College of Education Newsletter
Volume Two, Issue Two
In This Issue:
Dear Colleagues and Friends:
As a faculty member and administrator in the College of Education for the past 21 years, I’ve seen thousands of students come and go. To be sure, all of them have had life stories to tell – many I’ve been only marginally aware of, and many I’ve been personally aware of or even involved with in some fashion. Some have been typical stories of achievement, diligence and care with nothing particularly unusual about them. However, others have contained extraordinary circumstances, and in some cases, tragic. What is continually encouraging for me is that in most instances, these students’ narratives have ultimately been the foundation of their successes at Fox.
George Fox faculty and staff have been charged with a very important mandate to ensure that every student “be known.” This means interacting personally with the students in our classrooms, in our halls, in the online learning environment, and even off-campus if afforded the opportunity, in order to help each feel welcomed and capable. It is a privilege to add the Fox narrative to the stories our students bring to campus, to help them “be known,” and it is a joy to see the foundational knowledge, professional practice, and spiritual formation opportunities we provide develop into even more amazing stories for each one to carry throughout their lives.
This month we are featuring a story about a remarkable woman who can truly be called a “George Fox Success Story.” Even though the “be known” idea hadn’t been conceived during her time here, she is the embodiment of what being known can do for our students. Dr. Debi Miller spent her entire postsecondary educational career at Fox and is now Head of School at Westside Christian High School in Tigard. Her strong faith, solid education, work ethic, and commitment to the educational community have all served to shape her into a true servant of God, obedient to His call and producing tremendous fruit for His kingdom.
Thank you for your continuing interest in what is happening in the College of Education at George Fox. If you would like to share your story with me, I’d like to learn about how you, as a colleague, alumnus, or friend are making a difference in your workplace and community.
"Faith and learning" is an oft-used phrase in Christian education, which sounds simple on the surface, but it signifies something much deeper and of more importance than perhaps many people realize. It is arguably the veritable cornerstone of many Christian colleges and universities.
Debi Miller has made education – and more specifically, Christian education – her personal and professional mission. However, it might be more accurate to say that God has made education her mission. As a graduate of George Fox University, where she received her entire higher education from a Bachelors (1983) all the way through a Doctorate in Education (2006), and now as a professional Christian educator and administrator, she has no doubt she is doing what God has called her to do.
“I had almost decided not to go to college, but a guidance counselor. . . told me that, as co-valedictorian, I really should go on to college,” Debi recalls. “Two friends were going to visit George Fox College [at the time] and invited me along . . . I loved everything about it . . . it was the only college to which I applied.” According to Debi, her experience at George Fox was “absolutely transformative.” Her faith and commitment to Christ strengthened and was nurtured by her fellow students and her professors, and her study of scripture profoundly shaped her worldview.
Debi’s decision to major in education turned into her chosen career path, and after two and a half years in public education, she felt God asking her to utilize her gifts within a distinctively Christian educational environment. “I knew that I was called to disciple believers into a deeper walk with God [and] created to work in Christian environments where I am able to overtly model my commitment to Christ in order to directly influence the lives of others,” she says. As the recently-appointed Head of School at Westside Christian High School in Tigard, OR, she knows she is exactly where she needs to be.
In a time and age where many Christians feel compelled to compartmentalize their beliefs from their professional lives, Debi sees things from a completely different angle. “Faith informs all that I am and all that I do,” she states. “I understand that different arenas require us to model our relationship with Christ appropriately so as to be the most effective witnesses we can be, but we always ought to be aware. . . of how best to faithfully express ourselves as followers of Christ.”
Debi’s own awareness of faithful expression is certainly evident. She has experienced a multitude of successes professionally, including an appointment to the Association of Christian Schools International Presidential Advisory Council, for which only 25 candidates nation-wide are selected annually. She also served as an associate professor and the Director of Teacher Education at Multnomah University. She partially attributes these and other accomplishments in her life to her time spent at George Fox. But much more important to her than worldly success is obedience to God and the assurance that she has gone where He has asked her to go. This notion reflects the advice she would give to those about to embark on a career in education: “Be sure that you are called. And if you truly believe you are called. . . seek to minister in that role out of the depth of your relationship with Christ.”Indeed, Debi’s story is a wonderful manifestation of the purpose and fruits of faith and learning in action.
Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Yune Tran, George Fox undergraduate elementary education majors now have the opportunity to complete their full-time student teaching while living abroad and experiencing another culture. Dr. Tran collaborated with Interaction International and the GFU Study Abroad program to fulfill the desire of EDUC majors to include the chance to spend a semester abroad within a demanding four year degree program.
