School of Education NewsLink, Fall 2017

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Message from the Dean

Dean Kevin Zook PhD with StudentsAs I write this message, a new academic year is upon us! The campus is coming alive with new faces, new relationships, new opportunities, and new challenges! What will this academic year bring? We can’t be completely certain, but we do know that the faculty and staff in the School of Education are prepared to advance the University’s mission by continuing to offer programs and educational opportunities of the highest quality.

In this issue of SOE – NewsLink, we prepare for the retirement of a faculty member, report on enrollment numbers, describe changes in our Doctoral Program, announce Alpha House expansion, and focus our support staff spotlight on one of the longest serving members of the Holy Family community. Do you know who it is?

For more details on these stories and more, read on! As always, please send us news of your professional accomplishments to include in future editions of SOE – NewsLink!

Dean Kevin Zook



Kevin Zook, PhD
Dean, School of Education

Table of Contents

School of Education Undergraduate Enrollment Holds Steady | Master's Degree Cohorts Produce Strong Enrollments | Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership Has a New Look! | Faculty Spotlight: Kathy Quinn Announces Retirement | Alpha House Expands to Serve More Children and Families | SOE Retired Faculty Member Honored by Catholic Schools | SOE Doctoral Students Hooded at Commencement | Support Staff Spotlight: Sandy Crane's Long History of Service | SOE Faculty Achievements in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service | Upcoming Events and Opportunities

School of Education Undergraduate Enrollment Holds Steady

Over the last several years, the number of initial teaching certificates issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education has decreased significantly by more than 50%. Despite the state-wide decline in the number of students entering teacher preparation programs, Holy Family’s program has remained viable and strong. For the new academic year, the School of Education welcomed 31 new first-year students and 12 new transfer students. Welcome to all our new students!

Master's Degree Cohorts Produce Strong Enrollments

The School’s new initiative in offering its master’s degree programs and certifications through online and blended cohorts continues to attract large numbers of graduate students. Since the program began last April, 2016, the School of Education has started 32 new cohorts and enrolled approximately 445 new students. The program is coordinated by SOE faculty member, Dr. Roseanna Wright, assisted by Michael Bringhurst, who joined our SOE support staff at the end of August.

Are you interested in pursuing a master’s degree or graduate level certification? Check out our cohort program at

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership Has a New Look!

During the 2016-17 academic year, the School of Education’s Doctoral Faculty Committee worked hard to revamp the EdD in Educational Leadership. The Committee created—and the University approved—the following new program delivery features to make it easier for working professionals to pursue the doctoral degree at Holy Family:

  1. Cohort model, with each new cohort beginning in the fall semester.
  2. Completion timeline of three years plus one semester so students will have a specific starting and ending point (including completion of dissertation).
  3. 8-week course structure that the master’s cohort classes currently use. Full-time doctoral students will continue to take two courses per semester and summer, but with the 8-week format, they can focus on one course at a time.
  4. Creation of blended and online courses to decrease the amount of time doctoral students need to come to campus for class. The program continues to offer some courses in a face-to-face classroom setting.
  5. Highly structured expectations and guidance for dissertation courses to ensure that students complete the entire program, including the dissertation, within the program timeline.

The new program features already have helped to attract nine new doctoral students for the Fall 2017 cohort. If you are interested in joining the Fall 2018 cohort, it is not too early to begin the application process. Please visit our website for more information:

Faculty Spotlight: Kathy Quinn Announces Retirement

School of Education Professor Diane ElliotAt the beginning of her 27th year of teaching in the School of Education, Dr. Kathleen Quinn has announced her plan to retire at the conclusion of the Fall 2017 semester. Before she jets off to Hawaii, SOE – NewsLink was able to chat with Dr. Quinn about her career at Holy Family and her plans for the future . . .

NL: Tell us about your academic preparation. What degrees and certifications have you earned and where did you earn them?

I attended Temple University for all of my degrees... B.S.W., M.Ed., and Ph.D.

