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Grad brings teaching gifts home to Navajo Nation

April 27, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Falonna Ashley never thought she could become a teacher. Growing up in rural Wide Ruins, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, she never thought she was smart enough to become a teacher. Not only did she earn her bachelor’s degree but, on Tuesday, walked across the GCU Arena Commencement stage after earning her master’s degree in educational leadership. She’s taking those gifts with her back to the reservation, where she’s teaching at a hard-scrabbled rural school that’s an hour away from most conveniences. “The goal was never to make it off the rez,” said Ashley. “The goal was to show rez kids that we are capable of far more than anyone wants to believe we are.”

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Slideshow: Spring Commencement, Friday morning ceremony

April 22, 2022 / by / 1 Comment

Photos by Rick D’Elia GCU News Bureau The Friday morning ceremony in Spring Commencement at Grand Canyon University awarded bachelor’s degrees to traditional students. Here’s a replay of the ceremony.  

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GCU’s ‘11 ceremonies of joy’ start making memories

April 22, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

The first Commencement ceremony rekindled the joyful tradition of handing out diploma sleeves to graduates as they walk across the GCU Arena stage. Just because it will happen over and over for the next week, don’t think it gets old to the administrators who do the honors. Dr. Meredith Critchfield, Dean of the College of Education, said she smiles so much, her face hurts after a ceremony.

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Slideshow: Spring Commencement, Thursday evening ceremony

April 22, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Photos by Ralph Freso GCU News Bureau Spring Commencement at Grand Canyon University kicked off Thursday night with the ceremony for traditional graduates of the College of Education and College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The student speaker was Dalton Curtis of CHSS. Read the stories here and here. Here’s a replay of the ceremony.  

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COE leaders share value of teachers, books, friends

April 20, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

College of Education Dean Dr. Meredith Critchfield likes to tell teachers in training a story, one that can serve them well as they graduate and go forth to teach. It’s about how a former student reached out to her 10 years later and gave her a gift. The books that Critchfield taught her in class changed her outlook, and she wanted to give Critchfield the children’s versions for her newborn. Now Critchfield has passed the books forward – to her friend, Associate Dean Dr. Emily Pottinger, and her children. It’s a story of the value of teaching and books and friends.

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GCU helps stem teaching, nursing shortages

April 13, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Teachers have a lot on their plate. They’re challenged not just by teaching Shakespeare and algebra, but by students’ behavioral problems, their social-emotional concerns and more. So even before the pandemic, schools could not find enough educators to fill their classrooms. Same for hospitals, which cannot find enough nurses to meet the need as the industry anticipates the retirement of a “silver tsunami” of nurses and serves an aging population. Those nursing and teaching shortfalls have been magnified over the past two years by the global pandemic. But instead of throwing up its hands in defeat, GCU got to work to try and solve those problems, from arranging emergency certifications for students to be substitute teachers, to helping working professionals earn an alternative route to teaching, to building the University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to move students into the nursing pipeline faster. Reprinted from the April issue of GCU Magazine.

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Teacher takes alternative pathway to her dream

April 13, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Maria Vinch had been a social worker and an office worker, but the kind of work she really wanted was to teach children. In August, she stood in front of a fourth grade class in Sierra Vista, Arizona, for the first time thanks to the Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach program, which helped her learn the skills needed for a teaching certificate. It’s a vital pathway for professionals to get in the classroom and help ease Arizona’s dire teacher shortage. Vinch is part of the second cohort, which already has provided 30 teacher candidates the opportunity.

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Honors Research Symposium highlights diversity

April 12, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

For the first time, the presentations at Monday’s Learning Community and Research Symposium were from five different colleges. Each one highlighted students’ heart for service and their desire to make their communities better — exactly the vision GCU President Brian Mueller has. “Brian talks so well about the vision of the University, but also the five-point plan and what we’re doing in the community,” Provost Dr. Hank Radda told the audience in his closing remarks at the event. “I don’t think you could have better representation of that occurring in a very real way.”

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Pins signify students’ pledge to inspire as teachers

April 11, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

GCU News Bureau The pins are a symbol and an important reminder. As each soon-to-be graduate of the College of Education pushed them into their shirts last week at the Spring 2022 Student Teaching Celebration, they heard the pledge to learn, lead and serve as new teachers. Grand Canyon University faculty, leaders, alumni and advisory board members cheered the student teachers who plan to become full-time educators after graduation. “This special celebration was an absolutely beautiful and heartfelt event,” said Dr. Alicia Kozimor, COE’s faculty chair. “The opening prayer from Professor Jena Akard was also a special moment as she shared with students that just as God knows every hair on their heads, He knew before they were even born that teaching would be their calling and that they would change lives through their practice.” Nancy Parra-Quinlan, 2022 Arizona Teacher of the Year, told students that colleagues in the field are excited to have more GCU’s graduates join the classrooms and communities to change the world. Samantha Ness, a local teacher and GCU graduate, reminded students not to forget the support COE gives new graduates as they enter classrooms. The pinning ceremony is a revived practice as a reminder of […]

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‘Assume competence,’ says Ms. Wheelchair Arizona

March 24, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Ms. Wheelchair Arizona Brooke Brown told a class of College of Education students Wednesday to always assume competence in your students, no matter their limitations. Brown turned her own limitations with cerebral palsy, a difficulty with speaking, into her strength. She’s a regular speaker at classrooms and churches and leads her own workshops on storytelling. “It’s proof that if you trust Him, Jesus will use your greatest weakness for His glory,” she said.

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