(Pictured left to right: Shealtiel Hart, Julia Jacobs, Katie Quayle, and Quincy Miller)
This past fall, four students took advantage of this exciting opportunity to do a portion of their student teaching in various American international schools. Julia Jacobs traveled to South Africa; Katie Quayle to New Zealand; Quincy Miller to Guatemala, and Shealtiel Hart was off to the Phillipines. Hart loved her experience. “I was working in a fourth grade classroom with 28 students. Most of my students were missionary kids who came from all over the world!” she recalls. “I was able to fulfill my dream of studying abroad as well as meet a requirement for my major. I'm so thankful the department started this program!”
Applicants to the program list preferences by location, Christian or secular, grade level, language of country and then rate how important each of those preferences are to them. The application process is currently in full swing this semester for students who will be seniors next year to do a semester abroad just before graduation in Spring 2017.
A new initiative has recently been introduced by the College of Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program which brings graduate international students to George Fox University. Through the MAT International program, these students study to become teachers in their native language, both in their own countries and in the State of Oregon.
The undergraduate students spend two semesters completing their senior year of college at the Newberg campus studying English, American schools and culture, and acclimating themselves to the Pacific Northwest. At the second semester’s conclusion, they return to their native countries to defend their senior thesis and celebrate their commencement, and then in August come back to GFU to begin their five-semester MAT program. As part of this initiative, there are also graduate students admitted directly into the MAT program and begin their teaching license studies at the Portland Center campus.
This past fall, we welcomed the first cohort of four undergraduate and three graduate students from China. The undergraduates are currently taking courses specially designed by the English Language Institute (ELI) to support their education major under the American Culture and Language (ACLA) courses, and the graduates have begun their MAT studies. The goal for these students is ultimately the same: to be licensed to teach in the many Mandarin Dual Language schools in the State of Oregon, or if they choose to do so, return to China to teach there and share American teaching methodology to their colleagues. (Pictured above; starting second from left: Kaixin Luo (Carol); Qianying Luo (Alice); Qianqiong Wang (Vivian); Ye Xue (Shirley). Far left: visiting scholar from Chongqing University of Post and Telecommunications: Zhang Yong (Greg).
Recruiting is already underway for 16 additional students to join this exciting new international program for the 2016-17 academic year.
Mock Interviews/TeachOregon Job Fair
As a way to prepare our teaching and school counseling candidates with an opportunity to practice their interviewing skills and to meet and network with school district personnel, the College of Education holds mock interview sessions and a job fair for MAT, UGTE and GSC students who have completed their clinical practice and are ready to look for teaching jobs.
Date: March 7, 2016
Time: 2 - 4:30pm
Location: Portland Center Campus
TeachOregon Job Fair
Date: March 7, 2016
Time: 6 - 8pm
Location: Newberg Campus
Patrick Allen (EdD) published the book Morning Resolve: To Live a Simple, Sincere, and Serene Life through Wipf & Stock Publishers. In addition, Patrick and Ken Badley (EdD) had a manuscript accepted by Abilene Christian University Press. Voices from the Past: Wisdom for the Future of Christian Higher Education will be released next fall. They have previously collaborated on a book titled Faith and Learning: A Practical Guide for Faculty, which was released in 2014.
Brenda Morton (GTL) won the Association for Childhood Education International’s Distinguished Education Research Article Award for 2015 with her article titled “Barriers to Academic Achievement for Foster Youth: The Story Behind the Statistics.” Brenda’s piece was published and chosen for the award from the Journal of Research in Childhood Education, and received $1,000 for her efforts. Articles are selected for this award based on the quality of research and writing regarding a currently relevant educational topic.
Nicole Enzinger (UGTE) had a busy fall, presenting research at three different conferences: in September, she presented at Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics, where she was also selected as President-Elect. In October, she was invited to present a poster at the Scholarly Inquiry & Practices Conference in Atlanta, GA. Then in November, she presented a paper and co-led a working group at the Psychology of Mathematics Education North American Conference in Lansing, MI.
Terry Huffman (EdD) attended the Northern Rocky Mountain Education Research Association Conference in October, presenting his paper titled “The Craft of Teaching: Perspectives of Native American Educators.”
Carrie Ferguson, a fall graduate of the Doctor of Education program, has been hired as the Assistant Principal at Beaver Acres Elementary School in Beaverton, OR. She has 11 years of elementary teaching experience and before her position at Beaver Acres, she served as the Literacy Specialist and Title I Coordinator in the Tigard-Tualatin School District.
Meghan Gifford – Administrative Assistant, Department of Professional Studies
Meghan joined DPS as an Administrative Assistant in October. She attended Azusa Pacific University where she received a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. Prior to joining the George Fox community, Meghan worked for a year and a half at Starbucks and checked “be a barista” off of her bucket list. She lives in Tualatin and attends Westside: A Jesus Church. In her free time, Meghan loves to hike, read, and cheer for the Blazers.
If you have any news items or information suitable for future issues of this newsletter, please contact Julie Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.