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A professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to a University release Wendesday.

Joel Gomez, an associate professor of educational leadership and the director of the Institute for Education Studies, will lead a project helping public school teachers and education administrators in Virginia teach English learners or students who do not have full fluency in English, according to the release.

The program, which was developed by Gomez and Lottie Baker, a visiting assistant professor of curriculum and pedagogy in GSEHD, will focus on teachers in science, math or history, as these are the subjects that students learning English tend to struggle with most. Students who are not fluent in English have a hard time in these subjects because they often use complex sentence structure or passive voice, according to the release.

“One of the major challenging factors today for students is learning the academic language they need for school,” Baker said in the release.

The program will begin with a 12-credit online teaching certificate for working teachers with the Virginia Department of Education choosing participants. The participants will then take part in several in-person “institutes,” which fellow teachers, administrators, principals and school board members can attend, according to the release.

“We really want to build a community to serve these learners,” Baker said in the release. “It can’t be just one teacher in a classroom with the door closed.”

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Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said the school is 'honored' by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Hatchet file photo

Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said the school is ‘honored’ by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Hatchet file photo

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development received a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a new online master’s degree program in secondary transition service, according to a University release Monday.

The program is aimed at teachers who work with students with “high-needs disabilities” as they transition from secondary school to adulthood, according to the release. The grant will also fund partial financial aid for 45 students in the program over the next five years.

The program, offered to both teachers and non-teachers, is the first of its kind online. It is also the first to focus on students with acute brain injury and autism, which are groups identified as “high-need” by the Department of Education, according to the release.

Michael Feuer, the dean of GSEHD, said in the release that the school was “honored” by the Department of Education’s recognition.

“One of our main goals as a school is to prepare future educators committed to expanding opportunities and transforming the lives of their students,” Feuer said in the release.

The first students can enroll in the course starting this September and the program will continue for the next five years, according to the release.

Because it is an online course, officials expect that the 36-credit program will attract working professionals, parents of young children, people switching careers and those who live in “geographically isolated locations,” according to the release.

Carol Kochhar-Bryant, a GSEHD senior associate dean, said in the release that teachers are often hesitant to enroll in graduate programs, especially in special education, because they are “inconvenient and costly.”

“We hope that by equipping more passionate and qualified teachers with the latest research and practices in these areas, we can help improve learning outcomes for students with high-needs disabilities,” Kochhar-Bryant said in the release.

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Updated: July 6, 2016 at 2:47 p.m.

The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education is moving to the Graduate School of Education and Human Development this year, according to a University release.

The consortium is “an alliance of educational, philanthropic and research institutions aiming to provide improved data and scholarship relevant to the practical needs of teachers, administrators and leaders in Jewish education,” according to the release.

The move is funded by $2 million in grants from the AVI CHAI and Jim Joseph foundations, two of the organizations that helped found the consortium in 2011, according to the release. The other founding organizations were the Stanford Graduate School of Education and Rosov Consulting.

Michael Feuer, the dean of GSEHD who will serve as the director of the consortium, said in the release that the idea behind the consortium is “to connect the world of high-quality education research to the needs of the Jewish community for the purpose of improving policy and practice in education.”

He said in the release that the first projects that will come out of the consortium after the move will include leadership at Jewish day schools and early childhood education. He added that part of the consortium’s “mission” is to “shed light” on how Jewish and secular education overlap.

“Jewish education takes place in secular institutions, and secular education takes place in Jewish institutions,” he said in the release. “CASJE takes advantage of that cross-fertilizing collaborative [potential].”

Feuer also said in the release that GSEHD is an “example of a secular institution where Jewish education takes place.” The school offers a degree in experiential education and Jewish cultural arts – the only such master’s program in the country.

“There are pressing, important questions about Jewish education, and the quality of research about those questions could always improve,” Feuer said in the release. “So we’re looking forward to being able to tackle that from a variety of angles and building off the remarkably rich and diverse perspectives of our faculty.”

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to a reporting error, The Hatchet incorrectly stated that one of the projects from the consortium will be leadership at Jewish day camps. Those projects will actually take place at Jewish day schools. We regret this error.

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Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, addresses graduates. Blair Guild | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, addresses graduates. Blair Guild | Hatchet Staff Photographer


This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Justine Coleman.

Future educators crossed the stage at the Smith Center Saturday morning to receive their degrees from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Speakers encouraged members of the Class of 2016 to acknowledge their achievements and challenged them to consider how to improve education accessibility.

1. Trust in your capabilities

Alumnus Topher Kandik, who was named D.C.’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, reflected on how experiences at GW prepared him for a teaching career.

