Silva Named Piper Professor
Bauml Prepares Teachers for Urban Settings
Jenga, Planetariums Top Research Festival Presentations
Lacina, Griffith’s First Co-Editorship Edition Published
Language & Literacy Program Recognized
Crawford Goes the Distance to Share Research
Wait Receives National Recognition


Each of the past three years, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation of Texas has selected a TCU professor among its list of the 10 best teachers in the Lone Star State. Ralph CarterMolly Weinburgh and Cecilia Silva join a group of four other active Horned Frog faculty who have received the honor. All seven have been recipients of the TCU Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar. This spring, they shared their insights with the magazine while reflecting on their careers in the classroom. Read the full Q&A in TCU Magazine.

Cecilia Silva

Cecilia Silva

Bilingual education
Years at TCU: 1995-2016
Named Piper Professor: 2016
Research areas: Literacy and bilingual literacy, academic language acquisition for emerging bilingual learners
A career highlight: Society of Professors in Education, Teacher Preparation in Texas Initiative and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education recognized the English Language and Literacy Middle and Secondary Education Program for its focus on culturally responsive teaching practices.

Molly Weinburgh

Molly Weinburgh

William L. & Betty F. Adams Chair of Education
Director of Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education
Years at TCU: 2002-present
Named Piper Professor: 2015
Research areas: Equity issues in science education, especially language; teacher growth
A career highlight: Developing a doctoral program in science education


Assistant professor in the College of Education, Michele Bauml, poses near the College of Education. Beginning teachers have concerns about teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse schools, urban schools are often where the jobs are but teacher turnover is also an issue.

If the fears of young educators aren’t addressed, the consequences can be career altering, said Michelle Bauml, assistant professor of early childhood and social studies education. “Without excellent preparation and ongoing support as they begin their teaching careers, new teachers are seriously at risk of leaving the profession altogether.”

From the earliest days of her academic career, Bauml has been interested in studying young educators’ decisions to teach (or not teach) in culturally and linguistically diverse schools, which are becoming more typical in urban settings, as well as the implications for those who educate future teachers.

“Through my research and teaching, I strive to help prepare TCU’s future teachers for the important work of teaching in any context, but especially in urban schools,” said Bauml. “All children deserve excellent teachers, no matter where they attend school.”

Bauml’s interest in urban schools comes from personal experience. She taught third through fifth grades in Richwood, a small Texas town along the Gulf Coast, for nine years before accepting a position supervising first-year teachers in the Houston Independent School District — the largest school district in Texas.

“Moving from such a small community to a big city where there was much more cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic diversity than I had ever experienced as a teacher, I went through a brief period of culture shock,” said the professor. “I also witnessed distressing inequities among Houston’s schools in terms of facilities, teaching materials and new teacher support.”

Those experiences inspired Bauml to pursue a doctorate so she could learn more about unraveling the complexities of teaching in urban schools. Her research efforts included co-authoring several peer-reviewed papers dealing with teacher candidates’ decisions to teach in urban and culturally diverse schools.

One research paper, “Learning from Preservice Teachers’ Thoughts about Teaching in Urban Schools: Implications for Teacher Educators,” was published in Education and Urban Society. For the study, Bauml and her co-authors interviewed preservice teachers — education students participating in school-based field experiences.

“We learned so much about what prospective teachers were afraid of when it comes to teaching in urban schools,” Bauml said. “They are concerned about spending their first critical year as a teacher in such a challenging context as well as racial and cultural barriers and student misbehavior.”

At TCU, education students study these kinds of issues in the Early Childhood through Grade Six program, where Bauml, who won the College of Education’s Dean’s Research and Creativity Award for 2015, is coordinator. “[The program] is intentional about providing students with experiences observing, teaching and learning in a variety of diverse contexts.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education honored TCU’s program with the 2015 Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity. “We were so proud to receive the award,” said Bauml, “because it’s such a public statement to the education community that TCU is doing exemplary work.


160406LWW160356-2Forty-seven posters and the buzz of excited and dedicated students explaining their research filled the Ann Jones Lounge in Palko on Wednesday, April 6. Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral students have worked for weeks, months, sometimes years on their projects for the College of Education Research & Pedagogy Festival. They presented to peers, faculty, and judges who roamed through rows of posters. Research Festival chairs Dr. Don Mills and Dr. Brandy Quinn announced six winners at the end of the night:

  • Sarah Westphal, Senior in Accelerated Master’s Program, Middle School Education, Inclusion in the General Education Classroom
  • Karin Cheng, Senior in Accelerated Master’s Program, Secondary Education, Using Educational “Gamification” to Increase Motivation and Participation in Secondary Level English Language Learners
  • Kathleen Evans, ANSERS Master’s in Education candidate, Breaks are Better: Guide to Improving Off-Task Behavior for Students Who Engage in Escape Maintain Behavior
  • Makenzie Jackson, ANSERS Master’s in Education candidate, The Effects of an Individual Matching Work System on the On-Task Behavior, Task Completion, and Independence of Students with Developmental Disabilities
  • Erin Pearce, Andrews Institute Ph.D. student, The Joy of Jenga
  • Beau Hartweg, Andrews Institute Ph.D. student, Factors Influencing Planetarium Educators at a Museum

Students worked with faculty members and had the option to attend two poster preparation workshops. Judges and research chairs said the Research Festival & Pedagogy poster quality improves every year, making it increasingly more difficult to select winners.


robin-griffithJan LacinaSince Dr. Jan Lacina and Dr. Robin Griffith were named co-editors of The Reading Teacher from 2015 through 2021, they have been creating review boards and reviewing content for their first issue, published in July 2016. The theme for this volume year is Literacy for All. Dr. Jan Lacina and Dr. Robin Griffith were highlighted in a Meet the Editors article in Literacy Today.

