School of Education Newsletter, Spring 2013

A Message from the Dean

We are well into another busy semester and I find myself struck by recurring motifs of collaboration, community and action - both in celebration and tragedy - in the time that has elapsed since our last newsletter in December 2012.

We celebrated the launch of the STEM Collaboratory with colleagues  and partners at Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems on December 13, while the next day, we grieved with the rest of the nation over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in nearby Newtown, Connecticut. Our world is continually full of these dichotomies; futures full of the greatest promise and possibility, and dark tragedies that strike at the heart of who we are and what we do.

As an active, adaptive community, we move forward, rising above the negative while not forgetting the past. We work to secure better opportunities and true equity for all students, and for meaningful action to protect the health and safety of all children (and the teachers who nurture them). As we grow together, we celebrate the achievements of our faculty and staff, bring new innovations to reality, establish new programs and support our candidates as they grow into teachers and global citizens. By acting as a community and supporting one another’s success and growth, so too do we grow as a community, stronger and ever ready to meet challenges that arise. 

Andrea (Penny) Spencer, PhD
Dean, School of Education
Pace University

Professor Joan Walker Receives Prestigious Award for Innovative Research 

Pace University School of Education professor Joan Walker, PhD, has won a prestigious award for best research article of the year – research that has led to the development of an innovative online course on parent-teacher interactions.

Dr. Walker is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the premier professional organization for American teacher education.

The award recognizes exemplary scholarship published in the JTE in the areas of teacher education or of teaching and learning with implications for teacher education, and will be presented March 2 at the AACTE's 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Read more

New Inclusive Adolescent Education Program Seeks Teaching STARS to Meet Growing High School Challenges

The Pace University School of Education is launching a new program in Fall 2013 for career changers and non-education degree holders looking to embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career in teaching high school. The MST in Inclusive Adolescent Education, also known as the STARS (Skilled Teachers Achieving Results for Students) Program, is a distinctive program that prepares educators to teach high school students with and without disabilities.

High schools today are increasingly complex environments, with higher standards for teaching and learning, increased student diversity, the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classes, and heightened public awareness of issues of school safety and community.  Program graduates will be dually certified adolescent and special education educators prepared to drive student success in the rigorous high school environment, while focusing on the social, behavioral and academic development of all students.

Read more

Pace STEM Collaboratory Hits the Ground Running

In mid-December, the School of Education and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University launched the Pace STEM Collaboratory to facilitate interdisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas among students, faculty, and staff in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, improve and support STEM teaching and learning at the middle and high-school levels through continued and expanded relationships with public schools in the region. An elegant cocktail party to celebrate the launch of the Collaboratory was held in lower Manhattan in mid-December.

The Pace STEM Collaboratory is led by the School of Education’s Dr. Lauren Birney, with Seidenberg’s Dr. Jonathan Hill as co-principal investigator. The Collaboratory will leverage the strengths of Pace with the potential of school and technology partners to promote innovation, learning, achievement and participation in STEM fields, particularly among underrepresented minorities. Pace will address these issues by partnering with grade 6-12 teachers and students in New York metropolitan area schools to improve STEM teaching and learning.

Drs. Birney and Hill have been active in promoting the goals of the Collaboratory in the media, and are actively seeking strategic partnerships and grant opportunities. We look forward to celebrating their success in making an impact on STEM education.

Faculty Travel Notes

Brian Evans, EdD, New York City Chair, traveled to China, South Korea, and North Korea over the holiday break. Dr. Evans found one of the most interesting aspects of the trip was the contrast between South and North Korea. However, despite differences, he found the people in both countries to be very friendly and interested in hearing about life in the United States. The visit to China was particularly interesting because Dr. Evans last visited the country in 2005, and could see the economic changes in the country over the eight years.


School of Education Prepares Teachers for Research Role

The School of Education prepares candidates to be educators of the twenty-first century: adept in technology, fluent in strategies to engage students to excel, and flexible to meet emerging challenges.

In this era of high-stakes testing and accountability, the role of the classroom teacher is increasingly growing to include collection and analysis of data to gauge and evaluate a variety of classroom factors, from new educational tools to student knowledge gains. Pace graduate students are prepared to meet the challenges that await them in the classroom by completing a rigorous research course, ED 690: Teacher as Researcher, prior to graduation.

Read more

School of Education Awarded Thinkfinity Grants

School of Education research projects on both our New York City and Pleasantville campuses were recently awarded Thinkfinity grants in January 2013. Both projects will expand upon use of the TeachLive avatar technology.