“I was named 2016 Teacher of the Year in the District of Columbia because George Washington University prepared me for the classroom experience,” he said. “And I want you to trust that it’s going to do the same for you.”

2. Serve the community in your own way

Keynote speaker LaRuby May, a member of the D.C. Council and an alumna, reminded graduates that while they should be proud of themselves, others do not have the opportunities for the same kind of success.

“Be mindful that the privilege of having a vehicle is not measured by how fast you get to your destination, but by how many others you are able to drop off on your way to your destination,” she said.

May added that while the graduates can serve their communities in many ways, having a purpose to work for is most important.

“How will you take this degree that you’ve earned, this access that you’ve been granted, the ideas you’ve created? Wow will you take it and generate a product that provides a service to others?” she said.

3. Work as a team

Michael Feuer, the dean of GSEHD, referenced the plus-minus scoring system in hockey to rate players: Those who are present on the ice when their team scores earn positive points, and those on the ice when the other team scores gain negative points. He compared this system to the group effort of all educators.

“I always liked that because it reminds me that we all have pluses and minuses that success doesn’t happen without some failure along the way,” he said. “And maybe most important is we all share in the responsibility for how our whole team does.”

3. ‘We are together’

Student speaker Jennifer Romba, who received a master’s degree in international education, stressed that the Class of 2016 should promote change through education and fight for accessibility to education around the world.

“We know this change can’t happen overnight because education is a ripple effect that begins in institutions like this and with educators like us,” she said.

When Romba was in the Peace Corps, she traveled to Rwanda to teach children. While she was there, she said the word “turikumwe” stuck with her, which means “we are together.”

“As we go forward, I pass onto you my fellow graduates, my fellow educators a charge to remember that the future will be built, ‘turikumwe,’ together,” Romba said.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Micheal Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, spoke at the 2015 graduation celebration. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Micheal Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, spoke at the 2015 graduation celebration. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Though the Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Michael Feuer joked he had asked Lady Gaga to speak at Saturday morning’s graduation ceremony, the school’s faculty and student speakers still managed to entertain graduates without her help.

The ceremony in the Smith Center featured both faculty and student speakers who asked the graduates to pay attention to their futures and the changes in communication and education.

1. Living out their relatives’ dreams

The event started with opening remarks from the school’s Senior Associate Dean Carol Kochhar-Bryant, who segued into speaker Brianna Rodriguez, a student receiving her master’s in school counseling.

Rodriguez told the story of her grandmother who had to leave school in eighth grade to support her family, despite her desire to continue her education.

“What was once [my grandmother’s] fantasy has become my reality,” she said. “I know that achievement is hers, too.”

2. ‘Luck really does matter’

Feuer’s speech highlighted the challenges students may face after they throw their caps on the National Mall on Sunday.

He said students are ready to tackle problems like income inequality and the achievement gap between rich and poor. He said the graduates are ready to find solutions to those challenges, but that it’s OK if they fail a couple times.

“You could imagine how relieved I was to hear from my psychologist friends that failure is the key to success,” Feuer said.

A member of the graduating class from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development wears a cap that reads "Keep Calm and Counsel on!" Katie Causey | Photo Editor

A member of the graduating class from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development wears a cap that reads “Keep Calm and Counsel on!” Katie Causey | Photo Editor

But he said that in times of success, like graduation, it’s important to remember that luck plays a role in those accomplishments.

“You should take credit for your accomplishments, to be sure,” he said. “But leave a little room for humility, will you?”

But before leaving the podium, Feuer introduced the next speaker, education and international affairs professor emeritus Dorothy Moore.

“The fact of the matter is when I approached Dr. Moore to be our commencement speaker, she said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want Lady Gaga?’” he said. “I thought about that, and I called Lady Gaga, and what do you think Lady Gaga said? ‘Oh, is Dr. Moore not available?’”

3. Good communication takes out roadblocks

Moore focused on two points in her speech – communication is one of the most important parts of society, and the digital age causes rapid change in how people interact.

She recalled living in Tokyo when she hired a local woman to help her with housekeeping. Moore said the woman didn’t stop working on her first day of the job — and bad communication is all to blame.

“On her first day, I thought I was being kind and calling her by name,” Moore said. “I found out later, that I thought I was being very kind and calling her by her name. [But] since I was mispronouncing it, it translated to ‘hurry up.’ So all day long I was telling her, ‘Hurry up. Hurry up.’”