“As an international organization, it is important to reach across continents to study excellent teachers and methods for improving reading instruction,” Lacina says in the article.

The Reading Teacher is published by the International Literacy Association (ILA), which reaches classroom teachers and university literacy researchers world-wide. The Meet the Editors article will be published online and mailed to International Literacy members in July. Read full article

Dr. Lacina is a Professor of Literacy and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and Dr. Griffith is an Associate Professor of Literacy.


Texas Christian University’s College of Education Language & Literacy Program received the Wisniewski Teacher Education Award, an honor presented annually to recognize an outstanding teacher education program at a college or university. College of Education Dean Mary M. Patton accepted the award during the Society of Professors of Education (SPE) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. TCU is only the second Texas college to receive the national award.
The SPE, founded in 1902, is the oldest scholarly, educational organization still operating in the United States. Founding members include well-known educational scholars, such as John Dewey, Charles De Garmo, and Edward L. Thorndike. The SPE Board created the award in 2000 to “select and honor an institution which has made singularly significant contributions to the theory and practice of teacher education.” Criteria used by the Committee focus on “integration of theory and practice, strength of foundational study, and effective innovation in the field of teacher education.”

About the Program

The Language & Literacy program began in 2007 and prepares future middle and secondary English Language Arts, Reading/ESL teachers, offering curriculum, observation and practice for culturally responsive teaching. Dr. Jan Lacina, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Cecilia Silva and Dr. Robin Griffith serve as program leaders and submitted the award nomination, writing that they “aspired to do a better job of preparing future English teachers for changing U.S. demographics.”

The program integrates teacher certification course work with ESL readings and diverse field experiences placements with the European Teacher Education Network; International Newcomers Academy; TCU/Paschal Writing Camp; Rosemont 6th Grade Experience; Catholic Charities Refugee Experiences; and PreAP urban English classes. Students complete unique projects such as memoir writing, book trailers, writing portfolios, and curriculum for English language learners.

Accelerated Master’s student Alix Vail said the Paschal Writing Camp provided “an opportunity to practice writing strategies and how to reach different kids.”

Nationally Recognized for Literacy

TCU’s College of Education received the International Reading Association’s (IRA) Certificate of Distinction, 2009-16; The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) 2015 Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity; The Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education (CREATE) 2013 Exemplary Field Based Practices award; and The AACTE and Southern Poverty Law Center 2012 Culturally Responsive Teaching award.


Maldives Workshop Lindy Crawford

For Dr. Lindy Crawford, no distance is too far to travel when it comes to education. Crawford recently traveled 10,000 miles to the Maldives to present a multi-day workshop on the meaningful inclusion of students with special needs.

The invitation developed last April when Crawford provided the keynote presentation at a special education conference in Dubai. There she met special education leaders from Asia and the Middle East, including Ifham Hussein, director of the Maldives Autism Association.

lindy-crawford“Hussein works tirelessly to educate teachers in her small nation about the benefits of inclusive education,” said Crawford. “Only recently have these countries begun to include students with special needs with typically performing students in public school classrooms, and her invitation to present at this international workshop was an honor for me.”

In the workshop, Creating Inclusive Learning Environments: Meeting the Needs of All Students, Crawford addressed ways for educators to create a positive classroom environment so all students can learn; design of instruction so students do learn; and design of assessments to measure student learning.

Crawford is a professor of special education and the Ann Jones Endowed Chair in Special Education. Additionally, she is the director of the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service Institute and conducts research on the validity of large-scale assessments of students with and without disabilities, use of curriculum-based measures in the classroom, and mathematic interventions for low-performing students.

The ANSERS Institute, part of the College of Education, works in conjunction with the TCU laboratory schools–Starpoint and KinderFrogs–to create and coordinate professional development opportunities for local teachers, informational sessions for parents and learning experiences for students interested in becoming special education teachers.


courtney-waitEducational Leadership doctoral student Courtney Wait was named a 2016 Blumberg/Pajak Scholar by the Council of Professors of Instructional Supervision (COPIS). The purposes of the national Council are to provide a professional forum, give continuing attention to and foster the development and publication of manuscripts on current research, theory, and practice in supervision of instruction. Named for Arthur Blumberg and Edward Pajak, the recognition and scholarship was created by donors to honor the memories of these two renowned instructional supervision scholars.

Wait will accept the award at the COPIS annual meeting in Tampa, FL on October 14 and will present her research at that time. Last year her work was selected for presentation at the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) conference in San Diego, CA. Wait also received a travel grant to attend the Network for Public Education Conference from TCU’s Center for Public Education. Her dissertation study involves building partnerships across cultural lines with parents and a Parent Teacher Association. Wait expects to graduate in May of 2017 with an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.