Archive for the 'Just for Fun' Category

Getting to Know Tina McNamara

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Ms. Tina McNamara is the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Advising & Student Services here at the College of Education. We interviewed Ms. McNamara so that our students can learn more about her!

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Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in Lewistown, Ohio, population 200! I moved to Milwaukee in the fall of 1989 to attend graduate school here at Marquette and definitely experienced a lot of culture shock during these first few months. Now that I’ve lived here so long, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I met my husband here (he’s from Louisville, Kentucky), and we have two sons, Michael (16) and Stephen (22).

What is your favorite educational experience growing up?

I’ve had lots of great experiences, but probably the most influential experiences for me occurred during second and third grades. I was fortunate enough to have the same fabulous teacher for both years. She really instilled in me a love of learning and especially a love of reading. We have stayed in touch all these years – I always see her whenever I am back in Ohio visiting my family.

So what drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I initially chose MU for graduate school because I wanted to go somewhere that had the resources of a large school but still had a small school feel. Moving to a city was also appealing to me. The opportunity to return to MU after being gone for several years, and particularly to work with Education majors, was just too good to pass up. Teaching and teachers are very important to me. Several of my family members are teachers, and I taught in Alverno College’s Weekend College program for over 20 years. I always felt the work I did as an instructor at Alverno helped inform my work as an advisor here and vice versa.

It sounds like you really enjoy your time here at MU! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

Every year is exciting! One of the things I enjoy most about my job is seeing how much our students grow and develop during their time here.

So what activities to you do when you are outside of the office?

When my boys were younger, I was very involved in activities at their grade school. I was even a Cub Scout leader for 10 years. Currently, I help out at my son’s high school, and I’m pretty involved at my Church. One hobby I particularly enjoy is singing – I have been a member of the Community Chorus for many years. I’m also an avid reader and movie-goer.

Tell us more about what these activities mean to you!

I think it’s important to try to find balance and explore a variety of interests. Singing, reading, going to movies, volunteering at school and Church, all help keep me sane!

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

Getting To Know Dr. William Henk

Dr HenkThe College of Education is thrilled to allow its students the opportunity to better know the faculty that keeps the college running. Dr. William (Bill) Henk is the dean of the College of Education, and we interviewed him so that our readers can learn more about our beloved Dean!

So what began your career in education? What is your favorite educational experience?

I think of my career in education as beginning on my very first day of kindergarten when I escaped out a window and ran home. From then on, my experiences as a student in elementary, junior high, and senior high school all helped shape who I have become as an educator. School children are the inspiration for my work.

As for my favorite educational experience, I loved my doctoral studies, because for three full years my job was to learn as much as I could about the field of literacy so that I could enter the professoriate fully prepared when I graduated.

Where did you grow up?

My roots can be traced to a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, that housed families of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Because my father was a janitor, my family lived modestly. Back then, I was the only kid whose mother had to work to make ends meet and whose family could not afford a car. My father commuted to work by public transportation nearly four hours per day. Although I didn’t live in poverty, I have some sense of what it means to “go without.”

My home was a loving and supportive one, and my parents had a profound effect on my life. Neither had the chance to further their own education, and they were determined that my sister and I had opportunities they never did. No question existed about the value placed on education in the Henk household. Grades of “B” required explaining.

So how long have you lived in Milwaukee? What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I’ve lived in Milwaukee for 14 years. During my interview for Marquette, the faculty, staff, and administrators here were great, but it was the passion of the students I met that made coming to Marquette and the College of Education an irresistible prospect. I am honored to work at an outstanding university where students not only grow intellectually, but socially, ethically, emotionally, and spiritually. And besides valuing Marquette’s balance of teaching, research and service excellence, I am deeply indebted to the university for enriching my own spiritual growth.

I am excited for this upcoming academic year because I look forward to watching the extraordinary work of the College of Education unfold in its 10th anniversary year.

What do you engage in when you are outside of the office?