I love Temple and had so many good experiences there. Professors Harry Bailey, Peter Bachrach, and Tessie Okin, were all influential during my undergraduate years. I was a work study in the political science department and majored in Social Welfare, community organizing. This led me back to Temple to pursue a Master's in Reading, and eventually, a doctorate as well. I received full graduate assistantships and fellowships for my graduate degrees.

NL: What was your teaching experience before you began teaching at the university level?

I started working in a community organization in Kensington helping young mothers teach their children. This led me to pursue my certification in Elementary Education and Reading Specialist. From there, I taught at St. Boniface, St. Veronica, and Fairhill Elementary Schools until I was hired as a reading specialist for the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. At that time, I worked in various non-public schools such as Archbishop Kenrick, St. Matthew, St. Joseph, and St. Bridget. I also taught part-time at the Bridge (a drug and alcohol rehab center for adolescents) and as an adjunct at Temple, Widener, and LaSalle.

NL: What inspired or motivated you to become a teacher of teachers?

I love to learn and to me there is no better way to learn than to teach. Academia afforded me the opportunity to continually expand my own knowledge while having a positive effect on a broader group of people who, then in turn, would teach others. One of my favorite poems is by Maya Angelou where she uses the analogy of a river flowing…we are all the receivers and the givers.

NL: When did you start teaching at Holy Family University? What attracted you to Holy Family?

I started teaching at Holy Family as an adjunct in the spring of 1991. The new M.Ed. for Reading Specialists is what attracted me here and, then, once I started, the personal atmosphere and dedicated colleagues and students are what kept me here.

NL: During the time you have been teaching at Holy Family, what are some of the major changes you have seen in the University and its students?

Holy Family has achieved so much in these past 26 years: It has become more diverse in its student body, has so many more degree programs especially at the graduate levels, doctoral programs have been developed in Education, Nursing, and Liberal Arts. We have become a University. The physical plant has expanded and improved, including the addition of dorms. Our athletics department has grown and improved. There has been tremendous use of technology and online coursework. There have been many changes in faculty, staff, and administration, as well as curriculum and policies. I would say that I have seen a significant amount of change in all aspects of the university except in the emphasis of the personal interaction that is so highly valued between faculty and students.

NL: You have done quite a bit of scholarly work in the area of reading and literacy. Could you describe some of your major achievements in this area?

I would say my major achievements include the articles and assessment materials that I have published, especially those in The Reading Teacher, Buros Mental Measurement Yearbooks, and the Critical Reading Inventory eVersion. I am also proud of the many national and international presentations I have participated in—especially those where I have recruited many of my students to become participants and authors as well.

NL: If you could give one piece of advice to parents and teachers to help them work with young children to develop their early reading abilities, what would it be?

Instill a love of reading and writing in your children from a very young age: read to them, read with them, take them to the library, buy them books, write with them, let them be creative and write and play and make up stories and shows for you and for their friends. Show them that reading and writing are fun, important, and of high value. Model reading and writing every day. Talk about what you read, what you write, what you watch, what you do. Let them talk too. Have real conversations. Have real experiences.

NL: We know that you enjoy traveling to Hawaii. What is it about Hawaii that attracts you?

First, who wouldn’t love Hawaii—except getting there from the East Coast? What is not to like other than that?

However, for me, beyond the weather and the beaches, I love the Aloha Spirit, the people, the diversity, the culture, and the history. I have always been fascinated by first people’s culture—Native Americans, Australians (still have to get there), Africans, and Polynesians. On my last sabbatical, 2013-14, I had the pleasure of exploring much more of the culture, traditions, and ancient sites on Oahu and the Big Island. This has only made me read more and want to return. If you haven’t been there, it is a magical, heavenly place on earth that I would highly recommend. It is worth the flight!

NL: What are you looking forward to doing in your retirement?

I want to continue scholarly reading and writing as well as some more commercial writing pursuits. Also, possibly, teaching online or part-time. I am also hoping to have some time for some volunteer work, going back to my social welfare roots. Travel will be a part of my retirement as long as I am healthy and it is economically feasible. I want to escape part of winter and continue to have fun for as long as I can!

