Month: September 2018

UCAPP Kicks Off Annual Workshop Series

Women engaged in a UCAPP lessonOn September 25, 2018, the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) will begin its 4th annual series of UCAPP workshops. UCAPP workshops are designed to supplement UCAPP’s core curriculum by offering extensions to UCAPP’s current principal preparation program courses and internship opportunities.

The first two UCAPP workshops of the 2018-2019 school year will be held next week in New Haven, CT, and Hartford, CT. These UCAPP workshops, called ‘Core Values, Mission, and Vision + Budget’ first will challenge aspiring UCAPP Leaders to identify their own core values and beliefs about educational leadership.

Next, students will work in small groups of aspiring elementary principals at ‘Neag Elementary School’ and aspiring high school principals at ‘Neag High School’ to simulate the development of each school’s vision and mission statements. These vision and mission statements will be based on simulated school data and budget considerations developed by the UCAPP Workshops planning team.

Although UCAPP workshops are optional for students, each one provides a collaborative, hands-on adult learning experience utilizing authentic case studies, real data, artifacts and documents, and simulations. The process to create and develop the UCAPP workshop structure aligns closely with the Carnegie Foundation’s improvement science process. Specifically, UCAPP utilized the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) inquiry method in improvement science to address identified gaps in UCAPP’s ever-evolving core curriculum.

The UCAPP workshop model fills gaps between iterations of UCAPP’s core curriculum, and provide flexibility for the program to respond to student needs quickly and intentionally as standards, innovations, and policies emerge within the profession. Such stop-gap practices also support the program’s other processes to develop enhancements for continuous improvement between iterations of the core curriculum. In fact, since the implementation of the UCAPP workshop model, curriculum gaps identified by the program and filled by workshops are now leading to more permanent enhancements to continuously improve both the curriculum and student internship as part of the UCAPP’s elective redesign process.

“UCAPP Workshops fill gaps between iterations of our core curriculum, and provide flexibility for the program to respond to student needs quickly and intentionally as standards, innovations, and policies emerge within the profession.”
- Jonathan Carter, 3rd-year doctoral student

The workshop planning team consists of UCAPP’s current graduate assistant, Jonathan Carter, who is in his 3rd-year of his doctoral degree, UCAPP’s Program Coordinator, Joanne Manginelli and UConn’s Director of Educational Leadership Preparation Programs, Dr. Richard Gonzales.

The team constantly monitors ongoing shifts in the educational leadership field to strategically incorporate new UCAPP workshops into the academic calendar. UCAPP Workshops for 2018-2019 include the expansion of its popular career planning webinars, culminating with the 3rd Annual Mock Interview Day in two locations over two separate dates. Other new UCAPP workshops events for 2018-2019 include a series of Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT) study sessions led by EDLR’s Dr. Jennie Weiner and sessions facilitated by Dr. Chip Dumais on School Safety & Crisis Management and Social Media.

The 2018-19 UCAPP workshops will offer second-year students an innovative new series of five webinars on “Cultural Responsiveness.” These webinars will explore what it means for each of our aspiring school leaders to be a culturally responsive leader today.

Richard Gonzales

Looking ahead, first-year students can choose to participate in the following UCAPP Workshops:

  • Core Values, Vision, and Mission
  • Professional Learning Planning
  • PPT / Special Education
  • SRBI
  • Talent Management
  • Situational Leadership (Culture & Climate)
  • Situational Leadership (Family & Community Engagement)

Second-year UCAPP Leaders will have additional opportunities to further supplement their leadership preparation through these targeted workshops:

  • Career Planning
  • CAT/ELAS Preparation
  • School Safety & Crisis Management
  • Social Media

We look forward to the continued success of the UCAPP Workshops series, and encourage interested parties to visit UCAPP Workshops for more information or to register for an upcoming event.

Lessons from the Field: Dr. H. Kenny Nienhusser

The word students often use to describe Dr. H. Kenny Nienhusser is “passionate.”  From the very beginning of his career, passion has been a driving force for Nienhusser.  His first professional position was as a Residence Hall Director at Stony Brook University in New York, and it was there that the idea of a career in higher education and student affairs occurred to him.  

“It was the first seed of thinking, wow, there’s this whole field that exists,” says Nienhusser. “The residential program I worked in was very focused on making the bridge between theory and practice … it was very deliberate in thinking about how professionals could better meet the needs of students by making ourselves well-informed practitioners. This was achieved by reading scholarly work. And that was the first time I thought: wouldn’t it be cool to one day publish in one of these journals I’m reading, to help inform practice?”