Most of all, I value spending time with my wife and daughter. I feel blessed to have a wonderful wife, Lisa, and a special 12 year-old daughter, Audrey, an accomplished dancer. I look forward to watching my daughter grow and develop, and I hope to see her graduate from Marquette in the class of 2027!

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On a personal note, playing the guitar and piano and writing original music have been long-time favorite pastimes for me. I just love learning more about music and getting more proficient at playing it. There is no end to the challenge. The inspiration for my musical passion is the multitude of amazing musicians who have moved me through their playing and singing. If you are interested in music, practice regularly. When you let your instrument sit for too long, then you have to do some tedious re-education of yourself each time.

When my limited time permits, I also enjoy reading and writing as well as exercising, photography and art. I try to stay in some semblance of shape by riding a stationary bike and working out on a Bowflex.

It sounds like athletics are also important to you.

I was a fine student, but I didn’t maintain the stellar grades of my sister, who graduated third in her high school class. I excelled in both baseball and basketball, even earning a college athletic scholarship. To this day, I credit sports with teaching me the values of goal setting, commitment, teamwork, sacrifice, hard work, and mental and emotional toughness.

As an educator, I believe that these values have served me well as a secondary English major, an elementary school reading specialist, a doctoral student, a professor, a department chair, a school director, and now a dean.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell the readers?

Once upon a time I was a pretty good athlete, and I played in some rock bands when I was a LOT younger.

And lastly, of course, I look forward to the continued success of the Marquette University College of Education.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

A Get To Know You Poetry Activity: TWO-TONE POETRY

leaves-fall-colors-rainbowBy Elizabeth Jorgensen

Most English teachers have heard of the Where I’m From poem activity based on George Ella Lyon’s professional example. I begin my Creative Writing class with this exercise each year. But as the school year progresses and students become more comfortable sharing, I encourage them to try Two-Tone Poetry.

I start by discussing how we all have multiple sides to our personalities. I am, of course, different with my friends than I am with my students. And I’m different at parent teacher conferences than I am at The Band Perry concerts.

“Most of us are at least two-tone,” I tell my classes. Then, I encourage my students to talk about the different sides of their personalities.

We also discuss how colors can trigger feelings or moods. Moods—like colors—can be warm or cool; they can attract attention or blend in. I tell my students how we interpret and analyze colors, combined with our self-knowledge, can be a good place to start a Two-Tone poem.

I ask students to write a Two-Tone poem that speaks of their two tones and at least two different sides of their personality. In these drafts, I ask for stylistic devices, action verbs, a purposeful structure and original names for the colors (elephant grey, sunset pink, pickle green). I tell my students they could also choose to work with a pattern (chevron, argyle, plaid) instead of a color.

Here are three student examples:

Most of the time, I am eggshell white—

whispered answers hidden beneath books,

innocent gazes given from across rooms.

I am invisible:

blended behind schoolhouse walls,

left unused in paperback Crayola boxes.

But when she sees me, I am electric blue—

squeals of laughter spew in heartbeats,

and secret adventures hide in memories.

I am both eggshell white and electric blue:

swimming through a sea of wonder,

gabbing jaws beneath black knit stars.


Part of me is lemonade yellow—

sporadic and spunky,

loud and lively, and

in people’s faces.

But deep within, there’s another side no one sees—

ash black, like the tip of a charred marshmallow,

hurt and resentful,

damaged and filled with hate.

My heart screams, telling me to hang on to the yellow.

But, they both are who I am.


so me.


Most days, I am amethyst purple—

            go with the flow,

            under the rainbow,

            unnoticed like a shadow.

I go about the same routine,

            wake, work, watch, repeat,

            riding down the road of life from the backseat.

            My spunk…it’s obsolete.

But on some days, I am ruby red—

            rebelling against reality,

            laughing carefree,

            swinging from the fruit tree,

            drinking iced tea,

            singing like a bumblebee.

That’s when my spunk returns

to me.

