Home

Knowledge is Power

Leave a comment

Dr. Leslie Huling

Leslie Huling, EdD

By Carol Wilkinson and Jael Perales

The world of public education is changing every day. As the demands on high school graduates increase, public educators in the state of Texas are under pressure to prepare their students for a more rigorous college and/or career environment. To ensure state-wide improvement in students’ educations, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has developed a new standardized exam which has once again raised the bar for students and educators alike. In an effort to update local communities on this rapidly evolving situation, Texas State Round Rock Campus will be hosting a Public Education Forum entitled, “College and Career Readiness and STARR: An Update for Educators, Parents and Community Member.” The forum will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2013, starting at 5:45pm in Avery 252. Scheduled to speak at this event are Leslie Huling, EdD, and David D. Molina, PhD.

Dr. Leslie Huling is a professor in the College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department at Texas State University and the director of the Educations Policy Implementation Center (EPIC) here at the Round Rock Campus. She is the principal investigator on several grants related to college and career readiness, including the grants that support the operation of the CCRI Mathematics Faculty Collaborative and Success Initiative in Developmental Education – Mathematics (SIDE-M) project. Under Dr. Huling’s direction, EPIC has generated more than $25 million in educational grant funding for Texas State, contributing to the university’s success in being named one of eight Emerging Research Institutions in the state of Texas.

For the Public Education Forum, Dr. Huling will discuss “Texas College and Career Readiness Initiative and Texas State’s Leadership in Faculty Development for the State.” The Texas College and Career Readiness Standards was enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature and seeks to increase the number of students who are college and career ready when they graduate high school.

Dr. David D. Molina serves as president of David Molina & Associates, Inc., an educational consulting and professional development provider. A former high school teacher, Dr. Molina served as a program director at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin and on the faculties at UT and Trinity University.  His work includes contributions to public education policy, curriculum development, and teacher preparation reform. Today, Dr. Molina works with schools and districts on teacher and leader professional development; the design and implementation of mathematics curriculum and assessment; the improvement of instructional practice; and data analysis, strategic planning and school improvement.

For the Public Education Forum, Dr. Molina’s topic is entitled “STAAR: A Focus on Academic Readiness – Are We Ready?” STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) is a new, mandated testing program put in place by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that will soon be administered throughout the state. This testing program takes the place of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).

Educators, students, and parents are encouraged to attend this forum, as well as all other members of the community. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of this event. For more information, contact Dr. Leslie Huling by phone – 512.716.4531 – or by email – la03@txstate.edu. You can also find more information on the RRC Events page.

Advertisements

Gearing up for the fall

Leave a comment

By Kristen McLaughlin

College student studying in Park

College student studying in Park (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Many students probably have mixed emotions about the fall semester starting, but hopefully there is a part of you that is excited to be back on campus. We hope you experienced some fun vacations, enjoyed your nights off, and spent quality time with loved ones.  As someone who just graduated from a Texas State University master’s degree program in May, I know that each semester comes along with a healthy amount of preparation.  With only a few weeks left before it is back to the daily grind of balancing school with work or other daily tasks, don’t forget to:

  • Enjoy. Do something fun during the short time you have left before school starts again. Go swimming, take a mini vacation, bake cookies, see a movie or read a good book.  Enjoy the free time you have before you get into the school routine.
  • Prepare. Research the text books and supplies you will need for your courses and purchase them in time for classes. Several professors begin assignments right away. Research your professors as well and see if they have a website with some information about the course.
  • Rest. Get plenty of rest and be prepared to adjust your schedule once classes start, especially if you are taking night classes.
  • Get organized.  Get binders and notebooks for the appropriate classes. Keep all of your course subjects separate. Organization definitely helps when you are taking college courses! Organization also extends to your computer or laptop. Create a separate folder on your desktop for each course you plan to take.
  • Practice time management.  Without a doubt, schedules quickly fill up at the beginning of the semester. With multiple projects, papers, a social life and possibly work, it is important to set a daily routine. Keep a planner and mark important dates. It is also helpful to set reminders on your computer or phone.
  • Review information. Review paper work, such as loans and degree programs, especially if this is your first semester. Ask if you have questions.
  • Talk to your advisor. Make sure you are on track with your program. Get in touch with your advisor prior to the semester if you have not already to review your semester plan and overall degree plan.
  • Watch your finances. Be prepared for additional costs such as tuition, books, supplies and school-related events. If you can cut back on eating out or something extracurricular the few weeks before school, it could be beneficial. Every little bit helps!