He was a Hall Director at Stony Brook for three years while he worked simultaneously on his master’s degree in social work (MSW).  In 2001, he completed his MSW and decided he was ready for more. “I come from Latino immigrant parents and education is a very important 

value in my community,” Nienhusser says. “Education was always something I wanted to further pursue.” By this point, his passion for higher education and student affairs was growing.  He accepted a job at Teachers College, Columbia University and soon after that began his doctoral studies there.

Over the next nearly 10 years, Nienhusser ‘chipped away’ at his Ed.D. while working full-time at Teachers College, first as Assistant Director of Housing and then as Director of Academic 

Administration.  Since completing his Ed.D. in 2011, he has taught at Teachers College and University of Hartford, and now brings his expertise to UConn.

Dr. Nienhusser’s research focuses broadly on the high school to college transition of underrepresented minoritized populations in higher education, and especially the undocumented and DACAmented communities.  DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a U.S. federal program that provides a stay of deportation for some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16. Recently, Dr. Nienhusser has been investigating how higher education professionals obtain awareness, knowledge, and skills in relation to issues that affect undocu/DACAmented students’ postsecondary education access.  

The complexity of this question, although challenging, is also one of the most compelling parts of his research, says Nienhusser.  “It’s a complicated and fascinating phenomenon to examine,” he says. “You’re tapping into federal policies, state policies, and institutional policies. And you’re also looking at how these policies are implemented at the individual level by education institutional agents.  The financial aid officer, the admissions counselor who’s sitting behind a desk working: how do they make meaning of this complex policy environment along with their personal beliefs and professional values?”

Dr. Nienhusser says he hopes his work informs and supports higher education institutional agents as they try to meet the needs of the undocu/DACAmented student population.

“What undocu/DACAmented students are living through is so very troubling,” says Nienhusser. “If I can make a positive impact at even one or two institutions, I’m happy.”

The reach of Dr. Nienhusser’s work extends far beyond one or two institutions, however.  Just as he once imagined during his time at Stony Brook University, he has published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, the Journal of College Admission, Research in Higher Education, Community College Review, The Review of Higher Education, among others.  

His current project is something he says he’s really excited about: working with a group of scholars in the field to disseminate work related with the undocu/DACAmented community.  For this project, the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s (ASHE) Presidential Commission on Undocumented Immigrants (of which Nienhusser is co-chair) UndocuScholars (at UCLA), and UConn’s Neag School of Education have partnered to create a research brief dissemination series this academic year, and Nienhusser is kicking it off this October with a Twitter chat regarding his brief, “Implementation of Public and Institutional Policies for Undocu/DACAmented Students at Higher Education Institutions.”

When asked what advice he would give to students and emerging practitioners, Dr. Nienhusser’s passion for his work once again shows through.  “Never stop learning,” he says without hesitation. “I always say that to my students: I’m learning with you. It is so important that as practitioners we never stop learning.”

Dr. Nienhusser’s Twitter chat (“Implementation of Public and Institutional Policies for Undocu/DACAmented Students at Higher Education Institutions”) will take place on October 16, 2018 at 11 a.m. PST.  Those interested can RSVP here, join the conversation using the hashtag #UndocEdu, and follow Dr. Nienhusser on Twitter at @kennynien.

Preston Green Served on NEPC Research Panel

EDLR’s Dr. Preston Green recently served on the 12th Annual National Education Policy Center (NEPC)’s research panel, held on Sept. 14, 2018.  The talk was titled The Challenge of Making Research Usable and Used and included panelists:

Erica Frankenberg from Pennsylvania State University
Genevieve Siegel-Hawley from Virginia Commonwealth University
Preston Green from the University of Connecticut

The panel discussion was open to all faculty, students and community members and was held at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Nienhusser Joins AERA Books Editorial Board, 2018-2022

H. Kenny NienhusserCongratulations to HESA’s Dr. H. Kenny Nienhusser who recently accepted a four year term serving on the AERA Books Editorial Board.

The Books Editorial Board presides over the books publishing program of the association and enables the association to serve as a publisher of books of excellence and importance to the research community, and to practitioners and policymakers interested in education research. AERA publishes works to advance knowledge, to expand access to significant research and research analyses and syntheses, and to promote knowledge utilization.  The Books Editorial Board is an eight person committee who will serve as the board of advisors for books and book series.