June 18, 2024

Volume 2, Edition 16

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Dean’s Letter 

Photo: Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.

Advocating for the Common Good


Our culture is at a critical cusp—a time that requires that we define what it means to be a citizen in a democracy. Within our nation we need to foster a greater sense of collective responsibility.

Robert Bellah

My doctoral students and I stood in the stunning Beaux-Arts foyer of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, watching Senator Ted Kennedy make a speech on the floor of the Senate on a large monitor. My colleague, Dr. Jack McManus, who was co-chaperoning this policy trip with me for our students looked quite anxious as we waited for Senator Kennedy to finish his speech and join us for a meet-and-greet.

Jack was born in Massachusetts and had been a fan boy of Senator Kennedy for many years. Over the countless times he had visited DC, though, he had yet to meet Kennedy. I decided to change that and worked with the Senator’s office over a series of weeks to arrange the meeting.

Two, massive and rambunctious Portuguese Water Dogs heralded Senator Kennedy’s entry into the building, and the students murmured as they noted who strode behind the dogs. One of the dogs, on eyeing me, ran toward me and leapt up to greet me, placing his skilled-sized paws squarely on my shoulders.

Before I could even react to this spectacular greeting, the Senator approached me and disentangled his pooch from my person, apologizing while we all laughed and remarking how uncharacteristic it was for his dog to take to someone immediately. Surrounded by my students, I was a bit surprised to note they were all starstruck and simply stood there in awe while the Senator chatted with me.

In probably one of the best redirects in my life, I said to Senator Kennedy, “And speaking of friends, I would like you to meet one of my friends and colleagues, Dr. Jack McManus, who has voted for you several times over the years. From that point forward, my colleague and students engaged with the Senator, peppering him with policy questions about the speech he had just made on the Senate floor and many other issues.    

Over the years, I have taken many groups of doctoral students to Sacramento and Washington, DC to advocate for important educational priorities with lawmakers. Prior to these visits, we would carefully research issues in support of education, write policy papers, and research the various state- and federal lawmakers in whose districts we lived. Our preparation included making a persuasive argument in support of our policy issue to ensure it aligned to the degree practicable with the lawmaker’s priorities.

As a Dean, I now lead from a different chair in advocating for the common good—and for education specifically. Educational leaders are able to leverage their positional power collectively to make the argument for certain policies and laws both statewide and nationally.

The common good may be described, in part, thus:

In ordinary political discourse, the “common good” refers to those facilities—whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common. Some canonical examples of the common good in a modern liberal democracy include: the road system; public parks; police protection and public safety; courts and the judicial system; public schools; museums and cultural institutions; public transportation; civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of association; the system of property; clean air and clean water; and national defense….


Members of a political community stand in a social relationship, and this relationship also requires them to think and act in ways that embody a certain form of mutual concern. The common good defines this form of concern. The common good incorporates certain basic requirements of social justice, as citizens must provide one another with basic rights and freedoms and they must not exploit each other. But the common good goes beyond the basic requirements of justice because it requires citizens to maintain certain patterns of conduct on the grounds that these patterns serve certain common interests. (Hussain, 2018)


In early June, during a policy and advocacy trip to Washington, DC, I joined nearly 200 higher education leaders and doctoral students who sought to advocate for several legislative priorities that directly address teacher education and shortage in America’s schools. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) hosts “Washington Week,” where we spend time with members of the House and Senate, along with their advisors, to seek their support for these critical priorities. The five issues we focused on can be read in greater detail on the AACTE Advocacy Handout, but are summarized here:

·        Educators for America Act

·        Diversify Act

·        Pay Teachers Act

·        Loan Forgiveness for Educators Act

·        Supporting Teaching and Learning through Better Data Act

If we are, as Robert Bellah says, to foster a greater sense of collective accountability, it begins with our advocacy with those elected officials who represent us. One of the doctoral students who joined my team, Reyan Warren, found herself a bit nervous as she prepared her personal story to address her Representative, Pete Aguilar, who is from San Bernardino. As we waited for the lawmaker to join us in the Sam Rayburn Room in the Capitol, I whispered to her, “Just remember, he works for you.”

When it came time to deliver her compelling story about the impact of loan forgiveness on her work as an educational leader, Reyan was articulate, concise, and passionate in her delivery. That day, among countless members of the House of Representatives, the common good was on full display.

For the common good,


Elizabeth C. Orozco Reilly


Bellah, R. N. (2020). The Robert Bellah reader. Duke University Press.


Hussain, W. (2018, Spring). The common good. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, E. N. Zalta (Ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/common-good/


Photo: Nathan Lemon, What Good Should I Do This Day?


School of Education Welcomes New Employees

We are excited to share that we have two new faces in the School of Education. Please join us in welcoming Riley Crain as our new Assessment Analyst and Jonna Lewis as our new Budget Analyst.