Important dates before the semester:

  • First day of class: Aug. 27
  • Schedule changes:  Aug. 27-Aug. 30
  • Payment deadline Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. For more information and to pay, click here.

Some helpful websites:

With preparation and a positive attitude, you could start the semester stress free! Best of luck as you start a new semester at Texas State.

Texas State RRC celebrates graduates

Leave a comment

By Kristen McLaughlin

graduation reception photo

Group photo at the 2011 Texas State RRC Graduation Reception

It is the time of year that can be both stressful and exciting for college seniors and final semester graduate students. The spring graduation is Thursday- Saturday for all graduating Bobcats. For the Texas State University RRC students who are graduating, services and events are available to help students celebrate and alleviate stress during this time.

Texas State University Round Rock Campus spring graduates and students who graduated in the summer or fall of 2011 are welcome to a graduation reception tomorrow from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Avery Building. Students must register. Attendees can bring a maximum of four guests. The event is free, but you must register with your Student ID to attend.  Group photographs of the graduates will be taken, but family and friends are also encouraged to bring their own cameras to take photos. The purpose of the reception is for the Round Rock campus faculty, administration and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating students who attended classes at the Round Rock location.

For busy students who need a quiet place to study, the student lounge in Avery 202 is open and there are plenty of computer labs and seating areas and study rooms throughout the Avery Building available.

Graduates may also have financial concerns and need help finding a job. There are also resources available at Texas State that can assist with this situation.  As far as a job search goes, the Texas State Career Services in San Marcos offers a variety of services to assist students and alumni. For those who are interested in entrepreneurship, there is also the Small Business Development Center located in Avery 265. There are also two other locations, one in Austin and one in San Marcos. The center offers training and advice for those who are interested in starting a small business.

Although there is so much to think about during this time, graduation is a time filled with opportunities and excitement.  Commencement will be held May 10-12 at Texas State University-San Marcos at the Strahan Coliseum, 700 Aquarena Springs Drive, San Marcos. For more information about parking and seating, click here. I look forward to seeing everyone as we celebrate the accomplishments of Texas State graduates!

The Abacus, the Overhead Projector, and Classroom Technology

Leave a comment

By Jael Perales

Classroom Technology at RRCThe Round Rock Campus is set to host the Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop on Saturday, April 28. This full-day workshop will address topics related to technology and education, and that got me thinking about my own experiences with technology as a student.

My first calculator (well, besides my own brain) was the easiest thing I could get my hands on; namely, my fingers and toes. As you would expect, the math eventually became harder than what my 10 digits could manage, so the next tool provided to me was a basic calculator. You know the type, perfect for doing all kinds of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and apparently something to do with %. But this too was insufficient to tackle the math problems of middle school. Once algebra came into my life, the ol’ number cruncher had seen better days. So, once again, I upgraded, and this time perhaps more than I needed to. You see, I began competing in calculator-based academic competitions, so the tool provided to me was the kind that could handle problems beyond my grade level. I was solving equations, converting units, tackling trigonometry…and I hadn’t even met those issues in my own mathematics classes! And yet, even then, I was limited in what I could do. To advance further as a mathematics competitor and eager, young scholar, I needed something that could handle bigger equations, more complex situations, matrices, and, eventually, graphs. Thus came the powerful graphing calculator and, so it seemed, near limitless capabilities.

But, as luck would have it, I went on to college and was presented with a whole new array of problems. Real-world physics problems to be more precise. And I must say, even the powerhouse that was my graphing calculator was unable to stand up to the challenge. At this point, the only other powerful computational engine available that wasn’t the human brain was, you guessed it, the personal computer. I was introduced to a computer program that could handle giant, complex, mountains of math as easily as I can click the mouse attached to the computer I am writing with now. Suddenly, I looked at newer, more ambitious mathematical projects with a sense of boldness I had never known before.

