36 A Committment to Collaboration | Michele Koomen

With the appointment of John Clementson to the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Dan Moos and I stepped forward together and were elected as Co-Chairs of the Education Department.

In September 2008 at the request of Provost Mary Morton, I accepted the role as Co-Chair of the Gustavus Technology Services strategic planning. In this role, I, along with Bruce Aarsvold, led the Core Committee through an iterative process that led to the strategic plan. This process included a review by the committee of reports, a review of relevant literature regarding higher educational institutional technology, and implementation and analysis of an online survey. The committee held 24 meetings with all the various constituents of technology at Gustavus including faculty, staff, students, and administrators. The data gathering efforts detailed above and the resulting synthesis and interpretation of the documents, surveys, and meetings resulted in a Strategic Plan for Gustavus Technology Services that embrace five core ideas/themes. These five Core Ideas are:

  • Communication
  • Support
  • Equipment and Hardware
  • Access and Infrastructure
  • Ethics of technology/access, use philosophy and culture

Co-Chairing the Core Committee is additional evidence of my commitment to collaboration across the community of Gustavus. This opportunity allowed me to learn significantly about the tremendous effort, ethics and commitment that are a foundational aspect of our Gustavus Technology Services. As would be expected, this opportunity helped me to develop greater skills in compromise and effective communication as well.

I just completed my first term as Curriculum Committee Chair and was reelected to serve in this same capacity for the academic year 2009-2010. I respect the members of the committee and the insight that they offer as we deliberate over curricular matters at our meetings. This committee has allowed me to understand the nature of our curriculum at Gustavus in greater depth. As the Curriculum Committee Chair, I took challenging and contentious issues regarding our academic programs to the faculty on more than one occasion.

I have been a member of the 2009 Nobel Conference (Water: Uncertain Resource) planning committee since the beginning. I am thrilled to be selected to co-host Peter Gleick with Mary Strey.

In November 2008, I hosted a visit by Karen Oberhauser to our campus using Lecture Series funds. Oberhauser’s research interests include: invertebrate conservation and ecology, with particular interest in monarch butterflies; Citizen Science and ecological monitoring; promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy. During the afternoon of her visit she was a guest instructor in my EDU 246 lab. She gave a public lecture titled: The Monarch Butterfly as a Flagship Conservation Species: Forests, Prairies and People. Finally, this visit by Oberhauser is another indication of how collaboration and community are part of my work at Gustavus. I planned a faculty and student dinner with Karen featured as the guest of honor. In an effort to afford more interactive conversations between all dinner guests, I planned the dinner and the set up of the tables so that Karen moved to a different table with each course. Thus, all guests had the opportunity for conversation with this remarkable scientist.

Other leadership and service activities

  • Sustainability Working Group with James Dontje (2008)
  • Course Approval Sub Committee (CAPSUB), Chair (2007-2008).
  • Selection Committee for Guild of St. Angsar, spring 2007.
  • Academic Petitions Committee for one student petition in Spring 2006 at the request of Mark Braun.

Service to the Department of Education

  • Part of my work in the department is as a faculty representative for our selective admissions. Over the years, I have served in this capacity many times.
  • Departmental searches are part of the ongoing work of our department. Over the years I have served on many search committees. Recent successful searches included Sidonia Alumina (2006) and our new hire in 2008, Katrina Imison-Mázy.
  • Advising elementary education majors has been part of my work in the department since 2001. Each year I advise between 25 and 30 advisees.
  • I was the elementary faculty representative of our department for the academic year 2007-2009 to TEAC, Teacher Education Advisory Council at the request of John Clementon.
  • NCATE (North Central Accreditation of Teacher Education) and BOT (Board of Teaching): Our department completed an accreditation with both of these entities in 2006. Documentation for this accreditation was extensive. I worked, along with many members of our department, on Standard 1 of the NCATE report and completed several Professional Education Program Evaluation reports (PEPER) for teaching of elementary education, elementary with 5-8 math and science middle school specialty.
  • Tech support: Joyce Aarsvold is our education department’s official IT person, however, I provide informal support to faculty and students frequently.
  • El Paso research: I wrote above about this research, however, it deserves mention here because it links with our department’s mission to educate students for cultural competence and understandings of second languages acquisition.

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