Read more

Get Ahead this Summer with Middle School Courses

Work towards certification this June & July! Middle School courses enable adolescent teachers with initial certification to extend their certification to grades 5 and 6. Childhood teachers with initial certification may pursue the certification in a particular subject area (i.e. English, history, math, science, social studies) in grades 7-9.

Pace University offers the two courses that New York State requires as part of the requirements for the extension, with convenient evening summer courses available on our Pleasantville campus in June and July -- perfect for current students, alumni and practicing teachers!

  • Middle Childhood/Early Adolescence, Community, Culture & Identity (May 30-June 24)
  • Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction: Middle Childhood Education (July 8-August 1)

For more information about the courses, contact Dr. Christine Clayton at or 914-773-3805.

For questions about registration, contact Donna DeAngelo at or 914-773-3873.

Download our flier to share with friends and colleagues! (PDF format)


SOE Faculty Improve Teaching Across University

Faculty from the School of Education are helping to improve teaching across the University through Teaching Circles on both the New York City and Pleasantville Campuses. School of Education faculty members serve as facilitators to discuss best practices in teaching and student engagement in meetings of professors from each school across the University.

“The Teaching Circles provide pedagogical support to complement faculty’s content area of expertise,” says Brian Evans, EdD, Chair of the New York City department.  The first circle convened on February 20.

During the first meeting in New York City, seven faculty members from the Lubin School of Business and the Dyson College of Arts and Science met with Peter McDermott, PhD, Raquel Plotka, PhD, and Lauren Birney, PhD, from the School of Education. Dr. Evans was accompanying students on the Guatemala trip for this first meeting.

Dr. McDermott reported that topics included theimplications of student characteristics on classroom teaching, how to engage students in learning, and how to actively involve students in learning even when in large lecture halls.

Joan Walker, PhD, Fran Falk-Ross, PhD, and Shobana Musti-Rao, PhD, are facilitating Teaching Circle meetings in Pleasantville.

New Literacies Webinar Series Continues Through May

Nearly 70 teachers, students, librarians and educational professionals have signed up for the spring 2013 New Literacies for New Learning webinar series. Led by Drs. Fran Falk-Ross and Peter McDermott, the series of four webinars – all free of charge – are focused on how the new literacies relate to the Common Core requirements, and include practical applications and tools that can be used in the classroom immediately.

Each hour-long session will help educators increase technology literacy, improve skills in incorporating technology into the classroom, and most importantly, enhance student learning outcomes. The series continues through May with:

  • After “Close Reading” - Using Web Tools to Engage Students in Multiple Ways to Examine Text-based Information on Wednesday, March 20 - 4-5 p.m. EST
  • "Composing” Multimedia Arguments with the New Literacies  on Thursday, May 9 - 4-5 p.m. EST

Archives of the previous webinars in this series are now available:

  • Making “Strategic” Use of the New Literacies for Sharing Information with Others, recorded Wednesday, January 30
  • Using a Vygotskian Lens and the Digital Literacies for Improving Learning, recorded Monday, February 25

To register and learn more about each session, visit

Students Return from Guatemala

Six School of Education candidates have returned from a week-long trip Guatemala, where they embarked on an expedition to the 9th International Literacy Conference located in Guatemala City. Accompanied by Professor Ainsley Adams and Brian Evans, EdD, the students made presentations on mathematics and science concepts through the use of literacy to an international audience of teachers. Sister St. John Delany, PhD, helped organize the trip, but was unable to travel with the group at the last moment.

In addition, the students spent time in several schools, where they had the opportunity to work with teachers and students, and experience day-to-day life in Central America. Candidate Amanda Akdemir, BA/MSEd Educational Technology ‘13, expressed that visiting the schools was her favorite part of the trip. "It was extremely gratifying to see so many little faces light up and to know we were able to make that happen truly left a lasting imprint on my heart," she says.

"This once in a lifetime trip has helped me experience unforgettable memories, which in turn has shaped the way I view life," says Candidate Evelisse Mercado, BA/MSEd Special Education '13.

The trip to Guatemala is just the first of what is hoped to be many more. “The trip was an incredible opportunity for our students to put the School’s values of justice and equity into action,” said Professor Adams. “While the time spent together was short, the students in Guatemala have left an indelible mark on our candidates, and vice versa.”

