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The Experience of Deep, Coached Practice

Leif GustavsenBy Leif Gustavson, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Department Chair

xaul is a sophomore in Arcadia University's Elementary Education program. He's tall, loves to talk sports, and offers a quick, subtle smile when engaged in conversation. He is excited to be out in the field learning what it looks, sounds, and feels like to lead a group of third-graders through a writing experiment. His professor is there with him, along with 12 of his peers. They are all going to make this workshop happen together with the help of two veteran classroom teachers. Over the next six weeks, Paul will consistently practice how to catch his students' interest through engaging introductions, how to read a model text aloud in an authentic and meaningful way, how to build a writerly language with the third-graders through which to talk about the model text, how to write with his students, and how to engage in individual writing conferences with each of his students. Paul will be expected to demonstrate fluency in these skills by the end of the six weeks, and his professor and the classroom teachers are there to mentor and coach him every step of the way.

Coached practice
Cheltenham High School student engaging in an artifact study, which was a collaboration between Arcadia's Secondary Education master's program and Cheltenham.

Here at Arcadia, our purpose is to design learning experiences that best equip Arcadia Education students for the demands, challenges, and possibilities of 21st century teaching, learning, and managing. We see teaching and administrating as an art and a craft. Becoming accomplished at either requires intense and consistent practice, a passionate and sustained love of the work, finding mentors that can coach and support along the way, and finally, it requires a growth mindset where teachers and administrators believe that if they work at something, they can improve.

We know that teaching and administrating are inherently creative and that they involve the development of essential moves that make one truly skilled at what he or she does. There are physical and mental moves that we can make as teachers and administrators that will make a difference in the way our students learn and the way our staff works. Seeing teaching and administrating as moves makes the work tangible and keeps us from forever living in our heads. It’s the key to merging theory and practice. More.

Community Partnerships Link Teaching and Learning

Contributed by Jodi Bornstein, Ellen Scales & Leif Gustavson

Community partnerships
Margo Percevault interacts with students in Guatemala in January 2011.

It is an exciting time to be in the Arcadia Education Department. Based on the notion that we are only as strong as the relationships that we form, the Education Department is nurturing and strengthening our partnerships with local K-12 schools to create a comprehensive education program that best prepares our students to lead as teachers and administrators.

Community PartnershipsAs part of our partnership work, AU teacher education students have been leading writing workshops with kids, tutoring in afterschool programs, teaching elective courses of their own design to middle school students, and presenting about their work at local conferences.  In addition, the Office of School and Community Partnerships and faculty have been working with school district administrators and teachers on a variety of initiatives, including professional development work in schools, the role of coaching and mentoring in student teaching, and grant writing to fund this important work.

One initiative we are particularly excited about is pre-student teaching in the Cheltenham School District this fall. In this model, senior elementary education students will spend one full day per week (8 am-4 pm) in one of five Cheltenham School District schools. Arcadia students will have opportunities to work closely with their mentor teacher while also developing a deep understanding of the school through participating in everything from greeting students at the door in the morning to attending grade-level meetings.  More.

Student Teaching: Learning Beyond the Subject

It's only appropriate that a tenth grade biology teacher inspired student teacher Joe MacNichol to excel academically. Just as his tenth grade teacher encouraged him to do well, so did Joe MacNichol encourage his students in his teaching experience at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School, teaching tenth grade biology as part of his semester-long field experience.

Joe MacNichol
Joe MacNichol and his 10th grade biology class at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School.

MacNichol originally started student teaching thinking that students had a set curriculum they had to learn and that it was his role to make sure his students learned the curriculum. By the end of his experience, Joe's mindset had changed. "I wanted my students to learn science so that they thirsted for it; wanted to learn about it. I wanted them to learn what it meant to be a scientist, rather than just the science as a subject."

