Category Archives: Academics

Education Classes at Ursuline – Teaching Life Skills and Leadership

Our major of the month for August is Education. To learn more about the Education Unit at Ursuline College, we interviewed the co-directors of the Education Unit, Dr. Mary Jo Cherry and Dr. Jim Connell. Cherry and Connell both shared valuable information about why being an education major at Ursuline is so special.

What are some things that you learn in an education class that help you for the rest of your life?

Jim Connell: I guess I would start by saying that you really do get in touch with who you are and who you are going to be. We emphasize that quite a bit – it is important, if you’re going to be an effective leader, to really know yourself. That’s just essential. You deepen the understanding of yourself so that you can be an effective leader.

Mary Jo Cherry: And I would say that’s probably similar in teacher education.

If you were talking to people that had a negative image of people in education or education majors in general, what would you want those people to know about education majors?

Mary Jo Cherry: I would say, speaking for undergrad, they are very dedicated and they want to work with kids. They are very hard working. A lot of our undergrad education majors are athletes, and a lot of them work full-time or part-time. You can’t be in this major and not be dedicated. They don’t get many electives, if any at all. It’s not for the faint of heart. These students, in addition to their coursework on campus, they’re out in the schools from their very first semester. As an example, the special education majors, before they even get to student teaching, have clocked a minimum of 365 additional hours. They’re really dedicated and they’re committed to doing what’s best for kids.

Jim Connell: I would go in a couple directions there also. Mary Jo ended with discussing hours. In both of our field courses, we exceed the minimum you see at some other institutions. If someone has a negative image, I’m not so sure that I can change that. But, what I can tell them is that the people who are in education operate out of a high sense of commitment and a strong sense of personal satisfaction from what they do. They really do enjoy it.

Mary Jo Cherry: The other thing I can mention is that our graduates see themselves in a profession, and they see themselves giving back as part of their professional responsibility. Our undergraduate advisory board has some of our undergrad graduates, but we also have educational administration graduates, who just happen to end up on our board because someone nominated them. They are absolutely wonderful. Educators are by and large a very committed group. They see themselves not only as working in the profession but also giving back. There’s a wonderful sense of community.

Any tips for current education students, future education majors, or recent graduates of Ursuline’s programs?

Mary Jo Cherry: I always say get as much experience around the children you want to teach as you can, so age level, developmental level. So for my students, I usually say it doesn’t matter what you do with them, just be sure you want to do this. Get as much experience as you can. The other thing I say is be willing to move where the jobs are. If you’re in a position to move, there are teaching jobs all over the country. I suggest that they be open to charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, and public schools, because you need to get your foot in the door and you need experience. If you’re always doing what you truly believe is the best for children, you won’t be hurting anybody.

Jim Connell: I think I would go a different way. I simply say to people that you want to look around and pick a program that has success and a network. We work to make sure people are in a place that they can get jobs, and we help them network at all times. Look for not just the beginning of the program, but the end.

Mary Jo Cherry: We really do work as much as possible with individuals, as opposed to a group of people in a class. The whole institution, not just our unit, not just our programs, walks the talk. We are really here for you, and you are not a number. There are at least three students who are currently in the educational administration graduate program that went through our teacher education undergraduate program.

I want the students to know a little bit more about you. What is your favorite part of teaching education classes?

Mary Jo Cherry: It’s the students I teach. That’s it. I love being with the students, and it’s energizing, it’s fun, and I just enjoy it.

Jim Connell: Mary Jo was talking about enthusiasm. I always present the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I can be excited about teaching curriculum development, but it’s making the students enthusiastic about it that’s the key. It’s getting the students excited about what they’re learning.

Mary Jo Cherry: We do our administrative duties, but we only do it because we can still teach. I bring stickers, and pencils for every occasion. And I love sharing stories. I warn them that anything they say in class, I’ll have a story about it.

 

Counseling and Art Therapy students go to South Dakota on service learning trip

Written by Katherine Jackson, assistant professor, Counseling and Art Therapy department

photo 8From June 21 – 27, 2015, graduate students, alumnae, one undergraduate student, a few community members and three faculty members journeyed to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, to work with Lakota Sioux youth at the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) which is located on the Cheyenne River Native American Reservation.

Graduate students in the Counseling and Art Therapy program had suggested about a year ago that we do a service learning trip with impoverished and at risk populations in our own country, and we discovered a wonderful opportunity at Cheyenne River Youth Project. CRYP was founded in the 1980s to help give youth and teens a place to congregate where they could enjoy healthy snacks, activities and socialize. CRYP was a big success from the start, and soon after opening they were able to secure grants and funding to build a new center that could accommodate almost all of the youth in and around the Eagle Butte area. At present, CRYP serves hundreds of children, providing sports, art, tutoring, a youth run coffee shop, a sustainable organic garden, a graffiti art park and a healthy eating program which offers whole food meals every evening for any child in the community.

