily well.  Half of all faculty who earned tenure (6/12) and 60% of those promoted to Associate Professor (6/10) were from our College.  Here are the details:

  • Tenure was awarded to Andrew Bland, Sarah Brooks, Janet Josephson, Beth Powers, Nakeiha Primus, and Curtis Proctor.
  • Faculty members promoted to Associate Professor include Kelly Banna, Andrew Bland, Sarah Brooks, Janet Josephson, Beth Powers, and Nakeiha Primus.
  • Ollie Dreon was promoted to Professor.

Here is a group shot of the honorees in attendance standing with the president and provost.




Congratulations to all!  Your achievements are a testament to your hard work as well as your commitment to your academic disciplines, the academy, and to our students who are the beneficiaries of your hard work as teacher-scholars.







Learning Institute Events for 2019-2020 from the School of Social Work

One of the jewels in the crown of the School of Social Work is the Learning Institute: Global Well-Being and Social Change.  It was established to provide all students and practitioners in the helping profession with the latest evidence on global social issues in order to glean knowledge that will enhance their skills and foster lifelong learning in order to be positive social change agents.

Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, The Learning Institute: Global Well-Being and Social Change will offer a number of documentary screenings and panel discussions around the theme of Re-Envisioning Our World: Seeing What Works, Broadening our View, Seeking Innovative Alternatives.  

Check out these six events coming up this year (keep scrolling):










Remember, all the documentaries will be screened in the Myers Auditorium in McComsey Hall starting at 6 p.m.  And, a panel discussion will each screening to further examine and engage with the topics of the films.

Here are more:

There is no cost to attend any of these events, although for $25 fee, you can earn 3 CEUs.

Here are even more:





Contact MU Ticketing to reserve tickets.  Call 717-871-7600 or reserve online at

Finally, a save-the-date for the Learning Institute Conference:

Select Faculty Accomplishments

As the Spring 2019 semester winds down and we prepare to head into summer, I want to take a few moments to share the recent activities of two members of the College’s faculty.

Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich (Department of Educational Foundations) has secured funding in the amount of $399,179 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Watershed Awareness using Technology and Environmental Research for Sustainability (WATERS) project.

Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich

The project will result in a student-centered, universally accessible middle school curriculum for learning water concepts and promoting water career awareness.  The curriculum will engage students in use of GIS applications and modeling based on data collected in local watersheds.  It will use Universal Design for Learning to broaden inclusivity among learners, and engage a handful of pilot teachers in the co-design and continuous improvement of the curriculum over three years.

Nanette, congratulations on this, your latest NSF grant!

Dr. Nicole Sorhagen (Department of Psychology) has spent this academic year collaborating with researchers across the nation as a result of having been awarded a prestigious National Study of Learning Mindset Early Career Fellowship. Nicole and her colleagues are engaged in analysis of data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets, a large, randomized, controlled trial of an online growth mindset intervention. Nicole has used the data to look at motivation, anxiety, and achievement in mathematics.

Dr. Nicole Sorhagen

The fellowship is through the Mindset Scholars Network, a high profile interdisciplinary research collaborative whose mission is to “advance our scientific understanding of learning mindsets in order to improve student outcomes and expand educational opportunity. It conducts original interdisciplinary research, builds capacity for high quality mindset scholarship, and disseminates the latest scientific knowledge through outreach to education stakeholders” (Mindset Scholars Network).

Congratulations, Nicole.  Thank you for representing our College in this large national effort!

MU Teacher Candidates Perform School and Community Service in Ghana

Shortly after the end of the Fall 2018 semester, Millersville University students Brooke Keefer, Elizabeth Ebert, and Madeleine Bourgeois left the United States with Dr. Deborah Tamakloe, a member of their faculty in the Department of Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education, to travel to Ghana.

Their goal was to visit local schools in Ghana; to learn more about educational programs in Ghana; to engage with Ghanaian school children, teachers, and staff; to bring much appreciated school supplies to students; and to have a little fun along the way.

The MU foursome visited the Community School in Tema, the Village School in Saltpond, the Cape Coast School for the Blind and Deaf, and the Aboom School for Children with Special Needs.  Along the way, they left children with backpacks full of school supplies, engaged the students in class, taught (and were taught) playground games, and gained invaluable perspectives on schools and schooling in Ghana.


As American school districts look to hire teachers who can provide more of a global perspective to the students in their schools here at home, it is clear that Brooke, Elizabeth, and Madeleine are now able to say with a bit of confidence that they can do just that.  Congratulations on what looked like a very rewarding trip!


On the Purpose of the Blog

Welcome to a new venture for the College of Education and Human Services, and School of Social Work (EDHS) – a College and School blog.  While it is likely the case that, over time, we will identify other uses for the blog, I have initiated it primarily as a means to recognize faculty, staff, students, and alumni from our unit.  EDHS is a complex unit comprised of five different academic departments, several offices of support, and a small number of grant-funded programs.  In addition, EDHS is home to the largest service region of the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program.

We will use this space to shine light on the good work being undertaken by hardworking members of the EDHS community.  If there is someone you believe should be highlighted, please email me:

In the meantime, please stop by from time-to-time in order to join in the celebration.