Faculty Spotlight


Fall 2014

 Dr. Patrice BoylesDr. Patrice Boyles was selected as the 2014 NCBEA Teacher of the Year Award for Outstanding Contributions to Business Education by a Senior College or University Business Teacher! This honor was recognized by the North Central Business Education Association (NCBEA) for her dedication and service to her students, her school, and her profession!

The teacher of the year awards will be presented during the IBEA/NCBEA Fall Conference being held this year at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal, Illinois, from November 12-14, 2014. 


Fall 2013

Diversity can manifest itself in a variety of ways. The difference between urban and rural environments, for example—historically an overlooked segment of the diversity spectrum—can be particularly valuable for educa-tors to be familiar with. “Our pre-service teachers, who traditionally work in urban placements” notes Dr. Timothy Harrington, “need a more global look at the similarities and differences in other settings.”

After a series of long discussions with colleagues Dr. Miguel Fernandez and Dr. Cynthia Valenciano, plans emerged for a week-long immersion experi- ence for pre-service teachers in various rural envi- ronments. The three of them traveled around the Midwest to find appropriate sites, in the process recognizing the full significance of the program they were creating. As part of the immersion experience they were developing, it became apparent that a research study should accompany the program, with the pre- service teachers themselves guiding it.

"Our pre-service teachers, who traditionally work in urban placements, need a more global look at the similarities and differences in other settings"

The program proceeded with ten pre-service teachers from five different College of Education programs spending one week in three different rural environments: a small farming town school; a K-6 school with only three teachers; and a tribal school on a reservation. From their experiences, they were then asked to share their personal insight through a series of research questions.

“I participated in the program,” explains student teacher Mr. M

ark Wesolowski, “in order to understand how bias affects the developing educator in a number of ways, from how learning materials are created to student-teacher interaction.” That under- standing, however, was not intended to be passively observed, but actively engaged with on a personal level. In a very real way, the focus of the immersion experience was not necessarily the students or the rural communities, but the pre-service teachers themselves. As fellow participant, Ms. Ange- la Biggins Logwood, says about her own in- volvement, “I went into this experience with an open mind. I was a sponge, prepared to absorb and learn anything and everything I could about teaching in a setting that is un- familiar, and to see the inherent biases that can come with that.”

"I went into this experience with an open mind.  I was a sponge, prepared to absorb and learn anything and everything I could..."

Of the ten pre-service teachers who partici- pated in the immersion experience, three decided to join Drs. Fernandez, Harrington, and Valenciano, in the research process that followed. The paper that resulted, titled, “Rural Field Experiences with Urban Pre-Service Teachers,” was co-presented by the six of them at the Center for Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Confer-ence in Scottsdale, Arizona. Their paper so impressed fellow conference goers that, among the 50 institutions in attendance, representing 23 states and 4 countries, they were awarded both “Best Session Presentation—Education Track” and “Best Paper— Education Track.” Their paper has since been published in the Journal of Scholastic Inquiry: Education.

With the remarkable success of the program thus far, its sponsors have no intention of slowing down. In fact, they see potential for further development. “We hope to look specifically at the tribal school site, to research cultural diversity and acceptance within its community as it relates to what our students at CSU think about cultural diversity and belonging,” explains Dr. Harrington. Whatever direction the program takes in the future, one thing seems certain: many future educators will be treated to an invaluable experience of discovery.

Rural Field Experiences with Urban Pre-Service Teachers
International Academic Research Conference
-with students-