Summer Reading

Bokeh-Bible-6-900By Elizabeth Jorgensen

During break at my school’s College Essay Workshop, Hope, a former student, asked, “So, what are you reading this summer, Ms. J?” A stack of books sat on her desk, bookmarks sticking out of the pages, tattered and frayed.

“This summer, my book club read two books: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.” Then, I flipped the question back to her: “So, what are you reading this summer, Hope?” Hope wants to be a reading specialist and told me her summer goal was to read 30 books.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.” She held up the book and I saw three women walking hand-in-hand down dirt path. On the top of the book I saw “New York Times Bestseller.”
“I’ve never heard of it. What’s it about?”

Hope told me it’s about women in World War II. She raved about the varying points of view and the arc of the story. She said she loved that it was based on a true story. I told her it sounded like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Hope said The Nightingale was also on her to read list. When the workshop ended, I texted Kathy, a member of my book club, who loves WWII historical fiction, to recommend Lilac Girls.

Summer reading lists are ubiquitous. From People Magazine to The Washington Post and Barnes & Noble’s recommendations, there are plenty of new (and classic) books to choose from. On my summer reading list was something by Lauren Groff. My sister, Olympian Gwen Jorgensen, competed with fellow American Sarah (Groff) True and I often heard about Sarah’s sister, the New York Times bestselling author Lauren.

I met Sarah’s (and Lauren’s) parents at competitions and heard about their childhood and the connection intrigued me. I chose to read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff when I read this in an article in The Guardian: “Fates and Furies, already a New York Times bestseller, was picked as’s book of the year, with the internet retailer describing it as ‘dazzling’ last month…Groff’s novel has been feted in the US: the Los Angeles Times called it ‘audacious and gorgeous,’ and the Washington Post said it was a ‘a clear-the-ground triumph.’”

The book didn’t disappoint. Groff’s book grabbed me with intense scenes and descriptive language. The woven story, flashing back and forward, first the husband’s perspective and then the wife’s, is about secrets spouses keep.

On the plane to visit my sister, I toted Wonder by R.J Palacio. I read it in the hot tub while my sister swam laps and before we went to bed. I found this book on an Amazon deal—scoring the hard copy for $3.99. According to Amazon, Wonder is “soon to be a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay! Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement.” It’s a young adult novel I look forward to recommending to my students.

There are a few weeks left in summer and I’m hoping to add additional books to my summer reading list—and I’ve decided (on Hope’s recommendation) to start with Lilac Girls.

Welcome Back, Dr. Terry Burant!

The College of Education is excited to have Dr. Theresa J. Burant return as our new Director of Teacher Education this year! Whether she’s teaching, swimming, or dancing to country music, Dr. Burant is loving her return to Milwaukee. Read on to learn more about one of our newest faculty members!

Tell us about yourself!

Terry Burant: I am a Milwaukee native, although I left for the west coast as soon as I earned my high school science teaching credentials. I started teaching and coaching swimming in southern California and taught in New Mexico, earned my Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Tucson, then taught at the University of Wyoming. Although I am new to the position of Director of Teacher Education at Marquette, I’ve been teaching here off and on since 2001.

In addition to this amazing opportunity in the College of Education at Marquette, being in, around, and on water drew me back home to Milwaukee. I lifeguard, swim, and canoe as often as I can. I also walk and (sort of) run along Lake Michigan; even my workout studio is on the river in the 3rd ward. One of my favorite rituals every summer is swimming in Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands. My lifelong dream is to paddle the perimeter of Lake Superior; moving back to Wisconsin gets me a little closer to that dream!

I’m also a huge lover of Summerfest and music of many kinds; every summer I try to see how many times I can get to the fest. I only made it six times this summer; so, this gives me a goal for next year. One of the highlights this year was spending about five hours with my niece, in the pouring rain on opening night, to see Frankie Ballard (a country singer). Now that I live near my niece again, I’m sure I will be seeing more country shows with her as she’s my go-to country girl! I started taking her to concerts when she was 12, and she’s now 27; we’ve seen so many artists over the years. It’s impossible not to have a great time with Sarah next to me singing and dancing!