The Coordinator of Volunteer Service, Tammy Eagle Hunter, explained the philosophy at CRYP, which is “Don’t feel sorry for us and try to help, but rather join with us and together we will make things better.” This statement, although simple, sums up the attitude at CRYP. Everyone is encouraged to help side-by-side with the Lakota Sioux to maintain the community, work with the kids and pitch in wherever needed.

While we were there, we workphoto 4ed on cleaning, landscaping, gardening and organizing the center in the morning. In the afternoons, 30-40 youth arrived to participate in art therapy, nature activities, games, yoga and loving care from the Ursuline group. We provided support, care and lots of fun. Not only did the kids get to do art therapy and create many beautiful art creations, but they got their first taste of yoga. Yoga was a hit with many of the kids because it was so different than anything they had ever experienced.

While we were at the center, we learned first hand how alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, low socioeconomic status and poor dietary habits affect this vulnerable population. Many of the children got their only meal of the day at the CRYP center and endured parental neglect and abuse at home. Despite these hardships, the resiliency of these Lakota Sioux children is remarkable. The children embraced us with open arms and hearts, and we found a welcome home away from home at the center and in the reservation.

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We were fortunate enough to have a Lakota artisan, a bead worker, and a native storyteller and dancer work with us for an afternoon. We learned that the Lakota language is an oral language and thus is almost extinct. The Lakota people are attempting to put the language in written form to help preserve it and also to maintain important Lakota traditions. For example, in Lakota there is no word that means war, and this peaceful tradition is built right into rituals and community gatherings. Most quarrels are handled by compromise, with harmony being a prized value in the population.

One week did not seem like enough time to fully visit and get to know the people at the CRYP center and on the Cheyenne River Reservation. We are hopeful that we can return next year and make it an annual service learning trip to help the Lakota Sioux youth and continue to forge and build relationships with both the CRYP and the Cheyenne River Reservation.

 

Health Policy Intensive course focuses on homelessness

The Breen School of Nursing offered a new course for undergraduate students this year – titled the Health Policy Intensive (HPI). The course was available for Junior level nursing students. Unlike regular courses, this intensive began just after finals ended, and included adventures around Cleveland and in Washington, D.C.

Comprised of eight students and two faculty members, the group learned what homelessness is like here in Cleveland. The group specifically worked with Bellefaire JCB to discover what homeless youths experience. In addition, the pre-trip portion of the intensive also included learning about life at the Lakeside Men’s Shelter.

The class traveled to Washington, D.C. for a four-day whirlwind trip that covered a wide range of informational activities and meetings. On the first day, the group began the trip with a discussion on public policy and how it relates to homelessness. The group was also able to meet with two legislative aids to discuss some of the public policy issues relating to homelessness. One of the students on the trip, Rachel Jalowiec, said, “I was shocked at how people paid such little attention to homelessness. When we were talking to the congressmen, they were throwing out these ideas, and from what we’d learned, we knew that they would never work.”

The second day of the trip was a tour of Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, VA, where the class met with a public policy analyst and a lobbyist from Catholic Charities over a lunch meeting. The third day of the trip got more hands-on, with the class taking a tour of the National Institute of Health. There, they met with representatives from the nursing department as well as toured various wards. This gave the students the opportunity to see the nursing end of healthcare for those in difficult situations. In addition, the group met with Brian Carome, one of the leaders of an organization called Street Sense, which puts out a bi-weekly newspaper written by and for homeless people. This organization also helps to give the homeless marketable skills and employment by helping them contract for graphic art and other similar projects.

The HPI group at Christ House in Washington, D.C.

The HPI group at Christ House in Washington, D.C.

The final day of the trip was the one that hit the hardest. The group of students went to Christ House, which according to Mary Lind Crowe, one of the faculty members on the trip, is “a men’s only facility that accepts and provides care for homeless people that have chronic and/or debilitating illness once they are discharged from the hospital.”

About the trip to Christ House, Jalowiec said, “That was my favorite part, because it was more emotional than I thought it was going to be. The people were so kind, and they’ve lived hard lives.”

When asked about why it is important for students that are looking to go into healthcare, and especially nursing, to learn about homelessness, Crowe said, “The concept of homelessness is very relevant for nursing – we could encounter these people every day in our job and not realize it unless we pay attention to details, like if the address they give is a homeless shelter. It’s also key to remember that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, and that being in our care means that they and/or their families see what their going through as a financial burden.”

Jalowiec said that the HPI experience really changed her perspective on homelessness and healthcare. She stated that she learned that “whether it be mental illness or drug addiction, it’s important for the homeless to get healthcare without being judged. One of the reasons that they end up waiting so long to get healthcare, besides not being able to afford it, is that they are afraid of being judged.” She added that, “there are so many stereotypes with the homeless, and hearing about their pasts really helped us learn not to judge them.”

