A Message From the Dean

COED center full colorMarch 31, 2020

Dear College of Education Friends—

My heartfelt hope is that you and your families are healthy and taking every precaution to remain so.  Regrettably, on the advent of April 1st, the COVID-19 virus is all too real, all too pervasive and insidious, and all too potentially deadly.

Surely, you’ve followed the emerging situation with great interest and trepidation, particularly as it impacts your own lives. Along the way, you’ve likely noted that colleges and universities across America have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and in deeply significant ways. Marquette University and the College of Education are no exceptions.

The upshot of the situation has been an enormous number of logistical challenges, the most dramatic of which has been the suspension of all face-to-face classes. In our case, that meant faculty had to move more than 70 courses online in less than 10 days, and that our students had to prepare themselves for a very different type of educational experience. Moreover, there were high stakes hurdles to clear with practica, internships, and student teaching, all of which carry major implications for licensure and accreditation.

In addition, the University and College commencements, along with Alumni awards, and our own Mission Recognition event, have all been postponed, and many questions remain about summer school and fall enrollment. To be honest, it’s not clear when genuine normalcy might return.

Despite this monumental disruption, both Marquette and our College of Education have risen to confront this unparalleled circumstance in compelling fashion. Our students, faculty, and staff have demonstrated incredible levels of sensitivity, adaptability, and determination. Their response has been truly inspiring.

As a result, we will be able to march into the future together, united as an academic community, to honor our instructional, scholarly, and service missions. And in the Jesuit spirit of magis, we are exploring what more we can do to be present to our families, alumni, friends, and community.

Make no mistake, though, the way forward will be demanding. There will be problems to solve that we never expected or faced before. And the economic toll will be significant. In response, the University and College will need to be inventive, opportunistic, strategic, and skillful, so as to maintain our intellectual, operational, and fiscal viability.

Through all of this, I have every confidence that we can work through this unprecedented situation with the support of friends like you. We ARE Marquette after all.

Lastly, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or words of encouragement you might have.  And please stay healthy and safe.

Bill Henk signature

Dr. Bill Henk, Dean
College of Education

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Ari Williamson

This year, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Ari Williamson, one of our current juniors studying secondary education and history!

Ari L Williamson PhotoI grew up on the west side of Chicago, more specifically in the Austin community, and I have lived in Milwaukee since the July 2017 (when I started Marquette University). My mother is a single mother. I live with my mom and sister.

My favorite educational experience is the in-class discussions in my education courses talking about learning theories theorized by men and women. I hope that one day I can come up with a theory of my own that will be used in college/university classrooms. I chose Marquette and the College of Education because a friend of mine, Alex Johnson, was an education major. Based on the good things she said about the college, I was interested.

Outside of the classroom, I like to play basketball and do photography. To me, it means freedom. It means self-expression. Where I come from, shame played a big part in our everyday lives and it inhibited my growth. Being self-expressive is one of the main reasons why I want to become a teacher

I’m figuring out who I am as a teacher. I want to be great, so I need to do a lot of self-reflection. I’m inspired by a lot of people. But, I really admire comedian George Carlin, Lena Waithe and Jay-Z. These are people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and I respect that. Being courageous may be scary but it is the ONLY way.


Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Juwonna Walker

This year, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Juwonna, one of our undergraduates!

UnknownHi, my name is Juwonna Walker. I grew up on the North and East side of Milwaukee, for the majority of my life. I have also lived in Texas, Minnesota and Tennessee. I currently work, play, and live right here in Milwaukee. I have a huge family from many different states. I have six siblings on my mom’s side, and two siblings on my dad’s side. I am the oldest of all my siblings, and they are a variety of ages. It is never a dull moment in my family, because there is so many different personalities.

I work for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office as a Victim/Witness Clerical Assistant. I like having the opportunity to work there because I interact with so many amazing staff members and have the opportunity to gain experience for my future career in social work.

