EDITOR’S NOTE: College Relations is publishing a monthly series of news articles, features and Q&A interviews highlighting various departments on campus in an effort to assist the faculty and staff in gaining an increased awareness about and understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.
The May Q&A is with Dr. Lorie Hunn, chair of the Education department.
Q: What are your duties as department chair?
My duties are the same as every department chair on campus. I am in charge of updating the four-year course rotation, finding adjunct professors to teach the classes, and work with the Dean in determining course loads for the faculty members within the Education department.
I am fortunate to have collaborative members of the department who help with some of the departmental chair duties. Dr. Sealey writes the assessment report for the graduate program in the Education department, Dr. McCallum writes the SPED (Special Education) assessment report and Dr. King writes the elementary assessment report. I am also fortunate to have a Project Coordinator, LaWayne Zeller, who prior to my taking over the chair duties completed the catalog changes for the Education department and presented the changes to the Academic Review Committee. I also handle all student and faculty issues. I attend a variety of meetings that pertain to the duties of Department Chair. I conduct bi-monthly meetings in the department and chair the meetings for the Educator Preparation Committee, which consists of teacher educators from each of the endorsement areas across campus.
Q: What do you like best about teaching at Chadron State?
I enjoy the students who attend Chadron State and am privileged to advise and teach them as they make their journey through the Education program. We have amazing students. I not only teach them, but I also learn from them. I am privileged to teach future teachers. I also work with amazing professors, professional and support staff and maintenance crew. We all work together to make Chadron State a place of excellence.
Q: What are some of the unique aspects the Education program offers?
Many of the professors who work in the Education department have years of experience working in public education and are able to bring those experiences into the college classroom when teaching our students. Our professional block is a unique concept in which the students form a cohort group and the professors come to them to teach their areas of expertise. Many institutions have the students take each individual class as you would for any required class. Our approach gives the students an opportunity to form a support group as they progress through block and their student teaching experience.
Q: Please describe the block and student teaching programs for education students and how important is it?
Once the students have completed their coursework that relates to their endorsements in Education, they enter the professional block. Professional block is where students take 16 weeks of classes with a cohort group of students that will prepare them for teaching in the various educational fields. Students are also provided with a couple of opportunities to positively encounter the diversity of students in the classroom and the interactions of the teachers with this student population. We go to Lexington, Nebraska, and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, which has a very diverse population of students. This is a great opportunity and experience.
Q: How does the student teaching portion of the education department work?
The student teaching experience is where the rubber meets the road. The students work with a cooperating teacher out in the field who will guide them through this experience.
Q: What student opportunities are offered in the Education department?
The students in the Education department have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs and activities across campus. The students are given the opportunity to become a member of SEAN which is the Student Education Association. At least once a year students are initiated into Sigma Delta Nu which is an honorary Education fraternity.
Q: What advice would you share with high school students interested in becoming Education majors?
Education is a great occupation to enter. I do know there are individuals who tell students not to go into education with all the different guidelines and assessment changes that are occurring in public education. But I disagree. I tell students if they want to make a difference and enjoy working with kids, then Education is a great field to enter. No matter what occupation an individual enters, it is going to have its drawbacks. As an educator, you have the chance to positively influence students.
Q: Many educators take advantage of online graduate courses offered by CSC. How can those classes benefit current teachers and administrators?
For teachers who are currently teaching and want to add another endorsement area or work on a master’s program, online courses are the way to go. It is beneficial to anyone wanting to further their education and not leave the comfort of their home. Teachers are busy and online courses are a great way to further their education and move across the pay scale.
Q: There is a strong tradition of CSC producing talented teachers. What does that tradition mean to you and your colleagues?
I am a product of Chadron State College Education department. I tell the students I take their degrees very seriously. Not only are they representing themselves as an individual, but they’re also representing me and Chadron State College. I am very proud of my degree I obtained from CSC and I am also very proud of the products we put out into the schools.
—Alex Helmbrecht, Director of College Relations