Winter 2011

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News Briefs

Art Bangert

Art Bangert, associate professor of education at Montana State University, spent three weeks on a research cruise with the Teacher-at-Sea program. The program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) provides experiences for educators to work alongside scientists to collect data on air temperature, ocean salinity, air speed, ocean temperature, and carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean. Bangert assisted scientists in deploying and replacing Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO) buoys in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean that are used to collect ocean data that is used for climate studies.Scientists use the information to predict La Nina and El Nino weather patterns.

“People just don’t realize all the data collected.  It’s quite an operation,” said Bangert about NOAA.

Since NOAA puts this information on their website, Bangert plans to partner with assistant professor of education, Mary Leonard’s methods of science class this spring to show students how to bring this experience into the classroom.

“There have been over 200 teachers-at sea and I would like to investigate how their experience translates into classroom use,” Bangert said.

He hopes to be able to secure funding from a NOAA grant to leverage his experience along with those of other teachers-at-sea to develop several online courses focused on ocean literacy and climate change for informal science educators.

Bangert sailed aboard the NOAA ship Ka’imimoana from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to Western Samoa, along with a former MSU doctoral student, Rick Jones, who currently teaches science at Billings Senior High School.

Kaci West

Elementary education student, Kaci West, was crowned Miss Montana 2010 this summer at the state pageant and will be taking a year off from her studies to compete in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January 2011. West’s platform is “Rising above the Influence:Prevention of Underage Drinking.” She said from her experience as a resident advisor, she “witnessed how many underage students fell victim to the consequences of underage drinking.”

“Being Miss Montana is really about giving up your year for community service,” said West. “It’s also an incredible scholarship opportunity for young women and has helped me pay for my education.”


Joan Cook

When Joan Cook first started as a teaching assistant in instructional technology at MSU 23 years ago, she taught on Apple 2E computers. As technology rapidly changed, Cook examined emerging trends-blogs, wikis, video, podcasts-to see how they might be used to enhance student learning. Now, she finds herself helping teacher education students learn to incorporate cell phones, Flipvideos, and Twitter into their teaching methods. Cook also has taught numerous computer courses for women over the age of 70 (CyberChicks) and adult education workshops.

In 2005, she taught 86 practicing teachers from Montana school districts in an online class called “Integrating Technology into the Curriculum.” She is most proud of her outreach to teachers around Montana.

“I’ve had the chance to work with people all over the state to get technology into the hands of students,” said Cook.

Cook, who has received an Excellence in Teaching Award and two Awards for Excellence, announced her retirement as a full time adjunct assistant professor at the end of May. However, she will stay involved in teaching as new opportunities arise.

“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to teach at MSU. It is indeed a privilege,” Cook said. “I’ve learned that it is those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular and rewarding.”

Tim Dunnagan left at the end of last academic year for a new opportunity as dean of the College of Health Sciences at Boise State University in Idaho. Dunnagan has served the university for the last 16 years as a professor of health promotion and most recently as department head for the Department of Health and Human Development.

Beginning with fall semester, two new department heads were named. Mark Nelson, with the graduate counseling program, will head the Department of Health and Human Development, and Jayne Downey who previously taught undergraduate education courses, will lead the Department of Education.


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