School of Education faculty are in demand to provide expertise on today’s news, and student-athlete alumni use their Syracuse experiences in and out of the classroom in their current roles.
Arts Education faculty Sharif Bey and James Rolling, Jr., spoke to syracuse.com/The Post-Standard about the Everson Museum of Art’s decision to sell a painting by Jackson Pollock: “Why is a Jackson Pollock painting, and its sale at an auction, so significant?” The museum says the money from the sale will go directly to diversifying its collection and purchasing works from underrepresented creators. Both spoke to the significance of the piece in Pollack’s early work, and the significance of the sale itself. Bey said:
“If you’re truly supporting diversity and social justice, put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise it’s just posturing or performative. Then it’s just talk. Institutions are seeing this now, so hopefully it will have an impact or a ripple effect on more institutions.”
Rolling added, “They’re accelerating the speed in which these [underrepresented] artists are going to be recognized as important. That’s a good thing, a necessary thing … more representation of the population of the nation.” Rolling also recently wrote an open letter to National Art Education Association colleagues about the importance of displaying more artists of color, and the importance of anti-racism in arts education and teacher preparation.
Professor George Theoharis and associate professor Christine Ashby, along with Syracuse City School District supervisor of the Arts and current Ed.D. student Sarah Gentile, wrote commentary for syracuse.com/The Post-Standard: “School district decisions on sports begs the question: Are we in this together?” The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of K-12 education, in and out of the classroom. Many schools have adopted remote or hybrid learning models, and most extracurricular activities are cancelled, postponed, or made entirely virtual for the fall semester. However, most districts in New York State were given the green light to play low-contact sports.
“If playing sports now is better for those student-athletes, what about the mental health of student-actors who were waiting for the fall drama production? Or student-editors who get needed relief from the school newspaper? Or student-scientists who find solace in science Olympics? There can be very little physical contact in the newspaper, drama, science Olympics, etc. We are not in this together if we are prioritizing the mental health of only select students.”
Christy Ashby echoed these questions in an interview with USA Today for “High school football is the new battleground of COVID-19 school reopenings”: “If it’s too dangerous to hold classes in-person, including physical education, and if other meaningful extracurricular activities such as theater and band have been put on pause, why should sports resume?” She also expands on the issue that districts with more low-income students are more likely to postpone their sports seasons, as they struggle to adapt to new safety measures, creating further inequity among different districts and communities.
Katie Rowan ’09 G’10 recently spoke to Sports Illustrated for “Keeping Up With the Alumni.” Rowan earned a bachelor’s degree in inclusive elementary and special education while playing lacrosse for Syracuse University, and stayed at Syracuse as a volunteer coach while completing her master’s degree in literacy education. Since then, she’d held coaching positions at Syracuse, Wagner College, and the SUNY University at Albany, as well as working with the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League and Haudenosaunee National Team.
While at Syracuse, Rowan was chosen her senior year as the Soladay Award Winner as well as the Syracuse Female Athlete of the Year. She graduated as the all-time leader in points and assists, and ranked fourth on the NCAA Division I career scoring list and third on the career assists list.
“I knew I always wanted to be a teacher since I think when I was little.” Kelsey Youmell ’17 G’19 was featuring on NewsChannel9’s Athlete of the Week: Where are they Now? segment. Kelsey received a bachelor’s degree in inclusive elementary and special education and a master’s degree in teaching English language learners. She is now a first grade teacher at Cato-Meridian CSD, teaching remote, in-person, and hybrid classes every week. Youmell is also a volunteer assistant coach for Skaneateles girls lacrosse; she played lacrosse at Syracuse and served as co-captain her senior year.
“A lot of the stuff that I learned at Syracuse I still use with my girls that I coach now in high school,” she says. “Being able to adapt to the situation I think is definitely a huge thing in teaching. Those kind of things that I learned through lacrosse have definitely stuck with me.”