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NewsJun 3, 2019

Provost announces Education Summit grant awards

President Emerita Margaret McKenna’s $70K donation supports exercise in innovation and collaboration

Wide audience shot, people clapping

Provost Margaret Everett recently announced a series of grant awards that spring from an inaugural Education Summit, held in February.

According to Dr. Everett, the grants were made possible by “the generous support of the University Innovation Fund and a gift from (President Emerita) Margaret McKenna.” As a result, Everett added, “We were able to award the following grants for new initiatives designed to enhance Lesley’s reputation broadly in the area of K-16 education.”

Margaret McKenna speaks.
Margaret McKenna announced her continued commitment to the university with a $70,000 gift to support innovation.

More than 40 teams pitched ideas during the summit, and more than half of the teams submitted proposals.

“The energy and enthusiasm for collaboration is truly exciting and inspiring, and I expect this will be the first of many efforts to support the innovative ideas of our faculty and staff,” Everett added.

The following teams were awarded funding, which derives from the $70,000 gift from Dr. McKenna, who was president of Lesley from 1985 to 2007, and $30,000 in University Innovation Fund money.

Center for Advanced Professional Studies

Leads: Patricia Crain de Galarce and Lorraine Greenfield

Funding: $33,000

This award funds curriculum development and initial marketing of six professional development programs for K-12 teachers:

  • Dyslexia: Digital Badging and Micro-Credentialing
  • The Alliance for Teaching with Children’s Literature
  • Early Childhood Center for Professional Development
  • Restorative Justice Collaborative for Schools and Communities
  • Touchstone Network Leadership Academy for Reading Specialist Program Alumni
  • Positioning Lesley as a Leader within K-16 Climate Justice Education

The Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) will launch these programs this year and next, marketing them to educators in the region, including our extensive network of alumni, according to Dr. Everett.

Multilingual Collaborative: Interdisciplinary Approach to Multilingual Educator and Professional Development at Lesley University

Team Members: Meg Burns,  Lisa Fiore, Giuseppe Formato, Amy Gooden, Sonia Perez-Villanueva, Angelica Pinna-Perez, Vivian Poey, Clara Eugenia Ronderos, Laura Schall-Leckrone, Jen Serowick

Funding: $5,000

This cross-university collaborative will develop new curriculum for a bilingual endorsement, develop school and community-college partnerships to build enrollment in bilingual education, and create professional development workshops and courses for educators. This initial funding will support faculty in establishing the collaborative and developing two courses for the bilingual endorsement.


Universal Design for Learning: A Cross-Program Approach to Student Success

Team Members: Robyn Belair, Patricia Crain de Galarce, Randi Korn, Linda Lengyel, Cara Gorham Streit

Funding: $15,000

A basic tenet of inclusive design (and Universal Design for Learning) is that, when you design for a range of learners, all users benefit through increased equity and flexibility. This initiative includes two projects to improve student engagement and access to learning opportunities:

  • To promote learner-centered design across all programs at the university, the group will develop resources for instructors and students with respect to applying education technology via meaningful strategies.
  • Design, implement and evaluate a peer-support program to build connections, belonging, resilience and engagement between students in all university programs, with particular emphasis on supporting students who are struggling academically or feeling isolated, overwhelmed or out of place.
Three women talk to each other.
Erika Thulin Dawes, Jen Serowick and Susan Twombly discuss their pitches.

MTEL Math Preparation

Lead: Steve Yurek

Funding: $6,000

This project will expand the MTEL (Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure) preparation program that we currently offer. Funding will support the development of an online diagnostic test and curriculum for a weekend-format workshop for Lesley and non-Lesley students for a fee. Initial funding will support the creation of the first of four test preparation workshops.


Lesley Institute for English Language Programs Beyond Borders

Leads: Amy Gooden, Michelle Vital

Funding : $6,000

This initial funding will support a Phase 1 pilot of virtual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)/English for Academic Purposes courses in non-English-speaking countries in collaboration with L’Institut des Sciences, des Technologies et des Etudes Avancees d’Haiti (ISTEAH). Innovation funds will allow the project participants to develop, facilitate and evaluate an innovative course model for the partner in Haiti during 2019.


Lesley Family College

Team Members: Jen Serowick, Julianne Corey, Susan Rauchwerk, Nicole Weber, and Sarah Doyle

Funding: $20,000

The Lesley Center for the Adult Learner, in collaboration with our Graduate School of Education and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty, will establish a degree completion program to serve parents of school-aged children. This unique “2-Gen” model will be structured to reduce the barriers of college attendance for parents, through adult-friendly course scheduling and delivery format options, coupled with a “value added” childcare solution that provides STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) educational experiences through existing Lesley WonderLab programming.

Jared Kass speaks at a podium
Professor Jared Kass pitches his ideas at the summit.

Lesley Institute for Integrated Career Advancement

Team Members: Uma Chandrika Millner, Jen Serowick, Denise Malis, Katherine Barone, Julianne Corey, Jared Kass, Megan Crowe-Rothstein, and Meg Connor

Funding: $15,000 (plus additional $10,000 from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences adjunct budget)

The goal of this cross-university initiative is to establish a career-counseling program designed to improve employment outcomes for individuals with mental-health conditions by integrating research, theory and practice from the fields of vocational psychology and psychosocial rehabilitation with peer involvement. This program will integrate the unique specialties and academic disciplines in therapeutic programming that are the strength of Lesley University staff and faculty, such as Art Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Holistic Psychology, Trauma Informed Services, peer support and psychiatric rehabilitation. This pilot phase will conduct a needs assessment through focus groups and surveys, develop a career education and guidance curriculum through two newly established courses, and establish a peer consultation team.