And then she turned her focus to how words like “selfie” haven’t even existed for as long as the act of taking a self portrait. She said technology and social media have changed and continue to change the way people communicate day to day, and added that the students will need to learn how to adapt to those rapid changes.

4. From a $5 per week to doctoral degree

Armando Justo, a doctoral graduate in human and organizational learning, addressed his fellow graduates and the audience in a speech about overcoming an imperfect family situation through education.

Justo’s mother died when he was still a young child, which put a strain on his father and siblings to provide basic needs like food for their family. He said he went hungry many nights and used to sell glass to his local grocery store in Mexico.

“Well-designed education is the key to renewal,” he said. “It fosters intellectual freedom, social consciousness and the creation of a more democratic and inclusive society.”

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development Michael Feuer addresses seventy-five doctoral graduates at a recognition ceremony Thursday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development Michael Feuer addresses seventy-five doctoral graduates at a recognition ceremony Thursday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: May 15, 2015 at 2:57 p.m.

At Thursday’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development doctoral recognition ceremony, 75 graduates were recognized and celebrated by the school’s dean, faculty, and their friends and families.

Carol Kochhar-Bryant, a senior associate dean in GSEHD, and Michael Feuer, dean of GSEHD, congratulated the graduates on their courage to pursue doctoral degrees and thanked them for their contributions to the field of education.

Here are the top five noteworthy moments from the afternoon’s celebration.

1. Finding courage to turn visions to reality

Kochhar-Bryant said faculty in GSEHD grew alongside this set of graduates, as they taught their classes and worked with the students on their dissertations. She said as the school works toward reaching its own goals and starting new programs, faculty encourage graduates to make their own visions reality.

“We trust that each of you will find the courage to imagine new solutions to problems within your professional realm, the courage to act, the courage to persist through challenges,” Kochhar-Bryant said.

2. Creating opportunities

Kochhar-Bryant said regardless of where graduates come from or where they go to work in the future, they should seize opportunities to use their talents and backgrounds.

She said many students were given the chance to study at GW and earn their doctorate degrees through financial aid awards and they should work to give future generations the same kinds of opportunities.

“In the coming years, I hope you find a way to pay your opportunity forward and assist others in any way you can,” Kochhar-Bryant said.

3. 50 years of favorite things

Feuer said 2015 is a monumental year because it marks important anniversaries in the field of education. Both the Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education Acts were passed 50 years ago.

It has also been 50 years since “The Sound of Music” was released, which Feuer said gave him the opportunity to re-watch the movie this year. Feuer said the movie’s song “My Favorite Things” has prompted him to consider his own favorite things throughout the year.

“Doorbells and sleigh bells and brown paper packages and bright copper kettles and all of that is fine. But really for me, being here with this cohort of GSEHD docs is one of my favorite things,” Feuer said.

4. Emotional acronyms

Feuer said in D.C. everything gets reduced to an acronym, so he created his own version of GOP to stand for the three emotions he and other GSEHD faculty felt about the doctoral graduates: gratitude, optimism and pride.

“You have given us a unique gift — and I know it was an expensive one — to know you, to work with you and to learn from you,” Feuer said.

5. Thanking and remembering with flowers and clocks

Maxine Freund, GSEHD’s associate dean for research and external relations, introduced the program faculty who then invited each graduate on stage to be recognized individually.

Every graduate received a flower which they were instructed to give to someone in the room who supported them in earning their degrees.

They also received a GW clock to take with them in their new roles and careers, because “time moves forward after graduation,” Freund said.

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported in a headline that GSEHD Dean Michael Feuer called the doctoral graduates some of his ‘favorite things.’ He called the doctoral ceremony one of his ‘favorite things.’ We regret this error.

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The GW Law School fell from the list of the top 20 law schools in the country in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. File Photo by Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The GW Law School fell from the list of the top 20 law schools in the country in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. File Photo by Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The GW Law School slid out of the list of the top 20 law schools in the country while other graduate programs improved in the rankings released by U.S. News & World Report this week.

The law school is now ranked No. 22 nationwide, tied with programs at the University of Alabama, the University of Iowa and the University of Notre Dame. GW had previously tied for No. 20 with the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and the University of Southern California, but the school held onto its No. 2 ranking for part-time programs.

The selectivity of the school’s full-time law programs dipped for the second consecutive year, but other factors in the rankings, like median LSAT scores and median undergraduate GPA, held steady. Last spring, University officials hired Blake D. Morant to lead the school.

