Archive for the 'Faculty spotlight' Category

Getting to Know Dr. Jeffrey LaBelle



Dr. LaBelle enjoying his spring break in Maine as he visits his sister and brother-in-law.

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Jeffrey LaBelle, S.J., is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational and Policy Leadership (EDPL) here in the College. We interviewed Dr. LaBelle so that our students can learn more about him!


Tell us about yourself! Where did you grow up?

I was born in Detroit, Michigan, but (moving with my family at age four) grew up mainly in Phoenix, Arizona, where I attended Catholic elementary and high schools. After graduation, I studied at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, where I had a fantastic undergraduate education in the bilingual Elbert Covell College, from which I graduated in 1976 with majors in Spanish and ESL, with a single-subject teaching credential.

It sounds like you’ve been to many places! So how long have you been in Milwaukee?

I’ve lived in Milwaukee since 2007, except for last fall semester when I was on sabbatical in San Francisco.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

Back in 2007, I was motivated to accept a position in Marquette’s College of Education because of the warm welcome of the people here, the fine faculty and staff, as well as the enthusiastic preservice teachers. Our mission to serve urban education and to teach for social justice fits my personal philosophy quite well.

I’m glad that our mission fits well with you! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

Currently, I look forward to another opportunity this year to teach and share the coordination of a faculty-led summer abroad program in Peru, “Education in the Americas.” I enjoy returning to Peru where I taught high school for three years in the mid-80s.

So what do you like to do when you are outside of the classroom?

Outside of teaching in the College of Education, I enjoy reading popular fiction, listening to classical music, and solving New York Times crossword puzzles, especially the Sunday one.

Currently I am reading the last of 26 novels by Donna Leon from her bestseller Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries. I got hooked on these during my sabbatical in San Francisco when a few Jesuit friends recommended her writing. Working the crossword puzzles helps keep my mind sharpened, especially on Sunday mornings when I enjoy waking up a little more slowly (unless I have an early mass that day).

I suppose that words, language, and literature have always been and will always continue to be a large part of my life. Beyond that, what motivates me most is my love of God, my love for humanity, and my love for nature. I enjoy taking walks outdoors, especially in natural settings, no matter where I am.

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!

Henks - 1

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!

Introducing Dr. Karisse A. Callender

Photo Jan 20, 11 20 16 AM copy

The College of Education is pleased to introduce you to one of our three new faculty members for the 2017–2018 school year. Dr. Karisse A. Callender is an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department. She holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi. We caught up with Dr. Callender to ask her some questions about her views on education, Milwaukee, and her favorite books!



I want to prepare my students with the foundation to go into their respective communities with knowledge to help them develop behaviors and skills that are holistic, and career-sustaining, as they work with their clients and colleagues.

Tell us a little more about yourself! Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite book?

Dr. Karisse Callender: I am from the beautiful island of Tobago, the smaller of the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As a child, I loved reading and that hasn’t changed in my adult life. Two of my favorites for this year are The Compassionate Achiever by Christopher L. Kukk and The Prophet by Kahil Gibran. I don’t drink coffee but I love hot teas and usually drink several cups each day! My education began with an undergraduate degree in behavioral sciences (psychology with a sociology minor), a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling (concentration in alcohol and other drug abuse) and a doctoral degree in counselor education. I am a licensed professional counselor and substance abuse counselor, and I worked with adolescents, adults, couples, and families in both outpatient and residential settings with presenting issues related to mental health, substance use, and trauma.

How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

KC: I am new to the Milwaukee area and so far, I love the many activities I can enjoy outdoors and being in a vibrant city. Although it will take some time to adjust to a bigger city, I am excited to call Milwaukee my new home and look forward to creating many happy memories here. I would like to learn more about the culture and explore outdoor activities, community organizations, and anything that is local to Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

What is your favorite educational experience?

KC: When I teach and I observe students struggling to understand the concepts in their textbook or from materials in class, my favorite thing to do is to draw from my clinical experience to provide them with a real-life example and interpretation of what they read. It’s amazing to see how their eyes light up when they finally experience the “aha!” moment. As a doctoral student, one of my favorite educational experiences was learning how to design, implement, and manage a fully functional online class and teach a module online.

What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

KC: I am excited to get into my research agenda and collaborate with students, colleagues and community organizations. I look forwarding to playing a role in bridging the researcher-practitioner gap as I learn about the needs within the community. I want to prepare my students with the foundation to go into their respective communities with knowledge to help them develop behaviors and skills that are holistic, and career-sustaining, as they work with their clients and colleagues.

What are your research interests?

KC: My research interests are grounded in three primary areas: trauma, addiction, and clinical supervision. I am interested in studying the effects and implications of trauma and addiction across the lifespan and interventions that are most appropriate for this population. As counselors and counselor educators we often supervise individuals at different stages of their professional development. I want to find out about specific supervision needs and interventions for students and counselors who may be in recovery, and those who work primarily with clients with trauma or addiction diagnoses.

Across my research agenda, my intention is to find out what works for whom, how it works, and under what circumstances. I’m also interested in discovering ways to bridge the researcher-practitioner gap through my teaching, research, leadership, and service.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

KC: The mission of Marquette resonates with me on a personal and professional level. I share the belief that through excellence in my work, faith in myself and others, and compassionate leadership and service, I can inspire and encourage others. The COED has a nurturing and caring environment which indicates that this is a place where I can flourish as part of the faculty and as an individual. I believe I am very fortunate to be part of Marquette University, the COED, and especially the CECP department.