Along with his co-op teacher, Michael Cole, Department Chair of Biology at Kensington, MacNichol phased into independently teaching in Cole’s classroom, allowing him to use what he learned in the Education program at Arcadia in practice, as well as experiment with his teaching style, in a less stressful environment. He recounted that Cole’s constructive criticism made the co-op relationship a positive experience. More.

faculty & programs

Bruce Campbell Brings Experience From Nicaragua and PDE, Heads Educational Leadership Master's Programs

By Bruce Campbell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Educational Leadership Master's Programs

Dr. Bruce CampbellI am extremely excited about my appointment as a new faculty member and coordinator of the Educational Leadership program at Arcadia University.

For 15 years, I've held a variety of positions in the education field. Most recently, I was a "Distinguished Educator" for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In that position, I consulted with school districts throughout the state, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Chester Upland, and North Penn, focusing on school improvement.

I also have worked at education research and non-profits—Research for Better Schools and the Philadelphia Education Fund—conducting research and program evaluations for various school districts and organizations in the Northeast region of the United States. On an international scale, I’ve worked at the University of Nicaragua, Centro Cultural Nicaraguense Norteamericano, in Managua, Nicaragua, as a visiting professor. More.

Steve Hooker Focuses on Educational Leadership, Urban Education and LGBT Issues

By Steve Hooker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Steve HookerI am excited and honored to join the staff of Arcadia and become a member of this academic community. Throughout my tenure in education, I have served as a teacher and administrator, and worked as a curriculum and staff development specialist for the Indiana Department of Education. My most recent experience has been teaching in the online education program for Ohio Dominican College in Columbus, Ohio. I currently hold a teacher license, in addition to my principal and superintendent's certification.

I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Education and Theatre from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and my master’s degree in Educational Foundations from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. I received my doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati in June of 2010. For two years, I was a research assistant in the communication department at the University, where I conducted research studies, analyzed data, and prepared manuscripts for publication. My research interests include urban educational leadership, social justice in education, gay and lesbian issues in education, educational policy, change and the change process, and gender identity in children and media. More.

Infant-toddler menatl health certificateInfant-Toddler Mental Health Certificate Course Offered
in Spring

The initial course for the Graduate Certificate in Infant-Toddler Mental Health—Infant-Toddler Growth and Development (ED 613A )—is offered online in Spring 2012.

This 12-credit part-time interdisciplinary Arcadia University Graduate Certificate consists of four courses, each requiring 20 practicum hours in a family or educational setting. The program is offered fully online and can be completed within one calendar year.

The Infant-Toddler Mental Health online certificate program is suited particularly for professionals who are seeking additional expertise in the field of infant-toddler mental health and who represent a variety of fields, including early intervention, behavioral health, social work, foster care, early childhood mental health consulting, nurse consulting, occupational and physical therapy, speech and hearing therapy, and child care.  More.

Pennsylvania Director Credential

This three-course, graduate-level program is a requirement of the Keystone STARS program under the Pennsylvania Early Learning Department. Courses are offered on campus, at King of Prussia and at various childcare locations. The entire course sequence will be offered over one year in fall, spring, and summer. Courses do not need to be taken in any specific sequence.

The goal of the PA Director Credential is to provide directors and administrators of early child care sites, centers, preschools, and before and after school care programs with the skills and knowledge to organize, lead, and manage high quality education centers based on state mandates, current trends and research-based practices.

All credits earned in the PA Director Credential program can be applied toward an Early Childhood Education master’s degree program and can be an add-on or used as electives in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Reading master’s degree programs. In addition, ED630 Leadership can be applied to the Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision.  Individual advising will guide students who wish to pursue further coursework. Credits also can be applied toward PA Act 48 Continuing Education credits. 

"Play Fair! Share! Don't Run!"

First year seminar students

First year seminar for students attending two childcare centers in the area, Ardsley Child Care Center and Mary Bert Gutman Early Learning Center.




The Provost's Desk

I welcome the readers to the Education Department’s inaugural Newsletter and congratulate the department for developing yet another medium (The EDUcadian) for communicating with its stakeholders.  A university is established to change society by transforming our civilizations and it does this by changing the lives of its constituents, especially students.  Therefore, every member of a university has a story to tell—a story of how lives have changed or are changing.  Ultimately, the value of the citadel is summed up in these stories; hence, it is the responsibility of university leaders to capture and narrate them succinctly to the general publics.