The HPI trip definitely made a lasting impact on all of those involved. Jalowiec stated that although she’d always wanted to make a difference in the world, “this trip has gotten [me] to look into things more. On our way to Christ House, I was discussing everything with my professors, and we wondered if there were any similar programs in Cleveland. This trip made me want to get my degree and look into working for a program like Christ House after I graduate. This class made me want to make more of a difference.”

George Masa: A Biography of a Preservationist

May is National Historic Preservation Month!  Thank you to Freshman Historic Preservation major Aly Nahra for sharing this biography she recently wrote on George Masa who inspires her with his commitment to preservation.

George Masa

George Masa

George Masa was an influential person in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Little is known about him before he came to the United States except that he came from Japan in the early 1900s. When he first came to America, he was going to school. Later, he moved to North Carolina and worked a few different jobs there until he opened his own photography studio. He spent much of his time there exploring the Smoky Mountains, which were the subject of many of his photographs. After this, he began promoting the preservation of the Smoky Mountains by selling photographs from his studio. He spent the rest of his life working to preserve the Great Smoky Mountains through his photography, hoping that his pictures would move others the ways the mountains did him.

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FRANCES PAYNE BOLTON’S “PLACE” IN PRESERVATION

For Women's History month, celebrate Ohioan Frances Payne Bolton, historic preservation and environmental conservation advocate.

For Women’s History month, celebrate Ohioan Frances Payne Bolton, historic preservation and environmental conservation advocate.

Meghan O’Connor of the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently reported “only 8% of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places embody underrepresented communities, including women.”[i]

Women, however, are approximately half the nation’s population. Further, they have historically been integral in promoting preservation of historic sites at the national level as well as state and local levels.

American women have historically asked questions about their role, their “place,” in American society as well as American history. We would do well to also ask with increasing vigor about women’s “place” in preservation and at historic sites. These are the most noticeable, nonverbal cues about our cultural values and legacy that we can offer to our population.

And so, in the spirit of introducing one woman’s “place” in preservation, I ask: What do former Ohio Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton and our first President George Washington have in common besides public service in national politics?

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Creating hope: one ribbon at a time

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By Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S, Adjunct Faculty, Art Therapy and Counseling Program

In August 2014, a collaborative community art project was launched in Ferguson, Missouri in an effort to create a hopeful and safe place for people to come together in the spirit of unity, connection, and compassion.

Members from the Ferguson community and anyone supporting this creative cause have been invited to contribute a ribbon with hopeful messages that will help provide support and strength. Ribbons of HOPE, as seen in the video below are displayed at different locations throughout Ferguson to visually communicate this expression of support:

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Breen School of Nursing Dean Pat Sharpnack discusses Ebola virus on WKYC-TV news

Update. College holds beam signing ceremony for construction of the Center for Creative and Healing Arts

1r1eZvDqWdyRpHBhClZWJF_6AScBOM5rAHoz_gyS0qg,FYyg0VZOe7eodw0X3ifqtWU8B1QbYaWWeJ9jdd89uKcUrsuline College continues tradition by hosting a beam signing ceremony for the new Center for Creative and Healing Arts. Ursuline is also constructing an athletic center on campus. The construction of the two buildings is the College’s largest project in over 40 years.

The Center for the Creative and Healing Arts and Sciences will house the Art Therapy and Counseling department and The Breen School of Nursing’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The building is comprised of 22,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and conference and meeting space equipped with the latest technologies in education.

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Tradition. Sophomore nursing students take part in ‘Blessing of the Hands’ ceremony

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Every year sophomore nursing students take part in a traditional ceremony called the Blessing of the Hands. This blessing ceremony is a beautiful experience and valuable to students as they embark on their first clinical rotations. As a daughter of an Ursuline alumna, my mother, a registered nurse has learned through this experience to value the importance of empathy, compassion, strength and responsibility and has been guided by God to use her hands to heal those that suffer. Ursuline College, the only school in the region that holds this ceremony, wants this unique tradition to “touch the heart through the hands”. Through this ceremony, students will learn the importance of compassion and care toward patients and reflect on their upcoming responsibilities.

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Professor and Department Chair Laura Hammel Selected for PRSA Esteemed College of Fellows

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The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s Board of Directors has approved the recommendation of Dr. Laura R. Hammel for acceptance to the organization’s prestigious College of Fellows.

The College of Fellows, founded in 1989, is a community of more than 300 senior PRSA members who have advanced the public relations profession and distinguished themselves through their experience and leadership in the public relations industry. Admission is open to public relations practitioners or educators with 20 years’ experience or more, hold the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential and have demonstrated exceptional capability and accomplishment in the practice or teaching of public relations. College of Fellows members also must exhibit personal and professional qualities that make them role models for other practitioners or educators.

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