NL: Thank you, Kathy, for chatting with us. Congratulations on your long and productive career at Holy Family. Please drop us a postcard from Australia when you get there!

Alpha House Expands to Serve More Children and Families

Alpha House Nursery SchoolAlpha House, the University’s on-campus nursery school and kindergarten, is expanding for the 2017-2018 school year. Through the generosity of Mr. Al Chadwick and the vision of Sister Maureen and the University, Alpha House will be moving its kindergarten to Aquinas Hall. The renovations are almost complete and the transition of the kindergarten classrooms is planned to begin by August 30.

The expansion is a very welcome addition. It will allow Alpha House to increase enrollment, with the goal of serving 130 children within the next three years. The expansion into Aquinas also allows Alpha House to create more space to meet the needs of children, especially those with special needs. The space will provide a classroom for Sister Evy, who in the past has had to travel from classroom to classroom with a cart. She is very excited about the change! In addition, Alpha House looks forward to creating a special room for speech needs and a quiet space where children can take a break as their needs warrant. The added space also will house a resource room for students and faculty from the School of Education where they can exchange ideas and observe Alpha House in action.

Aquinas Hall - Alpha House Nursery and Pre-schoolEventually, Alpha House plans to develop a computer center in the new Aquinas space, equipped with white boards and chrome books to prepare children for the transition to first grade. The move also will allow for more space at Alpha House’s present location, where a center room will be created where the teachers can rotate different types of hands-on and STEM activities to extend children’s learning.

In addition to the expansion, Alpha House also welcomes a new teacher’s aide, Sister Roselyn, a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth. With its new space, new teacher’s aide, a returning team of dedicated early childhood educators, and a strong partnership with the School of Education, the possibilities at Alpha House are endless!

School of Education Retired Faculty Member Honored by Catholic Schools

Donna Rafter Retired Faculty Member

Dr. Donna Rafter, retired faculty member from the School of Education, will be inducted into the Philadelphia North Catholic Schools Hall of Fame at its Gala on October 26, 2017. The Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Foundation for Catholic Education, will honor Donna for her outstanding contributions to Catholic education, not only as a long-time faculty member at Holy Family University but also as a Catholic school elementary teacher for many years. According to Donna, “For me, this is a big honor because my Catholic faith and my dedication to the Catholic school values is at the heart of who I am.” We couldn’t agree more . . . congratulations, Donna!

SOE Doctoral Students Hooded at Commencement

HFU Doctoral Students at the 2017 CommencementAt the May 2017 commencement, eight SOE doctoral students were hooded in recognition of completing the EdD program in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies. Each of their names, dissertation committee chairs and dissertation titles are listed below. Congratulations and best wishes to all!

Ellieen Virginia Ancrum Ingbritsen

Chair: Dr. Helen Hoffner
The Impact of Response to Intervention (RTI) on Referalls for Special Education Services in Secondary Schools

Jan Cook

Chair: Dr. Roger Gee
The Female Veterans Voice: Their Challenges When Faced by Stop Out Enrollment

Shawn Elizabeth Mark

Chair: Dr. Brian Berry
Identifying the Most Preferred Emotional Intelligence Attributes for School Principals

Colleen Patricia Mooney

Chair: Dr. Brian Berry
An Examination of the Relationship between a High School Advisory Program and Student Attendance, Academic Achievement, and Discipline Referrals: An Ex Post Facto Analysis

Dianna K. Sand

Chair: Dr. Kathleen Quinn
An Examination of Post-Secondary Faculty and the Extent of Critical Reading Taught in 100-Level Introductory Biology and American History Courses in Publicly Funded Two-year and Four-Year Pennsylvania Institutions

Faye Schilling

Chair: Dr. Janet McNellis
Professional Learning Communities: The Catalyst for Student Achievement in the Common Core Era