My favorite educational experience is participating in field placements. I have been working with children for many years now in various positions and communities. Field placements give pre-service teachers the opportunity to get teaching experience, interact with students, and develop and learn pedagogies for our own classes. The most exciting opportunity I had this semester is being able to draft my own math mini lessons to work with one-on-one with a middle school student.

I transferred to Marquette from another local university in 2018. I chose Marquette because I wanted to Be the Difference for black and brown children in urban schools. I felt at Marquette I could receive the best education to adequately prepare me to teach in Wisconsin schools. I have always majored in elementary education because I love working with and learning from students in 3rd-8th grade.

When I am outside of the classroom I am volunteering as a Big Sister for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I have been a Big since my first semester at Marquette, after being a participant in SERVE. When I’m not doing that, I am attending cultural and social justice events on campus, to learn more about how I can be an active member in change. I also run track and field as a sprinter, my events are 100m, 200m, 4x100m, 4x200m, hurdles, and long jump.

The inspiration for my work is seeing children that come from where I come from, speak the way I speak, and look the way I look to have opportunities to do great things. When I look at black and brown children, I see inventors, scientists, artists, and people that are capable of amazing things. So, I want to be a person who advocates and assist children accomplish their dreams.

Want to learn more about the College of Education and our students? Visit our website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to continue the conversation!

We’re All in This Together

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These are stressful times. Please know that we are here for you! Students, reach out to each other and your instructors. Alumni and friends, let us know how you’re doing!


Alumna Carrie Hanson Named 2020 Herb Kohl Teaching Fellow

hansonCarrie Hanson, ‘Ed 14 and a social studies teacher at West Allis Central High School, has been named a 2020 Herb Kohl Teaching Fellow. The Kohl Teacher Fellowship “recognizes and supports teaching excellence and innovation in the State of Wisconsin.” Each year, 100 fellowship recipients and their schools each receive a $6,000 grant to help them pursue professional development or realize goals for their classrooms.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity and owe my gratitude to the many mentors who have guided me along my teaching path. So many of my first mentors were the educators I worked with at Marquette who helped me to see the bigger picture of teaching, which extends so much further than the walls of my classroom. To be intentional in my interactions with my students and my community, to give freely of my heart, to see the dignity in people even if they might not see it in themselves, those are some of the things that I think about when I try to reflect on what I learned at Marquette.”

Congratulations, Carrie!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Justyn Spann

This year, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Justyn, one of our current sophomores!

I grew up in the city of Chicago (the actual city, not a suburb of the city like a lot of students say!) in the Pullman/ Roseland neighborhood on the South side of Chicago. I have lived in Chicago for all 20 years of my life. I did not really begin to appreciate my city until I was older when I was able to travel to different parts of the city and see how beautiful and fun Chicago truly is. My household family includes just my mother and I along with our 3 pets! I have 2 dogs (a cockapoo and pit-bill) and 1 cat. I love the cat more than both of my dogs (don’t tell them that)!

IMG_7201.jpgI currently work as a Desk Receptionist in the Wells Street Hall of The Commons. I really enjoy the job because I am able to interact with the residents and make friends with some of them along the way. A few challenges would be dealing with situations such as emergencies or dealing with packages being delivered to the building, but overall I love my job there.

My favorite educational experience has been being placed in a school as a teacher’s aide and helping the students. Whether it is helping the students with their math homework or helping them understand history, I feel happy being able to help students learn a topic. An exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year is declaring my major as secondary education and history, I was on the fence about the decision but I am happy with my selection and cannot wait to see what the future holds. I was drawn to Marquette’s College of Education because I had heard many great things from friends who currently attend the Marquette, as well as past teachers who have said nothing but great things about the College of Education and Marquette as a whole.