While it might not be fashionable to say this, I also love Wisconsin winters. After living in sunnier places for so long, I look forward to those long stretches of gray and damp days from November to March when I can wear my favorite coats, boots, hats, and scarves. Pretty sure you will find me back in the Polar Bear club on New Year’s Day. I’ve been told that my winter enthusiasm is a little annoying so I apologize in advance.

What is your favorite educational experience?

TB: In a formal school setting, the first one to come to mind is my Urban Studies class at Wauwatosa East a long time ago. Our teacher made the city and its issues come alive for us; his enthusiasm, humor, love for the city, and inquiry-based methods remain with me today. Another would be my doctoral program at the University of Arizona. I had the most helpful, wise, and caring committee members. This school experience felt like the best of kindergarten as I was free to design and explore topics and projects of interest to me, although, of course, the responsibility for learning was literally all on me!

What do you see as an exciting opportunity for the College of Education this academic year?

TB: We have so many; but, the new Core Curriculum gives us the perfect opportunity to rethink our programs and review where we’ve been and where we hope to go. We have such a talented, thoughtful, and passionate faculty and staff, and I look forward to our work together in the coming year.

I’m also excited to reconnect with alumni and make connections between and among them and our current students. I’ve always been happiest playing a connecting role, and I am driven to strengthen the Marquette College of Education’s presence in the city. I wholeheartedly believe in cura personalis and hope that this will be evident in my daily work.

Can you tell us about the time you talked to Taylor Swift?

TB: I will always be a Swiftie! It’s kind of a long story; but, while teaching chemistry, I was explaining the steps of a problem to my students and somehow the abbreviation for the steps brought T. Swift to mind. On the spot, I got a little carried away and dramatic in my explanation and created an acronym associated with her as an aid for my students’ memories. Over time, we started calling the problems “Taylor Swift” problems (although I was, of course, careful to make sure that my students understood what the problems were really about and were using the language of the discipline as they described their work). A few weeks later, Taylor was in town at a radio station and I called her up to tell her how my Marquette High sophomores had problems named after her in our class. With that signature T. Swift enthusiasm, she exclaimed, “that’s the best story ever!” and she gave us an autographed picture for our classroom. So yeah, I’ve been to see her three times in three different cities, and I look forward to whatever she’s cooking up next!

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

Book Club Provides Reprieve, Relaxation, Rejuvenation

images (2)By Elizabeth Jorgensen

Four years ago, as we enjoyed dinner, my best friend clutched her sauvignon blanc and said, “Kathy and Rachel and I are talking about forming a book club. Are you interested?”

Thinking of all the novels I wanted to read, but pushed aside for grading college essays, poems and exams, I answered, “Yes.” And with that, our group of four set out the rules: two books every two months. A rotation allowed each of us to select novels and host the event, complete with questions and discussion prompts. Some years, we met our two-books-every-two-months quota; other years, life presented challenges and we fell short. But we always start book club the same way: with an update on our lives. Then, while sharing a home-cooked meal or takeout pizza, we dive into the books and start our discussion.

We are support for each other and for our love of reading. We challenge each other and learn more about our lives and the way we enjoy literature. As the women in my book club birthed children, often a baby squirmed or slept, cradled in my arms. To our original four members, we’ve added two. And now, we rotate through the six of us, each member bringing a different viewpoint, preference and voice.

Before my book club, I read a handful of books a year, and they remained in my comfort zone. And rarely would they lead to discussion or dissection. But my book club has reminded me of the joy of reading—of connecting with a story, of experiencing another reality and of discussing themes of literature with my peers.  And now, when students or colleagues ask for book recommendations, I reference my much fuller repertoire:



The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline.

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Cemetery Girl by David Bell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

After You by JoJo Moyes



We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

This is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper

The Winner by David Baldacci

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by ML Stedman

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline



…and When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Tenth of December Stories by George Saunders

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple


Happy Thanksgiving


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