Dr. Callender will teach “Group Counseling” along with “Human Growth and Development” this fall. Want to know more about the College of Education? You can learn more about our new faculty and degree programs by visiting us today!

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!

Dr. Bob Fox Honored at Community Engagement Symposium



Dr. Bob Fox and Penfield Children’s Center were honored at the first Community Engagement Symposium held on Marquette University’s campus on November 15, 2016. The award for the Community Engaged Partnership Award recognizes a “faculty/community organization partnership that demonstrates excellence in respectful, bidirectional collaboration; makes a positive difference in the community; and enhances knowledge.”

Since 2003, the Behavior Clinic has served inner-city families with young children with developmental disabilities. Offering mental health services for children who are experiencing significant behavior and emotional problems, the Clinic also offers specialized training and supervised clinical experiences for graduate students. In addition, research in the clinic contributes regularly to the field of pediatric mental health.

Congratulations to the Behavior Clinic and Dr. Bob Fox, making a difference in the lives of Milwaukee’s youngest children.


Personnel Passions Project: Dr. Sarah Knox


These are just a few of the many words we could choose to describe the way in which Dr. Sarah Knox approaches her love for choral music.  When she’s not teaching or conducting research related to relationships in the counseling profession, Dr. Knox uses her love for music to transport listeners into a space where song begins to blur the line between the temporal and divine.

She started singing in a community-based choir while in graduate school. During her last year, she also sang in her first of what would turn out to be five Episcopal Church choirs.  She has always loved the ritual and tradition of the Episcopal Church and — to her — their worshipful choral music is especially lovely.

She candidly remembers many a Christmas eve, waiting with her parents and brother for the BBC broadcast of the Kings’ College Festival of Lessons and Carols, from Cambridge, England. The broadcast begins with a boy chorister as soloist, singing the first verse from the back of the church with the voice of an angel.   The rest of the choir then joins in for the next verses as they process into the nave, and eventually the congregation sings as well. She still can’t make it through the opening hymn (“Once in Royal David’s City”) without crying.

To her, “it’s just unspeakably beautiful and moving. And to be a part of that in my own church is indeed a blessing. I have always been moved by music, so, week to week, singing in an episcopal choir is a vital part of any connection I have to a divine presence.”

When asked what she finds most challenging about choral music, Sarah states that it’s usually easy enough to learn the notes, but to “make music” is often another matter entirely.  What is often difficult to achieve as individual can be even more challenging to achieve in communion with others.

But, despite its challenges, Dr. Knox notes that there are rare (and treasured) moments when all the voices in the choir come together and operate as one — when they all unite in an ironically mindless way (in great part because they’ve allowed themselves to enter into the very soul of the music, rather than remaining on the outside, thinking things through note by note).  These are the moments that bring true joy.

They are also the moments that most reflect Dr. Knox’s thoughtful philosophy when it comes to music: “We are individuals, yes,” she says, “but we find meaning and joy — NOT as individuals– but in our deep connections with others. And perhaps it is in those connections that the divine exists. Donne was right: no man (or woman) is an island.”

For more photos of Dr. Sarah Knox in action, click here.

Personnel Passions Project: Dr. Francesca Lopez

Not only is Dr. Francesca Lopez dexterous in the areas of educational reform and psychology she is also happens to be quite handy with metal and glass.

Dr. Francesca Lopez with her husband, Javier, and their children Diego, Javier, and Ani

After a seemingly innocent bracelet purchase at a craft fair, Francesca’s creative senses begin to itch and she was tempted to try and make a matching necklace.  As those creative juices began to flow, she stocked up on supplies. Starting simply with beads, she began to wear her “creations” to work, and people started to buy the items, some requesting to buy items she was wearing!

In a fairly short period of time, Francesca began expanding on the types of materials she used for her creations. She began to branch out, first using leather and India glass, then crystals and art glass, and finally incorporating semi-precious stones, silver, and pearls into her work. She even made custom pieces for weddings and individuals who had something particular in mind. Francesca went from selling to friends/colleagues to setting up her own website and having her pieces sold in boutiques in Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Texas.

For Francesca, making jewelry is part therapeutic/relaxing, and part exhilarating.  The process of creation — making something from nothing — is part of jewelry-making’s great apeal.   She loves playing with eye-catching colors and shapes that stand out.  She also prefers pieces with intricate designs, often using Balinese silver for this very reason.

Despite her success and the popularity of her art, it was always a challenge to make the effort to sell her hand-made pieces, Dr. Lopez reports. She gleaned far more joy from the creative process than the sales aspect of her work.  Nonetheless, Francesca’s work has gained notable acclaim. The January2012 edition of Bead Style magazine showcases a few of Dr. Lopez’s stunning pieces. In addition, the winter 2012 edition of Everyday Gemstones also features her work.

Although Dr. Lopez never made jewelry with the express intention of selling it, the fact that people purchased the items to help fund her hobby was a huge plus.  As she states, “I was self-taught, and had fun learning through my own mistakes.  I think that if someone wants to try to make something and finds pleasure in doing that, then there are endless possibilities.”

For a slideshow of Dr. Francesca Lopez’s handiwork, CLICK HERE.

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