Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

SOE Featured Faculty & Students, Events, & New Editor

Jan. 27, 2014 – -

Welcome back from the Director's Office! Hope everyone is having a great semester kick-off and enjoyed the break.

Dr. Heidi Mesmer's article has been cited number eight in the most read American Education Research Association (AERA) articles of 2013! Wow!


Dr. Heidi Mesmer Dr. Heidi Mesmer

More info~"Upping the Ante of Text Complexity in the Common Core State Standards: Examining Its Potential Impact on Young Readers" The authors examine the theoretical and empirical support for three assumptions that underlie the acceleration of text complexity in Grades 2-3.



Invitation to Dr. Min Sun to present her recent work


Dr. Min Sun Dr. Min Sun

Dr. Sun will present her recent work on examining the impact of federal policy on teacher attrition and mobility using multiple waves of data on nationally representative samples from 1990-91 to 2008-09. Graduate students and faculty are invited to discuss how to use advanced statistical models to analyze large-scale data.

Title: Federal Policy and the Teacher Labor Market: Exploring the Effects of NCLB on Teacher Turnover
February 7, 2014 – 1:00-2:30 P.M. | Graduate Life Center, Room B

The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) kickoff event took place Saturday, January 4, 2014, at Virginia Tech


Dr. Carol A. Mullen Speech delivered by Dr. Carol A. Mullen, School of Education Director; Associate Dean for Professional Education in the College

"Good morning students, faculty leaders, and administrators,
Welcome to the
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) kickoff event!

This important day marks the beginning of the design and build season, sponsored by FRC and NASA.

This is where teams get together to share ideas and build mentoring networks, learn the game, and get geared up for the exciting competition season.
You're going to have a great experience in the high school workshop, and especially during build season.

I am Dr. Carol Mullen, the School of Education Director and Associate Dean for Professional Education in the College. I started at VT in July 2013. I am really enjoying being a Hokie. It is high quality, cutting edge programs like this one that make being a Hokie remarkably special and rewarding. Hokies invent the future today and every day.

You know, as I was thinking about our FIRST Robotics event the other day, the circuit board on my oven at home went out. Yes, we ended up having to eat cold lasagna. But when the technician showed up to fix it, I asked him about how the circuit board he was installing was designed and by whom or what. He said that circuit boards are created by robots these days because they are more precise and faster than human beings. I went online and read about circuit boards that are built out of e-waste--discarded computer parts--which is an energy saving, green idea that will hopefully become widespread. Robots and robotics are here to stay.

Do you know that VT is a leader in robotics?


Dr. Carol A. Mullen Speech delivered by Dr. Carol A. Mullen, School of Education Director; Associate Dean for Professional Education in the College

Today's kick off is an example of this. Our robotics season is a part of an exciting innovating environment at VT.

At VT we have built a robotic jellyfish dubbed Robojelly that will study the environment and aquatic life, map ocean floors, and more. Have you heard about drones? A recent story in the New York Times covering drones says that VT has been selected as one of six test sites in the country by the Federal Aviation Administration to test drone aircraft (safety standards, training pilots, integrating the aircraft into the nation's airspace by 2015).

It is in this environment that we gather today, benefitting from the vision and hard work of Dr. Brenda Brand.

To quote Dr. George Glasson,

"Dr. Brand is our leader of this outstanding program in science, engineering, and education. Her robotics program is a model for meeting the Next Generation Science Education standards which emphasize engineering design. Her collaboration with the School of Education and the College of Engineering is noteworthy, groundbreaking even."

Dr. Glasson, like Dr. Brand, is a professor in Science Education in our School of Education. He is a very supportive colleague and cheerleader of the FIRST Robotics, seizing opportunities to share the stellar leadership of Dr. Brand.

Dr. Brand has been involved with the FIRST robotics program for about 14 years.

She was one of the developers of the FIRST Robotics Collaborative, a feature of our Science Education program.

What is the FIRST Robotics Collaborative?

It is an open ended engineering design activity that scripts the students relative to challenge specifications.

The students are given the year's challenge, then they have six weeks to plan, design and construct a robot based on their interpretation of the game and their goals.
In our Science Education program we share a course with Mechanical Engineering called Engineering Leadership in Practice in which engineering and physics seniors intern in the high school robotics course. The high school program, which Dr. Brand co-developed with her colleague Dr. Mary Kasarda in Mechanical Engineering, is a nationwide program that occurs after school throughout the school year. The robotics competition is situated in the middle of the year.

Dr. Bonnie Billingsley chairs the Teaching and Learning Department which houses the science program. She is a long-time advocate of the robotics program and her son participated in it. She has been telling me about and the difference it makes for students. Enjoy the day and the design challenges ahead."

Virginia Tech SOE alumni, Dr. Paul E. Chapman, named Dean of College of Education and Human Services at Longwood University


Dr. Paul Chapman Dr. Paul Chapman

Dr. Paul Chapman began his service as Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Longwood University on June 25, 2013. He earned his Ph.D. and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from VT as well as his M.A. degree in Educational Administration and his B.A. in Elementary Education K-8."

Student Publications! ~ WAY TO GO

Matt Grimes, a doctoral student in the School of Education/Educational Psychology, had his review of Confronting Equality: Gender, Knowledge and Global Change (2011) by Raewyn Connell accepted for publication at Gender and Education. Matt's review is available on from the Taylor and Francis website at

Kasey Richardson, a doctoral student in the School of Education/Educational Psychology, had his review of In a Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood (2013) by Michael Sadowski accepted for publication at Journal of LGBT Studies.

Roundtable Discussions Bring Students Together

    Roundtable Discussions

On December 10, 2014, Joseph Mukuni, Bill Price, Kris Tilley-Lubbs, Betti Kreye, and George Glasson facilitated a meeting in which a group of about 50 students from Career and Technical, ESL, Math, and Science Education gathered at the Inn at Virginia Tech in a culminating activity for their collaborative work throughout the semester. Students sat at roundtables in interdisciplinary groups representing each area. Career and Technical, Math, and Science had each collaborated with ESL preservice teachers during the semester to explore cultural perspectives and strategies that would help them to better address the special needs of English language learners (ELLs). However, in the three-year tenure of this project, this was the first opportunity students had experienced in which they could share ideas across all the disciplines involved in the project. Students responded to guided questions that helped them to synthesize their individual experiences in observing ELLs in classrooms and subsequently designing and implementing lesson plans that would address the linguistic ability of ELLs in content classrooms. This format allowed students to engage in rich discussions and whole group sharing about lessons learned and implications for future teaching. Student comments provided evidence of the success of the project, ranging from comments such as "I enjoyed collaborating with the math and science students" to "This project should continue to be part of the requirements for preservice mathematics teachers because it forces you to collaborate effectively and see the benefits of effective teaching strategies firsthand."

Introducing the new editor

David Brod is now Editor of the School of Education’s Newsworthy News under the supervision of Dr. Carol Mullen, Founding Editor.  David is a first year PhD student in the Higher Education program at Virginia Tech. Please send any future requests for submission to
An electronic submission process is in the works and should available for all SOE faculty, staff and students soon!