Lakeland awarded $880,000 grant for teacher training program
Lakeland College has been awarded an $880,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help fund a $1.2 million program to train 20 teachers from the African nation of Malawi at the master's degree level. The program will be officially announced in Malawi and the United States this week.
Participants will be current language arts instructors at Malawi's six teacher training colleges and will study at Lakeland's main campus for the master of education (M.Ed.) degree with a focus on early grade reading instruction.
"Lakeland has a proud history of responding to the needs of communities it serves, and we are honored to be given the chance to improve literacy in Malawi through our graduate programs," said Lakeland College President Dan Eck. "We are delighted that USAID has entrusted us to partner with them to serve the people of Malawi."
The first cohort of 10 teachers will arrive in Wisconsin this June. A second cohort of 10 will arrive in June 2015. Coursework in Wisconsin will last 13 months, followed by research activities in Malawi for an additional five months. After receiving the M.Ed. degree, the graduates will lead efforts in teacher training to improve early grade reading instruction in Malawi's primary schools.
Raising early grade literacy rates in developing nations is one of USAID's main educational goals worldwide. The Lakeland program will complement a $24 million USAID-sponsored program, the Early Grade Reading Activity (EGRA), already underway in Malawi and coordinated by RTI International from the Durham-Raleigh-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. RTI International is one of the largest non-profit organizations providing research and technical services around the world.
The primary goal of EGRA and RTI International is to assist the government of Malawi to improve and sustain reading performance in students in grades 1 to 3. EGRA involves school-based activities, community and parent activities and policy development to improve long-term literacy rates.
Malawi is a country of 17 million people in southeastern Africa. It is the size of Pennsylvania. Nearly 45 percent of the population is under the age of 15. Malawi ranks 221 out of 229 countries in the world for per capita GDP/purchasing power at $900 per year, according to the CIA's World Factbook.
Lakeland professors Jeff Elzinga and Mehraban Khodavandi will lead the Malawi program. Khodavandi, a professor of education and chair of the college's education division, noted that while significant education reform has taken place in Malawi during the past decade, an inadequate number of qualified teachers and budget constraints have hampered additional progress.
"Malawi's current education system emphasizes reading instruction, but most teachers have no specific training in reading pedagogy, and that makes this program even more significant," Khodavandi said. "This teacher inadequacy is particularly noticeable in the area of reading teachers and reading specialists from the elementary school level through their teacher training colleges.
"This program addresses those deficiencies by incorporating the cooperation of Lakeland College, USAID and the Malawian government to provide a significant impact to Malawi's education system, as well as its cultural, literacy and social development."
Lakeland College has a long association with enhancing educational efforts in Malawi. From 1999-2012, in another partnership with USAID, Lakeland provided full education scholarships for 55 students from Malawi, permitting those students the opportunity to complete a bachelor's degree at the Sheboygan campus.
Those Lakeland graduates returned to Malawi and assumed positions as lecturers at the country's teacher training colleges, instructing thousands of Malawi's future primary school teachers over the past several years. Many of the Lakeland graduates also went on to receive master's degrees from universities in Malawi, the U.S., the U.K. and other countries. A few are currently completing doctorate degrees.
Courses in the Lakeland M.Ed. program will be taught by full-time Lakeland faculty members, as well as by adjunct faculty, including certified reading specialists and school administrators from area public school systems.
"Training teachers and assisting in areas where there are critical needs are two of the things Lakeland does best," said Elzinga, a professor of writing at Lakeland, and chair of its general studies division. "I'm thrilled the college will have another opportunity to do both, and assisting with early grade literacy efforts is particularly important."
Sheboygan County teachers who are interested in obtaining graduate-level education credits and learning more about teaching practices and educational systems in Africa have access to a limited number of places in the courses with the Malawian teachers during the summer, fall and spring terms 2014-16. Anyone seeking more information about the Malawi Program should contact Elzinga at 920-565-1281, or email him at .
