Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education Points of Pride

The School of Education has a 100 percent placement rate after graduation. Ninety-seven percent of students with Education bachelor’s degrees are working in field; the other 3 percent are continuing on to graduate school.

The School of Education places candidates with exemplary teachers in highly diverse P-12 school settings. Diversity measures include race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture (including school settings such as urban, suburban and rural), exceptionalities, and unique attributes of schools such as a P-12 school environment or an alternative school environment. Field placements are tracked to ensure that each candidate has a variety of school experiences in all areas of diversity and varied levels of schooling (elementary, middle and secondary), as well as exposure to both public and private systems in the area.

Candidates in advanced programs also have extensive field experiences and job-embedded experiences that complement course content and requirements.

Three of our graduate programs are offered fully online: Master of Arts in Education, Rank 1 programs, and Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice.

Approximately 10 percent of our doctoral students are international, and include representatives from China, Brazil, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, India and Palestine.

The School of Education offers students multiple opportunities to study abroad in faculty-led programs during their time at Bellarmine. Education-specific destinations include the Dominican Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa.

The School of Education has a 2 x 2 partnership for Elementary and Language and Behavior Disorders (LBD) Education with the Kentucky Community Technical Colleges System (a community college system comprising 16 campuses). This degree certifies students in both Elementary Education and Special Education (LBD). This is unique among their offerings for 2x2 plans, which usually only certify students in one or the other.

Undergraduate students in the School of Education earn a dual-certification in elementary grades and special education or in middle grades and special education.

To support W.E.B. DuBois Academy, an innovative Louisville middle school for male students of color, in developing a college-going culture, the School of Education sponsors a celebration for W.E.B. DuBois students at the beginning of the school year. Bellarmine provides space for students to conduct their P.R.I.D.E. camp (orientation) on campus, provides a speaker to share what it means to attend Bellarmine, and supports the logistics and meals for this event. Several Bellarmine alumni count among DuBois’ faculty, including Kentucky Teacher of the Year Jessica Dueñas.

The School of Education participates in the Professional Educators Incentive Program, and encourages and facilitates the professional and personal development of teachers and administrators in Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, by providing tuition discounts for academic work at Bellarmine University.

The School of Education works with Bullitt County on a literacy project for building teacher capacity. Each year, approximately 20 teachers from this county participate in a weeklong summer seminar, and then attend class every other week during the school year. This job-embedded approach to professional development requires the teacher to learn about each of the big five components of literacy, how to assess them, instructional strategies to support the concepts, and how to involve family. All instructional coaches and principals in the district have also been trained in the tenets of the project, which provides administrative support for the teachers.

The School of Education has a 100 percent pass rate on PRAXIS Principles of Learning & Teaching, which exceeds the Kentucky pass rates each year.

Our advanced programs attract the most diverse group of students on campus. In our advanced and doctoral level graduate programs, our student enrollment ranges from roughly 10 percent underrepresented minorities in our Teacher Leadership master’s degree to 60 percent in our Doctor of Education in School Administration (Superintendency). More than 50 percent of our doctoral students are underrepresented minorities.

The School of Education hosts the Imagine the Future of Learning (IFL) conference annually and has begun hosting the KyGoDigital conference. The Leadership Summit for Higher Education and the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators’ annual conference were also hosted at Bellarmine for the first time this year and plan to continue annually.

The School of Education has a history of federal and state level funding focusing on work with surrounding school districts and community partners. Prior support has included a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) grant from the Kentucky Department of Education to develop STEAM labs in area elementary schools.

An $18,000 grant from WHAS’ Crusade for Children has allowed partial tuition support for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in special education courses. The nationwide demand for special educators is expected to grow by over 30 percent over the next decade.

The School of Education currently has a $125,000 National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Capacity Building Grant that aims to build pathways through collaborative partnerships for students interested in STEM to become middle and high school math and science teachers.