It is only now that I see the neck-and-neck race that had been occurring in my academic experiences. The technology I used in math seemed to be the deciding factor in what level of math I could study. Or was it that the level of the math determined the tools that were required? It is no secret that technology and education go hand in hand. What one can teach is often directly related to what one can use to teach and learn. When the abacus was the primary tool for doing math, what a student was expected to learn and do was miles behind what most elementary students can handle today. The educator was limited in what he or she could teach. But, as we have all seen, when the technology available to both students and educators advanced, so too did the level of information being taught. In other words, I can teach a 3rd grader how to handle multiplication problems with a calculator that the student may have never been able to accomplish with just an abacus.

Classroom equipment has also experienced significant upgrades. I remember my teachers working out math problems on an overhead projector and showing slightly dated science videos on VHS. Now, teachers can display a computer desktop on a hardwired screen and use their hands or other devices to draw students in with high-tech visuals and up-to-date streaming videos. Advances such as this allows teachers to draw on a wealth of knowledge and visual aids like never before, which not only improves the way they can teach and keep students engaged, but also allows them to teach content that would otherwise have been too high-level.

And you, ever plugged-in college student, how much more useful to you is an educational environment that synchs up with the technology you are accustomed to already? Class projects posted on a social media platform, textbooks on e-readers, and class participation using smartphones. These are just some of the many ways educators can interact with students in and out of the classroom. And “out of the classroom” learning is key in expanding what educators can teach and students can learn. In reality, technology is even expanding the classroom itself.

For educators, the first response to this reality is pretty straightforward. With all the technology out there, where does a teacher or professor even begin? A good place to start is at the upcoming Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop. The event, sponsored by Kappa Delta Pi, Dell, and ePals, is a full-day technology workshop with hands-on exploration and sessions that address 21st Century Learning.  The current list of speakers includes teachers from AISD, PISD, RRISD, DELL, and ePals, with more to come. The event will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Texas State University Round Rock Campus. Registration is free for all Texas State Education majors, but space is limited. Go to http://www.planetreg.com/E4414551083153 to register. The registration deadline is April 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. I encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity. Expanding what educators can do in the classroom is the key to expanding the capabilities of students. I personally can’t wait to see the abacus of tomorrow!

Overcoming A “Fear” of the Texas State Round Rock Writing Center

Leave a comment

By Chris Muse, Writing Center Coordinator

What is the Writing Center?  To summarize, it is a service of trained tutors that provide individual counseling in writing for Texas State students at any level of study.

This includes help with: essays, technical writing, research papers, formal letters, in-class essay exams, MLA/APA documentation, professional writing, and resumes. We also tutor for the GSP.  Overall, the Writing Center is a beneficial place to learn how to improve and even sharpen writing skills. However, there are students that still have reservations about the Writing Center.  Typically, there is the false impression that students will be judged for their writing and tutors will single out any or all “mistakes” in an insensitive manner.  But this perception could not be further from the truth.

In the Writing Center, tutors realize that students are reluctant to share their written work.  For example, I had a session last week with a student who was experiencing her first semester of college after taking a twenty-eight year break from pursuing a degree in nursing.  At first, I noticed she was nervous about letting me read her paper.  I told my client that I would not ridicule her in any way and am only here to provide support.  Also, I informed her on how the Writing Center is a safe place because we offer a service that specializes in developing writing skills without judgment.  After our brief counseling session, she opened a folder and handed me her paper.  Moreover, students will find that tutors are not abrasive in their teaching styles and take the time to calmly address any issue.

To conclude, the purpose of the Writing Center is not to emotionally scar students.  Rather, it is a resource on campus that is available to use if a student is interested in learning how to strengthen aspects of his/her writing.  Tutors will instruct students on how to brainstorm for a topic, form an outline, implement sources, and organize the paper effectively.  Of course, any major concerns the student has will be addressed first.  Quite simply, we are here to help.

The Writing Center is located in Avery 203. Spring 2012 hours are Monday-Wednesday from 1-8 p.m. and  Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. E-mail cm1913@txstate.edu or stop by to make an appointment.

Bobcat Day: Find out what it means to be a “Round Rock Bobcat”

Leave a comment

By Kristen McLaughlinBoko

What is the Texas State University Round Rock Campus and why should you attend? These are questions prospective students can find answers to at Bobcat Day on March 31 from 10 a.m. – noon.

