a.s.f. graduate school

a.s.f. graduate school

New and Improving
Grad Community 232x162

As vice president and senior public affairs manager for Citizens Bank in Providence, R.I., Amie (Picard) Kershaw ’07 MBA works with nonprofit agencies serving people throughout Rhode Island. Kershaw reviews requests for assistance and manages the bank’s three annual signature programs. Champions in Action gives $25,000 grants to four nonprofits each year; Gear for Grades provides 12,000 new backpacks filled with school supplies to students and Striking Out Hunger — a “bowling fundraiser” — collects upwards of $50,000 for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

The need for help continues to grow “across the board,” says Kershaw. Agencies are looking at new ways to generate income through social entrepreneurship and by creating business opportunities.

Kershaw is a board member of RiverzEdge Arts Project in Woonsocket, RI, an example of entrepreneurial fundraising. The program gives economically and educationally deprived youth training in the arts, pay and a voice in the community. Classes in the organization’s studios teach graphic design, painting, photography, woodworking and silk screening. Participants sell products, drawing proceeds while learning about economics and management.

Working on her master’s degree in global business leadership and marketing with classmates at JWU from around the world offered a view of how business is conducted in other nations, Kershaw says. It’s the kind of perspective that only adds to her creativity. Online > amie.kershaw@citizensbank.com

Grad Reform 170x150Doctoral Dissertation Plays Role in Reform
In 2003, Rhode Island’s Department of Education introduced requirements and standards for school reform. As the director of secondary reform with the Pawtucket School District, Monique Jacob ’08 EdD is helping to steer a huge ship into unchartered waters. Jacob is developing ways that teachers can align their curricula and assessments to the state’s requirements.

Districts were told to choose two out of three performance methods. Pawtucket chose portfolios and course assessments. To meet criteria, teachers in all subjects must know writing, reading and math standards, and have similar expectations for their students’ work. “You cannot deny that it moved us ahead in terms of quality instruction,” Jacobs says of the reform.

Although beneficial, regulations came without defined procedures. “This has been frustrating at times, but also has produced tremendous learning on the part of all professionals included in the conversation.”

In May, Jacob received the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO) 2009 John Schmitt Award for her dissertation, “Expectations for Career and Social Support by Mentors and Mentees Participating in Formal Elementary and Secondary School Mentoring Programs.” Her discourse for JWU’s School of Education within the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School has proven to be a valuable tool in that respect. Research confirmed that when expectations of mentors for their mentees are made clear early, the outcome is successful. With this as a basis, she is devising professional development programs that she anticipates will bring positive results to the district.

Despite hurdles, the regulations have had some very positive effects. “It’s about improving teaching and learning — eventually improving the quality of students’ lives. Our kids were leaving high school without the necessary skills to be successful in work or college,” Jacob says. Change for the better is on her horizon. Online > Mjacob4@cox.net

quick take:graduate program

In October, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Brenda Dann-Messier ’00 EdD for the position of Assistant Secretary of Education for Vocational and Adult Education. Dann-Messier served in the federal Department of Education during the Clinton administration.