The School of Education currently has a $100,000 National Security Agency–National Science Foundation GenCyber Grant that aims to provide high school teachers across disciplines with opportunities to explore—first as learners, then as educators—cyber citizenship and programming concepts, with explicit connections to the GenCyber principles. In doing so, local teachers reflect on best practices in STEM education while learning and applying the content of these principles within the context of their own field of study.

The Master of Arts in Education program offers two cognates of specialization in addition to the Teacher Leadership coursework. The Trauma-Informed Practices and the STEAM Education areas of specialization come directly from stakeholder feedback about area needs. The programs build the capacity of teachers to be effective in developing best practices in educational settings.

The School of Education has begun an early entry route to the Master of Arts in Teaching program, in which students in the following majors will have the option to complete an early entry MAT and teaching certification in their respective content area: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, English and History.

One of the Louisville Writing Project’s largest active student constituencies is composed of Bellarmine-educated teachers. The close relationship has been forged and nurtured by Dr. Dottie Willis, board member and School of Education alumna, and Dr. Winn Wheeler, who was named a co-director of the University of Louisville-based organization this year.

Faculty Points of Pride 

Bellarmine School of Education professor Amy Lein secured an $18,000 grant from the WHAS Crusade for Children to be spent on partial tuition reimbursement scholarships for students pursuing certification in special education. 

Special education professors Amy Lein and Ali Taylor presented their respective research at the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators (KATE) conference on 9/20/19. 

Ali Taylor and Amy Lein collaborated on a single-subject research study recently published in the Kentucky Teacher Education Journal. They also collaborate to advise the Bellarmine Best Buddies Program, an RSO that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Kristin Cook, Associate Dean, has received more than $660,000 in externally funded projects for STEM Education and has written two books, six juried book contributions, and over 45 peer-reviewed publications in science, mathematics, and STEM education journals. Dr. Cook is an active presenter at national and regional conferences and serves on the editorial board for Innovations in Science Teacher Education as well as the board of the Kentucky Science Center. Dr. Cook is proud to have received the “Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers Award” from the Association for Science Teacher Educators.

AFTSE Assistant Professor Jessica Ivy currently serves as Chair of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Professional Development Services Committee. Dr. Ivy directed a $100,000 grant from the National Security Foundation in 2019 in collaboration with colleagues in Education and Computer Science.

Education Professor Donald “DJ” Mitchell’s nationally recognized scholarship focuses on race, gender, identity intersections, and intersectionality in higher education contexts. He has delivered over 50 presentations and published over 50 scholarly works, including his recent edited volume, Intersectionality & Higher Education: Theory, Research, & Praxis (2nd ed.).

Dean Elizabeth Dinkins is among 41 community leaders of the Leadership Louisville Center’s Bingham Fellows Class of 2019. The Fellows, who hail from various area health, education, and community development organizations and businesses, collaborate on projects aimed at mobilizing community involvement to promote student success.

Rosie Young, Graduate Programs and Ed.S. Chair, volunteers her time as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals. In this capacity, she plans the annual Fall Institute, provides outreach and resources to school leaders, and serves as a liaison to the National Association of Elementary Principals.

Mary Ann Cahill, Chair of Initial Certification Programs, and Winn Wheeler, Literacy Professor, recently presented their research on teaching writing at the International Literacy Association in New Orleans, La.

Associate Professor Mike Vetter serves as the Faculty Representative on the Executive Board of the College Personnel Association of Kentucky, which is made up of student affairs professionals from all public and private colleges and universities. He also serves as a representative of private university Higher Education Ph.D. programs at faculty meetings at national student affairs association meetings.

For the past 11 years, Dr. Kevin Thomas has collaborated with area school systems to organize the Imagining the Future of Learning Conference. Partnering schools have included the Archdiocese of Louisville Schools, Jefferson County Schools, Oldham County Schools, and Christian Academy of Louisville. Each year, the two-day conference attracts approximately 200 P-20 educators to Bellarmine to learn about how to improve student achievement through the use of technology. Dr. Thomas also serves as the Kentucky state representative for the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.