Photo: Riley Crain

Riley Crain is new to the area after living in Seattle for the last 6 years. She graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and held a variety of roles at the University of Washington including admissions/recruitment, international programing and immigration, and program management.

Her last project was creating a new stackable masters degree for the department of industrial and systems engineering, which was approved this last winter! She is looking forward to meeting everyone and would love any suggestions for good restaurants and/or bar trivia.

She may live in Malibu but she lives at a state park with her boyfriend, tortoise (Speedy), and cat (Holmes), so frugal suggestions are welcome.

From Riley:

"I am excited to start this new opportunity with you all! Feel free to ask me anything, link up on LinkedIn, or grab me for a coffee break." 

Photo: Jonna Lewis

Jonna Lewis is a higher education professional with more than 15 years’ experience of progressively greater responsibilities at two California State University (CSU) campuses. Her career began at the California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) campus as an administrative support assistant for the university police department in the division of administration and finance. During her tenure at CSUSB she held various positions across academic and administrative divisions with an emphasis on budget support. She was responsible for managing, monitoring, and reconciling state, foundation and auxiliary budgets.


She most recently held the position of chief of staff for the division of administrative affairs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She was responsible for the division budget and assisted in the oversight of all operations in the vice president’s office, inclusive of division work plans, campus physical planning, the university strategic plan, and student success initiatives.


Jonna also has a passion for learning, with an undergraduate degree in sociology from CSUSB, and expects to earn her Master of Public Administration degree from CSUSB this fall. When she is not focusing on her academic and professional goals, Jonna enjoys time with her four children, two horses and two dogs. She enjoys equestrian activities and has shown Arabian horses for more than a decade.


Jonna joined us in late May and continues her CSU career at the California State University, Channel Islands campus as the Budget Analyst for the School of Education. She is excited for the opportunity to return to higher education in support of the campus, school, and Dean. 

Congratulations to our Colleagues

Please join us in congratulating our coworkers on their recent tenure and/or promotions.

Photo: Michele Dean, PhD

Michele Dean, PhD has been promoted to the rank of professor.

Photo: Tadashi Dozono, PhD

Tadashi Dozono, Phd has received early tenure and promotion to rank of Associate Professor.

Photo: Carolee Hurtado, PhD

Carolee Hurtado, PhD has received tenure and promotion to rank of Associate Professor.

CSU Celebrates Juneteenth with Symposium

The California State University’s second biennial Juneteenth Symposium took place June 13 and 14 at California State University, Sacramento and featured world-class speakers, evocative performances, and thought-provoking panel discussions meant to inspire connection, innovation and continued pursuit of a just and equitable world.


You are invited to watch the recorded livestream of this special event, designed to elevate the celebration and recognition of African American history and achievement while promoting and sustaining the anti-racism work underway across the CSU’s 23 campuses. This event is part of the CSU’s steadfast commitment to build inclusive campus communities that empower students to pursue lives of curiosity, prosperity and fulfillment.


Featured speakers include:

  • Dr. Mildred García, Chancellor, California State University
  • Dr. Luke Wood, President, California State University, Sacramento
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, award-winning civil rights journalist/Knight Chair in Race and Journalism, Howard University
  • Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, director, Boston University Center for Antiracism Research


Go to www.Calstate.edu/Juneteenth to watch the proceedings

"Khanmigo for Teachers" offers free access

Photo: Khamigo avatar, source: Microsoft

Through a partnership with Microsoft, "Khanmigo for Teachers", an AI-powered teaching assistant pilot, is now free for every U.S. teacher.

Upcoming Events




Campus Holiday

View our full School of Education Events Calendar

CSU Offers A.I. Webinars

The CSU is offering a series of webinars on Teaching and Thinking with A.I., led by José Antonio Bowen, in June 2024. The series will be repeated in Fall 2024.

Visit this webpage to register for each webinar.

The first, one-hour webinar introduces the series and does not require active participation. The recording will be available on demand to CSU faculty, staff, and administrators.

The subsequent webinars are two-hours and are highly interactive. Recordings will be available on demand to CSU faculty, staff, and administrators for a limited time.

Register separately for each webinar to attend live. To attend, join from a CSU Zoom account. Links to request access to recordings will be posted here as soon as they are available.

Visit Systemwide Generative AI Resources to learn about other online resources, systemwide activities, and recent publications available across the California State University.



AI Assignments and Assessments

June 24, 2024 -- 10am PST (120m)

All assignments are now AI Assignments. In the same way that the ease of finding information on the internet forced faculty to rethink what homework students did and how we wanted them to do it, we will all need an AI strategy for assignments and assessment. We will cover both ways to force students to write and alternative creative assignments that incorporate AI. Through a wide diversity of examples, we will also consider how we can reduce cheating and raise standards.

Register for June 24

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