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Louis Harrison & Martin Smith:

United by a love of sports and a drive to positively influence identity and diversity in the world of education, this team of two exudes a reciprocal energy that exemplifies the power of mentorship. A professor of cultural studies in education and physical education teacher education, Dr. Harrison notes that he gets just as much, if not more, out of his collaboration with Ph.D. student Martin Smith. Smith, who played basketball for UC-Berkeley and works with Harrison on the African American Male Research Initiative (AAMRI) at UT Austin, is a leader within the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Allison Skerrett & Thea Williamson:

Ever since Thea Williamson first met with Dr. Skerrett, it has been clear to both women that they share a dedication to meaningful academic research and social justice. As leaders within the UTeach Urban Teachers program, both women work together to support a new generation of specially trained and culturally sensitive educators. But in addition to their scholarly pursuits, Williamson, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Skerret, an associate professor of language and literacy studies, cooperate on a higher level. As mentorship partners, they are able to explore the challenges and rewards of higher education together.

Mary Steinhart & Matt Lehrer:

Matt Lehrer, who will soon earn his Master of Science in Health Behavior and Health Education, values mentorship as a critical facet of his education. Lehrer knows that his mentor, Dr. Steinhart, has been teaching him critical lessons that go beyond her specialties in health science. As a mentor, Steinhart is able to give Lehrer an insider’s view into her field, where she specializes in the association between psychology and the body’s physical reactions and resilience. But Steinhart is quick to point out that dedication and leadership like Lehrer’s is hard to find, and that she is learning and growing thanks to their partnership.

Preservice undergraduate teachers are paired with practicing mentors enrolled in the Teacher Mentoring, School Leadership & Professional Development program. Both are teachers, both are students, and both practice C.A.R.E. – a model of Critical, Appreciative, Reflective, and Experiential learning.


What is C.A.R.E?

Traditional models of teacher education often overlook two transformative powers: mentorship and experience. Without a mentor, new teachers might be left to flounder in their first years on the job, unable to access tools their seasoned peers take for granted. Similarly, teachers who lack a transitional, guided experience may be unprepared for the realities of leading a classroom.

This is why the College of Education is committed to supporting both preservice and current educators. Undergraduates preparing to enter the teaching workforce participate in a preservice preparation program that pairs them with a mentor teacher. That mentor is also enrolled as a student, and is seeking a master’s degree in Teacher Leadership, Mentoring and Professional Development.

Together, each pair of educators employs the C.A.R.E. model of learning which stands for “critical, appreciative, reflective, and experiential”.

The critical element is all about disrupting traditional power relationships. For example, a mentor teacher may wield his or her experience as an indicator of superiority, leaving a preservice teacher unable to interact as an equal. By engaging in problems of practice, a mentor teacher can instead offer evaluative feedback without disrupting a power balance.

Appreciative elements of the mentorship relationship focus on leading conversations with positives. Mentor teachers will point out what went well and seemed to work in the classroom, and ask the preservice teacher for input about what could have gone better. This leads to a reflective element. Both teachers are encouraged to discuss the reasoning behind their decision-making both during and after times of instruction.

The most powerful of these elements is experience. As with mentorship, learning by doing is the key to equipping new teachers with the tools they need to thrive as educators in their first years and beyond. By practicing the elements of successful mentorship, master’s students learn best practices for a career as an education leader.

Technology allows educators to gather data on student achievement, replace costly print textbooks with digital versions, and help teachers prepare innovative, interactive lessons. Listen to three experts describe how well-implemented, intelligently used technology can improve education.


Randy Bomer:

Dr. Bomer, who’s chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, proposes that smartly-used technology allows more students to get ideas out of their heads and in front of a broad audience – it also helps K-12 students become more digitally savvy in general, which gives them a leg up in college and their careers.


Joan Hughes:

Dr. Hughes, an associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction, believes that well-implemented technology can boost student interest, publishing, inquiry and motivation when it comes STEM content.


Cesar Delgado:

Dr. Delgado, an assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, suggests the biggest benefit of instructional technology is in how it helps students become better scientific investigators – they can explore topics that might otherwise be off-limits because of safety concerns, lack of physical proximity to the subject under investigation and time efficiency.


Norma Cantu:

Norma Cantu is a professor in educational administration as well as the School of Law. Here, she explains why it’s important to give parents data and allow them to make informed decisions about the schools their children attend.


Richard Reddick:

Richard Reddick is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration. He suggests that if schools invest in the community, build trust, value every student’s culture and background, and maintain high expectations for teachers and students, their students are more likely to academically thrive.


Jennifer Jellison Holme:

Jennifer Jellison Holme is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, and she argues that reducing the levels of racial and economic segregation in schools is essential to providing high-quality learning experiences for students of color.


Terrance Green:

Terrance Green is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Administration, and he proposes that shifting from a deficit perspective to an asset-based perspective regarding students of color will help schools better assist these students.


Great education professionals have an enviable skill set – the ability to lead, be empathetic, inspire, motivate, communicate, strengthen, and ignite curiosity. Meet six of our alumni who rise to the challenge, bringing heart, soul, mind, and an indefatigable sense of mission to their work with students.

ALEX OLIVARES

Alex Olivares

UTeach, B.J., ‘08
Crockett High School

I got out of UTeach and thought, “Wow, none of that stuff’s ever going to work in the real world. It’s great and dandy if you have a special school with magnet and high level students, but in a normal environment it’s not going to apply.” As I taught for more and more years, I realized that it’s simply the way to teach. Slowly I incorporated the UTeach strategies more and more, and at this point almost all of my classes are problem- and inquiry-based. I understand the benefits of teaching this way, that it yields long-term learning benefits for the students.

Depression isn’t the same for everyone – the way you experience it can vary according to your age, gender, and life circumstances. Three educational psychology researchers have been looking specifically at depression in men and young girls and at how to uncover depression in people who don’t even know they have it.


Aaron Rochlen:

Aaron Rochlen is an educational psychology professor whose research focuses on men’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Here, he explains how depression is different for men than it is for women and what can happen if men don’t get the help they need.

“There’s just a lot of stigma around men seeking help for any kinds of mental health problems as well as physical issues. While women have traditionally been diagnosed with depression 2-3 times more often than men, men are committing suicide at rates of 4-6 times more often.”


Kevin Stark:

Pediatric behavioral health expert Kevin Stark is nationally known for his research on depression in children. In this clip, he describes why it’s so important to catch depression early in girls and the best way of treating it.

“The rate of depression among females is at least twice that of males.”


Stephanie Rude:

Stephanie Rude examines ways of detecting depression in people who don’t realize they have depression and preventing recurrences of the condition. Find out the simple but revealing strategy she uses to uncover “masked” depression.

“When people are able to take a couple of steps back and see the difficult situations that they are in from a larger perspective – kind of a wide angle lens view – they seem to be able to realize that they are not the only ones suffering.”