This program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development. The contents of this press release are the responsibility of Lakeland College and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
From Brazil to Lakeland
Minutes after polishing off a full plate of fish, rice and salad, Victor Prata had a big smile on his face.
"I love it here," the Lakeland College newcomer said. "I prefer cold weather over hot weather, and the food here is very, very good."
Prata, 21, is one of 13 students from Brazil who arrived on Lakeland's campus late last week. The group represents a new initiative by the Brazilian government, which pays for its best and brightest students to study in the U.S.
As part of Brazil's "Science without Borders" program, these students will sharpen their English skills through the English Language Institute at Lakeland. After that, they will study high-level science and technology for one year, either at Lakeland or at another U.S. college or university. Prata, like many of the newcomers, plans to stay at Lakeland for the full year-and-a-half. He is extremely interested in Wisconsin's dairy industry, and hopes to tour some of the many area farms.
"I am very nervous and excited," said Prata, a veterinary medicine student from Belo Horizonte.
After flying in to Milwaukee, the Brazilian students arrived on Lakeland's campus and, along with a Vietnamese newcomer, spent the following day learning about the school and life as a U.S. college student. They were given a tour of the campus by student leaders.
While Lakeland has welcomed individual students from Brazil in the past, this new program brings the most students ever from that country at any one time.
"These Brazilian students come to us with great enthusiasm and excitement," said Jennifer Alig, Lakeland's director of international recruitment. "We are thrilled to have this new relationship, which brings a new dynamic to the ELI and to Lakeland College."
Lakeland College moving its Green Bay center
Lakeland College will be moving its Green Bay center to a newly-built location.
The college's board of trustees has approved a design/build/lease agreement that will see Lakeland move to a new facility at 2601 Development Dr. in Bellevue. Lakeland's Green Bay center is currently located at 2985 S. Ridge Rd., Green Bay.
Construction of the new, $2.8 million center, which is being developed by Somerstone of Brookfield, will begin in June, and Lakeland expects to occupy the building in December. The first classes would be offered in January 2015.
Lakeland has offered degree programs to adult students in Green Bay since 1984, and the college believes the new facility positions Lakeland to improve delivery of its academic programs and services to students in Northeast Wisconsin.
The 15,000-square-foot facility includes nine technology-rich classrooms and two computer labs including one laptop classroom; a large student lounge for students to study and work in groups and Wi-Fi throughout the building. Classrooms will also be available for daytime rentals to businesses, clubs and other organizations.
The classrooms were designed to deliver the college's signature course format, BlendEd, which allows students to seamlessly transition from week to week between the traditional classroom and online, as needed. The newest feature of BlendEd offers the ability to broadcast live lectures to students outside of the classroom, connecting face-to-face and online students in one, interactive classroom environment.
“There is certainly a lot of excitement surrounding Lakeland's commitment to the greater Green Bay area,” said Zach Voelz, vice president for the Kellett School at Lakeland College. “We believe our new facility will match the high quality programming we have offered hundreds of students in Northeast Wisconsin for 30 years.”
“This project provides us the opportunity to equip the building with the latest in instructional technology and better position us for future technology upgrades. The new location also provides better student access, and it accommodates our continuing growth in the Green Bay area. Without a doubt, our students are going to be pleased with what they see and experience.”
Lakeland's new Bellevue location will closely match the college's Madison center, which was opened in January 2013.
In 1978, Lakeland developed an evening degree-completion program for working adults, the first in the state at that time. Last year, Lakeland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of its main campus, which is located in Sheboygan County.
Today, the college serves more than 500 students in the Green Bay area through its Evening, Weekend and Online program, and 2,800 students statewide. The college's total enrollment is approximately 3,800.
Students at Lakeland's Green Bay center can earn a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, communication, computer science, criminal justice, marketing, psychology and specialized administration. The business administration degree includes emphases in business economics, finance and insurance, healthcare management, hospitality management, international business, management, nonprofit management and sport management.
