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Graduate School News Briefs

June 10, 2002

Swihart named 2001 Outstanding Biology Teacher

Coleen Swihart ’99 was named Oregon’s 2001 Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers. Swihart teaches biology, advanced genetics, and advanced ecology at Canby High School.

Chuck Smith, a retired high school science teacher who came to know Swihart in 1996 through Portland State University’s molecular biotechnology institute for teachers, nominated her for the award.

“Coleen is a teacher willing to make the time investment to stay current in her field,” says Smith. “With all the changes taking place in science today, it is terrifically important to pass on these innovations to high school students. And Coleen does that.”

Swihart, an outdoors buff, enjoys taking her students out of the classroom and into Oregon’s natural landscapes to explore how science is relevant to their lives. Favorite field trips include hikes into local forests to study forest ecology and visits to Oregon’s rivers to watch wild salmon spawn.

“It is these spontaneous moments in the field that often make the biggest impression on my students,” says Swihart.

Professor advises interim Afghan government

At the request of United Nations representatives and Afghanistan’s interim minister of higher education, Professor of Education Zaher Wahab spent the spring as a special adviser on education issues for his native country of Afghanistan.

His responsibilities included the preparation of higher education faculty; the development of higher education curricula; the reestablishment of libraries; and the development of education programs in health care, agriculture, engineering, and architecture. Central to all his efforts, Wahab reports, was the value of equal access to higher education regardless of gender, ethnicity, or economic status.

“This trip was one of the most arduous and risky experiences I have ever had. At the same time, it was gratify-ing and exhilarating,” says Wahab, who returned in June to teach summer courses at the graduate school. “After a quarter century of war, a feeling of hope and optimism exists. The Afghan people look forward to peace, security, and stability.”

Senator keynotes forum, Latinas en la escuela

Oregon Senator Susan Castillo provided the opening remarks for a daylong forum on the experiences of Latina students in the American classroom on February 23. The forum brought together local Latina students, school administrators, counselors, teachers, and social service providers to develop action plans for improving the experiences of Latina students in Oregon public schools.

“It’s not every day you get school administrators and Latina teenagers in the same room together to discuss education reform,” says Sally Earll, director of special projects. “Conversation was lively, and forum teams laid the ground-work for improving the academic experiences of Latina students.”

David Hagstrom retires

Associate Professor David Hagstrom retired this spring. Hagstrom has written extensively on being a principal, educational leadership, and rural education. His work at the College included teaching courses in the Department of Educational Administration and facilitating the school’s Courage to Lead program.

“David is the epitome of a collaborative leader,” says Tom Ruhl, chair of the Department of Educational administration. “He not only believes in participatory leadership, he exudes acceptance of others, and conveys an affirmation of the best in all of us.”

Hagstrom will continue to teach for Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education part time, while working as a private educational consultant for teachers and principals in Oregon’s schools.

$15,000 donation to support Courage to Teach

The Graduate School of Education received a $15,000 donation from the Washington Mutual Foundation for Courage to Teach, a two-year program that seeks to foster the personal and professional renewal of talented teachers. Washington Mutual’s donation will provide scholarship support for Oregon teachers to participate in the program. For more information about upcoming Courage to Teach activities, call 503-768-6040.

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