Check out our Facebook photo album for highlights from the trip, or our complete Picasa album.

Keynote and Breakout Sessions Set for May 22 ‘Ensuring Learning for All Students’ Conference

Everything is coming into place for the upcoming “Ensuring Learning for All Students: Sharing Successful Practices for Students Who Struggle” conference on May 22 for inservice and pre-service teachers of grades K-16, administrators and other educational professionals.

Setting the tone for the one-day conference will be keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Feldman, addressing the group on “Meaningful Engagement: Every Student, Every Lesson, Every Day.” Dr. Feldman is Emeritus Director of Reading and Intervention with the Sonoma County Office of Education and an educational consultant with a focus on practical approaches to accelerating academic literacy across grades and content areas.

Attendees will have a bevy of breakout sessions to attend. Led by peers from throughout the region, the sessions will cover covering topics such as effective approaches for ELL instruction, engagement and learning strategies formative assessments literacy and language acquisition and development, executive functioning, inclusive learning cultures and academic vocabulary.

The conference at the Pace University Graduate Center in White Plains will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run through 3:30 p.m. The fee is $75, and attendees may register online through Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES or the PNW BOCES and Hudson River Teacher Center Activity Catalog.


Upcoming Dates & Events

3.11.13 – School of Education Community Forum. Sponsored by the Future Educators of America. 3:15 p.m., Gottesman Hall, Kessel Student Center, Pleasantville Campus.

3.18.13– “Opportunities in Inclusive Adolescent Education” Seminar and Open House with Drs. Leslie Soodak and Roberta Wiener to address the growing need for dual-certified general and special education high school teachers.  5 – 8 p.m., Butcher Suite, Kessel Student Center, Pleasantville Campus. For reservations, visit or call Donna DeAngelo at (914) 773-3873.

3.20.13– School of Education Social Justice Colloquium Series: School Desegregation: A Matter of Social Justice with Profs. Joseph Pastore, Anthony Alfonso & John Di Natale. 12:20 p.m., Leinhard Lecture Hall, Pleasantville Campus.

3.20.13– New Literacies Webinar: After “Close Reading” - Using Web Tools to Engage Students in Multiple Ways to Examine Text-based Information. 4-5 p.m.  Join us as we explore how the new literacies can be used by readers to closely examine textual information, particularly as it connects to the New York State Common Core Standards emphasis on “close reading.” Please click here for more information or to register.

3.24.13 – 3.31.13 – Spring Break

4.3.13– School of Education Social Justice Colloquium Series: Special Education: What is the Right Thing to Do? with Profs. Leslie Soodak & Roberta Wiener. 2:30 p.m., Butcher Suite, Kessel Student Center, Pleasantville Campus.

4.10.13– Westchester Graduate Program Information Session.  5:30-7:30 p.m. Please click for directions and reservations.

4.15.13– New York City Graduate Program Information Session.  5:30-7:30 p.m. Please click for directions and reservations.

5.1.13 – Last Day of Undergraduate Classes

5.2.13 -5.8.13 – Evening Course Final Exams

5.2.13 - 5.3.13 – Undergraduate Study Days

5.6.13 -5.10.13 – Undergraduate Final Exams

5.9.13– New Literacies Webinar: “Composing” Multimedia Arguments with the New Literacies. 4-5 p.m.  Join us as we explore strategies for teachers and students to compose evidence-based arguments using the new literacies,  as the New York State Common Core Standards require students to strategically produce and publish writing with technology. Please click here for more information or to register.

5.14.13 – New York Pre-Commencement

5.15.13 – New York City Undergrad and Combined Graduate Commencements (NYC & Westchester). Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan.

5.16.13 – Westchester Pre-Commencement

5.17.13 – Westchester Undergraduate Commencement. Goldstein Fitness Center, Pleasantville Campus.

5.22.13– One-Day Conference: Ensuring Learning for All Students: Sharing Successful Practices for Students Who Struggle. 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Pace University Graduate Center, One Martine Avenue, White Plains. $75. For more information, click here.

Welcome to Shelly-Ann Richmond, Director of the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP). Shelly Ann comes to Pace as a distinguished alumna of LPP, with an extensive background in education and management. Together with Upward Bound, led by Jennifer Efferen, these programs will serve more than 300 at-risk high school students, supporting student empowerment, academic achievement, high school completion, and successful entry into college. The goals of these programs are closely connected to the School of Education’s mission of social justice and educational opportunity for all students.


