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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: University of Washington

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November 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Videos: College students share struggles, triumphs at Education Lab event

On Nov. 15, five local college students appeared before an audience at the University of Washington to share their journeys of achieving college access despite significant challenges and set-backs. “Storytellers: How I Got into College” was hosted as part of the UW Dream Project’s Admissions Workshop Weekend, an annual event that brings dozens of high-school students from throughout King County to UW for assistance completing their college applications.

Go here for a written recap and photos from the evening’s program. Videos of each storyteller are posted below.

Jenée Myers Twitchell, director of the Dream Project, kicked off the event by sharing the story of her own upbringing in Yakima. “My story is filled with addicts,” she said. “Pretty much everybody in my family had gone through or needed to go through rehab.”

Her own struggles inspired her to begin working with local youth and start the Dream Project.

“I didn’t want it be about luck. I didn’t want getting to college to be about, ‘I just hope I meet the right person,'” she said.

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Comments | More in News, Video, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, storytellers, University of Washington

November 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Student storytellers emphasize persistence, importance of mentors and role models

Marcellina DesChamps first set foot in a classroom when she was 27 years old.

Growing up, her father owned a small business. The kids helped out when times got tough and by the time she turned 14, she worked 40 hours a week. Now 32, DesChamps studies political science and law, societies and justice at the University of Washington, where her classmates — and some of her tutors — are a decade younger than her. Along the way, she has learned how to actively read, how to study, to take notes, to use the library and how to ask for help.

“I’m learning how to learn,” said DesChamps, who earned her GED and studied at North Seattle College before arriving at UW.

On Saturday, DesChamps was one of five local college students who shared their stories before a crowd of high school and college students at “How I Got Into College,” a storytelling event presented by Education Lab and the University of Washington Dream Project.

Most of the speakers, several of whom are first-generation students, emphasized persistence and finding good mentors and role models on the path to college. They said despite higher education’s costs, paying for college is the best debt you can have.

Teena Thach, a senior at Western Washington University, tells her story on stage at the University of Washington on Saturday.

Teena Thach, a senior at Western Washington University, tells her story on stage at the University of Washington on Saturday. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, storytellers, University of Washington

November 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Mr. Marshmallow Test to talk about willpower at UW

Credit: McClatchy Newspapers

Credit: McClatchy Newspapers

The researcher who explored the lifetime benefits of delayed gratification by tempting preschoolers with marshmallows will speak at the University of Washington on Nov. 17.

Walter Mischel, now at Columbia University, devised the now-famous marshmallow experiments in the late 1960s at Stanford University. He tested the willpower of preschoolers by giving them a simple choice: Get one tasty treat immediately, or get two about 15 minutes later.

Kids were left alone in the room with a bell. Ringing the bell brought back the adult and the child got the sweet. Holding out long enough without ringing the bell, and the child got two.

Children employed clever strategies to distract themselves from looking at the marshmallow, like turning their backs on the treat.

Mischel found that kids who were able to delay gratification at age 4 had greater success decades later in school and adult life.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, Science of learning, University of Washington

October 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Pre-K and K-12 leaders gather to talk consistency, collaboration

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Teachers, school chiefs and other education administrators from across the U.S. are gathered in Seattle this week to brainstorm ideas for better linking early childhood learning with the K-12 education system.

The disconnect, some education advocates say, stems from a common view that learning that happens before kindergarten is separate from a child’s “formal” education. Another problem is the lack of time to thoughtfully plan for pre-K opportunities, they say.

Kristie Kauerz, a research professor in the University of Washington College of Education and director of UW’s National P-3 Center, said schools can have a big influence on kids’ learning trajectories and achievement gaps if they can reach them before kindergarten.

“Why don’t we start doing something when kids are really little to address those achievement gaps, rather than waiting until third grade when that window of opportunity has really passed?” Kauerz said in an interview.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, University of Washington

October 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Record-high enrollment at WSU and UW’s three campuses

The WSU campus in Pullman. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011.

The WSU campus in Pullman. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011.

Both the University of Washington and Washington State University are reporting record-high enrollments for this academic year, with UW enrollment up 3 percent from the previous year and WSU up 4 percent.

