Exceptional Professors Transform the COE

By Linda Hass | Published May 10, 2016

If you could put your finger on the pulse of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education, you would find students, families and children at its heart. Not only do these vital groups drive the College’s outreach to and integration with the larger community, they are ongoing partners with the College as it leads the way towards transformative change in the real world.

A prime example is the place-based education approach promoted by Ethan Lowenstein, EMU’s professor of curriculum and instruction. Since 2008, Lowenstein has worked with the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition to transform K-12 education in urban schools throughout southeast Michigan. Place-based education is designed to engage students in hands-on learning activities that connect them to their local waterways, schools, families and communities by using their local environments as starting points for teaching subjects across the curriculum. A twin goal is to help students gain a heightened commitment to serving as active, contributing citizens willing to transform their world. For his ongoing work in place-based education, Lowenstein was awarded the Champion of Engagement Award though the Michigan Campus Compact and the 2015-16 John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education, among honors.

Another example is the work done by Dr. Burton-Hoyle, an associate professor in EMU’s special education department. The programs and initiatives spearheaded by Burton-Hoyle reflect her heartfelt conviction that autism affects every member of the family, and that support needs to be extended to this wider, interpersonal sphere. Burton-Hoyle, whose late brother was on the autism spectrum, is one of 15 professionals nationwide invited to participate on a federal advisory board. Her commitment to her field has helped Eastern become an educational leader in one of the fastest growing specialties in the country.

The programs promoted by Raul Leon, EMU’s associate professor of higher education and student affairs, are another shining example of the integrated approach championed by EMU’s College of Education. In his roles as co-founder and leadership board member of the BrotherHOOD Initiative and co-chair of the Men of Color Degree Completion and Retention Plan, Raul has worked with EMU faculty and staff to foster a greater sense of community on campus and enhance students’ progress towards the completion of their degrees. As a testament to the program’s effectiveness, 39 men of color enrolled in the degree completion program last year, and 38 returned this year—an impressive 90% retention rate.

Not only have these initiatives successfully connected Eastern’s College of Education to the wider community, they are among reasons the COE has earned a reputation as one of the largest producers of educational personnel in the country. The COE offers a comprehensive range of programs, bachelor’s degrees, master’s and doctorate degrees (many with online options) and extensive non-degree certification learning experiences. All professional programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and approved by the Michigan Department of Education. Many programs hold additional national recognition.

Go to the College of Education's home page to find out more about our programs, or how you can contribute to the College of Education.