GW School of Business graduate programs rose seven spots to No. 58, tying with Baylor University and the University of Alabama. The school had dropped nine places last year to No. 65. The Graduate School of Education and Human Development also leaped forward three places to tie with three other schools at No. 55, after sliding down 11 spots last year.

Both schools saw large improvements in the rankings for online program, with GSEHD making the top 10 for online education programs and the business school jumping up 20 spots to No. 44 for its online MBA program.

GSEHD is in the middle of implementing an 18-month plan to improve enrollment, which has included creating more online courses.

The business school is in its first year of leadership under Dean Linda Livingstone. The previous dean, Doug Guthrie, was fired after the school overspent by about $13 million.

The engineering school saw a steep drop in the rankings, with graduate programs falling nine places to No. 99 and tying with four other institutions. Administrators hope the recent opening of the Science and Engineering Hall will improve the reputation of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, whose graduate programs improved to No. 90 in the nation last year.

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences also took a hit, dropping from No. 60 to 67 for research and tying with four other medical schools. School leaders are looking to raise $225 million in the next few years as part of the University’s $1 billion fundraising campaign, with about $50 million of the money SMHS raises expected to go toward research.

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The Graduate School of Education and Human Development received more than $1 million to start a program to train students to become science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

The National Math and Science Initiative gave GW $1.45 million to implement the program, which three of GW’s top academic leaders will launch at an event Tuesday. The program, called GWTeach, is based on the institute’s UTeach program, which offers students majoring in STEM fields the chance to also receive a certification in teaching.

Provost Steven Lerman, Ben Vinson, dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and Michael Feuer, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, will attend the kick-off event Tuesday.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that D.C. offers over 45,000 listings for STEM jobs, more than any other major U.S. city.

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Updated: Jan. 12, 2015 at 11:14 p.m.

One of the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attacks claimed al-Awlaki, who took classes at GW, inspired the attacks. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

One of the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris claimed Anwar al-Awlaki, a former GW student, inspired the attacks. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

One of the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack last week claimed he was inspired to do so by Anwar al-Awlaki, a former GW student.

Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers, told members of the French media that he was sent by al-Qaida and financed by al-Awlaki to carry out an attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper headquartered in Paris, that left 12 people dead, CNN reported.

Kouachi and his older brother were later killed outside of Paris after a police standoff.

Al-Awlaki was also tied to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Fort Hood shooting, the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

FBI agents followed al-Awlaki around D.C. and Foggy Bottom after the Sept. 11 attacks as he took classes in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone in Yemen in 2011.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the name of the satirical newspaper. It is Charlie Hebdo, not Charlie Hedbo. We regret this error.

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College rankings keep growing more popular – and attracting more criticism.

There’s a lot of debate about what matters most, and whether organizations should rank colleges by what students are interested in, or hold institutions accountable for offering top-notch programs to their students.

Higher education experts gathered in Duques Hall on Thursday to debate existing university ranking systems and the ratings system under development by the U.S. Department of Education. The department released its framework for the system last month.

Here’s what you should know:

1. Rankings do matter

Ron Ehrenbert, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, said the popular U.S. News and World Report rankings focus on providing information to applicants, and that the rankings can affect how many application an institution might receive in the next year.

A study has shown that colleges or universities whose ranking improved tended to receive more applications, leading to a smaller acceptance rate and more prestige for the institution, he said. If their ranking fell, so did the number of applicants and the institution’s reputation.

“Administrators say they don’t pay attention to the rankings, they say they don’t read them, but that’s not true,” Ehrenbert said.

2. Pushing out the weak

Sandy Baum, a fellow in GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said it could be dangerous for the federal government to come out with their own ranking system, but that the department’s method of creating the ratings was strong.

“The one problem with the federal government coming out with a system is that it’s just another one in the whole set of ratings,” she said. “It becomes the rating system, and I don’t think there’s anything to do to change that.”

She questioned why some schools that haven’t produced successful graduates were still receiving federal funding, even though their students weren’t receiving a proper education.

“The reason, I think, this whole [thing] is happening is we haven’t figured out how to, politically, push those schools out,” she said. “And if we could do that, maybe we wouldn’t have to go through this complicated lens.”

3. A ranking for everyone

Both Ehrenbert and Baum said that the ranking systems that are now popular aren’t perfect and don’t have the right measurements for every possible applicant.

But if students look at the right ranking system, then they should be able to get the kind of feedback they’re looking for, Baum said.

“The fact is that you know what U.S. News is about is prestige and reputation and if what you want is a highly selective institution with a high reputation you’re right to look to them,” she said. “But if you’re saying that’s how you’re going to value institutions then you really have a problem.”

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