All told, the UW’s three campuses — Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma — now enroll 54,223 students. That’s almost as many people as live in Redmond.

The Seattle campus alone added more than 1,000 students, bringing its total to 44,786. In its most recent count, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the UW 12th-largest among public universities that offer doctoral degrees, and that was based on 2012 figures when total enrollment at the Seattle campus was 43,485.

The UW had both the highest undergraduate student enrollment in its history (41,243 students) and also the highest graduate student enrollment (12,980 students) when all three campuses are added together.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, University of Washington, Washington State University

October 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM

UW viral video: Toddler leaves toy alone to avoid an adult’s anger

Move over marshmallow test, there’s a new video showing the struggles of a toddler to control his impulses and it comes right out of the University of Washington.

The new UW video — which has tallied more than 750,000 hits since it was posted 10 days ago  re-enacts an experiment in a study from the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences that is published in the current issue of the journal, Cognitive Development.

The researchers wanted to find out if 15-month-old children could resist the natural urge to copy an adult playing with a toy by figuring out that doing so would make someone else mad at them.

Turns out they can.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, social and emotional learning, University of Washington

October 9, 2014 at 5:12 PM

UW President Michael Young gets 6.2 percent raise

The University of Washington’s Board of Regents gave President Michael K. Young a raise of 6.22 percent on Thursday, or another $50,004 a year. That brings his salary to $853,508, including a salary of $622,008, deferred compensation of $193,500, a $12,000 per year car allowance and a retirement plan contribution of $26,000. Young also received a 4 percent…

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, University of Washington

August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Best bang for your college buck? UW ranks 6th

A wide range of institutions and publications will be rolling out national — in some cases, international — college and university rankings in the coming weeks. In this space, we’ll take note of some of the most interesting ones.

The national magazine Washington Monthly tries to downplay prestige and play up value in its “Best Bang for the Buck” list, with rankings based on the economic value students receive per dollar. Among national universities, that list puts the University of Washington-Seattle at number 6. Washington State University ranks 45th. 

Among master’s-degree-granting universities, UW-Bothell ranks 5th, and The Evergreen State College ranks 17th. Central Washington University comes in at 29th, and Western Washington University at 32nd.

Among all schools in the country, regardless of the highest degree awarded, UW-Bothell ranks 6th, and UW-Seattle ranks 15th.

The monthly magazine also has a second, broader ranking that looks at more than money.  For that list, it “asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it?”

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Comments | More in News | Topics: University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University

August 4, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New UW provost may expand online classes for working adults

Rovy Branon. Photo courtesy University of Washington

Rovy Branon. Photo courtesy University of Washington

An educator who helped develop the University of Wisconsin’s program that allows working adults to earn college degrees online will lead a similar department at the University of Washington.

Rovy Branon has been chosen to become vice provost for UW Educational Outreach, the arm of the university that offers continuing education for professionals, as well as degree programs that allow students with some college credits to finish their degrees online at the UW.

Branon comes from the University of Wisconsin-Extension, where he led the development of that school’s Flexible Option program, a competency-based online degree program that gives students credit for skills they have learned in previous jobs. He also helped develop eCampus, a gateway to online degree programs throughout the University of Wisconsin system.

Is that a signal that the UW will continue to expand its online offerings for working adults who want to finish their bachelor’s degrees? Perhaps.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: online degree, University of Washington

July 14, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Computer scientist hopes to customize teaching and learning

Educators have been struggling for decades to resolve a fundamental problem: Students who are in the same grade because of age often vary greatly in skills, abilities and experiences, even on the first day of kindergarten.

Teachers are told to differentiate their instruction so that each student gets what she needs ­ a good idea in theory, but hard to pull off in a real classroom because teachers also vary in skills and abilities.

That’s the big puzzle that University of Washington computer science professor Zoran Popović hopes to solve with insights gained over the last five years of developing computer learning games that adapt to the skills of individual players so they progress more efficiently toward mastery.

Popović directs the university’s Center for Game Science.

He also is the founder and chief scientist at Enlearn, a not-for-profit organization started with money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which partnered with the center in May. Enlearn is developing a commercial application for the interactive technology aimed at the global K-12 market.

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Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: math instruction, Seattle Public Schools, technology

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