David J. Tate

Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Jones
Superintendent Perceptions of Summer Learning Loss and Summer Reading Programs

Tiffany Faye Watson

Chair: Dr. Brian Berry
Engaging Students with Disabilities: Using Student Response Technology in Elementary Classrooms

Support Staff Spotlight: Sandy Crane's Long History of Service

Sanda Crane, School of EducationStudents who visit the School of Education office on the fourth floor of the Education and Technology Building will likely see Sandy Crane’s smiling face and experience her heartfelt desire to help others. Along with Jackie Fox, Sandy serves as one of the School of Education’s two secretaries. Starting at Holy Family College more than forty years ago on January 17, 1977, only two other current members of the University community have served here longer than Sandy. The School of Education is fortunate to have Sandy’s skills, good humor, and institutional memory. SOE – NewsLink asked Sandy to share some of her personal and college/university history with us . . .

I started working at Holy Family University (college then) on January 17, 1977. My position was Secretary for the Education Department, which was headed by Dr. Joseph M. Burak. Dr. Burak was the first department head to be given the opportunity to hire a secretary to help with the office work. I have held the same position for the entire time I have been here. I started at twenty hours a week and later became full-time.

I had no idea the day I walked in for an interview that I would be applying for a job here at all. My friend worked in the Registrar’s Office and heard that the Education Department was looking for a secretary. She called me and insisted I come in right away and would not take “no” for an answer. So I came in pretty much just to please her, thinking I have not worked in fifteen years – no one will hire me. It didn’t help much when Sister Lillian, the President of Holy Family, gave me a typing test and stood over me as I typed. Somehow I got the job!

I have seen so many changes through the years. When I first came here, there were many Holy Family Sisters working in different positions: President, Vice-President (only one at that time), Academic Dean, Dean of Students, the Registrar, running the Business Office, the Library, Security, the Book Store—pretty much every important function was overseen by a Sister. Of course, we had many of them teaching also, three in the Education Department which consisted of about ten faculty in all.

My job, which was part-time then, also included all typing and duplicating for faculty. I was responsible for typing syllabi, tests, class handouts, reports, and the worst nightmare, the two-hundred- page PDE (Pennsylvania Department of Education) report on stencils!!! I’m still not over that! I also did all the typing and other tasks for Alpha House walked films to the post office and typed one of the older Sister’s Christmas newsletters (all in Polish), which was so much fun to proofread. Things were so much smaller then, and with fewer employees, we knew each other better. Now with so many people working here, it is almost impossible to know everyone. So much has changed for the better, but at times I long for the “good-old days.”

Holy Family has turned out to be somewhat of a “family affair.” My daughter, Diane, attended Holy Family as a full-time student majoring in Social Work. She has held several jobs as a social-worker in a nursing home and hospital. Her daughter, my granddaughter, Katie Getley Lorino first attended Alpha House and returned to HFU as a PK4/SPED major. She is now a third-grade teacher at New Foundations Charter School and will be returning to HFU this fall in the Master’s Program. My grandson, Matthew Ciecka, is now a junior here majoring in Digital Communications. Both Katie and Matthew attended the summer reading program when it was offered and both have happy memories of the summers spent here. I have another grandson, Kevin, who is twelve years old. I am pretty sure I will not still be here when he is college-age!

One of the funniest things that has happened to me at Holy Family was a recent adventure I had with co-secretary, Jackie Fox. Dr. Joergensen was conducting a meeting and had ordered some food to be served. Jackie and I assisted her by going over to the Campus Center to get the food to bring back to the ETC. One of the selections she had made was meatballs. The food was loaded on a cart we had brought with us, and we very carefully wheeled it down the sloping path from the Campus Center. Unfortunately, we hit a bump and some of the meatballs escaped their bowl. As they rolled down the hill, we hurried to retrieve them. They made their saucy way down the hill and as some of them got away I think there must have been some happy animals that night dining on meatballs. We must have looked like Lucy and Ethel with sauce covering us and by then looking pretty silly as we chased runaway meatballs. Where was Candid Camera? Jackie and I still laugh when we think of it.