It is for this reason that I commend the Department and its leadership for changing lives, one student at a time, and for using this medium to tell the stories of faculty impact on students, faculty and students’ impact on school districts, and their influence on our understanding of the latest art and craft of teaching. As a Provost, nothing pleases me more than stories that warm the hearts about how academic units are relevant to individual lives and to the community. More

Faculty accomplishments
& publications

Plummer Article in International Journal Probes How Children Explain the Sun, Moon and Stars

Leif GustavsenDr. Julia Plummer, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Science Education, recently co-authored several articles, incuding one on elementary students' explanations for the daily patterns of apparent motion of the Sun, Moon, and stars in an international journal. More.

Bhukhanwala, Student-Teachers Present on Using 'Theater of the Oppressed'

Forum BhukhanwalaDr. Foram Bhukhanwala, Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, along with Martha A. Allexsaht-Snider, presented a paper on "Learning From Using Theater of the Oppressed in a Student Teaching Seminar: A Self-Study," at the 2011 Annual Meeting and Training Session of the American Educational Research Association in New Orleans, Louisiana in April 2011. More.

Bhukhanwala, Reedy, and Trainor: 'Learnings from Cross-Cultural Experiences'

Bhukhanwala, Reedy and Trainor

Dr. Foram Bhukhanwala, Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Dr. Cindy Kennedy Reedy, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program, and Dr. Kathy Trainor, Adjunct Professor, presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children in Philadelphia in May 2011. They presented the paper along with several other researchers who are not affiliated with Arcadia University. More.

Dean and Bhukhanwala Research Arts-Based Explorations in Student Teaching

Dr. Kim Dean and Dr. Forum BhukhanwalaDr. Kimberly Dean, Assistant Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Five-Year Special Education program, and Dr. Foram Bhukhanwala, Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, received a Faculty Development Fund grant through Arcadia University to conduct a research project on "Student Teachers Perform: Creating Reflective Learning Community Through Arts-Based Explorations."

Slesaransky-Poe Addresses Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner

Dr. Graciela Slesaransky-PoeDr. Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Associate Professor of Special Education and Special Education master's program coordinator, addressed 3,000 guests moments before President Barack Obama took the stage at the 15th Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1, 2011. More.

Davila and 16 Students Participate in Service Learning in Guatemala

Dr. Erica DavilaDr. Erica Davila traveled to Guatemala for a service learning trip in January 2011 with students Amanda Edgar, Erika Weber, Cassandra Etienne, and Amy Roberts '12 and Amanda Weicksel '12, as well as Elizabeth Gluck, an alumna of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program. Alyssa Jerson, an Arcadia alumna who majored in Spanish and earned an ESL certificate, joined the group to assist with translating. More.


Thinking about a Graduate Education program or certification?

Sign up for an Education Program Appointment—a brief appointment with an advisor—at Arcadia's Graduate Education Information Session on Thursday, Dec. 15. Bring your transcripts for certification analysis and any questions you may have about our Graduate Education programs.

Appointments are available from 4-5 p.m.or5-6 p.m. (Click on a time to register online.) You may register by phone at  1-877-ARCADIA (1-877-272-2342).


Where are They Now?

AU Alumni share their adventures in teaching and beyond!

Amanda Penecale

Amanda Rae Penecale '09 M.Ed., Cornwall-on Hudson, NY: "This fall I will be starting a new position as the Art Department Chair at The Storm King School in New York. I have spent the last two years as an art teacher in Bucks County public schools while teaching Continuing Education classes at Moore College of Art and Design. I am looking forward to my new adventure in NY. As well as being an art educator I am also a singer- songwriter. I have been performing throughout the Philadelphia area, and I have released two EPs. There are plans for a full length album out later this year. If you are interested in hearing my music, please visit my website at"


Dr. Phillip Hernández '08 Ed.D. was named Health Sciences Professor of the Year. He is pictured above with the current officers of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Speech and Hearing Club. Faculty are nominated by the Board of Trustees and voted on by peers and students.


Fort Washington Elementary School teacher Connie Nitschke '97 M.Ed. won the Barnes & Noble Favorite Teacher Contest.

Tell us where YOU are now!