An activity I like to do outside of class is drawing, painting, and sketching. Now that I am a sophomore and my schedule is busier, I do not have that much time draw like I did in the past. However during any downtime I get, I will pull out my sketchbook and begin to draw whatever is on my mind. Some advice for readers who are interested in starting up a hobby is to pick a something that you enjoy. I always tell people to never base it off of what others have to say- it is something that you enjoy and are not ashamed of liking.

My inspiration for my work would probably go towards my mother,. She works at a high school in Chicago and I think that because of her, I always have had this drive of wanting to help people out. This passion of helping people led me to become a teacher. Throughout my life in my different years of school, I have always had great teachers and rarely had bad teachers. 

You only have one college experience so make it memorable! Go join that sport that you were nervous of trying, go speak to your professor during office hours, make new friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

On Professionalism, Social Media and Privacy

By Kathryn Rochford

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful winter break and that you’ve started the semester off strong! It’s going to be a busy one, but I hope it treats us all well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about an experience I had last semester that today is growing increasingly more relevant. This experience relates to the theme of professionalism, social media, and the issue of privacy.

Last semester I was blessed to spend my field experience at Marquette University High School, an all-boys, Catholic high school. I learned so much about teaching styles, classroom management and the importance of relationships with students. However, being one of the two females in the classroom (the other being my coordinating teacher), there were some instances of awkwardness. The main one I want to focus on is when I was casually scrolling through Instagram, and I got a notification of a new follower request. I clicked on the notification to see who it was and, with sudden dread, I realized it was one of the students in the classroom I observed.

A million thoughts seemed to flood through my head. How did he find my Instagram when I’ve never told the students my first name? Why did this specific student follow me if it’s not a student I regularly held conversations with? Do I mention the topic with the student? With my coordinating teacher? Do I make a class announcement about the importance of privacy and the separation that needs to be maintained between students and teachers online?

After careful consideration, and plenty of frazzled conversations with my teacher friends and non-teacher friends alike, I decided to bring it up to my coordinating teacher. She laughed for a bit and said she was surprised that specific student followed me, since again, he never talked to me much. She shared stories of how this has happened before to other observing students she’s had and the issues it had caused them. She recommended I leave it unanswered, since I didn’t want him to see I rejected the request and then keep requesting to follow me. I decided I would follow that advice since it seemed like the easiest path.

Lately it feels as if we are warned more and more about what to put on our social media as potential employers can and will use your posts as a determining factor on whether to hire you. It never really occurred to me that my students, and possibly their parents, would be looking me up, too. It reminds me of a policy my teachers in high school had that even if we did friend request them, they wouldn’t accept the request until after we had graduated. In the case of my soccer coach/ history teacher, he used to tag my mom in photos of me so I could still see the posts.

I thanked God I had my profile set to private not public, and that even then I am careful with what I post. If I had one recommendation for new education students, it’s to set your profile to private so people must request to follow you and to still limit what you post. Your future students don’t need to see pictures of you at parties in college or drunk at a bar on your 21st.

This new idea of professionalism in the workplace may be a bit hard to get used to. It’s hard to see so many other college students freely posting and saying what they want to on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. They can post some of the fun memories we have with them that may be NSFW. I’m sure this part of adulting and learning what should be shared and what shouldn’t be is hard for everyone when they hit that point, but the issue for us as education majors is that transition happens as you are trying to figure out what college is and who you are as an adult. However, this idea of professionalism carries a different weight with it when you are an education major, especially one here at Marquette. Here at MU, we are blessed to enter the professional world a bit earlier than most, with opportunities for service-learning beginning freshman year.

So, while this may be a more serious topic than I usually post, I feel it is especially relevant as we move into times where our students could be trying to find our social media. Overall, social media can be a wonderful tool to connect us, to bring us to the latest ideas, and to share aspects of our lives. Yet when it comes to our lives as educators, it’s time to switch into private mode. Hopefully a few of you can learn from my story and won’t have to have an awkward interaction like that. If you do have something like this happen in the future, I hope you can face it head on, without the minutes of panic I seemed to have.

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