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A new playing field: former athlete turned educational leader inspires students to be campus, community leaders

(l-r): Steve Tolman, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational leadership; John Egan, Ed.D.; and Juliann Sergi-McBrayer, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational leadership

John Egan, Ed.D., spent his undergraduate and graduate academic career pursuing degrees in sports management. As an award-winning college pole vaulter, Egan wanted to continue his passion for sports, melding it into his career. Yet, when he began as an advisor in Georgia Southern’s Student-Athlete Services, which provides academic support and development to student-athletes, in 2012, Egan’s professional focus shifted quickly from sports management to students.

“I knew after some time at the University that I wanted to continue my work with college students, but perhaps not in the way that I had really ever thought of before,” said Egan. “My career goals suddenly were no longer about sports but focused more on students.”

In 2014, Egan started the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program at Georgia Southern. 

“To continue working with students in the higher education workforce, I wanted to make sure there was no ceiling or barrier for reaching my potential and goals so I felt I needed to pursue a doctorate,” said Egan.

The College of Education’s doctoral program only strengthened what Egan already knew – that he had a passion for helping others develop their leadership skills. In July 2016, Egan was named the leadership educator in the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement (OLCE).

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Georgia Southern educational leadership faculty recognized for international award

Daniel Calhoun, Ph.D.

Georgia Southern University’s Daniel Calhoun, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership, is one of only three individuals internationally to receive the 2020 Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award from the American College Personnel Association — College Student Educators International (ACPA).

The award recognizes senior student affairs professionals for demonstrated excellence in administrative service or teaching, research and publications, professional service and leadership.

“To be recognized by ACPA, the professional organization I’ve belonged to since I was a graduate student is especially rewarding,” said Calhoun. “Being a teacher is not something I really think about doing, it is just who I am. So much of what we do in the field of education isn’t always tangible, so reading what colleagues and students said about me in their nomination letters was both surreal and humbling.” 

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Georgia Southern ‘New Teacher Thrive and Survive Summit’ assists new teachers with classroom management

The College of Education (COE) at Georgia Southern University is offering a day for early career teachers to recharge, reconnect and reengage. On March 28, teachers will gather at the University’s Statesboro Campus for the “New Teacher Survive and Thrive Summit” featuring keynote speaker Ruth Herman Wells, director of Youth Change, a comprehensive professional development resource for teachers, counselors and principals.

“One of the concerns for new teachers is retention and burnout within their first five years,” said Alisa Leckie, Ph.D, associate professor and COE interim assistant dean for partnerships and outreach. “We want to ensure that teachers are getting the support they need for both their professional and personal well being and growth.”

The event will be held in the College’s classroom building, located at 275 C.O.E. Drive, Statesboro, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will feature session topics including classroom management, motivating students, stress management and financial wellness.

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COE students, faculty and staff are invited to join the dean for coffee

Would you like a fresh morning cup of coffee or an afternoon cup of joe to get you through the remainder of the day?

College of Education Interim Dean Amy Heaston, Ed.D. is inviting all members of the college–students, faculty and staff, to stop by and have free coffee starting in February on both the Armstrong and Statesboro Campuses.

“The idea is that any member of the College can stop in during this one-hour timeframe and feel free to converse with other members of the College as well as myself,” said Heaston. “This is an opportunity to create an open-door for discussions among the college, whether that’s a student that has an idea they want to share or just to meet and say hello.”

Coffee and Conversations with the Dean will take place once a month at each campus location for one hour for discussions among members of the College. No formal agenda is provided. The schedule is as follows:

Armstrong Campus — Wednesday, February 26 at 2 p.m.; Friday, March 27 at 9 a.m; and Monday, April 27 at 2 p.m. in University Hall, Room 259.

Statesboro Campus — Tuesday, February 18 at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, March 31 at 3 p.m.; and Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m. in College of Education, Room 1100J.


A holistic approach to addressing trauma in schools

Three Georgia Southern COE professors are working together to better prepare teachers for trauma seen in students

Georgia Southern University College of Education professors surveyed school professionals in Georgia to determine next steps for implementing trauma informed practices in schools.

Regina Rahimi, Ed.D., professor of middle grades and secondary education; Delores Liston, Ph.D., professor of curriculum studies; and Amee Adkins, Ph.D., professor and department chair of middle grades and secondary education, agree that a lack of mental health professionals and support in schools coupled with elevated levels of trauma children are experiencing has fueled their passion for making a change.

Trauma informed practice provides structure or framework that helps adults to understand, recognize and respond to the effects of various forms of trauma that youth may be experiencing.

“Research demonstrates to us that experience of trauma in youth is ubiquitous,” said Adkins. “If you look at a room of 20 people, you can safely assume that most of them, upwards of 60% of them, experienced trauma in their youth. As adults, they may or may not have had help mitigating that trauma. When they are children, we should assume that they don’t have help mitigating the effects of that trauma and that their lives will be better if they get some help. So trauma informed practice, whether you are in social work, mental health services or an educator, says start with the assumption that you may have youth who are living with trauma, and asks what can you do to create a soothing, peaceful, functioning environment for them.”

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