Lakeland also offers a master of business administration (with emphases in accounting, finance, healthcare management and project management) and a master of arts in counseling (with emphases in community, higher education and school counseling).
Learn more online at http://lakeland.edu/ewo.
Award-winning poet coming to Lakeland
Critically acclaimed and award-winning poet Stephanie Lenox will visit Lakeland College on Thursday, March 20 as a guest of Lakeland's creative writing program.
Lenox will conduct a daytime workshop with Lakeland College writing students, and perform an evening reading that is free and open to the public at Lakeland's Pub beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Lenox, a writer and teacher from Salem, Ore., recently published her debut collection of poems, titled "Congress of Strange People" (Arlie Press 2012). Critics have described her book of poems as thoughtful, humorous, zany and beautiful.
One reviewer, Denise Duhamel, author of the book of poems, Ka-Ching, wrote that Lenox's poems are "intimate, skillful, shimmering with complexity and awe."
After completing her MFA in poetry from the University of Idaho, Lenox worked as a communications director for a children's museum before moving to her current position as visiting professor of creative writing at Willamette University. She is a member of the long-standing poetry critique group, The Peregrine Writers, and is editor of the online literary journal "Blood Orange Review."
Her work has garnered multiple Pushcart Prize nominations and fellowships from both the Oregon Arts Commission and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. It was during her fellowship from Arizona that she completed "The Heart That Lies Outside the Body," a project that was eventually selected as the winner of the 2007 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest.
Laugh a lot at 'Spamalot'
Charlie Krebs has a keen sense of humor and a booming laugh, and when the Lakeland College associate professor of theatre and speech thinks something's funny, it's pretty obvious.
If you take an evening stroll past Lakeland's Bradley Theatre these days, you might just hear the unmistakable sound of Krebs cracking up. With rehearsals for Lakeland's spring musical, Monty Python's "Spamalot," in full swing, laughter is definitely in the air.
"This play is enormously funny," says Krebs with a big smile. "There have been nights when I was working on the script at home, and I started laughing so hard I couldn't stop. It's especially funny if you're a fan of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail,' but even if you're not, Spamalot is still very, very funny."
Lakeland Theatre's production of "Spamalot" debuts on Thursday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. with additional shows scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 27-29 and at 2 p.m. March 30. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for non-Lakeland students. They can be purchased in advance using the form below, by contacting Deb Fale at or 920-565-1536.
"Spamalot" is a musical parody of the monster 1975 comedy, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." "Spamalot," which debuted on Broadway in 2005 and won three Tony awards, is about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
"So many people know and love Monty Python, and 'Spamalot' has had a really good run (on Broadway)," says Krebs. "It's funny and irreverent, just a great show.
"'Spamalot' has never been performed in Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee and Appleton," says Krebs, adding, "When I found out the rights were available, I almost passed out I was so excited."
By opening night, Lakeland's student-actors will have rehearsed for nine weeks, a couple more than usual.
"I think it's a really fun show," says Lakeland actress Katherine Zielsdorf, a sophomore from Kenosha. "It's got a lot of good British humor, and I think it's something the audience is really going to enjoy."
Most of Lakeland's plays over the past few years, including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Soli Deo Gloria" and "Equus," have been on the dramatic and serious side, Krebs says.
"And there's nothing wrong with that, but it's time to have some fun," Krebs says. "And that's exactly what this play is – enormously fun. We laugh together during rehearsal all the time."
Adds Zielsdorf: "It's more fun for me to do comedy. When you're doing a serious play, you're not getting a lot of audience reaction, so it's more fun to do a comedy so you can get reaction from the audience and up your performance a little more."
Fellow student actor Nathan Miller, a freshman from Marinette, agrees.
"I think the audience will love it," he says. "We're having a bunch of fun and that's going to show. It's funny … (people in the audience) will laugh their heads off."