Alumni Contribute to Education Textbook

Pictured: First row (left to right) Megan Polis ’16; Brittany Somers ’16; Judy Hemler ’16; Tina Mikula ’11; David W. Nicholson, Professor of Education; Rebecca Knolleisen ’14; Zac Stavish ’13; Donald Bufano; Deborah Kraft, Dean of the School of Education. Second row (left to right): Bob Pelton, Professor of Education; Gina Weber ’16; Brooke Pazoles, Kellsye Piper ’12; Alix Weyforth ’13; Emma Oberlechner ’11; Victoria Abrecht ’16; Stephanie Miele ’16; Beth Kobett, Assistant Professor of Education

On May 10, the School of Education recognized David W. Nicholson, Professor of Education, with a signing party celebrating the publication of his Philosophy of Education in Action: An Inquiry-Based Approach. The textbook examines different philosophies of education, and each chapter features a vignette based on observations in actual classrooms by alumni and current education student-candidates in cooperation with several local schools.

For Nicholson, one of the most gratifying aspects of researching and writing the textbook was working with former and current students. In particular, Nicholson says that conversations with Kellsye Piper ’12 and Zac Stavish ’13 helped inspire the idea to author his own textbook. As the project began to take shape, Alix Weyforth ’13 and Allie Withrow ’13 offered feedback, and Rebecca Knolleisen ’14 provided extensive editing suggestions. Later in the process, Molly Malloy ’15 assisted in researching and verifying sources.

Other alumni were instrumental in contributing to the book’s development, Nicholson says. He and his students observed in the classroom of Tina Mikula ’11, teacher at Monarch Academy Charter School in Glen Burnie, who also shared instructional materials. Emma Oberlechner ’11, teacher at East Middle School in Carroll County Public Schools, provided a lesson plan. This information became the basis for vignettes featured in two chapters.

Current seniors also became involved. Megan Polis and Milvelis Vargas assisted in researching sources, verifying references, and compiling the index. In addition, Judy Hemler and Megan Polis along with a team of four students (Victoria Abrecht, Stephanie Miele, Brittany Somers, and Gina Weber) followed the inquiry model described in the textbook to conduct observations. They presented their results at the Paul D. Lack Scholars’ Showcase held at Stevenson University and the John Dewey Society’s Centennial conference in Washington, D.C.

During the signing party, Paul D. Lack, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, commended the project as an example of experiential learning, collaboration among faculty, students, and alumni, and outreach with educators in the local community.

Watch a Faculty Focus interview with Nicholson.