Whether you are a student in graduate school, community college, high school or a full-time professional, Bobcat Day is an event you can attend for more information to consider about the campus.  A major purpose of Bobcat Day is to clarify what the Texas State University Round Rock Campus is and what programs are offered.

“A lot of people don’t understand we are an extension of Texas State and we have full service here,” Transfer and Graduate Coordinator Karen Ripley said.

Texas State University Round Rock offers junior and senior level courses within 10 bachelor’s degree programs as well as 11 master’s programs. The campus offers primarily night classes, but also has some daytime offerings. Students who complete their degree requirements at Texas State University Round Rock Campus receive their degree from Texas State University-San Marcos.

A large focus is placed on the transfer student, whether they are transferring from the San Marcos campus for location purposes or from a community college. In an effort to make it an easy transition, the Round Rock Campus is partners with Austin Community College. Staff members work with the students to ensure that they are taking all of the right classes. Bobcat Day is tailored to the transfer student and students who are returning to school after a break, although Ripley said high school is not too early to start planning and attend Bobcat Day.

What else is offered at Bobcat Day? The main objective for Bobcat Day is to assist prospective students. The prospective Bobcats will be able to meet with financial aid representatives, discuss degree plans, speak with financial aid, and preview the resources on campus.

“All of the Texas State Representatives I met were extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can see their passion in helping students succeed. It’s refreshing,” said Alysia Sanchez, a prospective student who has attended Bobcat Day.

In addition to getting some helpful information, students have the option of touring the beautiful campus. Although it is free, you must RSVP for Bobcat Day.

“From my point of view, Bobcat Day is such a great opportunity to meet prospective Bobcats and formulate a lasting relationship that follows through application, admittance, orientation, and eventually graduation,” Ripley said.

Mid-terms, projects and papers, oh my!

Leave a comment

English: Students need sleep in order to study.

Image via Wikipedia

How to alleviate stress during midterms

By Kristen McLaughlin

For all of the diligent students stressing out over the challenges that the middle of the semester presents, there is hope.

Resources are available at Texas State University Round Rock Campus to help students make it through with success. Some of these include the Writing Center, the RRC library, the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC) and activities to take a break from the stress of it all.

SLAC is offering a test preparation and test taking strategy session today (March 1) from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Avery, 419. If you want to take a break from academic writing and learn how to write creatively, the Writing Center  is also hosting a Creative Writing Workshop March 6, April 10, and April 12 from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Avery, 419. The Writing Center is located in Avery, room 202, and offers a variety of resources to students at Texas State RRC.

Overall, this type of writing can be a stress reliever, as the writer has the freedom to write about anything rather than on a specified topic,” Writing Center Coordinator Chris Muse said.

When it comes to midterms and getting through the semester, Muse said the key is to relieve stress as much as possible.

“Midterms can be rather stressful and the best advice I can give to students is to remember that these mid-year assignments are only as stressful as we make them,” Muse said. “The reason why this time of the year can be so overwhelming is usually a result from how we allow the stress to take control.  Mainly, this originates from having to cut study time in half as students are required to devote their focus to more than one subject.”

Muse has two key tips that can help students get through midterms:

  • Tip #1-Don’t Procrastinate. One effective method that helps alleviate stress is to organize the amount of work the students have for each midterm.  Here’s how to do that: try not to wait until the last minute.  Procrastination is a key factor of stress and only intensifies as time expires.  Make note cards NOW, review class notes NOW, and begin research for a paper NOW!  The information the professor adds in lecture from this point on should be implemented into daily study sessions that lead up to the exam. Students who wait to study ALL of their notes instead of breaking it in 1-2 hour review sessions every day result in “all night cram sessions.”  This type of “studying” is more harmful than it is beneficial, as students tend to rely on this method more often than they should.
  • Tip #2-Take care of yourself and make time to do what you enjoy. Another piece of advice I have for students is to remember to take time off from studying.  Make time for exercise, community events, sleep and nutrition!  Junk food and caffeinated drinks are wise to avoid a few days prior to the exam day.  This type of eating will take a physical toll on your mental stamina. Remember, if the body is deprived, then the mind will be less focused and alert.

And don’t forget Spring Break is just around the corner! Spring break is March 10-18, a nice deserving break for students! It is also a good time to catch up on school work without the stress of class. For more information about Texas State RRC and resources available, visit http://www.rrc.txstate.edu.