I have never thought of working at Holy Family as just a job. After all these years it is a large part of my life. For the most part, I have enjoyed being here throughout my many years, seeing students come in as nervous freshmen and leaving as qualified young people ready to go out into the world successfully. At times I meet some of the students I knew when I first started working here and they are amazed that I am still here—or maybe that I am still alive!
I have worked for five different “bosses,” Dr. Burak, Dr. Applegate, Dr. Sower, Dr. Soroka, and Dr. Zook—all of them very different, but all supportive and appreciative, and I have learned and grown with each.

I have stayed at HFU for such a long time because of the people I have known throughout the years—people we share our lives with, who share our joys and bring comfort and support when needed. Some have become my very special friends, and those I know I will greatly miss when I retire.

SOE Faculty Achievements in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

Roseanna Wright, Maria Agnew, and Brian Berry presented Identifying Effective Methods of Faculty Training and Support in the Design, Instruction and Implementation of Blended Courses at the 2016 Fall Conference of the Pennsylvania Assocation of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE) in Harrisburg, PA.

Brian Berry delivered New Jersey Department of Education in-service presentations to teachers on Structure Learning Experiences and Community Based Instruction from June 2016 through May 2017. He also participated in a symposium presentation, Educating Students with Intellectual Disabilities, at the Pennsylvania Bar Association Exceptional Children’s Conference in Lancaster, PA.

In April 2017, Diane Elliott delivered two presentations at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in San Antonio, Texas: A Perfect Storm: Men of Color and their Perspectives on the Transition to College and The Fractured Pipeline: The Complicity of Four-Year Universities in the Transfer Penalty.

In March 2017, Roger Gee presented Simplifying Texts with AntWordProfiler at the TESOL International Convention in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Gee also presented Sentence Frames: Are They Authentic? at Interdisciplinary Views on the English Language, Literature and Culture in Zielona Gora, Poland in December 2016.

The Case Analysis for Effective Teaching, a series of videos and instructional materials that provide an in-depth look at how teachers plan lessons, implement instruction, and assess students, was published by Helen Hoffner with Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall Publishing Company. She also published the article, “The Pen Pal Project: Establishing a Writing Partnership between a University and Elementary School Students” in The Ohio Reading Teacher, Fall 2016.

In November 2016, Patricia Joergensen presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference in Philadelphia: Family Math Nights: Opportunities for Home-School-Community Collaboration.

With Dionne Rosser-Mims, Janet McNellis published the book chapter, “The 21st Century Learner: A Paradigm Shift in the Role of the College Professor” in The Metagogy Project: A Theorem for a Contemporary Adult Education Praxis. Gabriele Strohschen & Associates, American Scholars Press, 2016. Dr. McNellis also presented Developing University Students as Self-Directed Learners at the International Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy at Virginia Tech in February 2017.

Kathleen Quinn published two test reviews in the Buros 20th Mental Measurements Yearbook: Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement and Test of Word Finding, 3rd edition. Dr. Quinn also presented a poster, Pathways and Barriers for Building Communities of Writers in Schools, at the 2017 European Conference on Reading at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, this past July along with colleagues, Dr. Patricia Erickson and Mrs. Eileen Baker, both graduates of the School of Education’s M.Ed. Reading Specialist Program and current adjunct instructors. Dr. Erickson also is a graduate of the School’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for an upcoming special event:

The Student Teacher and Cooperating Teacher Reception is held at the end of each fall and spring semester to congratulate our student teachers and thank the cooperating teachers who host them in their classrooms. The event is also designed as an opportunity for our SOE alumni to be recognized (many of whom serve as cooperating teachers) and to welcome the student teachers into the field of education as professional colleagues. The fall reception and program will be held on Monday, December 11, 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the ETC Lobby and Auditorium. Contact Maria Rybicki in the SOE Field Placement Office for more information or to let us know you will be coming: 267-341- 3363, Please join us for this special event!