Mary Riggs Cohen, PhD, will receive a 2013 Alumni Achievement Award from The Catholic University of America. Dr. Cohen is being honored for her work and leadership in the study of Autism spectrum disorders. She earned both her MA and PhD from the university. The award will be presented during a ceremony on April 13 in Washington, DC. Congratulations to Dr. Cohen for this recognition of your work which has made a difference in the lives of many children, young adults and families.

Congratulations to Sean Calloway, college counselor with the Liberty Partnership and Upward Bound programs, who has been selected as the Donald J. Heider Fellowat the 2013 No Name Conference in St. Michaels, Maryland. The No Name Conference is an annual meeting of senior college admissions and enrollment officials, set for May 20- May 22, 2013. Congratualtions, Sean, for your many years of helping students acheive their college dreams and empower their futures.

Valued members of the School of Education were honored with both the Group and Individual “Outstanding Contribution Awards”  at the Pace University Employee Recognition Awards Ceremonies. Liz Luongo, Donna DeAngelo and Maria DiSavino, and Anna Fishman were recognized for Oustanding Group and Individual Contributions, respectively. The Outstanding Contribution Awards recognize the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. The entire School of Education community extends our awardees the warmest congratulations for a job (always) well done!  In addition, staff members were recognized for their years of service to the University: John DiNatale, Brian Evans and Bob Freck (5 years), Karen Ferro (10 years), Annjanet Woodburn (10 years); and Maria DiSavino (20 years), who was also recognized with a Professional Skills Certificate of Achievement. Congratulations to all! Click here to view photos

School of Education In the News

We’re everywhere! Check out this selection of media stories featuring School of Education faculty, staff  and students. For a complete list, please visit the In The News page on our website.

2.15.2013 - The Journal News White House Offers Some Details on Pre-K Plans Professor Xiao-lei Wang, PhD, provided commentary about the importance of pre-K stimulation in early childhood, and the imapct of the President's proposal in closing the achievement gap and educational equity.

2.11.2013Center for Literacy Enrichment Featured on Noticias Mundo FOX Sister St. John Delany, director of the Pace School of Education Center for Literacy Enrichment, was interviewed for a TV    segment on FOX’s Spanish language network, and included tips for helping Spanish-speaking children learn the English language.

2.4.2013The Hartford Courant  Screening Kids for Mental Health Critical An Op-ed co-authored by Dean Spencer advocates identifying and addressing urgent needs in children’s mental and developmental health, in light of recent school shootings in Newtown, Chicago and other communities.

1.28.2013The Next America by National Journal  Workforce Q&A: Consortium Tackles Family, Class Issues in Steering Minorities to STEM Majors Professor Lauren Birney and Dr. Jonathan Hill (Seidenberg) discuss the challenges and opportunities in engaging traditionally underrepresented minority students in STEM disciplines and degree programs.

1.13.2013The Journal NewsLearning the Art of Teaching Dean Spencer talks about the use of technology in preparing our undergraduate candidates.

1.2.2013 The Journal News Spanish-Speaking Children to Get Reading Help The School of Education’s Center for Literacy Enrichment is partnering with the El Centro Hispano community center to provide literacy instruction to kindergartners and first graders.

12.28.2012Connecticut Post  Possible Asperger’s Connection to Shooting Sparks Fear, Outrage Includes commentary from TARA Center Director Dr. Mary Cohen about misconceptions related to persons with Asperger’s Syndrome. Also published in Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, and Norwalk Citizen Online.

12.21.2012The Hill’s Congress Blog “Let’s talk to each other about STEM”  Op-ed by Lauren Birney and Jonathan Hill of the Pace STEM Collaboratory.

12.21.2012CBS New York  New Yorkers Mark Somber Anniversary of Newtown Massacre CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reports from Trinity Church in Manhattan and PS 124 in Chinatown where students made cards of support for Sandy Hook Elementary, and where  BA/MSEd candidate Jordan Tempro is student teaching   (and makes a brief cameo!).

Alumni, keep in touch! Have you gotten a new job, initiated an exciting new program with your students, or assumed a leadership role in your school? Are you starting a new educational venture? Are you traveling, have an engagement/marriage/commitment to share, or a new arrival in the family? We'd love to hear  about it! Please contact Sofia Dupi, Communications Coordinator, via e-mail or (914) 773-3943.

Not receiving our e-newsletter? Join our mailing list. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @soepace