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Spotlight on Success

School of Education and Human Services


Dr. Layton Field, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Dr. Field comes to us from Texas A&M University, wherse he received his  Ph.D.  Dr. Field specializes in Social Demography and has previously taught courses in social problems, research methods, foundations of sociology, and statistics.  He currently resides in Fairfield, PA with his wife and three children.





Dr. Ernest Solar, Assistant Professor of Special Education

Dr. Solar comes to us from George Mason University, where he received his Ph.D. Dr. Solar brings a wealth of classroom experience to the teacher education program; he previously served as a secondary special education teacher in Loudoun Country, Virginia.  He currently resides in Lovettsville, VA. 


MTI Panel 2014

This year’s Mount Teacher Institute provided an opportunity to focus on school system and university efforts to implement common standards.  Panelists representing three states and five school districts shared successes that included (a) school staffs defining key terms, (b) hosting parent sessions, (c) teacher teams developing lessons, (d) developing teacher candidates’ knowledge base, (e) engaging students in deep reading and investigative work.  A repeated theme was the importance of open and clear communication about the standards. 

Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Stacey Brown-Hobbs, MSM, DeVeda Coley, C'93, Frederick County Public Schools, Kelly May, C'13, Carroll County Public Schools, Greg Mullenholz, C'03, Montgomery County Public Schools, Dr. Linda Gambrell, Clemson University, and Dr. Barbara Marinak, MSM. 

DeansAward2014On July 2, 2014 M.Ed. alumna Claire Beccue, C’14, was honored by the Education Department.  She is the first recipient of the Dr. Barbara Martin Palmer Endowed M.Ed. Thesis Award.  The award is presented to an M.Ed. candidate who has successfully completed and defended an exemplary M.Ed. thesis and who has demonstrated a commitment to the Mount’s pillars of Discovery and Leadership through their scholarship and educational research.

Beccue, a teacher at Mother Seton School, studied the effects of computer-based reading, writing, and listening instruction on middle school students’ reading self-perception.  Four classes at the sixth and seventh grade levels participated in her investigation over the course of a three-month period in which reading informational text online and use of a Web 2.0 tool, Glogster, were employed. T-test results revealed statistically significant differences between pre-and post-testing in grade 6, with the post-test revealing a lower reading self-perception.  However, at grade 7, students revealed an overall increase in reading self-perception which was traced back to an increase in girls’ self-perception only.  Beccue’s action research adds to the evolving work regarding technology and its impact upon student learning and motivation.

Learn more about the SEHS perspective on the graduate student thesis

MTI2014 Gambrell SpeakingLinda Gambrell, Distinguished Professor of Education, Clemson Unversity, keynoted the fourth annual Mount Teacher Institute on June 24.  She addressed the role of motivation in reading achievement, and urged teachers to see reading for pleasure as “an activity with real educational and social consequences." Her bywords were “inspire vs. require.”  Reading achievement is less about ability than it is about opportunity (Allington).  She reviewed the benefits of sustained silent reading in classrooms and provided helpful hints for teachers.  Skilled readers have text at their fingertips, and Dr. Gambrell recommended student book boxes that would include a balance of fiction and non-fiction to encourage wide reading with a Now book (a book in progress), a Next book or books, and some Quick reads (when time is short).

Another way that teachers can encourage reading is through book endorsements.  Dr. Gambrell refers to this as the “blessing of the books.”  Sharing a favorite illustration, a tidbit about the author, or a “pithy page” may be all it takes to have the book fly off the shelf.  Students are inspired to read when they know a little bit about the book.

Social interaction is another important consideration for the classroom.  Including structured opportunities to talk requires careful planning on the part of the teacher.  Dr. Gambrell shared research that social interaction fosters greater cognitive functioning than does independent mental exercises or TV viewing.  Helping students acquire the habit of close reading and evidence gathering requires modeling and scaffolding.  Teachers need to attend to the types of questions they ask and encourage revisits to text for evidence to substantiate answers.

The next MTI will be June 23, 2015.  Mark your calendar.

Look at what students in the C'14 have to say about their time at Mount St. Mary's.  Remarks collected at the SEHS C'14 Reception on May 10, 2014.  

Madeline in Cap and Gown

Madeleine Stross, Criminal Justice:
“My favorite thing about the sociology department was the close guidance I received over the past four years from my professors.”

Jessica in Cap and Gown

Jessica Szczawinski, Elementary and Special Education:
“My favorite thing about the Mount was the small education classes and how close you got."



Brigid in Cap and Gown

Brigid Sheehan, Elementary and Special Education:
“My favorite part about the school of Education at the Mount is the internships and how close you get with your students and the bond that you form with them.”

Amy in Cap and Gown

Amy Tamburri, Elementary and Special Education:
“My favorite thing about the Mount was definitely how helpful all of the teachers are, they were wonderful and they helped me through my internship experience.”

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